Last week, Wikileaks published an email from then-CNN contributor Donna Brazile, now DNC chairwoman, giving the Hillary Clinton campaign a question before a town hall event. On Wednesday night, after the presidential debate, Fox News host Megyn Kelly confronted Brazile over the email. Brazile denied she did this and quickly played victim:

MEGYN KELLY: You’re accused of receiving a debate question whether a CNN town hall where they partnered with TV One that you had this question on March 12th, that verbatim, verbatim was provided by Roland Martin to CNN the next day. How did you get that question, Donna?

DONNA BRAZILE: Well, Kelly, as I play straight up and with you, I did not receive any questions from CNN.

Here is the email in question:

Hillary Podesta Brazile Townhall

The two women continued:

KELLY: Where did you get it.

BRAZILE: What information? Allow me to see what you’re talking about?

KELLY: You’ve got the Wikileaks showing you messaging the Clinton campaign at the March 13th CNN debate.

BRAZILE: As a Christian woman, I understand persecution. your information is false. What you’re — well, for suggestive e-mails were stolen. You’re interested and you’re like a thief that wants to bring into the night the things that.

Kelly reminded Brazile that the email troubled CNN’s Jake Tapper, who found the incident unethical. He co-hosted the town hall debate with Roland Martin, who allegedly sent an email to CNN producers with three questions, including the death penalty one:

KELLY: CNN’ Jake Tapper said this was unethical. Someone was unethically helping the Clinton campaign. He said this is very, very upsetting.


KELLY: This is Jake Tapper: ‘My understand is that the e-mails came from Roland Martin and said this is very upsetting and troubling.’

That is your old colleague at CNN not Megyn Kelly. Who gave you that question?

BRAZILE: Megyn, I’ll say it on the record. I’m not going to try to validate falsified information. I have my documents. I have my files. Thank God I have not had my personal e-mails ripped off from me and stolen and given to some criminals to come back altered. I have my records and files. And as i said repeatedly, CNN, I never received anything.

Martin’s email contained the same question as Brazile, word for word. At first he denied sending questions to everyone, but admitted he sent it to the producers while CNN claimed no one gave Brazile or anyone the questions:

“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.”

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.


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