In an email sent March 17, 2016, Podesta mentions a “first cut” of those Clinton might consider as her vice president. In one section of that list, organized into “food groups” is Tim Cook, Bill and Melinda Gates, GM’s Mary Barra and Xerox’s Ursula Burns.
Wikileaks started releasing thousands of what it says are Podesta’s emails in early October and has said it will continue to release more of them daily up until election day. While Podesta has not verified whether or not the content in the Wikileaks emails are real, he has acknowledged his emails have been hacked; pointing the finger at Trump aide John Stone and accusing him of aiding Wikileaks founder Julian Asange.
The email also mentions Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Coca-Cola’s Muhtar Kent and Clinton’s now running mate Tim Kaine. Clinton’s primaries foe Bernie Sanders also made the list but is mentioned at the very bottom and not grouped with anyone else.
Some of those listed in the tech bucket may have made the first draft due to both their influence in Silicon Valley and their relationship with the candidate. Clinton has been cozy with Silicon Valley and vice versa — several, including Tim Cook have held sizeable fundraisers for the Clinton campaign.
However, none of the named tech leaders have the political experience needed and may have been strategic picks who could add to the campaign’s coffers rather than become serious contenders.
You can see that possible strategy at work in another leaked email on the site dated June 20, which shows Cook had requested a one-on-one with Clinton.
“I think this is one we should proceed cautiously. He’s supportive but new to this so I think we shouldn’t come on too strong,” Clinton’s head of fundraising Lindsay Roitman wrote to another staffer, chief technology officer Stephanie Hannon.
The U.S. government has formally accused Russia of aiding Wikileaks in hacking the Democratic National committee’s emails in order to influence the election. The Clinton campaign has further accused Wikileaks of taking part in the scheme, suggesting the Trump campaign knew about the leaks ahead of time.