WASHINGTON – Following Donna Brazile’s claim that Hillary Clinton’s campaign bankrolled the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election, the former interim chair of the DNC says she found “no evidence” the Democratic primary was rigged.
“I found no evidence, none whatsoever,” she told ABC’s “This Week.”
Brazile’s comments follow backlash over an excerpt from her new book published in Politico last week.
She told ABC that she was concerned about the level of control the Clinton campaign could exert by financing the DNC’s operations through a joint fundraising agreement. But Brazile didn’t suggest a separate memorandum of understanding with the DNC that allowed the campaign “influence over the financial, strategic and operational use” of the funds for general election expenditures was illegal.
“I didn’t like the fact that there was an additional memorandum that spelled out what the Clinton campaign could do in exchange for bailing the Democratic party out,” she said. “I give Secretary Clinton credit for bailing the Democratic party out. Because we were in debt.”
President Donald Trump seized on the revelations after they were published last week, calling them a “major violation of campaign finance laws and money laundering” in a tweet.
“Donna Brazile just stated the DNC RIGGED the system to illegally steal the Primary from Bernie Sanders. Bought and paid for by Crooked H….” he wrote.
Seeking a ‘Plan B’
On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Brazile considered pushing for the removal of Hillary Clinton from the 2016 ticket after the candidate fainted on Sept. 11, 2016, and replacing her with then-Vice President Joe Biden
On Sunday, Brazile told ABC that Biden was not notified, and confirmed that she considered the move.
“I had to put it on the table because I was under tremendous pressure after Secretary Clinton fainted to have a quote unquote ‘plan B.’ I didn’t want a plan B. Plan A was great for me. I supported Hillary, and I wanted her to win. But we were under pressure,” she said.
Current DNC chair Tom Perez told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Brazile’s so-called “plan B” was “ludicrous.”
“The charge that Hillary Clinton was somehow incapacitated is, quite frankly, ludicrous,” he said. “Hillary Clinton was a tireless senator, a tireless secretary of state and a tireless candidate.”
“I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for, but all I know is under the rules and bylaws of the Democratic National Committee, she couldn’t have done this,” he added when asked if Brazile might have been influenced by Russian propaganda over media coverage of Clinton’s fainting episode in New York City.
“What saddens me about this, as much as anything, is I think people who read that charge, which is just without merit, are going to perhaps start wondering about other claims in the book,” he added.
Democratic Party rules state that “in the event of the death, resignation or disability” of nominee for president or vice president, the DNC chair must confer with Democratic leaders in Congress and Democratic governors and report to the DNC, which is authorized to fill the vacancy.
A DNC official told CNN on Saturday that the rules were irrelevant because there was no vacancy, and Brazile would not have been able to seek Clinton’s removal from the ticket without one.
In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t say whether she believed the Democratic primary was “rigged” in Clinton’s favor, but referred back to her dislike of superdelegates.
“I, for 30 years, have been against superdelegates. … I think that one of the things as we go forward, is to really more — give more power to the grassroots in all this,” she said.
(Maegan Vazquez, CNN)