RNC chairman expects to have to shut out CNN, NBC

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tells "In Play" hosts Chris Cillizza and Jackie Kucinich why he's threatening to pull debates from NBC and CNN over their planned Hillary Clinton bios. (The Washington Post)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday that he doesn't expect CNN and NBC to comply with his calls to cancel their plans to produce films about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, as he reiterated his threat to cut them out of the Republican primary debate process.

"My guess is this is exactly what's going to happen: They will produce the films, and we will cut them out," Priebus told Post TV's "In Play."

Priebus penned a letter Monday to the networks asking that they shelve their plans, charging that CNN and NBC are engaging in a “thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.” CNN plans to produce a documentary about Clinton, a potential 2016 White House contender, while NBC is developing a miniseries.

If the networks don't back down -- they have shown no signs they are willing to do so thus far -- Priebus said he intends to pressure GOP candidates not to participate in any debates hosted or sponsored by CNN and NBC by pushing for penalties to be imposed for contenders who don't fall in line.

"Well guess what, if your nomination is actually tied to the debate calendar and the primary calendar itself and those penalties are strong enough, believe me, you'll keep the candidates in the box," he said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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