The latest batch of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman include a raft of messages from Mayor Bill de Blasio—who comes off as flattering and deferential to the Democratic presidential candidate and her directions.
The website Wikileaks released yet another host of messages swiped from John Podesta’s private email account today, including several exchanges with de Blasio. It reveals that, even as the mayor declined to endorse Clinton for several months after she announced her White House bid, he sought instruction from her campaign on how to interact with her rivals and with the media.
Months before de Blasio officially backed Clinton for president in late October of last year, he reached out to Podesta to inquire how to respond to press inquiries about Vice President Joseph Biden potentially entering the race.
“I’m certain I’ll be asked about Biden as early as tmrw [sic]. What could I say that would be helpful?” de Blasio wrote in an email dated August 23, 2015.
Podesta encouraged the mayor to acknowledge Biden’s record and the recent death of his son Beau, but to say Democrats did not need another contender in the race.
“Great guy, serious, grieve with him on the loss of his son, he has to make up his own mind whether to run, no big clamor out there for additional candidates,” Podesta responded.
De Blasio wrote back “Got it. Thanks.” Just a few weeks later, the mayor gave almost that precise answer in an interview with NY1 host Errol Louis. In mid-September, when the mayor was still hoping to attract presidential candidates to his eventually aborted Progessive Agenda forum, he contacted Podesta and Clinton strategist Robby Mook to find out what date would prove most convenient for Clinton.
“Gentlemen (and you two earn that designation DESPITE your prominent roles in American politics🙂,” the mayor wrote by way of opening the email. “I quietly first want to see what date works for you guys before locking anything down.”
He also disclosed to the operatives that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s leftist rival for the Democratic nomination, had sought a meeting with him. The mayor, who was looking to build the kind of progressive credibility the Brooklyn-born senator possessed, promised to keep the meeting “low-key.”
“My message to him (saying this in confidence to you) is that I will always want to work with him in the future and will never have a bad word about him, but won’t be supporting him in this campaign,” de Blasio wrote.
In the same message, the mayor revealed his plans to appear on George Stephanopoulos’s show on ABC, and reassured the Clinton campaign he would stick to talking points.
“Shockingly, George insists on talking about the presidential horse race. Therefore I will: Have lots of praise for Hillary and her increasingly clear, strong agenda. Will say her campaign is doing much better than the conventional wisdom recognizes. Will praise bernie’s [sic] ideas if asked,” de Blasio wrote. “If asked about mtg [sic] with him, I’ll say I look forward to talking to Hillary soon as well and that I’ve been in regular touch with her team. If asked about Biden, I will repeat no need for another candidate. If asked what’s holding me up on Hillary, I’ll allude to The Progressive Agenda and a few areas where I’m seeking clarification. In general, will be positive/optimistic.”
In another email months later, de Blasio appraised Clinton’s performance in the March 6, 2016 debate with Sanders in Flint Michigan. This was the only message in which he offered anything other than unqualified praise and promises of cooperation.
Hillary was fantastic on the gun control answer, then totally blew the mass incarceration question. Why on Earth did she say “Are you going to ask Senator Sanders that question?” instead of just addressing the issue,” the mayor wrote. “When she makes it about her, she loses the high ground. Stating the obvious, I know, but she keeps doing it…”
After Podesta called this critique “very fair,” de Blasio responded with a string of compliments about Clinton’s extended description of herself as a “praying person.”
“Beautiful and authentic and calm answer on prayer. Very affecting,” the mayor wrote.
The mayor’s office declined to comment on the documents. In a statement released this evening, Podesta again highlighted evidence that agents of Russian President Vladimir Putin are behind the rash of online invasions that have plagued the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee this year.
“It is now clear that the illegal hack of my personal email account was—just like the other recent, election-related hacks—the work of the Russian government,” Podesta said, alluding to Trump’s admiring comments about Putin and promises to unthaw icy relations with Moscow. “This level of meddling by a foreign power can only be aimed at boosting Donald Trump and should send chills down the spine of all Americans, regardless of political party.”
Podesta even hinted ominously that the Trump campaign was in on the conspiracy to use the messages to damage Clinton. He noted that a number of Donald Trump’s current and past advisors, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, have had business relationships with Putin’s allies—as may the GOP nominee himself.
“The growing number of links between Trump’s associates, Wikileaks and the Russian government raises troubling questions about the possibility that Trump’s allies had advance knowledge of the release of these illegally obtained emails,” Podesta wrote.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.