Now newly released emails (embedded below) reported on by The Wall Street Journal show that from day one senior White House officials, including one headed for the campaign, and one of Clinton’s own attorneys who received immunity from prosecution, were coordinating responses with senior State Department officials about how to “manage” the growing Clinton email scandal These emails further raise questions about the integrity of officials at the highest levels of government in handling this matter.
The email discussion included a request from the
“White House communications director to her counterpart at the State Department to see if it was possible to arrange for Secretary of State John Kerry to avoid questions during media appearances about Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement.
“In another instance, a top State Department official assured an attorney for Mrs. Clinton that, contrary to media reports, a department official hadn’t told Congress that Mrs. Clinton erred in using a private email account.”
These emails were obtained by the Republican National Committee as part of a FOIA lawsuit seeking records of Mrs. Clinton’s time in office. The RNC provided to The Wall Street Journal only some of the emails. Those same emails have been provided to The Lid and are below. According to the RNC they only released the emails relevant to the communication between the White House and State Department.
Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs, and strategy at the nonpartisan advocacy group Issue One and an expert on ethics and campaign finance, said the email exchange would probably raise no legal concerns because federal law permits members of the White House staff to engage in some political activity.
While not illegal the coordination does suggest the Adminstration was involved in the cover-up, and adds extra-credence to the speculation that the recent actions of the Department of Justice and FBI in clearing Hillary Clinton were less than Kosher.
The New York Times reported on March 2, 2015, that Mrs. Clinton had exclusively used a private email server for government business when she was secretary of state. That set off months of controversy for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, culminating in a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe that recommended against prosecution of Mrs. Clinton.
At the time of the initial report, Mrs. Clinton hadn’t formally declared her intention to mount a presidential campaign, but she had begun hiring staff ahead of her formal announcement on April 12, 2015.
The emails show that ten days after the email story first broke in the NY Times on 3/2/15:
White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri emailed State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki to ask, “between us on the shows…think we can get this done so he is not asked about email.” That apparently referred to Mr. Kerry, who appeared in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” three days later.
Ms. Palmieri had previously announced she would be leaving the administration to join Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in mid-2015, but was still at the White House when she sent the email. Other emails show Ms. Palmieri helped arrange for Ms. Psaki to move from the State Department to the White House communications job Ms. Palmieri was vacating. “Agree completely and working to crush on my end,” wrote back Ms. Psaki, who would move to the White House weeks later.
A day later, Ms. Psaki added, “Good to go on killing CBS idea.” She continued, “And we are going to hold on any other TV options just given the swirl of crap out there.” Mr. Kerry wasn’t asked on CBS about the email server, though it isn’t clear how Ms. Psaki could have guaranteed that.
Teased by Ms. Palmieri about her use of the phrase “swirl of crap,” Ms. Psaki wrote back: “Ha I mean—the challenging stories out there.”
CBS spokeswoman Caitlin Conant said the network had made no commitments about what questions Mr. Kerry would face. “No subject was off-limits when this interview was arranged, as is the CBS News standard,” she said. “CBS News’ State Department correspondent was in Egypt with Secretary John Kerry in the home stretch of the Iran nuclear deal negotiations and discussed policy issues of the day with him on this official trip.”
The RNC was also given a totally redacted email discussion between top White House communications officials which based on the subject line was about Kerry’s “Face the Nation” appearance.
A White House official said the internal debate at the time was about whether Mr. Kerry should appear on the shows at all, rather than any attempt to influence what questions were asked.
In another email coming from the State Department, Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary for management, told Heather Samuelson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s attorneys, about new documents the State Department had posted concerning the former secretary of state.
Heather Samuelson was one of the attorneys who reviewed Clinton’s emails and decided which were government-related and which were about “yoga, her daughter’s wedding and other personal issues, before supposedly providing the work-related ones to the State Department. Samuelson was interviewed by the FBI as part of its probe and granted limited immunity in exchange for turning over her laptop as part of the investigation.
According to a Fox News report the immunity deal was tainted:
The immunity deals for two top Hillary Clinton aides included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices, House Judiciary Committee sources told Fox News on Monday.
Sources said the arrangement with former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson also limited the search to no later than Jan. 31, 2015. This meant investigators could not review documents for the period after the email server became public — in turn preventing the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice, sources said.
In another exchange email exchange, Patrick Kennedy told Samuelson that Politico was “running [a] story that State official said Secretary Clinton did wrong thing. Wildly inaccurate reporting.”
A Politico spokesman said the organization stood by its reporting. The story reported that Joyce Barr, assistant secretary of state for administration, had said in testimony to Congress that Mrs. Clinton’s record-keeping practices were “not acceptable.” An internal watchdog report later concluded that Mrs. Clinton’s email use wasn’t permitted under State policy.
The emails indicate that throughout this entire scandal the White House, State Department, and of course the Clinton campaign only cared about keeping a lid on the scandal, there seemed to be no concern that the emails, and the server contained classified information easily hacked by America’s enemies.
The emails discussed in this post are embedded below: