Speed Reads


Hacked John Podesta emails include some digs at 'conservative Catholicism'

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks released another tranche of emails purportedly hacked from the gmail account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Podesta, who did not say if the emails were authentic, told reporters on the Clinton campaign plane Tuesday that "Russian intelligence agencies" were behind the hack and that Donald Trump allies, especially longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, appeared to be colluding with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to harm Clinton.

Since Stone tweeted in August that WikiLeaks would target him, Podesta said, "I think it's a reasonable assumption to — or at least a reasonable conclusion — that Mr. Stone had advanced warning and the Trump campaign had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do." The leaked emails so far have mostly revealed embarrassing glimpses into the Clinton campaign network, but one 2011 exchange between Center for American Progress staffers Jennifer Palmieri, now Clinton communications director, and John Halpin caught the eye of Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

Halpin starts the exchange, with the header "Conservative Catholicism," by pointing to a New Yorker article noting that News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and his friend Robert Thomson are both raising their children Catholic. "Friggin' Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus," he said, continuing:

Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the [Supreme Court] and think tanks to the media and social groups. It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy. [Halpin]

Palmieri wrote back suggesting that Beltway conservatives don't respect evangelical Christians: "I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals." You can read the email exchange in full, but Podesta — who is Catholic — does not participate. Halpin graduated from a Catholic university, Georgetown, and his reference to "bastardization of the faith" (and his starting the email exchange in the first place) seems to suggest that Halpin at least is coming at this from the Catholic left.

But Megyn Kelly, also a Catholic, said Tuesday night that the exchange showed Palmieri "ridiculing Catholics" and asked GOP strategist Karl Rove, who identifies as Episcopalian, if it will hurt Clinton with the "powerful" Catholic voting bloc. You can read Addie Mena's Catholic critique of the exchange at the private Catholic News Agency, and watch Kelly take umbrage below. Peter Weber