CNN Commentator Is Out After Leaking Questions to Clinton
01 Nov, 2016
CNN has cut ties with commentator and interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile after WikiLeaks revealed that Brazile provided more primary debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The network confirmed Monday that it had accepted Brazile’s resignation as a contributor on Oct. 14 after the hacked emails showed that she had tipped off Clinton’s campaign to likely questions during the primaries.
In a statement Monday, CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas said, “We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”
The network did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about why two weeks passed before the resignation was made public.
WikiLeaks had previously revealed that Brazile had emailed John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, in March about her access to questions that would be asked at CNN-sponsored primary debates. “From time to time I get the questions in advance,” she told Podesta on March 12. She added, “I’ll send a few more.”
CNN acted Monday after more WikiLeaks emails showed that Brazile had, in fact, tipped Podesta to other debate questions. In an email sent to Podesta in early March, she wrote that a question would come from a Flint, Mich., woman who is dealing with that city’s water crisis. “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint,” Brazile wrote.
Pratapas disclaimed any involvement by CNN itself, saying the network “never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate.”
Brazile, in an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly last week, denied having received a debate question about the death penalty in advance. She said she would not be “persecuted” by Kelly.
Brazile is also a contributor to ABC News, which has not commented on her status at the network.
At a rally in Warren, Mich., on Monday, Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, blasted the media, a favorite punching bag of his along the campaign trail, as “one of the most dishonest groups of people ever.”
“Who cares about Donna Brazile? Who cares. What I care about is: Hillary Clinton gets the questions to a debate — that’s a big deal — and then what happens is the media, they never say: Why didn’t you turn it in? Why did you use those questions?”
In a tweet the same day, Brazile said: “Thank you @CNN. Honored to be a Democratic Strategist and commentator on the network. Godspeed to all my former colleagues.”
CNN and ABC temporarily suspended their contracts with her in July after she became interim DNC chair after the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). Wasserman Schultz resigned after other hacked emails indicated that DNC officials had favored Clinton’s campaign at the expense of her challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The networks had said they expected to resume their relationship with Brazile after the election.