Among the e-mails released on October 10 by the WikiLeaks media organization were several indicating that the Clinton campaign exercised veto power over the content of a New York Times report — and that a CNBC reporter offered advice to the Clinton campaign.
In July 2015, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich e-mailed the Clinton campaign’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, portions of an interview he did with Clinton, asking for her approval of the “option to use the following” portions.
Palmieri requested that he cut a reference Clinton made to Sarah Palin and another about gay rights.
During her interview with Leibovich, Clinton talked about having eaten “moose stew” and joked about Palin, “So that’s why I always got a big kick out of Sarah Palin with all of her, ‘We’re cooking up some moose stew here.’ [Laughter.]” Clinton then went on to speculate about what’s more dangerous, a “mother grizzly” or a “mother moose.” (Palin had first used the term “mama grizzly” to refer to herself before her son’s imminent deployment to the Iraq War zone, when she said, “This mama grizzly ... has more reason than ever to protect our young.”)
Palmieri granted Leibovich approval to use “the moose” reference under the condition that he would leave out the reference to Palin.
She also told him: “From last two questions, fine to use everything from the paragraph starting, ‘and to get serious for just a minute…’ till the end of the interview as on the record — with the exception of this passage which I ask you leave out: ‘and gay rights has moved much faster than women’s rights or civil rights, which is an interesting phenomenon somebody in the future will unpack.’ ”
Before replying to Leibovich's request, however, Palmieri had to check with the boss. She e-mailed the journalist: “My apologies for the delay. I finally had to get her in person.”
Palmieri ended one e-mail to Leibovich: “Pleasure doing business!”
Two months earlier, on May 8, 2015, an e-mail from CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent John Harwood to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta not only requested an interview but also offered advice for the Clinton campaign. Harwood sent Podesta an e-mail with the subject line “Watch out,” warning him about potential problems from then-presidential candidate Ben Carson.
“Ben Carson could give you real trouble in a general [election],” Harwood wrote. The reporter included links to video clips of an interview he did with Dr. Carson, who withdrew from the presidential race on March 4.
An October 11 report in LifeZette noted that Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the Times, defended the arrangement that Leibovich had with the Clinton campaign. “We were transparent with our readers and disclosed the arrangement in the story,” she wrote in an e-mail.
The WikiLeaks release also revealed that Donna Brazile, who is now the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and was a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN’s The Situation Room, tipped off the Clinton campaign on a question that Hillary would receive in a town hall.
“From time to time I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote to Jennifer Palmieri on March 12, 2016.
Brazile added, “Here’s one that worries me about [Hillary],” and provided Palmieri with a question about the death penalty. The next day Hillary was asked about her stance on the death penalty during a CNN town hall.
When the Daily Caller asked CNN if they ever shared town hall questions with Brazile and if they had any comment about the charge that Brazile shared questions with the Clinton campaign the network did not respond.
Brazile, however, is denying that she notified the Clinton campaign of a proposed question. “As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did,” Brazile said in a statement reported by Politico.
In her statement, Brazile asserted that the intelligence community has discovered that the Russian government is responsible for cyberattacks “aimed at interfering with our election, and that WIkiLeaks is part of that effort.”
“This revelation should deeply trouble all Americans in both parties. And yet, Donald Trump continues to deny that Russia is behind these attempts to meddle with our electoral process and cheer on these efforts to undermine our democracy,” Brazile said.
Politco reported that TV One’s Roland Martin, who co-moderated the town hall where Clinton appeared with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, said in an interview that he never shared his questions with anyone and that CNN had a lockdown on the questions to be asked, refusing to share them even via e-mail.
“I don’t share my questions with anybody. Literally. My executive producer wasn’t even aware of what I was going to ask,” Martin said.
However, Martin changed his statement in a follow-up conversation a few hours later, saying that he did send his questions to CNN via his producer and his TV One team. “I shared my questions with my executive producer, she was the one who sent my questions to the folks with CNN,” Politico quoted Martin.
The recent disclosures from WikiLeaks have contained much evidence that is damning to the Clinton campaign. However, the technique that Clinton and her defenders in the media have chosen to use to blunt these revelations is to “shoot the messenger.” Their charge that the WikiLeaks media organization and its founder, Julian Assange, are part of a conspiracy controlled by the Russians is the best defense that they can come up with.
As Joe Wolverton noted in a recent article posted by The New American, “In the wake of an imminent WikiLeaks cascade of inside information, Clinton will not be the victim of a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’ but she will drown in a deluge of deceit precipitated by her own perfidy."