Tuesday on ABC’s The View, former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile was in the hot seat to answer questions about the recent allegations she made in her new book about the 2016 election. The liberal hosts were able to grill Brazile on claims she made in the memoir that conservative media seized on, because they put Democrats and the Clinton campaign in a negative light. But as soon as host Meghan McCain tried to ask Brazile about the DNC paying for the infamous Russian dossier, hosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin interrupted to answer the question themselves, and followed up with questions trying to contest the conservative host’s claims.
As soon as Brazile sat down at the table, the hosts got their chance to confront Brazile on her new book’s claims about the DNC, which they lamented were “being used against the party.”
Host Whoopi Goldberg started off by stating, “You do know that this book is being used against the party, against everybody. So you know, people are upset and you know, you understand.” She continued, asking Brazile to explain how she could let her book be used by the right as a talking point against Democrats:
“So explain why you didn't realize people would take the idea of Hillary bailing out the party years before-- or whenever she did it-- as something that was bad and robbed Bernie of his ability to be president. I mean, that's how -- that's the message that's being put out. In your name,” she stated.
Brazile denied she ever said the primary was “rigged” in the book, (even though printed excerpts from the book reveal she did use that word) but instead said she was “uncomfortable” with how deeply in debt the party was. She rambled on, seeming to change topics, blaming the Russian hacking, and defending her position as a Democrat:
But what I wanted was to fight back. I knew Donald Trump was doing more than just trying to rattle African-Americans. We had been hacked so I knew he was playing a game and I wanted to respond. And I had to respond with a column. I wanted to respond with ads. I wanted to respond with posters. I wanted to respond with more activity across the country. That's what I tried to do and that's why I said, Bernie, guess what, I found the cancer. I'm not killing the patient. I'm not killing my party because my party was more than elected the president. It was the United States senate, the congress, and let me just say there were things on the ballot that people probably didn't see. I saw Obamacare, I saw climate change. I saw a kid growing up in poverty like myself who wanted a White House and a president who would care for them and that was Hillary Clinton. I wanted to win. I didn't want to sit there and be a figure head. Y'all don't think I'm a figure head.
Host Meghan McCain tried to get Brazile to get back to the topic at hand, by first correcting Brazile’s misdirection at the Russian hacking. “But you’re highly critical of the campaign in this, and I think there’s an impression among some Democrats that it was only the hacking, only James Comey,” she posed.
Brazile lamely responded that there was a lack of “passion” in the Clinton campaign, bizarrely citing the lack of sex among staffers as evidence of that.
Host Sunny Hostin again attempted to get Brazile to give a straightforward answer as to why she claimed in her book that the primary was unfair to Bernie Sanders. Again, Brazile gave a long rambling answer that didn’t really address the question, saying she was upset about not being able to spend money as she wished on the campaign, because they were so in debt as a party. About the Clinton campaign she said, “I'm not mad at them. I was disappointed. I said I need $8 million to fight Donald Trump.”
After that host Joy Behar clearly had enough, bluntly confronting Brazile again with more force, saying Democrats were now “mad” at her for “throwing them under the bus:”
“[Y]ou threw a lot of people under the bus. The DNC is mad at you, Robby Mook is mad. Maybe even Hillary might be mad. I'm not sure about Hillary. I saw Mook, he's upset. But here's the question I have for you and I wanted to ask you, why the timing of the book? Today is election day, why are you giving red meat to Trump's side? Why not have it next week?” she asked.
Brazile defended the launch date, referencing Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s memoirs that were released recently as well.
“I wasn't writing to make someone upset. Look, I cried enough for everybody. I apologized enough for everybody. I wanted to prevent this hacking from happening again and I want to see the democratic party a stronger party, more effective party but I also want to make sure that our country is never attacked again,” she stated.
After commercial break, Hostin asked Brazile “why” she apologized for sending debate questions on to the Clinton camp.
“I was surprised that you apologized for it, but in the book you seemed to doubt that you really did that, so I would like you to set the record straight. Did you pass on the debate questions or not?” she asked.
Brazile explained that she apologized because she couldn’t locate the original e-mail through her own server or the recipients, and so she couldn’t defend herself against the leaked accusations. So she apologized because she “could not explain it.” But she went on to confirm she did pass on questions, saying “I was trying to respond to the Black Lives Matter… I was trying to get more debate questions pertaining to 'people of color' and yes, I wanted to have diversity,” she confirmed.
That’s when host Meghan McCain asked Brazile about the Clinton funded Russian dossier.
“I have a question for you and I hope you answer this honestly because there are a lot of questions about this Russian dossier and there's evidence that has come out that the DNC helped fund it. Did you know that was happening and were you surprised to hear it if you didn’t?” she asked.
“I asked one question on November 4th and I was told that I didn't need to know, so no, I did not know. Because I did not control my money,” Brazile answered.
McCain tried to get more information: “You're waxing poetic about Russia and Russia being involved in the election, which is deeply important to me, but when you see that the DNC was funding it,” she began.
At this point Joy Behar and Brazile began to answer McCain, touting Clinton and the media’s line that it was simply “opposition research:”
“Opposition research--” Brazile started to say as Behar spoke over her.“Yeah, explain,” Behar stated.
Brazile denied knowing about this story until November 4.
“So Meghan, Meghan, you know campaigns. So the line item is called ‘legal’. The line item is called ‘research’. The line item -- if you asked me today because I have a list of all the DNC consultants, do I see Fusion GPS? No, but if you ask me was this a question that came up during my tenure as chair, it did on November 4,” she stated.
“Do you think it's wrong? Do you think it sets a bad precedent?” McCain asked. “To pay Russia for opposition research for a campaign,” she clarified.
“I was not involved in the contracting,” Brazile started to say, before Behar interrupted her again to deflect blame from the DNC.
“The Republicans did it too,” Behar offered.
“I -- Meghan, I was not involved in the hiring of this firm. I did not know about the existence of this contract. But in terms of opposition research, people go after things that I must tell you in America, they go after dirt. When they go after dirt, you saw what Mr. Trump Junior did but no, I did not go after it,” she answered.
“But do you think it's wrong to go to Russia to ask for opposition research on a candidate?” McCain asked.
“You asking me about the dossier and how it was compiled, I don't know how it was compiled. I don't know how it was compiled. I don’t know who went after it, Meghan,” Brazile again denied.
“I'm just asking if you think it's wrong,” McCain asked again.
“First of all, I don't believe that foreigners should be -- unless they're American citizens they should have no place in our politician and they should not control our politics,” Brazile replied.
“She's [McCain’s] not questioning -- you're not questioning opposition research. You believe in opposition research,” Behar demanded, putting McCain in the spotlight instead of Brazile.
“I do. I don't agree with it to foreign adversaries in any other foreign country other than the United States of America. It sets in my opinion a very dangerous precedent,” she offered.
Clearly not wanting their low-information audience to take away anything negative about the DNC from this interview, Sunny Hostin immediately followed up with Behar’s agenda of defending Clinton.
“Is there any evidence, Donna, that the Clinton campaign actually paid the Kremlin or Russia for information?” Sunny Hostin asked.
“I have not seen any of that,” Brazile denied. She went on to applaud the “research” the DNC did, though she claimed she was not “privy to that [dossier] information.”