The White House knew President Barack Obama had emailed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account that was run out of an unsecured server in her New York home, according to emails released by WikiLeaks.
Obama told CBS News in March 2015 he learned of Clinton’s private server the way basically all Americans did, “through news reports.” But emails hacked from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s Gmail account suggest the White House already knew about Clinton’s private email server.
“They know POTUS and HRC emailed,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote to aides in March 2015 — about a month before Clinton announced she was running for president in 2016.
“Josh has been asked about that,” Palmieri wrote, referring to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
“Standard practice is not to confirm anything about his email, so his answer to press was that he would not comment/confirm,” she wrote. “I recollect that Josh was also asked if POTUS ever noticed her personal email account and he said something like POTUS likely had better things to do than focus on his Cabinet’s email addresses.”
Palmieri was responding to Clinton aide Philippe Reines, who suggested they warn the White House that Obama’s response to CBS would eventually be debunked.
“One of us should connect with the WH just so they know that the email will show his statement to not make sense,” Reines wrote. “I’m happy to do so to Josh Earnest since Jen is in a weird position, unless Cheryl or John you want to (or already have) with someone else. But it’s not unreasonable to assume that Josh is going to get asked how this was possible, and he should have the factset.”
“Especially if it’s some weird technical thing with the President’s email setup that he doesn’t see addresses,” he wrote.
Clinton used a private email server while heading the Department of State from 2009 to 2013. The server was unsecured and run out of her home in Chappaqua, New York, prompting security concerns from lawmakers and the FBI.
The FBI began investigating Clinton’s storing of classified materials on her private server, and in September found Obama used a pseudonym when communicating with the former secretary of state.
Emails released by WikiLeaks from Podesta’s account show campaign aides discussed withholding communications with Obama.
“Think we should hold emails to and from potus?” Podesta asked Clinton lawyer Cheryl Mills in a March 2015 email.
“That’s the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I seems like they will,” Podesta wrote.
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