The 2016 Democratic National Convention was plagued by an email hacking scandal resulting in Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigning her chairwoman post. Since then, additional hacks released by WikiLeaks have shaped a news cycle largely critical of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Chief among the morsels scrutinized and publicized by the press were debate questions leaked to Clinton’s team by interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile, one of many paid CNN contributors. Murmurs about Brazile’s questionable relationship with the Clinton campaign have long subsisted, and on Monday, CNN announced her official resignation from its roster of panelists.
Concerns about possible “plants” at a previous Town Hall-style debate plagued both CNN and Clinton during the primaries, but Brazile’s alleged leaking of debate questions spurred the network to action in October. As Politico reports, CNN suspended Brazile’s contract in July when she was named interim chair of the DNC following Wasserman Schultz’s resignation. Spokesperson Lauren Pratapas provided additional details in a statement:
On October 14th, CNN accepted Donna Brazile’s resignation as a CNN contributor. (Her deal had previously been suspended in July when she became the interim head of the DNC.) CNN never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate. We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.
Brazile took to Twitter to express her thanks to the network and her former colleagues there:
However, critics were quick to point out the apparent hypocrisy of CNN’s actions regarding Brazile’s allegedly inappropriate behavior with the Clinton campaign. Why? Because one former campaign manager for Republican nominee Donald Trump, Corey Lewandowski, remains a paid contributor there despite his having received nearly $500k in severance pay (so far).