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Wikileaks Releases Podesta Batch 9: Black voters, Backstabbing & San Bernardino

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WikiLeaks have uploaded yet another batch of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. This ninth release brings the total number of leaked files to over 12,000.

Among the hundreds of emails released Sunday are discussions about appealing to black voters, Hillary’s email apologies, and Chelsea Clinton being described by one of her father’s longtime aides as a ‘backstabber’.

Ranging from how to take down Sanders, to strategizing around sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton, multiple aspects of the Clinton campaign have been laid open to public consumption through a series of WikiLeaks releases this week.

The thousands of emails already released also cover topics including US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar clandestinely funding ISIS, the Clinton campaign’s efforts to handle the media, and courting billionaire donors. You name it, John Podesta sent or received an email about it.

Courting black voters

The latest leaked emails highlight campaign concerns that Clinton is not doing enough to appeal to black voters. In the February 2016 messages between Frank White Jr, who raised over $2.3mn for Barack Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign, and John Podesta, White writes: “I’m hearing the same complaint in political circles that I continue to hear while fundraising. ‘The campaign doesn’t value black folks and takes us for granted’.”

Podesta responds: “I have been working on that and will resolve soon. We need to strengthen the overall structure and this is the most critical piece of that.”

Chelsea Clinton’s ‘backstabbing’

Long time Clinton aide Band can be seen slating the couple’s daughter as a backstabber in some of the leaked correspondence.

The businessman, who helped set up the Clinton Global Initiative, shared a message he received from Chelsea Clinton with Podesta and Cheryl Mills on January 27, 2012.

Clinton is seemingly complementary in her email, saying that political strategist Clark Winter had “terrific things” to say about Band.

“She sends me one of these types of email every few days/week,” Band writes. “As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far. A kiss on the cheek while she is sticking a knife in the back, and front.”

It’s not clear which Clinton parent Band was referring with the “apple doesn’t fall far” comment. The email could cause some embarrassment, given Band’s close relationship with former president Bill Clinton.

Chelsea’s email is signed off with her real name but comes from sender “Diane Reynolds”. The email lends credence to an earlier WikiLeaks statement that she uses this alias when communicating online.

Band, founder of advisory firm Teneo, previously labeled the Clinton’s only child a “spoiled brat” in an email to Podesta on November 12, 2011. That message related to Chelsea Clinton’s concern that eyebrows might be raised over Teneo employing former aides who worked at the State Department during Hillary’s term as secretary of state.

Hillary’s apology problem

Hillary’s difficulty with apologizing was acknowledged as her “Achilles heel” in earlier leaked emails. The latest emails underscore the issue with an exchange between campaign aides about public perception of her expressions of regret over her email server controversy.

Clinton’s “inability to just do a national interview and communicate genuine feelings of remorse and regret is now, I fear, becoming a character problem (more so than honesty),” warns Clinton ally Neera Tanden.

“Trying to figure out how to get her there and best way to execute,” Podesta responds.

Podesta on San Bernardino

As news broke of the San Bernardino mass shooting in December 2015, Podesta suggested it would be “better”if the perpetrator named in early reports on the incident was not called “Sayeed Farouk”.

It is now known that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik carried out the atrocity in California on December 2 last year.

However, on being informed of a tweet by MSNBC host Chris Hayes naming Farook, Podesta quips: “Better if a guy named Sayeed [sic] Farouk was reporting that a guy named Christopher Hayes was the shooter.”

Heated exchange

Sunday’s leaks carry a heated exchange between former Clinton Foundation COO and current advisor Laura Graham and longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills over budget concerns. In the emails, Graham pushes the importance of support for her role, writing: “I need an assistant. I won’t go wo one. I cannot do this all by myself.”

At one point, Mills forwards the thread of emails to Podesta, and he jokingly responds: “Can we do an HBO movie when this is all over?”

These emails came just weeks after Bill Clinton aide Doug Band highlighted serious concerns over Graham’s mental health, allegedly due to the strain of working at the Foundation and with the Clintons. He wrote that Graham had appeared suicidal and contacted him for help “as she couldn’t reach my brother or her shrink.”

“She called me to tell me the stress of all of this office crap with wjc and cvc as well as that of her family had driven her to the edge and she couldn’t take it anymore,” Band said.


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