An email released by WikiLeaks Sunday suggests Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill may have been the originator of a mass Democratic effort to discredit an investigation by the State Department’s independent watchdog into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The email in question is a list of recent voicemail messages left for Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta around Oct. 6, 2015, including one from McCaskill. “Give me a call back at your convenient [sic] on my cell or at home. Got some info about the state department IG,” she said. “You guys should digest and figure out what if anything we can do.”
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State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the department’s top watchdog, launched an investigation, separate from the FBI inquiry, into Clinton’s use of a private email server in April 2015.
The result of that inquiry was an 83-page report released in May 2016 that harshly critiqued Clinton for her handling of sensitive information and made plain the Democratic nominee had broken State Department security and archiving protocols for official government communications.
Democrats, sensing early the danger of the independent review’s findings, sought to discredit the inspector general, despite the fact Linick had been appointed by President Obama in 2013.
In mid-November 2015, just weeks after McCaskill’s cryptic message to Podesta, Democrats pounced.
Adam Jentleson, a top aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, planted a story in The New York Times alleging a past connection between a single staffer in the IG’s office and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley was evidence of “fishy” activity.
Jentleson noted the deputy inspector general at the State Department was Emilia DiSanto, who had previously been a top aide to Grassley and alleged DiSanto could be improperly feeding information on the State Department inquiry to her former boss.
“There does seem to be a fishy pattern here, and a fishy connection,” Jentleson told The New York Times.
A separate email released by WikiLeaks last week seems to confirm the Clinton camp had put Reid’s office up to the attack on the IG’s credibility.
“After hitting a wall with other outlets, NYT will do a story about DiSanto,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said in a Nov. 13 email to Podesta. “Adam Jentleson in reid’s [sic] office is giving a statement saying the connection is troubling and raises questions. Could pop this weekend.”
It is unclear from McCaskill’s message whether her information on the State Department IG had anything to do with the Grassley-connection attack deployed by the Democrats just a few weeks later — but the timing is suspect.
As is McCaskill’s use of the word “we.” The Missouri senator clearly saw herself as an active member of Team Clinton.