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The Podesta Emails Revelations: A Collection

Editor’s Note

On October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks published the first batch of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The media organization published emails on a daily basis in the run-up to Election Day on November 8.

Below is a collection of revelations from the “Podesta Emails” release. The revelations are organized by issue and link to news articles or particular emails. The collection will be updated as WikiLeaks continues to release new batches of emails, and media organizations continue to cover the contents of the emails.

If there are revelations you believe should be included here, please email editor@shadowproof.com with the particular email or news story so we can link to it. Last update: November 6


—Excerpts of paid speeches to banks revealed her coziness with Wall Street and included a statement fully backing a “hemispheric common market.” In other words, she is willing to support a North American Union, the next step after the North America Free Trade Agreement. (Dan Wright, Shadowproof)

—Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin planted comments in one of Clinton’s paid speeches to Deutsche Bank that would seem critical of Wall Street if leaked to the public. Schwerin and others considered giving a transcript of the speech to a favored journalist to manipulate the press and make it seem like this is what Clinton was saying to “fat cats” behind closed doors. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Clinton campaign panicked when Clinton said women groups pushed her to vote for a bad bankruptcy form bill because that was not true. (POLITICO)


—Aware of a ballot initiative for single-payer health care in Colorado, Clinton avoided a strong message on health care while campaigning in the state. (David Sirota, IBTimes.com)


—When SEIU requested support for fast food and child care workers engaged in a day of action as part of the “Fight for 15,” the campaign wondered if Clinton could back the “Fight for 15” without supporting $15 wages. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—The campaign drafted remarks for Clinton to address the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before she announced she would run for president. The remarks were written with the understanding that she would likely support the TPP if elected president. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—”Hillary Clinton vs. Labor Unions: Clinton aides, including Clinton campaign vice-chair Huma Abedin, were opposed to Clinton attending events involving the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). (Greg Price, IBTimes.com)


—”Get a life,” Clinton said, in reference to environmental activists during a private meeting with the North America Building Trades Union. She expressed how tired she was of anti-fracking activists “screaming” and “yelling” at her because she refuses to support keeping fossil fuels in the ground. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Clinton was very open in her paid speeches to banks about her support for natural gas fracking. She also believed the Russians were behind activist groups organizing against fracking. (David Sirota, IBTimes.com)

—Individuals working for the Clinton campaign, and those connected to it, promoted ties with Blackstone executive Jon Gray. A Clinton administration could potentially give the “investment colossus,” as Sirota describes, control of “hundreds of billions of dollars of retirement savings” by diverting Social Security money into private accounts. (David Sirota, IBTimes.com)

—Emails show the Clinton campaign did not support a carbon tax because they polled the issue and concluded, “It all sucks.” But they never wanted to rule out support for a carbon tax because that would give Bernie Sanders an opportunity to attack the campaign. (Vox)


—The campaign recognized Clinton was wrong about the history of the Defense of Marriage Act but will never admit it. She contends the Clinton administration had to back DOMA to prevent a gay marriage ban, which is not true. (Scott Shackford, Reason)


—In an email containing information from intelligence sources, Clinton detailed a strategy for defeating the Islamic State and noted Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funding ISIS operations. (Dan Wright, Shadowproof)

—The Center for American Progress hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 10, 2015. After a bit of a backlash to the event, Clinton adviser and CAP president Neera Tanden justified the decision to host Netanyahu. “We have definitely proven we’re a real think tank.” (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Hillary Clinton’s letter to mega-donor Haim Saban against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was leaked to press to attract pro-Israel donors. (Rania Khalek, Electronic Intifada)

—During one of her paid speeches for Goldman Sachs, Clinton admitted a no fly zone in Syria would mean the United States and NATO would “kill a lot of Syrians.” (Zaid Jilani, The Intercept)

—Representatives of Qatar wanted to meet for “five minutes” with Bill Clinton to present a $1 million check to him for his birthday (New York Times)


—Huma Abedin wondered, “Can we survive not answering questions from press at message events?” (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile, who was a frequent CNN contributor during the primary, obtained a question on the death penalty prior to a debate and passed it on to the Clinton campaign so they could prepare for it. (POLITICO)

—Brazile gave the Clinton campaign a heads up on a question from a “woman with a rash,” whose family has lead poisoning from the water in Flint. In an updated thread, she said she would send more debate questions to the campaign. CNN cut ties with Brazile after these latest revelations. (DetroitNews.com)


—When lobbyists registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act lined up to bundle funds for the campaign, staff for the campaign questioned whether they should accept money they raised. A list of lobbyists potentially interested in bundling funds was shared over email. Ultimately, they rejected a ban on funds raised by foreign registered agents. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—The campaign coordinated with super political action committees or super PACs, even though they are supposed to spend the money independently of a candidate’s campaign. Through collaboration, the campaign and super PACs strategized, researched, and prepared attacks on Sanders and other opponents throughout the election. (Lee Fang and Andrew Perez, The Intercept)

—Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who refused to register as a lobbyist for Aetna, urged top aides of Clinton to support a major health insurance merger between Aetna and Humana (David Sirota, IBTimes.com)

—Morocco government officials believed Hillary Clinton requested a meeting with them. The King committed “approximately $12 million” for an endowment for the Clinton Global Initiative in Africa and to “support the meeting.” She had several opportunities to cancel the meeting but didn’t. Her campaign’s vice-chair, Huma Abedin, wrote, “She created this mess and she knows it.” (Email)


—Clinton campaign worked with the Democratic National Committee to limit the number of debates and box out other candidates, such as Sanders, according to an email referencing a “revised debate memo.” (Dan Wright, Shadowproof)

—Labor secretary Tom Perez advised the campaign to go after Sanders as the presidential candidate of angry white people in order to alienate minorities, who might potentially support him over Clinton. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—As early as July 2015, the Clinton campaign captured support from nearly half of the Democratic superdelegates, according to a memo published as part of the “Podesta Emails.” The memo indicates 330 of 712 superdelegates were already supporters of Clinton, and this was well before a single vote was cast in the primary. The campaign called this a “firewall.” (Kevin Gosztola)

—The Clinton campaign developed a plan to install an ally as chief of staff at the Democratic National Committee so they could avoid coordinating with then-chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The memo from December also shows the campaign planned coordination during the primary, regardless of whether Sanders still had a chance to win the nomination. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Neera Tanden, a Clinton team member and President of Center for American Progress, conducted focus group research on anti-corruption policies, some of which were a key part of the Sanders campaign. The research showed embracing these policies would be a popular move but Clinton never did. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Legal counsel for the Clinton campaign developed methods for the campaign to take advantage of weak campaign finance law enforcement. Two revealed memos show how the campaign was able to work around Super PAC regulations. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Podesta asked lobbyist, “Where would you stick the knife in?” when urged to grind Sanders “to a pulp.” The lobbyist replied with suggestions that included he’s an “Obama betrayer,” “hapless legislator,” “false promiser,” and “can’t win” because black people won’t vote for him. (Ben Norton, Salon.com)

—Clinton campaign tried to convince Illinois officials to move up the state primary as a favor to the Clintons. “The Clintons won’t forget what their friends have done for them.” (CBS News)

—Democratic donors threatened Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and essentially insinuated she was not being a “good woman” by supporting Sanders over Clinton. (Email)

—The campaign was afraid Sen. Elizabeth Warren would endorse Sanders if they did not come out in support of a modern Glass-Steagall Act. (POLITICO)

—A list of possibilities for vice president was circulated by John Podesta. The list, categorized by gender and race, included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Michael Bloomberg. Bernie Sanders appeared at the bottom of the last, all by himself like the campaign was obligated to list him. (CBS News)

—The campaign was extremely reluctant to have New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio be one of the most aggressive “progressive voices” for Clinton. (New York Times)

—Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg pushed Clinton to take a stronger stance on GMO labeling. (U.S. News & World Report)


—After Bernie Sanders suggested Planned Parenthood was “part of the establishment” to explain why the organization endorsed Clinton over him, the Clinton campaign saw this as a “gift.” It put together a plan to manufacture controversy and stirred outrage by enlisting friendly bloggers and columnists. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Robby Mook, the Clinton campaign’s manager, urged staff to go after National Nurses United as “fringe” and inform press they are “not a ‘real’ union.” The recommendation to attack nurses came after NNU endorsed Sanders over Clinton. (Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof)

—Clinton team member and President of Center for American Progress Neera Tanden said she needed Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout to not be a “pain in the ass” to Clinton with her support for Sanders. She wanted to do something to stop her from endorsing Sanders. It turned out Teachout already endorsed him. (Albany Times Union)

—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten pledged to go after the National Nurses Union for their “sanctimonious” support of Sanders. (Email)

—Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold and killed by NYPD, endorsed Sanders. When she did, the Clinton campaign determined they had “Erica Garner issues.” Yet, Clinton’s press secretary suggested it would still be worth it to use her dad in a gun violence video. Erica Garner was outraged. “Why would you want to ‘use’ my dad?” (NBC New York)


—State Department was asked to approve a tweet on the email scandal before the campaign sent it. (POLITICO)

—The campaign communicated with the Justice Department during litigation over release of State Department emails. (NBC Washington)

—Aide: We’re “going to have to dump all those emails.” (The Hill)


—The Clinton network was concerned about the consulting behavior of private consulting firm, Teneo Holdings, including its alleged involvement in the MF Global scandal. (Dan Wright, Shadowproof)

—Bill Clinton, Inc.: a memo from Doug Band of Teneo Holdings lists some of the corporations that paid Bill Clinton millions to give speeches. They include UBS and Ericsson. Also, it connects the consulting firm to the Clinton Foundation, which had not been officially confirmed, even though Bill Clinton served on Teneo’s advisory board. (CNN)

The same memo shows how Band procured “in-kind services for the President and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.” (Washington Post)

And the “Bill Clinton, Inc” memo connects Clinton to Dow Chemical, which was pressed to provide personal income for the former president. (MLive.com)

—Aides were concerned about conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation. Also, they became worried when they learned Chelsea Clinton told a “Bush daughter” she was involved with an audit of the Clinton Global Initiative. (CBS News)


—President Barack Obama’s economic adviser Daniel Tarullo advised Podesta in a memo that Obama should take both sides on the controversial bailout of American International Group (AIG) (Daniel Wright, Shadowproof)

—Michael Froman, a former Citibank executive, helped President Barack Obama fill out his entire Cabinet. (David Dayen, New Republic)


—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched a private email account when he was sworn in as mayor. The Chicago Tribune called it the “first direct evidence that Emanuel has used personal email accounts as mayor beyond official government accounts he has at City Hall.” It matters because several open records requests by media organizations have turned up “no email communications from the mayor on his government email accounts.” (Chicago Tribune)

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."