WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/ CBS News/ AP) — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has found himself at the center of the presidential campaign because of a batch of stolen emails that show he has issues with both major party candidates.
A Powell spokesman has confirmed to CBS News that the retired general’s email was hacked, and that they have “no idea who did it and no further comment at this time.”
The emails were posted by an anonymously run website called DCLeaks, that may have ties to Russian intelligence, CBS News reported.
In one email, Powell told a former aide that Donald Trump is a “national disgrace and an international pariah.” He also wrote that the “birther movement was racist,” — referring to Trump questioning if President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. And when sent a transcript of one of Trump’s pitches to African American voters, Powell wrote:
“There is nothing he can say that will sway black voters…He takes us for idiots. He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate…the whole birther movement was racist…And for him to say yesterday that within four years he would have 95% of blacks voting for him is schizo fantasy.”
But the leaked emails also show Powell sharply criticizing Hillary Clinton and her campaign for using him to justify her use of a private email server at the State Department.
The hacked emails reveal deep tensions between Powell and the Clinton campaign. In them, Powell says he met with Clinton’s advisers in August to discuss “burying the email flap.”
In one of the emails, Powell writes:
“Sad thing… HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into 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.”
In another email from a year earlier, Powell complained, “I told you about the speaking gig that I lost at a University because she so overcharged them,” adding “everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”
Powell also wrote, “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year old person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational…”
Last Thursday, Powell defended himself a day after congressional Democrats released a 2009 email exchange between him and Clinton, describing his use of a private, dial-up email account to carry out U.S. government business.
Powell said in a statement he viewed his use of private email to communicate with foreign leaders and U.S. officials as private conversations similar to phone calls. He said he was unaware of any requirement that those messages be preserved as government records, potentially subject to public release.
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