April 6, 2015: Former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Michael Flynn says it’s very likely foreign governments have Clinton’s emails.

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn (The Daily Caller)

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn (The Daily Caller)

He is asked in an interview, “What do you think the odds are that the Chinese, the Russians hacked into [Clinton’s] server and her email account?” He replies, “Very high. […] They’re very good at it. China, Russia, Iran, potentially the North Koreans. And other countries who may be ‘our allies’ because they can.” He adds that since Clinton’s only excuse for using the private server was convenience, she should have been fired.

The DIA is similar to the CIA, but focuses on military intelligence. Since retiring in 2014, Flynn has been notably critical of President Obama. (The Weekly Standard, 4/7/2015) (CNN, 2/13/2016) 

By January 2016, Flynn will occasionally advise Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Bloomberg News, 1/31/2016) In February 2016, Flynn will say, “I think Hillary Clinton, for the good of the country, should step down [from the presidential race] and let this FBI investigation play out.” (The Daily Caller, 2/10/2016)

April 8, 2015—June 9, 2015: A hacking attack on a French TV network is blamed on a Russian group that will later be accused of hacking political entities in the US.

150408TV5MondePierreVerdyAFP

The headquarters of French television network TV5 Monde in Paris, France. (Credit: Pierre Verdy / Agence France Presse)

The French television network TV5 Monde is attacked by hackers on April 8, 2015. A group claiming to be linked to ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) and calling itself “Cyber Caliphate” shuts down the network’s TV channels for several hours. The group also posts pro-ISIS propaganda on the station’s website.

However, on June 9, 2015, it is reported by the BBC and elsewhere that French police have decided that attack was actually done by hackers based in Russia. The “Cyber Caliphate” claim was a false front to deflect blame. Police are said to be focusing their investigation on the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear or APT 28. French media reports that the group has also targeted the computer systems of Russian dissidents, Ukrainian activists, and others. (BBC, 6/9/2015) (France24, 6/10/2015)

In July 2016, the Washington Post will report that French authorities believe the Glavnoje Razvedyvatel’noje Upravlenije (GRU) was behind the cyberattack. This is one of two Russian military intelligence agencies that will be accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2015 and 2016. The GRU has been linked to the Fancy Bear or APT 28 hacking group. The Post will also claim that some analysts believe the attack was Russian retaliation against France for backing out of an agreement to sell helicopter carriers to Russia because of Russian aggression in Ukraine. (The Washington Post, 7/24/2016)

 

April 9, 2015: John Podesta hosts an “off the record” dinner for 20 reporters who will be “on the bus” with Clinton’s campaign.

Jesse Ferguson (Credit: Jahi Chikwendiu / Washington Post)

An email written by Clinton’s Deputy Press Secretary Jesse Ferguson is addressed to several Clinton staffers and states, “We wanted to make sure everyone on this email had the latest information on the two upcoming dinners with reporters. Both are off-the-record.”

Ferguson lists the first party to occur on, “April 9th [2015] at 7:00p.m. Dinner at the Home of John Podesta. … This will be with about 20 reporters who will closely cover the campaign (aka the bus).”

The second party is to occur the following evening on, “April 10th at 6:30p.m. Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvre at the Home of Joel Benenson. … This is with a broader universe of New York reporters.”

A total of thirty eight reporters commit to attend one or both of the “off-the-record” parties. The email will be publicly released in October 2016 by WikiLeaks.

A list of media outlets who attend one or both parties are listed as follows: ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, Daily Beast, Glover Park Group, Huffington Post, MORE, MSNBC, NBC, New Yorker, New York Times, People, Politico, Vice and Vox. (Wikileaks, 04/06/15) (Wikileaks, 04/09/2015)

April 10, 2015: Clinton’s staff hosts a private “off-the-record” cocktail party with 38 “influential” reporters, anchors, and editors.

Jesse Ferguson (Credit: Tom Williams / Congressional Quarterly / Roll Call)

Jesse Ferguson (Credit: Tom Williams / Congressional Quarterly / Roll Call)

In an April 10, 2015 email, Clinton’s deputy press secretary Jesse Ferguson describes an “off-the-record” cocktail party for “key national reporters, influential reporters, anchors and editors. … Especially (though not exclusively) those that are based in New York.” Top level Clinton staff are also invited. It is to take place one day later in the home of Clinton strategist Joel Benenson, in the Upper East Side of New York City.

The memo also lists the pre-campaign goals Clinton’s staff hopes to achieve by having the cocktail party:

  • Give reporters their first thoughts from team HRC [Clinton] in advance of the announcement
  • Setting expectations for the announcement and launch period
  • Framing the HRC message and framing the race
  •  Enjoy a Friday night drink before working more

Thirty-eight “influential reporters, anchors and editors” are also listed, and agree to attend the party. (Wikileaks, 10/12/2016)

A second email sent on Apil 6, 2015 indicates a second dinner party is also planned for “April 9th at 7:00 p.m. Dinner at the Home of John Podesta. … This will be with about 20 reporters who will closely cover the campaign (aka the bus).” (Wikileaks, 10/16/2016)

A list of media outlets who attend one or both parties are listed as follows: ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, Daily Beast, Glover Park Group, Huffington Post, MORE, MSNBC, NBC, New Yorker, New York Times, People, Politico, Vice and Vox.

These emails will be released by Wikileaks in October, 2016.

April 12, 2015: Hillary Clinton launches her second presidential campaign.

Clinton launches her 2016 presidential campaign with a YouTube video on April 12, 2015. (Credit: CNN)

Clinton launches her 2016 presidential campaign with a YouTube video on April 12, 2015. (Credit: CNN)

She narrowly lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. Due to her long and prominent political career, she immediately establishes herself as the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination. (The New York Times, 4/13/2015) 

She resigns from the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation on the same day to avoid conflict of interest issues. (Politico, 4/12/2015)

April 15, 2015: A computer expert privately advises the Clinton campaign to hire a company to investigate if Clinton’s private server was hacked.

Barbara Simons (Credit: public domain)

Barbara Simons (Credit: public domain)

Barbara Simons, a renowned computer expert, writes Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in an email, “I am following up on our very brief discussion, held as you were leaving the DA meeting, about Hillary Clinton’s emails.  I’ve included a summary of the issues and a precautionary step that I think should be taken.”

Simons attaches a short document to the email, which is entitled, “Hillary Clinton’s emails and what to do about them.” In it, she writes, “I believe that this is a more serious situation than perhaps Secretary Clinton and her aides realize. … There is a very real risk that the system was broken into, possibly by Republican operatives (or China or some other country or organization).  If this has happened and if there is anything that might appear problematic in those emails, whether or not it actually is, the relevant emails might be released to the press shortly before the election.  Even if the system was not broken into, there is the threat that opponents might release forged emails that are difficult to impossible to distinguish from real ones.”

Jeremy Epstein a program manager with I2O, took his official photo on March 8, 2016 at DARPA in Arlington, Va. (Photo By: Sun L. Vega)

Jeremy Epstein (Credit: Sun L. Vega)

As a result, she and a prominent computer security expert Jeremy Epstein suggest that the Clinton campaign hire a cybersecurity company called Mandiant. They are said to be competent and discrete in dealing with major corporate hacks. They will try to determine if Clinton’s private server was hacked. However, Simons notes that “if nothing serious is uncovered by a forensics examination, that does not prove that nothing happened.  Regrettably, the absence of proof of a break-in is not proof of the absence of a break-in.” (WikiLeaks, 10/23/2016)

Whatever reply Podesta gives is unknown. It is also unknown if Mandiant or any other company is ever hired. However, the FBI’s Clinton email investigation final report will make no mention of any evidence of such a forensic examination.

April 19, 2015: The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation, has over 1,000 undisclosed donors, and the amount they have given is unknown.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bloomberg News calls this news report a “politically explosive revelation…because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state.” In December 2008, just before Clinton took office, the Clinton Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Obama White House promising to reveal its donors. This agreement explicitly included the CGEP, so this revelation shows the agreement was not upheld.

Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra, who cofounded the CGEP with former President Bill Clinton, says, “We’re not trying to hide anything. […] All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified.”

Giustra and the Clinton Foundation assert that Canadian law prevents them from revealing the CGEP’s donors. However, Bloomberg News reports, “Canadian tax and privacy law experts were dubious of this claim.” Len Farber, former director of tax policy at Canada’s Department of Finance, says, “There’s nothing that would preclude them from releasing the names of donors. It’s entirely up to them.” (Bloomberg News, 4/19/2015)

In November 2015, a Harper’s Magazine article will claim that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” which has allowed politically toxic foreign contributors to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation, with the hopes of influencing Clinton while she was secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

April 23, 2015: A Clinton aide outlines a strategy to encourage Donald Trump and two other “Pied Piper” candidates to help Clinton win.

Marissa Astor (Credit: Twitter)

Marissa Astor (Credit: Twitter)

Marissa Astor, assistant to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, sends an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and other Clinton aides. It includes an attached memo on strategies to help Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election. It lists three main strategies:

“Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves in to extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election.”

“Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents.”

“Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against [Clinton].”

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Dr. Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz hold their hands over their hearts for the singing of the U.S. national anthem before the start of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015. (Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters)

Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz pose for the national anthem before the start of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 15, 2015. (Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters)

The memo then has a section on “Pied Piper Candidates.” It states: “There are two ways to approach the strategies mentioned above. The first is to use the field as a whole to inflict damage on itself similar to what happened to Mitt Romney in 2012. The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson. We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously.” (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)

The email will be released by WikiLeaks in October 2016.  It is unclear if Astor writes the attached memo or is just passing it on.

April 23, 2015: Petraeus is given a remarkably lenient plea bargain despite his serious security violations.

CIA Director David Petraeus (Credit: public domain)

CIA Director David Petraeus (Credit: public domain)

A federal judge sentences former CIA director and general David Petraeus to two years of probation and a $100,000 fine for giving his biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell, access to notebooks, classified information about official meetings, war strategy, and intelligence capabilities. Petraeus had been the CIA director from 2011 to 2012, but he was forced to quit due to the scandal. (The New York Times, 4/23/2015) 

The FBI seeks jail time for him, but doesn’t get it due to the plea bargain with the Justice Department. The New York Times will later report that FBI Director James Comey made the case to Attorney General Eric Holder that “Mr. Petraeus deserved to face strenuous charges. But the Justice Department overruled the FBI, and the department allowed Mr. Petraeus to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.” (The New York Times, 10/16/2015) The sentence is considered surprisingly light, given the evidence.

In 2016, the Washington Post will report, “FBI officials were angered by the deal and predicted it would affect the outcome of other cases involving classified information.” One former US law enforcement official will complain the deal “was handled so lightly for his offense there isn’t a whole lot you can do.” (The Washington Post, 3/2/2016)

April 26, 2015: The Clinton Foundation admits mistakes.

Maura Pally (Credit: The Clinton Foundation)

Maura Pally (Credit: The Clinton Foundation)

The foundation’s acting CEO Maura Pally says, “Yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future.” Her comments come in the wake of numerous news reports about conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the foundation.

Many of the reports are based on the book Clinton Cash by conservative author Peter Schweizer. According to CNN, Schweizer says he doesn’t “have ‘direct evidence’ of ethical misconduct, but [says] the pattern he uncovered should raise eyebrows and trigger an investigation.” (CNN, 4/27/2015)

Pally was a deputy assistant secretary under Clinton at State Department. 

April 26, 2015: “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons.”

Bill Allison (Credit: The Texas Tribune)

Bill Allison (Credit: The Texas Tribune)

This comment is by Bill Allison, who is a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit government watchdog group. Law professor Zephyr Teachout, a Democratic candidate for governor of New York in 2014, was an organizing director there. (The Daily Mail, 4/27/2015) It is headed by Chris Gates, who was chairman of the Democratic Party in Colorado. (The Colorado Independent, 9/9/2014)

April 29, 2015: Politico’s chief political correspondent says to Podesta, “Because I have become a hack, I will send u the whole section that pertains to u.”

Glenn Thrush (Credit: Politico)

Glenn Thrush (Credit: Politico)

Politico’s chief political correspondent and senior staff writer Glenn Thrush emails Clinton campaign chair John Podesta a large portion of a piece he is writing, entitled “Hillary’s Big-Money Dilemma.”

Thrush appears to be asking for Podesta’s approval of a story he is writing about Clinton’s problems with building a small donor base.

Thrush writes to Podesta, “Hey sir— sorry to bother — OTR [off the record] question. Was working on a fundraising story… Been talking to bundlers who told me that one of the reasons you need to get [Clinton] out on the road was simply that the Hillfunders mid-level strategy was[n’t] getting enough traction and you had to mine the old ’08 crowd a little quicker than u thought…  Also – to be a pain in the ass – I’ve heard that u were never entirely on board with the whole ‘flat’ idea in the first place.  Cheers/Thrush”

John Podesta (Credit: Carlo Barria / Reuters)

John Podesta (Credit: Carlo Barria / Reuters)

Podesta replies, “I’m the sultan of flat. My whole pitch is all are welcome and grow the network.”

Thrush then asks Podesta, “Can I send u a couple of grafs [paragraphs], OTR [off the record], to make sure I’m not fucking anything up?”

Podesta replies “sure.”

Thrush writes back, “I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this. Tell me if I fucked up anything.” He includes five paragraphs from the article he is preparing to publish.

The following day, Podesta tells Thrush, “no problems here.” (WikiLeaks, 10/17/2016)

The five paragraphs appear in almost identical form in the final version of the article that is published two days later on May 1, 2015. (Politico, 5/1/2015)

After Thrush’s email is released by WikiLeaks in October 2016, Thrush will be accused of lacking journalistic ethics. On October 17, 2016, he will post the following tweet: “My goal in emailing Podesta: TO GET HIM TO CONFIRM STUFF I HAD FROM LESSER SOURCES. It worked. Nobody controls my stories but me. Troll on!” (Twitter, 10/17/2016)

April 30, 2015: The Clinton Foundation is said to be in a “campaign tailspin.”

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

Politico reports this after some major donors are reconsidering giving to the foundation due to recent negative media reports as well as Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement she is running for president again. An unnamed donor who gave at least $500,000 to the foundation last year says, “There are a lot of factors and the reputational is among them. We had some questions about how the money was being spent—and that was long before the problems were in the press.” (Politico, 4/30/2015)