Five takeaways from the latest WikiLeaks releases

Five takeaways from the latest WikiLeaks releases
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE’s campaign was rocked this week by eye-popping new revelations published by WikiLeaks from campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked email account. 

One exchange in particular has drawn intense scrutiny. 


The memo from former Clinton Foundation fundraiser Doug Band exposed new details about the close intersection of the Clinton family's charitable and for-profit work. 

It has given new fodder to Republican Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE in the race for the White House, and threatens to linger for Clinton if she becomes president. 

Here are five takeaways from the latest WikiLeaks email dump: 

Democrats are on edge about what will come next 

The FBI’s decision to return to its investigation into Clinton’s private email arrangement as secretary of State shows how vulnerable the Democrat is to new bombshell developments with so much loose information floating around. 

Many Democrats have confidently asserted that they are not worried about new WikiLeaks email releases, saying that there has been no smoking gun so far and that they believe scandal-fatigue has set in. 

The public is well aware of all of Clinton’s email issues, Democrats say, and they’ve propelled her to a lead anyway. 

But Friday’s stunning announcement from the FBI has reignited worries about the potential for another bombshell less than two weeks before the election. 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed to have more than 50,000 emails from Podesta’s account. He has released about 35,000 so far. What surprises await in the final 15,000? 

There are renewed calls to shutter the Clinton Foundation 

Government ethics watchdogs have long warned that the Clintons’  nonprofit would present serious conflict-of-interest concerns should the former secretary of State obtain the oval office. 

Republicans — led by Donald Trump — have accused the Clintons of using the foundation to peddle influence and line their own pockets. 

The details in Band’s memo gave new ammunition to critics who have pressed for the foundation to be shuttered. 

In it, Band describes how Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Bill Clinton shares video update after release from hospital Biden, Democrats risk everything unless they follow the Clinton pivot (they won't) MORE’s personal wealth skyrocketed with the help of the same consultants raising money for the foundation, and the same donors who poured millions into the charity.

“I think it’s going to be a continuing problem unless they close the thing down after she’s elected,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. 

Those calls were echoed by the press. 

“Let me go to bottom line: There is no way under any circumstance the Clinton Foundation should be operating if she becomes president," Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," told WGN Radio in Chicago on Thursday. “I just don't see how they can keep that going." 

Bill Clinton's consulting firm confirmed email authenticity 

The Clinton campaign has refused to confirm the authenticity of any of the thousands of emails released by WikiLeaks. 

It has sought to cast doubt on them at every turn, noting that the exchanges were stolen by Russian hackers and could have been doctored — a narrative that even some Republicans have begun to echo. 

But Band’s consulting firm, Teneo, broke with that approach on Wednesday when it effectively authenticated the memo by commenting directly on its contents. 

“As the memo demonstrates, Teneo worked to encourage clients, where appropriate, to support the Clinton Foundation because of the good work that it does around the world,” a spokesperson for the company said. “It also clearly shows that Teneo never received any financial benefit or benefit of any kind from doing so.” 

The move was a dramatic departure from the Clinton campaign line and was seen by some onlookers as undermining the suggestion that the emails may have been doctored.

The Clinton campaign’s pushback hasn’t worked 

The Clinton campaign has strongly insinuated that the messages are doctored or outright forgeries. 

They’ve sought to shame the press for focusing on superficial dialogues in the emails, and have warned that digging through the email contents sets a dangerous precedent. 

But short of producing evidence that the emails have been forged or doctored, it is hard to see how the campaign – or a potential Clinton administration – can stanch the flow of new releases or stifle public interest in their contents. 

Absent that, they’ve thrown everything they have at the releases. 

Campaign aides are battling WikiLeaks over social media, and Clinton’s top national security advisers have conducted conference calls with reporters to warn in apocalyptic terms about how the hacked emails threaten the nation’s sovereignty. 

They have argued that the emails were hacked by Russians and foreign actors they say have ties to terror groups. They have said there will be “consequences” for the perpetrators. 

And they have characterized the hack as an unprecedented interference in the U.S. election, and warned that engaging with the material will ensure that foreign meddling becomes the standard. 

They have also accused Donald Trump and his campaign of conspiring directly with the Russians and other nefarious foreign actors to hack and publish the emails.

But at this point, seemingly the only thing under the Clinton campaign’s control is how they communicate going forward. 

“I think it will change the way everyone communicates and what people are willing to say on email,” one Clinton ally told The Hill.

Embarrassing infighting has spilled into the open 

The first stories to emerge about the published emails have focused on conflict between staffers, the sometimes foul language they use and the way they speak to and about one another in private exchanges. 

It’s a quicker and easier storyline for news outlets because it doesn’t require piecing together broader stories about the Clinton’s byzantine network of fundraising and personal money-making. 

And there is no shortage of content: 

Chelsea Clinton pushed for the family to cut ties with Band, who   responded by calling her a “spoiled brat.” 

Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden, a former adviser to President Obama, emerged as a fierce critic of Clinton’s private email arrangement, Clinton’s initial refusal to apologize, and the sometimes-tortured decision-making process that would take Clinton months to reach a policy conclusion. 

Clinton, Tanden said, has “terrible” instincts. And she believes that David Brock, who runs a network of pro-Clinton outside groups, is an “unhinged soulless narcissist.” 

Podesta, meanwhile, thinks Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal lacks “self awareness or self respect,” and urged his colleagues to “shoot” him if he ever ended up like Blumenthal. 

He also thinks former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson can be a “dick,” and feels that liberal billionaire activist “fucked him” during the primary. 

And longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines was effectively barred from joining the campaign amid accusations he had leaked stories to the press. Podesta and others snarked behind his back about having him committed to an insane asylum. 

“Philippe going off the rails,” read the subject line of one email. 

It has been catnip for Washington insiders.