Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t expect questions surrounding her use of a private email server to shadow her campaign for as long as they would, according to a hacked email released by WikiLeaks.
On March 10, 2015 — just under a month before she announced she was running for president — Clinton gave a speech where she said that she used her personal email account out of convenience and acknowledged in hindsight it wasn’t the best option.
That day, adviser Neera Tanden emailed John Podesta with the subject line: “Seemed to go well today.”
“I don't know how the story advances, she wrote in the email. "So that's good."
"They will go after the server but that takes us back to Benghazi which is good for us," Podesta responded.
“I mean, they will go after the deleting of the private emails ... but at some point, this just will have to run out of steam, especially as they see minimal electoral consequence,” Tanden followed up.
The hacked emails exchanges are part of a trove, released in chunks daily by WikiLeaks, from Podesta’s account. The Clinton campaign has declined to confirm the authenticity of the messages, accusing Russia of being responsible for the hack in an effort to help Donald Trump.
As the Clinton campaign began to realize her use of a private email wasn’t going away any time soon, they attempted to control the narrative, according to later messages.
In an email exchange in early August 2015, aides discussed the timing of Clinton’s statement on her emails. At one point, campaign manager Robby Mook floated the idea of Clinton coming out against the Keystone pipeline at the same time to "distract" from controversy over her email server.
“We could even have her come out against Keystone on Monday as well (not sure where that stands), which will solicit criticism but that might help distract from emails. Kind of like bundling taxes, health, and email last Friday,” Mook wrote in an email exchange.
Mook’s suggestion was not followed. Clinton did not end up coming out against the pipeline until late September.