‘Holy grail of US journalism’: WikiLeaks releases transcripts of Clinton’s paid Wall St. speeches

© Shannon Stapleton
WikiLeaks has released what it dubbed the “holy grail of journalism”: full transcripts of three paid speeches that the Democratic presidential candidate gave to Goldman Sachs back in 2013. The transcripts were discovered in the trove of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair’s leaked emails.

The highlighted texts were taken from John Podesta’s hacked email account, and published by WikiLeaks along with the eighth batch of Clinton’s campaign chair’s emails.

The speeches were made at private events back in 2013 after Clinton had already left the State Department.

The transcripts were attached to a January 23, 2016 email titled "Goldman Sachs paid speeches" sent by top campaign aide Tony Carrk, who apparently marked potentially problematic passages should the speeches ever be made public.

‘To intervene in Syria as covertly as possible’

In her June 2013 speech at a Goldman Sachs conference in South Clinton spoke of US’ foreign policy, saying she would like the US to intervene in Syria as “covertly as is possible.

The problem for the US and the Europeans has been from the very beginning: what is it you – who is it you are going to try to arm? […] How do intervene – my view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene. We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves. They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else: Look what we’re doing and I want credit for it, and all the rest of it,” Clinton said.

‘Putin too defensive’

In her June 2013 speech, she also commented on relations between US and Russia, saying she wished she could “continue to build a more positive relationship with Russia.” She added, however, that Putin had rejected a number of her attempts to work together “out of hand,” while Dmitry Medvedev, “who was president in name but was obviously beholden to Putin,” was more willing to cooperate when he was in office.

We would like to see Putin be less defensive toward a relationship with the United States so that we could work together on some issues,” Clinton said.

‘Great’ relations with bankers

In an October 2013 speech, the presidential nominee commented on her relations with bankers, stating they were “great” when she worked with Wall Street as a New York senator.

Clinton, however, chided the big banks for not doing enough to hype economic growth and said that there has to be a balance in how much banks are regulated.

Right now, there are so many places in our country where the banks are not doing what they need to do because they’re scared of regulations, they’re scared of the other shoe dropping, they’re just plain scared, so credit is not flowing the way it needs to restart economic growth,” she said, adding that “there’s nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad.

Clinton also said that people should understand how Wall Street works and what impact it has on the global state of affairs. In order to do it she said that “more thought has to be given to the process and transactions and regulations so that we don’t kill or maim what works, but we concentrate on the most effective way of moving forward with the brainpower and the financial power that exists here [on Wall Street].

Hillary’s alleged cozy relations with Wall Street have repeatedly fallen under fire during the US presidential race, with her Democratic rival and now-supporter Bernie Sanders urging Clinton to release transcripts. She has in turn promised to make them public if the Republican candidate Donald Trump releases his tax returns.

‘Obstructionist senators should get out’

Regarding the operation of the US Senate, Clinton called for eliminating the filibuster rules which make a 60-vote threshold necessary to pass most proposals rather than a 51-vote majority. She claimed “we need to change the rules in the Senate” as “it’s only gotten more difficult to do anything.”

Policies deserve a vote up or down. And I don’t think that a small handful of senators should stand in the way of that, because, you know, a lot of those senators are really obstructionist. They should get out,” she said boldly.
In another speech, Clinton commented on the presidency of Barack Obama, dismissing the idea that he could have been able to do more in the US if he sided with Republicans in Congress more often.

I know that he spent a lot of time early on in the first term with the Republicans in trying, as you recall [...] It turned out that the Republicans’ side, particularly in the House, couldn’t deliver,” she said.

Clinton apology tour: ‘I had grown men cry’

In one transcript, Clinton also spoke of the State Department information leaks by Chelsea Manning published by WikiLeaks back in 2010, when she had to go on what she branded a ‘Clinton Apology Tour’ to calm world leaders who felt insulted by them.

So out come hundreds of thousands of documents. And I have to go on an apology tour. And I had a jacket made like a rock star tour. The Clinton Apology Tour […] It was painful,” Clinton said.

Leaders who shall remain nameless, who were characterized as vain, egotistical, power hungry, corrupt. And we knew they were. This was not fiction. And I had to go and say, you know, our ambassadors, they get carried away, they want to all be literary people. They go off on tangents. What can I say? I had grown men cry. I mean, literally,” Clinton said at the Innovators’ Summit in Arizona.

The remarks Clinton made in the three Goldman Sachs speeches are not out of step with her public remarks on the same issues at the time. But, as the hacked Podesta emails show, Clinton’s campaign was worried about them nonetheless as they appeared somewhat more straightforward in style: some sections of these speeches had even been highlighted by Clinton’s staff as something that in their view could compromise the presidential candidate if ever they were published.

Clinton’s campaign has so far declined to verify the leaked emails. Goldman Sachs did not immediately provide any comment on Saturday, Reuters reported. But the releases, coming out daily for the last week, even though revealing her views and actions before the presidential campaign started, have been a big challenge for Clinton’s team, as her aides have been forced to constantly comment on the newly-emerging leaks with the elections quickly approaching.