Hacked emails published by WikiLeaks reveal how Hillary Clinton’s team scrambled to draft a statement in response to the FBI seizing her private email server.
Her team — including campaign chairman John Podesta, aide Huma Abadin, Jennifer Palmieri, Robby Mook and Brian Fallon — had drafted a statement for Clinton to deliver which included the Democratic presidential candidate calling her decision to use a secret private server a “screw up.”
In the exchange, Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin wrote Fallon “thought the ‘screw up’ sound bite needed to be less hedged, so I moved the line about convenience and previous secretaries elsewhere. He also thought the server news should be down with the classified section and given a little set-up. Not sure if what i have here does the trick, but check it out.”
Schwerin then sent another email to Podesta seeking clarity on the contrition. “Circling back to this. John, you said you might have ideas on how to edit the server sentence? Brian just floated whether we should say ‘I messed up’ instead of ‘this was a screw-up.’ What do folks think about that?” he wrote.
The exchange took place on Aug. 7, 2015, five days before the FBI seized the servers.
The statement was ultimately not delivered, though Clinton did admit she’d “screwed up” months later.
At the time, the proposed language for describing the seizure was:
“Right now, different government agencies are debating what might possibly now be declared classified, and what’s appropriate to release to the public. Different federal bureaucracies handle these questions differently. So it’s no surprise that many Americans find this all pretty confusing. I hope the State Department and other relevant authorities will sort it out as quickly as possible and release as many emails as possible, as unredacted as possible.
*In the meantime, I want to set to rest any questions about the current security of these files. So I’m handing over my email server and a thumb drive with copies of all the emails already provided to the State Department…”*
When the server was seized, the story was portrayed as Clinton voluntarily turning over the server.
The plan being discussed in the emails was to draft a “statement that would go out today with hopes of either an HRC interview over the weekend or avail/statement in NH,” according to Palmieri.