Two political operatives caught on video reportedly talking about dirty tricks at Trump events have quit working for the Democratic campaign as Hillary Clinton’s team tried to distance itself from the undercover expose posted by conservative political activist James O’Keefe.
Democracy Partners’ Bob Creamer, a political operative working with the Democratic National Committee, announced he would be “stepping back” after his appearance in one of the videos.
Scott Foval, a field director for Americans United for Change, which had a contract with Democracy Partners, was fired after he was secretly filmed talking about the tactics.
“It’s a matter of showing up, to want to get into their rally, in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt. Or ‘Trump is a Nazi,’ you know. You can message to draw them out, and draw them out to punch you,” Foval reportedly says in one of the videos.
Foval said he was set up by O’Keefe.
“This scheme to cast legitimate organizing activities as a sinister plot is nothing but a ruse,” he told The Associated Press. “Despite our attempts to redirect the conversation and actions towards positive, results-oriented, legal and ethical political organizing, O’Keefe’s crew of impostors continued to walk down a path of deception and manipulation.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Kristina Schake said on CNN yesterday, “We didn’t participate in this in any way. This isn’t something we would ever support.
“It’s important to point out that when the GOP convention was taking place in Cleveland, there were lots of reports there were going to be protests and unrest. We encouraged our supporters not to participate in any way in those protests and actually to spend their time out there registering voters,” Schake said.
The videos released by O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas Action show secretly taped interviews with operatives describing training people to trigger violent reactions from Donald Trump supporters at rallies.
While condemning the alleged tactics, Schake described O’Keefe as “a discredited source,” “a convicted criminal” and “somebody who has doctored these kinds of videos before.”
“But that being said, this is not something we would ever participate in, not something we would ever support. This was a contractor to the DNC and we think they took the appropriate action,” Schake said.
O’Keefe and Project Veritas have a long track record of targeting Democratic groups, often by hiding their identities and using hidden cameras. A previous O’Keefe sting led to the demise of ACORN, a community organizing group that O’Keefe portrayed as engaged in criminal activity via hidden camera videos.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.
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