Brazile Pushes Back Against Her Own Claims Democratic Primary Was 'Rigged' for Clinton

November 8, 2017

Donna Brazile, former interim Democratic National Committee chair, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday to discuss her book and push back against her own claims that the 2016 Democratic primary was "rigged" for Hillary Clinton.

Brazile has spent the last few days repeatedly walking back or outright refuting her own written claims that the Democratic primary process was rigged in favor of Clinton while promoting her newly released book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House. 

Politico Magazine printed an excerpt of Brazile's book last week where she wrote she found "solid proof" of her "suspicions" that "Hillary Clinton's team had rigged the nomination process." She went on to criticize her predecessor at the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), saying she was "not a good manager."

Brazile attempted to change the narrative about what she wrote about in her book with "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist, but he challenged her waffling, reading out loud what Brazile originally wrote about the Democratic primary being rigged against Clinton's opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

"Donna, in the Politico piece, do you regret using the word 'rigged?' It's a very loaded term," Geist said. "It suggests that the process was weighted towards one candidate or the other."

Brazile said she learned the "hard way" that you cannot read an excerpt without the context. She mentioned how she had to use Twitter to push back against people who claimed she said the Democratic primary process was "rigged." Geist cited the Politico piece, pointing out how she called Sanders about finding "her proof" of process being "rigged."

Brazile pushed back against the notion, and even read the excerpt from her book, which clearly contradicted the new narrative she was attempting to purport. She claimed there was proof of "cancer" at the DNC, not that the process was "rigged."

Later in the interview, Geist mentioned the Clinton campaign has said the joint financial agreement between the campaign and DNC was meant for the general election, not the primary election, and that it wouldn't have rigged the primary election. He asked Brazile to clarify whether this was true.

"Amy [Dacey] and the staff of the Democratic party made sure none of those resources went for primary purposes and I also checked on that," Brazile said. "You understand ... what did I have to lose at this point? I had already been beaten with the hacking, so all I wanted to do was to get to the bottom because I wanted to convince Bernie."

Geist follow up again to "get to the core" of Brazile's criticism of the Clinton campaign during the Democratic primary, by reiterating his question about the financial agreement.

Brazile clarified that it was a "critique," and said she found that, before Clinton was the party nominee, the DNC had already begun the general process and made investments in technology, research, and communications.

"The paper said the general election. What I found was that they had already started to make investments in technology, in research, and communications," Brazile said. "By hiring consultants to start doing that, by beginning the general election process before [the] nominee is chosen, I found that unacceptable. And in the book, I used the word 'unethical.'"

Geist asked whether this put Sanders at a disadvantage in the Democratic primary.

"I believe it put the Democratic process under the spotlight, so whether you're Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chaffe, or Jim Webb, that's not fair. But Hillary bailed the campaign out. The political party, the DNC, was broke," Brazile said.

The former DNC chair went on to suggest the Democratic primary was a "fair fight" between Clinton and Sanders until co-host Mika Brzezinski interjected, saying "no, it wasn't." Brzezinski argued she was saying even at the time, while the primary process was being carried out, that it wasn't a fair fight.

"Donna, I think the arrogance the [Clinton] campaign showed you, is the arrogance the campaign– it was the way they conducted themselves throughout the entire process," Brzezinski said.

Brazile made similar claims in a CBS interview on Tuesday and ABC interview on Sunday, walking back what she wrote in her book.