Tuesday night The Daily Caller and BuzzFeed News reported that DCLeaks.com obtained private emails from Colin Powell, the four-star general that served under George W. Bush as Secretary of State. One revelation in particular relates to another email controversy you've been hearing about for months: that of Hillary Clinton. Clinton has allegedly brought up his use of a private account to defend herself against her decision to rely upon a private server. Powell, though, wanted out of it, emailing a Clinton aide several times about the matter. So, who is Cheryl Mills, the insider who knows Clinton and Powell?
POLITICO described her as the "only person who says no to Hillary." Her emails to Clinton that were released as part of the Benghazi probe were among the few that weren't as "eager to please" and full of praise, POLITICO's Annie Karni noted. And that might be because she has a long history with Clinton and her husband. A lawyer, she defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment as deputy White House Counsel back in the '90s. Then she served as counsel for Hillary's 2008 election campaign. After Pres. Obama won, Mills went with Clinton to the State Department and served as her Chief of Staff.
Mills is not officially advising Clinton this go-around, but she's still seems to be working in her former boss' interests in her emails with Powell. He asked Mills to get the Clinton camp to stop linking him to Clinton's email scandal. "You really don't want to get me into this," he wrote in a March 7, 2015, email according to The Daily Caller. "I haven't been asked nor said a word about HRC and won't unless you all start it."
Mills said that she agreed, but added that "I can't address folks who are beyond that so please ping or call me when you see anything that worries you." This back and forth happened in March 2015, but they emailed again last month. Around that time, news reports surfaced that Clinton told the FBI that Powell had advised her to use a private email.
The subsequent conversation with Mills isn't included in The Daily Caller's piece, but reporter Chuck Ross wrote that it suggested Powell and Mills had made some sort of compromise on the emails issue. Yet just days before, Powell told the media, "Her people are trying to pin it on me" — that doesn't sound like a compromise. The only thing Ross quotes Powell writing to Mills in August was, "I told you we wouldn't say any more." Ultimately, he has had to say more.
An email from Powell to Clinton, explaining how he got around the State Department's information controls was released Sept. 8 by congressional Democrats. He wrote that using the government email was a "real danger." He went on to warn Clinton, "Be very careful ... I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data." He has since said he was not trying to influence Clinton.
This has been one of the biggest insights into Mills' continued behind-the-scenes role during the campaign season — at least with connection to the email scandal. Mills had previously testified about it in May.