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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Clinton Campaign Wanted to Make the Most of ‘SERVER MOMENT’

Hillary Clinton

Socio-political commentary ... 

Morgan Chalfant.

Leaked exchanges show how staffers, insiders handled Clinton’s private email controversy

Top Clinton aides plotted to use their candidate’s “server moment”—the delivery of her private server and thumb drives of emails to the FBI—to show that the former secretary of state was taking a “big step” to deal with the “email problem,” an exchange hacked from the inbox of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta on Tuesday shows.
Clinton and her lawyer, David Kendall,turned over the server and thumb drives containing copies of her work-related communications to FBI investigators in August 2015.
In an Aug. 8, 2015, email exchange, Podesta, Kendall, top Clinton State Department aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and several high-level Clinton campaign staffers discussed plans for managing the fallout from the embarrassing development.
“I will send her the statement and press plan so we can present in one document. I have a new thought on potential interviewer—Maria Elena Salinas of Univision. I would bill it as an interview on college affordability and she would ask her a few questions on emails,” wrote Jennifer Palmieri, then the communications director for Hillary for America.
“As you all know, I had hoped that we could use the ‘server moment’ as an opportunity for her to be viewed as having take a big step to deal with the email problem that would best position us for what is ahead. It is clear that she is not in same place (unless John has a convo with her and gets her in a different place),” Palmieri continued.
“Accepting that, I think Univision is best chance for success. We have momentum coming out of Jeb’s women’s health comment and their bad debate,” Palmieri wrote, referring to GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s comment about federal funding for women’s health. “A Univision interview will be viewed as more offense and show that she is confident and not rattled.”
Clinton was interviewed by Salinas for Univision four days later. She was briefly questioned on the issue of her private email during the interview.
Messages contained in a trove of Podesta’s emails made public by WikiLeaks in recent days show how Clinton campaign staffers sought to craft and control the former secretary of state’s message on the issue. The directors of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security have accused “Russia’s senior-most officials” of hacking and leaking emails posted to Wikileaks and other sites to influence and interfere with the 2016 election.
An Aug. 21, 2015, email exchange centers on a script addressing Clinton’s email use and shows Palmieri worrying about reporters chasing “tangents.”
“Still think it is way too long and has too many tangents that are distracting and press will chase,” Palmieri wrote of the draft statement. “Also I don’t think it has our core argument that nothing she sent or rec’d [received] was classified at the time. I will make more edits and send back around.”
After receiving an updated version, Palmieri wrote, “Robby’s version is better, but still focuses on the Blackberry, which is weird and press will find suspicious.”
The argument that Clinton neither sent nor received classified information on her personal email has been debunked by the FBI, which found in its investigation that 113 emails on Clinton’s private system were classified at the time they were sent or received. While the bureau faulted Clinton and her staff for being “extremely careless” in their handling of sensitive information, the FBI did not recommend the Justice Department pursue charges in the case.
Clinton said that she chose to use personal email at the State Department because of the convenience of carrying only one device. Investigative materials made public by the FBI earlier this year identified 13 different mobile devices associated with Clinton’s phone numbers that could have been used to access emails on her personal system.
The email issue has continued to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign. The newly leaked emails also show that it raised questions among Clinton insiders.
For example, Neera Tanden, a longtime Clinton ally and head of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, wondered in an email to Podesta last year why Clinton didn’t turn over her private server to a third party.
“Why doesn’t she just turn the server over to a third party at this point?” Tanden wrote on Aug. 12. “Isn’t it going to leak out of the FBI anyway?”
“Done so think about something else,” Podesta wrote in response.
After Clinton’s private email use was revealed by the New York Times in March of last year, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) asked the former secretary of state to give her server to a third party for a “neutral” investigation of its contents. The FBI did not begin probing Clinton’s email use until later that year, after U.S. intelligence officials determined that some emails contained classified information.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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