Colin Powell Confirms Leaked E-Mails Are 'Accurate,' Warns More Are Coming

Newly leaked e-mails obtained from private accounts belonging to former Sec. of State Colin Powell reveal his candid feelings about Clinton, Trump.

Published Sept. 14, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is flanked by Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, on stage durring the groundbreaking ceremony for the U.S. Diplomacy Center at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On 13 September 2016, a number of news outlets reported on a leak of private e-mails sent or received by former secretary of state Colin Powell:

BuzzFeed was the first outlet to report the leak of Powell's e-mails (said to have available on the web site, paraphrasing candid discussions pertaining to the respective campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Many of the released e-mails were from August 2016 and pertained to coverage of Hillary Clinton's use of an unsanctioned private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state.

Back in February 2016, Powell stated to a reporter that he never "[told] Hillary to have a private server at home, connected to the Clinton Foundation, two contractors, [to take] away 60,000 emails, [and have] her own domain." Clinton has maintained that Powell advised her during a 2009 dinner party to use a private server, but Powell and his State Department successor, Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly denied that any such discussion took place at that event.

Multiple e-mail messages from Powell disparaged Clinton's attempts to tie the issue to him:

Her people have been trying to pin it on me. The truth is, she was using [the private server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did. ... It doesn't bother me. But it's okay; I'm free.

I have told Hilleary’s [sic] minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try.. The media isn’t fooled and she is getting crucified. The differences are profound and they know it.

I told [Clinton] how I was using my personal computer for [unclassified] emails. I said nothing about servers, basements, domains, Clinton foundation, government employees ... The Clintonistas have been trying for months to connect our usage.

When I left [the State Dept.] I took no emails or records with me. No private servers in the basement, etc. No secrets — everyone in the Department knew what we were doing. No one ever said ‘bad boy.'

In an e-mail dated 28 August 2016, Powell lamented Clinton's handling of the e-mail issue and her inclusion of him in the ongoing controversy:

Sad thing it that 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. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.

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Powell maintained that unlike Clinton, he used a “public server, AOL, not my own servers and domain," suggesting that his communications could be retrieved by federal agencies had the need arisen.

The Intercept quoted August 2015 e-mails in which Powell expressed frustration with the Clinton camp's early attempts to involve him in a brewing controversy, as well as what he asserted would become a problem for the State Department due to Clinton's actions:

They are going to dick up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine. As long as the stuff is unclassified. I had a secure machine. Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris. ... Dumb. She should have done a ‘Full Monty’ at the beginning. I warned her staff three times over the past two years not to try to connect it to me. I am not sure HRC even knew or understood what was going on in the basement.

Intercept reporter Lee Fang curated additional Clinton-related e-mails on Twitter after Powell's messages were made public, documents in which Powell and confidante Jeffrey Leeds discussed Clinton's health and her purported disdain for President Obama:

A separate 13 September 2016 BuzzFeed article focused on multiple criticisms levied by Powell about Donald Trump via e-mail:

[Powell] slammed GOP nominee Donald Trump as a “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah” ... [those] remarks came in a June 17, 2016, email to Emily Miller, a journalist who was once Powell’s aide. In that same email Powell also said Trump “is in the process of destroying himself, no need for Dems to attack him. [Speaker of the House] Paul Ryan is calibrating his position again.”

In an Aug. 21 email from Powell to Miller, he blasted Trump for embarking on a “racist” movement that believes President Obama was not born in the US.

“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”

Colin Powell told  BuzzFeed he was "not denying" the authenticity of leaked e-mails, reiterating the statement to NBC News and cryptically cautioning that the parties responsible "have a lot more."

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.