An extraordinary exchange took place on Thursday when FOX BUSINESS NEWS’ Maria Bartiromo savagely debriefed Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta after his closed meeting earlier this week with the House panel probing Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election. Comey’s hearing and those of others in the probe have all been open. (Why was Podesta’s closed? The Director of the FBI gets an open hearing but Hillary’s Campaign Manager’s is closed?)
Bartiromo makes the point that much to-do has been made of Trump’s associations with state-owned Russian businesses, when on closer examination, it is he and Hillary who seem to be quite mobbed-up with the Russians.
At first, Podesta claims that he divested his shares in Joule Unlimited but then, astonishingly, he denies ever receiving them! Joule’s company’s website has since been taken down. Podesta was on their the Board of Directors. The shares referred to were mentioned in this email, published by WikiLeaks. Recall that never once has anything published by WikiLeaks been shown to be altered or false.
The Daily Caller reports, “The same year Podesta joined Joule, the company agreed to accept 1 billion rubles — or $35 million — from Rusnano, a state-run and -financed Russian company with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.
“Anatoly Chubais, the company CEO, and two other top Russian banking executives worked together with Podesta on the Joule boards. The board met six times a year.
“Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director, said because of the Kremlin backing, it was essential Podesta disclose the financial benefits he received from the company.”
The above report also details how Podesta had intended to transfer the bulk of those shares to a corporate entity that he created 10 days before starting his job in the Obama White House. However, his filing forms do not acknowledge the receipt of any shares. Podesta may have violated Federal law by failing to disclose his ownership of those shares, something Bartiromo doesn’t bring up.
Podesta begins the interview by describing his deposition, referring to how he was “hacked” by “the Russians”, when he was in fact he was fooled into giving up his password (which was “passw0rd”) by the simplest phishing scam that was old hat almost 20 years ago. He refers to Russian subversion of the US political process. Later in the interview he trots out that old chestnut about how “17 US intelligence agencies” reported that Vladimir Putin interfered with the US Election to get Trump elected, a lie which the NY Times finally retracted on June 29th.
Maria then asks, “Do you find it odd that there’s been so much attention on the Trump campaign and the Trump associates and potential collusion with Russians when, in fact it’s really the Democrats who have deeper and stronger ties to Russia? I mean, John I’ve got to ask you about your own situation and your ties to Russia entities. You joined the board of a small energy company in 2011. Two months later, a Russian entity directly funded by the Kremlin invested $35 million in the company. You were given; 75,000 shares in a Russian company, which you failed to disclose when you became an Obama associate.”
Tensions start to rise and they start talking loudly over each other.
John Podesta: “Maria, that’s not true. I fully disclosed and was completely compliant with – and by the way I divested before I went into the White House–”
Maria Bartiromo: “But where did you divest it, John? A lot of people say that you divested into your adult children.”
John Podesta: “I divested it, consistent with the advice that I was given by the White House Counsel’s office and I was fully compliant and and fully transparent about what I had done and so, the fact that you’re picking through my emails that were stolen by the Russians and released by WikiLeaks and creating a story which is not true is, you know, something that we have to deal with, through the whole–”
Maria Bartiromo: “So, you weren’t given 75,000 shares of stock in a Russian company, you were not given 75,000 shares?”
John Podesta: “I didn’t have any stock in any Russian company. So, go back and get your facts straight, Maria. But if you wanna–”
Maria Bartiromo: “But John, we know that you own 75,000 shares. You’re on the board of Jo–”
John Podesta: “It’s not a Russian company. They own 5%–”
Maria Bartiromo: “It’s backed by the Kremlin.”
John Podesta: “They own–”
Maria Bartiromo: “It’s backed by the Kremlin.”
John Podesta: “I didn’t own any shares in that company, Maria. That company–”
Maria Bartiromo: “When you stepped off the board, you were given 75,000 shares from Joule.”
John Podesta: “That is not true.”
Maria Bartiromo: “How many shares were you given, John?”
John Podesta: “Maria, I didn’t have any shares in any Russian company. I was on the board of an American company that did business here and only here. The Russian company had a small investment in that company and, you know we could go ‘round and ‘round the tree–”
Maria Bartiromo: “It’s been widely reported that the company has been backed by the Kremlin and they gave you 75,000 shares that you had to disclose–”
John Podesta: “They didn’t give me anything.”
Maria Bartiromo: “– when you went into the Obama Administration.”
John Podesta: “Maria, you could keep leveling this charge. It is not true. They didn’t give me anything. They had a small investment in a company that I was on the board of. It was a clean energy company that was trying to deal with the issue of trying to produce energy; liquid fuel from a biotechnology process. It was based in Boston and you know, the Russian company had a very small investment in it and you could keep saying that they gave me stock but they didn’t.”
Maria Bartiromo: “I’m just following all of the widely-reported information here, John. There’s also Hillary Clinton, obviously–”
John Podesta: “Maybe you’re looking at widely reported information from Infowars–”
Maria Bartiromo: “No, I’m not. This is Politico, this is the New York Times, this is the Wall Street Journal. That’s what I’m looking at, John.
John Podesta: “No it’s not, Maria.”
Maria Bartiromo: “Then there’s Hillary Clinton, of course we know, who got a $100 million from Russian companies after she allowed that Russian company to acquire 20% of the US’ uranium.
“So, the point I’m making here, John is that there’s much deeper ties to Russia on the Democratic side than there are on the Republican side and it’s just a head-scratcher, that this has been taking all the oxygen out of the room, over Trump, when in fact, it’s been your team that has been in bed with the Russians.”
John Podesta: “You know, Fox can do whatever it wants to do on this matter. The truth is that Vladimir Putin, at his direction, according to 17 US intelligence agencies interfered with the US election to help elect Donald Trump. Why was that? That was because Donald Trump had adopted Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, lock stock and barrel. He was out on the campaign trail, saying that NATO was obsolete, he was trying to make excuses for their intervention in Ukraine, he was talking about eliminating sanctions on Russia because of their intervention and their takeover of Crimea and so, you know, you could blow a lot of smoke, Maria but the truth is Vladimir Putin interfered in the US election and I’m surprised you’re not concerned about that. That the Russians would hack – whether it’s Republicans or Democrats – but they would hack in, to commit crimes in the United States and then work with WikiLeaks–”
Maria Bartiromo: “Actually, I am concerned about that–”
John Podesta: “–to damage our campaign. Well, I’m glad to hear that!
Maria Bartiromo: “I am concerned about that, John–”
John Podesta: “It doesn’t sound like it, this morning.”
Maria Bartiromo: “– but I know that Russian meddling goes back decades and I know that when we go to Russia, when Condi Rice used to go to Russia, they would put her in the same exact hotel room, in the same place every year, when she would go there so that they that they could spy on her. The same thing happens in China and I know that the US does the same thing.
“So, this is not a new story. But the whole idea that there was any collusion with Trump is – that’s where the narrative and the charade is, because everybody knows Russia’s trying to undermine the US, has been for years that’s not a new story, the story that the Democrats have been riding and this Trump collusion is simply not true we have no evidence of it.
John Podesta: “Well, look, I mean, you know, you’re talking to the wrong guy. You should be talking to his people about whether they colluded”
Maria Bartiromo: “Oh, we have–”
John Podesta: “–like when Mike Flynn…was his National Security Advisor, he had to leave because he lied about his contacts with the Russians within a month of the campaign. When Sally Yates the acting Attorney General told the White House Counsel that Mr. Flynn had been compromised they did exactly nothing until the Washington Post broke the story. So there’s ah, you know, there’s a lot to investigate here and I’m glad that the House Intelligence Committee has gotten back on track, with a bipartisan investigation. Senate Intelligence Committee is doing the same thing. Mr. Muller is doing the same thing. We’ll see where it all ends.”
Maria Bartiromo: “Do you think there they are going to focus on the Democratic involvement with the Russians, as well? Were you asked about any of these things from the House Intelligence Committee this week?”
John Podesta: “I’ve already told you that I was asked not to talk about specific questions and I said I would respect that but in general terms, I think they’re looking at everything. So hopefully they – and you know, I absolutely have nothing to hide and I think the facts that you stated to beginning of this program are wrong and I think if you go back and check them you’ll find that–”
Maria Bartiromo: “Oh, I’m checking them over and over, John and it’s not wrong. We know that you were given shares in a company that was backed by the Kremlin. You may say it’s a company based in Boston but it was backed by the Kremlin.”
John Podesta: “Maria, less than five percent of that company was owned by – was an investment by – the Russian company. It was not back–”
Maria Bartiromo: “Why did you go on the board? Why was that company so attractive to you?”
John Podesta: “Because, you know, I’ve been a longtime activist on clean energy and on trying to deal with the climate challenge and this was a promising company. The fact that the price of oil has been down so long has made the entries into that space very, very difficult but…what they were trying to do was to produce liquid fuel from from carbon dioxide and from the Sun, through biotechnology process. It was an extremely promising high-tech company in the United States.”
Maria Bartiromo: “There’s a real question about what the response from the DNC was when your emails were happening. Look, obviously, your emails were hacked, the DNC emails were hacked. It was a huge deal during the campaign and it may very well have swayed people, in terms of the Election. Now, Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina is asking why a decision was made not to turn over the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s email server to law enforcement or intelligence agencies? When you got hacked, why wasn’t the DNC…server passed over? Why wasn’t it given to law enforcement and the intelligence agencies? Did you not want government agencies to investigate this?”
John Podesta: “Look, the Hillary Clinton servers were turned over to the agencies. With respect to DNC, I wasn’t involved with that. I was the chair of Hillary’s campaign that was a matter for the DNC. I don’t know the circumstance of whether they were asked for them or whether they said yes or no but I think that the – if anything it looks like the FBI was fairly casual, maybe as a kind word about the fact that they were, what they knew, how much they were investigating; they were lackadaisical in their approach to the DNC and you know so, I think you have to look at the whole picture and it seems like if anything, it’s on the FBI that didn’t come forward and really inform the DNC about what was going on until long after, essentially the horse was out of the barn door–”
Maria Bartiromo: “Right, I mean, is the FBI…politicized, John?
John Podesta: “I don’t know–”
Maria Bartiromo: “Let me move past this issue, John because in the past week, in the wake of the Republican special election victory, some House Democrats have suggested that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi step down. They’re calling into question her leadership, the Party’s agenda, even the Democratic brand. Do you think Nancy Pelosi should step down?”
John Podesta: “Look, I think Nancy Pelosi’s been an effective leader lot of the Democrats in the House. If you look at who’s having a week, it’s Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. They can’t seem to get past their impasse on health care. So, I think that, you know, Nancy Pelosi has been an effective leader and she will be the Leader as long as she wants to be the leader and you know, at some point the torch is going to pass but I think, at this point, she’s been an effective person who has brought her caucus together, first in the in the Majority and now in the Minority.”
Maria Bartiromo: “Yeah but do you think that the messaging needs to change? And how do you change messaging with the Democratic Party when you have the same leader in place? I mean, John, let’s face it, you were Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, President Clinton was in the middle, he leaned to the left but he was a moderate. Your party, in many regards has been hijacked by the extreme left, by Elizabeth Warren, by Barack Obama, by others. Do you think you need to change that, in order to win again?”
John Podesta: “…that will be on the ballot in 2018 but I think, most importantly in the next presidential race and I’m sure there’s going to be a competitive primary. I bet you there are 15 or 20 people, who at least think about or you know will dive into running and and the Party will decide which direction it’s going by the by the presidential candidate they pick, not by the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.”
Maria Bartiromo: “Do you believe that’s why Hillary Clinton lost? There wasn’t enough messaging, in terms of the issues America cares about, like jobs?”
John Podesta: “Look, I think we had a we had a strong economic program that we put forward but it was you know it was hard to get the the Sun was sort of blocked out by the debate we were having a wild Trump on social – on you know – on the, you know his antics and his issues–”
Maria Bartiromo: “John, we appreciate your time this morning. Thank you so much for answering the important questions America cares about.”
John Podesta: “All right, Maria.”