For the past week-plus, #Wikileaks has been pushing out a series of hacked emails from John Podesta, the longtime Democratic political advisor who is currently Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The emails released thus far have mostly showed campaign strategists being campaign strategists, with various exposures of personal feuds between people in Clinton’s orbit. Sure, some of it is embarrassing- as would likely be the case for anyone who had years of their emails released to the public- but thus far, there have been no smoking guns that have had any potential to affect the presidential race.
Until Thursday, that is…
The story goes like this: In an email from February 9, 2016, Clinton-allied lobbyist Steve Elmendorf writes to Podesta “Didn’t think #wetworks meant pool parties at the Vineyard.” Podesta replies, “I am all in… Sounds like it will be a bad nite, we all need to buckle up and double down.”
Trump-supporting Twitter, and blogs like Alex Jones’ InfoWars and Jim Hoft’s Gateway Pundit, have interpreted this a certain way: “Wet work” - according to military terminology- means murder/assassinations. Justice Scalia died on a ranch three days later. Therefore, Scalia was murdered by the Clintons with “wetworks” a reference to the plans to rub him out.
A ranch, not a vineyard
Now, of course, there are many, many reasons to not believe that that’s what they were talking about. “Sounds like it will be a bad [night]” is obviously a reference to the New Hampshire primary, which was the evening of the email and in which Clinton lost to Bernie Sanders. Scalia is not mentioned or referenced in any way; he died not at a vineyard but rather a ranch (fan-made Twitter photos have referred to an area adjacent to the ranch as a “vineyard,” but it looks more to me like a field.) And when people, especially those in the Clinton circle, use the phrase “The Vineyard,” they’re almost certainly referring to Martha’s Vineyard.
As for “wetworks”? Elmendorf didn’t write “wet work,” he wrote “wet works,” which is not the term. Neither man is of a military background so they would have no reason to use a military term. It’s very possible that “wet works” was a misspelling of “networks”- the Podesta emails, throughout, have been riddled with typos- or more likely, he’s inviting Podesta to have a drink with him that night, in order to strategize following the primary loss.
Both scenarios are considerably more likely than openly referencing a future assassination plot over email- especially since there’s nothing about the context, or anything else is any of the other leaks, that suggests that they're going to kill someone a few days later. And of course, there's absolutely no evidence to suggest that Scalia died of anything besides natural causes.
One hallmark of the Podesta leaks has been Clinton opponents wildly misinterpreting various emails, either attributing emails by Podesta and other advisers to Clinton herself, misunderstanding what they say or taking them out of context. The "Scalia murder plot" appears to have taken that tendency to an absurd degree. Will you be surprised if Trump himself raises the murder accusation in an upcoming speech or debate? He's gone down that road before...