Catty Campaign: Leaked Emails Reveal Clinton Staffers’ Nasty Side

By Patrick Goodenough | October 20, 2016 | 4:22 AM EDT

Clockwise from top left: Cheryl Mills, John Podesta, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Jake Sullivan. (Photos: AP Photo/AP Photo/Wikimedia Commons/Asia Society)

(CNSNews.com) – Stolen Clinton presidential campaign emails reveal how some senior staffers felt about the advice Hillary Clinton was getting from a former colleague, and it doesn’t make pretty reading.

Anne-Marie Slaughter served as director of policy planning for Clinton during Clinton’s first two years as secretary of state, then returned to a politics professorship at Princeton University in February 2011.

She continued to send Clinton policy advice – and sometimes unalloyed praise – after leaving the post. Last year, some of the communications evidently raised hackles among top campaign staff, emails leaked by Wikileaks indicate.

In one May 2015 email addressed to Clinton, posted by Wikileaks on Wednesday, Slaughter shared thoughts with the Democratic candidate on ways she could highlight her “success” as secretary of state.

Slaughter copied the email to staffers including campaign chairman John Podesta, campaign advisor Jake Sullivan, and aide Cheryl Mills.

Podesta then responded in a note to his colleagues: “Can we switch HRC’s email and not tell Anne-Marie? Jeez, she emails her more than the three of us do.”

Mills replied, “Welcome to the world with ams [Anne-Marie Slaughter]!”

And from Sullivan: “Yeah, this is light traffic from her so far.”

Two days later, Slaughter emailed Clinton again, effusive in her praise for her former boss.

“Just a two-liner, but I’m reading the new QDDR and all I keep thinking is how now it is NATURAL to talk about diplomacy AND development together as part of foreign policy, when NO ONE would have done that before 2008. You changed the frame. Over time that will be as consequential as anything else you did.”

(Slaughter was an architect of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, initiated under Clinton in 2009 and aimed at enhancing what the secretary of state called “smart power.)

Mills and Sullivan were among aides copied in on that email.

Mills sent a one liner back to Sullivan: “just so you know the daily joy.”

In response to Mills, Sullivan then noted that he had received a separate email from Slaughter in which she told him, “I’m working on a statement of AMS [Anne-Marie Slaughter] Principles for a Happy, Productive and Meaningful Life for your wedding present!”  (Sullivan was to get married a month later, a ceremony at Yale University which Clinton attended.)

Mills responded, “did you invite her to the WEDDING?!!!”

“No!” replied Sullivan.

Slaughter’s emails to Clinton preceded the start of her presidential campaign.

One of the batch of emails from Clinton’s private server released by the State Department early this year in line with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was a message from Slaughter, just two months after she left the State Department, with the subject line “bravo!”

In it, Slaughter praised the then-secretary of state for “turning POTUS around” on the issue of military intervention in Libya.

“I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have NEVER been prouder of having worked for you,” she wrote. “Turning POTUS around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for.”

Clinton’s reply: “Keep your fingers crossed and pray for a soft landing for everyone’s sake.”

Slaughter was a strong supporter of intervention in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi early that year had launched a crackdown on dissent.

The day she sent that email to Clinton was the day the U.S., Britain and France launched airstrikes on regime targets, starting a campaign that would lead to Gaddafi’s downfall and death – and the instability that has plagued the country for much of the period ever since.


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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow