Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills didn’t want her boss to run for president – something campaign chairman John Podesta believed was because Mills approved Clinton’s use of a secret email server, according to a message released Sunday by WikiLeaks.
The exchange between Podesta and Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden on July 24, 2015, started when Tanden asked if Podesta knew “who told Hillary she could use a private email? Has that person been drawn and quartered?”
“Don’t you think Cheryl?” Podesta answered.
In a later reply to Tanden, Podesta added the kicker: “At least we now know why Cheryl didn’t want her to run.”
That conversation wasn’t the first time Podesta and Tanden had speculated that Mills played a central role in the establishment of Clinton’s private email system. Just hours after The New York Times broke the Clinton email story on March 2, Podesta and Tanden exchanged emails about the nascent controversy that would dog Clinton throughout her run to the Democratic presidential nomination.
“This is a Cheryl special,” Tanden wrote in an email that would later be hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account and posted to WikiLeaks. “Know you love her, but this stuff is like her Achilles heal. Or kryptonite. She just can’t say no to this s---. Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy.”
Podesta replied “Unbelievable” before Tanden answered her earlier question: “I guess I know the answer[.] they wanted to get away with it.”
Mills has been part of Team Clinton’s orbit for decades, since serving as an associate counsel to President Bill Clinton starting in 1993. Mills also was chief of staff for Hillary Clinton during her tenure at the State Department. Additionally, Mills, who now runs her own company, has been a trusted adviser to Hillary Clinton, with emails showing Mills’ influence extended from matters relating to The Clinton Foundation to numerous aspects of Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.
The FBI interviewed Mills during its probe into Clinton’s private email server, but Mills was granted partial immunity for her cooperation and wasn’t charged with a crime.