Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) campaign sought to “kill” a story Thursday about McAuliffe paying Democrat election lawyer Marc Elias’s firm nearly $54,000 in the final weeks of Virginia’s gubernatorial election.
McAuliffe campaign staffer Christina Freundlich wrote in an email response, “Can we try to kill this,” to a Fox News reporter — seemingly as a mistake — when the reporter reached out to her Thursday about the nature of the $53,680 payment, which McAuliffe’s financial disclosures reveal was made to the Elias Law Group on October 14.
Freundlich then followed up with another email, “To dispute the challenges of the election,” and made no other comment to Fox News on the record. The McAuliffe campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News about the emails.
Fox News reporter: "I am writing a story about the report that McAuliffe hired Marc Elias, potentially to challenge the election results […]"
McAuliffe spoksperson: "Can we try to kill this" pic.twitter.com/buSINd4wRn
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) October 29, 2021
After Fox News revealed the email exchange, Freundlich wrote in a bizarre response on social media Friday, “I think it’s clear based on this story that we did in fact…kill the story”:
I think it’s clear based on this story that we did in fact…kill the story https://t.co/rRCEzAL0Kj
— Christina Freundlich (@christinafreund) October 29, 2021
Elias served as a leading attorney for Democrats seeking to change election rules ahead of the 2020 election. In August 2021, Elias announced he was leaving his current firm, Perkins Coie, to form his own law group, where he continues to do legal work for a range of prominent Democrats, including, apparently, McAuliffe.
Elias has also been a key individual in the ongoing investigation by special counsel John Durham of the FBI’s probe into alleged Trump-Russia collusion. The attorney, while at Perkins Coie, was hired by Hillary Clinton in 2016 to conduct opposition research against then-candidate Donald Trump that resulted in the infamous Steele dossier. Elias had denied his involvement in the dossier, but the Washington Post countered his denials in a 2017 investigative report:
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Because of Elias’s history of pursuing election rule changes, as well as his history of challenging close elections on behalf of Democrats, Jonathan Turley, an attorney at George Washington University, suggested McAuliffe could “be preparing to challenge any win by” his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin.
McAuliffe was however asked during a gubernatorial debate on September 16 if he would accept the election results if the state certified that he had lost. McAuliffe replied, “Sure. Absolutely, but we’re going to win.”
Breitbart News reached out to McAuliffe’s campaign for reaffirmation that McAuliffe would accept the election results regardless of the outcome in light of the recent payment to Elias, but his campaign did not respond.
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].