After making two releases of emails from a top aide to Hillary Clinton on Thursday, Wikileaks was back with more on Friday morning, as the international internet group continues to try to use the hacked emails to undercut Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.
Here’s some of what we’ve seen in the John Podesta emails:
1. More evidence of the struggle over Clinton’s emails. If the Podesta emails have taught us anything, it is that some in the Clinton Camp liked the idea of just dumping all of her emails from her time as Secretary of State to the public, to get it over with. But that was not an option that was favored by Clinton, and the drip, drip, drip continues to this day, combining with the interest of the FBI in a way that has damaged her campaign for President. One new email today captures Robby Mook telling Podesta that he’s worried about being blindsided by revelations:
In this email with the subject line, ” Why doesn’t she just turn the server over to a third party at this point?” Neera Tanden observes – “isn’t it going to leak out of the FBI anyway?”
2. Why did IT aide Bryan Pagliano take the Fifth? In an email from September of 2015, Podesta is again talking to Neera Tanden, this time about why Bryan Pagliano was not going to give testimony to the Benghazi committee on Clinton’s email server. Podesta says something about how Pagliano helped to retrieve emails at one point, and cryptically then observes, “Maybe that is why he’s avoiding testifying.” Pagliano has told some of his story to the FBI under immunity, but has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights before Congress, refusing to even show up for a pre-election committee hearing, which aggravated Republicans who believe he is hiding something for Hillary Clinton.
3. What was the problem with a top Obama staffer? Since the Podesta emails go back in the 2008 campaign and transition for President Obama, there are some tidbits about that era from time to time as well. In this email, Podesta is told that the FBI does not want to give a security clearance for the transition to Ben Rhodes, who ultimately will become a Deputy National Security Advisor. But back in 2008, the FBI had some undetermined concern about Rhodes. It reminded me that back in 1987, the Secret Service would not allow me to get a press pass at the White House because of something in my background. They refused to tell me what it was, and finally relented four years later.
4. Wikileaks promises, but doesn’t deliver. Just as some new Hillary Clinton emails were released yesterday by the State Department, Wikileaks loudly proclaimed that another special batch of emails would be released, dealing with Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the FBI and Department of Justice. But there was no bombshell. There was no explosive email. Yes, there were a few interesting items, but as I keep telling people, interesting does not always equal something that will put a certain person in jail. The move seemed to be a cry for attention by Wikileaks more than anything else.
5. The source of the Podesta emails. Critics of Hillary Clinton, who have recently become champions of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, have become very vocal in recent days about charges that Wikileaks is nothing but a front for Russian Intelligence. In an interview, Assange again denied that Russia had delivered the Podesta emails to the internet group, which has all but morphed into a conservative campaign website in recent weeks. Some intelligence experts do believe the Russians are involving, and it aggravates the daylights out of Assange.