Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta is firing back at Julian Assange as his WikiLeaks group releases hacked emails from Podesta and others close to Clinton — including a new batch Saturday — that have been an embarrassing distraction for the Clinton campaign.
“I bet the lobster risotto is better than the food at the Ecuadorian Embassy,” Podesta tweeted Friday, while Assange starts his fifth year at the Ecuador Embassy in the United Kingdom, amid a 2005 rape allegation in Sweden.
The tweet also included a picture of Podesta and celebrity chef Daniel Boulud recently preparing the dish at a private Clinton fundraiser.
On Saturday, WikiLeaks release an 2015 email exchange from Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill and long-time Clinton aide Heather Samuelson about the State Department’s apparent plans to place a favorable story with Associated Press reporters Matt Lee and Bradley Klapper about the release of emails from Clinton confidant Sydney Blumenthal as the missives are turned over to a Republican-led congressional committee. (Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.)
3. I bet the lobster risotto is better than the food at the Ecuadorian Embassy. pic.twitter.com/zyViu1R4UL
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) October 14, 2016
Merrill also says in the exchange that he would like the story to run during the release of a Supreme Court decision because it will distract the “news hyenas.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin on Saturday compared the Podesta email hack to the Watergate break in.
“Four decades later, we’re witnessing another effort to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election,” he said. “Only this time, instead of filing cabinets, it’s people’s emails they’re breaking into … and a foreign government is behind it.”
Earlier this month, WikiLeaks posted what it said were thousands of emails obtained in a hack of Podesta’s personal email account.
Among the documents posted online was an internal review of Clinton’s private Wall Street speeches to survey the political damage her remarks could cause if they ever became public.
In what aides calculated were the most damaging passages, Clinton reflected on the necessity of “unsavory” political dealing, telling real estate investors that “you need both a public and private position.”
To investment bankers from Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, Clinton admits that she’s “kind of far removed” from the middle-class upbringing that she frequently touts on the campaign trail.
Podesta suggested last weekend on “Fox News Sunday” that his emails from the WikiLeaks posting were not authentic and argued they were acquired by “Russians” hacking into the Democratic Party computer files to try to influence the November election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.