Hillary Clinton's ex-chief of staff at the State Department may be her only confidant providing a "no-nonsense, no messing around … tells it like it is" counterbalance to sycophant loyalists in the presidential candidate's entourage, emails show.
According to Politico
, Cheryl Mills, who's also has been a family lawyer for the Democratic White House contender and former President Bill Clinton since the early 1990s, stands out for her starkly blunt, straightforward messages in the Clinton inbox.
"No one's going to question Cheryl's commitment and loyalty to the Clintons," Clinton donor Tom Nides tells Politico. "With that comes the ability to talk truth to the king. Everyone needs those kinds of people in their lives. Cheryl is the real deal."
Culling through the latest 7,000-plus emails made public
by the former secretary of state, Politico reports messages from Mills show that:
- Instead of giving Clinton a briefing, she often commands Clinton to "remind me to discuss" something "if i forget," and signs off with an informal "XO." Her brusque replies also can be just "y" rather than spelling out the three-letter word.
- She can be irreverent, joking in one 2009 email about Clinton's dancing, "you shake your tail feathers, girl."
- She isn't shy about forwarding to Clinton emails praising Mills' work, like one from State Department staffer Karen Hanrahan, who wrote: "You are clearly one of the hardest working people in this building and have done so much to define and implement the Secretary's vision on so many things" — to which Clinton responded: "And well-deserved!"
- She pushes back, like the 2009 email in response to Clinton's asking if she agrees with her assessment that the State Department not appear defensive on an issue with the National Counterterrorism Center: "agree — point I have been making," Mills tersely replies.
- She can seem to be the boss rather than the underling. For example, a Dec. 5, 2009 email from Clinton to Mills as she goes on vacation exclaims: "Have a great time! Email if you want to talk and let me know what you think of Punta Cana," later adding: "just left my house heading for yours to check on the painting." The painting reference was unclear, Politico notes.
"Cheryl is not intimidated by either one of the Clintons," a former aide tells Politico, while another adds: "She's no-nonsense, no messing around, she tells it like it is with both of them, with Hillary and the president."
The attitude stands in glaring contrast to the tone other confidants use, Politico notes, including one email from former White House counsel Lanny Davis, who wanted Clinton in September 2010 to speak to the American Lawyer for a profile it was doing on him.
"I hate to email you too much and to ask you for any favors," he writes. "I feel as if I am taking advantage of a great privilege that you allow me to send you a personal email every so often ... Aside from Carolyn, my four children, and my immediate family, I consider you to be the best friend and the best person I have met in my long life."
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