Hillary Clinton on Why She Gave Those Goldman Sachs Speeches: ‘They Paid Me’

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Paid. Photo: Recode

If you spent any portion of 2016 wondering why Hillary Clinton would have given paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, raking in $675,000 in the process, she finally provided an answer Wednesday. At Recode’s CodeCon, tech journalist and Recode co-founder Walt Mossberg asked Clinton why.

Seemingly annoyed, Clinton gestured to the crowd and asked, “Why do you have Goldman Sachs here?”

Kara Swisher, the other co-founder of Recode said, “They pay us.”

“They paid me,” Clinton shot back.

She didn’t end it there though. Clinton defended her speeches to the investment bank, citing speeches to a “wide range of groups,” and she defended the bank itself. “I was a Senator from New York and I knew what they did for the economy, and I knew what they did to the economy.”

Then she dug a little deeper to answer Mossberg’s question, saying that she just didn’t think the speeches would matter in the face of everything she’d done to stand up to Wall Street before. “I never thought that anybody would throw out my entire career of standing up and speaking out and voting against and voting in favor of what I thought were good policies, because I made a couple of speeches,” she said.

Clinton touched on a handful of other election-related issues in the talk, including:

Russian hacking. She said the Russians “could not have known how best to weaponize” John Podesta’s hacked emails without being “guided” by American partners. Though she stopped short of saying the Trump campaign did the guiding, she did say the issue should be investigated to find out “how did they know what messages to deliver? Who told them? Who were they coordinating with, and colluding with?”

Her private email server. Clinton said the media covered the investigation into her private email server “like it was Pearl Harbor.” The entire scandal was “the biggest nothing-burger ever,” she added.

Right-wing media control. Clinton said Democrats must get better at promoting their victories, and cited the GOP’s success with Fox News and Sinclair Broadcast Group, two companies with a cohesive pro-Republican message. She then told the story, first reported by New York, of a Sinclair-owned Montana NBC affiliate that refused to cover the Greg Gianforte body-slam story. Her point? That the Democrats need to find wealthy media moguls “who will compete against what is a considerable advantage on the other side.”

The DNC. The Democratic National Committee gave Clinton nothing after she won the nomination, she said, adding the party’s deficient data operation to the list of reasons why she lost last year’s election. “I inherited nothing from the Democratic Party,” Clinton said. “I mean, it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

Her political future. Asked if she plans to run for president again, Clinton issued a clear, “No.” But she added, “I’m not going anywhere. I have a big stake on what happens in this country.”

Hillary on Why She Gave Goldman Speeches: ‘They Paid Me’