Alexis Simendinger: Clinton Casting Herself As A Victim Of The Russians To Sidestep WikiLeaks Revelations


RCP reporter Alexis Simendinger joins guest host Amy Walter on 'Washington Week' on PBS to discuss the impact WikiLeaks is having on Hillary Clinton's candidacy, and the impact it would have had if this was any other election.

ALEXIS SIMENDINGER, RCP: If we had been in any other kind of election cycle, we would be talking about this in a much more vigorous and intensive way.

Let's put aside the Russian complicity in the hacking and all of that separately, but what we've discovered is supposed to be 50,000 total, and they're coming out with my Cheerios every morning, and we're up to 10,000. We're all reading through them and trying to figure them out. What we've discovered as journalists trying to go through them is that there was a lot of discussion --these go back years.

It goes back forever, John Podesta has been with the Clintons for a long time, he is chairman of her campaign, he is the creator of the Center for American [Progress], and he has been with the Clintons for a long time. But what is interesting is that inside the campaign, they have been worried about a lot of things that have been in her 'basket of woes.'

That includes her speeches... to Wall Street banks. Segments of those speeches, the transcripts of which she would not release, are in and dicussed [in the emails] by the campaign. So we're able to read her anxiety going back and forth about some of those things that she said.

For instance, like she had a "dream," her dream image would be a hemispheric open borders policy, with free trade as wonderful.

Or her discussion about regulations: She's much more disposed to have a lighter hand on regulations on her Wall Street friends. That kind of thing is embarassing.

We know there is a lot of discussion about her rapid-fire flip-flop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and her email anxiety.

You could say it is embarrassing in that we all learned what it is like to look inside a campaign and see them get mad at each other about who is leaking, there is finger-pointing. But it is withering in terms of the one accusation that was made at the St. Louis debate, when she was asked directly: Is it right to have a public answer and a private view? Is that right for a politician to do. That is a charge that Donald Trump has made that has undercut the trust in her as a politician...

One of the things that the Trump campaign was trying to do was to try to drip them out. One discussion inside the campaign. Remember, these are not her emails where sheis talking, it is her campaign staff. One was how they were referring to Catholics, so they were trying to use this as a way to irritate Catholic conservatives that there was this denigrating kind of talk.

But because Donald Trump himself has blown up in every other kind of controversy, it is less of an issue for her. But we have one more debate...

AMY WALTER: She's been able to ignore this because we have talked about Donald Trump. How does she talk about this in the debate when she is directly asked about what went on in these emails?

SIMENDINGER: What we get back to is the Russians. Since the convention, the campaign has been talking about the Russians' desire to override the will of the American people, and that the Russians want Donald Trump to be president, and this is massive intereference in the American election to keep her from the presidency.

She is making herself a victim of Russian interference, and kind of sidestepping around what she did as a political candidate who couldn’t figure out how to apologize for her emails, and did a flip-flop on trade, and, you know, all the things politicians do.

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