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Fox News hires Donna Brazile, liberal pundit ousted from CNN in 2016

Donna Brazile speaks in New Orleans in May. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Fox News’ newest pundit is one CNN rejected after she colluded with Hillary Clinton’s campaign before the debates in 2016.

Fox said Monday that it has hired Donna Brazile, the former interim Democratic National Committee chair and a longtime CNN commentator before she became embroiled in controversy in 2016.

CNN forced Brazile to resign as an on-air contributor in October 2016 after emails revealed that she had tipped off Clinton’s aides about questions likely to be asked by CNN moderators during the debates and town hall meetings carried by CNN. At the time, Brazile was highly supportive of Clinton’s candidacy. The network said the leaking of the question was a break of its ethics and undermined the impartiality of its campaign coverage.

Fox said Brazile would comment on the upcoming presidential campaign on Fox News and Fox Business Network. In announcing Brazile’s hiring, it made no mention of the issues surrounding her in 2016.

The DNC, which Brazile led on an interim basis during 2016, decided earlier this month to exclude Fox News from televising any of its candidate events. The organization’s chair, Tom Perez, said Fox was too closely aligned with President Trump, leading him to conclude the network could not host “a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”

In a statement released Monday, Brazile said: “I know I’m going to get criticized from my friends in the progressive movement for being on Fox News. My response is that, if we’ve learned anything from the 2016 election, it is that we can’t have a country where we don’t talk to those who disagree with our political views. There’s an audience on Fox News that doesn’t hear enough from Democrats. We have to engage that audience and show Americans of every stripe what we stand for rather than retreat into our ‘safe spaces’ where we simply agree with each other.”

People at Fox said Brazile would have no role in commenting on any debates or town hall meetings it covers, though Fox will probably have very few of those given the DNC’s decision to remove it from consideration in televising Democratic events.

Brazile’s role in channeling questions to Clinton came to light in emails released by WikiLeaks during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. The emails came from a hack of the DNC’s servers by Russian operatives.

CNN said at the time that it was “completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about [Brazile’s] interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”

Brazile apparently got her information from conversations with TV One host Roland Martin, who was a guest moderator for one of the CNN debates. She said she learned that one of the questions during a televised town hall meeting in March of that year would involve the death penalty.

Another question before a debate with Clinton’s chief Democratic primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in Flint, Mich., concerned the city’s ongoing water crisis, although it seems questionable whether such a tip was helpful, given that the issue was bound to come up considering the event’s location.

Brazile said at the time that she offered her resignation when the WikiLeaks emails surfaced showing her telling a senior Clinton adviser, “From time to time, I get the questions in advance.”

Brazile made her first appearance on Fox as a contributor on Monday. She chatted with host Dana Perino about the Democratic field of candidates in 2020.