One day before a CNN/TV One town hall in March, current DNC chair and then-CNN contributor Donna Brazile sent an email to Hillary Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri with the subject line, “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”
In the message, which is included in the trove of hacked emails published by WikiLeaks, Brazile wrote, “Here’s one that worries me about HRC” and went on to include a question about the abolition of the death penalty. Palmieri replied, asking another staffer to send Brazile Clinton’s answer to the question.
The next night, at the town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton was asked a question about the death penalty by Ricky Jackson, who was sentenced to death in 1975 for a murder he didn’t commit.
CNN and Brazile have denied the suggestion that she was feeding the Clinton campaign info about what would be asked at the town hall. A spokeswoman for CNN told Politico, “To be perfectly clear we have never, ever given a town hall question to anyone beforehand.” Roland Martin of TV One, who asked Jackson’s question at the town hall, also told Politico that he never shared any of his questions with anyone. “My executive producer wasn’t even aware of what I was going to ask,” he said.
Brazile also denied that she was tipping off the Clinton campaign. In a statement, she said she had no access to any questions being asked at the town hall and wouldn’t have shared them if she did. The email was sent in advance of a panel that Brazile herself was set to appear on, a DNC source told Business Insider, presumably so she could allow Clinton’s answer to inform her own.
Either way, even the appearance of collusion with CNN is not good for the Clinton campaign, which is still trying to entice those Bernie Sanders voters who haven’t yet followed him into camp Clinton. This won’t help her win them over, but it might help Jill Stein. At least that’s what the person who runs the Green Party’s Twitter account seems to think.