Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is finally coming clean about a mistake that got her ousted as a CNN contributor late last year.
In an essay for Time published on Friday, March, 17, Brazile said sending Hillary Clinton’s campaign a list of topics for a TV town hall event in advance was “a mistake I will forever regret.”
“I had been working behind the scenes to add more town hall events and debates to the primary calendar, and I helped ensure those events included diverse moderators and addressed topics vital to minority communities,” she wrote. “My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.”
The damning emails surfaced in early October after hacker organization Wikileaks published a trove of stolen emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, which included messages from Brazile to the Clinton team about topics/questions that would be brought up during two town hall debates between the former Democratic presidential candidate and her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
In an email to Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri dated March 12, 2016, Brazile wrote in the subject header, “From time to time I get the questions in advance.” She went on to tell Palmieri that a question regarding Clinton’s stance on the death penalty worried her.
“Yes, it is one she gets asked about,” Palmieri wrote back. “Not everyone likes her answer but can share it.”
The following day, a question regarding Clinton’s stance on the death penalty was posed by an exonerated former death row inmate at a town hall meeting joint hosted by CNN and TV One. Brazile flatly denied all claims that she had leaked the questions, as did TV One host Roland Martin, who critics initially accused of passing the info along to the Clinton campaign.
“I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are completely untrue,” Brazile said at the time. “I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did.”
A new batch of stolen emails published later that month revealed another questionable email from Brazile to Podesta with the subject, “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.” The e-mail was dated March 5, 2016 — one day before a CNN-sponsored debate in Flint, Mich., The New York Times reported.
“Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint,” wrote Brazile, who served as the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) interim chairwoman this past summer.
Shortly thereafter, CNN informed Brazile that she wouldn’t return as a contributor to the network.
“We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor,” Lauren Pratapas, a spokeswoman for the news network, said in a statement.
The gist of Brazile’s essay went on to discuss the reported Russian hacking of the DNC and its negative impact on Clinton and the contentious presidential election.