CNN Parts Ways With Donna Brazile After Debate Questions Were Provided to Clinton
"We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign," a spokesperson said.
CNN has severed ties with Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee and a longtime contributor on the network, after hacked emails revealed Brazile provided questions in advance to Hillary Clinton's campaign during the Democratic primary debates on CNN.
Brazile actually resigned on Oct. 14, a CNN spokesperson confirmed. Her deal had been suspended in July when she took over for ousted DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
"CNN never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate. We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor," said a network spokesperson in a statement.
Brazile also was an on-air contributor on ABC News, where she was a frequent presence at the This Week roundtable. And like CNN, the network suspended her contract when she took the reins at the DNC. It's unclear if ABC News also will make the separation permanent.
WikiLeaks first published an email Oct. 11, that appeared to show Brazile sharing a question about the death penalty for the network's March 12 debate. She seemed to identify Roland Martin, a former CNN contributor and current TV One anchor who was among the debate moderators, as the source of the question. At that time, Brazile, CNN and Martin all denied that there was any question sharing going on.
“To be perfectly clear we have never, ever given a town hall question to anyone beforehand," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement released Oct. 11. Martin told Politico that he did not share his questions: “My executive producer wasn’t even aware of what I was going to ask."
Brazile also released a statement at the time: “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.
The DNC and the Clinton campaign have refused to confirm or deny the veracity of the emails, which FBI sources have said were likely hacked by the Russian with the purpose of influencing the American presidential election.
But on Monday, the release of more emails apparently showed that Brazile also shared a question that could be posed to Clinton during the network's town hall debate in Flint, Mich., on March 6.
The email released Monday appears to have been sent by Brazile to Clinton chairman John Podesta and communications chief Jennifer Palmieri. The subject line of the email read: “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.”
Flint had been rocked by a water contamination scandal. “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 in the email.
On Monday, Brazile thanked her former CNN colleagues on Twitter: "Honored to be a Democratic Strategist and commentator on the network. Godspeed to all my former colleagues."
A little while later, she reiterated her statement from Oct. 11: "For media, please refer to my October 11th statement. For my friends, don't forget to check your status by going to #IWillVote.com. #Freedom"