Monday, November 7, 2016

Newly released emails from WikiLeaks suggest that the Democratic National Committee colluded with CNN in devising questions in April to be asked of then-Republican primary candidate Donald Trump in an upcoming interview.

In an email to DNC colleagues on April 25 with the headline "Trump Questions for CNN," a DNC official with the email username asked for ideas for an interview to be conducted by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed. ... Please send me thoughts by 10:30 AM tomorrow."

The sender of the email would seem to be DNC Research Director Lauren Dillon, who was identified in previous reports of DNC emails released by WikiLeaks in July.

Several hours after the first email was sent, Dillon said in a follow-up email that the interview had been cancelled, "as of now," but shared a list of questions thought up by the DNC that she said could be used for the next interview.

Some of the questions included: "Who helped you write the foreign policy speech you're giving tomorrow? Which advisors specifically did you talk to? What advice did they give you? Did they give you any advice that you chose not to take?" Others explored Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a pre-preemptive strike against North Korea and court martials for members of the military who didn't follow orders.

A separate email from Dillon that same day said "CNN is looking for questions" for then-GOP primary candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and "maybe a couple on" former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN said the report was "unremarkable" and that the network regularly communicates with both Republicans and Democrats when preparing for interviews.
"This is completely unremarkable," a CNN spokeswoman told the Washington Examiner. "We have similar communications with Republicans. When preparing for interviews we are regularly sent suggestions from rival campaigns and political parties, both solicited and unsolicited. Casting a wide net to ensure a tough and fair interview isn't just common media practice, it's smart."

WikiLeaks dumped 8,263 new hacked DNC emails Sunday evening, the second batch released after the first was leaked in July. Those emails showed DNC officials plotting to undermine then-Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of now-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The ensuing controversy led to then-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's ouster.

CNN has already dealt with a WikiLeaks email controversy related to the 2016 election. Last month the network parted ways with interim head of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile after emails revealed she had funneled debate questions to Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in advance of two primary debates. (source)

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