- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2016

After days of silence, a tight-lipped Hillary Clinton has insisted she knew nothing about anti-Trump protests staged by Democratic consultants working with her presidential campaign.

“I know nothing about this. I can’t deal with every one of his conspiracy theories,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters Wednesday at a post-debate press confab, referring to Republican Donald Trump.

She then cut off questions in footage posted by MSNBC, saying, “But I hope you all have something to eat and something to drink on the way back to New York. Thank you!”

The brief comment represented her first public remarks about hidden-camera videos released this week by the conservative group Project Veritas Action showing top Democratic operatives discussing voter fraud and paying protesters to incite violence at Trump campaign events.

Meanwhile, Clinton campaign consultant Zulema Rodriguez posted a statement Thursday defending her role in orchestrating demonstrations against Mr. Trump, insisting that she tried to keep the protests safe.

“I’ve always strived to make the protests I’ve organized safe places,” said Ms. Rodriguez. “I’ve willingly traveled across the country to connect people that were previously not connected, and have worked tirelessly to elevate the cause of immigration reform.”

She also said her comments on the “Rigging the Election” video released Monday were “taken out of context and selectively edited.”

“What was omitted and what I constantly repeated to the infiltrators was that my team and I work together to make sure everyone stays safe while exercising their rights. I believe this to my core,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

The video shows Ms. Rodriguez talking to an undercover investigator about her work with the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee while working at the Democratic National Convention in July.

She said had partnered with Democracy Partners’ Aaron Black on a protest in Chicago that led to the cancellation of a campaign event for Mr. Trump, and that her team “also did the Arizona one where we shut the highway down.”

Both protests occurred in March, shortly after she received a check for about $1,600 from Hillary for America, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Project Veritas spokesman Stephen Gordon challenged her interpretation of such protest activity as safe.

“Ms. Rodriguez seems to be forgetting that numerous violent fights broke out between protesters and drivers as a result of her actions and planned protest on the highway in Arizona,” Mr. Gordon said. “Shutting a highway down could have prevented emergency vehicles from passing through, which could have caused accidents. What she did was reckless, violent and selfish.”

Ms. Rodriguez said in an email she works as an “entrepreneur and consultant,” often on contract, in an effort to “encourage, empower and educate voters of color throughout the country.”

Two Democratic consultants shown in the video are no longer affiliated with the Clinton camp. Democracy Partners head Robert Creamer stepped down from the presidential campaign shortly after the video was released, while Americans United for Change national field director Scott Foval was fired.

Mr. Trump broached the dirty-tricks issue during the debate, blaming Mrs. Clinton and President Obama for the Chicago protest.

“She’s the one and Obama who caused the violence,” Mr. Trump said. “They hired people — they paid them $1,500, and they’re on tape saying, ‘Be violent, cause fights, do bad things.’”

White House visitor logs show that one Democratic consultant, Democracy Partners’ Robert Creamer, has made 342 trips to the White House since 2009. He stepped down from the campaign after the video was released, while Mr. Foval of Americans United for Change was fired.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, accused Mr. Trump of encouraging violence by applauding supporters who are “pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies.”

“That is not who America is,” Mrs. Clinton said, while Mr. Trump replied, “So sad when she talks about violence at my rallies, and she caused the violence. It’s on tape.”

(Note: Graphic language in the video.)

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