Hillary Clinton’s campaign purportedly compiled a massive “hits” file on Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders, calling into question his “progressive bona fides” on issues ranging from labor to guns to Wall Street, according to a new trove of emails posted by WikiLeaks.
The 71-page, nearly 50,000-word document was released Monday as the second installment in WikiLeaks’ dump of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s alleged emails. The email, titled “PLS REVIEW: Sanders Hits,” was sent by campaign research director Tony Carrk on Oct. 28, 2015 – nearly nine months before the liberal Vermont senator would endorse Clinton following their protracted primary battle.
“Attached are some hits that could either be written or deployed during the next debate on Sanders,” Carrk writes, noting that the immense opposition research file would eventually be expanded with critiques of Sanders’ plan to provide affordable college education.
The document, which was prepared in advance of February’s Iowa caucuses, also notes: “Per HRC’s request,” the research team is “doing a deeper dive on Sanders’s agriculture record.”
The document is broken up into 12 sections, with headings such as “Sanders Is Not Straight with People on His Spending” and “Sanders Not Straight with People on Taxes.” Subcategories then divide the attacks into specific points.
“Sanders, often thought of as a champion of labor unions, accepted support from a company while it was involved in a bitter labor dispute -- locking out union employees for nearly 22 months,” the document states in the “Labor/Pay to Play/Sugar” section. Sanders later voted “to protect the sugar program.”
The document also criticizes Sanders for a lack of specifics on his tax plan.
“Sen. Sanders has not told the American people how much he is going to raise taxes and who is going to pay for them,” one section states. “When confronted on details of his tax plan, he simply says ‘it’s coming.’”
Jason Miller, senior communications adviser to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, tweeted out a link to the WikiLeaks files on Monday afternoon with the comment: "And here...we...go." Clinton's campaign quickly rebuked Miller for the tweet and alluded to a popular theory that WikiLeaks has deep ties to Russia.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that the Trump campaign is cheering on a release today engineered by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin to interfere in this election, and this comes after Donald Trump encouraged more espionage over the summer and continued to deny the hack even happened at Sunday's debate," Clinton spokesperson Glen Caplin told FoxNews.com in an email. "The timing shows you that even Putin knows Trump had a bad weekend and a bad debate."
The research file was compiled between the first two primary debates, which occurred on Oct. 13 and Nov. 14. While Clinton faced four challengers at the first debate, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out shortly afterward, leaving Sanders and the low-polling ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as her only opponents moving forward.
The alleged Podesta emails also show a former aide to the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen criticizing Clinton for her "untrue" attacks on Sanders.
“Beyond this Hillary should stop attacking Bernie, especially when she says things that are untrue, which candidly she often does,” Brent Budowsky wrote to Podesta on March 13. “I am one of the people with credibility to suggest Bernie people support her in November, and she and [pollster Joel] Benenson and others have no idea of the damage she does to herself with these attacks, which she does not gain by making.”
During their first rally together on July 12, Clinton praised Sanders as someone who had “energized and inspired a generation of young people who care deeply about our country,” despite the apparent misgivings her campaign had about Sanders as reflected in the research file.
She added: “You will always have a seat at the table when I am in the White House.”