Two operatives parted ways with the Democratic Party in the wake of undercover videos that suggest the staffers plotted to send agitators to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign events in order to incite violence and harass the attendees.
The heavily edited footage implicates Scott Foval, the national field director of Americans United for Change — who was hired as a subcontractor by the Democratic National Committee — and Robert Creamer, the husband of Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, whose consulting firm Mobilize was helping candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.
The DNC quickly distanced itself from the controversy, claiming it never implied any such tactics.
“The practices described in the video by this temporary regional sub-contractor do not in any way comport with our long standing policies on organizing events, and those statements and sentiments do not represent the values that the Committee holds dear," Donna Brazile, the interim DNC chair, said in a statement. "We do not believe, or have any evidence to suggest, that the activities articulated in the video actually occurred.”
The latest cache of footage comes from Project Veritas Action, which is operated by none other than conservative provocateur, James O’Keefe.
If the accusations against Foval and Creamer turn out to be true, it would be evidence that Democrats are playing dirty to get Clinton elected. However, since O’Keefe has a record for strategically editing videos in order to make false accusations against his foes, many are skeptic if it all played out exactly as the clips suggests.
“I mean, honestly, it's not hard to get some of these a******* to pop off,” Foval said in one of the leaked videos. “It's a matter of showing up, to want to get into their rally, in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt or 'Trump is a Nazi,' you know. You can message to draw them out, and draw them out to punch you.”
Creamer and other operatives also purportedly discussed methods for crating havoc at Trump rallies.
The conservative Breitbart website, whose former chairperson Steve Bannon is now Trump’s campaign CEO, was the first to publish the videos.
Creamer announced he was stepping down from the presidential campaign on Tuesday.
“I am unwilling to become a distraction to the important task of electing Hilary Clinton, and defeating Donald Trump in the upcoming election,” he said, slamming Foval’s comments. “As a result I have indicated to the Democratic National Committee that I am stepping back from my responsibilities working with the campaign.”
He also clarified that none of the “hypothetical” schemes recorded in the video ever took place.
“We regret the unprofessional and careless hypothetical conversations that were captured on hidden cameras of a regional contractor for our firm, and he is no longer working with us,” Creamer added. “While none of the schemes described in the conversations ever took place, these conversations do not at all reflect the values of Democracy Partners.”
Meanwhile, the DNC has criticized the source of the videos.
“James O’Keefe is a convicted criminal with a history of doctoring video to advance his ideological agenda,” Brazile exclaimed. “We are in the process of conducting an internal investigation to determine whether he and his cohorts committed any illegal activities in this well-funded operation.”
In 2010, O'Keefe broke into former Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office to tamper with her phone. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. Three years later, he paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) after O'Keefe tried to implicate it in a similar manner.
He has promised more embarrassing videos before Election Day, but considering his previous efforts to frame his opponents, the new clips may not have enough credibility.