WASHINGTON — A Justice Department official offered Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta a "heads-up'' last year to a pending congressional hearing where a Justice colleague was likely to be questioned about Hillary Clinton's email use as secretary of State, according to hacked communications released Wednesday by WikiLeaks.
In the exchange, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, writing on a personal email account, appears to alert Podesta to a House Judiciary Committee hearing later that day where the Justice Department's Civil Division chief was slated to testify.
"Likely to get questions on State Department emails,'' Kadzik wrote May 19. The message goes on to inform Podesta of an update in a Freedom of Information Act request for State Department communications that "indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.''
Attached to the Kadzik communication was a message that appears to be forwarded by Podesta to various Clinton staffers, stating: "Additional chances for mischief.''
Kadzik also was the author of a letter earlier this week providing the Justice Department's response to questions posed by House and Senate leaders about the FBI's new review of recently discovered emails that could have a bearing on the previously closed investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information at the State Department.
"We assure you that the department will continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible,'' Kadzik wrote.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch had opposed FBI Director James Comey's decision last week to formally notify Congress of the email discovery, a move that rocked the presidential race in the last days of the general election.
The Justice Department did not immediately comment Wednesday on the WikiLeaks release.
Asked Wednesday about the relationship between Podesta and Kadzik, Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri characterized the communications as "stolen emails that haven’t been authenticated.”
She said the information was "leaked for the purpose of damaging our campaign.''