I think one of the reasons I’ve been successful over the years running TPM is that I have a great imaginative capacity to grasp the surreal, bizarre and moronic in our politics. But this new development may be outpacing even my abilities. The hacker who identifies himself as Guccifer 2.0 has “leaked” hacked emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to The New York Observer. What they reveal is about as surprising and scandalous as the sky being blue. But we’ll get to that in a second. Guccifer 2.0 claims to be a Romanian national but is widely believed to be a Russian national connected to the Russian security services. (Here at Motherboard and Ars Technica and The New York Times are a few articles that discuss the issue.) And what is The New York Observer? That’s the New York business and society paper owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner (Ivanka’s husband). So yes, a hacker who everybody assumes is tied to Russian intelligence has leaked hacked Democratic emails to Trump’s son-in-law’s paper. Sounds totally legit, right?
And yes, even though it was just another freakish and perhaps sarcastic aside, let’s not forget that Trump begged Russia to hack more Clinton campaign emails to help fight the good fight against Crooked Hillary.
Adding to the oddity, the copy is written in the kind of clownish vanguardist prose that sounds like the copy I wrote about a few weeks ago in various Russian state sponsored English language press outlets in the US and Europe.
Here’s a taste …
“Kelly call Robby Mook,” read a bullet point from an internal DCCC memo leaked to the Observer from Guccifer 2.0. It was under short term and long term notes in a memo entitled “South Drilldown Action Items,” dated June 22, 2015. The action item refers to Kelly Ward, executive director of the DCCC, to call Clinton’s campaign manager in reference to strategy in the 13th Congressional District in Florida. “Talk to Clinton campaign about their targeting in Florida,” read another action item listed under Florida’s 26th Congressional District.
The memo provides more insight into how a Clinton win was viewed by Democratic Party leaders as inevitable. The Democratic Party belongs to Clinton, and she will determine the direction it goes, was the prevailing attitude—despite Sanders’ emergence as a viable contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
This leak is the first to directly connect the Clinton campaign with Democratic Party leadership—aside from Clinton’s general counsel, Attorney Marc Elias, giving advice to DNC staff on how to smear and discredit Sanders’ campaign. Though the Vermont senator worked to incite a “political revolution” to help progressive candidates in the Democratic Party get elected across the country, the memo reveals that even before the primaries began, the DCCC functioned as an apparatus working in tandem with the Clinton campaign.
From leaks released by Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks so far, it is apparent the Democratic Party anointed Clinton as their nominee, and worked behind the scenes to manufacture support for this coronation in opposition to Sanders’ candidacy.
There’s so much here it’s hard to know where to begin. This tends to confirm the suspicion I had a couple months ago that the foreigners handling these emails have very little grasp of American politics and don’t have a very good sense of whether the documents they have are scandalous or simply obvious and inconsequential. “Democratic Party leaders” thought Clinton’s nomination was “inevitable”. Well, no kidding. Everybody did.
And this “despite Sanders’ emergence as a viable contender.” Remember, on June 15th 2015, the Polltracker Average had Clinton 61, Sanders 14. The Clinton team was moving toward a rude surprise in a few months. But they definitely weren’t there yet. They weren’t giving Sanders a second thought at the time. Of course top Democrats thought Clinton was the inevitable nominee.
But again, read the language: “Though the Vermont senator worked to incite a “political revolution” to help progressive candidates in the Democratic Party get elected across the country … it is apparent the Democratic Party anointed Clinton as their nominee, and worked behind the scenes to manufacture support for this coronation in opposition to Sanders’ candidacy.” Who writes like this? People’s candidate Bernie Sanders had struck a blow against corrupt party boss “Crooked Hillary” and the hack running dogs who enforced her rule! A week ago the same author had an opinion piece in The Observer entitled “Democrats Keep Party Rigged With Wasserman Schultz Victory: Party leaders flocked to South Florida to assist her corrupt reelection campaign.” It’s written in something between the tone of the old LaRouchie free papers you could get on the street and the argot of 30s era party organs. From another vantage point it reads kind of like taking Trump tweet language and stringing it out into actual prose. As you can see, it’s all but unhinged me.
I confess I truly don’t know what to make of this. It’s really a through the looking glass moment. Is it parody? Copy from a 15 year old who just read Marx for the first on summer vacation? Are the foreign hackers breaking into various Democratic party committees really working in tandem with Ivanka’s husband’s newspaper? I think the answer is yes. Sad!