The FBI is investigating how liberal magazine “Mother Jones” got its hands on a recording of a private strategy session with Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his re-election team in February.
CNN reported Tuesday McConnell and his aides are heard on the recordings “discussing opposition research on Ashley Judd,” who at the time was considering a political run to challenge McConnell.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said the campaign is working with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisville, Ky. to determine how the magazine obtained the recordings it published on its website Tuesday, CNN reported.
According to the article:
“Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation,” Benton said in a statement.
“We’ve always said the Left will stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond,” Benton also said.
Benton told CNN the recording wasn’t a leak, that the meeting “was held in a very private, closed, locked conference room.”
Aides are heard discussing Judd’s mental issues, as well as her political views.
“She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced,” one staff member said in the tape. Mother Jones did not disclose how it obtained the audio. “I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.”
At the McConnell meeting, staff members and advisers mocked some of Judd’s previous writings and statements. While they touched on Judd’s emotional history, the meeting mostly focused on her political views as their would-be ammunition. They highlighted her support and campaigning for President Barack Obama, as well as her support for same-sex marriage and cap-and-trade policies. In the meeting, they described her as “anti-coal,” which would be a big liability for Judd in coal country.