Obama Administration Coordinated to Handle Fallout From Clinton Email Scandal

October 7, 2016

Top Obama administration officials coordinated with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2015 to handle the fallout from the discovery of Clinton’s private email server use while she was secretary of state.

According to the Wall Street Journal, discussions included emails in March 2015 between then-White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri and then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki to "crush" a possible Sunday show appearance of Secretary of State John Kerry where he could be asked about Clinton’s email arrangement.

Clinton’s email use broke on March 2, 2015:

Ten days after the story broke, White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri emailed State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki to ask, "between us on the shows ... think we can get this done so he is not asked about email." That apparently referred to Mr. Kerry, who appeared in an interview on CBS’s "Face the Nation" three days later.

Ms. Palmieri had previously announced she would be leaving the administration to join Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in mid-2015, but was still at the White House when she sent the email. Other emails show Ms. Palmieri helped arrange for Ms. Psaki to move from the State Department to the White House communications job Ms. Palmieri was vacating. "Agree completely and working to crush on my end," wrote back Ms. Psaki, who would move to the White House weeks later.

A day later, Ms. Psaki added, "Good to go on killing CBS idea." She continued, "And we are going to hold on any other TV options just given the swirl of crap out there." Mr. Kerry wasn’t asked on CBS about the email server, though it isn’t clear how Ms. Psaki could have guaranteed that.

Teased by Ms. Palmieri about her use of the phrase "swirl of crap," Ms. Psaki wrote back: "Ha I mean—the challenging stories out there."

CBS News denied there was any any coordination in its questioning of Kerry that day. No questions were asked about Clinton’s email scandal; instead, the interview focused on the Middle East and the Iran nuclear deal.

Palmieri soon after joined the Clinton campaign as its communications director, and Psaki went to work for the White House.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on an email exchange in which a top State Department official told one of Clinton’s attorneys that a department official had not actually told Congress that Clinton was wrong to use her private email account.

The latest revelations throw into relief just how long the scandal has dogged Clinton’s campaign. Although she was initially defiant about her use of the home-brewed server, she eventually apologized and said it was a mistake to use it.

The FBI investigated whether Clinton had broken laws and concluded that she was "extremely careless" with classified information. The agency also refuted her consistent claims that she did not send or receive classified material via the private server, but no charges were filed against Clinton.