The Flint, Michigan residents who asked Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders questions about the city’s water crisis at the March 6 CNN debate say that they never told then-CNN commentator Donna Brazile their questions beforehand.
Brazile was let go by CNN after a hacked email released by WikiLeaks showed that she tipped off Clinton to expect a local resident with a rash to ask about the Flint water crisis at the debate. CNN has strongly denied that Brazile learned about any debate question from them. Instead, a CNN source told Mediaite that they believe Brazile learned about a potential question at a CNN charitable event handing out free water to Flint residents.
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross managed to track down the only two Flint women who asked about the water crisis at the debate. Both Mikki Ward and LeeAnne Walters tell Ross that they had never met Brazile prior to the debate. More to the point, they say they were never even at the charitable event with Brazile.
When asked about The Daily Caller story, a CNN employee speaking on background Wednesday said that they were at the charitable event and witnessed Brazile speaking to a local resident. The woman told Brazile that she would be attending the next day’s debate, and made a point of showing a rash on her chest and arms.
They suggest that Brazile was simply confused, and incorrectly assumed that the woman was a debate questioner. They note that neither Ward nor Walters referred to a rash or made a point of showing it off during the debate, as Brazile’s email claimed the debate questioner would.
That account would appear to jibe with CNN host Brian Stelter‘s account, published the day CNN announced Brazile was out. Stelter suggested that Brazile could have heard about a “planned question” or a “potential question” during the event they both attended, but studiously avoided saying she learned about any question that was actually asked.
In addition to the March 6 debate, Brazile also gave Clinton a head-up that she would be asked about the death penalty at a CNN town hall a week later. In that instance, CNN has produced emails indicating the leak probably came from their town hall partner TVOne and its host Roland Martin.
[Image via screengrab]
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