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John Podesta: FBI Spoke to Me Only Once About My Hacked Emails

Podesta said the FBI first contacted him two days after WikiLeaks began publishing his hacked emails, and that he hasn't been contacted since.
Image: John Podesta
John Podesta, on Nov. 9, 2012, in Washington, D.C.David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images

John Podesta, former chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, said Sunday that the FBI first contacted him about his hacked emails two days after WikiLeaks began publishing them — and that he has not heard from the FBI since.

"Let's go through the chronology. On October 7, the Access Hollywood tapes comes out. One hour later, WikiLeaks starts dropping my emails into the public," Podesta told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press," referencing the leaked tape from 2005 that features now-President-elect Donald Trump bragging in graphic terms about kissing and groping women without their consent. "One could say that those things might not have been a coincidence. Two days later, the FBI contacted me, and the first thing the agent said to me was, 'I don't know if you're aware but your email account might have been hacked.' I said, yes, I was aware of that."

Todd pressed Podesta on when he knew that his emails had been stolen.

"In one of those DNC documents that appeared to me ... that might have came from my account," Podesta said. "So I wasn't sure. I didn't know what they had, what they didn't have. It wasn't until October 7 when [WikiLeaks' Julian] Assange ... started dumping them out and said they would all dump out, that's when I knew that they had the contents of my email account."

"By the way," Podesta added, "that was the last time I'd heard from the FBI."

"Do you expect to get a phone call before the end of the year?" Todd asked.

"Maybe before the end of the show," Podesta joked.

Intelligence officials confirmed Friday that the FBI agrees with the CIA's assessment that Russia mounted a covert operation intended not just to disrupt the 2016 election, but to help Trump win. U.S. intelligence now has "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the campaign.

Podesta recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that "something is deeply broken" within the FBI and called for a full, independent investigation into the Russian hacks. Podesta on Sunday also criticized director James Comey's actions regarding intelligence surrounding Russia's interference in the election relative to how he handled a development in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

"What I said was baffling, Chuck, was on October 7, as the Director of National Intelligence, Jim Clapper, Jay Johnson, director of Homeland Security, went out and said, 'The Russians are trying to interfere in our election,' Director Comey counseled against that. He said, 'I don't want the F.B.I.'s name on that,'" Podesta said. "Then three weeks later, he went out and dropped the infamous letter just 11 days before the election, saying that he was going to take yet another look at Hillary Clinton's emails because of the laptop that he had gotten from Huma Abedin's husband Anthony Weiner. So how can you have that both ways?"

Podesta said that ahead of tomorrow's Electoral College vote cementing Trump's victory, "the question is whether there are 37 Republican electors who think that either there are open questions or that Donald Trump, based on everything we know about him, is really unfit to be president of the United States."

Podesta indicated that he was aware of calls for Clinton's electors to support someone like John Kasich or Mitt Romney in order to entice those 37 Republican electors away from Trump, but that he assumed Clinton's electors were going to vote for her.

"It's not really what the Democrats are going to do. And I guess we'll know about it tomorrow," Podesta said.