The Propaganda Pipeline: Hacking the Core from the Periphery
(1.) Andrew Marantz, “Trolls of Trump,” New Yorker, October 31, 2016, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/trolls-for-trump.
(2.) Hannity.com Staff, “LEAKED EMAIL Appears To Link Clinton Campaign Chairman To Bizarre Occult Ritual,” Sean Hannity Show, November 4, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20161107062645/http://www.hannity.com:80/articles/election-493995/leaked-email-appears-to-link-clinton-15270858/; Sean Hannity, “LEAKED EMAIL Appears to Link Clinton Campaign Chairman to Bizarre Occult Ritual Http://Bit.ly/2f2kyXP,” Twitter post, November 4, 2016, https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/794612729852166144; Edmund Kozak, “WikiLeaks: Clinton Campaign Chair Participated in Occult Magic,” LifeZette, November 4, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20161109010216/http://www.lifezette.com:80/polizette/wikileaks-podesta-practices-occult-magic/?utm_content=buffer05465&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer; Paul Joseph Watson, “‘Spirit Cooking’: Clinton Campaign Chairman Practices Bizarre Occult Ritual,” Infowars (blog), November 4, 2016, http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/dsp/search.htm?searchFor=%22WIKI%20WICCAN%3A%20PODESTA%20PRACTICES%20OCCULT%20MAGIC%22; Douglas Ernst, “WikiLeaks: Podesta Invited to ‘Spirit’ Dinner; Host’s Known ‘recipes’ Demand Breast Milk, Sperm,” Washington Times, November 4, 2016, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/4/wikileaks-john-podesta-invited-to-spirit-dinner-ho/.
(3.) Mike Cernovich, “Podesta Emails Reveal Clinton’s Inner Circle as Sex Cult with Connections to Human Trafficking,” Danger & Play, November 3, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20161104093838/http://www.dangerandplay.com/2016/11/03/podesta-emails-reveal-clintons-inner-circle-as-sex-cult-with-connections-to-human-trafficking/.
(4.) Liam Stack, “Who Is Mike Cernovich? A Guide,” New York Times, April 5, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/us/politics/mike-cernovich-bio-who.html.
(5.) BBC Trending, “The Social Media Star Who Flipped to Trump,” BBC, October 5, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-37507542.
(6.) WikiLeaks, “The Podestas’ ‘Spirit Cooking’ dinner? It’s Not What You Think. It’s Blood, Sperm and Breastmilk. But Mostly Blood.,” Twitter post, November 4, 2016, https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/794450623404113920.
(7.) Cassandra Fairbanks, “Internet Is On Fire With Speculation That Podesta Emails Contain Code for Child Sex,” WeAreChange, November 3, 2016, https://wearechange.org/internet-fire-speculation-podesta-emails-contain-code-child-sex/.
(8.) PleadingtheYiff, “BREAKING: I Believe I Have Connected a Convicted Child Abductor Who Was Caught Stealing Children in Haiti with the Clintons,” Reddit, November 3, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5aupnh/breaking_i_believe_i_have_connected_a_convicted/.
(9.) Charley Keyes, “State Department Rebuffs Call for Clinton Intervention in Haiti Case,” February 9, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/02/09/haiti.clinton.arrests/index.html; Jill Dougherty and Lonzo Cook, “U.S. Missionaries Sent to Separate Haitian Prisons; No Ruling on Bail,” CNN, February 5, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/05/haiti.arrests/index.html.
(10.) Evens Sanon, “Haiti Prosecutors Seek 6 Months in Prison for US Woman Who Tried to Remove Kids after Quake,” Associated Press, May 13, 2010, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/13/haiti-prosecutors-seek-months-prison-woman-tried-remove-kids-quake-1947670658.html.
(11.) Andrew Anglin, “Top Right-Wing Tweeter Jared Wyand Goes Full-1488, Condemns Jews,” Daily Stormer, November 21, 2016, https://dstormer6em3i4km.onion.link/top-right-wing-tweeter-jared-wyand-goes-full-1488-condemns-jews/.
(12.) Private communications with a firm that conducted forensic research into Twitter campaigns involving Russian campaigns.
(13.) BedriddenSam, “SOMEONE TELL ME IM WRONG.”
(14.) LiquidRitz, “Official Thread for Leaks and Evidence Regarding the Government Sex Ring: Keep All Posts in This Thread,” Reddit, November 4, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaks/comments/5b4xt9/official_thread_for_leaks_and_evidence_regarding/.
(15.) Fairbanks, “Internet Is On Fire.”
(16.) dcpizzagate, “DC PizzaGate: A Primer UPDATED 07/07/17,” Suspected Pedophile Ring Exposed, November 7, 2016, https://dcpizzagate.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/first-blog-post/. “ ‘Jimmy Comet’: The Weak Link in Podesta Pedo Ring,” Reddit, November 7, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/5bp6ph/jimmy_comet_the_weak_link_in_podesta_pedo_ring/.
(17.) Jim Hoft, “Wikileaks: Podesta Involved in ‘Spirit Cooking’ Dinners and Cult Activity,” Gateway Pundit, November 4, 2016, http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/11/wikileaks-podesta-involved-spirit-cooking-dinners-cult-activity/.
(18.) Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis, “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online,” New York: Data & Society Research Institute, 2017; Gabriel Emile Hine et al., “Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan’s Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web,” ArXiv Preprint ArXiv:1610.03452, 2016.
(19.) burninglegs, “Wikileaks Is Dropping a Huge Bombshell on 11/3/2016. This Is the Big One.,” Reddit, November 3, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/ (p.416) comments/5axjjh/wikileaks_is_dropping_a_huge_bombshell_on_1132016/. The first Reddit post suggesting that WikiLeaks was about to release email and videos that would probe a pedophilia scandal seems to be have been published on November 3, 4:00 p.m. UTC, that is, late morning on the East Coast in the United States. It began with a screenshot from 4chan, purportedly by WikiLeaks.
(20.) followingthecolors, “[WARNING: GRAPHIC] I Don’t Think You Guys Appreciate the Trauma /Pol/ Is Going through Tracking down the Absolutely off-the-Deep-End Shit Podesta Is Into. Here’s a Small Taste.,” Reddit, November 3, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5b08cy/warning_graphic_i_dont_think_you_guys_appreciate/; TigerClaws, “Wikileaks: Podesta Participates in ‘Spirit Cooking,’ ” Free Republic, November 3, 2016, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3488913/posts.
(21.) BedriddenSam, “SOMEONE TELL ME IM WRONG!!! This Invite to A ‘pizza Party’ includes the Name Maya Harris, Whose Sister Is Kamal Harris Deputy District Attorney Who SPECIALIZEs IN CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES!!!,” Reddit, November 3, 2016, https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5azc9k/someone_tell_me_im_wrong_this_invite_to_a_pizza/.
Four of the juiciest leaked Podesta emails
Every day this week Wikileaks has released hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. There have been no major bombshells so far, but there are emails that reflect poorly on the campaign and raise questions about relationships with people outside the Brooklyn headquarters.
While the Clinton campaign is not confirming the authenticity of the emails, it maintains the hack was done by the Russians to aide Donald Trump. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has jumped on the leaked emails and the Republican nominee has been bringing them up on the trail. Here are four of the most talked-about emails:
“Rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals”
An email exchange between Center for American Progress fellow John Halpin and Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri had some negative things to say about Catholicism and evangelical Christians.
“Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) . . . It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy," Halpin wrote.
“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals,” Palmieri responded.
The Trump campaign held a conference call to discuss the comments Wednesday and former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu, R-N.H., issued a statement on behalf of the campaign that said the emails “revealed an underlying sense of religious bigotry.”
But on Wednesday Palmieri told reporters she didn’t remember sending the email.
"I'm a Catholic, I don't recognize that email that we saw. This whole effort is led by the Russians. The Russians orchestrated this hack,” Palmieri said.
“Questions in advance”
Donna Brazile who is now the acting chair of the Democratic National Committee emailed that she had gotten a question ahead of a March town hall that “worries me about HRC.” The question was about the death penalty. Clinton ended up being asked a very similar question during the town hall.
The Trump campaign has accused the Democratic Party of receiving favoritism by getting questions in advance. The email also raises the question why Brazile, who was a vice chairwoman at the DNC and a CNN contributor at the time of the email, seemed to be rooting for Clinton while she was in a primary battle with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The DNC is supposed to stay neutral in the primary. Brazile became interim chair after Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned this summer following DNC email leaks that seemed to show some employees favoring Clinton over Sanders.
Brazile denied the accusations in a statement Tuesday.
“As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did,” Brazile said in a statement.
Brian Fallon, Clinton’s press secretary and the former director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Public affairs, emailed that he had heard "from DOJ folks" there would be a status hearing regarding public release of Clinton’s State Department emails.
"DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge's thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today,” Fallon wrote.
While the statement took place before the FBI’s investigation into her private email server, it raises questions about the relationship between the campaign and the DOJ. Trump and Republicans have excoriated DOJ’s decision not to pursue charges over Clinton’s private email server, even though the FBI recommended no charges.
Podesta emailed Clinton in August with the names and contact information for Latino politicians who he recommended Clinton call to gain support. In the email, which included “Needy Latinos” in the subject line, Podesta urged Clinton to reach out to former transportation Secretary Federico Peña and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and ask for endorsements. Podesta framed both Peña and Richardson as influencers who could help Clinton if they endorsed.
Podesta was justifying why he had encouraged former president Bill Clinton and Richardson to “bury the hatchet.”
“Richardson is still on TV a lot, especially on Univision and Telemundo and not withstanding the fact that he can be a dick, it was worth getting him in a good place," Podesta wrote.
WikiLeaks release offers glimpse of Clinton team's early thoughts on Trump
Report: Wikileaks releases what appear to be excerpts of Clinton's paid speeches
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John Podesta Is Ready to Talk About Pizzagate
WASHINGTON — John Podesta has given it a lot of thought and believes the best way to deal with the trolls is to ignore them. His wife, Mary, however, takes a different approach. When angry people call their home in the middle of the night, she has a conversation with them.
“She sits on the phone and talks to them, which is disconcerting actually to most of the people who are calling just to leave a nasty message on your voicemail,” Podesta says. “When somebody actually engages them and says, ‘Why are you doing this?’ they fold pretty quickly. But she has more patience for that than I do.”
Podesta is easily forgiven for having little time for his tormentors. Since 2016, he has been the victim of a deranged and viral conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. The theory — which has its roots in the emails stolen from his personal account by Russian hackers and dumped online by WikiLeaks — claimed that Podesta was a pedophile and that he, Hillary Clinton and a Washington, D.C., restaurateur named James Alefantis ran a child sex-trafficking ring from the basement of Alefantis’ pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong.
On its face, Pizzagate was insane, with zero basis in reality. Yet in the frenzied days after Donald Trump’s election, it caught fire on social media platforms including Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and 4Chan, metastasizing into a story so twisted and bizarre that it radicalized online trolls and traumatized others who, through no fault of their own, had gotten sucked into the conspiracy.
Two years ago this month, Pizzagate reached its grim apex when a 28-year-old man stormed into Comet Ping Pong with a revolver and an AR-15 on a mission to save the “children.” Edgar Maddison Welch had binge-watched YouTube videos about Pizzagate and tried to recruit friends for his rescue mission. “Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many,” he texted one friend a few days before he got in his Prius and drove from his home in North Carolina to Washington. Customers and employees fled the restaurant as Welch fired several rounds into a locked closet full of computer gear, searching for the infamous child sex dungeon in Comet’s basement, which he never found — not least because the pizzeria doesn’t even have a basement. No one was hurt, and Welch surrendered to the police, hands on his head, in broad daylight in the street outside of Comet. He was later sentenced to four years in federal prison.
Even after the arrest, Pizzagate lived on. The day after Welch stalked into Comet, Michael Flynn, Jr., the son of Trump’s first national security adviser, tweeted: “Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story.” An Economist/YouGov poll in late December 2016 found that 46 percent of Trump voters and 17 percent of Clinton voters thought Pizzagate was real. A few months later, a small rally of Pizzagate believers took place outside the White House. Protesters have stood outside Comet carrying blown-up photos of Alefantis’ god-daughter taken from his social media accounts. Strangers online have threatened to torture, rape and kill him.
“I’ve been through a lot of Washington shit in my life,” Alefantis tells Rolling Stone. He grew up in D.C., and dated David Brock, the notorious conservative journalist turned Clinton loyalist, for 10 years. “This is not my first time at the rodeo,” he says. “I had never seen this volume of specific, directed attacks.”
In the two years since the shooting, our understanding of online conspiracy theories has grown, of how they take root and the people who believe and spread those theories. But what about the victims? What is it like to be on the receiving end? How do you fight back against a plainly false allegation that changes your life?
For four decades John Podesta has worked at the highest levels of American politics: campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton’s historic 2016 presidential run, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, counselor to President Obama and adviser to senators and congressmen. But nothing could prepare him for Pizzagate.
Speaking about the conspiracy theory and its impact on his life for the first time, Podesta tells Rolling Stone that he learned about it the old-fashioned way: from the news. As Clinton campaign chair, he had spent the final month of the 2016 race locked in hand-to-hand combat with reporters about the contents of his personal emails, which WikiLeaks was releasing in periodic batches to damage Clinton’s chances. He didn’t have time to reflect on the hack, let alone notice the conspiracy theories bubbling up about him on websites like Reddit and 4Chan.
Searching for evidence of illegality or anything sinister in Podesta’s hacked emails, wannabe online sleuths decided that mentions of “pizza” were code for child pornography. An anonymous 4chan user posted a list of other supposed code words to search for in Podesta’s emails — “pasta” meant little boy, “ice cream” meant male prostitute, “sauce” meant orgy. Soon, the hashtag #Pizzagate appeared and spread like wildfire on social media.
Podesta claims he wasn’t overly concerned about his emails getting released: their contents, he now says, were “relatively much ado about nothing.” It wasn’t until after the election that he realized those emails had become fuel for a horrific conspiracy theory. In his career, he says he had never been on the receiving end of something like Pizzagate. “It’s painful and crazy,” he says. “I’m pretty grizzled. One big difference is you’ve got somebody sitting in the Oval Office stoking the conspiracy. That’s pretty different than what I’ve experienced in my years in politics.”
James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., on December 5th, 2018. Photograph by Lexey Swall for RollingStone.com
Lexey Swall for RollingStone.com
Podesta was only one strain of the conspiracy. Another thread formed around Alefantis and Comet Ping Pong. It appears to have begun with a 2008 email included in the WikiLeaks dump in which Alefantis asked Podesta if he would give a speech at an Obama fundraiser at Comet. From there, the trolls began mining every detail they could find about Alefantis and Comet, quickly concocting a parallel theory that said Alefantis, Podesta and Clinton ran a child sex-trafficking ring. Self-styled investigators claimed that symbols on Comet’s iconic sign (which had previously been used by a D.C. liquor store that had since closed) were linked to satanic rituals. They said a photo of an empty walk-in refrigerator was evidence of a secret kill room.
One day in November 2016, roughly a month before Welch’s attack, one of Alefantis’ young employees told him that a wild theory called Pizzagate was blowing up on Reddit. “What’s Reddit?” he asked.
Alefantis is a self-taught chef who never graduated from college and a self-made restaurateur well-known around Washington. (GQ named him one of D.C.’s 50 most powerful people in 2012.) He opened Comet more than a decade ago to be “a place of play and interaction,” as he puts it, where families could eat pizza and play ping pong and engage in real, substantive conversations with one another.
Alefantis told his staff that this Pizzagate thing would blow over after the election. Then Trump won, and the threats got worse. Violent messages poured into Comet’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, some of which Alefantis shared with Rolling Stone:
I will kill you personally
I truly hope someone blows your brains all over comet pizza
Are you scared yet? You should be motherfucker because were [sic] coming for you
You need to be raped killed and tortured like you do to children u sick fuck .. ur days of freedom are numbers u evil douche
The home addresses and phone numbers of Alefantis and his employees were published online. Comet would receive 150 menacing calls in a single day, Alefantis says, so he unplugged the phone. People reviewed Comet on Yelp and said there were chopped-up baby parts in their food.
As the threats became more violent, Alefantis repeatedly contacted the D.C. police and the FBI. He estimates he called the bureau three or four times and described a situation that, he admits, sounded insane. The FBI largely told him to call the police. “They were essentially like, ‘If you get a specific threat, let us know. Thank you, goodbye.'” When he asked what qualified as a specific threat, the FBI said, “A date and time when they’re going to come.” He says the local police visited Comet on multiple occasions but there was zero specific action taken by the police or the FBI as the threats escalated in the weeks after the election. (The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.)
At the same time the Pizzagaters barraged Comet, they attacked Alefantis personally. Strangers filmed his house and questioned his neighbors, he says. Any person or organization connected to him also got sucked in. A non-profit art gallery whose board he chaired received angry calls. Any trace of Alefantis’ life found in public records or social media — an old home address, an event he had attended — was used against him.
He came to see Pizzagate as a real-life video game played by the theory’s true believers. “These are people at home who want to investigate, and basically anything that’s available online is fair game to them,” Alefantis says. Sometimes, when he responded to the people making the threats, they would veer off into unexpected territory. “Some of those messages to me were, ‘How much do you pay your employees? Do you have health care?'” When he told them he did in fact offer health care, some responded, “Will you hire me?”
But the onslaught proved too much for him to handle on his own. Through a friend, he got in touch with Mike Gottlieb, a partner at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner. (David Boies, one of the firm’s founders, is the renowned litigator who has faced criticism for his work on behalf of Harvey Weinstein and the fraudulent blood-testing company Theranos.) Alefantis and Gottlieb met on a Friday in early December 2016, and Gottlieb agreed to take on Alefantis as a client. That Sunday, Welch walked into the restaurant, guns in tow. (Welch did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)
In this Dec. 4, 2016 file photo, Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police in Washington. Welch, a man who police said was inspired by false internet rumors dubbed “pizzagate” to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria pleaded guilty Friday, March 24, 2017, to two charges. Photo credit: Sathi Soma/AP
Alefantis wasn’t at Comet but rushed over when he heard about the gunman. The neighborhood was a crime scene: there were SWAT officers and yellow tape everywhere, and police had evacuated Comet’s employees to a fire station down the street. The workers at Buck’s Fishing and Camping, another restaurant Alefantis owned on the same block as Comet, were locked inside for their safety, as were the other people who worked at nearby businesses. “I really hope that all these people fanning the flames of this conspiracy theory would take a moment to contemplate what has gone on today and maybe to stop,” Alefantis, still in shock, told reporters later that day.
At the urging of his new legal and P.R. team, Alefantis reopened Comet on Dec. 6th, two days after the attack. A long line of customers waited to get in, and he stood at the front door to personally welcome them. He recalls seeing one of his best friends from high school in line with her young kids. Months later, Alefantis and the friend talked about that day. “She said, ‘The look on your face was Don’t come here,'” he recalls. “I asked her, ‘How did you feel?’ She was like, ‘I did not want to go there. It was so terrifying for me.'” But her kids wanted to go and so she took them. “That trauma exists,” he says, “not just for me, but for a whole community of people.”
After Comet was back up and running, Alefantis and his lawyers set out to stop the spread of Pizzagate. “For me, at some point, I was like: My name is totally destroyed,” Alefantis says. “I just didn’t want anyone to come shoot us up again.”
The response from the social media companies ranged from helpful to utterly dismissive, Alefantis recalls. Even before he’d hired lawyers, Alefantis had gotten Yelp to suspend Comet’s page after his staff had reported the abusive reviews. Facebook was responsive to Comet’s complaints. YouTube, however, refused to so much as acknowledge its role in amplifying Pizzagate, saying they were just a platform, that they weren’t an arbiter of truth and falsity and told Alefantis to get back in touch if and when he could get a court order finding the videos that promoted Pizzagate to be defamatory.
“YouTube is a platform committed to allowing a wide range of free expression, but it is not and never has been anything goes,” a YouTube spokesperson tells Rolling Stone, adding that in the first half of 2018 the company removed more than 17 million individual videos that violated its policies.
The traditional crisis communications playbook proved useless. Media interviews and op-eds did nothing to quiet the conspiracists and, if anything, emboldened them. Alefantis’ lawyers and P.R. team booked him onto then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s show a few weeks after the attack. It didn’t help: Alefantis answered all of Kelly’s questions, but the interview just became more fodder. “We thought it was possible to show and tell the facts — to make sure that people could see with their own eyes that the crazy conspiracies were just false,” says Molly Levinson, a communications strategist who advised Alefantis. “But we quickly learned that in these kinds of situations any attention is bad attention, any public conversation becomes twisted and contorted and most likely has more of a negative than positive effect.”
The only real strategy, Alefantis realized, was a legal strategy. He would have to get aggressive with the loudest proponents of Pizzagate, people like Alex Jones, host of InfoWars, who had run multiple broadcasts with titles like “Pizzagate Is Real” and “Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture.”
Gradually, in the months after the gunman showed up, Jones and others seemed to bow to legal pressure and backed away from Pizzagate. On March 24th, 2017, Jones published online and read on-air a lengthy statement in which he apologized to Alefantis, announced that he had removed past broadcasts about Pizzagate and admitted that those stories were based on “an incorrect narrative.” Neither Alefantis nor his lawyers would further comment on any interactions with Jones or on any possible settlement.
Podesta says he considered litigation as well. But suing the Pizzagaters would be extremely difficult given that he was a major public figure. He pushed back against the trolls on Twitter, but that didn’t make much difference, either. He found that the best course of action was doing nothing. “If I really spent my life trying to figure out what those people were saying, it would drive me nuts,” he says. “The only rational reaction to that is to deal with it when there’s something serious and right in front of you, but for the most part to try to ignore it.”
This past September, Alefantis traveled to New York City to attend a therapy session with his ex-boyfriend. Alefantis and his ex had broken up as Pizzagate was raging, but they had decided to see a therapist together. During their session, Alefantis assured his ex that, almost two years later, the nightmare had passed. “Things have moved on,” he recalls saying. “You’re safe. Everyone’s fine. It’s all over.”
Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., on December 5th, 2018. Photograph by Lexey Swall for RollingStone.com
Lexey Swall for RollingStone.com
After their session, they headed for the subway. A stranger approached Alefantis on the street and began taking pictures in his face and screaming at him.
“I’m going to my kid’s school right now!” the stranger said, apparently fearing for his child’s safety.
“Don’t engage, James,” his ex told him.
“Go call the police,” Alefantis said to the man, “and get the fuck away from me.”
Alefantis walked his ex to the subway station. The stranger followed Alefantis on foot before eventually leaving. “The guy’s basically chasing after me through the streets of New York,” he recalls. “He’s a Pizzagater. He recognized me. It still happens.”
Today, Alefantis says business at Comet is back to pre-Pizzagate levels. The angry phone calls and violent online threats have mostly subsided. You can still find plenty of disturbing tweets if you search for #Pizzagate or #CometPingPong on social media. But the worst of it appears to be over. Alefantis says he thinks the trolls just moved on to other things.
A restaurant in a smaller city, owned by someone with fewer connections, would’ve closed, he says. But the community of customers Alefantis had built up over the years rallied around him. Three brief phone calls and he had a meeting with one of the best attorneys in the country. “If this had been someone else or someone else’s restaurant, without 10 years of hard work and support behind us, without my understanding of how absurd the world can be and how difficult these things are, other people would have been taken down,” he says.
But the trauma remains. He’s been called the most despicable thing you can say to someone. Even in liberal circles, people jokingly refer to him as the Pizzagate guy. He’s figuring out what the ordeal means for his future. “Previous to this, I was out in the world and I had nothing but glowing Google hits and my restaurants were easily reviewed,” he says. “Now, it’s nothing but filth, basically. When I go into a business meeting or do a new venture or go into a new relationship with someone serious, there are major issues. It’s destroyed my name.”
Podesta, for his part, says Pizzagate seems to be largely over for him, to the extent online conspiracy theories ever really go away. He says his neighbors have chased away people walking up and down his block and acting suspiciously. After a Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to a number of prominent Democrats in October, Podesta resorted to poking and prodding his mail with a pen before opening it. President Trump still tweets about him, his messages amplified by an army of trolls at the ready. And the same backlash happens any time Podesta himself tweets about Trump, a move his staff has come to dread but something he won’t give up.
Pizzagate has left him with some pretty big scars, Podesta says, but he worries more about the victims of viral conspiracy theories who don’t have his thick skin. “As a person who’s pretty hardened by a lifetime in politics, I sometimes think, ‘Well, how would a normal person even begin to live with this?'”
Still, Podesta admits that the events of the past two years have left him less inclined to speak out. “You’re conscious about the notion that you are going to trigger a crazy response,” he says. “Sometimes you feel compelled to do it anyway. And I don’t do it for fun. I do it when I think something’s serious enough that I need to say something. And now I’m just a little bit more guarded it, and guarded about what appearances I accept.”
He catches himself from sounding too woe-is-me. “I’ve had the honor of working for a president,” he says. “I can’t bitch too much about my life. It’s been pretty good.”
“The pizza’s still good at Comet, too.”
How the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory evolved
WikiLeaks began releasing emails hacked from the account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, a month before the election.
Social media users on a popular Reddit forum dedicated to Donald J. Trump and 4chan’s far-right fringe message board searched the releases for evidence of wrongdoing.
Within the emails were discussions that include the word pizza, including dinner plans between Mr. Podesta and his lobbyist brother, Tony Podesta.
A participant on 4chan connected the phrase “cheese pizza” to pedophiles, who on chat boards use the initials “c.p.” to denote child pornography.
Following the use of “pizza,” theorists focused on the Washington pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong. The WikiLeaks emails revealed that John Podesta corresponded with Comet’s owner, James Alefantis, who had connections to Democratic operatives.
The theory started snowballing, taking on the meme #PizzaGate. Fake news articles emerged and were spread on Twitter and Facebook.
The false stories swept up neighboring businesses and bands that had played at Comet. Theories about kill rooms, underground tunnels, satanism and even cannibalism emerged in fabricated stories and on social media.
On Dec. 4, Edgar M. Welch, a 28-year-old from North Carolina, arrived at Comet with a military-style rifle and a handgun. The police said he fired the rifle inside the pizzeria, hurting no one, and surrendered after finding no evidence to support claims of child slaves being held there.
The shooting did not put the theory to rest. Purveyors of the theory and fake news pointed to the mainstream media as conspirators of a coverup to protect what they said was a crime ring.
The conspiracy theory took the internet by storm. YouTube clips pushed the false story, racking up hundreds of thousands of views. Tens of thousands of individuals subscribed to message boards, feeding into theories with fake news reports and crowd-driven detective work. The police refuted the claims of an online pedophile ring running out of Comet Ping Pong, but the theories continued. Here are eight that gave #PizzaGate momentum.
Claim: Podesta’s leaked emails contained secret code language.
Combing through John Podesta’s leaked emails, members of a far-right fringe community on the social media site 4chan and Trump supporters on Reddit pulled out a number of emails unconnected to politics. Several of them mentioned pizza or other Italian food.
Did you leave a handkerchief
The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related. Is it yorus? They can send it if you want. I know you’re busy, so feel free not to respond if it’s not yours or you don’t want it.
RE: Did you leave a handkerchief
It's mine, but not worth worrying about.
The most cited email revolved around a handkerchief left at a house Mr. Podesta visited with a real estate agent. It led to speculation that the handkerchief and map on it were clues to some sort of wrongdoing.
Claim: The emails contained coded messages about pedophilia.
The term “cheese pizza” had previously been used on 4chan as code for “child pornography.” An anonymous user speculated that other food-related terms could also have double meanings.
An anonymous post on 4chan’s “so-called alt-right” discussion board in November.
This interpretation spread, and other emails containing supposed code words were reinterpreted as evidence of pedophile activity. For example, this 2015 email was taken as an inquiry about providing sexual services.
We know you're a true master of cuisine and we have appreciated that for years …
But walnut sauce for the pasta? Mary, plz tell us the straight story, was the sauce actually very tasty?
Re: Walnut sauce?ing
It's an amazing Ligurian dish made with crushed walnuts made into a paste. So stop being so California.
The Podesta brothers were famous in Washington circles for their Italian cooking and big salon and fund-raising dinners, often cooked by their mother.
Claim: Comet Ping Pong is at the center of it.
Some pizza-related emails mentioned a Washington pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, whose owner is connected to prominent Democratic figures. An email about a pizza fund-raiser there fed speculation about sex parties.
Comet Ping Pong and OBAMA...and Podesta?.
Hello. Some young lawyer type friends of mine are hosting an Obama Fundraiser at Comet Ping Pong on Thursday Night and then watching the debate. Should be about 150 people and they are raising between 25 and 35 thousand dollars. Would you be willing to stop by around 8 o'clock or so and make a little speech. They (and I) would be thrilled to have you of course. I understand if you are not available.
Also, I saw that you are reading at Politics & Prose soon. What can we do afterward? Would you like to have a dinner at my places?!?
Big or small. What do you think?
The pizza parlor owner was swept into the rumormongering on message boards. Amateur online sleuths linked the pizzeria’s signage to satanic symbols. Fake stories emerged putting the restaurant in the center of a child-trafficking ring.
A conspiracy theorist analyzes Comet Ping Pong’s signage.DC PizzaGate
Claim: An Instagram photo is proof of a link between Obama and Comet Ping Pong.
A photo of President Obama playing table tennis was used by conspiracy theorists to connect him to the pizza restaurant. In a video, this photo is introduced with “here is Obama at Comet Ping Pong.”
Scene from the “#PizzaGate - What We Know So Far” videoYouTube
However, this photo is of a framed picture within the White House, and the original photograph was taken inside the White House, not the Comet Ping Pong restaurant. Mr. Alefantis took the picture of the photograph at the White House and posted it on his Instagram account, according to a spokesperson for the restaurant.
From “Celebrities Playing Table Tennis,” original submission by Timmy La
Inside the White House, where the picture was taken.
Claim: Comet Ping Pong and other nearby businesses use pedophile symbols in logos.
According to an F.B.I. document released by WikiLeaks, the following symbols are used by pedophiles to identify sexual preferences.
“Little boy lover”
“Little boy lover”
Conspiracy theorists claimed that other design elements used by businesses near the Comet Ping Pong restaurant also resembled pedophile symbols.
Symbol found in Comet Ping Pong menu
Icon found on
Icon found on
Symbol found in Comet Ping Pong menu
However, countless other major American brand logos contain similar shapes. Hearts, triangles and spirals are widely used symbols in business logos.
Claim: Comet Ping Pong had a secret kill room and posted a picture of it on Instagram. Fake stories claimed underground tunnels and child trafficking in the basement.
The photo shows a walk-in refrigerator supposedly in the restaurant, described as part of a network of underground facilities. However, a reporter can confirm that there is no basement in Comet Ping Pong.
Comet’s spokesperson said the photo was taken during a visit to a restaurant Mr. Alefantis was considering leasing. Comet uses a low-slung refrigerator at Buck’s Fishing & Camping, Mr. Alefantis’s other restaurant two doors down on the same block, to store produce, cheese and proofing dough.
The walk-in refrigerator filled with Comet’s ingredients.Photo by Cecilia Kang
Claim: The owner of Comet Ping Pong admitted he was a pedophile – on a T-shirt.
This photo was found on James Alefantis’s Instagram account, and #PizzaGate believers claimed it as proof that he is a pedophile.
However, the man with the black T-shirt was not James Alefantis. It was a co-owner of a different restaurant in Washington, named L’Enfant Cafe-Bar.
(And in case you’re wondering, that restaurant was named after Pierre Charles L’Enfant, an American colonist from France who served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.)
Claim: John and Tony Podesta personally kidnapped Madeleine McCann from her bed at a Portugal resort in 2007.
Another part of the conspiracy theory was a supposed link between the Podesta brothers and the child abduction case of Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007. Two e-fit (electronic facial identification technique) photos released by British detectives were repeatedly used as evidence.
A conspiracy theory poster comparingthe Podesta brothers and police sketches. This version has been edited to remove Madeleine McCann’s image.
However, the two e-fits were based on descriptions of a single suspect by two witnesses, not two different suspects, a crucial detail that was left out.
According to The Guardian, the witnesses described the man as “white, aged between 20 and 40, with short brown hair, of medium build, medium height and clean shaven.” In 2007, Tony Podesta was 64 and John Podesta was 58.
The information that the Podestas were in Portugal is solely sourced to “FBI Anon,” quoted in Victurus Libertas, a conspiracy-minded news site that suggests, among other things, that the Titanic was deliberately sunk and that the queen of England is a reptilian alien.
Emails podesta pizza
18 revelations from Wikileaks' hacked Clinton emails
Wikileaks has been releasing hacked emails from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign boss. What do they say?
The anti-secrecy website says it will release tens of thousands more emails between now and election day.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails were hacked, has claimed the Russian government was behind the leak and the Trump campaign knew about it in advance.
He has refused to confirm or deny the emails' authenticity, suggesting some could have been doctored, without so far pinpointing any of the correspondence as fake.
These messages are different from the other Clinton email controversy, when she was found to have and broken government rules by exclusively operating a private server from her upstate New York home while secretary of state.
So what has the Wikileaks dump told us?
'Bill Clinton Inc'
In a 12-page memo written by Doug Band, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, he describes using his consulting firm to raise money for the Clinton Global Initiative as well as direct personal income for the former president.
Mr Band rallied clients of his firm, Teneo, to contribute directly to Mr Clinton for "in-kind services for the President and his family - for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like" referring to that fund as "Bill Clinton Inc".
Several companies directly paid the former president for his speeches or advice, as well as making contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative. Republicans have criticised this, saying it allowed corporations to pay for access to the former president.
One client, Coca Cola, received a face-to-face meeting with the former president at his home in 2009, after contributing millions to the non-profit foundation.
Donald Trump tweeted a link to the Washington Post article about this with his anti-corruption mantra #DrainTheSwamp
On the same day that news of a private email server broke, John Podesta, who later became her campaign chairman, emailed Neera Tanden, who worked for the Clinton campaign in 2008 and has remained a close adviser, to complain about Mrs Clinton's "instincts".
"We've taken on a lot of water that won't be easy to pump out of the boat", he wrote in September 2015 as Clinton staff feared that Vice President Joe Biden would join the Democratic primary race.
"Most of that has to do with terrible decisions made pre-campaign, but a lot has to do with her instincts," he wrote, to which Mrs Tanden responded: "Almost no one knows better [than] me that her instincts can be terrible."
In the email exchange, Mr Podesta also complained that Clinton's personal lawyer David Kendall, and former State Department staffers Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines "sure weren't forthcoming here on the facts here". Mrs Tanden responds "Why didn't' they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy."
She later answered her own question saying, "I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it."
What Obama knew about Clinton private email
When President Barack Obama told an interviewer that he first learned of Mrs Clinton's private email server at the "same time everybody else learned it, through news reports", the Clinton campaign emailed each other to say that the president was not telling the truth.
The evening after the interview aired Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin emailed to say "it looks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news".
"We need to clean this up", Clinton's former chief of staff Cheryl Mills responds.
"He has emails from her - they do not say state.gov", she wrote, implying that Mr Obama was aware that Clinton was using a private email server rather than her State Department-issued email account.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest later clarified to say that the president had exchanged emails with Clinton but that he "was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up".
Morocco 'quid pro quo'
Mrs Clinton's aide Huma Abedin, usually known for her unflinching loyalty, was blunt in her criticism of her boss over a Clinton Foundation summit in Morocco.
At the time of the meeting in Marrakesh, in May 2015, Mrs Clinton was no longer secretary of state but about to announce her campaign for president. But four months before it took place, Abedin voiced concern about her pulling out. "If HRC was not part of it, meeting was a non-starter," she warned. "She created this mess and she knows it."
The implication from the leaked emails is that a $12m donation from the king of Morocco was dependent on Mrs Clinton attending the summit.
"Her presence was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this," Abedin wrote to campaign manager Robbie Mook in a November 2014 email.
In the end, Mrs Clinton decided not to attend and sent husband Bill and daughter Chelsea instead. There is no record of a $12m donation.
Mr Mook on Sunday said there was no evidence of wrongdoing or "quid pro quo", and that his emails with Abedin showed he simply did not want any scheduling distractions for Mrs Clinton.
Sanders is a 'doofus'
In December 2015, Mr Podesta attacked Mrs Clinton's primary election rival Bernie Sanders for criticising the Paris climate change agreement.
"Can you believe that doofus Bernie attacked it?" said Mr Podesta.
When asked on CNN about it, Mr Podesta admitted he was frustrated at the time but he had a very good relationship with the Vermont senator.
Mrs Clinton's campaign considered Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates or his wife Melinda as her running mate, according to the hacked emails.
Mr Podesta drafted a list of nearly 40 names for her potential vice-presidential pick, organising it by what he called "rough food groups", which appeared to refer to demographic coalitions.
The list included Hispanic, white and black men, three former high-ranking military officers, business leaders and female senators.
Among those included were Apple's Tim Cook, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, General Motors' Marry Barra and Starbucks chief exeuctive Howard Schultz.
Senator Bernie Sanders was listed in a group by himself.
'Clintons won't forget'
The Clinton campaign tried to reschedule the Illinois presidential primary to a month later, so as to make it less likely that a moderate Republican would get a boost following the Super Tuesday primaries.
"The Clintons won't forget what their friends have done for them," future Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the November 2014 email to Mr Podesta.
But Mr Mook said the vote would be difficult to reschedule because Illinois Democrats "feel forgotten and neglected by POTUS", a reference to President Obama.
The primary was ultimately held on its original date, 15 March this year.
'Covert' Syrian action
According to the latest leaked emails, Mrs Clinton told a Goldman Sachs conference she would like to intervene secretly in Syria.
She made the remark in answer to a question from Lloyd Blankfein, the bank's chief executive, in 2013 months after she left office as secretary of state.
"My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene," she told employees of the bank in South Carolina, which had paid her about $225,000 to give a speech.
Mrs Clinton - who is accused of being a war hawk by liberal critics - added: "We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can't help themselves.
"They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else: Look what we're doing and I want credit for it."
Mrs Clinton said in emails that she had told Chinese officials if they were not able or willing to control North Korea's aggression then the US would be forced to put up missile defences in the region.
"So China, come on. You either control them or we're going to have to defend against them," she purportedly told a Goldman Sachs conference in June 2013.
She also remarked that the US would send additional warships to the region to counter the North Korean missile threat.
As secretary of state, Mrs Clinton visited China seven times and helped develop Washington's "pivot" to Asia, which has long been viewed with suspicion by Beijing.
A 2011 exchange between Mrs Clinton's now-communications director Jennifer Palmieri and liberal think tank fellow John Halpin mocked a magazine article describing media mogul Rupert Murdoch raising his children as Catholics.
Mr Halpin, a self-described Catholic, writes that many of the "most powerful elements of the conservative movement are Catholics... they must be attracted to the systematic thought and [severely] backwards gender relations", adding that "it's an amazing bastardisation of the faith".
Ms Palmieri responds that those people must think it is "the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion". Ms Palmieri recently said she doesn't recognise the emails, adding that "I'm a Catholic".
'A public and a private position'
In excerpts from one of Mrs Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, she said: "Politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be.
"But if everybody's watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position."
She introduced this comment by saying that she had just watched Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, which shows the political negotiations the US Civil War-era president undertook to pass the 13th amendment to the US constitution, abolishing slavery.
Bernie Sanders, who campaigned against Mrs Clinton during the Democratic primary season, had called repeatedly for Mrs Clinton to release the transcripts of her paid Wall Street speeches.
Clinton 'was fed a question'
Donna Brazile, the former CNN contributor, notified the Clinton campaign in advance of a question she would be asked at a town hall-style event hosted by the cable network in March, according to the leaked emails.
"From time to time I get the questions in advance," Ms Brazile, now chair of the Democratic National Party (DNC), wrote in the subject line of a 12 March email to Clinton aides.
She went on to paste the text of a question about the death penalty that Mrs Clinton would be asked. The question, with very similar wording, ended up being posed to the White House hopeful at the event.
Hours after WikiLeaks broke the news of the alleged collaboration, Ms Brazile wrote in an statement: "I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did."
The leaked email has also caused embarrassment for CNN, which Donald Trump has mockingly referred to as the "Clinton News Network".
Ms Brazile took over at the DNC when its former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz over hacked emails which revealed the party establishment's favouritism towards Mrs Clinton.
The DNC was meant to be neutral in the contest between Mrs Clinton and her Democratic primary season challenger, Bernie Sanders.
While serving as DNC vice-chair in January 2016, Ms Brazile forwarded to Clinton's staff an email revealing the Sanders camp's plan to court African-American voters.
"FYI," Ms Brazile wrote to campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod, who responded: "Thank you for the heads up on this Donna."
Justice Department 'collusion'
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote in a May 2015 email: "DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning."
He was referring to a Freedom of Information Act request by a journalist seeking disclosure of Mrs Clinton's emails from her time as the secretary of state.
Mr Fallon, who is a former Department of Justice spokesman, was relaying information that was already publicly available and being reported by multiple news outlets.
Nevertheless, Donald Trump seized on the communication between the Clinton campaign and the DOJ, saying, "this is collusion and corruption of the highest order".
Clinton 'wary of refugees'
In a leaked 2013 paid speech to the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Mrs Clinton said that Jordan and Turkey "can't possibly vet all those refugees so they don't know if, you know, jihadists are coming in along with legitimate refugees".
Trump supporters seized on these remarks to criticise her call for the US to accept 65,000 refugees per year, an increase on President Obama's plan to allow 10,000 per year.
Many refugees from Syria transit through Jordan, Turkey, or Lebanon on their way to the West.
Donald Trump has called for a ban on all Muslim immigration, but said in the second debate his plan had "morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world".
'Open borders' dream
Mrs Clinton's newfound opposition to trade deals contradicts remarks she made in a 2013 paid speech to Brazilian bank Banco Itau.
She said: "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere."
Critics seized upon those remarks, pointing to Mr Trump's frequent talking point that "without a border, we just don't have a country".
Mrs Clinton reportedly earned over $26m for speeches she gave after leaving the State Department.
Several Clinton aides discuss what political opinion their candidate should take on the controversial energy pipeline known as Keystone XL.
In May 2015 Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook pointed to a report that the Clinton Foundation had received money from one of the project's backers, emailing that "the enviros may latch onto this going forward. Have we discussed when she will come out against Keystone?"
He also asks if they should wait until after President Obama vetoes the pipeline, which he did in November 2015. Mrs Clinton announced her opposition in September.
When she was asked in 2010 about when the pipeline would be approved, the then-secretary of state said the analysis was not yet complete, "but we are inclined" to approve the project.
Critics said her subsequent opposition to the pipeline was a "flip flop".
Chelsea Clinton a 'brat'
Doug Band, a long-time personal aide to Bill Clinton, complained that Chelsea Clinton was meddling in his consulting firm, where the former president served as a paid adviser, and also interfering with his work at the Clinton Foundation.
In a 2011 email, he wrote "she is acting like a spoiled brat kid who has nothing else to do but create issues to justify what she's doing because she, as she has said, hasn't found her way and has a lack of focus in her life".
Chelsea Clinton, 36, had recently taken a role at the Clinton Foundation, and had complained in emails that Mr Band's consultancy was contacting members of the British Parliament "on behalf of President Clinton".
'Needy Latinos and 1 easy call'
That's the subject line of an August 2015 email sent by Mr Podesta to Hillary Clinton and one her closest aides, Huma Abedin.
Mr Podesta's email suggests that Mrs Clinton reach out to former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and former Energy Secretary Federico Pena to ask for their support during her primary campaign.
Mr Podesta also uses a profane term to refer to Gov Richardson, who had implied in an earlier email that he would require a phone call in order to provide his support.
Katiana Krawchenko, Donald Judd, Nancy Cordes, Julianna Goldman, Reena Flores, Rebecca Shabad, Emily Schultheis, Alexander Romano, Steve Chaggaris and the Associated Press contributed to this compilation
WikiLeaks says it has some 50,000 Hillary Clinton campaign emails, and on Fri. Oct. 7, it began leaking the personal emails Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group said it would release emails every day until Election Day. Podesta acknowledged his emails were hacked, but has not verify the authenticity of the emails. He warned that messages may have been altered or edited to inflict political damage but has not pointed to any specific case of this.
Cybersecurity experts said on Thursday that Fancy Bear, a group of Russian-linked hackers, had infiltrated Podesta’s email. U.S. intelligence officials last week blamed the Russian government for a series of breaches intended to influence the presidential election, and the FBI is investigating the breach. CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reported that Podesta on Tuesday went step-by-step through all the contact Donald Trump and his campaign aides have had with Russian actors or with Wikileaks.
Through its Twitter account, the Russian Embassy in Washington has denied any role in the cyberattacks, suggesting U.S. officials are just “whipping up” anti-Russia hysteria.
The messages stolen from Podesta’s account describe how Clinton’s closest advisers considered responding to key events during the campaign, including the discovery of her email server and her congressional testimony over the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, as well as excerpts of Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches. The batches have also included emails from then-DNC vice chairwoman Donna Brazile which seem to show a preference for Clinton over other Democratic candidates. Here are the highlights of the emails, with the most recent leaked email highlights at the top.
May 2015: DOJ’s Peter Kadzik gives a “heads up” to Podesta about Congressional testimony.
Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik tipped off Clinton’s campaign chair that the email issue was likely to be brought up at a House Judiciary Committee hearing where another DOJ official was slated to testify.
The head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Kadzik wrote in an email, was “[l]ikely to get questions on State Department emails.”
And he went on to note on what appeared to be timing of the State Department’s release of Clinton’s emails, “Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.”
Podesta forwarded the email to Palmieri, Fallon, Mills, Samuelson, Schake and Merrill with the message: “Additional chances for mischief.”
Donald Trump hit on the latest WikiLeaks document during a rally in Miami, Florida Wednesday, alleging that Kadzik was “a close associate of John Podesta.”
“The two met for dinner after Clinton testified about Benghazi and Podesta, who by the way said Hillary Clinton has terrible instincts on WikiLeaks described him as the man who kept him – Podesta – out of jail,” Trump said. “These are the people that want to run our country, folks. The spread of political agendas into the Justice Department – there’s never been a thing like this that has happened in our country’s history – is one of the saddest things that has happened to our country.”
Kadzik, who went to Georgetown Law School in the 1970s with Podesta, is also currently involved in the investigation into the newest emails (from a laptop belonging to Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner) to surface that could be tied to Clinton’s private email server.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment on this or any of the emails stolen from Podesta’s account.
March 2015: State Department press aide coordinated with Clinton advisers on response to news story on private email server.
Ahead of the New York Times’ March 2015 report that broke open Clinton’s use of a private email account during her tenure as a secretary of state, a State Department aide gave Clinton advisers the agency’s official response to the newspaper.
In a March 2015 email, State Department press aide Lauren Ashley Hickey, writing from her personal gmail account, told Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill and two other advisers that Jen Psaki -- who was, at the time, a State Department spokeswoman -- had “just cleared” a reply to the Times. Including the official statement in the email, Hickey also seemed to agree to an edit the campaign asked for, saying, “Yes on your point re records - done below.” The specific change requested is unclear from the email.
But State Department spokesman John Kirby explained Wednesday that the department’s attempts to “provide accurate information to the media” on their questions about Clinton and her time at the State Department has “at times required communicating with her representatives to ensure accuracy.”
November 2015: Clinton said in a speech to Deutsche Bank that there were hourly attempted hacks on personal emails during her tenure at the State Department.
In a transcript of Clinton’s speech to Deutsche Bank on October 7, 2014, the former secretary of state said there were attempted hacks against the State Department system and “personal accounts” on an “hourly” basis during her tenure at the State department.
“We were attacked every hour of every day and not only through the State Department system, but also through individual, personal accounts, just really fishing for anything they could get. And we knew it. And they knew we knew it,” Clinton said in the transcript.
The document was attached in a Nov. 2015 email from Dan Schwerin, Clinton’s director of speechwriting, to John Podesta and other campaign officials.
Of the speech itself, Schwerin said that he “wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way, precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”
“It’s definitely not as tough or pointed as we would write it now, but it’s much more than most people would assume she was saying in paid speeches,” Schwerin noted.
Clinton campaign weighed ousting Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair:
As early as last December, the Clinton campaign was plotting ways to sideline the head of the Democratic party amid complaints about internal fights in the party’s leadership, according to the latest WikiLeaks release of hacked emails.
Among the options for Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was neutralizing her and then forcing her out after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. Other options forwarded by top campaign aide Heather Stone would have kept Wasserman Schultz in place but in a weakened capacity as a figurehead or a co-chairwoman who would cede power to a “general election chair” named by Clinton.
The memo urged “systemic shifts at the DNC leadership level” to help Clinton win a general election. The memo was part of the latest trove of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and released Tuesday.
“Though we have reached a working arrangement with them, our dealings with party leadership have been marked by challenges, often requiring multiple meetings and phone calls to resolve relatively simple matters,” Stone’s memo said. “We are frequently caught in the middle of poor communication and a difficult relationship between the chairwoman and the executive director.”
Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation just before the DNC convention this past summer after an earlier WikiLeaks hack of DNC emails showed party officials had favored Clinton over challenger Bernie Sanders. The party apparatus was supposed to stay scrupulously neutral during the primary campaign.
Wasserman Schultz was replaced on an interim basis by Donna Brazile.
The Clinton campaign memo floated former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as either the general election chair or as a replacement for Wasserman Schultz.
Podesta, on dealing with email scandal: “We are going to have to dump all those emails”
The day the original story about Hillary Clinton’s private email server broke, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta wrote to another top Clinton aide, Cheryl Mills, that the emails would have to be dealt with, and “better to do so sooner than later.”
In the exchange, just before 11 p.m. on March 2, 2015, Podesta wrote to Mills, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department. The New York Times published its story about the existence of Clinton’s private email account just hours beforehand.
“We are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later,” Podesta wrote.
A Clinton campaign aide clarified that by “dump,” Podesta meant to release to the public—like in a document dump—and not deleting or getting rid of them.
This email exchange was part of the latest batch of emails released by WikiLeaks—the 25th such exchange since Oct. 7. The total number of emails now available from Podesta’s account totals 41,969.
Clinton turned over roughly 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department in December 2014—before the story broke about her private server. Many of those pages have subsequently been reviewed and released to the public by the State Department. However, Clinton deleted an additional 33,000 emails because they were not work-related, she and her team have said.
The issue is especially salient after the news last week that the FBI is investigating new material related to Clinton’s email practices.
Hacked memo shows how top Clinton Foundation aides helped former president
A memo leaked Wednesday by WikiLeaks shows how a top aide to former President Bill Clinton worked to convince top donors to the Clinton Foundation to send business opportunities his way.
The November 2011 12-page memo was from former Clinton aide Doug Band in response to an audit of the foundation after Chelsea Clinton expressed concerns about the operations of Band’s company Teneo.
In a separate email from Chelsea Clinton that month, she wrote, “My father was told today of explicit examples at CGI of Doug/ Teneo pushing for - and receiving - free memberships - and of multiple examples of Teneo ‘hustling’ business at CGI - and of people now having quit at CGI.”
Band’s memo detailed how he raised money for the Clinton Foundation from some of Teneo’s clients including Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical -- Coca-Cola gave $4.3 million and Dow contributed $780 thousand. And Band also pressed some of the foundation’s donors to hire the former president to give speeches or give him lavish gifts.
“Throughout the past almost 11 years since President Clinton left office, I have sought to leverage my activities, including my partner role at Teneo, to support and to raise funds for the Foundation,” Band wrote in the memo. “This memorandum strives to set forth how I have endeavored to support the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton personally.”
Band explained that independent of Teneo’s fundraising efforts for the foundation, his company helped the former president secure and engage in for-profit activities like speeches and books.
“In support of the President’s for-profit activity, we also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the President and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like,” Band wrote.
The memo raises questions about the ties between the former president’s personal business and his work at their Foundation.
Some of the speeches Band said he helped secure for the former president included two to Barclays totalling more than $700,000 and Laureate International Universities paid him $3.5 million to serve as honorary chairman. In total, Band said he helped secure “more than $50 million in for-profit activity” for the former president, and Band noted that he was not compensated for this. He also claimed that he and Teneo partner Justin Cooper secured all four of the business arrangements for Clinton -- for his advisory services -- that had since 2001 yielded him $30 million personally, “with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years” if he continued the arrangements.
Asked for a comment from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, spokesman Glen Caplin said, “We are still not confirming the authenticity of individual emails hacked by the Russian government to influence the election by weaponizing WikiLeaks.”
Teneo spokesman Stephen Meahl issued a statement to the Wall Street Journal saying, “As the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world.” Meahl also claimed that the memo shows “that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”
In August, the former president announced that the foundation would no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if his wife is elected in November and that he and Chelsea would step down from its board under that circumstance.
March 2015 - Mills: “We need to clean this up”
President Obama said he heard about Hillary Clinton’s private email server through news reports in March 2015 -- but an email from a Clinton aide around that suggests the president was emailing Clinton on her private address.
In the email, posted by WikiLeaks in the latest batch of emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account, Clinton communications staffer Josh Schwerin emailed a group of top aides noting that Mr. Obama “said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news.”
“We need to clean this up,” Clinton aide Cheryl Mills replied. “He has emails from her - they do not say state.gov.”
The exchange was in reference to an interview Mr. Obama did with CBS News’ Bill Plante, in which the president said he learned about the private email server “the same time everybody else learned it -- through news reports.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified after that interview that Mr. Obama knew about the email address, but “was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up.”
Clinton’s campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks, which has posted batches of Podesta’s emails nearly daily in the last few weeks.
Donald Trump said the president should also be investigated. “That’s why he stuck up for Hillary -- because he didn’t want to be dragged in. Because he knew all about her private server, “Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This means that he has to be investigated.”
The State Department said that it had withheld eight email chains that added up to 18 messages between the president and Clinton, the Associated Press reported in January. They will remain confidential under the Presidential Communications privilege.
March 2015: Aides consider jokes about private server (AP)
Hacked emails from the personal account of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign official show her aides considered inserting jokes about her private email server into her speeches at several events - and at least one joke made it into her remarks.
“I love it,” she told a dinner in Iowa on August 14, 2015, noting she had opened an online account with Snapchat, which deletes posts automatically. “Those messages disappear all by themselves.”
The crack scored a laugh from the audience, but the issue was plenty serious. About a month earlier, news broke of an FBI investigation into whether some of the emails that passed through Clinton’s unsecured server contained classified information. Ultimately, the agency criticized Clinton for being reckless with classified information but declined to prosecute her.
But hacked emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s top campaign official, show the Democratic candidate and her team were slow to grasp the seriousness of the controversy, initially believing it might blow over after one weekend. It did not, and became the most recent example of a penchant for secrecy that has fueled questions about Clinton’s trustworthiness, which she has acknowledged has been a political challenge.
The joke was included in hacked emails WikiLeaks began releasing earlier this month, saying they included years of messages from accounts used by Podesta. Podesta warned that messages may have been altered or edited to inflict political damage, but has not pointed to any specifics.
Almost from the moment The Associated Press on March 3, 2015, called the campaign for comment on its breaking story that Clinton had been running a private server to five months later, campaign aides sought venues on Clinton’s schedule where she could show some humor over the issue, according to the hacked emails.
In a series of emails on March 3, 2015 - the same day The Associated Press called for comment - staffers tossed around the idea of making jokes about the emails at a dinner hosted by EMILY’s List, a political action committee, that evening.
“I wanted to float idea of HRC making a joke about the email situation at the EMILY’s List dinner tonight,” Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for Clinton’s campaign, wrote at 2:37 p.m., using the candidate’s initials. “What do folks think about that?”
The idea got a mostly favorable response at first. “I don’t think it’s nuts if we can come up with the right thing. But it could also be nuts,” replied campaign spokesman Nick Merrill a couple of minutes later.
“I think it would be good for her to show some humor,” added Kristina Schake, now a deputy communications director. “...More jokes are welcome too.”
But political consultant Mandy Grunwald nixed the idea after speaking with Jim Margolis, a media adviser to the campaign.
“We don’t know what’s in the emails, so we are nervous about this,” Grunwald wrote to Merrill and Schake at 6:09 p.m. that night. “Might get a big laugh tonight and regret it when content of emails is disclosed.”
Clinton’s campaign aides also considered using Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2015 appearance at the Gridiron Dinner, an annual Washington joke-fest involving journalists and politicians, to try and defuse the email issue. McAuliffe is a longtime confidante of and fundraiser for Clinton, and was chairman of her unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.
“Anyway what do we think about using gridiron to puncture the email story a little,” wrote Palmieri, who suggested possible joke topics, including one involving Jeb Bush.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook expressed concern, saying reinforcing the idea that Clinton and McAuliffe are close “conjures the 90s stuff” - a reference, to Bill Clinton’s two turbulent terms in office. McAuliffe’s routine at the Gridiron did not ultimately include the discussed email routine.
Five months later, Hillary Clinton’s director of speechwriting, Dan Schwerin, shared a draft of a speech for the annual Iowa Wing Ding dinner in an email to colleagues, asking for input.
“I look forward to your feedback. (Also, if anyone has a funny email/server joke, please send it my way.),” he wrote on August 13.
February 2016: Clinton campaign slams Bernie Sanders adviser
In one exchange between Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), the two discuss a recently added adviser to Bernie Sanders.
The email, with the subject line of “Faiz advising Bernie,” refers to former CAP vice president Faiz Shakir.
Podesta wrote to Tanden that he gave Shakir “a very hard time” over the defection to the Sanders camp.
“I have to say this does not go down easy with me,” Podesta said, before adding: “Wish him well in life.”
Tanden replied: “He’s a f***er.”
Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016: Fancy Bear linked to hacking of Podesta’s emails
Cybersecurity experts confirmed that Podesta’s Gmail account was infiltrated by the same Russian hackers who targeted other Democratic groups. The cybersecurity firm Secureworks said it has determined that Podesta unwittingly entered his credentials on a fake Google login page set up by “Fancy Bear” -- a notorious group of Russian-linked hackers. Podesta was lured to the site by a shortened link in one of his emails -- a practice known as “spearfishing.”
Tues. Oct 18 email release
March 2016: Podesta sends Clinton the long list of potential runnning mates
The list was compiled by Podesta and Clinton’s top advisers. “I have organized names in rough food groups,” he wrote.
And the 39 names included some of the most successful business people in the world: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, GE CEO Mary Barra, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, among others.
The John Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks - CBS News
Prominent black politicians who made the list were New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin, and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
There were several women elected officials on the list -- mostly senators: Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Stabenow, Jeanne Shaheen -- who was also governor of New Hampshire -- Kirsten Gillibrand, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar and Claire McCaskill.
Hispanic politicians who made the long list were Julian Castro, Tom Perez, Ken Salazar, Xavier Becerra and Eric Garcetti (the LA mayor is Jewish, Italian and Mexican).
Gen. John Allen (ret.), former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen (ret.) and Adm. Bill McRaven (ret.), who also served as U.S. Special Operations commander, offered strong national security credentials.
The white male contingent was made up of a few senators -- Michael Bennet, Sherrod Brown, Tim Kaine, whom Clinton eventually chose to be her running mate, Martin Heinreich and Chris Murphy, as well as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is an old Clinton friend going back decades, and Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.
Another white male senator was in his own grouping at the bottom: Clinton’s then-primary rival, Bernie Sanders.
December 2013: Podesta calls Sanders a “doofus” over his attack of Paris climate deal
Top Clinton aide Neera Tanden congratulated Podesta on the announcement of the Paris climate deal in December. “My children and their future children thank you,” she wrote. Podesta, who has long championed the reduction of carbon emissions, oversaw climate and energy policy as counselor to the president. Under the Paris agreement, the U.S. promised to reduce its emissions by 25 - 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.
Podesta responded, “Thanks, Neera. Can you believe that doofus Bernie attacked it?”
Tanden had also noted that the Paris deal “wouldn’t have happened w o the china deal.” Podesta and U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern negotiated the deal with China to cap carbon emissions, announced the month before.
Sun. Oct. 16 email release
WikiLeaks continued Sunday with its daily dump of emails from the hacked personal account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
In its massive Sunday release, several emails showcased the inner workings of the campaign, including exchanges that discussed how the campaign should handle foreign government lobbyists’ donations, how Clinton could better handle apologizing for her use of a private email server, and how the campaign should handle issues of the candidate’s health records and taxes.
Here are some of the highlights:
April 2015: Clinton campaign discusses what to do with foreign government lobbyist donations
Clinton National Finance Director Dennis Cheng wrote in April that the campaign needed to make a policy decision on whether to allow those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to raise money for the Clinton campaign. After some debate, campaign manager Robby Mook responded that he was “OK just taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri agreed: “Take the money!!”
A week later, however, it became apparent that that decision had not been run by Hillary Clinton. Huma Abedin wrote to Mook to say that Clinton had read in the paper that the campaign would be taking FARA money, and she wanted to discuss who the donors were and “weigh in,” according to Abedin.
August 2015: Tanden fears Clinton’s inability to show remorse for email server will become “a character problem”
Neera Tanden wrote to Podesta saying she fears that Clinton’s inability to do a national interview and communicate genuine remorse for having a private email server is becoming a character problem. “I see no downside in her actually just saying, look, I’m sorry. I think it will take so much air out of this,” Tanden wrote.
Clinton, Tanden said, “always sees herself bending to ‘their’ will when she hands over information....But the way she has to bend here is in the remorse. Not the ‘if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it.’ A real feeling of -- this decision I made created a mess and I’m sorry I did that.”
Tanden continued, “No one things she doesn’t have the judgment to be president -- she’s not reaffirming a negative characteristic in saying sorry. She needs to do that. I see no way of moving on until October otherwise.”
In this email, Tanden was talking about October 2015. it was not until July 2016 that the FBI announced it would not recommend charges against Clinton, a conclusion that is still being questioned by House Republicans, in particular.
March 2015: Mook on taxes and Clinton’s health:
Robby Mook asked Podesta if he had ever talked to Clinton about issues surrounding her health or her taxes. “I’m know both are hyper sensitive but I wonder if both are better dealt with very early so we control them--rather than responding to calls for transparency. What do you think?” Mook wrote.
Sat. Oct. 15 email release
WikiLeaks released what they claim were the transcripts from Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches in 2013. This batch of emails also included a look at an email about Juanita Broaddrick, who accused former President Bill Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s.
January 2016: Transcripts of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs paid speeches
In one email from earlier this year, Podesta received three transcripts for speeches to Goldman Sachs that Clinton had given in 2013.
Some of the more notable excerpts are below:
- Ironically, Clinton once told an audience at Goldman Sachs: “You know, I would like to see more successful business people run for office. I really would like to see that because I do think, you know, you don’t have to have 30 billion, but you have a certain level of freedom. And there’s that memorable phrase from a former member of the Senate: You can be maybe rented but never bought. And I think it’s important to have people with those experiences.”
- Clinton joked that “this is all off the record, right?” before launching into a discussion about WikiLeaks: “So, all right. This is all off the record, right? You’re not telling your spouses if they’re not here...Okay. I was Secretary of State when WikiLeaks happened. You remember that whole debacle. So out come hundreds of thousands of documents. And I have to go on an apology tour. And I had a jacket made like a rock star tour. The Clinton Apology Tour. I had to go and apologize to anybody who was in any way characterized in any of the cables in any way that might be considered less than flattering. And it was painful.”
- Clinton weighed in on Syria and how a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians”: “My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene. We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves. They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else... But the idea that we would have like a no fly zone -- Syria, of course, did have when it started the fourth biggest army in the world. It had very sophisticated air defense systems. They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no fly zone you have to takeout all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk -- you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”
January 2016: David Kendall gives Podesta a history of Juanita Broaddrick’s allegations
A January 2016 email from Clinton’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, to Podesta gave a breakdown of the history of allegations made by Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s.
Broaddrick was among the three past accusers of the former president who attended last week’s debate in St. Louis at the invitation of Trump. Mr. Clinton has denied the rape accusation made by Broaddrick, which was never adjudicated by a criminal court.
The documents in the WikiLeaks release include the affidavit that Broaddrick signed saying that Mr. Clinton did not assault her and the independent counsel’s history of the Paula Jones case in which Broaddrick later received immunity from any prosecution for perjury if she changed her story.
“Voila! She did, disavowing her sworn affidavit and sworn deposition testimony,” Kendall wrote in the email to Podesta. He concluded, “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide about this slimefest.”
Fri. Oct. 14 email release
Emails leaked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private email account Friday by WikiLeaks addressed using executive privilege to keep the emails between Hillary Clinton and President Obama from being released, a 2008 survey testing reaction to then-Sen. Obama’s Muslim father and use of cocaine, and a suggestion from former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholme on how to take Clinton out of the “bubble.”
March 2015: Podesta wrote to Cheryl Mills about withholding emails between Clinton and Obama
Six days before Hillary Clinton spoke to reporters at the United Nations about her private email server, Podesta wrote to Cheryl Mills, “Think we should hold emails to and from potus? That’s the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I seems like they will.”
In September, Politico reported that the State Department would not release emails exchanged between Clinton and Obama to the public, citing the “presidential communications privilege,” which is another name for the executive privilege. Claiming the privilege enables the president to withhold certain information that has been requested by other branches of government or by the public. This means that the emails the two wrote to each other won’t be released until 5 to 12 years after the end of the Obama administration, as dictated by the Presidential Records Act.
January 2008: Clinton pollster proposed message testing lines on Obama--including reference to his Muslim father, past cocaine use
An email referring to “McCain Survey-3” from Greenberg research listed a number of survey questions with “negative facts” about Clinton’s primary opponent, then-Sen. Obama. Kristi Fuksa, of Greenberg Research, sent the email to Democratic operatives including Podesta, Paul Begala, Tara McGuinness and Susan McCue
The statements floated included subjects like his upbringing among Muslims, his father’s Muslim faith, his referring to past cocaine use as “a little blow” -- here’s the survey:
* 1 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) was the only candidate at a recent event not to cover his heart during the national anthem and he has stopped wearing an American flag pin.
* 2 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) benefited from a land deal from a contributor who has been indicted for corruption.
* 3 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) would personally negotiate with the leaders of terrorist nations like Iran and North Korea without preconditions.
* 4 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) voted against allowing people to use handguns to defend themselves against intruders.
* 5 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) plans to raise taxes by 180 (one hundred and eighty) billion dollars a year to pay for his government-run health care plan
* 6 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) voted repeatedly against emergency funding bills for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* 7 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh)‘s father was a Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world’s most populous Islamic country.
* 8 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) is ranked as one of the ten most liberal members of the Senate because of his support of issues like gay adoption.
* 9 (Other)
* 10 (All)
* 11 (None)
* 12 (Don’t know/refused)
* 13 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive the procedure.
* 14 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) supports giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants
* 15 Obama (owe-BAHM-uh) described his former use of cocaine as using “a little blow.”
Begala told the Washington Post that the survey was named for John McCain because “it was designed to test attacks that might come in the general election.” He also pointed out that “every campaign and every PAC tests potential negatives against the candidate they support...that’s all it was.”
July 2015: Jennifer Granholm’s suggestion on how to get Clinton out of the “bubble”
The former Michigan governor suggested Clinton could dispense with the idea that she’s “out of touch” by doing “work days,” in which she’d pick “8 occupations that she is willing to spend one day working at. She humbles herself, but gives dignity to the workers whose salaries she wants to raise.” Some of Granholm’s suggestions included working as a janitor in a school cafeteria, at a daycare center, making beds in a hotel, bussing tables at Denny’s or working “behind the counter at McDonalds or Chipotle’s!”
Thurs. Oct.13 email release
June 2015: Mook’s response to a de Blasio tweet praising Sanders
After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “I’ve always liked what i heard from Bernie Sanders,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook had a response: “Wow. What a terrorist.”
De Blasio withheld his endorsement of Clinton for months, though he’d known both Clintons for years. De Blasio was Clinton’s campaign manager for her 2000 senate campaign, served in Bill Clinton’s administration, and in fact it was Bill Clinton who swore de Blasio into office as mayor.
De Blasio ended up waiting until October 2015 to announce his endorsement of Clinton. He suggested that his delay was a result of the fact that Clinton didn’t immediately roll out her entire platform when she launched her campaign in April 2015.
December 2015: Clinton’s “generally sloppy part” of interview with Charlie Rose
Clinton’s communications team discussed the “generally sloppy part of the interview” with Charlie Rose, in which Clinton fudged her position on taxes.
Podesta gave a crisp critique of the interview in the email thread:
In a generally sloppy part of the interview when he turned to taxes, I think she raised three questions: 1) a kind of weird denial that she’s cutting middle class taxes, 2) strumming around in the payroll tax and saying it’s not that big a deal, and 3) opening the door to a repatriation holiday, although generally being against it. I think we need to be ready for all, but the payroll tax answer seems the most problematic if the spin is that the payroll tax isn’t big deal to most people as opposed to a small cut in the payroll tax wouldn’t be smart.
The staff agreed Clinton needed better preparation, especially for the middle class tax cuts question, noting “Charlie even tried to help her on that answer.”
Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan admitted that she wasn’t ready for those questions -- because the interview went on for much longer than her communications team expected. He said, “...in this case we didn’t do any prep for economic policy q’s, in part because we didn’t expect the interview to go 55 mins!”
January 2016: Sid Blumenthal - “lost in his own web of conspiracies”
Podesta said of Clinton friend Sid Blumenthal, “Sid is lost in his own web of conspiracies. I pay zero attention to what he says.”
November 2014: Future Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wants Illinois primary date moved
Hillary Clinton’s campaign tried to move the Illinois presidential primary to a later date, saying a contest held after the Super Tuesday primaries might stop momentum for a moderate Republican candidate and emphasizing that Clinton and her husband “won’t forget” a political favor, emails made public on Thursday show.
A November 2014 email hacked from the accounts of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was among nearly 2,000 new emails published by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The email, from Clinton’s future campaign manager Robby Mook to Podesta, said Obama administration officials should use their connections in the president’s home state to try to push back the March 15 Illinois primary by at least a month.
“The overall goal is to move the IL primary out of mid-March, where they are currently a lifeline to a moderate Republican candidate after the mostly southern Super Tuesday,” Mook wrote. “IL was a key early win for (GOP presidential candidate Mitt) Romney” in 2012.
While the request would come from Obama, the president and former Illinois senator, “the key point is that this is not an Obama ask, but a Hillary ask,” Mook said.
“The Clintons won’t forget what their friends have done for them,” he added. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, famously gave special attention to allies considered “friends of Bill.”
Mook suggested that Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff and longtime Illinois power broker, should reach out to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to make the request. He made it clear it would be a tough sell because Madigan and other Illinois Democrats “feel forgotten and neglected by POTUS,” a reference to Obama.
Daley, whose father and brother were both Chicago mayors, told The Associated Press that he called Madigan as requested, but warned Clinton’s team that moving the primary was unlikely because of a short time-frame.
“I made the call and talked to Mike and he listened and understood the reasoning,” Daley said. “But my own judgment was the likelihood that either side would want a primary later in the legislative session was going to be slim to none.”
The Illinois legislature moved up the 2008 primary to benefit its favorite son, then-Sen. Barack Obama, in his bid for the White House. The primary was held in early February that year to give Illinois more influence, but then moved back to its traditional date in mid-March.
This year the primary was held as scheduled on March 15. Clinton won the Democratic primary, while Donald Trump won the Republican contest.
Wednesday, Oct. 12 email release:
The emails from Podesta’s personal gmail account reveal the ego-stroking and horse-trading involved in courting top supporters.
August 2015, from Podesta to Clinton - convincing Pena and Richardson to endorse
One August 2015 email with the subject line “Needy Latinos and 1 easy call,” Podesta urged Clinton to call former Energy Secretary Fedrico Pena, who is “close to committing but carrying some baggage,” and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, “notwithstanding the fact that he can be a d***.”
“I had heard that you were upset that I encouraged a call between WJC and Richardson to bury the hatchet,” Podesta wrote to Clinton, referring to the former president by his initials.
He added that “not withstanding the fact that [Richardson] can be a dick, it was worth getting him in a good place.”
“He’s on Meet the Press on Sunday. Probably worth a quick call to ask him to stay stout and publicly endorse, but if it’s too galling, don’t bother,” Podesta wrote.
An email from an earlier batch included one from Richardson who wanted a call from Clinton before announcing his endorsement of her on ABC’s “This Week.”
December 2013: Podesta - David Plouffe exchange on Clinton planning for 2016 campaign
Another exchange with Obama campaign manager David Plouffe revealed Clinton was laying the groundwork for a possible run far earlier than previously known. In December of 2013, Plouffe agreed to “enlist” a “small number” of people to draw up a battle plan, but promised his helpers would have “no knowledge of who the project is for of course.”
Clinton advisor Cheryl Mills was equally secretive, telling Plouffe, “I have shared that we met with (Hillary Clinton) and (John Podesta); and with no others.”
April 2011: Jennifer Palmieri on Catholics
In an email from 2011 from John Halpin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, derided Catholic conservatives in an email to Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri, now the Clinton campaign’s communications director.
“Ken Auletta’s latest piece on Murdoch in the New Yorker starts off with the aside that both Murdoch and Robert Thompson, managing editor of the WSJ, are raising their kids Catholic,” Halpin wrote. “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC and think tanks to the media and social groups. It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”
Palmieri responded, “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
The Trump campaign seized on this revelation, which Gov. Mike Pence brought up in an address to students at Liberty University, which claims to be the largest evangelical Christian university in the world.
“We learned from another email release that a campaign official in [Hillary Clinton’s] campaign, back in 2011, actually said that conservatives chose the Catholic faith because they ‘think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,’” Pence said. “And she added in her email, their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals… It’s extraordinary.”
May 2015: Huma Abedin asks if Clinton can get away with not answering press questions until the fall
In another email exchange from May 2015 between Podesta, adviser Huma Abedin and Palmieri, Abedin said she had just spoken with Clinton, and they wanted to rethink their press strategy after the launch of the campaign.
“Can we survive not answering questions from press at message events,” Abedin wondered, proposing “in the fall, starting to do avails at message events, interviews and q and a with press but having had a series of policy proposals already announced and reported on that she could point to.”
Podesta rejected this idea. “If she thinks we can get to Labor Day without taking press questions, I think that’s suicidal,” he wrote. “We have to find some mechanism to let the stream out of the pressure cooker.”
Clinton held her first press conference in 2016 on Sept. 8. Since she inaugurarated her general election plane, she has begun talking with the press more regularly.
January 2016: Donna Brazile promises to “be your biggest surrogate” before primaries begin
And around the new year, there was an exchange with Donna Brazile in which Podesta wrote to Brazile, “Wishing you a happy New Year. 2015 was challenging, but we ended in a good place thanks to your help and support.”
“As soon as the nomination is wrapped up, I will be your biggest surrogate,” Brazile promised, seeming to forecast a Clinton victory. Brazile at the time was a vice chairwoman at the DNC, and this exchange took place before the first ballots had been cast in any of the presidential primaries.
Party rules demand officers of the DNC remain neutral during the primaries, and the exchange here suggests Brazile had a favorable disposition toward Clinton. In Tuesday’s WikiLeaks email release, an email from Brazile to Podesta seemed to suggest she had received a town hall debate question in advance and was sharing it with Clinton.
August 2015: Podesta weighs in on killer of Cecil the Lion
In an August 2015 email from Podesta to a Barry Bearak, a journalist at The New York Times, Podesta said that Bearak should write an op-ed calling for Cecil the lion’s “killer’s extradition.”
“What an a**h***,” Podesta wrote to Bearak. “Missed you at the reunion.”
Cecil, a well-known lion living in Hwange Game Reserve in Zimbabwe had been lured out of a national park so that an American big game hunter could track and kill him.
Tuesday, Oct. 11 email release:
Hacked emails show that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was slow to grasp the seriousness of the controversy over her use of a homebrew email server and believed it might blow over after one weekend.
Two days after The Associated Press was first to report in March 2015 that Clinton had been running a private server in her home in New York to send and receive messages when she was secretary of state, her advisers were shaping their strategy to respond to the revelation.
March 2015: Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill optimistic that private server issue will be short-lived
Among the emails made public Tuesday by WikiLeaks was one from Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill, who optimistically suggested that the issue might quickly blow over.
“Goal would be to cauterize this just enough so it plays out over the weekend and dies in the short term,” Merrill wrote on March 6, 2015.
It did not, and became the leading example of Clinton’s penchant for secrecy, which has persisted as a theme among her campaign critics and rivals throughout her election season. Clinton did not publicly confirm or discuss her use of the email server until March 10 in a speech at the United Nations, nearly one week after AP revealed the server’s existence.
March 2016: Donna Brazile - “From time to time I get the questions in advance”
In an email from mid-March just before a town hall hosted by CNN, Donna Brazile, then vice chair at the DNC, as well as a CNN contributor wrote to Palmieri, “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”
“Here’s one that worries me about HRC,” Brazile wrote, referring to Clinton, and she sent this question:
“DEATH PENALTY 19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty?”
Palmieri responded, “Yes, it is one she gets asked about. Not everyone likes her answer but can share it.”
As it turned out, Clinton was asked about the death penalty, but the phrasing of the question was different. Brazile and CNN have denied that she has ever had any of the questions in advance.
And some of the emails dealt with campaign messaging and strategy -- including the phrase “everyday Americans,” which Clinton and her campaign used frequently in the first few months of her candidacy.
May 2015: Brian Fallon says “DOJ folks” told him a court hearing in the Clinton State Department email case was planned soon
Months after Merrill’s message, the campaign was still preoccupied with emails. In May 2015, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon alerted other staffers that the Justice Department was proposing to publish Clinton’s work-related emails by January in response to requests by news organizations. Fallon, a former Justice Department spokesman, wrote that unspecified “DOJ folks” told him there was a court hearing planned soon in the case. The name and email address of the person who shared the information with Fallon had been deleted.
Donald Trump called Fallon’s email “unbelievable,” and his supporters said it showed collusion between the Obama administration and Clinton’s campaign.
But the dates of court hearings would have been publicly posted in advance on the court’s docket.
Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 campaign, at one point asked Podesta in an email: “Why doesn’t she just turn the server over to a third party at this point?”
March 2015: Nick Merrill suggests Larry Wilmore and Bill Clinton joke about Hillary Clinton emails
In emails from March 2015, Merrill suggested a strategy - ultimately nixed by Clinton herself - of having comedian Larry Wilmore and Bill Clinton joke during an event for the Clinton Global Initiative charity in Coral Gables, Florida, before having Clinton join them on stage.
Merrill laid out the scenario in emails to Podesta and other aides: “Wilmore could sit down with WJC and Chelsea and say something like ‘Thanks for having me here, it’s a pleasure. And I should tell you, I just emailed HRC (I hear she’s a big emailer), and asked if she’d join as well. (Laughter).’” He added that Hillary Clinton could then walk out “to applause.”
“It would be just light-hearted enough while giving her the opportunity to address this seriously, be a little conciliatory as discussed, and then get back to a discussion about CGI etc.,” Merrill wrote in the email.
In the end, Hillary Clinton’s team drafted talking points Clinton used at the news conference at the United Nations.
Clinton said she “fully complied with every rule that I was governed by” and that “there is no classified material” among her work-related emails.
Both of those statements were later proved false.
The State Department’s internal watchdog concluded in an audit released that Clinton ignored clear written guidance that her email setup broke federal record-keeping rules and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. The FBI’s recently closed investigation concluded that more than 100 emails exchanged through Clinton’s private server contained information that was later determined to be classified.
As the email controversy escalated in the summer of 2015, Clinton herself seemed slow to grasp the continuing political damage. Communications director Jennifer Palmieri in August expressed concerns that Clinton “wasn’t in the same place” on the issue as some on her campaign staff.
At the time, the political aides were working out details of revealing that Clinton had directed her staff to hand over her server and a thumb drive with copies of her emails to the Justice Department. Palmieri was writing other campaign aides to arrange for a Univision reporter to ask “a few questions on emails” during an interview that would otherwise focus on college affordability.
“As you all know, I had hoped that we could use the ‘server moment’ as an opportunity for her to be viewed as having take a big step to deal with the email problem that would best position us for what is ahead,” Palmieri wrote. “It is clear that she is not in same place.”
October 2015: speechwriter Dan Schwerin vets Clinton’s Benghazi statement
Dan Schwerin circulated among top Clinton advisers a draft of her opening statement to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, to be delivered the following week.
The draft itself wasn’t attached in the emails published Tuesday, but other messages showed how it was shaped, including a section referring to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.
“We might consider softening the ‘Chris did not believe retreat was an option - and neither do I’ line,” wrote Katherine Turner, a law partner of Clinton’s personal attorney David Kendall. “I don’t think we want to suggest that there was a commitment to be there at any and all costs.”
October 2015: Podesta floats another joke about Trump and Trey Gowdy
Following Clinton’s tense Oct. 22 testimony, Podesta proposed in an email that she could publicly joke, “I used to be obsessed with Donald Trump’s hair, that was until I got to spend 11 hours staring at the top of Trey Gowdy’s head,” a reference to the slicked-back white coif of the South Carolina Republican who chairs the committee.
Other Clinton aides shot down the idea.
“I love the joke too but I think HRC should stay above the committee,” adviser Jake Sullivan replied, “and especially above personal insults about it. She’s got every inch of the high ground right now.”
Palmieri replied: “Wow. You people are a bunch of ninnies.”
Speechwriter Dan Schwerin had sent out a draft of a speech he wrote for Clinton for an upcoming event in New Hampshire. After a few exchanges, Podesta recommended that the phrase “everyday Americans” get added in, even though he said Clinton doesn’t like using it.
“I know she has begun to hate everyday Americans, but I think we should use it once the first time she says I’m running for president because you and everyday Americans need a champion,” Podesta said. “I think if she doesn’t say it once, people will notice and say we false started in Iowa.”
Mon. Oct. 10 email release
Emails leaked Monday show consternation among those closest to Hillary Clinton about how Bill Clinton’s business dealings might damage his reputation and potentially affect her presidential hopes.
The emails, posted Monday by WikiLeaks also give insight into tension and turmoil within the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was serving as secretary of state. The chief operating officer of the family charity was reported to be threatening to commit suicide over the stress.
The emails that circulated among Podesta, Chelsea Clinton and former Bill Clinton aide Doug Band detail internal tensions that simmered inside the Clinton Foundation and appear to have played a role in Band’s departure from the family charity.
Internal concerns among Clinton family intimates about Band and the private corporate advisory firm he co-founded, Teneo Holdings, have been previously detailed in several media accounts. But the new emails provide raw glimpses of an apparent power struggle between the Clintons’ daughter and Band, who worked closely for Bill Clinton for more than a decade after the end of the Clinton administration.
December 2011: Chelsea Clinton says she’s concerned about Teneo (global consulting firm founded by former Clinton adviser Doug Band)
In an email exchange from December 2011, Chelsea Clinton tells Podesta and others - including Clinton adviser and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe - that she’s increasingly concerned about Teneo.
The email includes a forwarded news article that alleges that Bill Clinton had collected $50,000 a month through Teneo from MF Global, the commodities brokerage formerly run by former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, while MF Global was preparing to file for bankruptcy.
Chelsea Clinton told Podesta and others that two people separately came up to her at a London event for the Clinton Foundation to raise concerns that someone representing Teneo clients had been calling members of the British Parliament “on behalf of President Clinton” without her father’s knowledge. Chelsea Clinton said the calls had people in London “making comparisons” between the “profit motivations” of the former president and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“Which would horrify my father,” Chelsea Clinton wrote.
November 2011: Doug Band (founder of Teneo, former adviser to Bill Clinton): Chelsea Clinton “acting like a spoiled brat kid”
Band wrote in an email that Chelsea Clinton seemed more concerned about critical news coverage about MF Global, a derivatives broker, and Band’s advisory firm, Teneo, than published reports about Bill Clinton’s infidelity.
“I realize it is difficult to confront and reason with her but this could go (too) far and then we all will have a real serious set of other problems,” Band vented in an exchange sent to Podesta. “I don’t deserve this from her and deserve a tad more respect. ... She is acting like a spoiled brat kid who has nothing else to do but create issues to justify what she’s doing because she, as she has said, hasn’t found her way and has a lack of focus in her life.”
The emails reflect the ascendance of Chelsea Clinton - as early as 2011 - inside the family charity. The younger Clinton was recently was anointed as the Clinton Foundation’s future leader if her mother wins the presidency next month. Bill Clinton announced in August that he planned to step down from the charity’s board if his wife becomes president. Chelsea Clinton will remain on the organization’s board.
Bill Clinton explained in a letter to supporters in August that he would resign and stop raising funds for the charity to eliminate “legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.”
Calls seeking comment from the Clinton Foundation and from Teneo, where Band works, received no response Monday.
December 2011: Band blames Bill and Chelsea Clinton for driving Clinton Foundation COO Laura Graham “to the edge”
Also in December 2011, Clinton Foundation chief operating officer Laura Graham contacted Band to complain that stress she blamed on the former president and Chelsea Clinton was causing her to consider suicide.
Band wrote that when Graham called him, she was in her car parked near the water with her foot on the gas pedal. He said he dissuaded her from hurting herself.
“She called me to tell me the stress of all of this office crap with wjc and cvc as well as that of her family had driven her to the edge and she couldn’t take it anymore,” Band wrote in an email to Podesta and Cheryl Mills, then Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff.
Graham later departed the Clinton Foundation, taking a new job with the Empire State Development Corporation. Phone messages left for Graham on Monday received no response.
Friday, Oct. 7 Podesta email release
Potentially problematic excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches were flagged for her campaign in an email that was sent to chairman John Podesta and other senior staff this past January.
The email was released Friday by Wikileaks, part of a batch of what it says were 2,060 emails hacked from an account belonging to Podesta. The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the emails.
January 2016: Hillary Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches - excerpts
“Team, attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA. I put some highlights below. There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with policy,” a staffer wrote on January 25, 2016.
Harry Walker Agency is the speaker’s bureau that arranged Clinton’s lucrative speech circuit after she left the State Department, which included $3 million dollars from speeches to banks and financial firms -- $675,000 came from three speeches from Goldman Sachs. The 25 flagged excerpts likely point to why Clinton and her campaign have refused to release the transcripts, despite coming under fire from Senator Bernie Sanders during the primary.
Less than two weeks after the email was sent, on February 4, Clinton was asked during a debate whether she’d release the transcripts of all her paid speeches and she said, “I will look into it. I don’t know the status, but I will certainly look into it.”
When asked again during an April 4 debate, Clinton said she would release them if Sanders and Donald Trump released their tax returns. “You know, let’s set the same standard for everybody,” Clinton said. “When everybody does it, OK, I will do it, but let’s set and expect the same standard on tax returns.”
The first flagged email has the subject line “Clinton Admits She Is Out of Touch.” In a February 4, 2014 speech to what was referred to as “Goldman-Black Rock”, Clinton said “And I am not taking a position on any policy, but I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged…We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn’t believe in mortgages. So I lived that. And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
Another flag came from a speech to the National Multi-Housing Council on April 24, 2013: “Clinton Says You Need to Have a Private and Public Position on Policy.”
“I mean, politics is like sausage being made,” she said in the speech according to the excerpt. “It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”
In an October 23, 2013 speech to the Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium, “Clinton Talks About Holding Wall Street Accountable Only for Political Reasons.”
Clinton said she started traveling in February of 2009 “so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the conventional wisdom. And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening?”
Other excerpts from the internal email are flagged as “CLINTON SUGGESTS WALL STREET INSIDERS ARE WHAT IS NEEDED TO FIX WALL STREET, *CLINTON ADMITS NEEDING WALL STREET FUNDING”, “CLINTON TOUTS HER RELATIONSHIP TO WALL STREET AS A SENATOR”, “CLINTON TALKS ABOUT THE CHALLENGES RUNNING FOR OFFICE”, “CLINTON IS AWARE OF SECURITY CONCERNS AROUND BLACKBERRIES”, “CLINTON REMARKS ARE PRO KEYSTONE AND PRO TRADE”, “CLINTON IS MORE FAVORABLE TO CANADIAN HEALTH CARE AND SINGLE PAYER”
A Clinton campaign official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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