Democratic National Committee (DNC) interim chair Donna Brazile is the last person upon whom the Democratic Party should be depending to serve as a spokesperson on the issue of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Given the hand Brazile had in rigging the Democratic primaries, one would think she would have the self-awareness to avoid injecting herself into the issue.
But on December 18, Brazile wrote a letter to Congress urging a bipartisan investigation into what role the Russian government played in the release of embarrassing emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. She dramatically compounded the portrayal of the DNC as victim in an interview with ABC’s This Week, claiming the DNC “were no match” for Russian cyberattacks. She alleged in the same interview that the DNC was under cyberattacks every single day until the end of the election, offering no evidence or explanation as to why she or the DNC didn’t reveal this until after Donald Trump won, and contradicting President Obama’s statements that he told President Putin to halt Russian cyber attacks in September and he did.
Before the Democratic primaries began, Brazile, who was a DNC vice chair at the time, had already confessed she would be violating the DNC charter, which bounds her and other staff to neutrality in order to maintain the integrity of democracy. The rule is meant to ensure the primaries are free, fair and balanced for each candidate participating.
“Technically, I’m neutral, but neutrality is something that gets you in trouble because, you ever notice someone who stands on the white line in the middle of the road? They get run over. And I don’t want to get run over. So I’m not neutral. I have to tell people that I’m neutral, but I’m ready for Hillary,” Brazile told The Washington Post in a July 2014 interview. The reporter had to confirm Brazile knew the recorder for the interview was on, amazed that she would overtly abandon neutrality with a statement like that. Brazile responded, “I know. I saw you turn it on. I know those gadgets.”
These statements alone should have been enough to force Brazile’s resignation as DNC vice chair, but the rest of the DNC staff, under then-chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were also ignoring the charter in order to ensure Clinton won the nomination.
In the DNC emails, Brazile threatened to “cuss out” the Sanders campaign. The Podesta emails revealed she forwarded a marketing campaign outline from the Sanders campaign to the Clinton campaign, in order to tip them off to what the their opponent was doing. The Clinton campaign listed Brazile as a surrogate in October 2015, though her position was supposed to be a neutral one.
Brazile forwarded questions from CNN town halls and debates to the Clinton campaign in advance. After this was revealed, CNN severed ties with Brazile. Neither CNN or Brazile have explained how or why she obtained access to those questions. Even in the face of these highly undemocratic actions, the DNC has allowed Brazile to remain in her position as interim chair. She even has the audacity to lecture on outside forces interfering in the election, when she exploited her positions at the DNC to do just that.
The Russian narrative is a self-serving one for Brazile. She is not running in February for DNC chair, most likely to avoid re-exposing herself to scrutiny for serving as an accomplice in rigging the primaries for Clinton. The future of her career depends on distracting and avoiding accountability for her corrupt behavior at the DNC by using Russia as an excuse and scapegoat. If the Democratic Party wants to get serious about preserving and protecting the integrity of democracy in our own elections, they shouldn’t be relying on a spokesperson who had no regard for it in the primaries because it served her own interest, and her prefered candidate.