From media collusion to evidence of corruption, a guide to the most important leaked Podesta emails.
Since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange began publishing emails hacked from Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account, Americans have been deluged with damaging and embarrassing revelations about the former secretary of state.
Even if the broadcast networks have barely noticed.
“Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC. Most I can probably ID but not all.”
Some of the emails confirm what Clinton’s critics suspected all along. Others depict a campaign staff driven to search for the political angle at every conceivable turn. And still others reveal just how negatively the Clintonistas describe various groups of Americans when they think the rest of the world is not listening.
So quickly have the revelations come — WikiLeaks have been releasing thousands of emails almost daily — that it can be difficult to keep up. So here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of the most important things we’ve learned since the first Podesta email drop on Oct. 7.
1) Damning evidence of Clinton Foundation corruption. Perhaps the most incriminating set of emails to be released over the past week did not even come from WikiLeaks. ABC News used emails that the Republican National Committee obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from Clinton’s tenure of secretary of state to make a strong case that the State Department under her leadership favored Clinton Foundation donors with lucrative contracts to rebuild Haiti after a 2011 earthquake.
“Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC [Bill Clinton],” a senior State Department official wrote to a Clinton Foundation aide.”Most I can probably ID but not all.”
Applicants deemed “WJC VIPs” or FOB (Friends of Bill) got special attention, while those who did not pass that test got referred to the general government website, according to ABC.
State Department emails obtained by Citizens United, meanwhile, show that a taxpayer-funded poll of Haitians included a question assessing Bill Clinton’s favorability.
Another email, published by WikiLeaks, shows the government of Qatar pledged in 2012 to donate $1 million to the foundation despite Hillary Clinton’s promise not to accept new donations from foreign governments after she became secretary of state.
2) Clinton dreamed of “open borders.” A paid speech that Clinton delivered in 2013 to the Brazilian bank Banco Itau included this potentially politically problematic passage: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”
Despite pressure from Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders, Clinton resisted releasing transcripts of speeches she delivered for hundreds of thousands of dollars after leaving government service — and now we know why.
Republican opponents long have used “open borders” as a pejorative to describe Clinton’s immigration proposals. But even her harshest critics likely never imagined she would admit it so unambiguously.
In response to a question following a speech at the Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators Summit in October 2013, Clinton complained about a “backward-looking view” of America that was skeptical of immigration and government investment.
“They have to be rejected because they are fundamentally un-American,” she said, according to the transcript provided by WikiLeaks.
3) Hillary takes public and private positions. Courtesy of WikiLeaks, the world now knows that Clinton thinks politicians cannot be transparent with the public.
“You just have to sort of figure out how to — getting back to that word, ‘balance’ — how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today,” she told the National Multi-Housing Council on April 23, 2013. “It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But 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.”
4) The Clinton camp used journalists — sometimes with willing participation. The WikiLeaks emails show a level of collusion with the mainstream media that even critics of the news business found breathtaking. In a January 2015 memo, campaign spokesman Nick Merrill assured the staff that Politico reporter Maggie Haberman — now with The New York Times — was a friendly journalist.
“We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed,” he wrote.
The might be embarrassing for any reporter’s integrity. But at least there is nothing in the emails from her pointing to favoritism. That is not the case with her current colleague, Mark Leibovich, who gave Clinton veto power over quotes in exchange for access for a long profile that ran in the The New York Times magazine section in summer 2015. Campaign Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri singed off one email with, “Pleasure doing business!”
“We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed.”
CNBC correspondent John Harwood — widely panned for his overly aggressive questioning of Republican Donald Trump during one of the GOP primary debates — offered advice to Podesta.
“Ben Carson could give you real trouble in a general [election],” Harwood wrote, including a link to video clips of an interview he did with the retired pediatric neurosurgeon.
And then there is the behavior of Donna Brazile, who last year was a commentator for CNN but seemed to think she was still in her previous role as Democratic Party operative. The emails reveal that she tipped off the Clinton campaign to a question that Hillary would receive at an upcoming town hall event the cable network hosted during the primary season.
Brazile wrote that she was concerned that the question about the death penalty might cause Clinton problems. That revelation was a double-whammy — both raising doubts about the integrity of CNN as a news network and undermining Brazile’s supposed neutrality in the primary fight between Clinton and Sanders.
5) Clinton advisers found loophole to keep emails secret. In a March 2015 conversation with Cheryl Mills, former State Department chief of staff and Clinton campaign aide, Podesta discussed a strategy for withholding emails from the former secretary of state’s private email server.
The idea was to use “executive privilege” to refuse to give the department emails with Obama.
“Think we should hold emails to and from potus? That’s the heart of his exec privilege,” Podesta wrote. “We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I seems like they will.”
Indeed, according to a Politico report in September, the State Department cited the “presidential communications privilege” in indicating that it would not release emails between Clinton and Obama. That allows the president to keep those emails hidden from the public for a period of five to 12 years after Obama leaves office.
6) Hillary allies are nasty in private. And that includes even pro-Clinton pols. Even as they were courting New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s endorsement publicly, they were venting outrage behind his back that he was sending positive tweets about Sanders.
“Wow. What a terrorist,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote.
Palmieri replied, “Told you!”
In February 2012, left-leaning Voices for Progress founder and President Sandy Newman wrote to Podesta arguing for a “Catholic Spring” to foment an “end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.”
Podesta assured Newman it was happening.
A scholar at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that Podesta founded, emailed his thoughts on conservative Catholic converts. He called it an “amazing bastardization of the faith.”
Palmieri, then-president of the think tank, agreed. “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
Clinton supporter Mark Siegel — former executive director of the Democratic National Committee — called Sanders supporters “self-righteous ideologues” in an email to the Clinton campaign.
In a 2011 internal review of the Clinton Foundation, the organization’s own employees gave it poor marks for effectiveness, rating it at a dismal 4 or lower on a scale of 10.
The latest revelation from Wikileaks’ dump of John Podesta’s emails, comes from an internal review done of the charity by Simpson and Thacher, which raised huge questions about conflicts of interests at the organization.
Clinton Foundation employees rated the foundation’s work in the AIDS/HIV area a 7-8 on the same scale, but the report highlights serious concerns about corruption, conflicts of interest and self-dealing. The report notes:
• Both the CEO of the Clinton Foundation and the head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Ira Magaziner, got to set their own salaries, without board oversight or approval;
• “[T]he Board does not appear to supervise, set compensation for, or evaluate the CEO” of the Clinton Foundation;
• The Clinton Foundation had not implemented a conflict of interest policy;
• Numerous Clinton Foundation employees had outside jobs, and there were “instances in which gifts and other payments received by staff had not been properly disclosed”;
• There was a “lack of internal controls” when it came to finances and how money was being spent on travel and lodging;
The report paints the picture of an organization where “there is no clear ‘command and control’ structure.” Simpson and Thacher suggests correcting the troubling problems by setting the “tone at the top” including Bill Clinton.
“I am a white female. A victim of sexual abuse. A Republican. A Christian.
And I am voting for Donald Trump. And I want to tell you why.
First, I want to address the video that was released. What he said years ago was terrible. A man should never feel like he has the power to manipulate or take advantage of a woman against her will. Men should not view women as inferior or as objects. The rape culture in our country is not ok. What he said was NOT OK. There is NO way to justify it. Does he continue to treat women this way? I hope not, but it’s definitely possible. Do I want someone like that as my President? I mean, not really. But if we are talking about rape culture – Hillary Clinton has done MUCH more to contribute to that than Donald Trump. As an attorney, she has reduced the jail time of rapists. She has helped cover up the abuses done by her husband while he was President. Actions like this have MUCH more of a ripple affect than the derogatory comments and actions of Donald Trump. And it’s sad that we even have to compare the two – because NEITHER is acceptable. But we as Americans have allowed our country to get to this point, and it’s because we stopped paying attention. And we have allowed ourselves to become a product of our media and others in power. Again, not excusing what he did/said AT ALL.
We are WAY beyond voting for a President based on their character. None of the candidates have shining character – especially not Trump & especially not Hillary. But when November 8 gets here – one of them is going to be elected President. If you stay home and don’t vote – one of them will be elected President. If you vote for one of the other candidates – Trump or Hillary will still be elected President. If you write in your own nominee – Trump or Hillary will still be elected President. You can talk about how much you hate it all you want, but this is REALITY.
Another reality that I want to address is the fact that the media has done a great job of distracting us from the real issues when it comes to the election. Are racism and sexism HUGE issues in our country? YES. But how are those things resolved? Movements of people coming together. Different races and religions taking time to understand each other. Men learning how to stand up for their sisters and daughters and wives. And guess what? No matter WHO is in office, we can start doing that NOW. The government is not the answer to these issues. These have been issues in our country since day 1, and the MEDIA is much more responsible than the government.
That being said, these are what I believe are the real issues (in terms of the ELECTION).
- National Security – Hillary wants open borders. Are you kidding me? In our lifetime, we have been attacked by terrorists FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. Multiple times. Do I think building a wall on the Mexico border is a little dramatic? Yes. Do I want all the Mexicans out of our country? NO. America is a great place. I understand that tons of people want to live here, and I hope that we can continue to provide that opportunity for people legally. My heart breaks for the refugee crisis in Syria. It truly does. But I don’t think it’s unfair to screen who we allow into our country. Especially when they are coming from a part of the world that is home to radical terrorist groups. Ones that openly hate our country. I am not voting for the President of Mexico or the President of Syria or the President of a non-profit organization – I am voting for the President of AMERICA. Donald Trump wants to protect AMERICANS – no matter what race you are. No matter what gender. On the other hand, Hillary, wants to allow anyone and everyone into our country, regardless of the danger she could be putting her own people in. It is not that I don’t want to help people. If you know me, you know my heart breaks for people around the world who live in far worse situations that I will ever have to face. I have been to these places. I have seen it with my own eyes. BUT if we compromise who we are as a nation, and continue to weaken our borders, we will not be able to help anymore. We will not have a safe place to welcome refugees. We will not have opportunities for better lives for immigrants. By protecting AMERICA – we are actually moving more quickly in a direction to keep the world a safer place too. This also includes gun laws. I do think that the screening process should be more intense when you go to buy a gun. But taking guns out of the hands of Americans leaves us completely helpless. People who use guns for the wrong reasons are CRIMINALS. They do not care about laws. They only thing that will change if you take away our guns is that criminals will continue to buy them illegally and more of us will probably die, because we won’t be able to defend ourselves.
- Economic Stability – Donald Trump is a businessman, not a politician. He did not pay taxes under legal provisions. He did not pay people who did not do good work. If he becomes President, America will be his business. He will conduct trades and make deals that benefit US. As he should. Because when you are the President – AMERICA is your job. Not the rest of the world. Hillary has made lots of promises that sound great, but they all require MORE TAXES. And yes, a lot of them are on the wealthy, which sounds fair…but guess what? MOST of those wealthy people have gotten to where they are because they worked hard and used smart business practices. And also, those wealthy people are usually successful business people who EMPLOY other people. So by penalizing them, you are not helping anyone. You are taking more money out of the hands of American people and putting more money in the hands of the government.
- SUPREME COURT – this is probably the biggest reason I am voting for Donald Trump. Whoever the next President is will likely nominate FIVE Supreme Court judges. FIVE. Even if you hate Donald Trump & everything about him – if you generally identify with conservative policies, then this is CRUCIAL. Whoever is put in those positions will affect the future of our country even more than whoever serves the next four years as President. It’s possible that America would NEVER recover from a 7-2 Democratic majority. We NEED to keep Republicans in the Supreme Court who will uphold the Constitution.
- Pro-Life – this is plain and simple. The amount of abortions in our country is horrifying. Hillary believes that even minutes before delivery, a baby does not have constitutional rights. That is absolutely absurd. Babies are born as early as 22 weeks and survive. If you are passionate about any other social issue in America, this should be important to you. Hillary can talk about other social issues all she wants, but her views on abortion show how little she values human life. Period.
There are obviously more issues than these 4. But these are the 4 issues that, in my opinion, will most drastically affect the future of our country. We HAVE to step back and look at the bigger picture. I refuse to be distracted by the social issues that the media continues to put in the forefront of the coverage of this election.
I URGE you to please look at the bigger picture. And above all else to vote. DO NOT STAY HOME. Face the reality of the 2 futures in front of us. Because honestly, voting for someone besides Trump or Hillary is as good as not voting at all. Not to mention, that if someone was spending millions to dig up dirt on them, I’m sure they would have skeletons in their closets too.
P.S. Another reason I am voting for Trump is because of who is running with. Mike Pence is a man of character, faith and integrity. And if this is the first person Trump has “hired,” I have a lot of hope for who else might surround him as he serves his term in the White House.”
The lecturer-in-chief can’t help but disparage Americans unhappy with his failed tenure
It’s couched in fancy language, and he doesn’t mention Donald Trump by name, but President Obama’s message in a new piece written in The Economist is clear: Trump supporters are a bunch of racists descended from intolerant movements of the past.
In a column titled, arrogantly enough, “The Way Ahead,” Obama asserts the current moment “reflects any number of eras in which Americans were told they could restore past glory if they just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.” He adds, “We overcame those fears and we will again.”
The president wants to see himself as the Lincolnesque warrior making a stand against neo-racists who would secretly like nothing better than to reinstall Jim Crow.
What a stunning remark, dripping with contempt for the Americans whom he supposedly represents and who, in many cases, are suffering because of his policies.
Let’s start with the beginning of his phrase, in which he says, “Americans were told.” It’s the paternalism of a liberal speaking, and a particularly condescending one. Poor, stupid, gun and Bible-clinging Americans, who believe what they are told to think.
And look what they are receptive to, a message that they’d achieve “glory” if they could enact their racist fantasies by getting “some group or idea that was threatening America under control.”
Obama’s implication is obvious. Trump supporters are responding to the same call once issued by the leaders of the lynch mob, which got people “under control.”
Obama says that everywhere he goes, people — no intellectually advanced souls such as himself in America and overseas — constantly ask him why America “has suddenly developed a strain of anti-immigrant, anti-innovation protectionism.” Why, they want to know, “have some on the far left and even more on the far right embraced a crude populism that promises a return to a past that is not possible to restore — and that, for most Americans, never existed at all?”
That is, Trump’s legions dream of the good old days, when swarthy immigrants and African-Americans stayed in their places and white working folk clocked out of the factory and returned home to wives named Betty who served them and their 2.1 children roast chicken and potatoes before everyone gathered around the TV to watch Milton Berle.
Actually, what Americans are hoping for is an economy that grows by more than Obama’s 1.5 percent and some decent-paying jobs, instead of the globalization and welfare state expansion that is driving people out of the workforce, stunting wage growth, creating hopelessness, and helping feed an epidemic of heroin use.
But for Obama, the Trump movement is not about the pocketbook or concerns that, with unlimited immigration, a great culture may be changing too rapidly. For him, it’s about hatred of the unfamiliar.
“Much of this discontent is driven by fears that are not fundamentally economic,” Obama pontificates, proceeding to delineate specific racist movements of which Trump supporters are simply the latest incarnation.
“The anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, and anti-refugee sentiment expressed by some Americans today echoes nativist lurches of the past — the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Know-Nothings of the mid-1800s, the anti-Asian sentiment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” Obama writes.
Comparing Trump’s movement to the Know Nothing Party, a sometimes violently anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant movement that flourished briefly in the 1850s, is contemptible. Invoking late-19th century discrimination against the “yellow peril” of the immigrant Chinese is equally egregious. Obama is saying that Trump’s millions of backers are a bunch of rank bigots.
The president wants to see himself as the Lincolnesque warrior making a stand against neo-racists who would secretly like nothing better than to reinstall Jim Crow and boot everyone with a tanned or darker complexion out of the country.
But the movement behind Trump has legitimate, rational concerns that an immigration spigot that never closes introduces a foreign culture into America too quickly for assimilation to occur, threatening to adulterate — rather than slowly enhance — an American way of doing things that has succeeding brilliantly and made the entire world a better place.
Turning off the spigot is exactly what America did in the early 20th century, after millions immigrated from Central and Eastern Europe. For decades, immigration came to a halt as the country successfully absorbed alien cultures and fashioned them into a new, but not wholly changed, America.
The person who actually has a “crude” understanding of social forces is Obama. Blinded by his instinct to vilify his enemies and consumed by the egotistical self-absorption that makes him need to understand himself as a Great Man fighting the forces of evil, Obama misunderstands the sentiment that has arisen in rebellion against his policies.
Trump’s voters are not “anti-immigrant” or “anti-Mexican.” They are against unlimited immigration, a substantial amount of it illegal.
They are not anti-refugee or anti-Muslim, but are concerned that we are allowing into this country too many people whose world outlook is hostile toward the United States and who may bring terrorists with them.
Americans who support Trump are not driven by hate. They are driven by love, the love of a nation and a culture they see slipping away under a president who doesn’t understand the country’s history and, worse, holds large swaths of it in contempt.
Keith Koffler is the editor of the website White House Dossier and the newsletter Cut to the News.
The day cracked open abruptly with nausea, unspeakable pain, and fear. The sharpness of labor was like nothing I had prepared to go through. For nine months, I had thought, “I hope this is worth it.” And on that morning of my son’s birth, the thought tore through my mind and body with a last glimmer of possibility — and then I saw my baby boy.
It was not only worth it — it was a miracle.
I believe that almost every mother feels that her child is a miracle, which is probably why I once rolled my eyes (internally) when I heard them talk about their children. After all, there are currently billions of us on the planet. How could we all be miracles?
Therefore, if people are still defending their vote or lack thereof with an excuse of conscience, I ask you to think about that first flicker of a heartbeat on an ultrasound.
And then it dawned on me: God made each of us. He formed each person. He knows each individual. The very hairs on our heads are numbered.
And with that new understanding on my part, I realized I needed to pray for Donald Trump.
I have somewhat tiptoed around bringing politics into my prayer life. After all, aren’t they supposed to be separate — church and state? Shouldn’t I be praying for something more important? Or even more startling, is one candidate more pleasing to God than another?
I believe the answer to that last question is yes. I am not a political expert. I cannot vouch for Donald Trump personally. But I do believe he is pro-life. For that reason alone, he has my support — and Hillary Clinton, with her radical pro-choice policies, does not.
I have been admonished for being a single-issue voter. However, I cannot and will not support a candidate who is pro-choice, and I refuse to apologize for that. I truly cannot fathom how we as a society have accepted, even applauded, the choice to literally tear a baby, formed by the hand of God, apart for the convenience or preference of a woman.
There is great sacrifice in pregnancy. I understand that. I also know the depravity of abortion weighs heavy on a conscience.
Which brings me back to praying for Donald Trump. I am committing to pray that he would be wise and find favor with both God and the voters of our country.
He is not perfect, nor should I expect him to be. He says things I wouldn’t necessarily say (although I also don’t necessarily disagree with him). But along with many other strengths and a wealth of experience, he does stand with Mike Pence for the life of the unborn. I will pray that he is voted into a position of leadership and that he can and will defend those precious lives.
Therefore, if people are still defending their votes or lack thereof with an excuse of conscience, I ask them to think about that first flicker of a heartbeat on an ultrasound. Recall the feeling of a newborn being placed in your arms (or the arms of others), the tiny fingers and toes knit together with soft pink flesh and delicate bone.
Then think about that perfect miracle being heartlessly thrown in the trash.
Pray for Trump. And remember innocent life when you vote your conscience.