Donna Brazile again denies passing debate question to Hillary campaign (and Politico goes with it)

Politico has a story in which former acting DNC chair Donna Brazille attempts to rewrite recent history, specifically her history of passing a question to the Clinton camp in advance of a CNN debate. According to Brazile it was all a smear campaign. Curiously, Politico never challenges her on this even though the facts clearly do not support her.


The article, headline “Donna Brazile: ‘I was scared‘,” is based on a podcast recorded over the weekend. About 30 minutes in Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere asks Brazile to explain the situation in which she appeared to pass a question to the Clinton camp prior to a CNN debate. Brazile repeats several times, “CNN never provided questions.” So what did happen? Brazile offers a rambling answer. I’m going to quote her at length here because there’s really no way to summarize this:

“The only other way to provide the truth is to put it in context and the context is simple. At the time of that period, CNN like other networks were trying to encourage more candidate debates but so…Hillary Clinton was encouraging candidate debates. Bernie was challenging the DNC to have more debates. Martin O’Malley was challenging people. And the officers gathered to expand the number of debates. I was one of the officers who took the lead on expanding the number of debates and negotiating on behalf of the candidates to expand the debates and to work with various networks…

“When you have your emails dumped, the notion that as a partisan, as a strategist that I’m not going to get involved in the process of providing, not just…you know venues, sponsors, topics, questions, moderators. You know I have spent my entire life fighting to expand the participation of not just minority candidates and others in the political process but also the kind of questions, the kind of topics.


“If you go back and look at the topics. If you go back and look at the questions. Those questions, those topics appeared to coincide at the same time we were expanding the participation of other networks and to hosting debates.”

At this point Dovere interjects and asks if the real problem was that Brazile was being held to a standard for journalists when she is clearly a partisan. The suggestion he is making seems to be that, yes, Brazile did pass questions to Clinton but why shouldn’t she?

Brazile doesn’t go along with that. She replies, “Well, you know at the time it was just another smear campaign by WikiLeaks to try to sow discord, to somehow or another suggest that I had a cache of questions that were given to one candidate over another. No.” She went on to say that the leaked emails she had sent, “told a story but it wasn’t a complete story.”

Dovere doesn’t ask any kind of follow up. Instead he asks about Trump citing the issue, “Is Donald Trump obsessed with you?”

For those that have forgotten the details, there really is no question that Brazile got questions in advance (apparently from co-host Roland Martin) and passed them to Hillary’s staff. Here’s the direct comparison I made last October:


“…since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S.”


“Secretary Clinton, since 1976, we have executed 1,414 people in this country. Since 1973, 156 who were convicted have been exonerated from the death row.”


And yet, here’s what Dovere writes today in his story based on the podcast interview with Brazile:

Brazile talked through what she says happened, in her telling an inflated flap that either mistakenly or willfully misinterpreted and misunderstood some basic facts.

“Did CNN provide Donna Brazile or any other contributor debate questions? No. I’ve never received questions from CNN,” she said. “There’s no there there.”

Dovere could very easily have called her on this by adding, “Brazile did pass a question to the Hillary campaign though it apparently didn’t come from CNN. CNN cut ties with her soon after it came to light.” But we don’t get that. In fact, Dovere never really challenges Braziles claims of innocence. Why is Politico playing along with this months after the facts became clear?

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