- Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, appeared to tip off Hillary Clinton’s campaign about a question in advance of a CNN Democratic primary debate in March, hacked emails published by WikiLeaks on Monday suggested.
“One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash,” Brazile emailed John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director.
Brazile added: “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint.”
That exact question was not asked the next night at the debate in Flint, Michigan. But Mikki Wade, a public-housing program manager who subsequently said in an interview that her son had developed a rash from the contaminated water, asked Clinton about the situation with the water in Flint.
“If elected president, what course will you take to regain my trust in government?” Wade asked.
In October, another WikiLeaks email suggested that Brazile leaked a question to Clinton in advance of a CNN town-hall event in Ohio.
Brazile denied doing so, but an email later showed she had access to the exact wording of a question from TV One moderator Roland Martin. CNN suggested Brazile had perhaps obtained the question from Martin.
“I’ll send a few more,” Brazile said in an email at the time. “Though some questions Roland submitted.”
At the time of the debate and town hall, Brazile was a CNN contributor and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas said in a statement provided to Business Insider that the network “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,” Pratapas said, adding that the network had severed ties with her on October 14.
A CNN employee told Business Insider that it was possible Brazile obtained the question directly from the individual at a community service event held the day before the debate. The CNN employee said he saw Brazile strike up a conversation with a Flint resident who showed her a rash and said she wanted to ask Clinton about the issue facing Flint.
A representative for the DNC did not respond to a request for comment.
Brazile later replaced Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chair of the DNC on an interim basis following revelations from WikiLeaks over the summer that the Democratic Party apparatus thought about ways to tip the scales against Clinton’s biggest primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.