Perez on Suggestion Democratic Party Played Favorites in 2016: ‘The DNC Fell Short During Critical Moments’

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Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez suggested Sunday that charges the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016 were true, saying "we have to do better" and the DNC "fell short during critical moments" of the primary.

Although she has since walked back her words, former interim chair Donna Brazile's new explosive memoir charges that a secret fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC in 2016 gave Clinton control over its staffing and finances before the primary had even started. She wrote it was "solid proof" to her regarding whether "Hillary Clinton's team had rigged the nomination process."

This week, top Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and former DNC vice-chair Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) said the Democratic primary was rigged.

Warren told Chuck Todd on Friday that Perez was being "tested" as the DNC seeks to enact reforms and unify the party, and Perez's own vice chair Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) said Brazile's account could not be dismissed.

"How are you going to restore trust with Sanders supporters that the DNC is going to be a … fair arbiter?" Todd asked on "Meet The Press."

Perez said he accepted the test and knew the party needed to up its game, but he dismissed the idea of a "rigged" contest, pointing out Clinton won four million more votes than Sanders in the primary.

"Those [primaries] were run by the states. We run caucuses, and Bernie Sanders did very well in the caucuses," Perez said. "Where I think both Senator Warren and Keith Ellison and myself, where we agree, is we have to earn the trust of the voters, and during the process of the Democratic primary, we fell short in that, undeniably."

Perez announced future reforms like announcing the debate schedule before the candidates were known and encouraging greater transparency in fundraising agreements.

Todd asked Perez if the DNC owed the Sanders campaign an investigation over her allegations.

"I totally agree, Chuck, with the notion that the DNC fell short during critical moments of the primary," Perez said.

"So they did play favorites?" Todd asked.

"We have to do better is what we have to do, Chuck, and that's why I was very clear  … during the campaign for DNC chair that we have to make sure that everybody feels at the end of the process that everyone got a fair shake," Perez said. "That's what we're about, Chuck, and that's what we have to do. That's how we earn people's trust."

Among other revelations in the book was that Brazile said she considered seeking to replace Clinton with Joe Biden as the nominee after Clinton's fainting spell last year.

The saga has poured salt into old wounds in the party, as Sanders staffers have claimed vindication that the fix was in for Clinton, while Clinton staffers have sharply criticized Brazile for hurting the party and buying into Russian propaganda about her poor health.

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