- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2016

The treasure trove of hacked email by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta spotlights spokesman Nick Merrill discussing a “safe” reporter who would help shape a “public narrative” of their boss.

Thousands of WikiLeaks documents the U.S. government says were obtained by Russian hackers have given voters an uncensored view of Mrs Clinton’s top advisors, their relationship with journalists, and candid opinions of specific constituencies. An email thread from January 2015 shows Mr. Merrill’s fondness for New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, then with Politico.

“As discussed on our call, we are all in agreement that the time is right place a story with a friendly journalist in the coming days that positions us a little more transparently while achieving the above goals,” Mr. Merrill said in a Jan. 13, 2015, email to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and others. “For something like this, especially in the absence of us teasing things out to others, we feel that it’s important to go with what is safe and what has worked in the past, and to a publication that will reach industry people for recruitment purposes. We have had a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed.”

Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman then went on to discuss the need for a “broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC,” and that contact with Mrs. Haberman would allow them to “achieve our objective and do the most shaping.”

Other emails in WikiLeaks possession show Mr. Merrill discussing the former secretary of state’s secret server in March 2015. He said at the time that a strategy fore dealing with the scandal should “cauterize” it “just enough so it plays out over the weekend and dies in the short term.”

WikiLeaks has said it has over 50,000 emails related to Mr. Podesta’s private conversations. Over 9,000 documents have been released since last Friday.

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