Politics

Clinton Camp Wondered How To Oppose Keystone Without Saying So

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign jockeyed meticulously to identify the right way to signal her opposition to the Keystone pipeline, according to new emails released by WikiLeaks.

One email shows the campaign hoped Clinton could express opposition to the project without her having to make a definitive statement to that effect. Another suggested flip-flopping on the issue could distract from the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server.

“We are trying to find a good way to leak her opposition to the pipeline without her having to actually say it and give up her principled stand about not second-guessing the President in public,” wrote Dan Schwerin, a campaign speechwriter, in an August 2015 email.

“We could even have her come out against Keystone on Monday as well (not sure where that stands), which will solicit criticism, but that might help distract from emails,” campaign manager Robby Mook responded.

Clinton eventually announced her opposition to the pipeline in Sept. 2015. Other messages in the Monday email dump of campaign chairman John Podesta’s email server indicate the campaign intentionally struck any reference to the project from her book “Hard Choices.”

Her position on the project was fraught with political peril, as she risked alienating key Democratic constituencies like trade unions and environmentalists, depending on her stance.  (RELATED: WikiLeaks Shows Hillary’s Coming Out Against Keystone XL Was A Totally Calculated Move)

“The trades are also hearing that HRC will put out a statement stating that she encouraged Obama to take this position,” Nikki Budzinski, the campaign’s head of labor outreach, wrote in an Aug. 20 email.

“Politically with the building trades, this would be a very dangerous posture. Just curious what your thoughts will be if the situation goes this way on Monday,” she wrote.

U.S. intelligence officials have definitively linked WikiLeaks to actors near the Russian government. They say the Podesta hack is likely part of a scheme to interfere in the presidential election.

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