The latest round of WikiLeaks releases hacked from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta remind us that this isn’t the first time Hillary has had to worry about an email scandal – as if we could ever forget.
But this series of emails gives us an interesting look inside the Clinton campaign as they first struggled to figure out how to handle the news of her private server. And it appears their first instinct was to minimize the seriousness of her crimes by treating them as a matter of hilarious trivia. In a March 2015 email, top Clinton staffer Jennifer Palmieri said she liked the “idea of HRC making a joke about the email situation” in a speech to Emily’s List.
Another staffer said that approach could come back to bite them.
“We don’t know what’s in the emails, so we are nervous about this,” wrote Mandy Grunwald. “Might get a big laugh tonight and regret it when content of emails is disclosed.”
Looks like Mandy knew Hillary’s nature better than Palmieri.
Another of Clinton’s press staffers, Nick Merrill, tried again to have Hillary crush the growing scandal with humor. With the candidate set to appear at an event hosted by comedian Larry Wilmore, Merrill suggested having Wilmore introduce her by saying: “I should tell you, I just emailed HRC (I hear she’s a big emailer), and asked if she’d join as well.”
At the end of the day, the campaign decided to skip the comedy.
But it was a long time before they settled on a coherent response to the scandal. In the opening weeks, they considered and rejected a number of possible tactics, including dragging former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell into the mix. They thought that strategy might backfire, so they held off until more than a year later to pull the trigger on that act of desperation.
There’s nothing especially explosive in any of this – Hillary knows how to hide the emails she wants to hide – but it shows you the evolution of her excuses. If you ever thought anything that she’d said about this scandal was genuine, you can no longer believe that after reading these emails. Everything Hillary has said about this – or anything else – for the last two years has been calculated and developed by a team of political cutthroats.
If we’re to ever get to the truth of this business, it won’t be through Hillary Clinton’s words.