Newly leaked emails show the political calculations that went into Hillary Clinton's decision to back away from supporting the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal aides privately conceded she would "ultimately" support.
The deliberations were revealed in hacked emails purportedly from Campaign Chairman John Podesta's account that WikiLeaks has published.
In one March 25, 2015, message shortly before Clinton entered the race, senior speechwriter Dan Schwerin sent senior staff, including Podesta and communications director Jennifer Palmieri, a draft letter on trade.
“This draft assumes that she's ultimately going to support both TPA and TPP. It focuses on what needs to happen to produce a positive result with TPP, and casts support for [Trade Promotion Authority] as one of those steps,” he wrote.
At the time of the emails, Congress was preparing for a heated debate on what's known as trade promotion authority (TPA), which would give the White House power to fast-track deals like the TPP. However, Clinton primary foe Bernie Sanders was an ardent opponent of the Pacific nation trade pact, arguing it's bad for workers.
At the time, Clinton found herself in an awkward spot, having been a past supporter, as some union figures spoke out against the deal. In a November 2012 speech in Australia, Clinton infamously proclaimed that TPP “sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade.” The statement dogged Clinton throughout the primary campaign, and Republican Donald Trump since has repeatedly used it in debates and on the campaign trail.