Emails show a con­cern over Clin­ton’s Wall Street speech

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Hil­lary Clin­ton’s campaign asked for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton to cancel a speech to a Wall Street in­vest­ment firm last year be­cause of con­cerns that 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, newly re­leased emails show. Clin­ton aides say in hacked emails re­leased Fri­day by the anti-se­crecy group Wik­iLeaks that Hil­lary Clin­ton did not want her hus­band to cancel the speech, but after a “cool down pe­riod” was even­tu­ally con­vinced that can­cel­ing was the right step.

Campaign man­ager Robby Mook said he re­al­ized can­cel­ing the lu­cra­tive speech would dis­ap­point both Clin­tons but “it’s a very con­se­quen­tial un­forced er­ror and could plague us in sto­ries for months.” The Clin­tons’ paid speeches have been an is­sue through­out the campaign, par­tic­u­larly Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate speeches to Wall Street firms. Hil­lary Clin­ton earned about $1.5 mil­lion in speak­ing fees be­fore launch­ing her pres­i­den­tial campaign, while Bill Clin­ton reaped more than $5 mil­lion from bank­ing, tech and other cor­po­rate in­ter­ests, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments filed by Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The campaign has never re­leased tran­scripts of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s speeches, but the hacked emails did re­veal ex­cerpts flagged by her ad­vis­ers as po­ten­tially con­cern­ing. In the ex­cerpts, Clin­ton talked about dream­ing of “open trade and open bor­ders” in the Western Hemi­sphere. She also says politi­cians some­times need to have “both a pub­lic and a pri­vate po­si­tion” on is­sues. Bill 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 a March 11, 2015, email. In a later email, Mook says he feels “very strongly that do­ing the speech is a mis­take” with se­ri­ous po­ten­tial con­se­quences for Hil­lary Clin­ton’s campaign. “Peo­ple would (right­fully) ask how we let it hap­pen.” Hil­lary Clin­ton was sched­uled to campaign in Iowa, “where cau­cus go­ers have a sharply more neg­a­tive view of Wall Street than the rest of the elec­torate,” Mook wrote. “Wall Street ranks first for Iowans among a list of in­sti­tu­tions that ‘take ad­van­tage of ev­ery day Amer­i­cans,’ scor­ing twice as high as the gen­eral elec­tion elec­torate . ... This is a very big deal in my view.”

‘A cool down pe­riod’

Clin­ton’s long­time aide, Huma Abe­din, as­sured Mook the next day that Clin­ton was fine with can­cel­ing the speech, es­pe­cially if Bill Clin­ton agreed. The can­di­date “just needed a cool down pe­riod,” Abe­din wrote. The emails were among thou­sands pub­lished this week by Wik­iLeaks, which has been re­leas­ing a se­ries of emails hacked from the ac­counts of Clin­ton campaign chair­man John Podesta.

US in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials last week blamed the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment for a se­ries of breaches in­tended to in­flu­ence the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The Rus­sians deny in­volve­ment. Podesta’s hacked mes­sages of­fer in­sight into the var­i­ous strate­gies and re­sponses con­sid­ered by those close to Clin­ton as they grap­pled with pit­falls in her bid for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, in­clud­ing the 2009 de­ci­sion to use a pri­vate email server while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state. In a sep­a­rate email, Clin­ton aides dis­cussed how to ex­plain her 2001 sup­port for an over­haul of the na­tion’s bank­ruptcy sys­tem. San­ders was cit­ing past crit­i­cism by Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, D-Mass., as ev­i­dence of Clin­ton’s fa­voritism to Wall Street. Clin­ton de­fended the vote in a TV in­ter­view ear­lier this year, say­ing she pur­sued lan­guage to en­sure women re­ceived child sup­port if a spouse went into bank­ruptcy. In a Feb. 7 email, ad­viser Ann O’Leary noted that Clin­ton had over­stated her case: “She said women groups were all pres­sur­ing her to vote for it. Ev­i­dence does not sup­port that state­ment.”

Clin­ton spokes­woman Jen­nifer Palmieri said Fri­day that the campaign has taken un­spec­i­fied pre­cau­tions to se­cure its emails. Asked whether of­fi­cials were con­sid­er­ing re­leas­ing all of Podesta’s emails at once, Palmieri said, “That is what the Rus­sians would like us to do and we are not go­ing to do that.” Emails re­leased Fri­day also show that Clin­ton’s daugh­ter, Chelsea, used a sec­ond alias to com­mu­ni­cate with her mother’s campaign: Anna James. Chelsea Clin­ton also used the alias Diane Reynolds, ac­cord­ing to emails pre­vi­ously made pub­lic. —AP

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton waves after speak­ing at a fundraiser at the Civic Cen­ter Au­di­to­rium. — AP

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