HARI SREENIVASAN: WikiLeaks is not the only online organization making political news.
Lisa Desjardins takes a closer look at a new release that also targets Democrats.
LISA DESJARDINS: The videos are from a conservative group famous and infamous for undercover work. More on them in a minute.
But let’s start with the content. There are two videos and two allegations against Democrats. The first, that operatives for the left, especially this man, Scott Foval, have sent people to Trump rallies to incite violence. To an undercover operative, Foval says there is a script.
SCOTT FOVAL, Americans United for Change: It’s a matter of showing up, to want to get into the rally in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt or Trump is a Nazi. You can message to draw them out and draw them to punch you.
LISA DESJARDINS: Foval is a Democratic consultant who recently worked with a group called Mobilize hired by the Democratic Party in June. It’s not clear when the video was recorded, but Foval says he works directly with the party and the Clinton campaign.
SCOTT FOVAL: I answer to the head of special events for the DNC and the head of special events and political for the campaign.
LISA DESJARDINS: The Democratic National Committee flatly says Foval was a subcontractor and denies supporting anything like what Foval described.
But what do we know from actual events on the campaign trail? Remember this, the clash of protesters, supporters and police in March in Chicago? It led to Donald Trump canceling a rally. On the tape, another Democratic operative brings it up.
MAN: So, the Chicago protest when they shut all that, that was us. None of this is supposed to come back to us, because we want it coming from people. We don’t want it to come from the party.
LISA DESJARDINS: That’s the first charge.
And before we go to the second, a quick word about who’s behind these videos. His name is James O’Keefe, a conservative whose group, Project Veritas Action, investigates left-leaning entities. He’s been arrested and pled guilty for some undercover tactics in the past.
O’Keefe insists his work is accurate, including the second charge in these videos about voter fraud. Scott Foval seems to talk openly about bringing in people from one state to vote in another. He mentions creating paychecks and finding cars with in-state license plates.
SCOTT FOVAL: You use shells, use shell companies. The cars come from one copy. The paychecks come from another.
LISA DESJARDINS: At one point, he stresses the need to avoid prosecution. But that’s not what his boss says.
Bob Creamer heads up Mobilize, and contracted directly for the Democratic Party. In the video, he pushes back at an idea to affect voting.
BOB CREAMER, Mobilize: I’m going to run this by our lawyers. My fear is that someone would decide that this was a big voter fraud scheme.
LISA DESJARDINS: Today, the head of the Democratic Party released a statement, saying: “We do not believe, nor do we have any evidence to suggest that the activities alleged occurred.”
The Clinton campaign also gave us a statement, saying that those behind the video are known to be misleading, but that the campaign disavows the ideas and tactics in the video, calling them troubling, even as a theory.
One problem here is, we do not have the raw footage from these tapes. We do not have the context for many of these words. We do know this. Scott Foval has been fired from his job. And his boss, Bob Creamer, has ended his work on the election this year, saying he doesn’t want to be a distraction.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.
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