CNN announced Monday that it had severed ties with acting Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile in the wake of leaked emails showing that she shared questions for CNN-sponsored candidate events with friends on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor,” said Lauren Pratapas, a network spokeswoman.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told supporters Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that the episode during the Democratic primary was fresh evidence that the media have rigged the election system in favor of Mrs. Clinton.
“Speaking of draining the swamp, Donna Brazile did it again,” Mr. Trump said. “WikiLeaks today, she gave the questions to a debate to Hillary Clinton. And that was from a couple of weeks ago. Happened again, but this time far worse. She gave the questions to a debate to Hillary Clinton.”
CNN said it had accepted Ms. Brazile’s resignation as an on-air political analyst on Oct. 14.
She temporarily left CNN in July when she became interim chairwoman of the DNC, after a series of hacked emails from party headquarters suggested that officials sided with Mrs. Clinton heavily in her primary battle against Sen. Bernard Sanders.
Those revelations forced the resignation in July of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, an embarrassment for the party just as the Democratic National Convention was opening in Philadelphia.
Now, newly published emails that were stolen from the personal account of John Podesta show that Ms. Brazile shared questions for Mrs. Clinton more than once with campaign officials as they prepared for events televised on CNN.
Emails published by WikiLeaks on Monday revealed a note from Ms. Brazile sent March 5 — a day before a CNN-sponsored debate in Flint, Michigan — with this subject line: “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,” Ms. Brazile wrote to Mr. Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, and Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director.
At the debate the next night, two women asked such questions of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders.
Ms. Brazile wrote that she was getting questions in advance from Roland Martin, another CNN contributor and pundit. “I’ll send a few more. Though some questions Roland submitted,” she wrote in one email.
Ms. Pratapas said CNN “never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate.”
On Twitter on Monday, Ms. Brazile wrote: “Thank you @CNN. Honored to be a Democratic Strategist and commentator on the network. Godspeed to all my former colleagues.”
She earlier denied that CNN gave her access to questions.
The White House praised Ms. Brazile on Monday for doing “a fine job” as acting DNC head, despite the controversy.
“The president believes that she’s done a fine job stepping in in a very difficult situation to lead the Democratic Party,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
Mr. Earnest said he didn’t believe Ms. Brazile was a “leader” of the DNC at the time of the primary debates. But Ms. Brazile was serving as vice chairwoman of the DNC at the time she was sharing the questions from CNN with the Clinton campaign.
“Those of us who’ve known Donna a long time, know that she is a person of integrity and a person of high character,” Mr. Earnest said. “She’s a true professional who is a tenacious and effective advocate for Democrats. And she uses that skill regularly on television. She has been using that skill regularly as a party official. And you know I, for one, am pretty excited about the fact that we’ve got her on our team.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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