WikiLeaks: Podesta agrees Sanders needs to be 'ground to a pulp'

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE's campaign chairman John Podesta said in a February email he agreed that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Filibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Gallego says he's been approached about challenging Sinema MORE needed to be "ground to a pulp," according to emails released by WikiLeaks.

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The message, dated Feb. 21, shows Joel Johnson, the managing director at the Glover Park Group and a former adviser to President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonPerdue proposes election police force in Georgia To boost economy and midterm outlook, Democrats must pass clean energy bill Could the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? MORE, telling Podesta that the Vermont Independent and then-presidential candidate needed to be taken down.

"Bernie needs to be ground to a pulp," Johnson said in the email, according to WikiLeaks.

"We can't start believing our own primary bull----. This is no time to run the general. Crush him as hard as you can. Other than that, hope all is well and congrats on Nevada!"

The email was sent during the primaries, when Clinton was competing with the Vermont senator.

"I agree with that in principle," Podesta responded. "Where would you stick the knife in?"

Johnson responded that Sanders should be framed as an "Obama betrayer," "hapless legislator," "false promiser" and a candidate who "can't win."

Sanders endorsed Clinton after she clinched the nomination and has been campaigning for her in recent weeks.

Other leaked emails have also shown Clinton campaign officials talking negatively about the Vermont senator.

The Clinton campaign has refused to acknowledge the authenticity of the messages, which security experts believe were stolen from Podesta's account by Russian hackers.