Jake Tapper Says DNC Chair’s Leak To Clinton Campaign Is ‘Very, Very Troubling’
CNN anchor Jake Tapper blasted interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile and TV One host Roland Martin on Thursday for their apparent involvement in leaking a Democratic town hall question to the Clinton campaign in March.
“It’s very, very troubling,” Tapper told WMAL hosts Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson in an interview.
The leak was revealed in a batch of emails stolen from the Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and released by Wikileaks on Tuesday.
“Sometimes I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote to Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri in the March 12 email. (RELATED: Donna Brazile Shared CNN Town Hall Questions With Clinton Campaign)
Brazile was a CNN contributor and DNC vice chair at the time of the leak. She took over as interim head of the party in July after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign because of anti-Bernie Sanders comments revealed in another email hack. She insisted all through the Democratic primaries that she was neutral between Clinton and Sanders.
In her email to Palmieri, Brazile shared a question about the death penalty. And in the town hall the next night, TV One host Roland Martin, who partnered with CNN for the event, asked it of Clinton.
“It’s horrifying,” Tapper said of the scandal. “Journalistically it’s horrifying and I’m sure it will have an impact on partnering with this organization in the future.”
He said that he believes the incident will have “some impact on Donna Brazile” as well.
Brazile has denied any wrongdoing. But she has also refused to provide details about how the question she forwarded to Palmieri came to be asked in the town hall.
Asked by The Daily Caller on Tuesday if she leaked the question to the Clinton campaign, Brazile responded, “what a stretch.”
CNN issued a complete denial that anyone from the network leaked the question to Brazile. Tapper reiterated that assertion.
“We were so closely guarding our documents…they weren’t emailed around,” he told O’Connor and Wilson.
DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach has refused to respond to several requests for clarification.
On Wednesday, Politico obtained a copy of an email containing three questions that Martin sent to CNN producers before the town hall. One of the questions matched verbatim the one Brazile sent to Palmieri.
Martin initially told Politico that he did not “share my questions with anybody.”
“Literally. My executive producer wasn’t even aware of what I was going to ask,” he said.
But in an interview with the website the next day, Martin said that he did not recall consulting with Brazile before the town hall.
“As far as consultation, I don’t believe I did,” he said. “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.”
In his interview, Tapper, who said that he has “tremendous regard” for Brazile, called the leak “completely unethical.”
“People at CNN take this very, very seriously and to have somebody who does not take it seriously and to have us partner with that person and then they do something completely unethical and share it with Donna Brazile who then shares it with the Clinton campaign — it’s horrifying and very, very upsetting and I can’t condemn it any more than…I condemn it in no uncertain terms, it’s awful,” he said.