Former Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver ripped the "egregious" conduct of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday after former interim chair Donna Brazile revealed what she said was "solid proof" of a rigged 2016 primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.
During an interview with CNN, Weaver added there was "no doubt" Sanders would have defeated Donald Trump if he had won the primary. He did not, however, say Sanders would necessarily have won the primary if the process had been fair.
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Brazile write in her new book that she inherited a DNC badly in debt when she took over as interim chair in 2016, and she discovered a Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America that horrified her:
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.
I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn [Clinton's headquarters]. Well, here was the answer.
The agreement was signed in August of 2015, nearly a year before Clinton accepted the nomination and well before a single primary vote had been cast.
The story reopens old wounds for the Democratic Party, which spilled out last summer in ugly scenes at the Democratic National Convention. After hacked emails revealed favoritism shown by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) and other party higher-ups for Clinton, Schultz was forced to step down as chair.
Even before that, Sanders, Weaver and other members of the campaign repeatedly criticized Schultz and the DNC for their conduct during the primary process, with Sanders explicitly charging the DNC with being in opposition to his campaign.
Weaver tried to sound a note of unity, saying it was important to "move forward" and adopt reforms to open up the primary process in order to put the party in position to beat Donald Trump in 2020.
He praised Brazile for making her revelations, saying she was courageous and may have fallen off the "Christmas card list of a number of people."
He added it was "impossible to know" whether Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination if the process had been clean, but he listed off his grievances with the committee.
"There was time after time when the DNC interfered in the process," he said. "The debate schedule was rigged, the number of debates and when they were. That was certainly rigged. These joint fundraising agreements were improper."
He added: "Had the election been different, if Bernie Sanders had won the primary … there is no doubt that he would have defeated Donald Trump."
Asked if he wanted Clinton to apologize to Sanders, Weaver hedged while host Brooke Baldwin tried to demand a yes or no answer.
"I'm not going to live in the past. This is not about apologies. This is about reform," he said. "We will get unity through reform."
Baldwin said she was surprised Weaver did not sound angrier after he gave so much effort to Sanders' insurgent campaign, which was far more successful than prognosticators expected.
"Oh, I'm angry, Brooke," he said. "There's no doubt that I'm angry. But ultimately, at the end of the day, you have to love the country more than you love engaging in whatever personal slight's been leveled against you. The behavior the DNC engaged in was egregious, undemocratic and it can't be allowed to happen again."
He cautioned, however, that the country should not be left in the "clutches" of the Trump administration.
When Baldwin mentioned that Clinton declined to comment, and other Clinton campaign members didn't respond to CNN's calls for comment, Weaver sarcastically said it was "shocking."