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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 29, 2019

No, Donna Brazile is not a criminal

Fox News recently announced that Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, is joining the network as a commentator, and some viewers were chagrined.

"So Fox removes the judge for speaking the truth about a traitor in Congress, then hires this DNC criminal, who was caught giving debate questions to Killery," reads the text over a photo of Donna Brazile that was posted to Facebook on March 18. "Fox has betrayed the people."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Let’s look at it.

First, the judge reference. In March, Fox News suspended host Jeanine Pirro from her show "Justice with Judge Jeanine" after she read a scripted commentary about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that was "widely criticized as Islamophobic," according to CNN. Fox revealed that same month that Brazile was joining the network.

Brazile is a former interim chair of the DNC, and a former CNN commentator.

CNN forced Brazile to resign in October 2016 after emails released by WikiLeaks revealed that she shared with Hillary Clinton’s aides some of the questions that CNN moderators would likely ask the then-presidential candidate during network-sponsored debates and town hall meetings.

"We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor," network spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas said at the time. "CNN never gave Brazile access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings in advance of a town hall or debate."

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Brazile was a Clinton supporter and, The New York Times reported, the fact that she shared questions with a candidate "would seem to undercut the impartiality of the event and, as a CNN contributor, potentially reflect poorly on the network."

In a March 2017 essay for Time magazine, Brazile called emailing the Clinton campaign "a mistake I will forever regret."

Brazile did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s email asking about the post’s accuracy. A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee also did not respond to an email from PolitiFact.

But we found no evidence that Brazile faced criminal charges in connection with the leak, though some people wished otherwise. Searching for news coverage of any arrests or crimes in connection with Brazile, we found this petition called: "Arrest donna brazile."

In November 2017, Politico published an excerpt from Brazile’s then-forthcoming book, "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House." In it, she describes trying to find evidence of internal corruption that would show the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary. She discovered a "victory fund agreement" between the campaign and the DNC signed before Clinton secured the Democratic nomination.

"If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead," she wrote. "This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity."

The conservative-leaning Weekly Standard did its own fact-check of a claim that the DNC illegally stole the 2016 primary from Bernie Sanders. In it, the publication pointed to a class-action lawsuit against the DNC that alleged the organization violated its own charter "by working with a single campaign to effectively choose who would win the Democratic ballot."

The DNC responded that it had no legal obligations "to remain impartial throughout the process." The lawsuit was dismissed.

As for the post that calls Brazile a criminal, we rate it False.

See Figure 1 on

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No, Donna Brazile is not a criminal

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