Hillary Clinton’s campaign team pointed to Cheryl Mills as the person who likely approved her use of a secret email server during her tenure in the State Department, according to hacked emails posted Sunday by WikiLeaks.
Ms. Mills also apparently opposed Mrs. Clinton making a bid for the White House, the messages reveal.
“At least now we know why Cheryl didn’t want her to run,” John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and a longtime Clinton friend, said in a 2015 message to Neera Tanden, who took over as head of Mr. Podesta’s think tank, Center for American Progress.
The two were discussing the revelation of Mrs. Clinton’s secret account, tied to a server she kept at her home in New York, rather than using the more secure State Department system.
Ms. Tanden suggested in the exchange that whoever approved the arrangement should be subject to “torture.”
Ms. Mills, who was Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff at the department, has publicly signaled she wasn’t involved in Mrs. Clinton’s email decision.
In a sworn deposition earlier this year, Ms. Mills first said she wasn’t part of any conversations, then said she couldn’t remember any specific discussions and said it was assumed Mrs. Clinton would continue to use a private account as she had while in the U.S. Senate.
“I don’t have a specific memory of the conversations that may or may not have occurred. I know that I understood she was going to be using her personal email, and that’s what she did,” Ms. Mills said.
At some point early during her time in the State Department, Mrs. Clinton switched from using an account tied to her AT&T Blackberry to an account tied to the server she kept at her home.
Executive branch officials are subject to a higher level of disclosure and record-keeping than the legislature, meaning Mrs. Clinton’s decision to use a secret email violated her department’s policy and effectively thwarted open records laws for six years.