Wikileaks: Clinton Team Listed ‘Hits’ Against Bernie Sanders in Podesta Emails

October 13, 2016 Updated: October 13, 2016

Wikileaks continues to release allegedly hacked emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta this week, including exchanges on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The organization has released thousands of emails so far. The messages give an inside look into deliberations between campaign aides on Sanders, saying he “has really dumb plans for Wall Street.”

The Clinton campaign, in an email exchange on Jan. 6 2016, strategized on how to deal with Sanders during the primaries.

Sanders and Wall Street

“HRC does not want to call Bernie out by name in her speech Wednesday night, but she does want to drive a more effective and comprehensive contrast with him. In particular, she’s keen to find a way to keep going after him on Wall Street (she’s convinced his plan is naive and unworkable) as part of a broader indictment,” said speechwriter Dan Schwerin.

“I liked messing with Bernie on wall street at a staff level for the purposes of muddying the waters and throwing them off their game a bit,” said Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri, “But don’t know that it is most effective contrast for her. Seems like we are picking the fight he wants to have.”

Communications adviser Mandy Grunwald then suggested a response in case Clinton was asked about Sanders’s Wall Street comments, in which she would reply that they “both want to crack down on the risky behavior on Wall Street, we both want to make sure people go to jail when they cross the line.”

Clinton’s top aide, Jake Sullivan, expressed his concern on that answer saying, “Bernie gets to whack her around and she is purely positive to him in reply.”

“I agree with you. Bernie wants a fight on a Wall Street. We should not give him one. Our polling shows this is one of our weakest areas,” Grunwald says. “Further, our Wall Street approach has always been to agree about the problem, show passion about it, and say we have a better approach to holding the rascals accountable. The magic wand approach is very much what she used against [Barack Obama].”

Grunwald then said, “We don’t need to prove he’s bad on Wall Street—that’s not really credible. We need to prove we’re ok. Most of all, we don’t want this fight.”

‘Sanders Hits’

The Clinton camp’s research against Sanders was summarized in an email on Oct. 28, 2015, sent by Tony Carrk, the campaign’s research director.

The email, titled “Pls Review: Sanders Hits,” laid out jabs at Sanders on various positions, including, guns, same-sex marriage, Wall Street, immigration, and taxes.

Labor/Pay to Play/Sugar:

“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,” said the Clinton campaign in the mail, adding that he accepted $10,000 in July 2012 from the company, American Crystal Sugar.

“At the same time American Crystal Sugar was proposing to cut back on workers’ health benefits, it spent more than $2 million in lobbying money and campaign contributions to politicians like Sanders in order to preserve its favorable sugar commodity program. Sanders voted to protect the sugar program,” said the email.


The Clinton campaign planned to attack Sanders with his record on reducing gun violence.

“When he successfully ran for the House in 1990, he got the tacit endorsement of the NRA after pledging not to support the Brady Bill, which included waiting periods to receive weapons. Once in the House, he kept his word, voting against the legislation five times,” said the email.


The Clinton campaign, upset that Sanders had attacked the former secretary of state claiming she had been “inconsistent and late to supporting marriage equality,” pointed out that the Vermont senator was “reluctant to take a clear stand on civil unions and marriage equality, and did not speak out forcefully on the issue” in 2000.  

“Sanders called for an end to the divisiveness of the opposition, saying there were ‘a dozen other issues out there that are as important or more important as that issue,'” the email said.  


The Clinton campaign pointed out that Sanders’s “record on immigration is mixed.”

“While he voted for the 2013 comprehensive bill, he opposed the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive bill,” research by the Clinton team found.

Tax Plan and Spending

Clinton’s campaign said the Vermont senator was “not straight on his tax plan.”

“When confronted on details of his tax plan, he simply says ‘it’s coming,'” they said, adding that Sanders is also “not straight on his spending.”

“Sen. Sanders has not told the American people how much his plans will cost and how he will pay for them.”

Sanders Responds to Wikileaks

Sanders, who endorsed Clinton and is now campaigning for her, downplayed the Podesta emails that criticize him.

“The job of the progressive movement now is to look forward, not backward,” Sanders said on Oct. 12 in a statement to NBC News. “No matter what Secretary Clinton may have said years ago, behind closed doors, what’s important today is that millions of people stand up and demand that the Democratic Party implement the most progressive platform in the history of our country.”