Senior Hillary Clinton aides fretted that President Barack Obama knew she conducted government business through a private email address, despite claiming that he learned about it in news reports.
An email chain released Tuesday by Wikileaks – one of thousands of messages hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account – memorializes campaign insiders’ surprise when the president played dumb during a CBS News interview.
‘Jen you probably have more on this,’ Clinton national spokesman Josh Schwerin wrote to communications director Jennifer Palmieri on March 7, 2015, ‘but it looks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news.’
The interview had not yet aired when the email chain began.
Traveling press secretary Nick Merrill forwarded the message to Cheryl Mills, who raised a red flag with Podesta three hours later.
‘[W]e need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say state.gov,’ wrote Mills, who was Clinton’s lawyer and served as her chief of staff at the State Department from 2009 to 2013.
In the interview, CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Obama when he learned about Clinton’s private email system.
‘The same time everybody else learned it, through news reports,’ the president replied.
But Mills’ email to Podesta indicates the president had already exchanged emails with his onetime secretary of state at her ‘clintonemail.com’ address.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest began the clean-up a day after the CBS interview aired, conceding that Obama had Clinton’s private address, but suggested the president never thought it was operated without government oversight.