Women hired to stir bul­ly­ing at Trump rally

White House in­sists ag­i­ta­tor is no friend Clin­ton: ‘I know noth­ing’ of staged anti-Trump protests


The White House moved Wed­nes­day to dis­tance it­self from a Demo­cratic dirty-tricks scan­dal amid Repub­li­can calls for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and newly re­leased footage re­veal­ing that a Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign con­sul­tant schemed to have women bul­lied at a Don­ald Trump rally.

The lat­est hid­den-cam­era video posted by Project Ver­i­tas shows Aaron Black, an as­so­ci­ate at the Demo­cratic con­sult­ing firm Democ­racy Part­ners, brain­storm­ing about how to make sure pro-Trump men bully hired fe­male ag­i­ta­tors.

“So we get peo­ple be­hind Trump when he’s at a rally, but we make sure it’s women and they are po­si­tioned next to men,” said Mr. Black. “We want im­ages of the men bul­ly­ing the women who are try­ing to hold their signs up. That’s what I’m go­ing to do. That is what we’re go­ing to do. That is the hit.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Repub­li­can, called for the FBI to con­duct a “se­ri­ous crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” while the Public In­ter­est Le­gal Foun­da­tion filed a com­plaint with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion against the Clin­ton cam­paign, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and two political con­sult­ing firms.

Former House Speaker Newt Gin­grich said the videos re­veal a “fun­da­men­tal threat to our democ­racy.”

“I have a very sim­ple first ques­tion: Where is the FBI? Why is the FBI not in­ves­ti­gat­ing? You have a will­ful ef­fort to fo­ment vi­o­lence, to break up a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, to in­tim­i­date vot­ers — where is the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion?” Mr. Gin­grich told Fox News’ Sean Han­nity.

Footage re­leased this week shows Demo­cratic op­er­a­tives dis­cussing voter-fraud schemes and their work in hir­ing and train­ing ag­i­ta­tors — in­clud­ing the men­tally ill, home­less and union mem­bers — to in­cite vi­o­lence by baiting Trump sup­port­ers at cam­paign events.

Dur­ing their fi­nal de­bate Wed­nes­day night, Mr. Trump raised the re­ports of paid ag­i­ta­tors and blamed Mrs. Clin­ton’s cam­paign di­rectly for con­coct­ing the plan.

“She talks about vi­o­lence at my ral­lies, and she caused the vi­o­lence,” Mr. Trump said.

The scan­dal reached the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion Wed­nes­day af­ter re­ports that Democ­racy Part­ners head Robert Creamer, who stepped down Tues­day over the up­roar, has vis­ited the White House 342 times, in­clud­ing 45 meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Obama, since 2009.

Asked if Mr. Creamer could be called a friend of the pres­i­dent, White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said, “That’s not how I would describe him.”

Mr. Creamer, a long­time political con­sul­tant who pleaded guilty to tax and bank­ing vi­o­la­tions in 2005, is mar­ried to Demo­cratic Rep. Jan­ice D. Schakowsky of Illi­nois, a close Obama ally.

Mr. Earnest said he had no in­for­ma­tion about Mr. Creamer’s trips to the White House, but cau­tioned that it is highly un­likely he had en­gaged in “one-on-one” meet­ings with the pres­i­dent.

The White House vis­i­tor logs re­flect guests who have been cleared to en­ter the build­ing, but do not in­di­cate whether a vis­i­tor ac­tu­ally at­tended an event. Twelve of the events listed for Mr. Creamer had more than 1,000 at­ten­dees.

Mr. Earnest also con­demned any ef­fort to in­cite vi­o­lence at political ral­lies, call­ing it “en­tirely in­con­sis­tent with the pres­i­dent’s view about com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ing and wag­ing a vig­or­ous cam­paign.”

“There should be no mis­un­der­stand­ing that the use

Af­ter days of si­lence, a tightlipped Hil­lary Clin­ton has in­sisted she knew noth­ing about anti-Trump protests staged by Demo­cratic con­sul­tants work­ing with her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

“I know noth­ing about this. I can’t deal with ev­ery one of his con­spir­acy the­o­ries,” Mrs. Clin­ton told re­porters Wed­nes­day at a post-de­bate press con­fab, re­fer­ring to Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump.

She then cut off ques­tions in footage posted by MSNBC, say­ing, “But I hope you all have some­thing to eat and some­thing to drink on the way back to New York. Thank you!”

The brief com­ment rep­re­sented her first public re­marks about hid­den­cam­era videos re­leased this week by the con­ser­va­tive group Project Ver­i­tas Ac­tion show­ing top Demo­cratic op­er­a­tives dis­cussing voter fraud and pay­ing pro­test­ers to in­cite vi­o­lence at Trump cam­paign events.

Mean­while, Clin­ton cam­paign con­sul­tant Zulema Ro­driguez posted a state­ment Thurs­day de­fend­ing her role in or­ches­trat­ing demon­stra­tions against Mr. Trump, in­sist­ing that she tried to keep the protests safe.

“I’ve al­ways strived to make the protests I’ve or­ga­nized safe places,” said Ms. Ro­driguez. “I’ve will­ingly trav­eled across the coun­try to con­nect peo­ple that were pre­vi­ously not con­nected, and have worked tire­lessly to el­e­vate the cause of im­mi­gra­tion re­form.”

She also said her com­ments on the “Rig­ging the Elec­tion” video re­leased Mon­day were “taken out of con­text and se­lec­tively edited.”

“What was omit­ted and what I con­stantly re­peated to the in­fil­tra­tors was that my team and I work to­gether to make sure ev­ery­one stays safe while ex­er­cis­ing their rights. I be­lieve this to my core,” said Ms. Ro­driguez.

The video shows Ms. Ro­driguez talk­ing to an un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tor about her work with the Clin­ton cam­paign and Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee while work­ing at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in July.

She said had part­nered with of vi­o­lence or any other thing that could be con­strued as a dirty trick is not con­doned by the pres­i­dent of the United States,” Mr. Earnest said. “It is not con­sis­tent with the kinds of val­ues that we cher­ish in this democ­racy.”

Some of Wed­nes­day’s up­roar was di­rected at Project Ver­i­tas, which has made its share of en­e­mies over the years for its un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tions tar­get­ing lib­eral groups and Democrats on is­sues such as voter fraud.

“De­spite what the name might sug­gest, these videos have not of­ten re­leased the truth,” said Mr. Earnest, while the web­site Snopes said the films “re­veal tid­bits of se­lec­tively and (likely de­cep­tively edited) footage ab­sent of any con­text in which to eval­u­ate them.”

“Un­less his or­ga­ni­za­tion re­leases the footage in full, un­der­tak­ing a fair as­sess­ment of their ve­rac­ity is all but im­pos­si­ble,” said the Snopes ar­ti­cle.

Project Ver­i­tas founder James O’Keefe en­gaged in sev­eral spir­ited ex­changes on so­cial me­dia with jour­nal­ists such as “The Daily Show”’s An­thony De Rosa, who asked whether Mr. O’Keefe would re­lease the “raw, unedited footage.”

Replied Mr. O’Keefe: “You are a pro­ducer for ‘The Daily Show.’ Are you will­ing to pub­lish your raw video ma­te­ri­als to ac­com­pany your seg­ments?”

Mr. O’Keefe’s sup­port­ers ar­gued that the ac­cu­racy of the videos is demon­strated by the Demo­cratic re­ac­tion: Not only did Mr. Creamer step down from the cam­paign, but Amer­i­cans United for Change na­tional field di­rec­tor Scott Fo­val also was fired.

Quipped con­ser­va­tive pun­dit Guy Ben­son: “O’Keefe is a liar! Also, we’re fir­ing the peo­ple he ex­poses on cam­era.”

Even though the videos ig­nited a firestorm on so­cial me­dia, the con­ser­va­tive Me­dia Re­search Cen­ter blasted the three net­works Wed­nes­day for what it de­scribed as bury­ing the story.

“While the me­dia was fo­cused on ap­plaud­ing Obama’s lat­est Trump bash­ing, they failed to no­tice that two top Demo­cratic op­er­a­tives … both lost their jobs af­ter be­ing caught on tape dis­cussing how they helped in­cite vi­o­lence at Trump ral­lies, cir­cum­vented elec­tion laws and even per­pe­trated voter fraud,” said the cen­ter’s Kyle Dren­nen. Democ­racy Part­ners’ Aaron Black on a protest in Chicago that led to the can­cel­la­tion of a cam­paign event for Mr. Trump, and that her team “also did the Ari­zona one where we shut the high­way down.”

Both protests oc­curred in March, shortly af­ter she re­ceived a check for about $1,600 from Hil­lary for Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records.

Project Ver­i­tas spokesman Stephen Gor­don chal­lenged her in­ter­pre­ta­tion of such protest ac­tiv­ity as safe.

“Ms. Ro­driguez seems to be for­get­ting that nu­mer­ous vi­o­lent fights broke out be­tween pro­test­ers and driv­ers as a re­sult of her ac­tions and planned protest on the high­way in Ari­zona,” Mr. Gor­don said. “Shut­ting a high­way down could have pre­vented emer­gency ve­hi­cles from pass­ing through, which could have caused ac­ci­dents. What she did was reck­less, vi­o­lent and self­ish.”

Ms. Ro­driguez said in an email she works as an “en­tre­pre­neur and con­sul­tant,” of­ten on con­tract, in an ef­fort to “en­cour­age, em­power and ed­u­cate vot­ers of color through­out the coun­try.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.