October 14 2016
The leaked emails also provide further detail on how Hillary Clinton’s team dealt with the Benghazi hearing and other campaign concerns.
Hilary Clinton has been plagued by email scandals. | Photo: Reuters
The latest batch of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign Chairman John Podesta were released by whistleblowing group WikiLeaks early Friday. The newly-released emails add to the thousands already made public that detail the inner-workings of Clinton and her staff.
On an email thread discussing a party with policy reform group Engage Cuba, Podesta’s friend Luke Albee proposed last year that Clinton deliver a Cuba speech in Miami to “be seen as future oriented” and “brave” even though “she wouldn’t be brave to do this.”
One month later, Clinton delivered the speech. A draft, shared in a later email exchange, made her position clear on Fidel Castro:
“But as Secretary of State, it became clear to me that our policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening the Castros’ grip on power rather than weakening it—and harming our broader efforts to restore American leadership across the hemisphere,” she said.
Not a gift but a threat
“They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros—it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession—it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed.”
Harnessing the business community on Cuba
Two weeks after Albee’s email, he sent another requesting a meeting with Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama’s senior advisor, “so we can talk through harnessing the business community” on Cuba.
Just below, he threw in that his PAC would contribute US$5,000—at another party.
A few months earlier, Clinton was grappling with a House investigation into her emails regarding the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
Her staff discussed a draft of her speech, likely for the House committee hearing, with two lawyers advising her on the emails looped in. Her campaign manager Robby Mook raised a red flag:
“The one thing in here I feel strongly about is that she NOT include the part about meeting with other former secretaries and that they told her she should do this. I recognize that the boss will have to approve, but if she wants to include that, I’d say we should discuss with her. I worry it opens a major can of worms and deflects the heat in a potentially unhelpful way.”
Benghazi – shifting the blame
A few months later, in an email from Podesta to Clinton discussing her Benghazi hearing, Podesta suggests shifting the blame onto the Republican Party. Podesta suggested that Clinton’s team could ask why the Benghazi committee was “spending over US$4 million dollars and two years on a tragedy involving the death of four Americans” while Republicans were not concerned about thousands of American lives lost to firearms, cigarette smoking, work injuries and cancer.
The email stated that the hearing “is about PEOPLE and not about Hillary Clinton” and that this approach would put “Benghazi Republicans on the defensive while siding with Americans.
During her time as U.S. secretary of state, Clinton took responsibility for a number of security breaches stemming from her use of a personal email account for classified communications during the hearing set up to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The latest leak also details how Clinton’s staff prepared for the hearing through a number of draft statements and how they planned to account for deleted emails.
“Off-record: If pressed on whether we are essentially admitting the possibility that she deleted some emails: Look, we do not know what these materials are, or where they came from. Just take a look at them: many of the documents are not even formatted as emails,” an email from campaign spokesman Brian Fallon explained.
Other emails from Clinton’s staff explained dealing with the media and journalists, and how her campaign was concerned about her connection with Wall Street and their concessions on supporting a carbon tax while opposing Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.