Senior Clinton campaign officials were in direct contact with the White House to coordinate pro-Iran talking points in an effort to boost last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement, according to leaked emails that show the Obama administration and top figures in Clinton’s campaign played a role in promulgating information about the deal that later turned out to be factually inaccurate.
The emails, released late on Friday in a massive document dump by the hacker website WikiLeaks, show coordination between Hillary Clinton’s team and the White House, which spearheaded a massive effort to create what senior officials described as a pro-Iran "echo chamber" to mislead Congress and Americans about the nature of the agreement.
The director of national intelligence and Department of Homeland Security have accused "Russia’s senior-most officials" of hacking and leaking emails posted to WikiLeaks and other sites to influence and interfere with the 2016 election.
An April 2, 2015, communication sent from top White House press liaison Eric Shultz to Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri includes several pages of pro-Iran talking points that were later discovered to contain misleading information.
"Love it!!" Palmieri responded to Schultz’s email. She subsequently forwarded the information to leading Clinton aides, including Cheryl Mills, Brian Fallon, and Nick Merrill, among others.
The disclosure of these emails threatens to entangle the Clinton campaign in a growing scandal surrounding secret White House efforts to mislead Congress and the public about the nuclear deal. Congress has been investigating these efforts for months and has uncovered evidence the Obama administration inked several secret side deals with Iran, including the rollback of key sanctions on Tehran and a $1.7 billion cash payment.
The Clinton campaign has been criticized in recent days for doubling down on its support of the Iran deal and for making false claims about its progress.
One senior congressional official familiar with investigations into the White House’s deception on the Iran deal told the Washington Free Beacon that these newly leaked emails reveal how the Clinton campaign served as a major cog in the Obama administration’s so-called "echo chamber."
"This revelation is further evidence that the Clinton campaign is just an extension of the Obama White House," the source said. "The fact that senior staff coordinated on selling the disastrous Iran deal is unsurprising but disturbing."
"These are the very same bogus talking points that [top White House aide] Ben Rhodes bragged were used to mislead Americans about key points of the agreement," the source added. "As Iran undermines the agreement at every turn, Hillary Clinton conjures up the exact same rationale as the administration to keep the deal in place. Now we know why."
The talking points in question include erroneous information about how the deal could dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and stop its march towards a nuclear weapon.
"American sanctions on Iran—for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, and its ballistic missile program—will be fully enforced," the White House wrote in the guidance offered to the Clinton campaign.
This turned out to be untrue, as the Obama administration has permitted Iran to carry out multiple ballistic missile tests, saying that they are not a direct violation of current sanctions.
The White House talking points to Clinton further said the deal "would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon."
This also has turned out to be inaccurate. The deal permits Iran to carry out key research and development activities related to its nuclear program and the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon.
The deal also permits Iran to continue construction on new light water nuclear reactors, which could provide Tehran with a second pathway to nuclear material.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration moved late Friday to dismantle another facet of key sanctions on Iran, despite its continued support for terror operations in the Middle East and ongoing research into ballistic missile technology.
Clinton’s vice presidential running mate Time Kaine claimed in a recent debate that Clinton helped "eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program," a remark that ABC News dubbed as "false."
Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon, who is included in the leaked emails, later went on Fox News to reiterate this claim, maintaining that "there is no question" the deal halted Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The White House’s pro-Iran press machine, which was helmed by Rhodes, received support from liberal billionaire George Soros and a network of non-profit organizations that funneled money to those who helped champion the deal in the public sphere.