WikiLeaks emails embarrass Clinton campaign
WikiLeaks released a trove of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign this week, including embarrassing and politically damaging excerpts from transcripts of the lucrative, closed-door speeches she gave to Wall Street firms after leaving the State Department. One email from January, taken from the personal account of campaign chairman John Podesta, shows a staffer flagging speech ex cerpts that could hurt Clinton in her Democratic primary battle with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who accused Clinton of being too close to Wall Street. In a 2013 address to a Brazilian bank, Clinton said her “dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” That year at Goldman Sachs, she said that financial reform “really has to come from the industry itself,” and in another speech, argued that politicians need a “public and a private position.” The hacked emails also showed Chelsea Clinton expressing “serious concerns” about the blurring of lines between her family’s foundation and the consulting company of a longtime Bill Clinton aide, Doug Band. Other messages revealed the campaign’s coziness with reporters at The New York Times, CNBC, The Boston Globe, and other outlets.
The WikiLeaks dump came just hours after the Obama administration formally accused Russia of trying to influence the 2016 election by stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and prominent individuals. Podesta accused Moscow of also being behind the latest hack and claimed that longtime Donald Trump aide Roger Stone had received advance warning of the leak, noting that Stone had tweeted in August that it would soon be “Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Stone called the accusation a “vile smear.”
What the editorials said
Now we know why Clinton never released these transcripts: they would have cost her the nomination, said The Wall Street Journal. But while Sanders’ progressive supporters might argue that the leaks show Clinton to be a Wall Street crony, our guess is that she was actually conning the bankers, angling for campaign contributions and earning her $200,000-plus speaking fees. “When a presidential candidate says in public that she wants to punish banks with more regulation but in private says she really likes them, believe the public comments.”
What’s most worrying is how Trump has shrugged off Moscow’s hacks, said The Washington Post.He is receiving classified intelligence briefings, so is aware of the evidence pointing to Russia. Yet he consistently claims that nobody really knows who’s responsible, and insists he’d like to “get along” with President Vladimir Putin. Does he propose this collaboration out of ignorance or because of undisclosed business interests? “Putin surely knows the answer to that question—but U.S. voters do not.”
What the columnists said
The emails reinforce conservatives’ and leftists’ “worst presumptions” about Clinton, said Ben Wolfgang in The Washington Times. Her “dream of open borders” suggests she isn’t committed to homeland security; her Wall Street doublespeak exposes her as a hypocrite. It was risky to give closed-door speeches to big banks, “an object of scorn” for many Americans, said Eric Levitz in NYMag.com. Fortunately for Clinton, this story broke just as Trump was caught bragging about groping women. “If her opponent weren’t a sexual predator,” the leaks “would be devastating.”
But Clinton is right that politicians “need a public and a private position,” said Matthew Yglesias in Vox.com. Just look at the example she used in a speech: President Lincoln’s backroom machinations to pass the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery. Broadcasting negotiations in public, especially in our polarized environment, promotes posturing and “is antithetical to compromise.” Clinton’s speeches show she can operate within the system, and isn’t a fantasy candidate who’s going to “clean up the mess in Washington.”
Should we rely on WikiLeaks as a source? asked Andrew McCarthy in NationalReview.com. If the information is authentic, we are obligated to consider it. But by promoting this material, “we are encouraging more rogue behavior, consciously or not.” Our best defense is to encrypt every form of private and government digital communication. We have to shut the back doors that Putin’s intelligence services use to steal and publish important information, “even if that means it is lost to election campaigns and high-stakes public debates.”
It wasn’t all bad
■ A California teenager’s commute just got a lot easier, thanks to a kindhearted cop. Since his car broke down in July, Jourdan Duncan, 18, has had to walk to and from his job at a packaging line—2½ hours each way. Officer Kirk Keffer recently spotted Duncan walking home and stopped to talk to the teen. Impressed by his work ethic, Keffer gave Duncan a lift home and a few days later presented him with a mountain bike that he and his colleagues had bought. “There’s not a lot of 18-year-olds out there that have this dedication,” said Keffer.
■Five years ago, Turia Pitt was told by doctors that she’d never race again. The Australian mining engineer and fitness fanatic had been caught in a bushfire during an outback ultramarathon and suffered horrific burns to 65 percent of her body. She spent 864 days in the hospital, lost the use of seven of her fingers, and underwent more than 200 operations. But Pitt started race training again as soon as she could and last week completed the prestigious Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles in 14 hours 37 minutes 30 seconds. After the race, Pitt said she felt “really bloody proud.”
■ The world’s oldest man has finally celebrated his bar mitzvah, 100 years late. Born in Poland in 1903, Israel Kristal missed his Jewish coming-of-age ceremony because he turned 13 when World War I was raging. After his 113th birthday earlier this year, he was recognized as the world’s oldest man by Guinness World Records, and the Auschwitz survivor’s family decided it was time to hold his long-overdue bar mitvah. On the big day, his children, grandchildren and nearly 30 great- grandchildren gathered at his home in Israel. “Every one sang and danced around him,” said his daughter Shulamith, “He was very happy.”