Hillary Clinton's private remarks to investment bankers, lobbyists and corporate executives, disclosed in hacked emails taken from the account of one of her top aides, stand in sharp contrast to the positions she has taken during this year's U.S. political campaign.
What are said to be excerpts of closed-door speeches Clinton delivered to Wall Street audiences before she began running for president — texts that she has repeatedly refused to release — appear in emails to and from her campaign chairman, John Podesta, newly released by the whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks.
Contents of the hacked emails cannot be verified, but the Clinton campaign has not challenged most of what she is alleged to have said.
Clinton's comments appear to be at odds with the fiery message she has delivered throughout her campaign, portraying herself as a staunch advocate for middle-class Americans and a defender of their jobs.
Some of the remarks "give fresh fuel to liberals' worst fears about Clinton," The Associated Press reported Saturday, "namely that she is a political moderate happy to cut backroom deals with corporate interests and curry favor with Wall Street for campaign dollars."
In comments that her aides said could be damaging if they were made public, the former secretary of state reflected on the necessity of "unsavory" political dealing, telling real estate investors that "you need both a private and a public position" — a statement that could be seen as echoing her opponents, who have criticized Clinton for years as not being trustworthy.
To investment bankers from the Goldman Sachs Group and other prominent financial firms, Clinton said she views the financial industry as a partner with government on policy issues.
Open borders, trade
In addition to a conciliatory approach to Wall Street, Clinton pushed for open trade and open borders in one of her never-released speeches — positions contrary to the stance she has projected in recent weeks and months as she tries to gain support from the young and left-leaning voters who strongly backed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, her opponent in Democratic Party primaries and caucuses at the beginning of this year.
"This is a very clear illustration of why there is a fundamental lack of trust from progressives for Hillary," said Tobita Chow, chair of a Chicago group, the People's Lobby, that had endorsed Sanders' candidacy.
"The progressive movement needs to make a call to Secretary Clinton," Chow said, according to Reuters, "to clarify where she stands, really, on these issues. And that's got to involve very clear renunciations of the positions that are revealed in these transcripts."
WikiLeaks released the Clinton transcripts Friday, two days before the second presidential campaign debate between Clinton and her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. But they were at first overlooked in the intense news coverage of the recorded video showing Trump's unguarded comments about women.
In a 2014 speech to Goldman Sachs executives, Clinton described herself as being out of touch with middle-class American life, "kind of far removed" from her own "solid middle-class upbringing." During another meeting with Brazilian bank executives, Clinton is said to have confided that she has a "dream" of a "hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders," a position that does not resemble her more recent campaign oratory.
Priebus sounds off
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said in a statement that the emails revealed "the persona Hillary Clinton has adopted for her campaign is a complete and utter fraud."
The emails also portrayed her as bemoaning the nature of modern-day U.S. political campaigns, which require candidates to raise incredible sums of money. An email said to have been sent in January 2016 by Clinton's campaign research director included excerpts from 15 of more than 100 speeches she gave after leaving the State Department, appearances that together netted her more than $21 million.