Statement Analysis®

Did Donna Brazile Give The Clinton Campaign A Proposed Town Hall Question?


The third Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was held on October 19, 2016. After the debate, Megyn Kelly from Fox News interviewed interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile. Kelly questioned Brazile about the emails that WikiLeaks released which were stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The alleged emails show that on March 12, 2016, Brazile may have received a question in advance of the March town hall between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The town hall was co-hosted by CNN. Brazile shared this question with the Clinton campaign perhaps so Hillary Clinton could prepare her answer.


Kelly: "You were accused of receiving a debate question before a CNN town hall where they partnered with TV One and that you had this question on March 12, that verbatim, verbatim was provided by Roland Martin to CNN the next day. How did you get that question Donna?"

Brazile: "Well Kelly, since I play straight up and I will play straight up with you. Ah, I did not receive any questions from CNN. Let's just be very clear."

Brazile used the interjection "Ah." This slight pause allows her to think about how she is going to answer the question.

One of the principles of Statement Analysis is to believe what people tell you. This helps you to see exactly what the person is saying or not saying. Brazile stated that she did not receive any questions from CNN. This we can believe. The problem is Brazile did not deny getting the question in advance. She only told Kelly she did not get it from CNN.

The word "just" is not needed in this statement. Saying, "Let's be very clear" is acceptable. The word "just" is often used to minimize things. Brazile may be minimizing what she is being clear about.


Kelly: "Where'd you get it? Where did you get it?"

Brazile: "Ah, first of all, what information are you providing to me that will allow me to see what you're talking about?"

Brazile again used the word "Ah" to pause and think about her answer.

Kelly recognized that Brazile did not answer the specific question so she asked it again; "Where did you get it?" Brazile then answered the question with a question; "What information are you providing to me that will allow me to see what you're talking about?" First, it does not matter where Kelly's information came from. It does not matter if her information is true or false. Brazile was being asked how she obtained the question. She refused to answer that specific question.

Secondly, when a person answers a question with a question, it means he or she was asked a sensitive question. As an interviewer, we want to find out why this question is so sensitive. This is a stall tactic used to buy time so the subject can think about how to the answer the question.


Later on in the interview, Kelly again asked about the question that Brazile may have received in advance of the town hall.

Kelly: "Who gave you that question?"

Brazile: "Megyn, once again I've said it and I've said it on the record and I'll say it on the record and I'll keep saying it on the record, I am not going to try and validate falsified information. I have my documents. I have my files. Thank God I have not had my personal emails ripped off from me and stolen and given to some criminals to come back altered. I have my records. I have my files and as I've said repeatedly, CNN and the 14 years I was associated with CNN, I have never received anything. If I had a blank piece of paper, that would basically be the end of this conversation. I never get documents from CNN."

Again, Brazile did not answer the specific question. She did not deny getting the question and she did not say who gave her the question. When people do not answer the specific question, they are withholding information.

Brazile said she was not going to "validate falsified information." She talked about how emails can be "altered." However, she never said that this email about her receiving a question in advance was falsified or had been altered. In talking about the leaked WikiLeaks' emails, Brazile and the Hillary team like to mention that emails can be altered. They give the impression these leaked emails are not true. However, you have never heard anyone from their camp say that a particular email is false or has been altered. You have never heard them say, "I did not write that email."

Brazile repeats her claim she did not receive "anything" from CNN. I will believe CNN did not give her the question but who did? It is believed co-moderator Roland Martin gave her the question in advance.

To illustrate there is nothing to this story, Brazile stated that if she had a blank piece of paper that would "basically" be the end of this conversation. The word "basically" means there is more going on than what she is telling us.


Brazile said that she would "play straight up" but she didn't. Three times she refused to answer the specific question. She refused to tell us who gave her the question. She refused to say she did not receive the question in advanced of the town hall. What is amazing is that we, the American people, allow our politicians to get away with this. Even more amazing is that Megyn Kelly lets Brazile get away with not answering the specific question. A good reporter would have continued to ask her, "Who gave you that question?" A good reporter would have forced her to answer the specific question. Donna Brazile needs to resign as the DNC Chair like her predecessor Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to do earlier this year.



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