Presidential races

Todd, Tapper respond to being named in leaked WikiLeaks DNC emails

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Somewhat overlooked in the massive email dump by WikiLeaks are a few exchanges between Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; her communications deputy, Luis Miranda; and NBC’s political director and “Meet the Press” host, Chuck Todd.

In one particular exchange on May 18, Wasserman Schultz, apparently upset that MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested she step down from running the DNC, wrote to Todd directly. 

{mosads}Under the subject “Chuck, this must stop,” she wrote, “Chuck, see below. I would like to discuss this with you today. Can you reach out and schedule a call? Thanks. DWS.”

The “see below” part is a forwarded email from Wasserman Schultz to Miranda stating, “This is outrageous,” adding, “She [Brzezinski] needs to apologize,” while ordering Miranda to set up a call with MSNBC President Phil Griffin.

Todd proceeded to talk to Miranda later that day, leading to this exchange on email afterward:

“Between us, You think the call is a good idea?” Todd asked.

“Not necessarily. If Mika just doesn’t like her, I’m not sure it’s worth either of their time. I’ve lowered her expectations, but don’t know. If you think Mika is set in stone I’m happy to kill it,” Miranda replied.

“I don’t know. She can do 180s after these calls. It can’t get worse,” Todd responded.

In an email sent the next day, Miranda told Wasserman Schultz that “Mika is willing to do a call with you, so we need to know if you want to make that happen too,” adding, “We figure it can’t get worse, so worth having a call.”

“At this point, why would I do that?” Wasserman Schultz replied to Miranda. 

On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Todd briefly addressed the leaked emails. 

“I’m in one of the emails,” he said. “I’m the complaint department here sometimes at NBC. Somebody was complaining about coverage.”

And I said, ‘OK, let’s talk on the phone,’ or whatever. But we didn’t do anything about it, because I get complaints about coverage every hour, every day.”

Several weeks later the email exchange, on June 16, Todd interviewed Wasserman Schultz on Meet the Press. On nine different occasions, the host asked the DNC head if she would step down, a question the chairwoman wouldn’t answer directly. 

In another email part of the WikiLeaks dump, there was also a correspondence found between Jason Seher, who is a CNN producer for Jake Tapper’s “The Lead,” and the Miranda of the DNC.
Seher wrote, “Thanks for facilitating Luis coming on today, and bearing with us through a meelee [sic] of GOP nonsense and cancellations and all that. Any particular points he’ll want to make? We’re gonna stay Dem focused.”

The email was then forwarded to another DNC staffer with a message that said, “Need to know asap if we want to offer Jake Tapper questions to ask us.”

Tapper, also the host of CNN’s “State of the Union,” responded to the controversy in written statement on Tumblr. 

“Wanting to stay ‘Dem-focused’ is a reference to the fact that I wanted to focus on the Democratic presidential contest,” Tapper wrote. 

“As a general note, I don’t find it particularly interesting to have a Democratic party spokesperson attack the Republicans or to have to Republican party spokesperson attack the Democrats, especially during a time of intra-party turmoil,” he continued, adding, “It’s odd to me that any GOPer would take issue with that term since I was trying to avoid gratuitous insults from a partisan against members of the other party, in this case Republicans.” 

CNN and MSNBC were both contacted for comment by The Hill. Each referred the publication back to the respective statements above.


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