20,000 new emails released by WikiLeaks on Friday show multiple examples of the Democratic National Committee coordinating with the Clinton campaign and major media figures to both build up Hillary Clinton and trash Bernie Sanders, all while claiming neutrality to the public. But the astonishingly deep level of collaboration and coordination has still gone unreported.
As of right now, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders have all ignored the growing controversy surrounding the leaked emails. But the contents of the emails are likely to stir up tension between rivaling factions of delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.
Here are nine of the most egregious examples of the DNC actively working with the media and the Clinton campaign to smear Sanders:
1. The DNC’s communications director was eager to point out negative angles for Sanders stories
Luis Miranda, the national communications director for the DNC, is seen in two separate email chains briefing reporters with both Politico and the Wall Street Journal. In one email thread with Politico’s Daniel Strauss, Miranda told Strauss that he would “point out… some of the issues” with Sen. Sanders’ DNC committee appointments “off the record” with Strauss to help him write his story. Strauss initially asked for Miranda to send the list of appointments over “with no fingerprints attached.”
In another email thread dated May 11 of this year, Miranda is seen briefing the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler on Sanders’ committee appointments, complaining that Sanders continued to demand fair representation on the DNC’s platform committee despite DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s concessions to the Sanders campaign.
2. Debbie Wasserman Schultz privately called Clinton the “Presumptive Nominee” while accusing Sanders of not being a Democrat
After DNC national press secretary Mark Paustenbach shared a link to a Politico article in which Bernie Sanders complained about the Democratic Party not treating him fairly, Wasserman Schultz responded curtly, questioning the Vermont senator’s Democratic credentials.
“Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do,” Wasserman Schultz said of Sanders, who has caucused with and campaigned for House and Senate Democrats for decades.
In another email dated May 1, more than a month of voting to go before the final primaries were over, Paustenbach shared an article written by Politico’s Daniel Strauss in which Bernie Sanders promises a contested convention. Wasserman Schultz’s response was simply, “So much for a traditional presumptive nominee,” in reference to Hillary Clinton.
3. DNC officials worked closely with the Hillary Clinton campaign to respond to Sanders’ money laundering allegations
After the bombshell story of the Hillary Victory Fund broke, in which the Clinton campaign was accused of funneling 99 percent of the money meant for down-ballot Democratic candidates back to her own campaign, the DNC helped the Clinton campaign do damage control in the media.
Paustenbach forwarded an email from Politico’s Ken Vogel on April 29 to Miranda and DNC CEO Amy Dacey asking detailed questions about the Hillary Victory fund. He then wrote that he had spoken with the Clinton campaign, who suggested a series of talking points to be used.
However, the collusion went deeper, with Luis Miranda shown in various emails drafting talking points to be used by the Clinton campaign in response to the Hillary Victory Fund’s money laundering allegations. In the thread dated May 4, Clinton campaign spokesman is seen badgering Miranda asking for the draft for a Medium post defending the Clinton campaign’s questionable fundraising strategies.
4. A politico reporter agreed to allow the DNC to edit his stories
Bernie Sanders’ supporters should feel at least partially vindicated, as their suspicion of the DNC working closely with establishment media has been confirmed in at least one thread.
In one particularly damning exchange, Mark Paustenbach is seen referring to an “agreement” with Politico’s Ken Vogel to let the DNC pre-screen one of his stories before they’re sent to Vogel’s editors.
“Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach wrote to Luis Miranda. “Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”
5. DNC staff automatically dismissed interview requests from “Bernie Bros”
In the wake of the Hillary Victory Fund fallout, DNC staffers were seen dismissing interview requests for Debbie Wasserman Schultz about the money laundering allegations due to the political affiliations of the interviewers themselves.
A May 4 email chain between Pablo Manriquez — the DNC’s broadcast media booker — and Luis Miranda shows the two contemplating whether or not Wasserman Schultz should do an interview with SiriusXM radio’s David Guggenheim about the Hillary Victory Fund.
“Not sure if we’re talking about the Bernie Bro’s latest accusations. If not will just say we can’t join. Lmk!” Manriquez wrote to Miranda.
“Wait, this is a shit topic. Where is Guggenheim? Is he a Bernie Bro?” Miranda asked.
“Must be a Bernie Bro,” Manriquez replied. “Per Mark [Paustenbach]’s sage, I turned him down flat (and politely) and inquired into opportunities next week to talk about something else.”
6. Wasserman Schultz demanded an apology from MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski for suggesting she resign
On May 18, after an MSNBC Morning Joe segment aired featuring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski suggesting Wasserman Schultz “rigged” the primary for Hillary Clinton’s benefit, Wasserman Schultz wrote a furious email to Luis Miranda asking him to contact the president of MSNBC and demand an apology from Brzezinski.
“This is the LAST straw,” Wasserman Schultz wrote. “Please call Phil[…] Griffin. This is outrageous. She needs to apologize.”
Two hours later, Wasserman Schultz wrote an email to NBC News political director and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd with the subject line “Chuck, this must stop.” Miranda responded to Wasserman Schultz’s earlier email saying, “Since you already went to Chuck I’ll wait for his response.”
Later that evening, Miranda sent an email to Chuck Todd with a list of talking points about how Wasserman Schultz has remained a neutral arbiter of the primaries, and asked him to send the talking points to Scarborough and Brzezinski. Both seemed to agree that arranging a call between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mika Brzezinski was a bad idea.
7. DNC Staffers knew Sanders would destroy Wasserman Schultz in a one-on-one segment
An April 24 email thread was particularly revealing in that Luis Miranda and Wasserman Schultz staffer Kate Yglesias Houghton felt Wasserman Schultz stumbled in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace about the Hillary Clinton email scandal, and that the team should do their best to keep the DNC chairwoman away from any segment with Bernie Sanders.
“She can’t take Sanders on directly, it would turn into a fight,” Miranda wrote to Houghton. “[A]ny time it’s DNC Chair vs Sanders, DNC Chair is going to lose.”
8. DNC Staffers seemed to know Clinton would be the nominee with nearly two months of voting left
Even before the polls closed during the April 26 primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, DNC Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer casually revealed to DNC events director Ellen Thrower that the DNC was already planning its collaboration with the Clinton campaign, even though Clinton hadn’t secured a majority of pledged delegates and there were still millions of Democrats in multiple states who hadn’t voted.
“What was the Amy [Dacey] meeting all about??” Thrower asked.
“It was basically just a general check-in meeting where she thanked us for being flexible as we wait for a nominee and said that she and [DNC National Finance Director Jordan] Kaplan are in the process of figuring out what our collaboration with Hillary’s people will look like once she gets it.”
9. The DNC may have had plants inside the Sanders Campaign
As Wasserman Schultz was preparing to speak at a Democratic Party event in Alaska, Luis Miranda and Kate Houghton were attempting to learn more about a Facebook event set up by Sanders supporters in Alaska to “counter” Wasserman Schultz’ appearance. Both seemed to have the impression that Alaska Democratic Party executive director Kay Brown would be able to glean knowledge about the counter-event’s organizers and participants.
“There’s no way Kay doesn’t have someone who can get her intel. We need to push them,” Miranda wrote.
“Kay told me she has friends inside the Bernie organization there who may be able to provide some more information,” Houghton replied.
US Uncut’s multiple attempts to contact Kay Brown for this story remain unanswered as of this writing.