WASHINGTON -- Hacked emails released inexposed the inner workings of Hillary Clinton’s campaign leading up to her 2015 announcement that she would seek the presidency, and through this year’s primary.
The thousands of emails were hacked from the accounts of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
U.S. intelligence officials have blamed the Russian government for a series of breaches intended to influence the presidential election. The Russians deny involvement.
Clinton’s campaign, for their part, have not authenticated any individual emails, including those with the reported transcripts from Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. Instead, they compared it to the Watergate scandal and slammed Donald Trump for “cheering on a Russian attempt to influence our election.”
“We’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” Glen Caplin, a Clinton spokesperson, said Saturday in a statement. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into and a foreign government is behind it. Oddly, Trump continues to defend Putin and deflect blame.”
Among the revelations on Oct. 15 from Podesta’s hacked emails:
GOLDMAN SACHS TRANSCRIPTS:
In one email from earlier this year, Podesta received three transcripts for speeches to Goldman Sachs that Clinton had given in 2013.
Some of the more notable excerpts are below:
- Ironically, Clinton once told an audience at Goldman Sachs: “You know, I would like to see more successful business people run for office. I really would like to see that because I do think, you know, you don’t have to have 30 billion, but you have a certain level of freedom. And there’s that memorable phrase from a former member of the Senate: You can be maybe rented but never bought. And I think it’s important to have people with those experiences.”
- Clinton joked that “this is all off the record, right?” before launching into a discussion about WikiLeaks: “So, all right. This is all off the record, right? You’re not telling your spouses if they’re not here...Okay. I was Secretary of State when WikiLeaks happened. You remember that whole debacle. 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. I had to go and apologize to anybody who was in any way characterized in any of the cables in any way that might be considered less than flattering. And it was painful.”
- Clinton weighed in on Syria and how a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians”: “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... But the idea that we would have like a no fly zone -- Syria, of course, did have when it started the fourth biggest army in the world. It had very sophisticated air defense systems. They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no fly zone you have to takeout all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk -- you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”
WALL STREET SPEECHES
The campaign asked former President Clinton to cancel a planned speech to a Wall Street investment firm last year because of concerns the Clintons might appear to be too cozy with Wall Street just as the former secretary of state was about to announce her White House bid.
Clinton aides wrote that Hillary Clinton did not want her husband to cancel the speech, but was eventually convinced that canceling was the right step.
Campaign manager Robby Mook said he realized canceling the speech would disappoint both Clintons, but said, “it’s a very consequential unforced error and could plague us in stories for months.”
Clinton’s paid speeches have been an issue throughout the campaign, particularly Hillary Clinton’s private speeches to Wall Street firms.
Mr. Clinton was scheduled to speak to Morgan Stanley executives in April 2015, a few days after his wife was set to launch her bid for president.
“That’s begging for a bad rollout,” Mook wrote in an email from March 11, 2015.
A January 2016 email from Clinton’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, to Podesta gave a breakdown of the history of allegations made by Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s.
Broaddrick was among the three past accusers of the former president who attended last week’s debate in St. Louis at the invitation of Trump. Mr. Clinton has denied the rape accusation made by Broaddrick, which was never adjudicated by a criminal court.
The documents in the WikiLeaks release include the affidavit that Broaddrick signed saying that Mr. Clinton did not assault her and the independent counsel’s history of the Paula Jones case in which Broaddrick later received immunity from any prosecution for perjury if she changed her story.
“Voila! She did, disavowing her sworn affidavit and sworn deposition testimony,” Kendall wrote in the email to Podesta. He concluded, “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide about this slimefest.”
HOW TO REPLY:
Clinton’s campaign was slow to grasp the seriousness of the email controversy and believed it might blow over after one weekend.
Two days after the AP report, her advisers were shaping their strategy to respond to the revelation.
Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill optimistically suggested that the issue might quickly blow over.
“Goal would be to cauterize this just enough so it plays out over the weekend and dies in the short term,” Merrill wrote on March 6, 2015.
It did not, and instead became the leading example of Clinton’s penchant for secrecy, which has persisted as a theme among her campaign critics and rivals throughout her election season. Clinton did not publicly confirm or discuss her use of the email server until March 10 in a speech at the United Nations, nearly one week after AP revealed the server’s existence.
As Clinton’s campaign geared up in 2015, her aides hoped to procure some star power to give her a boost - someone sensational, but not too sensational.
Less than two weeks before her formal launch speech in New York, her scheduling director asked for a list of celebrities willing to help and said the campaign wanted options “somewhere between a high school band and Lady Gaga.”
Aides quickly gave the go-ahead to using actress Julianne Moore as a surrogate and said she “might be good for launch pre-program,” referring to the part of the event before Clinton was to speak. Former campaign aide Diane Hamwi said “Girls” creator Lena Dunham “will do whatever, though bit more edgy.” She floated other celebrities including actors Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jesse Taylor Ferguson, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
In another email, Hamwi listed musical performers who would likely help if in New York: Nick Jonas, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, John Legend and Alicia Keys, among others. Though she misspelled her first name, Hamwi said singer Katy Perry would “find a way to be here” for the event. Clinton’s aides seemed particularly excited about the possibility of getting the band The Roots.
But Clinton’s scheduling director, Alex Hornbrook, also had a bit of bad news: “There is no budget to fly anyone in.”
It turns out both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wanted the endorsement of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, who portrayed Sanders on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
In an October 2015 email, campaign chairman John Podesta asked aides if David was supporting either candidate. Clinton’s campaign reached out to Hollywood director and producer Rob Reiner, who said David wasn’t endorsing “because he is going to keep playing Bernie on SNL.”
The email said that Sanders’ campaign contacted David after his initial Sanders’ skit on SNL “to ask him to endorse and he declined.”