Newly disclosed emails show senior officials in President Barack Obama’s administration coordinated closely with Hillary Clinton’s staffers in the weeks leading up to her campaign launch to help quash potential fallout from the former secretary of state’s decision to use a private email server.
The documents reveal discussions between then-White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri, who has since joined the Clinton campaign, and then-State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, who is now the White House communications director. The two women coordinated to see if it was possible to keep Secretary of State John Kerry from discussing Clinton’s email situation during media appearances.
The new documents, which were obtained by TheBlaze, were released to the Republican National Committee as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information from Clinton’s time at the State Department.
A little more than a week after the initial report of Clinton’s use of a private email server broke, Palmieri emailed Psaki on March 12, 2015, to ask, “between us on the shows…think we can get this done so he is not asked about email.”
That same day, Psaki told Palmieiri she was “working to crush” those potential questions. The following morning, March 13, 2015, Psaki wrote, “good to go on killing CBS idea…And we are going to hold on any other TV options just given the swirl of crap out there.”
When Palmieri teased Psaki for her “swirl of crap” comment, the then-State Department spokeswoman replied: “Ha I mean — the challenging stories out there.”
Three days after the initial email, Kerry appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He was not asked about Clinton’s email issue, though it is not immediately clear whether Palmieri and Psaki had anything to do with that.
Caitlin Conant, a spokeswoman for the network, told the Wall Street Journal that “no subject was off-limits when this interview was arranged, as is the CBS News standard.”
In addition to the exchange between the two staffers, there was an entirely redacted email thread that included around a dozen top White House communications staffers seemingly discussing whether Kerry should have done the interview at all.
John Kirby, current spokesman for the State Department, tried to dispel any concerns about the exchange between Palmieri and Psaki, telling the WSJ, “It is common practice for State Department and White House staffers to be in touch when agency officials are potentially conducting television interviews.”
TheBlaze’s Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this story.