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Video Suggests Strategist Tied to Clinton Campaign Tried to Provoke Fistfights at Trump Rallies

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A top Democratic operative with ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign is “stepping back” after a right-wing video showed the operative talking about inciting violence at Donald Trump rallies.

Robert Creamer announced his resignation in a statement after conservative activist James O’Keefe released a video this week under his organization Project Veritas Action. The edited 16-minute video shows Creamer allegedly explaining how his organization, Democracy Partners, planted instigators at Trump rallies to arouse the Republican nominee’s supporters.

Project Veritas published a full statement of resignation from Creamer.

“I am unwilling to become a distraction to the important task of electing Hilary Clinton, and defeating Donald Trump in the upcoming election. As a result I have indicated to the Democratic National Committee that I am stepping back from my responsibilities working with the Campaign,” he said.

Creamer denies any wrongdoing, insisting that claims by the “notorious right wing blogger O’Keefe” are unfounded.

“I am enormously proud of the work we have done over the last months to sound the alarm about the danger Donald Trump would present to American democracy,” Creamer said. “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.”

He continued, “We regret the unprofessional and careless hypothetical conversations that were captured on hidden cameras of a temporary regional contractor for our firm, and he is no longer working with us. While, none of the schemes described in the conversations ever took place, these conversations do not at all reflect the values of Democracy Partners.”

While Creamer didn’t address any specifics in the video, former regional contractor with Democracy Partners Scott Foval outlines how the group planned to incite violence at Trump rallies.

“The key is initiating the conflict by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic,” Foval said. “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 called O’Keefe’s video a “well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars” in a Facebook post Tuesday.

Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin, who travels with the Clinton campaign, says Republican operatives play a similar game at Clinton campaign appearances.
“There are paid protesters who come to her rallies and shout out really unseemly things like that Bill Clinton is a rapist,” Griffin tells PEOPLE in an interview. “There are usually three or four during the speech [where] that happens. But it doesn’t get violent, they just get escorted out.”