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19 Oct, 2016 12:31

'What planet is she on?': Clinton adviser mocks Hillary in latest #PodestaEmails

'What planet is she on?': Clinton adviser mocks Hillary in latest #PodestaEmails

WikiLeaks has released its 12th batch of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. This brings the total number of emails released to date to over 21,000.

The whistleblowing website has previously stated that there are around 50,000 emails in total, with previous leaks exposing the Clinton campaign’s cozy relationship with the media, its efforts to stop former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders making the White House and the long-awaited speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs.

Tuesday’s release included a list of potential vice presidential picks, categorized by race and gender, opposition research on Trump, and staffers describing Sanders as a “doofus” and saying they “f*cking hate” potential Democratic nominee Larry Lessig.

What planet?

Clinton’s description of herself as a moderate Democrat at a September 2015 event in Ohio causes some uproar amongst her team. In a mail from adviser Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to Podesta in the days following the comment she asks why she said this.

“I pushed her on this on Sunday night. She claims she didn't remember saying it. Not sure I believe her,” Podesta replies. Tanden insists that the comment has made her job more difficult after “telling every reporter I know she's actually progressive”.

“It worries me more that she doesn't seem to know what planet we are all living in at the moment,” she adds.

Hillary's dicey territory

Emails between Clinton’s foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan and Tanden from March 2016 discussed how it was “REALLY dicey territory” for Clinton to comment on strengthening “bribery laws to ensure that politicians don’t change legislation for political donations.”

Tanden agrees with Sullivan, “She may be so tainted she's really vulnerable = if so, maybe a message of I've seen how this sausage is made, it needs to stop, I'm going to stop it will actually work.”

Rehearsing for the server scandal

A September 2015 email exchange between Podesta and Nick Merrill provided “core language” to be used in response to questions Clinton could be asked about her email server, and the decision to “bleach” emails from it. 

The emails contain long and short versions of responses for Clinton. 

“Because the government already had everything that was work-related, and my personal emails were just that –  personal – I didn’t see a reason to keep them so I asked that they be deleted, and that’s what the company that managed my server did. And we notified Congress of that back in March,” the mail reads.

Another answer is provided for the question, “Why won’t you say whether you wiped it?”

“After we went through the process to determine what was work related and what was not and provided the work related emails to State, I decided not to keep the personal ones,” the response reads.

“We saved the work-related ones on a thumb drive that is now with the Department of Justice. And as I said in March, I chose not to keep the personal ones. I asked that they be deleted, how that happened was up to the company that managed the server. And they are cooperating fully with anyone that has questions.”

Comcast-owned NBC dismissed Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state as unimportant in a mail dated September 27, 2015.

John Harwood, the chief Washington correspondent for CNBC tells Podesta how he believes it is “amazing” that “some people still think it's worth burning so much interview time with person most likely to be next president on her emails”.

READ MORE: Top State Dept official accused of offering FBI ‘quid pro quo’ to declassify Clinton emails

The mail was sent to Podesta a day after the US Defense Department announced that it had discovered an email chain that Clinton had not handed over, despite claiming to have provided it with all of her work emails.

Make love to Bernie... or kneecap him

In a September 2015 email to Podesta, Hill columnist Brent Budowsky criticized the campaign for allegedly giving Clinton surrogates talking points to attack Bernie Sanders.

“I cannot think of anything more stupid and self-destructive for a campaign to do,” he says. “Especially for a candidate who has dangerously low levels of public trust,” and in light of Sanders’ campaign being based on “cleaning up politics.”

Budowsky warns voters would be “disgusted” by attacks against Sanders and says he wouldn’t discourage Podesta from sharing the note with Clinton because “if she wants to become president she needs to understand the point I am making with crystal clarity.”

"Make love to Bernie and his idealistic supporters, and co-opt as many of his progressive issues as possible," suggests Budowsky.

Budowsky also adds that he was at a Washington university where “not one student gave enough of a damn for Hillary to open a booth, or even wear a Hillary button.”

He then goes on to volunteer to write talking points himself.

Clinton’s team issued some stark advise regarding her tactics for the “make or break” Democratic presidential debate with Sanders in Milwaukee on February 11, 2016.

The mail to Podesta came from Philip Munger, a philanthropist known for his hefty donations to the Democratic Party. He sent the mail using an encrypted anonymous email service.

“She's going to have to kneecap him. She is going to have to take him down from his morally superior perch. She has done so tentatively. She must go further,” he says.

A number of tactics for attacking Sanders are listed in the mail where Munger boasts “I was captain of the debate squad. I was considered one of the greatest debaters of my era. (not to brag, just establishing some cred).”

Netanyahu & Israel

A November 2015 email between Laura Rosenberger and Stuart Eizenstat, a former ambassador to the European Union and special adviser on Holocaust issues, discussed Clinton’s upcoming op-ed in Forward ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US.

“The intent is to make this more about the relationship and her personal connection, and go lighter on the policy side,” Laura says.

Eizenstat forwards his edits with the note, “we must be careful on not seeming naïve on the two state solution. She must support it, but suggest initial confidence building steps now.”

“I have also put in language, more like her Brookings speech, on Iran,” he adds.  

The Forward op-ed titled ‘How I Would Reaffirm Unbreakable Bond With Israel — and Benjamin Netanyahu’ promised to have Netanyahu visit the White House and to continue to “strengthen America’s security commitment to Israel.”

The Iran additions read, “We must remain committed to preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon, and to vigorously enforcing the new nuclear agreement. I would move to step up our partnership to confront Iran and its proxies across the region, and make sure dangerous Russian and Iranian weapons don’t end up in Hezbollah’s hands or threaten Israel.”

Some media pointers

In a separate email exchange from June 30, 2015, Budowsky contacted Podesta regarding a piece he wrote which he describes as being “positive” and “carefully written” to aid Clinton’s campaign.

“John, I have only 1 mention of HRC, positive, carefully written, and designed to give her some cover with liberals,” Budowsky writes.


Clinton campaigners discussed how to tackle Clinton’s stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership in November 2015.

National Policy Director for Hillary for America Amanda Renteria explains, “The goal here was to minimize our vulnerability to the authenticity attack and not piss off the WH any more than necessary.”

Democratic pollster Joel Benenson says, “the reality is HRC is more pro trade than anti and trying to turn her into something she is not could reinforce our negative [sic] around authenticity. This is an agreement that she pushed for and largely advocated for.”

Part of the system

Clinton’s team acknowledges she is “part of the system” in an email regarding her strategies. “We are also going to test some messages that include acknowledgement of being part of the system, and know how much has to change,” political strategist Stan Greenberg advises Podesta.

What will she say next?

Clinton's words have to be tightly managed by her team who are wary of what she might say, one email revealed. After the Iowa Democratic Party’s presidential debate in November 2015 adviser Ron Klain mails Podesta to say, “If she says something three times as an aside during practice (Wall Street supports me due to 9/11), we need to assume she will say it in the debate, and tell her not to do so.”

Klain’s mail reveals Sanders was their biggest fear in the debate. “The only thing that would have been awful – a Sanders break out – didn't happen. So all in all, we were fine,” he says.

The mail also reveals Klain’s role in securing his daughter Hannah a position on Clinton’s team. “I’m not asking anyone to make a job, or put her in some place where she isn't wanted – it just needs a nudge over the finish line,” Klain says.

Hannah Klain worked on Clinton’s Surrogates team for nine months commencing in the month after her father’s mail to Podesta, according to her Linkedin.

Covering all bases

A November 2008 email from Federico Peña, who was on the Obama-Biden transition team, called for a “Latino media person” to be added to the list of staff to appeal to Latino voters. Federico de Jesus or Vince Casillas are seen as ideal candidates, both of whom were working in the Chicago operations.

“More importantly, it would helpful (sic) to Barack to do pro-active outreach to Latino media across the country to get our positive message out before people start spreading negative rumors,” Peña writes.

Embarrassing brothers

A May 2015 email between Podesta and Tanden appears to imply Clinton’s brothers are a source of embarrassment for the campaign.

In an email titled, ‘Glad you said no’ Tanden writes, “When H asked us to hire her old friend,” and Podesta replies, “Yup. Maybe we can rent the Queen Mary for the next 18 months and fill it with her brothers and assorted crazy hangers on sail around and around.”