Hillary Clinton's closest allies were shocked when news of her private email use first broke in March 2015, emails published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday show.
John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chair, and Neera Tanden, co-chair of Clinton's transition team, complained in an exchange written the day after the publication of the New York Times story that exposed her email use that Clinton's team should have made the server public more than a year earlier in order to avoid such a distraction during the presidential election.
"Why didn't they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy," Tanden said. Podesta agreed that their refusal to do so was "unbelievable."
"[I] guess I know the answer," Tanden replied. "[T]hey wanted to get away with it."
Podesta noted that David Kendall and Cheryl Mills, two of Clinton's lawyers, as well as former spokesman Philippe Reines "sure weren't forthcoming on the facts here."
Mills served as Clinton's chief of staff at the State Department.
In the conversation with Podesta, Tanden lamented the fact that Mills had not put a stop to the private server use during Clinton's State Department tenure.
"This is a [C]heryl special. Know you love her, but this stuff is like her Achilles heal. Or kryptonite. [S]he just can't say no to this shit," Tanden said.
Tanden, who also leads the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, suggested Podesta arrange for the National Archives to request Clinton's emails and then have the former secretary of state comply "immediately" in order to put the story to bed.
The strategy "avoids subpeonas," she noted.
Clinton's private email use later led to an FBI investigation, an inspector general probe, several different congressional inquiries and a political controversy that threatens to live beyond Election Day.
The exchange between Podesta and Tanden, which suggests even Clinton's closest allies had no way to prepare for the email scandal, was obtained illegally from Podesta's inbox and provided to WikiLeaks. It is one of more than 31,000 records published by the whistleblower website to date.