Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Plotting to deceive

In emails from March 2015, Merrill suggested a strategy - ultimately nixed by Clinton herself - of having comedian Larry Wilmore and Bill Clinton joke during an event for the Clinton Global Initiative charity in Coral Gables, Florida, before having Clinton join them on stage.

Merrill laid out the scenario in emails to Podesta and other aides: “Wilmore could sit down with WJC and Chelsea and say something like ‘Thanks for having me here, it’s a pleasure. And I should tell you, I just emailed HRC (I hear she’s a big emailer), and asked if she’d join as well. (Laughter).’” He added that Hillary Clinton could then walk out “to applause.”

“It would be just light-hearted enough while giving her the opportunity to address this seriously, be a little conciliatory as discussed, and then get back to a discussion about CGI etc.,” Merrill wrote in the email.

In the end, Hillary Clinton’s team drafted talking points Clinton used at the news conference at the United Nations.

Clinton said she “fully complied with every rule that I was governed by” and that “there is no classified material” among her work-related emails.

Both of those statements were later proved false....

Clinton’s email practices were not the only controversy her campaign’s brain trust was addressing.

On October 2015, speechwriter Dan Schwerin circulated among top Clinton advisers a draft of her opening statement to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, to be delivered the following week.

The draft itself wasn’t attached in the emails published Tuesday, but other messages showed how it was shaped, including a section referring to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

“We might consider softening the ‘Chris did not believe retreat was an option - and neither do I’ line,” wrote Katherine Turner, a law partner of Clinton’s personal attorney David Kendall. “I don’t think we want to suggest that there was a commitment to be there at any and all costs.”

Following Clinton’s tense Oct. 22 testimony, Podesta proposed in an email that she could publicly joke, “I used to be obsessed with Donald Trump’s hair, that was until I got to spend 11 hours staring at the top of Trey Gowdy’s head,” a reference to the slicked-back white coif of the South Carolina Republican who chairs the committee.