Clinton Says She'll Release Her Speech Transcripts 'If Everybody Agrees to Do It'

By Susan Jones | April 15, 2016 | 6:43am EDT
Hillary Clinton speaks at the CNN Democrats' debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(CNSNews.com) - Democrat Hillary Clinton says "there isn't an issue" with her accepting a total of $675,000 for three speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs employees after her stint as secretary of state and before she announced her run for the presidency.

At the Democrat debate Thursday night, Clinton drew boos when she defended her decision not to release the transcript of those speeches.

"If everybody agrees to do it -- because there are speeches for money on the other side. I know that," Clinton said.

She also equated the release of her speech transcripts with the release of Donald Trump's and Bernie Sanders' tax returns.

It was one of many heated exchanges at the CNN-hosted debate in Brooklyn.

Here's the transcript of the exchange.

CNN moderator Dana Bash: Secretary Clinton, if I may, Senator Sanders keeping bringing up the speeches that you gave to Goldman Sachs. So I'd like to ask you, so you've said that you don't want to release the transcripts, until everybody does it, but if there's nothing in those speeches that you think would change voters' minds, why not just release the transcripts and put this whole issue to bed?

Clinton: You know, first of all -- first of all, there isn't an issue. When I was in public service serving as the senator from New York, I did stand up to the banks. I did make it clear that their behavior would not be excused.

I'm the only one on this stage who did not vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives, as Senator Sanders did, which led to a lot of the problems that we had with Lehman Brothers.

Now, if you're going to look at the problems that actually caused the Great Recession, you've got to look at the whole picture. It was a giant insurance company, AIG. It was an investment bank, Lehman Brothers. It was mortgage companies like Countrywide.

I'm not saying that Senator Sanders did something untoward when he voted to deregulate swaps and derivatives--

Bash: Madam Secretary...

Clinton: ... but the fact is he did. And that contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and started the cascade--

Bash: Senator Sanders, one second, please. Secretary Clinton, the question was about the transcripts of the speeches to Goldman Sachs. Why not release them?

Clinton: I have said, look, there are certain -- there are certain expectations when you run for president. This is a new one. And I've said, if everybody agrees to do it -- because there are speeches for money on the other side. I know that.

But I will tell you this, there is -- there is a long-standing expectation that everybody running release their tax returns, and you can go -- you can go to my website and see eight years of tax returns. And I've released 30 years of tax returns. And I think every candidate, including Senator Sanders and Donald Trump, should do the same.

Bash: Secretary Clinton, we're going to get to the tax returns later, but just to put a button on this, you're running now for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton: Right.

Bash: And it is your Democratic opponent and many Democratic voters who want to see those transcripts. It's not about the Republicans--

(Cross-talk)

Clinton: You know, let's set the same standard for everybody. When everybody does it, OK, I will do it, but let's set and expect the same standard on tax returns. Everybody does it, and then we move forward.

Sanders: Well, let me respond. Secretary Clinton, you just heard her, everybody else does it, she'll do it. I will do it. I am going to release all of the transcripts of the speeches that I gave on Wall Street behind closed doors, not for $225,000, not for $2,000, not for two cents. There were no speeches.

(Sanders said he will release his 2014 tax returns on Friday. The other ones, for prior years, are coming, he promised, saying "they are very boring.")

At another point in the debate, Clinton  insisted that she "stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a senator. I called them out on their mortgage behavior. I also was very willing to speak out against some of the special privileges they had under the tax code."

Sanders replied sarcastically:  "Secretary Clinton called them (the banks) out. Oh my goodness, they must have been really crushed by this. And was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements? So they must have been very, very upset by what you did."

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