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|Martin Barillas||November 7th 2016|
In emails revealed by the WikiLeaks hacking organization led by open-government advocate Julian Assange, CNN asked staff at the Democratic National Committee to pitch questions to ask Republican presidential primary contenders Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the early months of 2016. Entitled “Cruz on CNN,” an email sent by DNC research director Lauren Dillon on April 28 to fellow Democrats says, “CNN is looking for questions. Please send some topical/interesting ones.”
Days before, in advance of an interview Trump was scheduled to have with CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer, Dillon asked for questions, too. In an email entitled, “CNN questions for Trump,” Dillon wrote, “Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed.”
Later, a group of staffers at the Democratic National Committee suggested a number of questions for Blitzer to ask Trump. However, the interview was not conducted on the day Dillon expected it. Instead, Blitzer interviewed Trump on May 4, after Senator Cruz and Governor John Kasich dropped out of contention for the Republican presidential nomination.
Another leading correspondent at the network, Jake Tapper -- who anchors CNN’s daily show “The Lead” -- also apparently sought questions in advance of an interview. I another email revealed by WikiLeaks, former DNC Director of Hispanic Media Pablo Manriquez from to DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda and others: “Window closing on this. Need to know asap if we want to offer Jake Tapper questions to ask us.” He added, “Lmk (let me know) and I'll call Jason. Might wanna loop Freundlich &/or Dillon here to see if there's any newsworthy oppo (opposition) Luis can drop.
Manriquez had been contacted by Jason Seher of Turner Broadcasting, who wrote: “Thanks for facilitating Luis coming on today, and bearing with us through a meelee of GOP nonsense and cancellations and all that. Any particular points he'll want to make? We're gonna stay Dem focused…”