Thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman were released Friday
The hacked emails from John Podesta were released just hours after the U.S. accused Russia of trying to hack its elections
Thousands of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, were posted online Friday evening, including what appears to be excerpts from transcripts of closed-door speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street companies after leaving the State Department.
WikiLeaks, which has been alleged to work with Russia, posted more than 2,000 emails from Podesta and promises to post more from a trove of more than 50,000 the group said it has access to.
The Clinton campaign would not confirm the authenticity of any of the documents but has not disputed the contents.
Clinton’s comments to financial firms, if legitimate, would validate what supporters of Bernie Sanders long said about her: Clinton is a fake populist who is really out of touch with the middle class. But the timing of the leaks, well after the Democratic primary and the same night video emerged of Donald Trump bragging about being able to grope women, could blunt any political impact.
About a week after Sanders raised the issue in a January debate, the campaign’s head of research, Tony Carrk, sent around the excerpts, apparently provided by “HWA” (likely referring to the Harry Walker Agency, a firm representing Clinton and other high-profile speakers), to Podesta and other top campaign officials, including Podesta and Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri.
The speech excerpts shed light on Clinton’s relationship with Wall Street behind closed doors, as well as her positions on issues such as trade and regulation.
Clinton’s presidential campaign has sought to cast the former secretary of state as a fighter for the middle class, someone who will stand up to monied interests and corporations, and advocate on behalf of people who have seen wages stagnate over eight years under President Barack Obama.
In one 2014 speech, Clinton admits to being “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class.
“My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle class upbringing,” she said in the remarks. “…And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
The emails released Friday range from menial email blasts and newsletters to highly sensitive internal campaign discussions from inside the Clinton campaign as they were facing a strong primary challenge from Sanders. And they come just hours after top national security officials accused Russia of trying to influence the US elections through highly-coordinated hacks.
Podesta fired off a series of tweets Friday night, blasting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and pointing to Russia as the source of the hacks, although there is no official link between his specific emails and hacks by Russia.
“I’m not happy about being hacked by the Russians in their quest to throw the election to Donald Trump,” Podesta tweeted Friday night. In another tweet, he said, “Don’t have time to figure out which docs are real and which are faked.”
The Clinton campaign declined to confirm whether the emails were Podesta’s.
“Earlier today, the US government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy,” Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement Friday night. “We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton.”
Caplin also pointed to concerns that Russian hackers could have doctored the content in the emails, saying, “Guccifer 2.0 has already proven the warnings of top national security officials that documents can be faked as part of a sophisticated Russian misinformation campaign.”
Sanders sought speech transcripts
For many Sanders supporters, including some who remain wary of Clinton, the release of Clinton’s paid speech transcripts is too little, too late.
Sanders made Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and other financial interests a cornerstone of his stump speeches, regularly slamming Clinton for the private remarks.
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