Democratic official throws cold water on reports DNC chair leaked town-hall questions to Hillary Clinton

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile did not, as a series of media outlets reported, leak questions to Hillary Clinton before a CNN town hall in March, a top Democratic official said on Tuesday.

The reports emerged on Tuesday when some observers digging through the recent WikiLeaks release of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's leaked emails noticed similarities between a private email sent from the then-CNN contributor and DNC vice chair to Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri saying that she " gets questions in advance" a day before a CNN town hall debate.

In the email to Palmieri, Brazile flagged a question she received from CNN about the death penalty in the body of an email to Palmieri titled "from time to time I get the questions in advance."

43 PHOTOS
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton take the stage for the second presidential debate
See Gallery
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton take the stage for the second presidential debate
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge each other at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stand together at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appear together during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens and takes notes during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump turns his back as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks about his comments about women during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz speak before the start of the second U.S. presidential debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. stand before the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge each other at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Clinton and Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The family of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, (L-R) Melania, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. wait for the presidential town hall debate with U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton sit at the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during her debate against Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not shown) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, board her campaign plane after the presidential town hall debate against U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton watches as Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) and his wife, Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, participate in their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pause at the conclusion of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
(L-R) Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathy Shelton sit together in the audience before Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton begin their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump's daughters-in-laws Lara Trump, Vanessa Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump (L-R) are seated at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Chelsea Clinton and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrive at the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton face the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump looks at Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not shown) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Journalists Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz prepare to moderate the presidential town hall debate between U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton makes her opening remarks at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Clinton and Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton take the stage at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

"Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have banned the death penalty. Thirty-one states, including Ohio, still have the death penalty. According to the National Coalition To Abolish The Death Penalty, since 1973, 156 people have been executed on death row and later set free. Since 1976, 1,414 people have been executed in the US. That's 11% of Americans who were sentenced to die, but later exonerated and freed. Ohio and 30 other states should join the current list and abolish the death penalty."

Palmieri appeared to take Brazile's email as a request for talking points, saying that "not everyone likes her answer, but I can share it," CCing a staffer asking to send over Clinton's previous answer on death penalty questions.

At a town hall event a day later, exonerated death row inmate Ricky Johnson posed a question for Clinton about her stance on the death penalty.

"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.

Multiple news outlets, including Politico, BuzzFeed, and Mediaite reported that the exchange signaled that Brazile had knowledge of the March 13 town hall question in advance, tipping off the Clinton campaign.

However, according to a top Democratic Party source familiar with the exchange, Brazile's emails were not referencing a question at the town hall. Instead, the question Brazile forwarded on to Palmieri was a topic for conversation on a panel that Brazile was to set to appear on.

The source also said that Brazile was in regular contact throughout the primary with both Democratic primary campaigns, communicating with former Sen. Bernie Sanders senior strategist Tad Devine, who worked with Brazile on the Vice President Al Gore's 2000 campaign.

CNN also confirmed that it never reveals town hall questions in advance.

"We have never, ever given a town hall question to anyone beforehand," CNN vice president of communications Barbara Levin said in an email on Tuesday.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Brazile also denied leaking questions.

"I often shared my thoughts with each and every campaign, and any suggestions that indicate otherwise are completely untrue," Brazile said. " Inever had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did."

The latest round of Wikileaks emails are the result of what the Obama administration has deemed hacks by Russian-aligned groups attempting to sew further chaos in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Released in August, the first batch of DNC emails showed some top-level staffers complaining internally about Sanders, resulting in a leadership shakeup that resulted in Brazile's appointment following former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's resignation.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners