Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta became incensed with Clinton adviser Phillipe Reines over leaks to the media ,according to an email chain posted to WikiLeaks.
Reines appears to be offended by the idea that he is the one that Podesta and others believe is the leak in the campaign and offers up his defense of his capabilities to the Clinton campaign team.
Clinton Foundation communications staffer Craig Minassian initially sent a March 9, 2015 email to Clinton campaign press secretary Nick Merrill saying that their “favorite CNN source” says two CNN staffers, one of whom was anchor Brianna Keiler, are speculating “that HRC lined up an interview with Andrea Mitchell about emails.”
Minassian added, “Now she obviously shouldn’t be telling me this so please don’t burn the source or Madre may pay the price.”
Merrill responded, “This is nuts,” noting he added Reines to the e-mail conversation by writing, “+PIR.”
Reines replied back, “Ok, this has gone too far. The email below is from Craig to Nick to me where someone knows an interview with Andrea was on the table. Seperately [sic] Andrea just sent Nick this: ‘we are hearing news conference tomorrow?’ The Andrea part especially should only have been known to 10-12 people, 3 of whom are John, Cheryl & me.”
Podesta shot back at Reines writing: “Philippe, You got to stop this. The press is trading in rumors that can easily originate in their own newsrooms. If someone wanted to leak juicy tidbits, they have a lot more to work with than our press planning. If we are going to be at each others throats before we start, we are going nowhere.”
Reines did not take Podesta’s criticism lightly replying back to him: “With all due respect, and reluctantly to do this in front of HRC except for wanting to defend myself against being labeled as a cancer – but the conclusion that it is ME that has to stop ‘this’ is really unfair. This has happened too much over the last six weeks to chalk it up to the press guessing correctly. They don’t even get facts correctly. Cnn guessed Andrea Mitchell? Come on. That flies in the face of common sense. Not to mention I’m following up on a topic last night where you yourself felt it enough of a problem to have warned the Secretary her people yap.”
Reines continued, “I didn’t whip you up. You took that into consideration when discussing a 24 hour delay. That never should have been a factor. Lastly, if you think I’m the only one on this chain bothered by this – and not because I whipped them up – then I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you. When I had dinner with Jim Margolis weeks ago, he broached with me that he is shocked by what he’s reading, is sure it’s close, and fears HRC is looking at him and the rest of them funny. I think that’s a problem when her team is looking funny at each other. And for anyone to be justifiably upset to not be read in earlier on our current challenge, and then wonder why it’s difficult to speak freely about something so sensitive in large in expanded settings, is a lack of self-awareness.”
He added, “This topic’s a unique doozy, but it’s not the last delicate one. That someone yapped about the lamest 10% of our conversations is better than the most sensitive 10% is besides the point. But either way we’re going to have to agree to disagree on whether 10% is just the price of doing business. Again, with all due respect, your reaction to me is unfair in that’s it’s stronger than any admonition anyone else has received who is actually doing something wrong. I agree though that being at each others’ throats will get us nowhere, and if you want me to keep it to myself, ok, done.”
“But it’s the underlying problem that’s going to be the problem, not me stating the obvious. With that, I’m going to sit quietly in the corner until Cheryl calls me to admonish me for sending this reply and digging myself into an even deeper hole with you than I already was. For those keeping score, that will be two more admonishment than the culprit(s) have received,” he concluded.
Podesta hit back writing to Reines, “I don’t condone leaks, but she has a very tough job to do tomorrow. Do you really think it helps get her in the right head space to tell her she can’t trust anyone she just brought on board? Why are you fanning this with her? CNN thinking Andrea Mitchell is getting an interview is about the least of our problems. I am happy to fire someone for leaking whether they did or they didn’t just to make the point, but let’s try to get through the next few days.”
Reines, seemingly taken aback, simply replied: “ok” and then went on to send another email defending himself, Cheryl Mills and another staffer.
“I’d also like you to know though that last night I suggested very strongly to her in writing and then on the phone that if she disagreed with their recommendation — which at that time she was doing — I would not relay that back, that he/they/one of them deserved the right to make their case directly to her to either change her mind or know they couldn’t, that it can’t keep being me or Cheryl with the, HRC said X, HRC told us Y. That doing so will only lead people to say If only, and that she should call Joel… Believe me it did not go over well with her.”
He explained, “All sorts of crazy responses, my favorite being, Well he can call me whenever he wants. But I’m happy I did, because as you know she called him first thing this morning. I’m going to give myself a pat on the back because I believe she needs to work with them directly.
“I’m probably as happy about it as he is. So while our exchange might not make it seem so, and my too-often caustic nature doesn’t help, I want this to succeed far more than you know. And I firmly believe that doing so means I shouldn’t be 50% in 50% out. Should be 100/0 or 0/100. It’s clear you don’t think it should be 100% in. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. Not because I want to, but because how much I respect you and how hard it is to accept that you have determined that my downsides have exceeded my upsides,” Reines added.
Podesta ends the email chain at this point stating, “I’m not trying to throw you in the ditch. I just want you to stop whipping her up beyond what she is quite capable of doing on her own.”