Then-CNN contributor and DNC Vice Chair helped the Hillary campaign before a town hall.
The Wikileaks dump of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta emails shows that then-CNN contributor, now DNC interim chair, Donna Brazile gave Hillary a question ahead of a CNN town hall.
Brazile sent this email to Podesta and a few aides, with the subject “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”
*UPDATE 10/12 9:23PM EST* Politico reports that Roland Martin, who cohosted the town hall with Jake Tapper, sent an email to CNN producers with three questions, including the death penalty one from Brazile’s email. His email contained the exact same question, word for word. At first, Martin denied sending questions to everyone, but admitted he sent them to the producers:
“As far as consultation, I don’t believe I did. I know I asked all of my social media followers for their input on what they wanted me to ask. I did the same for the Hillary Clinton town hall we did in South Carolina in 2014. And I know that I called Rep. Clyburn to lock down language on his 10-20-30 amendment. That is an issue I’ve pushed for several years. I also know I called other members of Congress to ask them specific questions about their various bills and their status. All of that informed my questions. That’s called research,” Martin wrote.
But he did not explain how Brazile could have had the same exact language of a proposed question a day before he submitted them to CNN producers. CNN, in turn, is pointing the finger at TV One.
“As we have said since news of this broke, CNN did not share any questions with Donna Brazile, or anyone else for that matter, prior to the town hall,” a CNN spokesperson said in an email to POLITICO. “Given that our broadcast partners for the town hall at TV One sent this question to us the day AFTER it appeared in Donna’s email, we have every reason to believe it came from them.”
Communications director Jennifer Palmieri was more than willing to help:
Hi. Yes, it is one she gets asked about. Not everyone likes her answer but can share it.
Betsaida – can you send her answer on death penalty?
It turns out, a man named Ricky Jackson planned to ask Hillary that question at the March 13 CNN town hall. A court wrongly convicted him of murder in 1975 when he was only a teenager. From The Washington Post:
His exoneration came after spending 39 years in prison. His question for Clinton: “I came perilously close to my own execution, and in light of that, what I have just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know, how can you still take your stance on the death penalty in light of what we know right now?”
Clinton responded at length, expressing a lack of confidence that the states could capably manage the ultimate penalty. However: “Where I end up is this, and maybe it is distinction that is hard to support, but at this point, given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction for very limited purposes, I think that it can still be held in reserve for those,” said the candidate.
Well, WaPo reached out to Brazile and CNN for comment. Brazile had the typical comeback: Russia and Donald Trump.
“As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. 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.
“But let’s get one thing straight. Our Intelligence Community has made it clear that the Russian government is responsible for the cyberattacks aimed at interfering with our election, and that WikiLeaks is part of that effort. This revelation should deeply trouble all Americans in both parties. And yet, Donald Trump continues to deny that Russia is behind these attempts to meddle with our electoral process and cheer on these efforts to undermine our democracy.
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