Jennifer Palmieri, one-time White House Comm. Director under Barack Obama and current Communications director for the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign, was caught purposefully trying to “undermine” the Benghazi investigation.
The email chain, “RE: Benghazi – paid media update”, started off with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook giving Palmieri the details of an ad they were planning to run late last year. The two talked about what it would take to discredit the Benghazi investigation as a “right-wing smear campaign,” and they wanted to find a way to connect it to the email investigation in the same way (which is ironic, because the email investigation stemmed from the House Select Committee on Benghazi after they found the server).
“The trick, of course, is to connect Benghazi to emails in a way that’s credible. But we discussed different ways to do it,” Mook said, later adding “and I feel like we really need to understand whether voters will believe that we can credibly conflate Benghazi and emails.”
Palmieri responded, “If the objective is purely to undermine the Benghazi hearings, I think these spots will certainly help do that.” She had a slight bit of criticism for the “objective,” however. Jennifer Palmieri had reserves about the tactic, but not for moral, ethical, or legal reasons. The problem was that she didn’t feel they were going far enough with their “conflation,” and an expressed concern about how quickly the ad could get out to manipulate voters’ minds in time for the election.
“But if the objective is to connect emails-Benghazi and conflate the two in voters’ minds (which consultants feel is an imperative here), I’m not sure we know whether we can credibly do that,” Palmieri said. “We’ll get a read from groups, but may need to just make a judgement call once we see rough cuts … at the very least, [the ad] would mix a new spot in and keep at least one of the newly-launched spots up – so that this isn’t the ONLY thing voters are hearing for the next 2-3 weeks.”
Palmieri had talked to Hillary Clinton previously, who told her that she wanted the then current ad to be reworked or taken down because it wasn’t good enough. Palmieri responded, “I think it would be a mistake to pull down the spots we just went up with in [Iowa and New Hampshire], and make the entire dialogue about scandal/hearings/email.”
In a previously leaked email, Palmieri lambasted Catholics with another campaign cohort, John Halpin, who said, “I imagine they think [Catholicism] is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion.” Palmieri replied. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”