Democratic National Committee interim Chair Donna Brazile sent information to a top Clinton campaign official about an upcoming question she got “in advance” one day before a very similar question was asked at a CNN Town Hall, according to hacked emails published by WikiLeaks.
On March 12, Brazile — who at the time was DNC vice chair and a CNN and ABC contributor — wrote Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri an email that “From time to time, I get the questions in advance.”
“Here’s one that worries me about HRC,” Brazile wrote.
“DEATH PENALTY 19 states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. 31 states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the U.S. That’s 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Should Ohio and the 30 other states join the current list and abolish the death penalty?”
Palmieri wrote back to Brazile: “Yes, it is one she gets asked about. Not everyone likes her answer but can share it,” before instructing another staff member to send the campaign’s answer.
On March 13, Clinton faced a very similar question at a town hall in Ohio, according to a transcript of the event.
“Secretary Clinton, since 1976, we have executed 1,414 people in this country. Since 1973, 156 who were convicted have been exonerated from the death row. This gentleman here is one of them. This is Ricky Jackson, wrongfully convicted of murder in 1975, he spent 39 years in prison. He is undecided. Ricky, what is your question?” said TV One’s Roland Martin, who co-moderated the town hall with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, before introducing questioner Ricky Jackson.
“As stated, I did spend 39 years of my life in prison for a crime of murder I did not commit, and it was only through heroic efforts of the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati that I was ultimately exonerated and am able to stand before you today,” Jackson said. “I came perilously close to my own execution, and in light of that, what I have just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know how can you still take your stance on the death penalty in light of what we know right now.”
Clinton answered, in part, that she “would breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states, themselves, began to eliminate the death penalty,” adding that “given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction for very limited purposes, I think that it can still be held in reserve for those.”
Brazile, however, is denying that she notified the Clinton campaign of a proposed question. “As a longtime political activist with deep ties to our party, I supported all of our candidates for president. I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are simply untrue. As it pertains to the CNN Debates, I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did,” Brazile said in a statement.
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SOURCE: Politico, Hadas Gold