The man who is undisputedly ground zero of the "Russian hacking campaign", former Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, whose emails provided an in-depth glimpse into the illict practices of the top echelon of US politics, and certainly the Clinton campaign itself, confirmed accusations of "pay-to-play" lobbed against the Clinton Family Foundation, and exposed the incestuous relationship between the Clinton dynasty and the "free press", which was revealed to be at times nothing more than the Public Relations arm of the Clinton campaign, spoke on NBC's Meet The Press this morning and claimed that the FBI did not tell him about Russia hacking into his email account until two days after WikiLeaks began publishing the hacked messages online.
"The first time I was contacted by the FBI was two days after WikiLeaks started dropping my emails," Podesta told NBC's Chuck Todd.
Todd pressed Podesta on when he knew that his emails had been stolen. "In one of those DNC documents that appeared to me ... that might have came from my account," Podesta said. "So I wasn't sure. I didn't know what they had, what they didn't have. It wasn't until October 7 when [WikiLeaks' Julian] Assange ... started dumping them out and said they would all dump out, that's when I knew that they had the contents of my email account."
"By the way," Podesta added, "that was the last time I'd heard from the FBI."
"Do you expect to get a phone call before the end of the year?" Todd asked.
"Maybe before the end of the show," Podesta joked.
Podesta suggested the emails were released to distract from the Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump bragging about grabbing and kissing women without their permission.
"Let's go through the chronology. On October 7, the Access Hollywood tapes comes out. One hour later, WikiLeaks starts dropping my emails into the public," Podesta told Chuck Todd, referencing the infamous leaked Trump tape from 2005. "One could say that those things might not have been a coincidence. Two days later, the FBI contacted me, and the first thing the agent said to me was, 'I don't know if you're aware but your email account might have been hacked.' I said, yes, I was aware of that."
Alternatively, others have suggested the contrary, namely that aware that Wikileaks was about to disclose a treasure trove of emails, the WaPo rushed to release the tape in an attempt to deflect attention from the Podesta emails, and, at least based on media coverage, it worked.
Podesta recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that "something is deeply broken" within the FBI and called for a full, independent investigation into the Russian hacks. Podesta on Sunday also criticized director James Comey's actions regarding intelligence surrounding Russia's interference in the election relative to how he handled a development in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
"What I said was baffling, Chuck, was on October 7, as the Director of National Intelligence, Jim Clapper, Jay Johnson, director of Homeland Security, went out and said, 'The Russians are trying to interfere in our election,' Director Comey counseled against that. He said, 'I don't want the F.B.I.'s name on that,'" Podesta said. "Then three weeks later, he went out and dropped the infamous letter just 11 days before the election, saying that he was going to take yet another look at Hillary Clinton's emails because of the laptop that he had gotten from Huma Abedin's husband Anthony Weiner. So how can you have that both ways?"
Podesta also comments that ahead of tomorrow's Electoral College vote cementing Trump's victory, "the question is whether there are 37 Republican electors who think that either there are open questions or that Donald Trump, based on everything we know about him, is really unfit to be president of the United States."
Podesta indicated that he was aware of calls for Clinton's electors to support someone like John Kasich or Mitt Romney in order to entice those 37 Republican electors away from Trump, but that he assumed Clinton's electors were going to vote for her. "It's not really what the Democrats are going to do. And I guess we'll know about it tomorrow," Podesta said
Subsequent to the email leaks, while the Clinton campaign, and the Obama administration, have accused Russia of being behind the hack, nobody has disputed the factual content of the 50,000+ emails that were disclosed. As reported previously, even as Trump effectively stated that Putin was behind the hack, so far the administration has refused to launch a response to the alleged hacking for reasons that were discussed in a prior post.
The full Podesta interview is below: