The John Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks

Last Updated Nov 3, 2016 11:50 AM EDT

Katiana Krawchenko, Donald Judd, Nancy Cordes, Julianna Goldman, Reena Flores, Rebecca Shabad, Emily Schultheis, Alexander Romano, Steve Chaggaris and the Associated Press contributed to this compilation

WikiLeaks says it has some 50,000 Hillary Clinton campaign emails, and on Fri. Oct. 7, it began leaking the personal emails Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group said it would release emails every day until Election Day. Podesta acknowledged his emails were hacked, but has not verify the authenticity of the emails. He warned that messages may have been altered or edited to inflict political damage but has not pointed to any specific case of this.

Cybersecurity experts said on Thursday that Fancy Bear, a group of Russian-linked hackers, had infiltrated Podesta’s email. U.S. intelligence officials last week blamed the Russian government for a series of breaches intended to influence the presidential election, and the FBI is investigating the breach. CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reported that Podesta on Tuesday went step-by-step through all the contact Donald Trump and his campaign aides have had with Russian actors or with Wikileaks. 

Through its Twitter account, the Russian Embassy in Washington has denied any role in the cyberattacks, suggesting U.S. officials are just “whipping up” anti-Russia hysteria.

The messages stolen from Podesta’s account describe how Clinton’s closest advisers considered responding to key events during the campaign, including the discovery of her email server and her congressional testimony over the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, as well as excerpts of Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches. The batches have also included emails from then-DNC vice chairwoman Donna Brazile which seem to show a preference for Clinton over other Democratic candidates. Here are the highlights of the emails, with the most recent leaked email highlights at the top.

May 2015: DOJ’s Peter Kadzik gives a “heads up” to Podesta about Congressional testimony.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik tipped off Clinton’s campaign chair that the email issue was likely to be brought up at a House Judiciary Committee hearing where another DOJ official was slated to testify.

The head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Kadzik wrote in an email, was “[l]ikely to get questions on State Department emails.”

And he went on to note on what appeared to be timing of the State Department’s release of Clinton’s emails, “Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.” 

Podesta forwarded the email to Palmieri, Fallon, Mills, Samuelson, Schake and Merrill with the message: “Additional chances for mischief.”

Donald Trump hit on the latest WikiLeaks document during a rally in Miami, Florida Wednesday, alleging that Kadzik was “a close associate of John Podesta.”

“The two met for dinner after Clinton testified about Benghazi and Podesta, who by the way said Hillary Clinton has terrible instincts on WikiLeaks described him as the man who kept him – Podesta – out of jail,” Trump said. “These are the people that want to run our country, folks. The spread of political agendas into the Justice Department – there’s never been a thing like this that has happened in our country’s history – is one of the saddest things that has happened to our country.”

Kadzik, who went to Georgetown Law School in the 1970s with Podesta, is also currently involved in the investigation into the newest emails (from a laptop belonging to Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner) to surface that could be tied to Clinton’s private email server.

The Clinton campaign declined to comment on this or any of the emails stolen from Podesta’s account. 

March 2015: State Department press aide coordinated with Clinton advisers on response to news story on private email server.

Ahead of the New York Times’ March 2015 report that broke open Clinton’s use of a private email account during her tenure as a secretary of state, a State Department aide gave Clinton advisers the agency’s official response to the newspaper.

In a March 2015 email, State Department press aide Lauren Ashley Hickey, writing from her personal gmail account, told Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill and two other advisers that Jen Psaki -- who was, at the time, a State Department spokeswoman -- had “just cleared” a reply to the Times. Including the official statement in the email, Hickey also seemed to agree to an edit the campaign asked for, saying, “Yes on your point re records - done below.” The specific change requested is unclear from the email. 

But State Department spokesman John Kirby explained Wednesday that the department’s attempts to “provide accurate information to the media” on their questions about Clinton and her time at the State Department has “at times required communicating with her representatives to ensure accuracy.”

November 2015: Clinton said in a speech to Deutsche Bank that there were hourly attempted hacks on personal emails during her tenure at the State Department.

In a transcript of Clinton’s speech to Deutsche Bank on October 7, 2014, the former secretary of state said there were attempted hacks against the State Department system and “personal accounts” on an “hourly” basis during her tenure at the State department.

“We were attacked every hour of every day and not only through the State Department system, but also through individual, personal accounts, just really fishing for anything they could get.  And we knew it.  And they knew we knew it,” Clinton said in the transcript.

The document was attached in a Nov. 2015 email from Dan Schwerin, Clinton’s director of speechwriting, to John Podesta and other campaign officials.

Of the speech itself, Schwerin said that he “wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way, precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”

“It’s definitely not as tough or pointed as we would write it now, but it’s much more than most people would assume she was saying in paid speeches,” Schwerin noted. 

Clinton campaign weighed ousting Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair:

As early as last December, the Clinton campaign was plotting ways to sideline the head of the Democratic party amid complaints about internal fights in the party’s leadership, according to the latest WikiLeaks release of hacked emails.

Among the options for Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was neutralizing her and then forcing her out after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. Other options forwarded by top campaign aide Heather Stone would have kept Wasserman Schultz in place but in a weakened capacity as a figurehead or a co-chairwoman who would cede power to a “general election chair” named by Clinton.

The memo urged “systemic shifts at the DNC leadership level” to help Clinton win a general election. The memo was part of the latest trove of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and released Tuesday.

“Though we have reached a working arrangement with them, our dealings with party leadership have been marked by challenges, often requiring multiple meetings and phone calls to resolve relatively simple matters,” Stone’s memo said. “We are frequently caught in the middle of poor communication and a difficult relationship between the chairwoman and the executive director.”

Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation just before the DNC convention this past summer after an earlier WikiLeaks hack of DNC emails showed party officials had favored Clinton over challenger Bernie Sanders. The party apparatus was supposed to stay scrupulously neutral during the primary campaign.

Wasserman Schultz was replaced on an interim basis by Donna Brazile.

The Clinton campaign memo floated former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as either the general election chair or as a replacement for Wasserman Schultz.

Podesta, on dealing with email scandal: “We are going to have to dump all those emails”

The day the original story about Hillary Clinton’s private email server broke, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta wrote to another top Clinton aide, Cheryl Mills, that the emails would have to be dealt with, and “better to do so sooner than later.” 

In the exchange, just before 11 p.m. on March 2, 2015, Podesta wrote to Mills, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department. The New York Times published its story about the existence of Clinton’s private email account just hours beforehand. 

“We are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later,” Podesta wrote.

A Clinton campaign aide clarified that by “dump,” Podesta meant to release to the public—like in a document dump—and not deleting or getting rid of them.

This email exchange was part of the latest batch of emails released by WikiLeaks—the 25th such exchange since Oct. 7. The total number of emails now available from Podesta’s account totals 41,969.

Clinton turned over roughly 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department in December 2014—before the story broke about her private server. Many of those pages have subsequently been reviewed and released to the public by the State Department. However, Clinton deleted an additional 33,000 emails because they were not work-related, she and her team have said.

The issue is especially salient after the news last week that the FBI is investigating new material related to Clinton’s email practices. 

Hacked memo shows how top Clinton Foundation aides helped former president

A memo leaked Wednesday by WikiLeaks shows how a top aide to former President Bill Clinton worked to convince top donors to the Clinton Foundation to send business opportunities his way.

The November 2011 12-page memo was from former Clinton aide Doug Band in response to an audit of the foundation after Chelsea Clinton expressed concerns about the operations of Band’s company Teneo.

In a separate email from Chelsea Clinton that month, she wrote, “My father was told today of explicit examples at CGI of Doug/ Teneo pushing for - and receiving - free memberships - and of multiple examples of Teneo ‘hustling’ business at CGI - and of people now having quit at CGI.”

Band’s memo detailed how he raised money for the Clinton Foundation from some of Teneo’s clients including Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical -- Coca-Cola gave $4.3 million and Dow contributed $780 thousand. And Band also pressed some of the foundation’s donors to hire the former president to give speeches or give him lavish gifts.

“Throughout the past almost 11 years since President Clinton left office, I have sought to leverage my activities, including my partner role at Teneo, to support and to raise funds for the Foundation,” Band wrote in the memo. “This memorandum strives to set forth how I have endeavored to support the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton personally.”

Band explained that independent of Teneo’s fundraising efforts for the foundation, his company helped the former president secure and engage in for-profit activities like speeches and books.

“In support of the President’s for-profit activity, we also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the President and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like,” Band wrote.

The memo raises questions about the ties between the former president’s personal business and his work at their Foundation.

Some of the speeches Band said he helped secure for the former president included two to Barclays totalling more than $700,000 and Laureate International Universities paid him $3.5 million to serve as honorary chairman. In total, Band said he helped secure “more than $50 million in for-profit activity” for the former president, and Band noted that he was not compensated for this. He also claimed that he and Teneo partner Justin Cooper secured all four of the business arrangements for Clinton -- for his advisory services -- that had since 2001 yielded him $30 million personally, “with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years” if he continued the arrangements. 

Asked for a comment from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, spokesman Glen Caplin said, “We are still not confirming the authenticity of individual emails hacked by the Russian government to influence the election by weaponizing WikiLeaks.”

Teneo spokesman Stephen Meahl issued a statement to the Wall Street Journal saying, “As the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world.” Meahl also claimed that the memo shows “that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.”

In August, the former president announced that the foundation would no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if his wife is elected in November and that he and Chelsea would step down from its board under that circumstance. 

March 2015 - Mills: “We need to clean this up”

President Obama said he heard about Hillary Clinton’s private email server through news reports in March 2015 -- but an email from a Clinton aide around that suggests the president was emailing Clinton on her private address.

In the email, posted by WikiLeaks in the latest batch of emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account, Clinton communications staffer Josh Schwerin emailed a group of top aides noting that Mr. Obama “said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news.”

“We need to clean this up,” Clinton aide Cheryl Mills replied. “He has emails from her - they do not say”

The exchange was in reference to an interview Mr. Obama did with CBS News’ Bill Plante, in which the president said he learned about the private email server “the same time everybody else learned it -- through news reports.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified after that interview that Mr. Obama knew about the email address, but “was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up.”

Clinton’s campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks, which has posted batches of Podesta’s emails nearly daily in the last few weeks.

Donald Trump said the president should also be investigated. “That’s why he stuck up for Hillary -- because he didn’t want to be dragged in. Because he knew all about her private server, “Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This means that he has to be investigated.”

The State Department said that it had withheld eight email chains that added up to 18 messages between the president and Clinton, the Associated Press reported in January. They will remain confidential under the Presidential Communications privilege.

March 2015: Aides consider jokes about private server (AP)

Hacked emails from the personal account of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign official show her aides considered inserting jokes about her private email server into her speeches at several events - and at least one joke made it into her remarks.

“I love it,” she told a dinner in Iowa on August 14, 2015, noting she had opened an online account with Snapchat, which deletes posts automatically. “Those messages disappear all by themselves.”

The crack scored a laugh from the audience, but the issue was plenty serious. About a month earlier, news broke of an FBI investigation into whether some of the emails that passed through Clinton’s unsecured server contained classified information. Ultimately, the agency criticized Clinton for being reckless with classified information but declined to prosecute her.

But hacked emails of John Podesta, Clinton’s top campaign official, show the Democratic candidate and her team were slow to grasp the seriousness of the controversy, initially believing it might blow over after one weekend. It did not, and became the most recent example of a penchant for secrecy that has fueled questions about Clinton’s trustworthiness, which she has acknowledged has been a political challenge.

The joke was included in hacked emails WikiLeaks began releasing earlier this month, saying they included years of messages from accounts used by Podesta. Podesta warned that messages may have been altered or edited to inflict political damage, but has not pointed to any specifics.

Almost from the moment The Associated Press on March 3, 2015, called the campaign for comment on its breaking story that Clinton had been running a private server to five months later, campaign aides sought venues on Clinton’s schedule where she could show some humor over the issue, according to the hacked emails.

In a series of emails on March 3, 2015 - the same day The Associated Press called for comment - staffers tossed around the idea of making jokes about the emails at a dinner hosted by EMILY’s List, a political action committee, that evening.

“I wanted to float idea of HRC making a joke about the email situation at the EMILY’s List dinner tonight,” Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for Clinton’s campaign, wrote at 2:37 p.m., using the candidate’s initials. “What do folks think about that?”

The idea got a mostly favorable response at first. “I don’t think it’s nuts if we can come up with the right thing. But it could also be nuts,” replied campaign spokesman Nick Merrill a couple of minutes later.

“I think it would be good for her to show some humor,” added Kristina Schake, now a deputy communications director. “...More jokes are welcome too.”

But political consultant Mandy Grunwald nixed the idea after speaking with Jim Margolis, a media adviser to the campaign.

“We don’t know what’s in the emails, so we are nervous about this,” Grunwald wrote to Merrill and Schake at 6:09 p.m. that night. “Might get a big laugh tonight and regret it when content of emails is disclosed.”

Clinton’s campaign aides also considered using Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2015 appearance at the Gridiron Dinner, an annual Washington joke-fest involving journalists and politicians, to try and defuse the email issue. McAuliffe is a longtime confidante of and fundraiser for Clinton, and was chairman of her unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.

“Anyway what do we think about using gridiron to puncture the email story a little,” wrote Palmieri, who suggested possible joke topics, including one involving Jeb Bush.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook expressed concern, saying reinforcing the idea that Clinton and McAuliffe are close “conjures the 90s stuff” - a reference, to Bill Clinton’s two turbulent terms in office. McAuliffe’s routine at the Gridiron did not ultimately include the discussed email routine.

Five months later, Hillary Clinton’s director of speechwriting, Dan Schwerin, shared a draft of a speech for the annual Iowa Wing Ding dinner in an email to colleagues, asking for input.

“I look forward to your feedback. (Also, if anyone has a funny email/server joke, please send it my way.),” he wrote on August 13.

February 2016: Clinton campaign slams Bernie Sanders adviser

In one exchange between Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), the two discuss a recently added adviser to Bernie Sanders.

The email, with the subject line of “Faiz advising Bernie,” refers to former CAP vice president Faiz Shakir.

Podesta wrote to Tanden that he gave Shakir “a very hard time” over the defection to the Sanders camp.

“I have to say this does not go down easy with me,” Podesta said, before adding: “Wish him well in life.”

Tanden replied: “He’s a f***er.”

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016: Fancy Bear linked to hacking of Podesta’s emails

Cybersecurity experts confirmed that Podesta’s Gmail account was infiltrated by the same Russian hackers who targeted other Democratic groups.  The cybersecurity firm Secureworks said it has determined that Podesta unwittingly entered his credentials on a fake Google login page set up by “Fancy Bear” -- a notorious group of Russian-linked hackers. Podesta was lured to the site by a shortened link in one of his emails -- a practice known as “spearfishing.”

Tues. Oct 18 email release

March 2016: Podesta sends Clinton the long list of potential runnning mates

The list was compiled by Podesta and Clinton’s top advisers. “I have organized names in rough food groups,” he wrote.

And the 39 names included some of the most successful business people in the world: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, GE CEO Mary Barra, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, among others.

  • The John Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks - CBS News

Prominent black politicians who made the list were New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin, and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

There were several women elected officials on the list -- mostly senators: Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Stabenow, Jeanne Shaheen -- who was also governor of New Hampshire -- Kirsten Gillibrand, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar and Claire McCaskill. 

Hispanic politicians who made the long list were Julian Castro, Tom Perez, Ken Salazar, Xavier Becerra and Eric Garcetti (the LA mayor is Jewish, Italian and Mexican).

Gen. John Allen (ret.), former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen (ret.) and Adm. Bill McRaven (ret.), who also served as U.S. Special Operations commander, offered strong national security credentials. 

The white male contingent was made up of a few senators -- Michael Bennet, Sherrod Brown, Tim Kaine, whom Clinton eventually chose to be her running mate, Martin Heinreich and Chris Murphy, as well as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is an old Clinton friend going back decades, and Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. 

Another white male senator was in his own grouping at the bottom: Clinton’s then-primary rival, Bernie Sanders.

December 2013: Podesta calls Sanders a “doofus” over his attack of Paris climate deal

Top Clinton aide Neera Tanden congratulated Podesta on the announcement of the Paris climate deal in December. “My children and their future children thank you,” she wrote. Podesta, who has long championed the reduction of carbon emissions, oversaw climate and energy policy as counselor to the president. Under the Paris agreement, the U.S. promised to reduce its emissions by 25 - 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.

Podesta responded, “Thanks, Neera. Can you believe that doofus Bernie attacked it?”

Tanden had also noted that the Paris deal “wouldn’t have happened w o the china deal.” Podesta and U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern negotiated the deal with China to cap carbon emissions, announced the month before.

Sun. Oct. 16 email release

WikiLeaks continued Sunday with its daily dump of emails from the hacked personal account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

In its massive Sunday release, several emails showcased the inner workings of the campaign, including exchanges that discussed how the campaign should handle foreign government lobbyists’ donations, how Clinton could better handle apologizing for her use of a private email server, and how the campaign should handle issues of the candidate’s health records and taxes.

Here are some of the highlights: 

April 2015: Clinton campaign discusses what to do with foreign government lobbyist donations

Clinton National Finance Director Dennis Cheng wrote in April that the campaign needed to make a policy decision on whether to allow those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to raise money for the Clinton campaign.  After some debate, campaign manager Robby Mook responded that he was “OK just taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri agreed: “Take the money!!”

A week later, however, it became apparent that that decision had not been run by Hillary Clinton. Huma Abedin wrote to Mook to say that Clinton had read in the paper that the campaign would be taking FARA money, and she wanted to discuss who the donors were and “weigh in,” according to Abedin.

August 2015: Tanden fears Clinton’s inability to show remorse for email server will become “a character problem”

Neera Tanden wrote to Podesta saying she fears that Clinton’s inability to do a national interview and communicate genuine remorse for having a private email server is becoming a character problem. “I see no downside in her actually just saying, look,  I’m sorry. I think it will take so much air out of this,” Tanden wrote.

Clinton, Tanden said, “always sees herself bending to ‘their’ will when she hands over information....But the way she has to bend here is in the remorse. Not the ‘if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it.’ A real feeling of -- this decision I made created a mess and I’m sorry I did that.”

Tanden continued, “No one things she doesn’t have the judgment to be president -- she’s not reaffirming a negative characteristic in saying sorry. She needs to do that. I see no way of moving on until October otherwise.” 

In this email, Tanden was talking about October 2015. it was not until July 2016 that the FBI announced it would not recommend charges against Clinton, a conclusion that is still being questioned by House Republicans, in particular.

March 2015: Mook on taxes and Clinton’s health:

Robby Mook asked Podesta if he had ever talked to Clinton about issues surrounding her health or her taxes. “I’m know both are hyper sensitive but I wonder if both are better dealt with very early so we control them--rather than responding to calls for transparency.  What do you think?” Mook wrote.

Sat. Oct. 15 email release

WikiLeaks released what they claim were the transcripts from Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches in 2013. This batch of emails also included a look at an email about Juanita Broaddrick, who accused former President Bill Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s. 

January 2016: Transcripts of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs paid speeches 

In one email from earlier this year, Podesta received three transcripts for speeches to Goldman Sachs that Clinton had given in 2013.

Some of the more notable excerpts are below:

  • Ironically, Clinton once told an audience at Goldman Sachs: “You know, I would like to see more successful business people run for office. I really would like to see that because I do think, you know, you don’t have to have 30 billion, but you have a certain level of freedom. And there’s that memorable phrase from a former member of the Senate: You can be maybe rented but never bought. And I think it’s important to have people with those experiences.”
  • Clinton joked that “this is all off the record, right?” before launching into a discussion about WikiLeaks: “So, all right. This is all off the record, right? You’re not telling your spouses if they’re not here...Okay. I was Secretary of State when WikiLeaks happened.  You remember that whole debacle.  So out come hundreds of thousands of documents. And I have to go on an apology tour. And I had a jacket made like a rock star tour.  The Clinton Apology Tour. I had to go and apologize to anybody who was in any way characterized in any of the cables in any way that might be considered less than flattering. And it was painful.”
  • Clinton weighed in on Syria and how a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians”: “My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene. We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves. They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else... But the idea that we would have like a no fly zone -- Syria, of course, did have when it started the fourth biggest army in the world. It had very sophisticated air defense systems. They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no fly zone you have to takeout all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas.  So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk -- you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

January 2016: David Kendall gives Podesta a history of Juanita Broaddrick’s allegations

A January 2016 email from Clinton’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, to Podesta gave a breakdown of the history of allegations made by Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s.

Broaddrick was among the three past accusers of the former president who attended last week’s debate in St. Louis at the invitation of Trump. Mr. Clinton has denied the rape accusation made by Broaddrick, which was never adjudicated by a criminal court.

The documents in the WikiLeaks release include the affidavit that Broaddrick signed saying that Mr. Clinton did not assault her and the independent counsel’s history of the Paula Jones case in which Broaddrick later received immunity from any prosecution for perjury if she changed her story.

“Voila! She did, disavowing her sworn affidavit and sworn deposition testimony,” Kendall wrote in the email to Podesta. He concluded, “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide about this slimefest.”