Retired Gen. Colin Powell believed that “Hillary’s mafia” was trying to drag him into the Clinton email scandal, newly leaked emails show.
Powell, who served as secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration, also appears to have warned Clinton’s personal attorney, Cheryl Mills, about dragging him into the fiasco.
“Been having fun with emailgate,” Powell wrote to Beth Jones on March 9, 2015, days after news broke that Clinton used a personal email account and private server as secretary of state.
“Hillary’s Mafia keeps trying to suck me into it,” he continued.
It is unclear who Powell’s correspondent is, but a Beth Jones currently serves as assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.
“Is this fatal for her?” Jones asks.
“Not unless she keeps diggin deeper,” Powell responded.The emails were published online by DC Leaks, a website that publishes documents hacked from military leaders and political figures. The Powell documents are password-protected, but The Daily Caller was granted access to view them.
The release spans the period between June 2014 and August of this year.
Clinton’s campaign and her surrogates have cited Powell’s use of a personal AOL account to downplay the former first lady’s email practices. But one major difference was that Powell did not host a private email server in his home, as Clinton did. He also used the State Department’s classified messaging system to send and receive classified information. Clinton was granted an account on that system but opted not to use it.
The federal government had also adopted stronger rules regarding the use of personal email accounts for work-related business.
The hacked emails show that Powell warned Mills, who had served as Clinton’s chief of staff, about continuing to link him to the scandal.
“You really don’t want to get me into this,” he wrote in a March 7, 2015 email. “I haven’t been asked nor said a word about HRC and won’t unless you all start it.”
Mills replied saying “agree and that message has been clearly shared.”
“so she will not nor will anyone she controls,” Mills continued, adding that “I can’t address folks who are beyond that so please ping or call me when you see anything that worries you.”
On March 17, Powell emailed Mills to flag comments from Clinton adviser James Carville.
“James is out there screaming away about me and Jeb doing the same thing and getting away with it. Not only is he factually wrong it ain’t working He is just throwing more logs on her fire. Not knowing if anybody is controlling him (unlikely) I don’t think it helps you all,” Powell wrote.
“Got it – not sure he will listen to me (he hasn’t in the past) buy I will reach out to him tomorrow when I land back in DC,” Mills replied.
Mills and Powell exchanged emails again last month, just after a news report surfaced that a pro-Clinton journalist named Joe Conason was set to publish a book asserting that Powell advised Clinton to use a personal account at a June 2009 dinner party.
Powell initially said only that he did not recall the dinner party. But he offered a more direct denial days later, telling reporters at a social event that the Clinton team was trying to “pin” her email failures on him.
“Spent last week with Cheryl Mills and the HRC team burying the email flap,” Powell wrote on Aug. 28.
“Sad thing is that HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it. I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.”
In one exchange days before, on Aug. 24, Powell appears to suggest that he made a compromise of sorts with Mills regarding his public comments on the email issue.
“I told you we wouldn’t say any more,” Powell told Mills.
But he added that he was forced to continue discussing the issue after his assistant, Peggy Cifrino, became embroiled in an argument with Conason over his claim that Powell advised Clinton to use personal email at the 2009 dinner party.
In an Aug. 19 email, Powell told his correspondent that he tried to “warn [Clinton’s] people three times.”
“I will send an even tougher counterattack from a Trump media friend,” he added.