Clinton's Apparent Call for 'Open Borders' on Trade Draws Scrutiny From Right and Left

Progressive Democratic group says leak increases pressure on Clinton on trade.

ByABC News
October 8, 2016, 5:25 PM

— -- Hillary Clinton is facing new scrutiny from both the political left and right this weekend after leaked emails from her campaign appear to reveal some of what she said behind closed doors to Wall Street firms.

In one of more than 2,000 emails posted Friday night on the hacking website Wikileaks, Clinton’s research director Tony Carrk appeared to write to top campaign officials about Clinton’s now infamous paid speeches, saying, “Attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches.” The email goes on to include several text excerpts with dates and times. In this batch, Clinton makes sweeping statements about two areas that have consistently been an issue for her in this campaign: Wall Street reform and trade.

According to one of the leaked emails, Clinton told Banco Itau in 2013, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders … I think we have to have a concerted plan to increase trade already under the current circumstances.”

The speech excerpt goes on: “There is so much more we can do, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit, but businesses on both sides have to make it a priority, and it's not for governments to do but governments can either make it easy or make it hard and we have to resist protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access, and to trade, and I would like to see this get much more attention.”

Clinton has faced serious skepticism from progressives throughout this campaign over her evolving and sometimes elusive stance on trade, specifically her flip-flopping on President Obama’s proposed transpacific partnership trade deal by initially showing and then withdrawing support for the plan.

Republicans pounced on the leaked comments, tagging Clinton in a statement for believing in “open borders.”

“The truth that has been exposed here is that the persona Hillary Clinton has adopted for her campaign is a complete and utter fraud. How can Bernie Sanders and many like-minded Democrats continue to support her candidacy in light of these revelations?” the statement from the Republican National Committee read.

Responding to the new revelations, Adam Green co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, wrote to ABC News, “Concerns about Wall Street and trade existed before the primary and increased the burden on Clinton to call for breaking up Too Big To Fail banks, jailing bankers who broke the law, and opposing TPP -- all of which she 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, Attorney General, and U.S. Trade Representative who have a proven track record of challenging corporate power.”

During the primary, Clinton conceded to pressure from the progressives and came out against the TPP. Still many labor, union, and left-leaning grassroots organizations have continue to apply pressure on the Democratic nominee on the issue and urged her to denounce any possibility of a vote on the deal in a lame duck session.

A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to confirm the authenticity of the leaked documents, suggesting that they could have been altered prior to their release by WikiLeaks and referring to U.S. intelligence services' on Friday publicly accusing Russia of being behind recent hacking against U.S. political institutions and interfering with U.S. elections.

“Earlier today the U.S. government removed any reasonable doubt that the Kremlin has weaponized WikiLeaks to meddle in our election and benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy," Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said. "We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton. Guccifer 2.0 has already proven the warnings of top national security officials that documents can be faked as part of a sophisticated Russian misinformation campaign."

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