Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post, glowingly praised John Podesta and implored him not to send any White House scoops to “strangers” in a December 2014 email released Friday by Wikileaks.
Tumulty thanked Podesta, then Counselor to President Barack Obama, “[f]or setting aside some time to talk to me yesterday. It is always so valuable to hear your thoughts,” she wrote.
Then the reporter asked Podesta for early notification of a looming White House announcement — “big news between now and Christmas.” She wrote: “When you guys decide to lift the lid a bit … please don’t go to strangers.” In a later email, she asked if Obama’s announced plan to normalize relations with Cuba was “our pre-Christmas surprise.”
Tumulty ended the thank-you note with a hint towards Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run, which Podesta was then helping to plan and where he now serves as campaign chairman. “Also, I very much look forward to keeping in touch as you head for your next adventure,” she said.
The Post reporter served as a debate moderator in March 2016 at a Democratic presidential debate in Miami.
In another thread, she asked Podesta for “guidance” in formulating a thesis for an article. “I am wondering whether the net neutrality move and the climate deal tell us something about Obama’s approach to the final two years of his presidency that I should explore?” she emailed. “Could you give me some guidance?
The Wikileaks archive of Podesta’s emails shows several of Tumulty’s colleagues at the Washington Post — owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — acting similarly friendly or collaborating with the Clinton campaign.
Anne Gearan, now part of Clinton’s traveling press pool, gushed at Podesta after she wrote a profile of his bus rides from New York to DC, asking if he would agree to another piece showing off his cooking skills for a WaPo photographer. Before the campaign began, staffer Jake Sullivan said that Gearan “professed to be a big fan” of Hillary.
Juliet Eilperin, the paper’s White House Bureau Chief, emailed Podesta often with small talk, cringeworthy flattery, and pleas for contributions to her stories — and the occasional “heads up” that Podesta’s name would come up in a story, as she did not “want him to be surprised.”
Wikileaks’ release of emails from Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffers showed Eilperin assuring the political operatives that they would be “totally fine” with a story she wrote.