'Doofus Bernie': #PodestaEmails11 reveal more contempt for Sanders

The latest release is part of a batch of 50,000 Wikileaks claim to possess.  © Lucy Nicholson
The 11th tranche of emails from John Podesta has been released by WikiLeaks. The batch includes discussion around Clinton's potential vice presidential candidates and further evidence of contempt for Bernie Sanders within the campaign.

It’s understood this leak comprises almost 2,000 emails, of a total of 50,000 from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair which the whistleblowing website claims to possess.

Yesterday’s release included campaign staff exchanges on handling media queries about Clinton “flip-flopping” on gay marriage, galvanizing Latino support and locking down Clinton’s healthcare policy.

Doofus Bernie

In an email chain from December 2015, Podesta messaged Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, regarding the Paris Climate Conference and referred to Bernie Sanders as a “doofus" for attacking the deal.

READ MORE: ‘Historic accord’ on climate adopted, activists in Paris denounce deal as ‘weak’

"We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that,” Sanders said in a statement on the day the pact was agreed. Sanders also said one month before that climate change “is directly related to the growth of terrorism.”

In January 2016, Podesta asks Tanden to “do an intervention” in the endorsement of Bernie Sanders by Benjamin Jealous, a former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“Why would he do that? i'm happy to reach out to him. Not sure he will care, but happy to try,” Tanden tells Podesta in the mail. Jealous went on to endorse Sanders for his presidential bid.

READ MORE: ‘This isn’t trust’: Sanders on difference between voting for & supporting Clinton 

Potential VP candidates

A list of potential VP nominees categorized in “rough food groups” is detailed in a mail from Podesta to Clinton. The 39 names include founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, his wife Melinda, Apple CEO Tim Cook and, categorized in his own separate group, Bernie Sanders.

Michael Bloomberg is also included, along with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen.

An analysis of the “food groups” revealed Podesta, along with others in Clinton’s team, grouped potential VPs into seven categories:

  • Politicians of Latino descent
  • Female politicians
  • White male politicians
  • Black male politicians
  • Military
  • Business magnates
  • Bernie Sanders


Race and sex are again focal points for choosing positions, as revealed in a 2008 mail from Obama advisor Mike Froman to Podesta. Froman reveals he failed to attract African-American Susan Collins (then Dean at the University of Michigan) to a position described as “Chair”.

“I don't how you want to go back to him on things like this. I don't think there is another candidate of color who folks would be comfortable putting up as Chair, though either Ceci or Peter (as a stretch) could be a Member,” Froman says.

Podesta replies, “Can you call Larry and see what minorities he would put in top tier? Could be an asian. I know this isn't Larry's taste, but better if a woman.”

Thumb drive

A July 24, 2015 email from Clinton’s longtime lawyer, David Kendall, discussed the intelligence community inspector general’s notifying of Congress of a compromise of classified information in Clinton’s emails, and revealed the lawyer was in possession of a thumb drive containing Clinton’s private emails.

A Washington Post report from the same date revealed the Justice Department had been notified of a potential compromise when it had received a “referral” from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Agencies, Charles McCullough III.

According to Kendall, “the report explicitly states that none of those emails bore classification or dissemination-limitation markings. It goes on to say that its own IC IG review of the 55,000 pages determined that at least 4 of these emails should have been classified 'secret' on account of them containing IC information subject to such classification and that a thumb drive containing these emails is presently in the possession of David Kendall (that would be me) at Williams & Connolly."

“This appears to be the only reference to a “referral” in the notification,” Kendall’s email concludes. 

A statement from the Office of Inspector General explains the “main purpose of the referral was to notify security officials that classified information may exist on at least one private server and thumb drive that are not in the government's possession.”

FBI notes from Clinton’s email investigation released in September revealed a Clinton Foundation laptop and thumb drive were missing. 

“Neither Hanley nor [redacted] could identify the current whereabouts of the archive laptop or thumb drive containing the archive, and the FBI does not have either item in its possession,” the FBI’s notes read.

Goldman money

In a February 2016 email, strategist Tom Cosgrove sent Podesta three ideas to help Clinton’s campaign. He suggests giving the “Goldman money” to the Children's Defense Fund, as “it gives her a legitimate opportunity to get the public to appreciate her long history of social justice in a way that just talking about it or advertising it doesn't.”

Cosgrove suggests she use a variation of the line, “I'm all for Senator Sanders goals and will push them when 218 members of the House and 60 Senators are saints. But we know for a fact that the next Congress will not be filled with Saints.”

Inspired by Jeb

Clinton’s camp took inspiration from Jeb Bush’s stance on the economy, liaising with a research group which praises Bush’s “message” for attracting “half of african americans and democrats and two thirds of latinos.”

“Some thought it ended too harsh. But the perspective on the economy has really worked. Now we didn't tell people this was from bush. But its a warning,” reads the mail from Lake Research to Clinton advisor Minyon Moore.

The opposition

Tapes containing nine hours of conversation with Donald Trump from Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success author Michael D'Antonio are offered to Clinton consultant Janet Keller in a mail dated March 4, 2016. “He does not want to be paid,” Keller is advised in the mail entitled ‘Opposition research’.

Harvard professor Larry Lessig, who announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in August 2015, is harshly criticized in an email by Neera Tanden.

“I f*cking hate that guy. Like I'd like to kick the sh*t out of him on twitter...but I know that is dumb,” Tanden writes to Podesta. Lessig subsequently withdrew from the race before the 2016 primaries began.