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Video: Cursing, tempers flare at Goldman hearings

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    >>> a bit.

    >>> but let's begin this morning with that fiery hearing on capitol hill as senators grilled the top executives from goldman sachs . nbc 's kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill this morning. kelly , good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, matt. this was an arm wrestling match in business suits that went all day and well into the evening. frustrated senators seemed to say they weren't getting straight answers. witnesses from goldman seem to suggest that the committee just didn't get how their business works. this was a tense interrogation and there was even some salty language flying.

    >> now answer my question. i'm going to ask you for the last time. if you don't want to answer it, you can say you don't want to answer it. it is a question. what was your answer?

    >> reporter: hour after hour of confrontation.

    >> mr. chairman, just trying to understand --

    >> no, i think you understand. i don't think you want to answer.

    >> reporter: wall street executives from the prestigious firm goldman sachs at times appeared uneasy and resistant.

    >> could you give me a yes or no to whether or not you considered yourself to have a duty to act in the best interests of your clients?

    >> i believe we have a duty to serve our clients well.

    >> reporter: a senate committee armed with documents and outrage.

    >> you had less oversight than a pit boss in las vegas .

    >> reporter: investigators say goldman had a conflict of interest , that internal company e-mails show the firm knew it had been selling poor quality investments because in those e-mails, goldman employees themselves used profanity to disparage the deals.

    >> "boy, that timber wof was one [ bleep ] deal."

    >> context might be helpful.

    >> context, let me tell you, the context is mighty clear.

    >> reporter: senator carl levin kept using the quoted swear word .

    >> boy, that timberwof was one [ bleep ] deal.

    >> reporter: one big issue, goldman sold investors subprime mortgage packages but then made its own bet those same investments would lose value without telling investors.

    >> our clients' trust is not only important to us, it is essential to us.

    >> reporter: ceo lloyd blankfein said there is no ethical obligation to tell investors when the firm shorts their investment , making money if it loses value.

    >> you see a problem in the context of market making that is not a conflict?

    >> reporter: goldman 's chief financial officer was asked about employees' privately calling their investments junk while they pushed clients to buy.

    >> when you hear your own employees or read about those in e-mails, do you feel anything?

    >> i think that's very unfortunate to have on e-mail.

    >> are you embarrass --

    >> and very unfortunate --

    >> on e-mails? how about feeling that way?

    >> i think it is very unfortunate for anyone to have said that.

    >> reporter: for one witness, 31-year-old fabrice tourre, there's been a lot of media attention on boastful personal e-mails he wrote on the company account.

    >> i regret, you know, these e-mails. they reflect very bad on the firm and on myself. i wish i hadn't sent those.

    >> reporter: a wish he probably repeated when a taunting crowd and media swirl followed him out the door after his testimony.

    >> you have no shame!

    >> reporter: this whole investigation is about unraveling causes of the financial collapse. executives acknowledge the far-reaching hardships and that their business bounced back with a return to bonuses.

    >> your bonus was?

    >> um -- um about $9 million.

    >> reporter: senators said goldman was not the only wall street firm that conducted business this way and goldman says it does support some of the ideas congress is talking about to change regulations involving financial institutions . now so far, democrats have tried twice and have not had enough votes to bring their bill forward. they'll try a third time today on negotiations to bring along some republicans making changes to the bill they're talking about right now continue. so financial regulatory reform is really the backdrop for that main event in the hearing yesterday. matt?

    >> kelly o'donnell on capitol hill this morning, kelly , thanks so much. senator carl levin , a

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