For Republicans, the WikiLeaks October surprise is the gift that keeps on not giving. New documents that are reputedly Hillary Clinton private speeches and campaign emails were released late on Friday, and it is becoming increasingly questionable whether Julian Assange and WikiLeaks really have anything at all on Clinton.
The “surprise” in these documents that WikiLeaks and Assange saw fit to release – with slightly less fanfare this time – is that there is once again no surprise. As it turns out, there’s nothing here that we haven’t all heard before.
It was only four days ago on the morning of October 4 that the breathlessly anticipated – by Republican conspiracy theorists at least – news conference featuring Julian Assange on a big screen TV in Berlin epically failed to reveal anything damaging about Hillary Clinton. The disappointment in the Trump campaign and the Republican Party was literally audible.
As some had anticipated long before the event, the WikiLeaks October surprise earlier this week turned out to be more smoke than fire. For fans of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and opponents of Hillary Clinton, the latest documents the organization has “released” are equally unsatisfying.
It should be noted that the documents themselves have not been confirmed to be genuine. Like the previous pre-October releases, it’s impossible to be sure that some of them haven’t been fabricated – either by WikiLeaks itself or by those who supplied the documents. The Russians – for instance – are quite skilled at such things.
On the other hand, if the WikiLeaks Russian compatriots were going to create fake Hillary Clinton October surprise documents to bring down the Clinton campaign, one would think they could create something a lot more damning than this. Perhaps, as suggested by the Clinton campaign and reported by the AP, the Russians simply stole them.
“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.”
But for the moment assuming that the latest WikiLeaks documents are in fact genuine representations of Hillary Clinton campaign emails and private Clinton speeches, just how much of an October surprise are they? As it turns out, not very.
The internal emails from the Clinton campaign – again assuming that’s what they are – purport to show the inner thoughts of Clinton campaign operative John Podesta during the early stages of the campaign’s formation and the later Democratic primaries.
In a nutshell, the October 7 release of the Podesta emails reveal that the Hillary Clinton campaign was concerned about the political ramifications of her ties to banks, the rising Bernie Sanders campaign, and the wisdom of holding a 2014 Clinton foundation event connected with Goldman Sachs. But none of this is the smoking gun Republicans were salivating for.
We already knew that Hillary Clinton had made speeches to banks. We knew her campaign was concerned about Bernie Sanders. And we knew that questions had been raised by the Republican far right about the Clinton Foundation.
Of course, when it comes to the two presidential candidates’ respective foundations, it’s Donald Trump who’s actually facing potential charges for his so-called “charitable” activities. In his case, there seems to be at least as much fire as smoke.
As reported by CNN, when it comes to the supposed Hillary Clinton speeches to banking executives, these too aren’t exactly earth shattering October surprises. If these documents are real, they do little more than confirm the fact that when Hillary Clinton was speaking to bankers she said nice things to them.
But as even the documents themselves confirm, Hillary Clinton still wanted stronger regulations rather than weaker ones for the United States banking industry. Not exactly the position of someone who had sold her soul to the banking industry. These documents also confirmed that – at the time – Hillary Clinton was a proponent of free trade and free trade pacts. But we also knew this.
The ongoing dribble of dull and fairly unconvincing documents by WikiLeaks – as well as their long news conferences in which they pat themselves on their back but tell us nothing – is actually starting to become a bit embarrassing for those desperate to bring down the Clinton campaign. If this is the best October surprise they can come up with, Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]