State Releases Another Trove of Hillary Clinton Emails

a katz / Shutterstock.com

The State De­part­ment re­leased more than 7,000 pages of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, a move that will provide more in­sight in­to Clin­ton’s four-year ten­ure as sec­ret­ary of State but is un­likely to in­clude any bomb­shells.

The new trove of emails—the sixth such re­lease from State—came largely from mes­sages that Clin­ton sent or re­ceived in 2011 and 2012, the State De­part­ment said.

Clin­ton turned over more than 55,000 pages of emails to the State De­part­ment at the end of last year. Her use of a private email ad­dress, hos­ted on a serv­er at the Clin­tons’ Chap­paqua, New York home, has made head­lines since it was first re­vealed in a New York Times story this spring.

But un­like past monthly re­leases, Clin­ton is in a far dif­fer­ent po­s­i­tion today than she was even a month ago. Com­ments from House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy at the end of Septem­ber about how the Benghazi Se­lect Com­mit­tee had helped bring down Clin­ton’s poll num­bers al­lowed her cam­paign to suc­cess­fully ar­gue that Re­pub­lic­ans were politi­ciz­ing the Benghazi at­tacks—and her email use—as a way to sab­ot­age her can­did­acy. Last week, Clin­ton ap­peared be­fore the com­mit­tee for 11 hours of testi­mony on what happened sur­round­ing the 2012 at­tacks, in­clud­ing a great deal of fo­cus on her email ac­count.

The staggered re­lease of all Clin­ton’s emails—com­ing in batches at the end of each month through Janu­ary—had con­trib­uted to the con­tin­ued head­lines over her email use, a dy­nam­ic that was bring­ing down Clin­ton’s poll num­bers and con­trib­ut­ing to drop­ping fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings.

Past re­leases have giv­en some in­sight in­to Clin­ton’s tem­pera­ment at State and the way the de­part­ment func­tioned, but turned up al­most no con­tro­ver­sial or sub­stant­ively new in­form­a­tion.

The latest emails do provide glimpses of the in­tern­al dis­cus­sion of the pro­posed Key­stone XL oil-sands pipeline, a pro­ject that Clin­ton said in 2010 she was “in­clined” to ap­prove but now op­poses.

In one Feb. 9, 2012 mes­sage, Mi­chael Ham­mer, then a pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cial, emailed a suite of seni­or aides with press cov­er­age of a State De­part­ment in­spect­or gen­er­al re­port that did not sub­stan­ti­ate charges of con­flicts of in­terest in the de­part­ment’s re­view. The mes­sage says, “over­all a good day,” as of 8 p.m. Cheryl Mills, who was Clin­ton’s chief of staff, for­war­ded the mes­sage to her.

A sep­ar­ate mes­sage earli­er in the day from Ham­mer to Mills and oth­ers calls the press stor­ies “real sol­id.” But it notes the por­tray­al of the re­port—which called for im­prove­ments to State’s re­view pro­ced­ures—by Demo­crat­ic law­makers op­posed to the pipeline. It was also for­war­ded to Clin­ton.

Vari­ous oth­er mes­sages for­war­ded to Clin­ton by top aides con­tain press cov­er­age of events in the years-long Key­stone saga, some with notes about the stor­ies.

There are a few emails the White House doesn’t want re­port­ers and op­pos­i­tion re­search­ers scour­ing Clin­ton’s cor­res­pond­ence to see, ac­cord­ing to a re­port Fri­day in The New York Times. But that’s not, of­fi­cials say, be­cause they’re wor­ried about the emails’ con­tent: Rather, they’re try­ing to pre­vent a “hand­ful” of notes between Pres­id­ent Obama and Clin­ton from be­ing re­leased based on “long­stand­ing pre­ced­ent in­voked by pres­id­ents of both parties to keep pres­id­en­tial com­mu­nic­a­tions con­fid­en­tial” while they’re still in of­fice. White House of­fi­cials moved to stop the emails’ re­lease after the State De­part­ment found and for­war­ded them.

Else­where, one email mak­ing the rounds Fri­day af­ter­noon has this col­or­ful sub­ject line: “AXEL­ROD AND THE MON­KEY BUTT.”

It’s a Dec. 14, 2011 mes­sage to Clin­ton from long­time ally Sid­ney Blu­menth­al, and it finds Blu­menth­al com­plain­ing about the reelec­tion-cam­paign strategy of Obama’s polit­ic­al team, spe­cific­ally top ad­viser Dav­id Axel­rod.

Blu­menth­al, writ­ing in all cap­it­al let­ters, com­plains that Axel­rod had at­tacked former House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich (then a White House can­did­ate) in the press, ar­guing in­stead that Obama’s team should talk up the strength of Gin­grich’s can­did­acy as a way to hurt Mitt Rom­ney.

Blu­menth­al flags these com­ments by Axel­rod to re­port­ers, via ABC News: “Axel­rod said the former House speak­er’s climb to the top of the pack will fur­ther ex­pose his least flat­ter­ing per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al qual­it­ies. ‘Just re­mem­ber, the high­er a mon­key climbs on a pole, the more you can see his butt,’ Axel­rod said, cit­ing a piece of polit­ic­al wis­dom he said he learned from a Chica­go al­der­man.”

Blu­menth­al calls it “polit­ic­al mal­prac­tice” and adds that Obama’s team in­stead should aim to “lift Newt, un­der­mine Rom­ney, any­thing to pre­vent his nom­in­a­tion, cre­ate wedges with­in GOP primary.” It adds: “Why is the Obama team help­ing Rom­ney try to bring down Newt!?!?!”

Clin­ton replied three days later with this: “Who knows????”

Oth­er emails show Clin­ton’s cor­res­pond­ence—or planned cor­res­pond­ence—with some high-pro­file celebrit­ies.

One Au­gust 2011 mes­sage among aides that Mills for­war­ded to Clin­ton was about sing­er Lady Gaga com­ing to Clin­ton’s de­fense against cri­ti­cism of her ward­robe. “You know, I think Hil­lary Clin­ton has more things to worry about than her hem­line,” Gaga said on the TV talk show The View.

A few days later, Clin­ton for­war­ded the note to sev­er­al aides and asked: “Can you get an ad­dress for her so I can write a note?”

An­oth­er bit of cor­res­pond­ence shows Clin­ton in con­tact with Ben Af­fleck, oft-present in Wash­ing­ton be­cause of his ad­vocacy work, who ac­tu­ally had her dir­ect email ad­dress.

In April 2012, the Bat­man emailed Clin­ton an ad­vance copy of a re­port from his East­ern Congo Ini­ti­at­ive, which—among oth­er goals—seeks to “drive policy change that in­creases United States gov­ern­ment en­gage­ment in Congo.” Sub­sequent mes­sages between Clin­ton and her aides—touched off by a re­quest from Clin­ton, who said she’d “like to re­spond to Ben Af­fleck”—show them dis­cuss­ing a draft of her reply. But alas, the draft it­self is re­dac­ted.

An­oth­er ex­change is re­min­is­cent of pre­vi­ously re­leased mes­sages in which Clin­ton grapples with vari­ous as­pects of State tech­no­logy. In it, Clin­ton seeks to learn how to use emo­jis on her Black­berry. “Here’s my ques­tion: on this new berry can I get smi­ley faces?” she asks aide Phil­ippe Reines.

“For email, no, I don’t think so—you need to type them out manu­ally,” he wrote back. “For text mes­saging, the chart might be there in the lower right, next to where you type the mes­sage.”

(Image via a katz / Shutterstock.com )

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