Donna Brazile Keeps Insisting the Democratic Primary Wasn't Rigged After She Wrote It Was Rigged

November 7, 2017

Donna Brazile has repeatedly walked back or outright refuted her own written claim that the Democratic primary was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton as she promotes Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.

The former interim Democratic National Committee chair wrote she had found proof last year of a "rigged" primary in favor of Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), but she now denies that was the case, or even that she wrote the word "rigged" at all (she did).

Brazile became interim chair of the DNC last summer after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was ousted, and she wrote she was handed an organization riddled with debt and dysfunction.

Politico printed an excerpt of the book last week in which Brazile wrote she had found "solid proof" of her "suspicions" that "Hillary Clinton's team had rigged the nomination process."

However, in a Tuesday interview on "CBS This Morning", Brazile sounded quite different.

"Was it a fair fight between [Secretary] Clinton and Bernie Sanders?" Norah O'Donnell asked.

"I believe so," Brazile said. "Look, we had five candidates in the race. Hillary Clinton, no question about it, ran a very strong campaign. She had resources in the states that mattered, especially those early states ... She went on to win more votes than Senator Sanders."

She went on to say she found "no evidence" that the party "rigged the process."

"But your book does not seem to suggest that you think it was a fair fight," host Gayle King said, saying she was surprised to hear her describe it that way in her earlier answer.

Indeed, Brazile's spoken words appear to directly contradict what she wrote in the book:

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would 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. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.


By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

The proof, Brazile wrote, came in the form of a joint fundraising agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America. It was signed in August of 2015, months before any primary vote was cast, and it, in Brazile's own words, meant "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 suggested the agreement was a form of "internal corruption" at the DNC:

I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.

The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.

"It doesn't seem like you think it was a fair fight, Donna," King said.

King pointed out Brazile's own description of calling Sanders to inform him of the agreement, which she called a "cancer." In the book, Brazile described being in agony over the call and crying angrily afterward.

"I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee," she wrote.

But on Tuesday, Brazile said, "it is a fair fight," saying the memorandum outlining the agreement simply hamstrung her spending abilities as the DNC chair.

The release of Brazile's book exerpt led prominent Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) last week to agree the process was "rigged."

Strangely, Brazile said Warren was wrong to use that word when asked Sunday about the comment on ABC's "This Week," the Free Beacon reported.

"I don't think she meant the word ‘rigged,'" Brazile said.

Brazile then described making a call to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) after she made sure there was "no rigging of the process."

"I found no evidence. None whatsoever," Brazile added. "The only thing I found … was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operations."

Tuesday on ABC's "The View," Brazile took things a step further and claimed she had never even used the word "rigged" in the book, although she clearly did.

"First of all, I never used the word ‘rigged' in my book," Brazile said. "I used the word ‘cancer,' in that I was uncomfortable with the cancer that I found when I became chair."