Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea that the Democratic primary was rigged for her in her 2016 election memoir What Happened, which has been praised by numerous reviewers as a "candid" examination of her run for the White House.
Yet then-interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile charges in her new book that she found "solid proof" Clinton's team "rigged the nomination process" in the form of a secret, joint fundraising agreement with the DNC struck in the summer of 2015, months before a single primary vote was cast.
The agreement between the DNC, Hillary for America, and the Hillary Victory Fund (the Clinton campaign's joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) "specified 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," according to Brazile.
In addition, "the DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings."
Clinton threw a nota bene into the author's note of What Happened, writing, "This isn't a comprehensive account of the 2016 race. That's not for me to write—I have too little distance and too great a stake in it."
Indeed, the account was not comprehensive, as she shrugs off charges from Sanders supporters on page 339 who felt the primaries were rigged in her favor.
"On July 22, WikiLeaks published about twenty thousand stolen DNC emails," she writes. "It highlighted a handful of messages that included offensive comments about Bernie Sanders, which predictably set off a firestorm among Bernie's supporters, many of whom were still angry about having lost the primaries. But nothing in the stolen emails remotely backed up the charge that the primaries had been rigged. Nearly all of the offending messages were written in May, months after I had amassed an insurmountable vote and delegate lead."
In her writings about the DNC, Clinton does not mention any secret agreement with the organization in 2015. She delves into the suspected Russian hacking attack on the DNC computers, as well as WikiLeaks' publication of the stolen DNC emails.
Clinton does not have kind words for the "insurgent" Sanders in her book, hitting him for having unrealistic, far-left policies, for his supposedly sexist supporters, and for his disruption of the Democratic Party.
Brazile's revelation set off a firestorm in the Democratic Party this week, with top Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and former DNC vice chair Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) agreeing the primary was rigged for Clinton.
Clinton writes in her book, however, that she was done putting up a mask to the public.
"In the past, I've often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I'm letting down my guard," she writes.
Clinton's readers in the media ran with that narrative in their book reviews, with several praising Clinton's candor and openness.
Clinton "unsparingly details two surreal years of campaigning and the first disorienting months that came next in a new memoir," People wrote.
"It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump," the New York Times' Jennifer Senior wrote.
The Associated Press opened its review by calling the work "candid and pointed," the Washington Post‘s David Weigel wrote it was "raw and bracing," and the Globe and Mail called it a "candid, searching memoir, both furious and funny."
Not all the reviews were friendly, of course. The Telegraph said parts of the book revealed Clinton's "entitled status," the Los Angeles Times said she "doesn't really" let down her guard, and the Guardian ripped her for being "unreflective."
NPR may have been most onto something when it acknowledged, "It's not newsy. There isn't much here in the way of dirt, unless you count revelations on the level of Bill Clinton's love for NCIS: Los Angeles."