Brazile out at CNN after WikiLeaks reveals she gave debate questions to Clinton camp

Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile and U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. © Reuters
Democratic party chair Donna Brazile is no longer at CNN, as WikiLeaks revealed that she sent debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign at least twice. Confirming Brazile’s dismissal, CNN said it was “completely uncomfortable” with her conduct.

Brazile’s role as a Democratic pundit at CNN was suspended in July, when she took on the role of interim chair for the Democratic National Committee following the scandal-ridden departure of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She resigned from the network on October 14, after revelations that she had given advance notice to the Clinton campaign of questions to be asked at a CNN-hosted debate.

“We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor,” the network said in a statement Monday, announcing Brazile’s dismissal and maintaining that they never gave her any questions or other materials in advance of debates.

Emails published by WikiLeaks earlier show otherwise, however. A March 12 email from Brazile to Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri – published by WikiLeaks on October 11 – was titled: “From time to time I get the questions in advance,” and gave the campaign notice of a question about the death penalty at the upcoming CNN-hosted town hall between Clinton and her rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders.

Another email, published Monday, shows Brazile giving advance notice to Palmieri and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta about the upcoming debate in Flint, Michigan. Brazile was vice chair of the DNC at the time.

“One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash,” says the subject line of Brazile’s email dated March 5, followed by: “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint.”

Both CNN and Brazile emphatically denied any wrongdoing prior to Monday’s release.

"To be perfectly clear: We have never, ever given a town hall question to anyone beforehand,” said CNN.

“As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did," Brazile said in a statement earlier this month.

On Monday morning, before CNN acknowledged her October 14 resignation, Brazile tweeted about “campaign hell” and quoted a Miami Herald article indicating that Donald Trump’s campaign had a “back channel” to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange through political operative Roger Stone.

Brazile and other senior Democrats have accused Assange of being a “Russian agent” and alternately dismissed the WikiLeaks publications as either forgeries or attempts by Russia to influence US elections by backing Trump.

Stone has rejected both claims. “I bet there is no evidence of a Russian conspiracy to fix the election,” he told the Herald.

“He’s not a Russian agent,” Stone added, speaking of Assange.