Emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state reveal top adviser warned that the German chancellor disliked ‘atmospherics’ around the new president

Merkel and Obama
German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Barack Obama at a news conference at the White House in February. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton was informed that German chancellor Angela Merkel is hostile to the “Obama phenomenon” and finds it “contrary to her whole idea of politics”, according to a newly released batch of emails from her time as secretary of state.

Sidney Blumenthal, a former White House official and close confidante of the Clintons, sent her a memo on 30 September 2009 about Germany’s new foreign minister that contained pungent observations from John Kornblum, a former American ambassador to Germany.

“Kornblum strongly suggests you try to develop your personal relationship with Merkel as you can,” Blumenthal wrote. “He says she dislikes the atmospherics surrounding the Obama phenomenon, that it’s contrary to her whole idea of politics and how to conduct oneself in general. She would welcome a more conversational relationship with you.”

Clinton replied with characteristic brevity: “Thx–very helpful.”

Blumenthal’s email was written in the first year of Obama’s presidency. In July 2008, Obama gave one of the most memorable speeches of his election campaign to a crowd of more than 100,000 in Berlin. But relations with Merkel became strained over allegations that the US was tapping her mobile phone.

The revelation came as about 5,500 pages of Clinton emails were released by the State Department on the final day of 2015. The department said portions of 275 of the emails released have been newly classified. Republicans have repeatedly argued that Clinton’s use of a private email account put sensitive information at risk.

The State Department admitted that it would not meet a court-ordered target of making 82% of Clinton’s emails from her time as Secretary public by year’s end. It said that while it has “worked diligently” to come close to the deadline, it fell short because of the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule. It plans to release more of the emails next week.

As in previous tranches, Blumenthal, a journalist and author sometimes described as the Clintons’ closest adviser, features heavily with a mix of foreign policy ideas, links to press articles and inside-the-beltway gossip. Earlier in 2009 he wrote to the secretary: “Kornblum reports that Larry Summers’ recent visit to Berlin was catastrophic, that the Merkel government was repulsed by his arrogant tone and personality, and that it sees Summers as the hidden face of the Obama administration.

“A new and lengthy article appearing in Der Spiegel by its Washington correspondent Gabor Steingart, (whom I know and is well connected at top levels of German government), reflects the profound belief of the Merkel government that the Obama administration is on a disastrous economic path; unstated in the piece is the effect of contempt for Summers. (By the way, I am making no value judgments on this information other than its accuracy or on the merit of policies and substance. I report, you decide.”

He added: “Kornblum says that the atmospherics and Merkel’s underlying attitude can’t be really changed until after the German election in the Fall. He also says that you are the only who can begin to work on this through your relationship with Merkel and the Germans. Obama and Merkel are like oil and water.”

Blumenthal also offered some insights into British politics, including a claim that Tony Blair believed he would have won the 2010 general election if he had stayed on as prime minister instead of Gordon Brown, who had just been caught on camera referring to a voter as a “bigot”. Blumenthal mused: “Going to London on Sunday for election. Gordon widely seen as schlemiel after ‘bigot-gate’ episode. He’s become a classic comedic straight man. I expect a bucket of paint to fall on him next time he opens a door. Still he maintains his dignity. Funny and sad and affecting all at once.

“Spectacle aside, the chance of a hung parliament looms. Have been talking to Jonathan, et al, having dinner with him next Tuesday, and generally making the rounds. (Tony says in private he would have won–easy to say but probably true.) Will report.”

Earlier, in November 2009, Blumenthal touched on the relationship between Labour and Rupert Murdoch. “Peter [Mandelson, the Labour politician at the heart of Blair’s inner circle] prided himself on his close personal relationship with Murdoch. He pioneered it for Tony. The thing has come apart at the seams.”

Clinton replied: “That’s quite the match – Murdochs v Mandelson.”

Meanwhile another email from former policy adviser Neera Tanden, president of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, in May 2012 claimed that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros admitted that he regretted voting for Obama over Clinton in the 2008 party primary.

“I told him I worked for you in the primaries and he said he’s been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy and said he hasn’t met with the president ever (though I thought he had),” Tanden wrote. “He then said he regretted his decision in the primary – he likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them.

“He then extolled his work with you from your time as First Lady on. You probably have heard this all before but on the off chance you haven’t, I thought I should let you know.”

In another email, Clinton objected to the use of the word “pivot” in an American Interest blog post by Walter Russell Mead about the Obama administration’s emphasis on relations with Asia. She wrote to an aide: “Remind – didn’t we, not the WH, first use the ‘pivot’?’”

Clinton’s Democratic rival Bernie Sanders memorably told her during a debate: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” but Republicans are likely to keep the issue burning as she attempts to become America’s first female president.

Clinton and one of her closest aides, Jake Sullivan, had an exchange in September 2010 that showed confusion over her email practices. “I’m never sure which of my emails you receive, so pls let me know if you receive this one and on which address you did,” she wrote to Sullivan on a Sunday morning.

A few hours later Sullivan responded: “I have just received this email on my personal account, which I check much less frequently than my State Department account. I have not received any emails from you on my State account in recent days for example, I did not get the email you sent to me and (Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeff) Feltman on the Egyptian custody case. Something is very wrong with the connection there.”

Sullivan added: “I suppose a near-term fix is to just send messages to this account my personal account and I will check it more frequently.”

On a lighter note in late 2010, Clinton revealed that she was unclear on the definition of a expletive-laden acronym to describe a situation gone wrong. In an email to an aide, the Secretary asked for the definition of “FUBAR.” The answer: “Fucked up beyond all repair”.

[Source:-the gurdian]

By Adam