Former interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile said Friday that she “regrets” forwarding debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign team-an issue she often dodged when asked about it.
Brazile made the admission in an essay published for Time magazine Friday called: “Russian DNC Narrative Played Out Exactly As They Hoped.”
“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,” Brazile wrote.
She explained, “[I]n October, a subsequent release of emails revealed that among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign.”
Brazile later stated,”By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few, the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton. Despite the strong, public support I received from top Sanders campaign aides in the wake of those leaks, the media narrative played out just as the Russians had hoped, leaving Sanders supporters understandably angry and sowing division in our ranks.”
She added, “In reality, not only was I not playing favorites, the more competitive and heated the primary got, the harder D.N.C. staff worked to be scrupulously fair and beyond reproach. In all the months the Russians monitored the D.N.C.’s email, they found just a handful of inappropriate emails, with no sign of anyone taking action to disadvantage the Sanders campaign.”
Emails from the Clinton campaign were released to the public via Wikileaks last October after campaign Chairman John Podesta’s private email account had been compromised. The trove of internal emails included a forwarded CNN town hall question from Brazile to the Clinton camp prior the March primary debate.
Brazile told Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri in one email the night before the March 6 CNN Democratic primary debate in Michigan, “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.”
“Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint,” Brazile wrote.
The night of the debate a similar question was asked of Clinton and her primary opponent Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders.
A subsequent March 12 email forwarded from Brazile to Palmieri noted that a question about the death penalty would be asked at a town hall the following day. “From time to time I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote. After Palmieri replied and Brazile wrote back: “I’ll send a few more.”
However, Brazile denied she ever forwarded the debate questions, often pivoting away from the question saying that she did not want to give any verification to the emails that were reportedly hacked by the Russians.
“I have not opened up any of the Wikileaks. I am not going to open up anything postmarked from Russia. I’m not John Podesta. John Podesta was on today to talk about it,” Brazile told The Daily Caller on October 9.
Ten days later Brazile snapped at Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly about the issue saying, “As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted,” Brazile said. “Your information is totally false.”
CNN later cut ties with Brazile following the fallout.