Former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile addresses claims that the Democratic National Committee slanted the nomination in favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, dysfunction in the Clinton campaign and more in an interview with FOX News' Tucker Carlson. Brazile also responds to Clinton supporters who say she is betraying Democrats and damaging the party by exposing its division on Wednesday's edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight on the FOX News Channel.
Full transcript, via FOX News:
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: A year ago this evening, she was one of the most powerful Democrats in America. Now she is one of the most despised within her own party. Donna Brazile has been around an awfully long time. She ran Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000. She was the acting chair of the DNC from July of '16 through November.
But then her book came out. The title is "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House."
Among other things, she says the DNC colluded with a Hillary campaign to effectively rig the primaries up last year. Plenty of professional Democrats, including CNN president Jeff Zucker have been enraged by that charge and sought to undermine her credibility as a result.
What does she have to say in response?
Donna Brazile joins us tonight.
Donna, thanks for coming on.
DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER DNC CHAIR: Hey, Tucker, you know, what a great honor to be with you tonight after the Democrats did so well across the country yesterday.
TUCKER: Yes, they did.
BRAZILE: So, I’m excited to be here, excited about what happened in Virginia and New Jersey, and is excited to talk to you about my new book. "Hacks". Let me say this upfront --
CARLSON: Wait a second. Let me ask a question. Congratulation on your party’s success last night, by the way.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
CARLSON: But let me just ask you this, I’ve been watching because I’ve known you a long time and I’ve watched you work for more than 20 years, and I’m watching people who know you well, journalists and Democratic Party officials, go after you, and the one thing I noticed is that the attacks all sound the same.
And my guess, and I want to ask you as a professional political person, it seems obvious that there was coordination, that someone is doing oppo on you in response to your book. Who do you think that is?
BRAZILE: You know, Tucker, I don't really have time to figure out who is spending -- I’m sure some much needed money that needs to go to Democratic candidates next year, to figure out what I said in this book is factually correct.
I want to tell you -- I wrote upfront, I wanted to write this book to tell my story. I wanted the American people to see what happened. I became chair of the party for the second time in my life because our party was under attack, we were hacked. That's why I was called upon to step up to become chair again.
BRAZILE: That -- and I think -- when you read the book, Tucker, you've mentioned it, we've known each other a long time. And we were colleagues once at CNN. The book is -- it tells some hard truths, because as you well know, I’m not just any Democratic operative, I’m an activist. I come from the grassroots. I care about my party, I care about the future of my country and our democracy.
And as chair of the party, we lost an election last year many people thought we were going to win. And so, I did a forensic examination of what we did wrong and what we could do better so that we could win elections in the future.
CARLSON: Well, that seems like a wise and obvious thing to do. It was an unexpected loss, why not figure out why it happened? But you’re not seeing very many people in your party go along with that course, and instead of listening to your analysis of why Hillary Clinton's campaign failed, they are attacking you and impugning your motives.
The Hillary campaign, almost every member of it, released a statement accusing you of buying Russian-fueled propaganda. Jeff Zucker, your former boss over at CNN, was enraged when he read the book excerpt that ran in "Politico" last Thursday, and you are seeing your former colleagues say you were just doing this for the money.
Why are they more willing to listen to the prescription that comes out of this book?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, many of those individuals who signed that letter, I know them, I’ve been in the trenches with them for more than 30 years of my adult life, and that I had to go back in the trenches with them next year, I would go back because I believe in justice and fairness and equality.
But I wanted to tell you, when I became chair, I didn't take a salary from the DNC. I gave up everything. I took a leave of absence from CNN and ABC.
The only thing I really went back to was teaching at Georgetown, because I love my students and I wanted to be there for them with a historic election on the horizon.
Tucker, I wrote this book because I wanted Democratic activists, rank-and-file Democrats, those of the people I listen to, those of the people that I respond to. I want them to know how hard we worked to elect Hillary Clinton and other Democrats up and down the ticket.
We came up short, as you well know, Tucker, less than 80,000 votes short in three states, then tonight we would be having a different conversation.
BRAZILE: We would be talking about Hillary Clinton's first year in office.
Instead, we are talking about, you know, how the Democratic Party can come back stronger so that we can become more competitive in 2018 and beyond. And what I saw last night, I see a party that is capable of coming back out of the wilderness. I see a party with fresh faces, new blood, new energy, in large part because of Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, Karen, and so many other people on the DNC. They are working hard to change things for the country.
CARLSON: You haven't mentioned anybody who helped run the Hillary campaign. Robby Mook, for example. Would you hire him to run the next Democrat's campaign?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, Robby and I are both at Harvard. And one of things, when the Democrats win the popular vote and the Republicans win the Electoral College, people like us get to go up to Harvard and take a forensic examination of how we can improve our democracy. I went over to see Robbie last week.
I have great respect for Robby and his team but I was very complimentary of him in the book. I was very complimentary in the book.
CARLSON: I know you were and I want you to see what he is saying about you now on television. Here's part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: The idea that the DNC could rake a contest, frankly, is laughable.
The allegations she's making are simply not true. We don’t -- certainly don't recognize the campaign she describes. We also don't recall some of the events she said that happened. I’m sure her publisher put her under a lot of pressure. I wish he just put her foot down and said, no, I’m not going to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, he's describing you as a hapless pawn of your publisher.
BRAZILE: Well, you know, I’m the third of nine children and the one thing my parents taught us was to stand up, fight for ourselves, pray, and get up the next day.
Here's what I know: I was chair of the party, but more importantly I was an officer of the DNC. I’ve been a member of the Democratic National Committee since 1997. I know how things operate. I’m the former chair of the party.
So, to suggest to anyone that I don't know what I’m talking about, really -- I’m not focusing on what Robby is saying. I’m focusing on making sure that grassroots Democrats know that our party is going to become stronger.
You have to let these wounds heal. We had a very competitive primary. I don't know when the Republicans will sit down and heal their wounds, but we are healing our wounds, and we are going to learn how to become a stronger, more effective party.
CARLSON: So, here's part of what you say about Robby Mook in the book. You said and I’m quoting: I’ve worked with men all my life and politics, and I can sense when they get to this part about not being able to deal with the woman. It was not a racial thing, it was a gender thing. Every time you mentioned that, they are trying to shut you down because you are a woman, all of these guys are like, no, no, no, no, no.
So, my question is, did -- you are saying you were the victim of sexism from the management of the Hillary Clinton campaign. What was their response when you said, look, don't treat me differently because I’m a woman?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, I may have -- I may have also stated in the book, I think I did in three or four chapters, that it was also generational. Remember, I come from the old school. I come from the school when you have a three by five index card.
I come from the school, Tucker, that you actually knock on doors, you talk to people, you try to get their support, and then you try to get them out on election day.
Robby comes from a school that is a lot different than the school I came from. They do algorithms, they do data modeling, and what I would go come back to --
CARLSON: And they do sexism, too, apparently, from your book.
BRAZILE: And well, they --
CARLSON: Which is a little weird, since Hillary ran a whole campaign on breaking the glass ceiling and here's a guy running her campaign diminishing you because of your sex. It seems ironic maybe.
BRAZILE: No, you know, it was dismissive. Condescending and dismissive, those are the words I characterize in the book, because I came back and said, Robby, I just left Little Haiti, or Robby, I was in Cuyahoga County, or Robby, I just left Colorado, and I wanted the campaign to understand that. We needed yard signs. We needed radio spots.
You know, on August 19th, when Donald Trump said, what the hell do you have to lose? He made that comment in front of a black audience, here I was the chair of the party and last time I checked I am black, and I said, I want to respond. I had to write a column because I didn’t control my resources.
So, I was fighting, Tucker, for what I normally fight for in a campaign, whether I’m a campaign activist, or a campaign chairwoman, I am fighting for resources to get our message out, because my job was to help elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats from the courthouse all the way up to the United States House and Senate.
CARLSON: So, you have this scene in the book that’s been much remarked upon, where Hillary is really sick. You say she is overworked and she’s got a bronchial infection, may be pneumonia, and she is so sick that you have this moment we think, maybe we need to replace her, maybe she won’t be able to continue. And that's the point at which you said, maybe the vice president would be a good replacement.
That’s such a big deal, that it was striking when I read that -- I thought here are a thousand reporters coming to his campaign and not one of them picked up anything like that, that the candidate's health was that bad? That she was being considered may be not able to finish? Do think reporters knew that? How could they not know that?
BRAZILE: Well, let me just tell you, I had a lot of reporters who were calling my office, calling my home, texting me, sending me emails. In fact, it was a reporter that I mentioned that broke the story to me that she had fainted. And I immediately called up to Brooklyn and I tried to reach people on the road with her to find out if this was a rumor.
As you well know, Tucker, with the Russian meddling in our campaign, and yes, it happened, there were so many rumors that you had to debunk, and so by the time I saw the video, when the video went viral, you can imagine what was happening within the Democratic Party, what was happening inside of the inner circle.
CARLSON: Oh, I remember, and everything was fine. I remember, everything is fine.
BRAZILE: It was viral. Every five to seven minutes. Hillary is a friend, I cared about her health. Yes, I cared about her campaign but the last thing I want, I wanted to know how she was doing.
BRAZILE: I wanted to know if she was OK. That is -- what's why in the book you read that I suggested that she get some acupuncture, because I like acupuncture. It helps me when I’m out there fighting --
CARLSON: Let me ask you quickly about the Russians, you have a lot in the book about that, and your concerns about hacking the servers over at the DNC. If you believe the Russians did that, why didn't the Democratic national committee allow the FBI to examine those servers? Why were they given over to a vendor and not the U.S. government investigators?
BRAZILE: You know, that is a great question, and let me tell you, it's in the book as well. When the DNC officer, who was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, when it was brought to her attention, she immediately reached out to get cybersecurity experts on board. She reached out to a former number three at the FBI, who is currently working with an organization called Crowdstrike.
BRAZILE: Along with our cyber attorney, they provided the FBI with everything that they requested. Remember, we were still using our system --
CARLSON: Oh, but come on now. Come on now.
BRAZILE: Tucker, first of all --
CARLSON: If you think, of course -- so, bottom line is, it's Debbie Wasserman Schultz who made that decision, I think that’s the headline here.
But if you really think that the intelligence service of a foreign government is breaking into your computers in the middle of the campaign, you want actual federal investigators to get to the bottom of it. But you are saying that she stop that.
BRAZILE: No, she did not stop that.
CARLSON: Who did?
BRAZILE: She cooperated. She cooperated. She turned over for everything.
But, Tucker, we were still running a party. We still had our mainframe, you know, being managed, being remediated.
CARLSON: But you could allow the FBI access to that, though.
BRAZILE: Let me just tell you, we spent over $60,000 to provide the FBI, the government, because we wanted their help. Tucker, after I received my FBI brief in August --
BRAZILE: -- do know what I wanted to do? I wanted to go to the Pentagon, I didn't want to go back to the DNC, I wanted somebody to put yellow tape around the DNC. I was scared. We were under attack.
BRAZILE: And, you know, we --
CARLSON: Well, don’t know if we were under attack or not, because federal investigators never had access to your server!
BRAZILE: They had, they had.
If you recall, James Comey --
CARLSON: I do recall --
BRAZILE: -- James Comey was under oath and said that he was able to get everything he needed from the DNC from this credible source.
CARLSON: He doesn’t know that. He doesn't know that because he didn't have access to your servers, he shouldn't have said that.
BRAZILE: But why would we hold onto servers that were filled with malware and spyware?
CARLSON: I don’t know the answer to that. I was hoping to get it from you.
BRAZILE: Well, when I became chair, let me just say this, from August, from the moment I became chair, we cooperated with DHS, FBI, CIA, anyone who would help us, we want to help --
CARLSON: Yes, but not, but not enough to give them your servers. All right.
BRAZILE: -- because our country -- our country -- our country was under attack. It wasn't just the Democratic Party. Our democracy was under attack.
CARLSON: No, look, I mean, we don’t know the answer because Debbie Wasserman Schultz apparently wouldn't turn them over. So, a couple of days ago --
BRAZILE: We turned over the information, though.
CARLSON: -- a Hillary Clinton supporter had this to say about you on this show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know whether Donna Brazile is a kook, but what she said is kooky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Now, we’re going to get your response to that next. I’m going to give you three minutes to formulate your response to Richard Goodstein.
More with Donna Brazile in just a minute.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
CARLSON: Taking a look at live pictures of the president of the United States motorcade in Beijing, China, the capital city. He's leaving his hotel.
Well, welcome back. We are still joined by the former chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile.
So, Donna, really quick before I get your response to the clip we showed you before the break, when was the last time you talk to Bill and/or Hillary Clinton?
BRAZILE: I’m sorry, I didn't hear that.
CARLSON: Well, when was the last time you spoke with Bill or Hillary Clinton, and how did that conversation go?
BRAZILE: Oh, in the book, I said I spoke to Hillary in February. I believe the date was February 10th in Baltimore when the Democratic Party was hosting its final future forum to elect new officers for the Democratic Party.
CARLSON: Right. But have you spoken to her -- I mean, the reason I’m asking is every Democrat I know, the professional Democrats from Jeff Zucker, you know, all the way to Jen Palmieri and all the people you've worked with over the years, all seem mad, and I know the Clintons are in that group. Have they complained to you or people you know? What’s the response you’re getting?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, let me just say this, and last week I reached out to as many Clinton staffers as possible to let them know that my book was finally coming out, excerpts. I didn't have to do that. I also flew down to Washington, D.C., to inform my colleagues at the DNC. Again, I didn't have to do that.
BRAZILE: Look, I want -- I am a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, and, you know, if they choose not to read the book, or they decide to write their own book, I hope they will do that.
Tucker, I read Hillary's book, "What Happened". It's a great book because it's historical, it’s biographical, and also, as a woman who’s been very, very active in politics, I thought she really examined some of the reasons why she fell short.
So, I suggest for those who are upset, or not capable of stomaching my book, go write their own book. But I want to respond that last clip that you --
BRAZILE: -- that showed me before the break.
CARLSON: The one where the male Democrat dismissed your claims of having experienced sexism by saying you were crazy, something I thought we weren't allowed to do.
BRAZILE: Oh, well, first of all, my mother when I was a kid growing up, my mother used to say, it's not what they call you, it's what you answer to.
But I want to channel another woman who I admire so much, and that’s Michelle Obama, who said when they go low, you go high. And perhaps what I did on Sunday when I told some of my detractors to go to hell, and as you well know, some of my conservatives know that I have always had a quick tongue. I’ve told people in the past what I really feel.
You know, I should have -- I should have channeled Michelle and just go high. I’m thinking now, Tucker, as you -- you know me and I’ve known you for a long time, we haven't gone fishing, but I got a lot of kids out there that know me, that believe in me, they know who I am.
I walk the streets in Virginia with them just recently. They know that I stand behind them. They are up at Harvard, they’re at Georgetown, and I want them to know that I am still the same Donna that they have always known.
CARLSON: OK. So --
BRAZILE: I’m feisty. I’m gutsy.
CARLSON: Well, I’ve noticed that.
BRAZILE: And as you well know, Tucker --
CARLSON: So, they've come after you -- they've come after you and said, look, it's a little much for you to criticize the DNC for colluding with the Hillary campaign when you conceded that you leaked questions to the Hillary campaign during a CNN town hall, before a CNN town hall.
My question when I’m reading this is, did no one at CNN know that happen? Did they really learn for the first time when they read your book? How could they not have known that?
BRAZILE: Well, Tucker, I surely hope everyone will now go out and buy the book. It's called "Hacks: The Inside Story."
CARLSON: There was a question there. Did nobody at CNN know that you did that? So, you say, look, you gave -- you apparently got them from --
BRAZILE: Oh, no, Tucker, you cannot put words in my mouth.
CARLSON: No, no, I’m just asking.
BRAZILE: I got some lipstick from FOX, but that has not forced me to not stand my ground. I said in the book --
CARLSON: No, but it’s not your ground. I’m asking about CNN where you then worked.
BRAZILE: Well --
CARLSON: You haven't gone on their air, they are mad at you, obviously. But did they know that you leaked these questions, really simple question?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, Tucker, I said last year --
CARLSON: It sounds like you did.
BRAZILE: No, Tucker, don't try to put words in my mouth. I said last year that CNN never provided us with any questions. CNN never gave us anything in advance.
What I did say, what I have said in the past, and what I said in this book is that I as an officer of the DNC -- and I know WikiLeaks gave everybody, you know, certain questions and certain emails, but as an officer of the DNC, I sought to expand the number of debates, and I wanted to make sure that we had diverse voices.
BRAZILE: And we covered issues that had not been discussed in previous debates, and what I did
CARLSON: So --
BRAZILE: -- no, give me one more second.
BRAZILE: And I know it's your show, I’m not trying to take over. But what I sought -- Tucker, I know you too well. What I sought to do, Tucker, was to ensure that we had these issues on the table, and I made sure that our candidates, I didn't want them blindsided. That's what I admitted to. That’s what I -- look, what WikiLeaks put out --
CARLSON: That’s the greatest spin I’ve ever heard. I didn’t want them blindsided. That’s so good. You should do this for a living! That is hilarious.
Let me ask you -- let me ask you a personal question. Hold on, in the book --
BRAZILE: Tucker, WikiLeaks sought to divide us. These were active measures where you got to see the things I gave to Hillary, you never got a chance to see the things I gave to Bernie or Martin O'Malley. Let me just tell you --
CARLSON: You know what, I’m totally happy, you bring those and I will put them on the show anytime.
In the book, though, I just want to ask you -- this is an sincere personal question. You described a number of occasions where you felt threatened personally, where you felt like maybe you might be hurt by somebody, and you’re not very specific about who might have hurt you, but it's clear that you were worried about it.
Do you still feel that way? Are you worried? Are you getting threats now?
BRAZILE: This was an unusual political campaign season last year and at night when Donald Trump -- and I wrote this in the book, and, you know, I’ve gone to church and said to the God I worship that I am not going to hold any anger in my heart, but President Trump every night would go out there and say that Donna Brazile, Donna Brazile, and you know what, the moment he stopped talking, my emails, my Twitter, my phones, it got blown up and yes, I got plenty of threats that were just -- let me just say this -- they were over the top. And I --
CARLSON: Are you getting them now? Are you getting threats right now since the book has come out?
BRAZILE: Of course. People are -- when people see things that they disagree with, they don't just say, Donna, I don't like that, that gumbo not the right kind, you used an Andouille sausage, not the hot sausage. You know what they say? I would rather not have you or the gumbo.
Tucker, unfortunately, we live in a world where even appearing on the show tonight, even taking pictures with people I disagree with, people attack you. They don’t -- they attack your motives.
CARLSON: Yes, I know they do.
BRAZILE: And everyone who has said, Donna is making money -- well, first of all, that’s a good thing because Donna got a lot of mouths to feed. But people are questioning why Donna would write a book, because Donna likes to write.
Please read the book. This is a great book. A wonderful --
CARLSON: I believe Amazon has sold out of it.
BRAZILE: Well, there are more on the way.
CARLSON: Donna Brazile --
BRAZILE: Tucker, you and I got to go fishing, because I have a recipe that I think will make your tummy feel really good.
Let me just say one last thing.
CARLSON: Come back (ph) --
BRAZILE: I worked very hard to elect Hillary Clinton.
BRAZILE: We fell short. But next year, watch out. Next year is going to be a blue wave, Tucker. I hope you have me back on the show.
CARLSON: Any time.
BRAZILE: All right.
CARLSON: Donna Brazile, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for joining us.
BRAZILE: Thank you, Tucker.