National Security

In emails, aide stressed need to ‘clean up’ Obama’s comments on Clinton’s email


A top aide to Hillary Clinton appeared to worry in March 2015 that President Obama might be accused of lying about his knowledge of Clinton’s private email server.

In a brief email chain released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday, Clinton allies seemed to scurry to respond to Obama’s claim that he was unaware of Clinton’s use of a personal email account while she was secretary of State until after it became public.

{mosads}“[L]ooks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news,” Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin told other campaign aides in a March 7, 2015, email, using acronyms for the president and Clinton.

“[W]e need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say,” responded Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department.

The White House has insisted that Obama was unaware of Clinton’s unusual email setup during her tenure at the State department, even though the two occasionally communicated by email.

Two days after the emails released on Tuesday were sent, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama did know Clinton’s email address but was unaware that she used the account exclusively.

“The point that the president was making is not that he didn’t know Secretary Clinton’s email address, he did,” Earnest told reporters at the time.

“But he was not aware of the details of how that email address and that server had been set up or how Secretary Clinton and her team were planning to comply with the Federal Records Act.”

The State Department has said that at least 18 emails were sent between Clinton and Obama on her private system.

Even as thousands of emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of State have been released to the public, those between her and Obama have remained secret. The White House has claimed that the messages should not be made public until after Obama leaves office, in keeping with procedures for presidential records.

Clinton’s unconventional email setup has loomed over her presidential campaign since last spring; it was the source of a yearlong FBI investigation that concluded this summer without charges being issued. Critics of the Democratic presidential nominee allege that her system allowed her to evade transparency laws and jeopardize sensitive information.

The email chain released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday is part of a slow and steady release of messages apparently stolen from the inbox of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The Clinton campaign has refused to verify the authenticity of the messages.

Federal intelligence officials have suggested the WikiLeaks dump is part of a broad campaign by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

Tags Hillary Clinton WikiLeaks

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