Hacked emails show that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a longtime ally of Hillary Clinton and a major fundraiser for her 2016 campaign, urged her campaign team to silence rival Bernie Sanders’s message against police shootings of African-Americans. He suggested countering it with “the Sandy Hook issue” — a reference to Sanders’s opposition to lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
The emails were released by the group DCLeaks, which in the past has shared hacked emails from U.S. political and military figures. The U.S. Intelligence Community announced Friday that it is “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails” that were made public “on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona.”
The Weinstein emails were among a large number of messages DCLeaks made public on Thursday, from the gmail account of Capricia Marshall, a close Clinton confidant who worked for her in the White House and the State Department, and worked on her 2008 campaign.
In an April 10 email sent to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, just days before the New York primary, Weinstein invited Mook to meet up. He pointed to a Sanders ad featuring Erica Garner — the daughter of Eric Garner, who was killed by New York City police officers — as well as growing support for Sanders among Latino activist leaders. “I’m probably telling you what you know already, but that needs to be silenced, probably with the Sandy Hook issue,” he wrote:
Mook wrote back replying to Weinstein’s offer to meet up and discuss strategy: “Are you kidding? Let’s do it! I’m here all week. This is all hands on deck–it’s must win! Would tomorrow or Tuesday work?”
Throughout the primary, Clinton repeatedly assailed Sanders for his vote to limit legal liability for gun manufacturers, specifically claiming that vote was preventing the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre from successfully suing the industry. It was a feature of her attack on Sanders during their final debate in New York on April 14.
Sanders, meanwhile, countered with his otherwise strong support for gun control measures — and this incredibly powerful ad:
Weinstein is a prominent New York City-based film executive who co-founded Miramax Pictures and the Weinstein Company with his brother Bob. He is currently producing a documentary that will highlight the need for prison reform with the rapper Jay Z.
It was not the only instance in the hacked emails where Weinstein discussed political strategy with the campaign. On February 17, Weinstein sent Mook and Marshall a David Brooks column titled “Livin’ Bernie Sanders’s Danish Dream,” where the conservative columnist chastised Sanders for wanting to adopt much higher taxes as well as an expansive welfare state.
“This article gives you everything I discussed with you yesterday. You have the name of an economist, you have a great NY Times writer and you have a number from the WSJ. Let’s discuss,” Weinstein wrote.
“About to forward some creative. Took your idea and ran,” Mook wrote back. “Yes – this is good!” Marshall responded.
On April 17, Brad Thompson, a senior vice president of corporate communications at Weinstein’s company, sent an email to Mook and other Clinton aides highlighting some press clips of Weinstein praising Clinton and making remarks critical of Sanders. “Harvey got some solid press coverage from his CBS This Morning appearance on Friday. I hope you got a chance to see it – if not, below is the video link and the press pick-up. Harvey and I both can’t thank you enough for helping prep for this interview. Your advice was spot on – especially relating it back to his conversations with his daughter,” Thompson wrote.
The Clinton campaign and Weinstein did not respond to requests for comment.
Weinstein and Clinton attending the premiere of “Finding Neverland” on October 25, 2004 in New York City.