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Clinton aide panicked at Obama’s response to email scandal, leaked email shows

'We need to clean this up.'


Andrew Couts


Posted on Oct 25, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 5:33 pm CDT

A Hillary Clinton aide responded with panic after President Barack Obama said he learned about the former secretary of state’s email scandal from news reports.

An email from March 7, 2015, released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, appears to show Cheryl Mills, a top aide to the Democratic presidential nominee, called for the need to “clean this up” after Obama told a CBS News reporter that he was unaware of Clinton’s private email server. The New York Times first reported on Clinton’s use of a home-brew email setup during her time at the State Department on March 2, 2015.

“[W]e need to clean this up — he has emails from her — they do not say,” Mills apparently wrote in response to a tweet from BuzzFeed’s politics editor Katherine Miller regarding Obama’s response. 

WikiLeaks’ publication of the emails, allegedly stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta by Russia-linked hackers, revealed that Obama communicated with Clinton from a non-government email address in addition to government-run communications.

The Clinton campaign has so far refused to confirm the authenticity of the emails published by WikiLeaks.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a press conference on the Monday following CBS News’ interview with Obama that the president did know about her private email address but did not know that it was operated on a private server. 

“The president was referring specifically to the arrangement associated with Secretary Clinton’s email,” Earnest said. “Yes, the president was aware of her email address; he traded emails with her. That shouldn’t be a surprise, that the president of the United States is going to trade emails with the secretary of state.

“But the president was not aware of the fact that this was a personal email server, and that this was the email address she was using exclusively for all her business. The president was not aware of that until that had been more widely reported.”

In response to a request for comment regarding the Mills email, Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin condemned Republican nominee Donald Trump‘s refusal to “accept” Russia’s alleged involvement in the WikiLeaks release.

“It’s troubling to see today that the Republican House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul told Donald Trump that Russia is using hacked information to influence the election but Trump refused to accept it,” Caplin said in a statement. “Trump has also ignored the clear findings of the U.S. intelligence community while calling for more espionage and cheering on WikiLeak’s Russian-directed propaganda.”

The White House and Trump campaign did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

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*First Published: Oct 25, 2016, 3:58 pm CDT