Update 12:08 p.m.: Senator Mitch McConnell’s office has asked the FBI to investigate how Mother Jones came into possession of the recordings.
“Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent,” Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager said Tuesday. “By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation.”
David Corn, the reporter on the piece and an msnbc contributor, offered no comment about the investigation.
“This story speaks for itself,” he said.
The magazine issued a statement Tuesday afternoon:
We are still waiting for Sen. Mitch McConnell to comment on the substance of the story. Before posting this article, we contacted his Senate office and his campaign office-in particular, his campaign manager, Jesse Benton-and no one responded. As the story makes clear, we were recently provided the tape by a source who wished to remain anonymous. We were not involved in the making of the tape, but we published a story on the tape due to its obvious newsworthiness. It is our understanding that the tape was not the product of a Watergate-style bugging operation. We cannot comment beyond that.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff discussed using potential Democratic challenger Ashley Judd’s depression against her in his 2014 re-election campaign, according to a secret recording obtained by Mother Jones magazine.
The actress, an outspoken supporter of President Barack Obama, was rumored to be considering a run against McConnell in her home state of Kentucky but said last week that she would not challenge the Republican.
The meeting of McConnell’s re-election team was recorded Feb. 2, before Judd’s announcement, Mother Jones’ David Corn reported.
An unidentified aide can be heard on the tape mocking Judd’s background as a woman’s rights activist and supporter of President Barack Obama.
“I refer to [Judd] as sort of the oppo research situation where there’s a haystack of needles, just because truly, there’s such a wealth of material,” the aide says in the recording.