Newly leaked emails suggest the Hillary Clinton campaign was coordinating with the State Department and members of the press as staffers tried to control the narrative surrounding the former Secretary of State’s private email scandal.
As the State Department prepared to hand over mysterious Clinton ally Sid Blumenthal’s emails to a congressional committee, Clinton’s traveling press secretary Nick Merrill hatched a plot to shape the story of some “missing” emails. In addition to the appearance of collusion with the press, there is also a curious discrepancy in what the Clinton team talked about privately and what was eventually reported.
In a June 2015 email, Merrill wrote about getting intel from the U.S. State Department and suggested planting a story with “friendlies” in the media (emphasis added):
Just spoke to State a little more about this. A few updates.
1. The plan at the moment is for them to do this tomorrow, first thing in the morning.
2. What that means specifically is that they are going to turn over all the Blumenthal emails to the Committee that they hav (sic) along with some other HRC emails that include a slightly broader set of search terms than the original batch. That of course includes the emails Sid turned over that HRC didn't, which will make clear to them that she didn't have them in the first place, deleted them, or didn't turn them over. It also includes emails that HRC had that Sid didn't, as Brian noted.
3. They do not plan to release anything publicly, so no posting online or anything public-facing, just to the committee. That said, they are considering placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley Klapper), that would lay this out before the majority on the committee has a chance to realize what they have and distort it.
On that last piece, we think it would make sense to work with State and the AP to deploy the below. So assuming everyone is in agreement we'll proceed. It would be good to frame this a little, and frankly to have it break tomorrow when we'll likely be close to or in the midst of a SCOTUS decision taking over the news hyenas.
It’s unclear just how much information the Clinton campaign was getting from the State Department amid the probe into Clinton’s handling of classified information on a private server.
The Associated Press published the story the next day:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department cannot find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton's private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.
The emails all predate the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic facility and include scant words written by Clinton herself, the officials said. They consist of more in a series of would-be intelligence reports passed to her by longtime political confidant Sidney Blumenthal, the officials said.
Nevertheless, the fact that the State Department says it can't find them among emails she provided surely will raise new questions about Clinton's use of a personal email account and server while secretary of state and whether she has provided the agency all of her work-related correspondence, as she claims.
Other reports reflected the AP’s reporting — but let's get back to the previously mentioned “discrepancy.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon referenced “16” Blumenthal emails, but Zero Hedge noticed the number given to the press was 15.
In preparation for the possibility that the State Department may acknowledge as soon as today that there were 16 Sid emails missing from the 55k pages of material produced by HRC, I wanted to circulate the below draft plan for responding to the inquiries that Nick will get. Thanks.
So is there a missing 16th email? We may never know.