WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARIES NAMED IN NEWLY-RELEASED EMAIL
by Sharon Rondeau
On March 2, 2015, The New York Times broke the story of Clinton’s use of the server, which was set up in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, NY in January 2009 and became the subject of a highly-controversial FBI “investigation” concluded in July. The inquiry resulted in no referral to a grand jury or indictment despite convincing evidence that classified information was sent over the unsecured system.
Five days later, reporting on an interview between Obama and CBS News reporter Bill Plante in which Obama claimed to have had no knowledge of the private server until he heard about it “through news reports,” The Times issued a follow-up story titled, “Obama Says He Didn’t Know Hillary Clinton Was Using Private Email Address.”
In an email exchange among Mills, Podesta, Heather Samuelson, longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines and former Assistant to the President and Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri, now working for the Clinton campaign, the accuracy of the March 7 New York Times article was disputed, with Reines stating, “I find it odd the NYT didn’t actually quote the President saying what’s in their headline. Especially since the story has a disbelieving tone to his not noticing. One of us should connect with the WH just so they know that the email will show his statement to not make sense.”
Samuelson and Mills were granted immunity agreements by the FBI in its probe of Clinton’s private server, while Mills was allowed to act as Clinton’s counsel while Clinton herself was questioned by the FBI on July 2 of this year.
At a congressional hearing earlier this month, FBI Director James B. Comey admitted that the scenario was unprecedented in FBI history to his knowledge.
Referring to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, Palmieri responded:
Suggest Philippe talk to Josh or Eric. They know POTUS and HRC emailed. Josh has been asked about that. Standard practice is not to confirm anything about his email, so his answer to press was that he would not comment/confirm. I recollect that Josh was also asked if POTUS ever noticed her personal email account and he said something like POTUS likely had better things to do than focus on his Cabinet’s email addresses.
The name “Josh Earnest” is stated later in Reines’s comments, which include his offer to “connect with” Earnest over the matter.
While not noted on the March 8, 2015 email exchange, it likely occurred among more than Palmieri and Reines, as Palmieri refers to Reines in the third person.
As reported by Judicial Watch in December 2014, Schultz and then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s media assistant, Tracy Schmaler, had exchanged an email in which Schmaler described then-CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson as “out of control” for reporting on the Fast & Furious gunrunning scandal. Schultz then responded, ““Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”
On November 20, 2014, Judicial Watch summarized: