On Friday and Monday, WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 emails revealing the inner machinations of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, especially as she sought to outmaneuver Bernie Sanders on trade and Wall Street during the contentious primary.
The bombshell recording of Donald Trump's hot-mic comments on his desire to "f—k" a married woman and grope women overshadowed the leak initially. And questions have been raised by some, including Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald, about whether the emails were subsequently falsified by the Russian government to influence the U.S. election. Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon took a dig at the media's interest in the trove and suspicion that Russia was behind the hack by tweeting on Friday: "Striking how quickly concern abt Russia's masterminding of illegal hacks gave way to digging thru fruits of hack. Just like Russia wanted." On Friday, U.S. intelligence officials suggested that WikiLeaks was being used to spread information stolen by hackers working for Russia. The Clinton campaign has declined to confirm the authenticity of the emails, however, and so far there is no evidence showing that this leak was the result of cyber espionage.
Here are some of the biggest revelations in the emails:
One email that seems to confirm some of progressives' biggest concerns about her candidacy, Clinton admitted that there's a difference between her public promises and private comments. In an excerpt from a paid speech in April 2013, she said: "If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the backroom discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So you need both a public and a private position. You just have to sort of figure out how to—getting back to that word, ‘balance’—how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today." If you watched the debate on Sunday night, this is the controversy that Clinton was addressing when she talked about Stephen Spielberg's movie Lincoln.
In one of her paid speeches to banks, Clinton suggested that Wall Street was unfairly blamed for the 2008 economic collapse: "That was one of the reasons that I started traveling in February of ‘09, so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the convention wisdom." She added: "And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened" with the financial crisis.
In another excerpt, titled "CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH" in an email from a campaign aide, Clinton discusses how her current status as a millionaire has created some distance from middle-class and working-class Americans: "My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn't believe in mortgages. So I lived that. 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."
In an 2014 email to her campaign chief John Podesta, Clinton claimed that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding ISIS, recommending that the U.S. use diplomatic and "more traditional intelligence assets" to pressure those governments to stop providing "clandestine financial and logistic support" to the terrorist group.
Doug Band, a longtime counselor to Bill Clinton, vigorously complained in 2011 that Chelsea Clinton was being a "spoiled brat kid." That was in the wake of Chelsea’s emails to Podesta expressing concern that members of Band’s consulting group, Teneo, were calling up members of the British parliament "on behalf of President Clinton" without her dad’s knowledge. At the time, Bill Clinton was being paid a consulting fee by Teneo. "Which would horrify my father," Chelsea Clinton wrote.
In 2015 and early 2016, the Clinton campaign saw Marco Rubio as a much bigger threat than Donald Trump, describing the young then-senator from Florida as an inspiring political figure like Obama. In an email, one staffer compared lines from Rubio’s speech announcing his candidacy to a 2008 speech by Obama, with another chiming in: "Felt more like an inspiring Democratic speech than a GOP candidate, outside of foreign policy, repealing Obamacare, and choice. Lots of references to ‘our generation’ (i.e., Him and younger voters) vs. ‘their generation’ (them being us, Jeb, his opponents, Washington)."
In anticipation of her speech announcing the reversal of her position on the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Clinton aides strategized about how to convince the Obama administration to delay its push for a key part of the plan: Trade Promotion Authority. Her foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan emailed Podesta and Mook: "We need to get the White House to slow the train down. Like wait a week. We will have a strong draft of an HRC letter tomorrow, but it would be odd for her to send it a day or two before the whole crew sends theirs."
In a clear indication of the importance of social media, four campaign aides toiled over how to craft Clinton’s first tweet in response to the first story that exposed her use of a private email server. Eventually, it read: