Hillary Clinton’s former campaign staffers published an open letter in the wake of bombshell accusations by former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile that Clinton controlled the group during much of the fight for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
The letter was published Saturday in Medium as DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement ― also on Medium ― that the 2020 nominating process would be “unquestionably fair and transparent.” He said he is “more committed than ever before to restoring voters’ faith in our democratic process because even the perception of ... an unfair advantage undermines our ability to win. That is unacceptable.”
Brazile’s book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” claims that the Clinton campaign was keeping the DNC afloat financially through a joint fundraising agreement. In return, Clinton expected to “wield control of its operations,” Brazile said, even before her nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Read the excerpt in Politico.)
The open letter signed by more than 100 people involved in Clinton’s White House bid, including chairman John Podesta and vice chairwoman Huma Abedin, said the staffers “do not recognize the campaign” that Brazile “portrays in the book.”
They also say they are “shocked” that Brazile reportedly considered for a time pushing Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate amid her concerns about Clinton’s health after the former secretary of state fainted during a Sept. 11 memorial event.
“It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health,” the letter said.
Asked to respond to that allegation on Sunday, Brazile told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos she was “concerned about the entire party, not just the presidential ― but the senatorial, congressional, and all the other candidates.”
Brazile said she was “under tremendous pressure” to come up with an alternative to Clinton after the candidate fainted. “I didn’t want a plan B. Plan A was great for me,” she said Sunday. “I supported Hillary and I wanted her to win. But we were under pressure.”
She did not elaborate on the source of the pressure.
Perez, who won the DNC job earlier this year, also took Brazile to task over the Clinton health issue.
“I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Brazile’s consideration of Biden as a candidate — with Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) as his vice president — was reported by The Washington Post, which obtained an early copy of the book.
Brazile says in her book she believed Russians were involved in the hacked WikiLeaks emails, the Post reported. Brazile said she tried to persuade Republican officials to agree to a joint statement condemning Russian interference, but they ignored her entreaties.
The Post also reported that Brazile bristled over her treatment by members of the Clinton campaign.
“I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile said she told them, referring to a character in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”
Brazile took over the DNC position in July 2016. She replaced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who was forced out after WikiLeaks released hacked emails that showed her displaying favoritism for Clinton during the primaries.
Brazile “came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time,” the open letter from the Clinton staffers noted. “We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party.”
Brazile has found herself in the uncomfortable position of being cited by President Donald Trump. He referred to Brazile’s revelations in a tweet calling for a federal investigation of Clinton and the Democrats. Brazile told Trump to stop “trolling” her and stop misquoting her.
The joint fundraising agreement hindered Brazile’s ability to control the DNC’s funds, she said Sunday ― but she did not consider the accord broke any laws.
She also refuted an assertion by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that, in light of the fundraising agreement, the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination was rigged
“I wanted to make sure there was no rigging of the process,” Brazile said. “I’m on the [DNC’s] rule and bylaws committee. I found no evidence, none whatsoever.”
Asked by Stephanopoulos about Democrats who feel portrayed by Brazile’s revelations, the former DNC chair defended her right to tell her version of events.
“For those who are telling the me to shut up — they told Hillary that a couple of months ago — you know what I tell them? Go to hell,” Brazile said. “I’m going to tell my story.”
This article has been updated with comments by Brazile and Perez on Sunday. Jessica Schulberg contributed reporting