October 13, 2015: Sanders says he’s sick of hearing about Clinton’s “damn emails.”

Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton shake hands moments after his "damn emails" comment during the first Democratic primary debate. (Credit: Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton shake hands moments after his “damn emails” comment during the first Democratic primary debate. (Credit: Reuters)

In the first Democratic primary debate, Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, addresses Clinton’s email scandal. “Let me say this. Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

Clinton responds, “Thank you. Me too. Me too.” Then the two of them shake hands.

According to the Los Angeles Times: “The crowd went wild. So did the Internet.” (The Los Angeles Times, 10/13/2015

Sanders will continue to avoid criticizing Clinton about her emails in the months that follow. Some of Sanders’ allies are disappointed that he doesn’t frequently attack Clinton on the issue. Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D), a Clinton supporter, will later say, “The email story is not about emails. It is about wanting to avoid the reach of citizens using FOIA”—the Freedom of Information Act—“to find out what their government is doing, and then not telling the truth about why she did.” (The New York Times, 4/3/2016)

November 5, 2015: Sanders says Clinton’s email scandal raises “valid questions.”

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders clarifies his remarks made a month earlier about Clinton’s email scandal, in which he said the “American people are sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails!” He says that if Clinton avoided public records requests or compromised classified information, that raises “valid questions.” He also says the FBI’s investigation should “proceed unimpeded. […] There’s an investigation going on right now. I did not say, ‘End the investigation.’ That’s silly.” (Politico, 11/5/2015)

January 11, 2016: The Clinton campaign plots a “hit” on a key Bernie Sanders issue with the help of a MSNBC reporter.

Clinton works with Dan Schwerin, director of speechwriting, on a few last-minute changes to her speech before declaring victory in the Democratic presidential primary on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. (Credit: Barbara Kinney / Politico)

Clinton works with Dan Schwerin, director of speechwriting, on a few last-minute changes to her speech before declaring victory in the Democratic presidential primary on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. (Credit: Barbara Kinney / Politico)

The Clinton campaign and MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes show All In set up a phone in interview between Hayes and Clinton, with a plan to carry out a “tax hit” on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Emails released by Wikileaks in October 2016 shows the discussion of this plan among Clinton staffers, with the apparent compliance of reporter Chris Hayes to help set the stage.

Clinton campaign speechwriter Dan Schwerin writes the script Clinton will use during the interview, but first runs it by several other campaign staffers, asking for their opinions and suggestions before the final draft is given to Clinton.

Schwerin writes, “[Clinton] is going to call into Chris Hayes’ show this afternoon to do her tax hit. How does this look to you guys?” He includes Clinton’s plan to add “a new ‘fair share surcharge’ on multi-millionaires and closing loopholes to make it harder to game the system.”

Chris Hayes has a call-in interview with Clinton during his show All In, on January 11, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Chris Hayes has a call-in interview with Clinton on January 11, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

When the live interview begins, Chris Hayes poses the question, “Hillary Clinton is expanding her efforts to challenge Bernie Sanders on his signature issue, the economic inequality, and I got a chance to speak earlier with Secretary Clinton and joining me by phone, from Iowa, we discussed everything from  the electability question to what Bernie Sanders said today about her campaign. But I start by asking about her proposed tax hikes for the highest earners.” (Wikileaks, 10/11/2016)

Clinton responds to Hayes’ question by reading Schwerin’s written script, almost word for word. A video is also provided that highlights the event.

Hayes will then follow up  with an interview of Sanders campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, and allows a response to Clinton’s new “fair share surcharge” plan. (MSNBC Transcript, 01/11/2016)

January 31, 2016: For the first time, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticizes Clinton over her email scandal.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Senator Bernie Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Asked by a reporter if voters should interpret his refusal to highlight the issue means that Clinton did nothing wrong, Sanders replies “No. Nope, nope. That is not, I think, a fair assessment. That is, I think, a very serious issue,” However he adds, “There is a legal process taking place, I do not want to politicize that issue. It is not my style.” (CNN, 1/31/2016

Sanders’ more critical stance comes two days after news reports that 22 of Clinton’s emails were retroactively classified “top secret.” (The New York Times, 1/29/2016)

February 4, 2016: Clinton says she is “absolutely” confident she will not be indicted for her email scandal.

At a Democratic presidential primary debate, she says, “I am 100 percent confident, this is a security review requested and carried out that will be resolved.” She adds, “I think the American people will know it’s an absurdity, and I have absolutely no concerns about it whatsoever.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, has refused to attack Clinton over the scandal. He maintains that stance, saying, “I’m feeling exactly the same way I felt at the first debate. There’s a process under way and I will not politicize it.” (The Hill, 2/4/2016)

April 8, 2016: Sanders says he doesn’t criticize the Clinton Foundation or Clinton’s emails to avoid personal attacks.

In a CNN interview, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that he is constantly asked by supporters why he doesn’t criticize Clinton more over the Clinton Foundation or the FBI’s Clinton investigation. “How often have I talked about Hillary Clinton’s emails? Have you heard me? Not a word. How often have I talked about the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising? Have you heard me say one word about it during the campaign? I am trying to stay away from personal attacks on Hillary.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

April 27, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says if Clinton faces Donald Trump in the general election, Trump will attack her about the Clinton Foundation and her email scandal.

“The Republican party will have dozens of opposition researchers. They don’t need my speeches to talk about Hillary Clinton. They will go after Hillary Clinton in ways that I have never, ever gone after Hillary Clinton. Things like the Clinton Foundation or things like the e-mail situation. I don’t talk about that. I have never talked about it one word on this campaign. I suspect very much that Donald Trump and the Republican party will go after her in many, many ways that we have not.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/27/2016)

April 28, 2016: Jane Sanders says “it would be nice” if the FBI concludes its Clinton investigation soon.

Jane Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Jane Sanders (Credit: public domain)

She is the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She says, “It’s an FBI investigation… we want to let it go through without politicizing it and then we’ll find out what the situation is and that’s how we still feel.” She adds with a laugh, “I mean, it would be nice if the FBI moved it along.” (CBS News, 4/29/2016)

May 25, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders still does not emphasize Clinton’s email scandal.

Jeff Weaver (Credit: Jack Gruber / USA Today)

Jeff Weaver (Credit: Jack Gruber / USA Today)

Politico reports that despite a new State Department inspector general report that is sharply critical of Clinton’s email practices, “Bernie Sanders’ [presidential] campaign is showing no signs that it will seize upon the latest revelations in her email scandal.”

Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, says, “Well, I think the report speaks for itself. This is obviously an area where the senator has chosen not to go. He’s tried to keep this campaign on the issues. […] And that’s why he’s doing so well in this campaign is because he’s talking about these substantive issues and people can make their own judgments about what is reported about the other issues.” (Politico, 5/25/2016)

May 27, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders calls the prospect of Joe Biden replacing Clinton if the FBI recommends her indictment “a terrible, terrible idea.”

Vice-President Joe Biden (Credit: public domain)

Vice-President Joe Biden (Credit: public domain)

In an interview, Bernie Sanders is asked his opinion of a hypothetical situation in which the FBI recommends Clinton’s indictment and then Clinton’s delegates switch their support to Vice President Joe Biden or some other person who didn’t run in the primaries.

Sanders replies, “I think that would be a terrible, terrible idea. […] That would say to the millions of people who have supported us, that have worked with us, that would say all of your energy, all of your votes, all of your beliefs are irrelevant. We’re going to bring in someone else. I happen to like Joe a lot, but I think that would be a very, very serious blunder for the Democratic Party.” (The Hill, 5/28/2016)

May 27, 2016: A New York Times article is titled, “Die-Hard Bernie Sanders Backers See FBI as Answer to Their Prayers.”

Supporters at a rally for Bernie Sanders in National City, California, on May 21, 2016. (Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters)

Supporters at a rally for Bernie Sanders in National City, California, on May 21, 2016. (Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters)

The Times reports that a growing number of supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sanders are “holding out for an 11th-hour miracle: divine deliverance at the hands of the FBI.”

Sanders is down by over 250 pledged delegates in the Democratic primaries with not many states left before the primaries are over, so the hopes of many Sanders supporters are turning to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, which could transform the presidential race. (The New York Times, 5/27/2016)

May 27, 2016—May 29, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders rethinks his refusal to criticize Clinton over her email scandal.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, interviews Bernie Sanders on May 27, 2016. (Credit: The Young Turks)

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, interviews Bernie Sanders on May 27, 2016. (Credit: The Young Turks)

Bernie Sanders is asked if the new State Department inspector general’s report has caused him to rethink his refusal to engage on the issue of Clinton’s email scandal. “It has,” he replies. (Bloomberg News, 5/28/2016) 

Two days later, he adds, “The inspector general just came out with a report, it was not a good report for Secretary Clinton. That is something that the American people, Democrats, and delegates are going to have to take a hard look at.”

He also says that when it comes to superdelegates and the report, “They will be keeping it in mind. I don’t have to tell them that. I mean, everybody in America is keeping it in mind, and certainly the superdelegates are.” (CBS News, 5/29/2016)

June 5, 2016: Sanders criticizes the Clinton Foundation.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is asked in an interview about the Clinton Foundation. He says, “If you ask me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, many governments which are dictatorships? Yeah I do.” He points out the human rights violations of governments that have heavily donated to the foundation, such as Saudi Arabia. When asked if the foundation’s activities represent a potential conflict of interest, Sanders replies, “Yes, I do.” (Real Clear Politics, 6/5/2016)

Sanders had previously avoided criticizing the foundation. (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

Before June 14, 2016: US officials allegedly warn the Trump, Sanders, and Clinton campaigns that sophisticated hackers are attempting to breach their computers.

A June 21, 2016 Bloomberg News article claims the warnings came before the hack on the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was made public on June 14, 2016. However, it’s unclear when the warnings happened exactly. This is according to one unnamed “person familiar with the government investigation into the attacks.”

But the Trump campaign won’t respond to questions about the warnings, and Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs says he isn’t aware of the warnings.

Bloomberg News will comment, “Information about the scope of the attacks and the government warnings raises new questions about how long the campaigns have known about the threats and whether they have done enough to protect their systems.” (Bloomberg New, 6/21/2016

It has been reported that the Clinton campaign and related organizations have been attacked by hackers, but there have been no confirmed attacks on the Trump or Sanders campaigns. (Bloomberg News, 6/17/2016)

June 16, 2016: Recent alleged Russian hacking attacks appear to have focused on Clinton and the DNC and not other presidential campaigns.

SecureWorks Logo (Credit: SecureWorks)

SecureWorks Logo (Credit: SecureWorks)

SecureWorks is a cybersecurity company that apparently has been hired to investigate recent leaks targeting US government officials, departments, and related entities. Focusing on the hacking group known as Fancy Bear (or APT 28), they conclude with “moderate confidence that the group is operating from the Russian Federation and is gathering intelligence on behalf of the Russian government.” They also conclude that the group targeted Clinton’s presidential campaign and the DNC [Democratic National Committee].

However, SecureWorks have not observed Fancy Bear “[target] the US Republican party or the other US presidential candidates whose campaigns were active between mid-March and mid-May [2016]: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.” But they point out the other campaigns could have been targeted by other means not noticed by them. (SecureWorks, 6/16/2016)

June 18, 2016: Trump says Sanders is waiting for the FBI to knock Clinton out of the presidential race.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump notes that Bernie Sanders hasn’t quit the Democratic primary race despite Clinton having a majority of the pledged delegates and even more superdelegates. Trump says, “He’s waiting for the FBI to do what everybody thinks they’re going to do. I think he’s saying, ‘Let’s hang in there because it’s ultimately called the FBI convention. […] We’ll see if the right thing happens.’ Everybody knows what the right thing is.”

Sanders hasn’t made any comment that he’s waiting for the FBI’s decision to recommend Clinton’s indictment or not. (CNN, 6/18/2016)

June 22, 2016: Sanders says “it doesn’t appear” he’s going to be the nominee, but still refuses to concede.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in an interview, “It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee, so I’m not going to be determining the scope of the convention.” However, he has yet to formally end his presidential campaign or endorse Clinton. (The Hill, 6/22/2016)

July 5, 2016: Sanders stays quiet on FBI announcement about Clinton.

Although Bernie Sanders is still running against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, he makes no public comment after FBI Director James Comey both heavily criticizes Clinton’s email practices and also says he doesn’t recommend her indictment on any charges. A Sanders spokesperson confirms that Sanders will not respond to the FBI’s decision.

The Washington Post comments, “Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Sanders refused to attack Clinton over the email episode. He alternately ruled it out as a legitimate issue, and hectored the media for focusing on scandal instead of substance.” (The Washington Post, 7/5/2016)

July 24, 2016—July 26, 2016: Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook suggests the Russian government is behind the release of DNC emails by WikiLeaks.

160724RobbieMookDouglasGrahamCQRollCallGroup

Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook (Credit: Douglas Graham / Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Group)

On July 24, 2016, Mook says, “What’s disturbing about this entire situation is that experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC [Democratic National Committee], took all those emails, and are now leaking them out through these websites,” such as WikiLeaks. “It’s troubling that some experts are telling us this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping [Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump.”

Mook also apologizes for the content of some emails, which show the DNC had a bias in favor of Clinton and against Senator Bernie Sanders, despite DNC rules that it should be neutral in the Democratic primaries. (The Hill, 7/24/2016)

Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort calls Mook’s comments “pure obfuscation.” He adds, “What they don’t want to talk about is what’s in those emails.” (The Washington Post, 7/24/2016)

Two days later, Mook makes similar accusations about Russia. He also says, “I think the timing around our convention was not a coincidence.” WikiLeaks released 20,000 DNC emails on June 22, 2016, just three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention. (The Hill, 7/26/2016)

July 24, 2016: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), resigns after a WikiLeaks release of DNC emails.

Wasserman Schultz announces her resignation as chair of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday, July 24, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

Just one day before the Democratic National Convention, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) announces she is resigning from her position as the chair of the DNC. This comes in response to WikiLeaks releasing 20,000 leaked emails from a recent hack of the DNC. The New York Times says that the emails “showed party officials conspiring to sabotage the [presidential] campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”

Earlier in the day, Sanders called the situation an “outrage” and called for Wasserman Schultz to step down. She announced her resignation after a private meeting with Clinton’s senior aides. The Times comments that even prior to the email leak, “Ms. Wasserman Schultz has faced a flurry of negative stories during her five-year tenure as the committee’s chairwoman… but she had resisted calls for her to quit.”

The Times also reports: “The breach of the Democratic committee’s emails… offered undeniable evidence of what Mr. Sanders’s supporters had complained about for much of the senator’s contentious primary contest with Mrs. Clinton: that the party was effectively an arm of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.”

Donna Brazile, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), replaces Wasserman Schultz as interim chair through the end of the November 2016 election. (The New York Times, 7/24/2016)

October 9, 2016: Trump claims that Clinton unfairly beat Bernie Sanders in the primaries and calls Clinton “the devil.”

During in the second general election presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri, Clinton claims that her opponent Donald Trump never apologizes for anything, and then lists several issues he should apologize for, but never has.

Clinton and Trump spar at the presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton and Trump spar at the presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

As part of his response, Trump claims that Clinton fairly lost the primary to Obama in 2008. However, he says this is “unlike the Bernie Sanders race where you won, but not fair and square, in my opinion. And all you have to do is take a look at WikiLeaks and just see what they said about Bernie Sanders and see what [Democratic National Committee chair] Debbie Wasserman Schultz had in mind, because Bernie Sanders, between superdelegates and Debra Wasserman Schultz, he never had a chance and I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil.” (Politico, 10/10/2016)