'We are nervous about this': Team Clinton weigh email server jokes in #Podesta15 release
Wikileaks has released its 15th batch of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
The whistleblowing website has already released half of the 50,000 mails it vowed to publish in the lead up to the presidential election on November 8.
The latest tranche comprises of around 1,095 emails on a range of campaign operations.
Saturday’s release includes emails calling a Sanders adviser a “f**ker”, incorporating Martin Luther King Jr quotes into Clinton speeches, and referring to the Daily Show as “infuriatingly disgusting”.
The previous data dumps have revealed details of Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, insights into Clinton’s relationship with the MSM, Clinton insiders’ negative opinions of Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton, as well as criticism of the candidate herself from her aides.
The leaks have also included emails allegedly from an account used by US president Barack Obama, and details of Obama and Bill Clinton’s involvement in influencing the EU’s Greece austerity deal.
Slamming a Sanders adviser
The emails leaked on Saturday include one exchange from earlier this year among Clinton aides criticizing former Center for American Progress (CAP) vice-president Faiz Shakir for advising Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders.
In the email chain, Podesta says he gave Shakir “a very hard time” over the move, adding, “I have to say this does not go down easy with me.”
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP, responded simply: “He's a f**ker.”
Email server ‘jokes’
In an email thread from March 2015, Hillary Clinton’s PR team discusses innovative - and potentially lighthearted - ways to respond to the private email server scandal.
“I wanted to float idea of HRC making a joke about the email situation,” Clinton’s Director of Communications, Jennifer Palmieri, starts the discussion.
Her Press Secretary, Nick Merril responds: “I don’t think it’s nuts if we can come up with the right thing. But it could also be nuts…”
Deputy Communications Director Kristina Schake offers her take, writing: “I think it would be good for her to show some humor. This is her crowd so the response would be great. Also Dan is looking to add more humor overall so more jokes are welcome too.”
However, Clinton’s PR firm, Grunwald Communications, steps in with long time adviser Mandy Grunwald offering a sober assessment: “We don't know what's in the emails, so we are nervous about this. Might get a big laugh tonight and regret it when content of emails is disclosed.”
Military shopping in Afghanistan
In a March 2014 email titled ‘Afghan Economy’, John Podesta’s son Gabe, an Air Force Judge Advocate, wrote to his father from Afghanistan, comparing his workplace to the fashion show ‘Project Runway’.
“My coworkers spend multiple duty hours each and every day shopping at the bazaars. They buy jewelry. They buy rugs. They buy electronics. They buy fur coats. Fur coats!
"Not a day goes by without someone coming into my office to show off a new purchase. My Afghanistan workplace is Project Runway and I'm Tim Gunn - I disapprove of everything around me and hope everyone will be sent home.”
Podesta Jr. also reveals that bank statements from his colleagues showed they had spent between $5,000 and $10,000 since being posted to Afghanistan.
“Rather than speak up, however, I sit here meekly and feign agreement with the ridiculous notion that a mink fur will look resplendent at the Dyess Officers' Club in Abilene, TX when she redeploys this summer,” he notes.
He ends the email to his father humorously: “And no, I will not put in purchase orders for you. Gabe”.
‘The truth is out there’
The latest batch of Podesta’s emails leaks continued to keep UFO enthusiasts in suspense after a chain between Clinton’s Press Secretary Nick Merrill and Mother Jones reporter AJ Vicens showed Podesta still believes the “truth is out there”.
In 2015, Vicens reached out to Merrill in the hope of garnering a quote from Podesta in relation to an extraterrestrial tweet he posted after resigning as Senior Adviser for President Obama - to take on his role in the Clinton campaign.
"Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the #disclosure of the UFO files. #thetruthisstilloutthere," read the tweet. The account has since been taken over by the current Senior Advisor Brian Deese.
“My story is about Podesta UFO tweet from February, and how UFO folks seem optimistic that a Hillary White House would mean a better chance at actual US government UFO disclosure,” wrote Vicens.
Together Merrill and Podesta agreed to give Mother Jones the line: “Our non-campaign has a strict policy of not commenting on extraterrestrial activity.” Podesta suggested the addition, “but the truth is out there”.
Earlier WikiLeaks releases revealed emails from 2008 in which Podesta answered “UFO questions” by saying “The American people can handle the truth”.
Podesta, who had called for the release of any official documents relating to Area 51 back in 2002, also tweeted on the subject in 2013.