From top: David McWilliams interviewing CEO of Clear Ink Margaret Ward; economist Jeffrey Sachs on TV3’s Agenda; Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
On Sunday morning.
On TV3’s Agenda, hosted by David McWilliams.
Mr McWilliams first interviewed Margaret Ward, CEO of Clear Ink, a communications agency, founder of Women on Air, and member of the RTE Board, before interviewing economist Jeffrey Sachs, who was also presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser during his bid to get on the Democratic ticket.
From the interviews…
David McWilliams: “Hillary Clinton was meant to be home and dry by now but the FBI announcement that on Friday that they would be launching a new investigation into her use of a private email server has turned this election, yet again. Joining me to discuss what this means for the election which was always tight, and now looks to be tighter still, is journalist Margaret E Ward who also sits on the RTE board. Now Margaret, looking at the headlines – Sunday Times: Hillary at war with the FBI. The Indo here: Clinton’s campaign in chaos. What does it all mean?”
Margaret Ward: Well, it’s almost unprecedented, actually, what’s happened. So 11 days before the election, the FBI director [James] Comey came out and said that they’ve discovered some new emails, even though the Hillary Clinton email scandal investigation had been closed and although she was found to be extremely careless, that she was not found to have done anything wrong. So, he did this against his superiors in the Department of Justice who said it is tradition that we do not interfere and make any announcements 60 days before an American election because it might be seen as political interference…11 days, and now it’s 11 days. So, he’s kind of gone rogue here a little bit, we have to question why, especially because the FBI doesn’t even have a warrant for the contents of the email. He doesn’t even know what’s in it?”
McWilliams: “So, are you seeing a Trump-esque conspiracy? Cause normally, it’s Trump who talks about conspiracies.”
Ward: “It’s very strange because he was asked, you know, ‘why are you doing this now?’ and he said, ‘well, I’m afraid that something would leak’. But I mean all we know is that Anthony Weiner who was married to Hillary Clinton’s advisor Huma Adedin. These were emails found on his email server, on his email account, that’s all we know. We don’t know what’s in them so it’s very, very strange – you have to question what’s going on.”
McWilliams: “So, in terms of the next 11 days, what does it mean. I mean the papers are saying Clinton, not in freefall, but her lead was 7%, it’s now 2% and that’s before this.”
Ward: “Well I mean it’s scary. Any scenario that shows Trump ending up in the White House is terrifying frankly, you know, I mean there’s just for so many reasons, both domestically and internationally, we’re all in big trouble if somebody like Donald Trump goes into the White House.”
McWilliams: “Trump has been exposed and exposed and exposed and exposed, you know, we all know that. But, to a degree, Clinton has maybe given a slightly easier ride? Would you think? Because people are so against Trump.”
Ward: “An easier ride? She’s been attacked by the Republican party for the past 20 to 30 years. I mean this has been a concerted attack, talking about her emails, talking about her Benghazi, talking about Libya, everything that’s been shown to have no basis in fact whatsoever. She’s probably been the most investigated candidate in American history, as well as being the most highly qualified to be president. So you really have to wonder what’s going on here.”
Following on from his interview with Ms Ward, Mr McWilliams broadcast a pre-recorded interview he conducted with economist Jeffrey Sachs.
While introducing the interview, Mr McWilliams outlined the following:
“Because the media, in general, has been so anti-Trump, the darker side of Hillary Clinton has not been aired as would be typical in a presidential campaign. Until this weekend’s revelations, she has got a pretty easy ride. The Trump campaign has repeatedly tried to paint her as a career politician who is not only corrupt but far too close to Wall Street. And, indeed, these ties run deep. In 2013, she was paid $675,000 to make just three speeches for Goldman Sachs – the contents of which were revealed by Wikileaks, including an admission by Clinton that ‘you’, and I quote here, ‘need to have a public and private position on policy‘ and, this year, her top three donors in her campaign were all incredibly rich hedge funds.”
He then played the interview:
Jeffrey Sachs: “There are a lot of worries. The Clintons relationship with Wall Street is well known and a matter of big concern. The Clintons support, over the years, for the various wards that have been disastrous for the United States and for the world – in Iraq and Syria, in Libya. Big concern. And so, while right now there is a kind of feeling among the democrats, that don’t talk about any of these issues really, I know, as a fact and for good reason, that the day after the election, politics is really going to start. Because are we going to have a progressive administration, which I think we urgently need in the United States that Bernie Sanders represented or will we have what, you know, the very wealthy people around Hillary want – which is a kind of continuation of the status quo that is so unequal right now, that it gave birth, in essence, to Donald Trump. Everybody has put aside the debates on Hillary, say Bernie Sanders campaigning for Hillary Clinton everyday right now but what is he saying: he’s saying ‘I’m campaigning because we must defeat Donald Trump’.”
McWilliams: “And then?”
Sachs: “And then, as soon as the election is over, I think we’re really going to go after politics. Now, it’s always possible, I would be absolutely thrilled to be surprised and to be pleasantly surprised that Hillary Clinton surrounds herself with the progressive thinkers who want change who want to try and bring change about but I know people around her and they’re not supporting her, the powerful voices, many of them are not supporting her on that basis – they’re supporting her on the basis of…”
McWilliams: “On keeping…”
Sachs: “This would be a status quo government or, on foreign policy, even a more hawkish…”
McWilliams: “I’m going to go to foreign policy in a minute but I think it’s very important that we elucidate this Clinton/Wall Street connection.”
Sachs: “Absolutely. Bill Clinton made an alliance with Wall Street and it’s even personified by Robert Rubin.”
McWilliams: “Whose Treasury secretary..”
Sachs: “Robert Rubin, of course, Treasury secretary, under Clinton, but before that, he came straight from Goldman Sachs – not my side, part of the family – but came from this major investment bank. Bill Clinton brought the investment banking world, this rich and not very honest world, into the Democratic party, into power. And in 1998 and 1999, engineered the deregulation of the financial markets – especially the end of Glass-Steagall…”
McWilliams: “That was almost payback time. Wall Street expects something. If you go to bed with them, you have deliver something..”
Sachs: “And I think, by then, the schmooze factor was so strong that it wasn’t a reluctance on Clinton’s part, it was this is the natural bonne amie – these are our friends. Our friends are Wall Street. And the Walls Street/Democratic party connection became very powerful. I remember when President Obama was a candidate, Obama, in 2008. And I got a call from a senior campaign official after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, and the explosion and crisis, I said ‘don’t sit down with Wall Street right now’. And the next day, there was Obama, candidate, with Robert Rubin – because that was an alliance and when you look at who populated the Obama White House, almost everybody was an acolyte of Robert Rubin or an associate of Robert Rubin. So, where does Hillary Clinton stand? I think by family tradition, by campaign financing, she’s exactly in the Bill Clinton line. Inequality has risen so much in the United States. Wall Street played so many games – they have paid tens of billions of dollars in fines. Of course, for them, it’s a little slap on the wrist, it’s not even the money of these big honchos around them, it’s the shareholders’ money, it’s not even the CEO funding. And that’s her crowd. Her crowd is, by nature, that alliance with Wall Street but it can’t go on this way. If it does, she will break the party as soon as she becomes president – there will be…”
McWilliams: “And there will be a left coming up, under a Sanders-type?”
Sachs: “There will be with Elizabeth Warren, with Bernie Sanders and with many, many democrats. Either a faction that is overt opposition to a president Hillary Clinton or even the emergence of a new party which I think is absolutely possible now as well.”
McWilliams: “In foreign policy, are you worried about Hillary Clinton?”
Sachs: “Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War and when she was Secretary of State, under Obama, she was constantly a voice for military approaches. She was a, the voice which convinced a reluctant president and an absolutely opposed Secretary of Defence that the US should go into the Libya misadventure, basically to topple Muammar Gaddafi and it left a disaster which has contributed to Europe’s refugee crisis, and a lot more. She was a major voice in Syria, for scaling up, for no fly-zones. Her rhetoric is, she’s been a major voice I should add in one more important thing that’s also poorly understood and that is that one of the tripwires that regenerated the Cold War with Russia was a 2008 invitation by Nato to Ukraine and Georgia – that they should apply for membership. Anybody that knows Russian history should have known, ‘don’t go there’. To say that Nato would go smack up against the Russian border – and not only in Ukraine which was, for Russia, the way of invasion of forces constantly in Russia’s history, but also through the Caucasus, through Georgia, should have told people, ‘don’t do that, a little self control, please, so that we don’t provoke a reaction’. Now my view is that is is a lot of what then transpired with Putin saying, ‘I’m not going to let Sevastopol – our naval base – flip over to a Nato naval base, are you kidding? We’re not gonna lose the Black Sea’ and I think that this is a lot of what stirred the Ukraine crisis. Where was Hillary Clinton on this? Always pushing for Nato expansion and very enthusiastic about showing how strong we are and how tough we are and the rhetoric during this campaign has been, by her, has been very anti-Russia, Putin is the great evil and taunting Trump as Putin’s puppet which is absurd because Trump is just a jerk, who has a lot of money and was able to wangle the unhappiness into where he is. He’s not Putin’s puppet in this but this anti-Russian, stirring of the pot, is it a political game or is it something we’re gonna see the day after. And when you look, where are all those neo-cons that pushed us into Iraq, they’re in Hillary’s corner right now. Doesn’t mean she’s with them but they’re with her. And they’re all saying: we support Hillary, we can’t support Trump and we don’t know where this is gonna come down.”
Watch back in full here