January 13, 2015: Clinton’s press secretary has “teed-up stories” for a New York Times reporter before and she has “never disappointed.”

Maggie Haberman (Credit: public domain)

Maggie Haberman (Credit: public domain)

Nick Merrill, Clinton’s campaign press secretary, writes an email memo to Clinton’s other core staffers (including John Podesta and Robby Mook) who are developing a strategy that is described as being “designed to plant stories on Clinton’s decision-making process about whether to run for president.”

The email names Maggie Haberman who at the time writes for Politico, but will switch to covering the election for the New York Times one month later. Merrill writes, “We have ha[d] a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. … [F]or this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie.”

According to a later article by the Intercept, “The following month, when she is at the Times, Haberman publishes two stories on Clinton’s vetting process.”

The Intercept will be given this email and others by the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 in October 2016. The Intercept will comment that the email is just one of many “Internal strategy documents and emails among Clinton staffers” that “shed light on friendly and highly useful relationships between the campaign and various members of the US media, as well as the campaign’s strategies for manipulating those relationships. … At times, Clinton’s campaign staff not only internally drafted the stories they wanted published but even specified what should be quoted “on background” and what should be described as “on the record.” (The Intercept, 10/09/2016) (Wikileaks, 10/13/2016)

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 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)

May 18, 2015: A journalist gives Clinton’s campaign manager extensive advice on how to improve Clinton’s campaign.

Hill columnist Brent Budowsky writes an email with the subject heading “John, be careful” to Clinton campaign manager John Podesta about attacks Clinton opponents will launch during the 2016 race.

Brent Budowsky (Credit: public domain)

Brent Budowsky (Credit: public domain)

Budowsky writes, “I am not going to raise this publicly, but one of [Clinton’s] opponents will soon charge that she is running an ‘imperial campaign.’ If it is the right opponent, Democrat or Republican, the charge will resonate.”

He suggests that “probably 90 percent of the total media coverage of [Clinton] has a negative slant, from her paid speeches to foundation donations to not answering questions from the press.”

Budowsky also warns, “Her caution on policy has created a news vacuum that is filled by these other stories. While I don’t have the highest regard for most of the campaign press corps, they are getting dangerously unhappy about [Clinton] refusing to answer questions. If we look at a long curve of her numbers, there is reason for serious concern if trends continue, and I see nothing today that will change them unless Clinton changes her strategy,”

He also voices concern that “he’s heard from many, many Democrats and that there is something off-key about her campaign. The hope that Republican candidates are so bad she can win by playing cautious. That is a very dangerous way to run for president.”

Budowsky concludes, “There is a missing element in her campaign and it is troubling. The ‘imperial campaign’ charge will resonate when the right candidate figures it out.”

Podesta responds, “Message heard, although I think caution will ultimately be measured by what she says and what she’s for rather than how many press gaggles she does.”

The email will be released by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (Wikileaks, 10/12/2016)

September 20, 2015: Chuck Todd, Political Director for NBC News, hosts a dinner party for Clinton’s campaign communications director.

Chuck and Kristian Todd arrive for a State Dinner at the White House on October 18, 2016. (Credit: Zach Gibson / Getty Images)

Chuck and Kristian Todd arrive for a State Dinner at the White House on October 18, 2016. (Credit: Zach Gibson / Getty Images)

The political director for NBC News and host of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, and his wife Kristian Todd, host a dinner party at their home in honor of Clinton’s Campaign Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri and her husband Jim Lyons.

On July 11, 2015, two months after Clinton officially announces her bid for the presidency, Kristian Todd sends an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta that includes a link to a paperless invitation for him and his wife Mary.

It is not known what the occasion for the party is. However, most of the other people on the invitation list of less than a dozen are prominent members of the Clinton campaign, such as Jennifer Palmieri and Josh Earnest, or key aides to President Obama, such as Lisa Monaco or Valerie Jarrett.

The party occurs on September 20, 2015.

This email will be released in October 2016. (Wikileaks, 10/17/2016)