- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top White House officials who went on to lead Hillary Clinton’s campaign coordinated with her closely on the timing and substance of President Obama’s executive action granting amnesty for illegal immigrants, leaked emails are showing.

Mrs. Clinton has vowed to expand Mr. Obama’s executive action on amnesty, but she and her campaign aides initially were unsure how forcefully to react to the president’s move, debating the level of support for an executive order that one aide described as “unpopular.”

Leaked emails from 2014 show that John Podesta, who was then counselor to the president, coordinated with Mrs. Clinton and her campaign officials on the timing of the pending immigration order, and advised the campaign simply, “Be for it.” Mr. Podesta, who is now Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, wrote that email on Nov. 5, 2014 — two weeks before Mr. Obama announced his broad amnesty action in a televised address to the nation.

On the day before the announcement, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill wrote to other campaign officials, “Just heard back from the WH. Jen Palmieri is going to call me to go over stuff, and mentioned that John [Podesta] is supposed to be calling HRC this afternoon to go through the plan, so it would be good if when he did we were synced up with him on approach.” Ms. Palmieri was White House communications director, and now serves in the same role for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

That same day, Mrs. Clinton wrote to her aides anxiously, “I want to release it [a statement] right after POTUS announces. Can you get info from WH that will help us?”

In the days leading up to the immigration announcement, Clinton aides discussed how enthusiastic she should be about it.

On Nov. 2, 2014, Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin wrote to Mr. Podesta about a campaign rally with Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown that was disrupted by protesters seeking more lenient deportation policies.

“The event turned into a bit of a mess, with lots of hecklers interrupting her throughout the speech,” Mr. Schwerin wrote. “She’s holding to the opinion that she shouldn’t speak out on executive action until the president actually does something. I think she just finds the situation too uncertain to wade in at this point, despite the urgings of some of our Hispanic friends and others to get out in front of this.”

On the day of Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Schwerin circulated a draft of a statement for Mrs. Clinton to deliver.

“I’ve tried here to express support for POTUS without getting bogged down in the details of what is sure to be an unpopular measure, seen as both too much and too little,” he wrote.

The candidate and her aides also debated the format for her statement of support, because the president’s announcement came at roughly the same time she was making a campaign appearance at the 92nd Street Y cultural center in Manhattan. Aides seemingly fretted over whether Mrs. Clinton would face media questions if she spoke about immigration at the campaign event, and suggested she address the executive action the following day in an interview with journalist/author Walter Isaacson.

“What is context of 92Y appearance? Does she have to answer qs?” wrote adviser Jake Sullivan. “Best would be for her to answer q Fri, supporting action and then calling for immediate negotiations on legislative path toward [comprehensive immigration reform].”

Clinton adviser Philippe Reines urged that the candidate make a statement on immigration for TV, rather than on paper.

“We need to start getting used to saying things on camera, might as well start now,” he wrote.

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