Clinton’s Goldman Sachs transcripts show blunt assessment of US politics

The long sought-after transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs were finally released on Saturday by WikiLeaks, obtained through a breech of campaign chairman John Podesta’s email account which has now yielded over 12,000 emails from the longtime Clinton associate.

In 2013, having just left the State Department, Clinton made three paid appearances at Goldman Sachs events in Arizona, New York and South Carolina. The transcripts just released show Clinton’s remarks from question-and-answer sessions with the investment bank’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and investment management head, Tim O’Neill.

During the Democratic primary campaign, Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called on the former Secretary to make the speeches public, intimating that Clinton was advocating different positions on Wall Street and financial regulation behind closed doors and in public in her nomination campaign.

Clinton received $675,000 for the three Goldman Sachs appearances in 2013 and made a total of nearly $3 million over the past three years for 12 speeches to U.S., Canadian and German banks, according to public records.

Most notably, the transcripts show Clinton commenting on the Dodd-Frank bill, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010, which implemented regulatory reform on U.S. financial institutions.

“There was also a need to do something [about financial reform] because for political reasons, if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it’s all the fault of Wall Street, you can’t sit idly by and do nothing,” Clinton said in October 2013.

On regulation, Clinton continued that “more thought has to be given to the process and transactions and regulations so that we don’t kill or maim what works, but we concentrate on the most effective way of moving forward with the brainpower and the financial power that exists here.”

The former First Lady also had interesting things to tell Goldman Sachs about U.S. involvement in Syria, previous WikiLeaks exposés of Democratic ambassador communications, the American media, Russia and the 2016 presidential race.

In regards to the Syrian civil war, Clinton said she wanted the U.S. to intervene “covertly as is possible . . . We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves,” she continued. “They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters . . . Look what we’re doing and I want credit for it, and all the rest of it.”

On WikiLeaks exposing U.S. ambassador messages critical of foreign leaders, the former Secretary spoke half jokingly of having to embark on a “Clinton apology tour.”

“It was painful,” she said. “Leaders who shall remain nameless, who were characterized as vain, egotistical, power hungry, corrupt. And we knew they were. This was not fiction. . . . I had grown men cry. I mean, literally.”

Often accused of benefiting from a biased media, Clinton was critical, saying that the pundits are “attention deficit disordered” and the “political press has just been captured by trivia.”

In that same vein, Clinton previewed the 2016 presidential campaign for Goldman Sachs nearly three years before it commenced, imploring that the election “cannot be about personalities, participants sniping, all of the irrelevant stuff.”

Unfortunately for the American electorate, the presidential election campaign has turned into anything but a serious policy debate between the candidates. Despite the mud-slinging, which was not expected to favor Clinton, the Democratic nominee still finds herself leading in nearly every national and swing-state poll and is within the margin of error in traditionally Republican Arizona.

 

[CNN] [Zero Hedge] [Reuters] [NBC News] [RealClear Politics] [Salon] [The Intercept] [Photo courtesy Reuters/David Becker]