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Leaked Emails Appear to Reveal Contents of Clinton's Wall Street Speeches

The emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's gmail account, which were released on WikiLeaks, could give Trump fresh ammunition.
Image: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton departs a campaign finance event in New York
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton departs a campaign finance event in New York, New York, U.S. October 6, 2016.BRIAN SNYDER / Reuters

Hillary Clinton apparently told a group of Latin American bankers in 2013 that she envisions a "hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders," according to purportedly hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta released Friday by WikiLeaks.

The Clinton campaign said Friday they "are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents," though Podesta acknowledged on Twitter that he had been hacked. However, he suggested some emails may be "faked," echoing a claim Democrats made about previous disclosures of hacked emails by WikiLeaks, the transparency organization.

The Obama administration on Friday for the first time squarely blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for a wave of hacking attacks and email leaks, saying in a statement that the goal was "to interfere with the U.S. election process." A spokesman for Putin denied the allegations.

Related: U.S. Publicly Blames Russian Government for Hacks

Clinton campaign spokesperson Glen Caplin said the announcement "removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy.”

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange used to host a show on RT, the state-funded Russian media network. And while various Democratic groups have seen hacked emails released publicly, so far no major organizations supporting Trump appears to have been targeted.

Podesta’s emails, from his personal gmail account, appear to contain partial transcripts of numerous paid speeches that Clinton gave to financial institutions and other groups before running for president.

Most of the excerpts come from a January email sent by Clinton's research director, Tony Carrk, to top campaign aides, which laid out potential political vulnerabilities if the transcripts were made public. "There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub," he wrote.

Indeed, their release contains quotes likely to create new headaches for Clinton on both her left and right flanks just ahead of Sunday’s second presidential debate.

In several speeches, many of them to Wall Street banks, Clinton said it was an "oversimplification" to blame the banking system for all of the 2008 global financial meltdown, and suggested the solution could come from "the people that know the industry better than anybody...the people who work in the industry."

And in an interview with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in 2013, Clinton approvingly invoked Bob Rubin, the former Treasury Secretary loathed on the left, to say that "part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives."

Former primary opponent Bernie Sanders repeatedly called on Clinton to release the transcripts of her paid speeches, suggesting they would show she had been friendlier to banks behind closed doors than she was on the campaign stump in a Democratic primary.

Clinton said in a debate that she would "certainly look into" releasing the transcripts, but ultimately never did.

"If anything, this increases the burden on her to keep the volume high on her strong campaign promises and to appoint people for positions like Treasury Secretary and Attorney General who have a proven track record of challenging corporate power," said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in response to the leaks.

Meanwhile, her comments to the former Brazilian bank Banco Itau in June of 2013 will likely play directly into Donald Trump’s hands.

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere," Clinton told bank employees, expressing a dream for which there is no record of her expressing in private or public before or since.

In the same speech, she also said single-payer health care systems, like those in "Scandinavia, Canada" "can get costs down" while also providing healthcare that is as "good or better" than the American system, though she added that it comes with the tradeoff of "things like waiting times" for procedures.

In another speech, Clinton says terrorism is "not a threat to us as a nation," before clarifying that she means "it is not going to endanger our economy or our society, but it is a real threat," according to the documents.

While Clinton appears to have consolidated her polling advantage in the past week, the leaks could soften support among the left-leaning millennials who favored Sanders in the primary and whom she has been desperately been trying to lock down. And after a week of nothing but bad news for Trump, the release will hand the GOP nominee new ammunition to use against his opponent in Sunday’s debate.

Related: GOP Rebukes Trump Over Lewd Remarks About Women

Meanwhile, in one 2014 speech to "Goldman-Black Rock" — presumably a joint audience of employees of the bank Goldman Sachs and hedge fund BlackRock — Clinton said she worries about the "growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged," which she said she never experienced with her "solid middle class upbringing."

"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,” she said according to the leaked documents.

And ironically, in a 2013 speech to National Multi-Housing Council, Clinton says "you need both a public and a private position" on key policies to get things done.

"It is unsavory, and it always has been that way," she said, citing historical examples of presidents cutting private deals to make major changes. "But if everybody's watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous."

Friday’s statement from the U.S. government on hacking, which according to one senior official is based on forensic analysis, marks the first explicit public accusation from Washington.

The U.S. Intelligence Community linked the Kremlin to disclosures by, WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, which have leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, among others.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the hacking charge as “nonsense,” according to the news agency Interfax, saying American cyber spies attack Russia every day, but they don’t complain about it.