Former interim DNC chair and CNN commentator, who resigned from CNN after leaking debate questions to Hillary Clinton, has more or less been eluding that the Clinton campaign rigged the nomination process. Now on Sunday, she has dialed back by clarifying that having concluded an investigation she has “no evidence, none whatsoever” to support that Clinton had “rigged” the primaries. Throwing another wrench into the narrative, new excerpts from her book show that she had considered the idea of replacing Clinton with Biden as the nominee at the last minute. While that was just musing, since she didn’t have that power, what has started out as a clear-cut story of morals and manipulation of power is veering off-message.
On Thursday, Politico ran an excerpt from Brazile’s book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, at turns somewhat self-contradictory and conveniently omitting her own wrongdoing, in which she paints herself as a lone truth-seeker powerless against DNC insiders. She explicitly states that she set out as interim DNC chair to “get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested.”
Her story claims that the debt-burdened DNC was “dependent on [Clinton’s] campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.”
Specifically she names a “Joint Fundraising Agreement” between party leaders and Clinton dictating that:
...in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
She all but stated that the campaign controlled the DNC:
How much control Brooklyn [Clinton campaign headquarters] had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.
By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.
She recounted the content of that phone call to Bernie Sanders:
“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,” I said. “But I will not kill the patient.”
If Brazile’s narrative about the Clinton camp is true, then she did uncover unethical manipulation of the party. But “the cancer,” she clarified today to ABC, was just the “memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operations” which doesn’t qualify as proof that the campaign was “rigged”–or at least not specifically that word.
The Washington Post, which has obtained a copy of the book, ran more highlights yesterday, including that she had considered replacing Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as nominees with Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Senator Cory Booker at the last minute, after Clinton nearly fainted on September 11, 2016. Again, she wouldn’t have had the authority to make that decision but–that is nuts. The Post paraphrases from the book:
After Clinton’s fainting spell, some Democratic insiders were abuzz with talk of replacing her — and Brazile says she was giving it considerable thought.
“Again and again I thought about Joe Biden,” Brazile writes. But, she adds, “No matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her.”
On Saturday, over 200 former Clinton campaign staffers published an open letter responding to “that threat to replace her”:
We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.
They added that they “do not recognize the campaign [Brazile] portrays in the book.”
Brazile has vowed to go ahead with her story, and naysayers can “go to hell.”