- President and CEO of the Center for American Progress
- Former Clinton Chief of Staff
- Former antiwar activist of the New Left
- Worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns.
- Met Bill Clinton in 1970 through the antiwar movement
John David Podesta was born to an Italian-American father and a Greek-American mother on January 15, 1949 in Chicago. Podesta rose from a solidly blue-collar background; his father worked in a factory for 50 years.
In the 1960s John was introduced to the antiwar Left by his older brother Anthony. The two brothers worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972, respectively.
John Podesta first met Bill Clinton in 1970, when he and Clinton worked together on anti-war candidate Joseph Duffy's unsuccessful Senate campaign in Connecticut. Podesta and Clinton subsequently worked for the McGovern campaign in 1972.
Podesta graduated from Knox College in Illinois in 1971 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. He landed a job with the federal government right out of law school, working as a litigator for the Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice from 1976 to 1977.
Podesta served on the staff of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) from 1981 to 1988. Leahy was an early advocate of circumventing the U.S. Constitution by gaining control over federal courts. Podesta assisted Leahy in pioneering the indiscriminate smearing and filibustering of any and all Republican judicial nominees -- a practice previously unknown in Washington.
In 1988 Podesta teamed up with his brother Anthony to form the Washington lobbying firm Podesta Associates. One of their first clients was Michael Dukakis. John Podesta served as opposition research director -- commonly dubbed a “dirt digger” -- for Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign.
From January 1993 to 1995, Podesta worked as a White House staff secretary and Assistant to President Clinton.
He served as Counselor to Democratic Senate Leader Thomas Daschle from 1995 to 1996 and then returned to the White House, where he finished out the last years of the Clinton administration -- first as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff (1997-98) and then as Chief of Staff (October 1998 to January 2001).
During his years in the Clinton White House, Podesta helped suppress numerous federal investigations into Clinton wrongdoing, and helped short-circuit the Clinton impeachment proceedings through backroom deals.
The Clintons recognized Podesta's talent for scandal-suppression early. While still a mere staff secretary at the White House in 1993, Podesta found himself swamped with so many scandal clean-up assignments that he nicknamed himself, "Secretary of [Expletive]." "He's good at it," James Carville remarked to the Washington Post.
Podesta's most lasting contribution to the leftist cause came through his promotion of a strategy that White House aides dubbed "Project Podesta." This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch.
Project Podesta enabled the President to bypass Congress through the use of executive orders, presidential decision directives, White-House-sponsored lawsuits, vacancy appointments to high federal office, selective regulatory actions against targeted corporations, and a host of other extra-constitutional tactics.
In short, Podesta showed the Clintons that they could gain by force what they might fail to achieve through legislation. "Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kind of cool," quipped White House aide Paul Begala to The New York Times on July 5, 1998, in response to questions about the Clintons' growing disdain for the will of Congress.
Project Podesta's most ambitious exercise was the war on Yugoslavia which Clinton launched by executive order on April 13, 1999, in defiance of the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.
When US News and World Report first revealed the existence of Project Podesta on November 1, 1999, two Congressional hearings convened to investigate the Clintons' abuse of executive power. But the investigators issued no reports and took no action.
Regarding Podesta's war of attrition against tobacco firms and gun manufacturers, even Clinton's former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich warned fellow leftists in the January 17, 2000 issue of The American Prospect, "You might approve the outcomes in these two cases, but they establish a precedent for other cases you might find wildly unjust.… [T]hese lawsuits are blatant end-runs around the democratic process."
Project Podesta reached its logical conclusion in Al Gore's effort to litigate his way into the White House in 2000. During the infamous 36-day, post-election stand-off, Podesta worked behind the scenes with Gore's legal team even as the Clinton White House publicly declared its neutrality. Podesta bears personal responsibility for forcing the election into the U.S. Supreme Court.
Most of official Washington assumed that the election crisis would end on November 14, when Gore's recount deadline expired and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris would certify the winner. In order to reassure Americans that this would be the case, General Services Administration head David J. Barram held a press conference on November 8, 2000, at which he announced that he was ready to release the $5.8 million in presidential transition funds and to open the transition offices to whichever candidate was certified the winner on November 14. Barram repeated this promise several times via radio and television interviews.
However, on November 13 -- the day before the recount deadline -- John Podesta sent a memo to Barram ordering him to keep the transition offices locked and to withhold the presidential transition funds, thus giving Gore extra time to litigate.
Bush won the Florida recount, as expected. But the transition offices remained locked. Podesta's unprecedented act stunned official Washington and plunged America into a constitutional crisis.
Four years later, when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced his plan to mobilize a legal team of more than 6,000 attorneys for the 2004 election, it was evident that Project Podesta had changed U.S. politics forever.
Podesta co-founded the Center for American Progress (CAP) on July 7, 2003, and would serve as the organization's president and CEO for the next eight years. He was hand-picked for the job by CAP co-founders Morton H. Halperin and George Soros, according to a March 1, 2004 report in The Nation by Robert Dreyfuss. Inside sources described CAP as "the official Hillary Clinton think tank" -- a media spin machine and policy generator designed to serve as a springboard for Mrs. Clinton's presidential ambitions.
On September 27, 2007, Podesta, Anna Burger, and Andrew Stern wrote a very significant email memo to several leftist billionaires -- George Soros, Peter Lewis, Herb and Marion Sandler, Steven Bing, John Sperling, and Michael Vachon -- which was subsequently hacked and made public by WikiLeaks nine years later. The memo emphasized that the Left should do everything in its power to change the demographics of the American population by any means necessary -- especially immigration and naturalization policy -- so as to make those demographics more “advantageous” to Democrats. Said the email: “Ensure that demographics is destiny. An 'emerging progressive majority' is a realistic possibility in terms of demographic and voting patterns. But it is incomplete in terms of organizing and political work. Women, communities of color, and highly educated professionals are core parts of the progressive coalition. Nationally, and in key battleground states, their influence is growing. Latinos and young voters are quickly solidifying in this coalition as well.... The rapid increase in demographic importance of Latinos will continue for decades. Hispanics have surpassed blacks as the nation’s largest minority group, and Census projections indicate that by about mid-century Hispanics will be one-quarter of the U.S. population (at which point or shortly thereafter, the United States will become a majority-minority nation).”
Podesta was a featured speaker at the March 2008 "Take Back America" conference of Campaign for America's Future, where he declared that global warming was a "severe national security problem" that President Bush had failed to address in any meaningful way.
Podesta also has served as an Independent Advisory Council member of the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN.
After Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts served as some of his most influential advisers. He was the head of the new President's transiton team.
Over the years, Podesta has made campaign contributions to numerous Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, Rosa DeLauro, Christopher Dodd, Tammy Duckworth, Richard Durbin, Barney Frank, Al Franken, Richard Gephardt, Al Gore, Maurice Hinchey, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Barack Obama, Charles Rangel, Harry Reid, and Paul Wellstone. In 2002 Podesta also made a $1,000 contribution to the League of Conservation Voters.
In 2010 Podesta authored a report outlining ways in which President Obama could use his executive authority as well as the Environmental Protection Agency to push a progressive agenda on climate policy. Specifically, Podesta wrote that: (a) the EPA could “spur the retirement of coal-fired power plants” -- and their replacement with natural gas plants -- by mandating stricter carbon dioxide emissions limits; and (b) President Obama should use his executive power to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17% by 2020. Before long, both of Podesta's recommendations were made manifest in actual policy: In 2013, the EPA announced that it was imposing emissions limits that would effectively ban coal-fired power plants unless they installed highly expensive carbon capture and storage technology. And in 2014, Obama said he planned to use executive orders to meet the 17% carbon-dioxide reduction goal.
Beginning in late September 2011, Podesta served one day per week as an unpaid senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, providing his input on foreign-policy priorities.
On November 1, 2011, Podesta stepped down as president and CEO of the CAP, handing over the reins to CAP's Chief Operating Officer Neera Tanden. Podesta stayed on as CAP's chairman of the board and became a full-time employee of the organization, focusing on long-term strategic planning and new projects. He said his intention was to focus on "planning CAP's strategic growth, increasing our financial support, and drawing new initiatives into the organization." He added that he would continue teaching as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center and working "part-time as an uncompensated senior advisor at the State Department."
In September 2012, Podesta joined representatives of 50 U.S. companies -- 10 of which had ties to the Podesta Group, a Washington, DC-based lobbying firm founded by John Podesta and his brother Tony -- on a State Department- and U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored four-day tour of Cairo, Egypt, which was now led by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Mohammed Morsi. The purpose of the trip was to deliver the message that “Egypt is open for business, and the U.S. business community is ready to invest.”
In February 2013, it was reported that the Podesta Group had just signed a contract to become the first DC lobbying firm to represent the government of Iraq, which had been developing increasingly close ties to the government of Iran. Iraq selected this firm because of its strong links to Democratic Party leaders such as Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton.
On November 15, 2013, Podesta helped launch the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and subsequently served as the organization's chairman.
In a February 3, 2015 email that was made public by Wikileaks in October 2016, Podesta wrote the following about Voter ID requirements: "On the picture ID, the one thing I have thought of in that space is that if you show up on Election Day with a drivers license with a picture, attest that you are a citizen, you have a right to vote in Federal elections." As GatewayPundit.com points out, this means that under Podesta's plan, many illegal aliens would be permitted to vote, given that: (a) almost half of California’s driver’s licenses went to illegal aliensin 2015, and (b) twelve states and the District of Columbia permit illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.
According to hacked emails published in October 2016 by WikiLeaks, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg emailed Podesta in August 2015 to see if he would be willing to meet with Mark Zuckerberg, to teach the latter about various political issues and the art of influencing public opinion. Wrote Sandberg:
“...[W]ondering if you would be willing to spend some time with Mark Zuckerberg. Mark is meeting with people to learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action and it’s hard to imagine someone better placed or more experienced than you to help him. As you may know, he’s young and hungry to learn — always in learning mode — and is early in his career when it comes to his philanthropic efforts. He’s begun to think about whether/how he might want to shape advocacy efforts to support his philanthropic priorities and is particularly interested in meeting people who could help him understand how to move the needle on the specific public policy issues he cares most about. He wants to meet folks who can inform his understanding about effective political operations to advance public policy goals on social oriented objectives (like immigration, education or basic scientific research).
“Happy to do,” Podesta wrote in response.
In 2016, Podesta served as the campaign manager of Hillary Clinton's presidential run. That same year, he also earned $7,000 per month from the Sandler Foundation, for services rendered.
WIKILEAKS REVELATIONS ABOUT PODESTA
Below is information that was learned about Podesta as a result of private emails that were hacked and made public by WikiLeaks in 2016.
Criticizing Conservative Catholics
• On April 11, 2011, Center for American Progress senior fellow John Halpin sent an email to Podesta and to Jennifer Palmieri, communications director of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, saying: “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC and think tanks to the media and social groups. It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” Palmieri replied: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals.”
• In a February 2012 email exchange, Voices For Progress founder Sandy Newman told Podesta: “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.” Podesta, for his part, told Newman about leftist organizations which he and his colleagues had established for the purpose of recruiting religious people who could help lead a revolution when the time was right: “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.”
Podesta Knew That Bill Clinton Was Using the Clinton Foundation to Sell Influence and to Profit Personally
• In a 2011 email memo that was circulated to Podesta (who worked with the Clinton Foundation at that time) and others in Bill Clinton's inner circle, longtime Clinton aide Doug Band made reference to a number of occasions when he and his consulting company, Teneo Holdings, had helped Mr. Clinton secure for-profit contracts. Wrote Band: “Independent of our fundraising and decision-making activities on behalf of the Foundation, we have dedicated ourselves to helping the President secure and engage in for-profit activities — including speeches, books, and advisory service engagements. In that context, we have in effect served as agents, lawyers, managers and implementers to secure speaking, business and advisory service deals. In support of the President’s for-profit activity, we also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”
At one point in the memo, Band referred to the former president’s money-making activities as “Bill Clinton, Inc.” Band also boasted of “the more than $50 million in for-profit activity we have personally helped to secure for President Clinton to date,” and “the $66 million in future contracts, should he [Clinton] choose to continue with those engagements.”
Citing some specific examples of Clinton Foundation donors who also had given money privately to Mr. Clinton, Bard made mention that Laureate International Universities had donated $1.4 million to the Foundation, and also was paying the former president “$3.5 million annually to provide advice and serve as their Honorary Chairman.”
Band also referenced another Teneo client, GEMS Education, which had donated some $780,000 to the Clinton Foundation. “Gems approached President Clinton in 2009 to seek his personal services as an advisor to the company,” Band wrote. “Justin [Cooper, another longtime Clinton aide] and I convinced them to initiate a relationship to the Foundation, which they did; that relationship has grown into a business relationship for President Clinton and a donor relationship for CGI [Clinton Global Initiative].” In an email to Podesta, Band noted that Mr. Clinton “is personally paid by 3 cgi (Clinton Global Initiative) sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc. I could add 500 different examples of things like this.”
One New York Times piece explains that Band “was selling his clients on idea that giving to [the] foundation was, in essence, a way to bolster their influence”; that “Clinton & Band built a platform for executives to bolster their companies' images, bathe in BC's praise, and do some good, while Teneo [which paid Mr. Clinton until late 2011] extracted earnings for Band and, depending on what you see in these e-mails, Clinton himself.”
Podesta and Hillary Clinton's Private, Unsecured Email Server
• On March 2, 2015 – just a few hours after The New York Times had published a major story revealing that Hillary Clinton, throughout her tenure as secretary of state, had transmitted and received all of her communications via a private, unsecured email server – Podesta wrote to Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills: “we are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later.” After WikiLeaks made this email public in October 2016, a Clinton campaign aide explained that by “dump,” Podesta meant to release the emails to the public—as in a document dump—and not to delete them.
Podesta Was Aware of Unethical Coordination between Hillary Clinton and the State Department
• In early March 2015, Podesta was aware that a State Department official was coordinating with Hillary Clinton's nascent presidential campaign just hours before news reports broke about Mrs. Clinton's use of a private, unprotected email server throughout her tenure as Secretary of State. According to Yahoo News: “Emails from the files of Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta show that the department official provided Clinton aides with the agency's official response to a New York Times reporter in advance of the newspaper's March 2015 report that Clinton had used a private email account to conduct all of her work-related business as secretary.”
Podesta Suggested That Hillary Clinton's Office Should Withhold Some Emails That Congress Had Just Subpoenaed
• In a March 4, 2015 email which was sent a few hours after Congress had issued a subpoena for all of the thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton had sent and received via her private, unsecured server during her tenure as secretary of state, Podesta asked Hillary Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills: “Think we should hold emails to and from potus [President Of The United States]? 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 Knew That President Obama Was Aware of Hillary Clinton's Private Email Server
• In a March 7, 2015 email to Podesta, Hillary Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills expressed concern about the fact that President Obama had falsely told reporters that he had been unaware of Mrs. Clinton's use of a private, unsecured email server, until he heard about it in news stories. Wrote Mills: “we need to clean this up -- he has emails from her -- they do not say state.gov.”
Proof That Podesta Knew That Mrs. Clinton Was Using a Private, Unsecured Email Server to Discuss Sensitive Information
In a pair of August 2014 emails to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton discussed foreign-policy intelligence over her private, unsecured email server, writing:
• “Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region.”
• “any idea whose fighters attacked Islamist positions in Tripoli, Libya? Worth analyzing for future purposes.”
In response, Podesta wrote: “Yes and interesting but not for this channel.”
Alliance Between Podesta/Clinton and the Department Of Justice, During the Period When the DOJ Was Investigating Hillary Clinton's Email Scandal
• In a May 19, 2015 email to Podesta, Justice Department Assistant Attorney Peter Kadzik demonstrated that he was willing and eager to give inside information – in the form of “heads up” briefings – to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Wrote Kadzik to Podesta: “There is a HJC [Hose Judiciary Committee] oversight hearing today where the head of our Civil Division will testify. Likely to get questions on State Department emails. Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.”
• According to a leaked email that DC resident Catherine Chieco send to John Podesta on October 20, 2015, Kadzik was invited to a birthday party for Podesta's brother, Tony Podesta.
• In an email message from several years earlier – September 2008 – John Podesta had referred to Kadzik as a “fantastic lawyer” who “kept me out of jail” (for lying during Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky trial).
Proof That Podesta and Other Clinton Insiders Knew That Hillary Had Not Set up Her Private Email Server for Security Purposes
• In an October 17, 2015 email to John Podesta, consultant Roy Spence, a longtime friend and ad-maker for Hillary Clinton, wrote: “Reluctant to go there. Makes it seem like she consciously went to the home server for security reasons which would fall apart under scrutiny.” Podesta and the others understood that Clinton had set up the private server in order to shield her illicit Clinton Foundation activities (e.g., accepting massive donations from foreign sources, and using the Foundation as a vehicle for generating private income for Bill and Hillary via speaking engagements and public appearances).
Wishing That a Jihadist Mass Killer Had Been a White Man Rather Than an Arab Muslim
• On December 3, 2015 – the day after after Islamic jihadists had murdered 14 people and wounded 31 others in San Bernardino, California – Podesta wrote an email stating that he wished that the perpetrator had been a white American rather than a Muslim: “Better if a guy named Sayeed Farouk was reporting that a guy named Christopher Hayes was the shooter.”
Criticizing Sidney Blumenthal
• In a January 1, 2016 email to left-wing political opinion writer and blogger Brent Budowsky, Podesta wrote the following about Hillary Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal: “Sid is lost in his own web of conspiracies. I pay zero attention to what he says.”
Striving to “Produce an Unaware and Compliant Citizenry”
• In a March 13, 2016 email to Podesta, Bill Ivey – a Senior Arts Policy Fellow with Americans for the Arts – noted that because “Secretary Clinton is not an entertainer, and not a celebrity in the Trump, Kardashian mold,” she needed to find a way “to offset” this disadvantage and create a more “compliant” voting pool. Said Ivey: “[W]e've all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven, demographically-inspired messaging.”
Classifying People by Race, Gender, Ethnicity, etc.
• In a March 17, 2016 memo, Podesta wrote that he and other top advisers to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had drafted “a first cut of people to consider for VP.” Podesta identified those advisers as: “Cheryl [Mills], Robby [Mook], Jake [Sullivan], Huma [Abedin], Jennifer [Palmieri].” “I have organized names in rough food groups,” said Podesta, meaning that the names were grouped by race, Hispanic ethnicity, and sex.
• In an August 21, 2015 email, Podesta advised Mrs. Clinton that she should reach out to “needy Latinos.”
Media Alliances with Podesta/Clinton, in the Form of: Offering Political Advice; Inviting Clintonites to Social Gatherings & Parties; Notifying Clinton Advisers of News Stories That Are Soon to Be Published; Allowing the Clinton Campaign to Have Editorial Control over News Stories; etc.
• In a January 21, 2016 email to Podesta, Brent Budowsky (a writer for The Hill and the Huffington Post) played the role of an an adviser to the Clinton campaign, writing: “Almost every message being projected outward from her campaign is negative, and a candidate with high distrust ratings should not be doing this. My phone has been ringing and my email box is full with democrats who like me who support her, but like me, are appalled and losing confidence.... This campaign is in very, very big trouble and I see zero evidence that Hillary Clinton either understands this, or understands why....”
• In a February 8, 2016 email, Budowsky again acted as an adviser: “In the last 48 hours a) Hillary and her campaign have begun to question Bernie's integrity and b) older feminists are beginning a civil war against younger women with idiot comments such as younger women support Bernie to get laid. What would be the reaction if Bill Clinton, George Bush or Harry Reid comments such as this? Or that younger women must support Hillary for the sole reason that she is a woman? Team Clinton has no idea the danger they are causing of creating such an intense antipathy towards Hillary that many Bernie supporters and younger women will not vote for her in November.... The idea of the campaign for the candidate who could become the first woman president initiating a civil war between older women and younger women over her candidacy is political malpractice that leaves me speechless. My phone is ringing off the hook with establishment Democrats who she thinks support her, who are appalled and alarmed by the kind of campaign she is running....”
• In a May 18, 2015 email to Podesta, Budowsky discussed strategy and gave Podesta information and warnings about things he had learned from other sources:
“I am not going to raise this publicly, but one of HRC's opponents will soon charge that she is running an 'imperial campaign.' If it is the right opponent, Democrat or Republican, the charge will resonate. Probably 90% of the total media coverage of HRC has a negative slant, from her paid speeches to foundation donations to not answering questions from the press. Her caution on policy has created a news vacuum that is filled by these other stories. And while I don't have the highest regard for most of the campaign press corps, they are getting dangerously unhappy about HRC refusing to answer questions.
“If we look at a long curve of her numbers, there is reason for serious concern if trends continue and I see nothing today that will change them.
“What I hear from many many Democrats is that there is something off-key about her campaign and the hope that Republican candidates are so bad she can win by playing cautious. That is a very dangerous way to run for president.
“What I hear from 'average voters' is basically a shrug, no enthusiasm, wait and see, with some real doubts.... There is a missing element in her campaign and it is troubling. The 'imperial campaign' charge will resonate when the right candidate figures it out....”
• In a February 29, 2016 email to a number of Hillary Clinton insiders, New York Times national political correspondent Patrick Healy wrote:
“Amy Chozick and I are doing a story about how the Clinton campaign and its supporters view Trump as a general election opponent and plan to run against him. The story will run in tomorrow's paper....
“I wanted to run some points by you about President [Bill] Clinton, based on our reporting with allies and campaign advisers and other Dems who have spoken to him.
“We're told that President Clinton (like Mrs. Clinton and some other Dems) thinks that Trump would be a formidable opponent in the general election, and that Dems are in a form of denial if they dismiss Trump as a joke who would be easily defeated in November. President Clinton, like others, thinks that Trump has his finger on the pulse of the electorate's mood and that only a well-financed, concerted campaign portrayed him as dangerous and bigoted will win what both Clintons believe will be a close November election.
“We're told that President Clinton (like Mrs. Clinton and many other Dems) thinks the single greatest weapon against Trump is Trump's own instinct to make outrageous, divisive, even hateful comments that can come across as unpresidential. He, Mrs. Clinton, and the campaign all agree that they will need to seize on opportunities to paint Trump as extremist and recklessly impulsive.... Happy to talk this over by email or phone before 6pm today. Thanks, Patrick”
• In an April 15, 2015 email to Podesta, Huffington Post contributor Frank Islam wrote: “I hope all is well with you. Many thanks for your leadership on being campaign Chair for Hillary Clinton. I am committed to make sure she is elected as the next President of United States. I am reaching out to my friends to raise money for her campaign. Please let me know if I can be of any service to you.”
• In a July 26, 2015 email to Podesta, Boston Globe Op-Ed page editor Marjorie Pritchard suggested a way to use two separate stories to give Hillary Clinton a “big presence” in the Globe.
• A June 22, 2015 email to Podesta made reference to efforts by the Associated Press to help the Clinton presidential campaign: “They do not plan to release anything publicly, so no posting online or anything public-facing, just to the committee. That said, they are considering placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley Klapper), that would lay this out before the majority on the committee has a chance to realize what they have and distort it.”
• In a February 20, 2015 email to Podesta, Steve Bing wrote the following about Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation, which owns ABC News and ESPN: “John, Bob Iger is the Chairman of Disney and a great guy. He wants to be helpful. What is the best way to put you two in touch?” In a November 12, 2015 email, Bing said to Podesta: “I saw Bob Iger on Saturday who said he's had a couple of good talks with you.”
• In a January 13, 2015 email to John Podesta, Huma Abedin, and other Clinton insiders, Hillary Clinton's press secretary Nick Merrill said it was a good time to “place a story with a friendly journalist,” and he noted that: “We have has [sic] a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed.”
• An attachment to a December 1, 2015 email that Democrat fundraiser Mary Pat Bonner sent to Podesta, said that “CTR [Correct The Record] has identified 372 surrogates including influential and frequent pundits on broadcast and cable news for Presidential 2016 politics and provided them around 80 sets of talking points…”
• In an April 9, 2015 email to Podesta and other members of Hillary Clinton's inner circle, Jesse Ferguson, the Clinton presidential campaign's deputy national press secretary, spoke about a private “off-the-record” cocktail party that the Clinton campaign was slated to have with at least 38 “influential” reporters, journalists, editors, and anchors from 16 different mainstream media outlets; the stated objective of the event was “framing the HRC message” and “framing the race.”
• According to a July 11, 2015 email to John Podesta, MSNBC host and NBC political director Chuck Todd hosted a dinner party for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign communications director, Jennifer Palmieri.
• In an August 11, 2015 email to longtime Clinton attorney David Kendall, Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker wrote: “We have been told, and we are preparing to report, that the FBI has taken possession of the thumb drive that was once in your possession. This is what we have been informed, and we wanted to see whether there was any sort of comment that could be provided. If you wanted to steer us away and say that we are misinformed, then I would gladly accept that as well. But we have solid reason to believe this. We’d welcome any comment you can offer. Thanks very much.”
• In a May 18, 2015 email to Podesta, Brent Budowsky (a writer for The Hill and the Huffington Post) wrote: “BTW, I may doing an Elizabeth Warren column soon. If I write that my optimum scenario would be for Elizabeth to ultimately give a big endorsement to HRC and give the keynote speech at the Convention, totally off the record, would that give you a problem? It would be my personal opinion only, but if you have a problem with my suggesting this as my idea, I won't tell anyone and I won't include it, deferring to you.”
• In an April 30, 2015 email, Politico correspondent and senior staff writer Glen Thrush sent John Podesta an article for his approval, writing: “Please don't share or tell anyone I did this. Tell me if I fucked up anything.”
• In a July 7, 2015 email to Jennifer Palmieri, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich said that “you could veto what you didn't want” in a story he was preparing to publish about Mrs. Clinton.
• In an August 21, 2015 email, the New York Times sent Podesta the draft of a scheduled article before it was published, so that Podesta could have an opportunity to approve it or amend it as he saw fit.
• In a March 9, 2015 email to Podesta and other Clinton insiders, assistant Clinton campaign manager Marissa Astor made it clear that the Clinton staff could dictate the release times of Associated Press articles.
• In a November 14, 2015 email, CNBC panelist Glenn Hutchins colluded with John Podesta on what to ask Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a scheduled phone interview. Wrote Hutchins: “Turns out now that Trump is calling in between 8 and 8:10. So I am going on at 7:45 in order to be in place for to call. I am trying to craft one question to ask him in case I get a chance. Any thoughts?”
• In an April 25, 2016 email to a number of Clinton insiders, Democratic National Committee research director Lauren Dillon solicited suggestions for questions that CNN broadcastrer Wolf Blitzer could ask of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an upcoming interview. In a subsequent email, Dillon informed the recipients that the Trump interview was being cancelled, but added: “CNN said the interview was cancelled as of now but will keep the questions for the next one Good to have for others as well.” In a separate email three days later, Dillon solicited suggestions for questions that Blitzer could ask of Republican Senator Ted Cruz in an upcoming interview. Wrote Dillon: “CNN is looking for questions. Please send some topical/interesting ones.”
• In an April 2016 DNC email chain, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank asked the DNC for help with research for a column he was writing about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Titled “The Ten Plagues of Trump,” the column featured a list of ten “outrageous” things Trump had said during the campaign. Eight of the ten “plagues” that Milbank ultimately listed in his column matched suggestions that the DNC had provided.
Proof That Podesta Knew That the Iran Deal of 2015 Was a Disaster for America
• In a July 15, 2015 email to Podesta, professional pollster John Anzalone wrote quoted Republican Senator Mark Kirk's assertion that the Iran nuclear agreement “condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf… This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.” To this, Podesta responded: “Yup.”
Podesta's Financial Ties to Russia
• In a January 6, 2014 email to Eryn Sepp (a former assistant to Podesta at the Center for American Progress), Mark Solakian, a senior vice president and general counsel with Joule Unlimited, made reference to Podesta's ownership of 75,000 shares in an energy company with ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
Podesta Knew That Hillary Clinton Was Perhaps Guilty of Accepting Bribes in the Form of Influence-Buying Through the Clinton Foundation
• In a March 1, 2016 email to Podesta and other Clinton insiders, Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan made reference to a suggestion that Mrs. Clinton should issue a call to “strengthen bribery laws to ensure that politicians don’[t] change legislation for political donations.” That idea, said Sullivan, “is a favorite of mine, as you know, but REALLY dicey territory for HRC, right?”
Podesta and Hillary Clinton Both Knew That Some Foreign Donors to the Clinton Foundation Were Aiding Islamic Terrorism
• In an August 19, 2014 email to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton made reference to “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” This is significant because the Clinton Foundation had accepted millions of dollars in donations from those governments.
Podesta Knew That Hillary Clinton Was Willing to Accept a Massive Foreign Donation to Her Foundation, from a Source Notorious for Its Human Rights Abuses
• In a January 18, 2015 email to John Podesta and Robby Mook, Huma Abedin wrote that the King of Morocco – a nation where human rights abuses were widespread – had agreed to give the Clinton Foundation $12 million in exchange for a meeting with Hillary; this occurred 6 months before Morocco acquired weapons from the United states. Wrote Abedin: “Just to give you some context, the condition upon which the Moroccans agreed to host the meeting was her participation. If hrc [Hillary Rodham Clinton] was not part if it, meeting was a non-starter. CGI [Clinton Global Initiative] also wasn't pushing for a meeting in Morocco and it wasn't their first choice. This was HRC's idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request. The King has personally committed approx $12 million both for the endowment and to support the meeting. It will break a lot of china to back out now when we had so many opportunities to do it in the past few months. She created this mess and she knows it.”
Podesta and Hillary Clinton Were Both Well Aware of “Bird-Dogging” Tactics Against the Trump Presidential Campaign
• In a July 4, 2015 email to Podesta and other Clinton insiders, Xochitl Hinojosa, the Clinton presidential campaign's director of coalitions press, made explicit reference to a tactic called “bird-dogging”: “Engage immigrant rights organizations. DREAMers have been bird dogging Republican presidential candidates on DACA/DAPA, but they’ve learned to respond. There’s an opportunity to bird dog and record questions about Trump’s comments and connect it to the policy.”
The term “bird-dogging” first came to widespread public attention in October 2016, when investigative journalist James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas Action” (PVA) released a series of undercover, hidden-camera videos showing that Democrat operative Robert Creamer was a leading orchestrator of an initiative where the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had been using trained provocateurs to instigate violence and chaos at Republican events nationwide – especially at rallies for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence – throughout that year's election cycle.
One video segment featured one of Creamer’s consultants, Scott Foval explaining that his own consulting firm, the Foval Group, played a key role in training and organizing the aforementioned provocateurs to carry out a Creamer-approved tactic called “bird-dogging,” whereby these Creamer/Foval operatives planned, in advance, their confrontations with carefully selected, targeted individuals. Said Foval: “So the term bird-dogging, you put people in the line at the front, which means they have to get there at six o’clock in the morning because they have to get in front of the rally, so what when Trump comes down the rope line they’re the ones asking him the question in front of the reporters, because they’re pre-placed there. To funnel that kind of operation, you have to start back with people two weeks ahead of time and train them how to ask questions. You have to train them to bird-dog.” The purpose of bird-dogging, said Foval in the video, was to create a public perception of “anarchy” around Trump, on the theory that its shock value would undermine his political support.
Foval also explained that the Democrat bird-dogging operation was structured in a manner that – if the public were ever to find out about it – would allow the DNC and the Clinton campaign to pretend that they knew nothing about it. “The thing that we have to watch is making sure there’s a double-blind between the actual campaign and the actual DNC and what we’re doing,” said Foval. “There’s a double-blind there, so that they can plausibly deny that they heard anything about it.” To help ensure that this plausible deniability was not in any way compromised, Democratic funding for the Foval Group was channeled through a highly circuitous path. Said Foval: “The campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, the Foval Group goes and executes the shit on the ground.”
In yet another video clip, Foval shed light on the relationship that existed between the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the Creamer/Foval tactics: “We are contracted directly with the DNC and the campaign. I am contracted to [Robert Creamer] but I answer to the head of special events for the DNC and the head of special events and political for the campaign. Through Bob. We have certain people who do not get to talk to them, at all.”
Podesta Knew That Clinton Insiders Were Discussing the Feasibility of Accepting Illegal Foreign Donations to the 2016 Clinton Presidential Campaign
In a series of April 2015 email exchanges that Podesta was sent, Clinton insiders discussed the feasibility of illegally accepting foreign donations to Clinton's presidential campaign. Some key excerpts written by those insiders included the following:
• “I feel like we are leaving a good amount of money on the table (both for primary and general, and then DNC and state parties)… and how do we explain to people that we’ll take money from a corporate lobbyist but not them; that the Foundation takes $ from foreign govts but we now won’t.”
• “Responding to all on this. I was not on the call this morning, but I lean away from a bright line rule here. It seems odd to say that someone who represents Alberta, Canada can't give, but a lobbyist for Phillip Morris can. Just as we vet lobbyists case by case, I would do the same with FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act].”
• “If we do it case by case, then it will be subjective. We would look at who the donor is and what foreign entity they are registered for. In judging whether to take the money, we would consider the relationship between that country and the United States, its relationship to the State Department during Hillary's time as Secretary, and its relationship, if any, to the Foundation. In judging the individual, we would look at their history of support for political candidates generally and Hillary's past campaigns specifically. Put simply, we would use the same criteria we use for lobbyists, except with a somewhat more stringent screen. As a legal matter, I am not saying we have to do this - we can decide to simply ban foreign registrants entirely. I'm just offering this up as a middle ground.”
• “[W]e really need to make a final decision on this. We’re getting to the point of no return”
• “I'm ok just taking the money and dealing with any attacks. Are you guys ok with that?”
Illegal Insider Trading by John Podesta and His Brother
• On March 15, 2015, John Podesta forwarded to two friends an email message containing the “totally confidential” information that Atlantic Power Corporation would be announcing a five-year drilling plan the following day – a plan that subsequently caused the company's stock price to rise by 28% over the ensuing two weeks.
• In a September 22, 2015 email, Podesta's brother, Tony, tried to find out what policy Clinton was planning to is laying out for price caps on drug companies and when she was intending to release that information. As MostDamagingWikileaks.com explains, this data would give Tony Podesta “the ability to profit off of the biotech markets price reaction to the news in the stock market.”
Podesta Illegally Had Top-Secret Clearance
During Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, Podesta had access to top-secret information; this was illegal, since he did not hold a government position. In a November 10, 2011 email, Podesta wrote: “Two exceptions--White House requests he can handle by email; if any other emergency request comes up, I can process. I'm holding a TS [Top Secret] clearance. Scott, you may need to figure out what we need to do to add me to the review authority.”
More Podesta Ties to Russia
During a six-month period in 2016, the Podesta Group -- a Washington-based lobbying and public-affairs firm that John Podesta and his brother Tony founded in 1988 -- was paid $170,000 to represent Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, in its effort to end an Obama administration sanction which had been imposed following Russia's seizure of the Crimea in 2014. For further details regarding this arrangement, click here.
Still More Podesta Ties to Russia
On August 24, 2017, the Washington Examiner reported:
The Podesta Group belatedly filed several new disclosures with the Justice Department on Aug. 17 related to work the firm completed between 2012 and 2014 on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainian think tank.
Back in April, the powerful Washington lobbying firm run by Clinton ally Tony Podesta filed a document admitting its work for the pro-Russia European Centre for a Modern Ukraine may have principally benefited a foreign government. New disclosures revealed dozens of previously unreported interactions the firm made with influential government offices, including Hillary Clinton's State Department and the office of former Vice President Joe Biden, while lobbying on behalf of the center....
Anyone lobbying or doing public relations on behalf of foreign governments is required to register as a foreign agent in compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Aug. 17 filings include short-form registration statements for six Podesta Group employees and an amendment to the firm's registration statement that includes a list of political contributions made by relevant employees throughout 2013. A review of those donations shows both parties received cash from Podesta Group lobbyists.
The individual employee filings appear to be uniform and lawyerly, each describing what their services were supposed to entail as, "Research and analyze issues related to principal's organizational mission of improving ties between Ukraine and the West counsel on activities in Congress and executive branch and developments that relate to the principal's organizational mission; and maintain contact, as needed, with legislative and executive branch officials, members of the media, and NGOs." One of the filings is for Tony Podesta himself, who was a bundler for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Tony and his brother John--Clinton's 2016 campaign chairman--co-founded the lobbying firm in 1988.
Last August, the AP reported that [Donald Trump campaign manager Paul] Manafort oversaw the lobbying efforts on behalf of the center carried out by the Podesta Group and Mercury, another high-powered firm. As the Washington Examiner noted in May, the Podesta Group was paid more by the think tank than Mercury -- the firms earned $1 million and $720,000 between 2012 and 2014, respectively.