News and Commentary

Leaked Colin Powell Emails Making Things Even Worse for Hillary

Hillary Clinton’s very, very, very bad month has just gotten even worse. After having repeatedly attempted to drag former Secretary of State Colin Powell into her bottomless email scandal pit, newly leaked emails from Powell’s Gmail account provide even more fodder for Clinton critics.

The emails, leaked by DCLeaks (which has been associated with Guccifer 2.0) on Tuesday, feature some brutal and politically damning statements from the former secretary of state about the embattled Democratic presidential candidate and her “gambit” to use him as political cover for her own “dumb” moves. “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris,” wrote Powell in one email.

“Spent last week with Cheryl Mills and the HRC team burying the email flap,” Powell wrote in an email to one of his confidants in late August. “Madeleine [Albright] also says she doesn’t remember the dinner conversation or launching such a conversation. Sad thing it [sic] HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me to it. I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.”

“Dumb. She should have done a ‘Full Monty’ at the beginning,” Powell wrote in an email a few days earlier. “She was using email when she took over. They put the personal system in the basement a few months later. That dinner was June 16th. She didn’t need any advice of ok from me; she was already doing it. I gave her written guidance on why and how I had been doing it. I warned her staff three times over the past two years not to try to connect it to me. I am not sure HRC even knew or understood what was going on in the basement.”

The leaked emails show Powell corresponding with dozens of reporters explaining how he used a private email address during his time as secretary of state, particularly the ways in which his use was different than Sec. Clinton’s. Most importantly, he did not set up his own private server and he was careful not to use his private account for any official business. Powell repeatedly pointed the media to his book It Worked For Me, which contains a chapter explaining in detail the ways he helped update the State Department’s antiquated IT system.

In his correspondence, he often expresses his deep frustration with Clinton’s attempts to tie him to her own crucial mistakes.

“A newsie asked today to interview me on my use [of private email],” wrote Powell in an email to a business partner in August 2015. “Told them to read my book, Chapter on ‘Brainware.’ They are going to dick up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine. As long as the stuff is unclassified. I had a secure machine. Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris. I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill.”

Powell goes on in the email to lament that Donald Trump will be able to use the email scandal to his advantage and suggested he’s benefiting by the “celebrification of our society.”

Powell’s leaked emails are just more bad headlines in a month full of them, right at the time Clinton can least afford it. Following a series of politically damaging weeks, she currently finds herself in a near dead heat with Trump. Should the trend lines continue, Clinton might find herself on the wrong side of one of the biggest upset defeats ever.