Fox News’s Megyn Kelly on Wednesday night absolutely grilled Donna Brazile over a WikiLeak revelation that she gave a primary debate question in advance to Hillary Clinton. A flustered Brazile seemed to have no response and appeared totally unprepared for handling the issue. This is a question that most mainstream journalists have showed little interest in pursuing.
Kelly demanded, “You were accused of receiving a debate question before a CNN town hall... that you had this question on, on March 12th, that verbatim was provided by Roland Martin to CNN the next day. How did you get that question, Donna?”
Brazile, now the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was previously a longtime panelist on CNN. Unprepared for the question, the Democrat rambled, “You know, as a Christian woman, I understand persecution but I will not sit here and be persecuted because your information is totally false. What you're — what you're telling the American people.”
She confusingly fought back: “You're like the thief that want to bring into the night the things that you found that was in the gutter.”
Kelly explained that CNN’s Jake Tapper last week offered his run down of the situation, noting, “That was a Roland Martin follow-up. So, my understanding is that he, or...somebody on his team got that question to Donna Brazile."
The Fox News host refused to let Brazile avoid the issue. She demanded:
KELLY: But when you said -- when you said that" from time to time I get the questions in advance," what we're you referring to? Because in that — in that e-mail, you offered the exact question that one of the moderators, Roland Martin, then proposed the next day.
It would be nice if more journalists demanded such accountability from liberal and Democratic guests.
A transcript of the exchange is below:
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MEGYN KELLY: You were accused — that you were accused of receiving a debate question before CNN town hall where they partnered with TV One and that — that you had this question on, on March 12th, that -- that verbatim, verbatim was provided by Roland Martin to CNN the next day. How did you get that question, Donna?
BRAZILE: Well, Kelly, since I play straight up and I play straight up with you, I did not receive any questions from CNN. Let's just be very clear.
KELLY: Where did you get it? Where did you get it?
BRAZILE: First of all, what information are you providing to me that will allow me to see what, what you're talking about? Everybody —
KELLY: You've got the WikiLeaks released a March 12 Podesta e-mail showing you messaging the Clinton campaign with the exact wording of a question asked at the March 13th CNN TV One Town Hall debate.
BRAZILE: Kelly— Kelly—
KELLY: Where did you get it?
BRAZILE: You know, as a Christian woman, I understand persecution but I will not sit here and be persecuted because your information is totally false. What you're — what you're telling the American people.
KELLY: I'm getting it from Podesta e-mail.
BRAZILE: What — what you're — what well, Podesta's e- mails were stolen. So, you're so interested in talking about stolen material.
KELLY: So, you deny it?
BRAZILE: You're like — you're like thief that want to bring into the night the things that you found that was in the gutter. I'm not — let me just say what I say since day one .
KELLY: Donna, CNN's Jake Tapper.
KELLY: — came out and said this was unethical. Somebody was unethically helping the Clinton campaign. He said, "I love Donna Brazile, but this is very, very upsetting."
BRAZILE: And I love CNN and I love Jake.
KELLY: "My understanding is that the e-mail to Donna Brazile--" This is Jake Tapper. “My understanding is that the e- mail to Donna Brazile came from either Roland Martin or someone around Roland Martin.” He said, this is very upsetting and very troubling.” That's your own colleague at CNN. It's not Megyn Kelly. Who gave you that question?
BRAZILE: Megyn, once, again, I've said it and I've said on the record and I'll say on the record and I keep saying it on a record, I am not going to try to validate falsified information. I have my documents. I have my files. Thank God I have not had my personal e-mails ripped off from me and stolen and given to some criminals to come back altered. I have my records. I have my files. And as I said repeatedly, CNN in the 14 years I was associate with CNN, I have never received anything. If I had a blank piece of paper that -- that would basically be the end of this conversation. I never get documents from CNN.
KELLY: Your e-mail to the Clinton camp said "Sometimes, I received the questions in advance."
BRAZILE: Ma'am, you know — you know what .
KELLY: And CNN is saying Roland Martin gave them to you or someone at TV One and they were provided to Hillary before that town hall.
BRAZILE: Anybody — well — well, anybody who knows me and -- and there are a number of your colleagues as well. They know me very well. I know how I play it. I know what I do before every debate. I know what I do before every show, even a show. I do my homework. I communicate, I talk .
KELLY: I understand.
BRAZILE: But I can just once again let you know that as far as I know, that CNN has never provided me with questions, absolutely ever. Nada. Sorry.
KELLY: But when you said -- when you said that” from time to time I get the questions in advance,” what we're you referring to? Because in that — in that e-mail, you offered the exact question that one of the moderators, Roland Martin, then proposed the next day.
BRAZILE: So, so, my — my — my reference back to you, ma'am, with all respect and I respect you greatly .
KELLY: And I respect you, too.
BRAZILE: The validity of those e-mails, if I can only tell you one thing because as you know this whole episode is under criminal investigation. But I could just tell you one thing. A lot of those e-mails, I would not give them the time of the day. I've seen so many doctored e- mails.
BRAZILE: I've seen things that come me.
KELLY: Fair enough.