A political operative contracted by the Democratic National Committee stepped down Tuesday after an edited undercover video from conservative activist James O’Keefe surfaced purporting to show evidence of a plot to incite violence at rallies for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
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Longtime political organizer Robert Creamer announced that he is “stepping bacK” from his work with Democracy Partners on the 2016 Clinton campaign amid the fallout from the video.
Creamer, who is married to Rep. Jan Schakowsk, D-Ill., Is not depicted saying anything incriminating in the video. His statements are broad and general, without any references to inciting violence or employing agent provocateurs.
“I am unwilling to become a distraction to the important task of electing Hillary Clinton, and defeating Donald Trump in the upcoming election,” Creamer said in a statement to CNN. “As a result I have indicated to the Democratic National Committee that I am stepping back from my responsibilities working with the campaign.”.
According to CNN, Creamer went on to say that “contrary to the outrageous claims of the notorious right wing blogger James O’Keefe, we have always adhered to the highest standards of transparency and legality in our work for the DNC.”.
The recent video is not the first time O’Keefe’s and his group Project Veritas have used secret identities and hidden cameras to target groups aligned with the Democratic Party. O’Keefe first came to fame for his videos that claimed to capture the community organizing group ACORN engaging in criminal activity, and which led to the dissolution of the organization.
O’Keefe was convicted in 2010 for breaking into former Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu’s office. In 2013, he agreed to pay $100,000 as part of a settlement with a former ACORN employee.
Most of the recent video shows clips of Scott Foval, the national field director of Americans United for Change and a former regional contractor for Democracy Partners. Foval makes several comments that appear to endorse a strategy of inciting Trump supporters to violence.
“The key is initiating the conflict by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic,” Foval says. “I mean honestly, it is not hard to get some of these a——s to pop off. 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 know. You can message to draw them out, and draw them to punch you.”.
Democracy Partners worked to distance itself from Foval. The organization said in a statement that it was the “victim of a well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars.” It said the people behind the video worked to “goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras.”.
Foval was “was a temporary regional subcontractor who was goaded into statements that do not reflect our values,” the statement said.
Clinton campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said, “While Project Veritas has been known to offer misleading video out of context, the language and tactics referenced in the video are troubling even as a theory or proposal never executed. We support the Democratic National Committee’s appropriate action addressing this matter and look forward to continue waging a campaign of ideas worthy of our democratic process.”.