Clinton campaign kept close DOJ ties during private email server probe – WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks-released emails show Hillary Clinton campaign aides corresponding with Justice Department officials as the FBI’s investigated the private email server scandal. The White House denies that the FBI’s decision to not recommend charges was influenced by politics.
In “part 3” of the WikiLeaks series “The Podesta Emails,” consisting of released emails connected to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, one message from May 19, 2015 sticks out.
In that email exchange, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon shares information shared with him by “DOJ folks” regarding a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold in relation to tens of thousands of Clinton emails held on her private servers. Fallon also happens to be a former Department of Justice spokesman.
“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 writes.
That status hearing date was publicly available, so the content of the email is not what is driving further controversy into the 2016 election. It is the context, and Donald Trump is not letting the opportunity to exploit the optics go untaken.
"Today's report that Clinton's campaign was in communication with the Obama Department of Justice on the email investigation shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation into her private server," Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesman, said Tuesday in a statement.
Trump simply tweeted, “Wow. Unbelievable.” when he heard the news.
“Instead of facing consequences for her actions like others have, she’s been protected at every turn by the Obama Administration so she can continue the failed policies of the last eight years," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus piled on in a statement.
The White House would not comment when asked whether it was “appropriate” to have Clinton campaign staffers in contact with DOJ officials during an investigation of the candidate, but Press Secretary Josh Earnest did insist that no political influence corrupted the FBI probe.
“Both the attorney general and the FBI director have made clear that the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was conducted without regard to partisan politics,” Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to The Hill.
Two months prior to Fallon’s email, on March 16, Clinton campaign Deputy Communications Director Kristina Schake wrote to campaign staffers asking if Clinton knew Loretta Lynch, whose confirmation as the next US attorney general was in limbo in Congress. The ultimate question was about whether or not Clinton’s Twitter account handlers would send out a tweet of support to Lynch during a partisan battle on Capitol Hill.
“She knows Loretta,” Podesta replied. “Not an extremely close relationship and don't remember last time they connected,” he added, elaborating on Clinton not favoring Lynch as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s lieutenant governor. “Regardless, definitely a cordial relationship. I would vote for a tweet.”
In previously released caches of emails, a January 2015 campaign document mentions Maggie Haberman, once a Politico reporter but now covering the election at the New York Times. Haberman is referred to as a “friendly journalist” who has “never disappointed” in her reporting on Clinton. The next month, Haberman penned an article for the Times titled ‘Hillary Clinton Begins Process of Vetting – Herself’. It glowingly wrote of how committed to transparency she was.
Another campaign document leaked was called ‘The Press and Surrogate Plan’, which listed those in the media believed or known to be on Clinton’s side and willing to appear neutral while covering Clinton in a favorable light. Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, is believed to be behind the document, based on the metadata.