Tucker Carlson to Donna Brazile on Debate-Question Leaks: ‘Greatest Spin Ever’
Former interim DNC chair insists CNN didn't give her the wording she passed to Clinton, but won't say who did
Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, leaked questions to Hillary Clinton during the presidential primaries in 2016, but she is still very good at spinning the error.
During “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, Brazile was confronted by Carlson about the leak of debate questions to Clinton, an unfair advantage Brazile didn’t give to Bernie Sanders.
Carlson asked if CNN knew Brazile leaked the question to Clinton.
"I said last year that CNN never provided us with any questions," said Brazile. "CNN never gave us anything in advance. What I did say, what I have said in the past, and what I say in this book, is that as an officer of the DNC — and I know WikiLeaks gave everybody certain questions in certain emails — but as an officer of the DNC, I sought to expand the number of debates. And I wanted to make sure that we had diverse voices, and we covered issues that had not been discussed in previous debates … What I sought to do, Tucker, was to ensure that we had these issues on the table ... and I didn't want [our candidates] blindsided. That's what I admitted to."
It was a classic Brazile riff on an issue that got her suspended from CNN. During a debate before the Ohio Democratic presidential primary in 2016, Brazile used her role as a contributor at CNN to hand the Clinton campaign a question well before the debate.
No one would have known had WikiLeaks not leaked a trove of emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in October 2016. The emails indicated Brazile conspired with Podesta and others to get a question to Clinton before her debate with Sanders.
Her story regarding leaked questions surprised Carlson, who laughed out loud.
"That's the greatest spin I have ever heard," he said. "That's so good. You should do this for a living."
After leaked emails damaged Democratic officials in the summer of 2016, Brazile was made DNC chair.
In other comments, Brazile said that when Hillary Clinton took sick during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign, Brazile wanted to stick a needle in her. And a fork.
Brazile thought Clinton was too sick to continue, and admits as much in her new book. In fact, Brazile said she wanted to get Clinton off the ticket by late September, and replace her with then-Vice President Joe Biden.
"It was reported ... to me that she had fainted," said Brazile. "I immediately called up to Brooklyn and I tried to reach people to find out if this was a rumor ... I saw the video. When the video went viral, you can imagine what was happening within the Democratic Party, what was happening inside of the inner circle."
Carlson noted the Democratic National Committee said Clinton was fine, something Brazile now says was not entirely true. But when facing Carlson, Brazile played down what she wrote, and said all she did was recommend putting acupuncture needles to Clinton.
But Brazile said in her new book, "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House," that she considered replacing the ailing Clinton with Biden.
There seemed to be a lot Brazile wrote in the book that she did not want to discuss with Carlson on Wednesday night.
For one, that Clinton's top campaign managers were sexist, and biased against Brazile's advice. The Clinton presidential campaign was chaired by John Podesta, and managed by Robby Mook.
On Wednesday night, Brazile played down her book's charges, saying she and Mook had "generational" differences. But Brazile did say Mook often talked down to her and ignored her warnings that Republican Donald Trump's populist pitches were working.
Mook also preferred algorithms and computer campaigning over direct personal contact, Brazile said.
For Brazile, it was typical behavior. During the late stage of the 2016 campaign, after WikiLeaks exposed the fact that she leaked CNN's debate questions to Clinton during the Democratic primary, Brazile engaged in double talk with Fox News' Megyn Kelly, complaining her emails were stolen.
"I did not receive any questions from CNN," said Brazile. "As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted. Your information is totally false."
Media critics were not impressed by Brazile's downplaying of sharp comments aimed at fellow Democrats in her book, as she sought to avoid tough questions from Carlson.
"Net-net of Donna Brazile's interview with Tucker Carlson so far: She's downplaying and backing off her own comments from her book in trying to have it both ways," tweeted Joe Concha, media critic at The Hill. "This is like watching a Floyd Mayweather fight with all the sticking and moving."