Emails show Clin­ton tread­ing lightly with Wall Street talks

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Josh Lederman and Ken Thomas

WASH­ING­TON >> Hil­lary Clin­ton gen­er­ally avoided di­rect crit­i­cism of Wall Street as she ex­am­ined the causes and re­sponses to the fi­nan­cial melt­down dur­ing a series of paid speeches to Gold­man Sachs, ac­cord­ing to tran­scripts dis­closed by Wik­iLeaks.

Three tran­scripts re­leased Satur­day as part of the hack of her cam­paign chair­man’s emails did not con­tain any new bomb­shells show­ing she was un­duly in­flu­enced by con­tri­bu­tions from the bank­ing in­dus­try, as her pri­mary ri­val Bernie San­ders had sug­gested. Still, her soft­handed ap­proach in the speeches was likely to act as a re­minder to lib­er­als in the party of their con­cerns that the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee is too close to Wall Street to be an ef­fec­tive check on its ex­cesses if elected.

In Oc­to­ber 2013, the tran­scripts show, Clin­ton told bankers she had “great re­la­tions” and worked closely with Wall Street as New York’s sen­a­tor, and said “the jury is still out” on whether the Dodd-Frank fi­nan­cial re­forms put in place after the fi­nan­cial cri­sis had been the right ap­proach. She said more open­ness from the start could have pre­vented the up­roar on Wall Street over those re­forms.

“What hap­pened, how did it hap­pen, how do we pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing? You guys help us fig­ure it out, and let’s make sure that we do it right this time,” she said.

Work­ing to re­late her speech to her au­di­ence, Clin­ton in one speech likened her ex­pe­ri­ence as sec­re­tary of state to busi­ness and finance, say­ing “it’s like any­body’s bal­ance sheet,” with both op­por­tu­ni­ties and po­ten­tial li­a­bil­i­ties. In one ex­change, a con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pant from Texas told Clin­ton that she had “the honor to raise money for you” dur­ing her 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Clin­ton re­sponded, “You are the smartest peo­ple.”

In the hard-fought Demo­cratic pri­mary, San­ders re­peat­edly called on Clin­ton to re­lease the tran­scripts of her speeches to Wall Street, some of which earned her hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars apiece. In an ironic twist, the tran­scripts ended up be­com­ing public be­cause her cam­paign aides had dis­trib­uted them among them­selves in an ef­fort to pre­pare for any at­tacks she might face. Those in­ter­nal cam­paign emails were then leaked in the hack of cam­paign chair­man John Podesta’s emails.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign nei­ther con­firmed nor de­nied that the speech tran­scripts and leaked Podesta emails are au­then­tic, but there have been no in­di­ca­tions that they were doc­tored be­fore be­ing re­leased. Clin­ton’s team has ac­cused Rus­sia’s gov­ern­ment of hack­ing Podesta’s emails, and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has for­mally blamed Moscow for a series of breaches af­fect­ing U.S. po­lit­i­cal groups.

“There is no get­ting around it: Don­ald Trump is cheer­ing on a Rus­sian at­tempt to in­flu­ence our elec­tion through a crime rem­i­nis­cent of Water­gate, but on a more mas­sive scale,” said Clin­ton spokesman Glen Caplin.

The tran­scripts, all from 2013, in­clude speeches and ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sions with Clin­ton at a “Builders and In­no­va­tors Sum­mit,” an “Al­ter­na­tive In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Sum­mit” and a gath­er­ing of CEOS — all hosted by Gold­man Sachs.

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