Hillary Clinton has had her fair share of “October surprises” in the final stretch of her campaign.
Even before her most recent email scare — FBI Director James Comey’s back-to-back bombshells that his bureau was reviewing new emails in the Clinton case, and later, that the renewed investigation would again not lead to criminal charges against the Democratic nominee — Clinton’s race to the White House hit a major bump with last month’s hacking of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
In that first October surprise, the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks rolled out more than 12,000 internal emails illegally obtained by Russian hackers from Podesta’s private email account.
Now, with Election Day upon us, here’s a refresher on the five biggest revelations from the email dumps:
1. Apparent transcripts of Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs (We say ‘apparent’ because the Clinton campaign will not authenticate the documents, suggesting some could be fakes planted by the hackers) revealed she was on friendly terms with Wall Street executives.
Over the weekend, WikiLeaks released what appeared to be transcripts from paid speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs employees in 2013. Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street heavyweights have come under scrutiny throughout her presidential campaign, with her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders criticizing her for accepting around $225,000 per speech and repeatedly calling on her to release the transcripts.
Clinton has promised throughout her campaign that she will be tough on Wall Street if elected president — but the transcripts of her speeches showed a softer side of the former secretary of state in her interactions with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and other Wall Street executives. As The New York Times reported, in a 2013 speech hosted by Goldman Sachs, Clinton gave Blankfein advice on how to launch a hypothetical presidential campaign.
“I think you would leave Goldman Sachs and start running a soup kitchen somewhere,” she told Blankfein at the time. “Then you could be a legend in your own time, both when you were there and when you left.”
And at a Goldman Sachs symposium on Oct. 24, 2013 she told the crowd, “I represented all of you for eight years. I had great relations and worked so close together after 9/11 to rebuild downtown, and a lot of respect for the work you do and the people who do it.”
That transcript also showed, however, that Clinton went on to talk about the importance of bank regulation, saying, “I think that when we talk about the regulators and the politicians, the economic consequences of bad decisions back in ’08, you know, were devastating, and they had repercussions throughout the world.”
The Clinton campaign has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of any of the transcripts released by WikiLeaks. Both her campaign and the Obama administration have said the Podesta email dump is part of an effort to help her opponent Donald Trump win the presidency, blaming the Russian government for the hack and WikiLeaks for releasing the emails.
2. Clinton once said that politicians need to have “both a public and a private” position.
An earlier WikiLeaks release of excerpts from Clinton’s private speeches to banks showed that she once spoke about the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on controversial political issues.
Clinton defended these comments during the second presidential debate, saying, “As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called Lincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. It was principled, and it was strategic. And I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want it to do, and you have to keep working at it.”
3. Clinton’s campaign was worried that certain parts of her paid speeches could harm her candidacy.
Clinton campaign research director, Tony Carrk, emailed other members of the team in January 2016 flagging excerpts of her speeches that he thought could prove problematic.
“Attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA. I put some highlights below. There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy,” he wrote.
One excerpt from a Goldman Sachs-Black Rock event in 2014 — which Carrk filed under the header “*CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH” — showed Clinton talking about how far she’s come from her middle class roots.
“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,” she said in the speech. “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.”
4. Bad blood ran deep between Chelsea Clinton and her father’s top Clinton Global Initiative aide.
Doug Band, a former top advisor and close confidante of President Bill Clinton, called Chelsea Clinton a “spoiled brat” in a 2011 email to top Hillary Clinton aides Podesta and Cheryl Mills. At the time, Band was upset over Chelsea’s reported accusations that employees at the global consulting firm he co-founded, Teneo, were using her father’s name without his consent.
“I don’t deserve this from her and deserve a tad more respect or at least a direct dialogue for me to explain these things,” Band wrote. “She is acting like a spoiled brat kid who had nothing else to do but create issues to justify what she’s doing because she, as she has said, hasn’t found her way and has a lack of focus in her life.”
Another email revealed that Band’s feelings about Chelsea were mutual. In 2011, the former first daughter emailed Podesta and others saying she was upset about things she had heard about how her father was being treated. Chelsea listed off the accusations, including several about Band:
“- my father was told today of explicit examples at CGI of Doug/ Teneo pushing for – and receiving – free memberships – and of multiple examples of Teneo ‘hustling’ business at CGI – and of people now having quit at CGI
– that Doug told Jon Davidson he was never going to forgive him for not reporting that Dad met with John (ie you John) on Sunday and that how could Jon forget who he really worked for
– Doug told Terry Krinivic she would never work again in this town if she didn’t back him up on everything.”
She concluded the email by writing, “As ever, on some of the above I am sure there are three sides as my grandmother would say – his, hers and the truth. On others, it seems more clear. All of it makes me very sad.”
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5. Clinton received advance notice on a CNN Town Hall question.
The email dump shows that on March 12, 2016, Democratic National Committee interim Chair Donna Brazile contacted Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri about a question she received in advance of an upcoming CNN Town Hall.
“From time to time, I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote. “Here’s one that worries me about HRC.”
“DEATH PENALTY 19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty?”
Clinton was asked a similar question at the CNN Town Hall the following day, but Brazile now denies giving Clinton’s camp a heads up about the question. “As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did,” Brazile said in a statement, according to Politico.