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Clinton Chairman Lashed Out at Steyer Over Lack of Support

‘I didn't expect to get f***ed by you,’ Podesta told billionaire donor

John Podesta, Tom Steyer / AP
• October 14, 2016 10:30 am

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Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide sent a blistering note to billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer after he declined to back Clinton in an interview with the New York Times last year, hacked emails reveal.

"I am deep in the middle of dealing with getting fucked by the NYT, but I didn't expect to get fucked by you in the NYT," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta wrote to Steyer.

"Thanks a lot for jumping us. I hope President Bush helps you reach your climate goals," Podesta wrote. "PS great picture," he added.

Podesta appears to have been reacting to a short New York Times story on the morning of July 24, 2015, in which Steyer laid out his criteria for financial support for Democratic presidential candidates.

In an interview with the Times, Steyer declined to back Clinton or either of her two primary rivals at the time, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

The threshold for his considerable financial support, Steyer said, would be a candidate’s commitment to generate half of the nation’s electricity through carbon-free energy sources by the year 2030.

Steyer "declined to lay out a specific strategy for pushing candidates to make the energy commitments, but his campaign appears aimed at urging Mrs. Clinton to embrace them," the Times reported.

In defense of his remarks, Steyer told Podesta that he didn’t think they hurt Clinton’s campaign.

"John–have now read the paper. Didn't think Next Gen article was bad for you guys," he wrote.

"You and I have different perspectives," Podesta shot back. "I wish you luck."

The exchange was one of thousands of emails released by Wikileaks this week after hackers believed to be acting at the direction of Russian government officials breached Podesta’s email account.

Additional emails show Podesta discussing how to maximize Steyer’s financial support for Clinton in the early stages of her campaign. That exchange took place two months before the Times story that rankled Podesta.

Though Steyer and Podesta collaborated on energy and climate policy after the latter joined the White House as a senior adviser in early 2014, their views on those policies have occasionally diverged in significant ways.

At the White House, Podesta voiced support for U.S. natural gas production, which has surged since the widespread adoption of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an innovative extraction technique reviled by most of the environmental community.

Steyer eventually endorsed Clinton nearly a year after his curt email exchange with Podesta—and after Clinton had effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.

Steyer and the Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on their email exchange.