WASHINGTON — Tim Kaine struggled to explain a position Hillary Clinton apparently took in a 2013 paid speech to a Brazilian bank that was uncovered in a new WikiLeaks hack over the weekend.
Clinton’s comments — she apparently told an audience that her “dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” — are at odds with statements she has made on the campaign trail in which she has called for more restrictive trade policies in order to protect American workers.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that aired Sunday on “State of the Union,” Tapper asked Kaine if his running mate really desires “a hemispheric common market with open borders sometime in the future,” as was written in a transcript of a 2013 closed-door speech she apparently gave to Brazilian bankers that was included in one of the hacked emails.
WikiLeaks is alleged to have ties to Russia. The group posted more than 2,000 emails from campaign chairman John Podesta and promises to post more from the over 50,000 the group says it can access.
Clinton’s Democratic primary challenger, Bernie Sanders, made the release of Clinton’s paid speech transcripts a major point of criticism during his campaign, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Friday the documents exposed Clinton as a “fraud.”
The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the documents but has not disputed the contents.
“I have no way of knowing the accuracy of documents dumped by this hacking organization,” Kaine told Tapper. “Anybody who hacks in to get documents is completely capable of manipulating them.”
Kaine then explained Clinton’s current policy stance on trade, saying it focuses on three criteria: “Do they increase American jobs, do they increase American wages, and are they good for national security?”
But when Tapper pressed Kaine on whether the passage on “open borders and free trade,” was what she told Brazilian bankers, Kaine deflected by saying, “I have no way of knowing that.”
“Well, you could ask her,” Tapper replied.
Kaine said: “Jake, I have no way of knowing the accuracy of documents dumped by this hacking organization.”
Tapper said: “That’s fair. Is the document, then, is it accurate?”
“I have no way of knowing that,” Kaine said.
Tapper concluded by asking Kaine if a Clinton-Kaine administration would push for open borders, to which Kaine responded by saying the ticket supports “comprehensive immigration reform,” explaining that they favor a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.