Podesta files: Top 10 revelations from leaked Clinton campaign emails
By Wednesday, WikiLeaks has released more than 7,000 emails sent or received by Podesta, offering glimpses into the workings of the Clinton campaign, as well as the Podesta-founded Center for American Progress.
Clinton’s associates have reacted angrily at the releases, with her campaign spokesman Brian Fallon accusing WikiLeaks of being “a propaganda arm of the Russian government running interference for their pet candidate, Trump.”
Here is a list of 10 strange things about the Democratic presidential hopeful found in the leaked emails.
1. Attitude towards ‘everyday Americans’
One email has in particular generated much debate, revealing that Clinton hates “everyday Americans” – or that particular phrase, anyway.
“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 wrote to Clinton's Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri in April 2015.
2. ‘Cultivating’ certain media
In an attempt to confirm Clinton’s attendance at an event on April 12, 2015, the day she announced her presidential bid, Podesta emailed Palmieri about the news website Business Insider. They both described the outlet as right wing.
“Am I right that they're right wing? They get a fair amount of traffic,” Podesta asked.
“They are right wing, but Philippe [Reines, Clinton's former State Department aide] weirdly has cultivated them,” Palmieri replied.
3. Clinton knew ISIS received support from US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar
According to another email, Clinton was well aware that Saudi Arabia and Qatar – major US allies in the Middle East – are providing “clandestine financial and logistic support to IS [formerly ISIS/ISIL] and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” contrary to their assurances of the otherwise.
“While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” said the email she sent to Podesta.
4. Most Clinton Foundation donors are not American
In 2013, speaking to Mediacorp, Clinton admitted that the largest share of donations made to the Clinton Foundation came from abroad.
“Canadians per capita are the biggest supporters of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, so it's great to be supported by so many Canadians,” Clinton said, according to the Washington Examiner.
5. New DNC chair was the ‘mole’ leaking Bernie Sanders doc
In January, Donna Brazile – former campaign adviser to Bill Clinton in the 1990s and a high-ranking official in the Democratic National Committee – passed along to the Clinton campaign an email from the Bernie Sanders campaign revealing his strategy to reach African-American community through social media, called the ‘Twitterstorm Tuesday.’
“Thank you for the heads up on this Donna,” responded Adrienne Elrod, a Clinton campaign aide.
Brazile replaced Clinton confidante Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was forced to resign as DNC chair after the party files were leaked just prior to the convention in July. She tried to justify the action, saying there were “plenty of emails from me to both team Clinton and Sanders.” She has also accused those who reported on the emails of working overtime for Trump and “his Russian hackers.”
6. Policy-making and ‘backroom deals’ should be concealed from voters
Among the first batch of emails were partial transcripts of speeches Clinton gave after leaving the State Department. In one such speech in 2013, Clinton said policy-making process should be concealed from voters as backroom deals it includes could make people "nervous."
"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," Clinton said during a speech to the National Multi-Housing Council, for which she earned $225,000, according to the Washington Examiner.
7. 'Can't possibly' vet all refugees
At a luncheon for the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago Vanguard in October 2013, Clinton said that the influx of Syrian refugees into neighboring Jordan – fueled by the ongoing civil war – makes checking identities of all asylum seekers impossible.
"And particularly with Syria which has everyone quite worried, Jordan because it's on their border and they have hundreds of thousands of refugees and they can't possibly vet all those refugees so they don't know if, you know, jihadists are coming in along with legitimate refugees," Clinton said, according to speech transcripts found in Podesta's emails.
8. No-fly zone over Syria impractical due to ‘sophisticated anti-aircraft systems’
During the second presidential debate on Sunday evening, Clinton championed an idea of introducing a no-fly zone over certain parts of Syria. However, in a speech paid for by Goldman Sachs in June 2013, she was deeply skeptical that such measure could work in modern Syria.
"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," Clinton said, according to leaked speech excerpts.
"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."
9. Chelsea Clinton ‘acted like a spoiled brat’
A December 2011 email from Doug Band, a lawyer who helped create the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), said that that Chelsea Clinton was hardly caring about “her role” in the office problems.
“But I'm sure Chelsea is more concerned with a mostly false story in the distinguished [NY] post about [MF Global] and Teneo not her role in what happened to Laura/Bruce, what she is doing to the organization or the several of stories that have appeared in the NY Post about her father and a multitude of women over the years,” Band wrote.
In a separate email to Podesta a month earlier, he said Chelsea was “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.”
10. ‘Extraterrestrials, the highest form of intelligence working directly with God’
Aliens want to help humans but are afraid of violence on Earth, Apollo program astronaut Edgar Mitchell wrote to Podesta in 2015, citing an impending space war and the Vatican’s knowledge of alien life.
“Because the War in Space race is heating up, I felt you should be aware of several factors as you and I schedule our Skype talk,” wrote Mitchell, who died in February 2016.
Terri Mansfield, who describes herself online as “the Director of the ETI (Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Peace Task Force” has also been mentioned in one of Mitchell’s emails. Referred to as Mitchell’s “Catholic colleague,” Mansfield is also said to be attending the meeting with Podesta “to bring us up to date on the Vatican’s awareness of ETI.”
On her website, Mansfield describes ETIs as being “the highest form of intelligence working directly with God.”