Donald Trump on Thursday said that Hillary Clinton should resign from the presidential race after hacked emails published by WikiLeaks suggested her campaign received a question ahead of time before a Democratic primary town hall.
“It was just learned that Hillary Clinton was given the exact questions to a previous debate word for word by Donna Brazile, who is now under tremendous pressure to resign from the DNC, as she should be,” Trump said. “But I ask you, why shouldn’t Hillary Clinton resign from the race? She was given these questions. She used these questions, studied the questions, got the perfect answer for the questions and never said that she did something that was totally wrong and inappropriate, hence the name Crooked Hillary.”
Trump didn’t mention, or perhaps he didn’t know, that in the hacked email Brazile appeared to leak a single question to Clinton about the death penalty. According to the email, that tip came a day before a CNN Democratic primary town hall with then-opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), not a debate.
Brazile left her position as a CNN commentator this summer to chair the Democratic National Committee. CNN has denied giving out any questions ahead of time, and Brazile has denied both having access to any questions and sharing any questions with the Clinton campaign.
“Donna Brazile, she should resign,” Trump said, after diverting from his attack to discuss a decades-old scandal in which a contestant on a TV show was given correct answers by the show’s producers. “She looked like such a fool last night on television trying to say, well, she didn’t know what was going on. She had no idea. She said, get me out of here. She got the questions.”
Trump has tweeted about Brazile’s alleged leak to the Clinton campaign twice this past week, including after an interview Brazil did with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly after the debate:
Voter fraud! Crooked Hillary Clinton even got the questions to a debate, and nobody says a word. Can you imagine if I got the questions?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2016
“She gave them to Hillary Clinton,” he continued. “Hillary Clinton didn’t say ‘I’d like to announce that a mistake was made and I can’t take these’—I mean, look, how many questions are there, right? Can you imagine if I got the questions? They would call for the re-establishment of the electric chair. Do you agree with that? She got the questions and didn’t report it. She went out there knowing the questions. She didn’t report it. That is very dishonest. She’s a very dishonest person.”
Meanwhile, Trump has benefitted heartily from receiving questions—or, in fact, dictating questions—ahead of campaign events. Before an appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show” meant to assure voters that he would be transparent with information about his health, Dr. Mehmet Oz told the Fox News radio program “Kilmeade & Friends,” that “I’m not going to ask him questions he doesn’t want to have answered.”
Trump also has hosted multiple prime time televised town hall events with Fox News host and supporter Sean Hannity, who also appeared in an advertisement for Trump. Hannity once asked Trump whether he had ever watched ISIS beheading videos.
Ahead of a campaign stop at a black church in Detroit, Michigan, the New York Times published the Trump campaign’s script for the event, showing that Trump had access to the planned questions ahead of time.