A top aide to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, has been identified as the person who leaked Hillary Clinton’s use of private email to the press, causing the first major scandal or the 2016 presidential race. Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Leak Is Part of a Longstanding Feud
Jarrett, a White House senior adviser, was allegedly firing back after she perceived the Clintons marginalizing the president, the Post reported.
Hillary and Bill were supposedly attempting to turn Democrats away from Obama, calling him an albatross around the neck of the Democratic party. Jarrett, according to the Post, vowed revenge.
Clinton may have violated the law by using only a personal email address during her time as secretary of state. There are supposedly six investigations ongoing over Clinton’s actions at the State Department, several of which were launched at Jarrett’s behest, and the email scandal was reportedly leaked at a time intended to coincide with Clinton’s formal announcement for president.
Sources say Jarrett has been scheming to put up serious challengers against Hillary Clinton, among them former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. According to a source quoted in the Daily Mail:
She’s promised O’Malley and Warren the full support of the White House if they will challenge Hillary for the presidential nomination.
2. Bill Is Not Very Happy
A source close to the Clintons, quoted by the Post, said Bill Clinton is peeved at the situation and believes the Obamas “are out to get us any way they can” and will do whatever they can to scuttle Hillary’s bid for the presidency:
The Obamas are behind the e-mail story, and they’re spreading rumors that I’ve been with women, that Hillary promoted people at the State Department who’d done favors for our foundation, that John Kerry had to clean up diplomatic messes Hillary left behind.
3. Jarrett Has No Intention of Leaving
In an interview with New York Times Magazine, published one day before revelations that she was behind the email leak, Jarrett said she has no intention of leaving the White House:
Oh, my goodness, I intend to stay until the lights go off. Why would I miss a single second of this?
4. She Was Born in Iran
Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran, to American parents, and moved to London when she was 5. One year later, she and her family moved to Chicago.
Her father ran a hospital in Iran before moving to London, and Jarrett grew up speaking Persian, in addition to English.
She describes her role as that of a friend to the president, in addition to that of an advisor:
In a town where access is so important, initially it probably made people a little uncomfortable. I think that has faded. I just want to do my job, and part of my job for the president is to be his friend.
5. She Got Her Start in Chicago Politics
In 1987, a lawyer by training, Jarrett began working for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in the role of deputy corporation counsel for finance and development. When the administration changed, she served as deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley, who many see as her role model.
In 1991, Jarrett hired Michelle Robinson, engaged to Barack Obama. Back in 2008, Michelle Obama spoke to The New York Times about how she sees Jarrett:
I can count on someone like Valerie to take my hand and say, ‘You need to think about these three things.’ Like a mom, a big sister, I trust her implicitly.