NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - She is a Kenner native who reached the pinnacle of party politics, and on Thursday Donna Brazile defended her right to pen her candid assessment of the 2016 presidential race, problems within her own party and Russian hacking during a lengthy interview with FOX 8 News.
In her headline-making book, "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House," Brazile wrote that after becoming interim Democratic National Committee chair, she found a document allowing Hillary Clinton's campaign to bail out the cash-strapped DNC.
She likened her discovery to the discovery of a cancer. She wrote that she had promised Bernie Sanders she would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton's camp had rigged the nomination progress.
"First of all, it's good to be home," she said. "'Hacks' is the story of my journey as the chair of the campaign, or the chair of the Democratic National Committee at the time the DNC was being hacked. The book is dripping with Tabasco. It's hot because 2016 was a very disruptive political year. When I walked into the DNC, I found a house riddled with bugs. These were not ordinary bugs, these were Russian bugs…and what I found in trying to remediate and also get to the bottom of what had happened in the DNC, I found this joint fundraising agreement, but an addendum that gave the Clinton campaign control over three divisions within the Democratic Party. It concerned me at the time because before you choose a nominee, it's important that the party is neutral or independent of the various campaigns, and I call it cancerous. It really de-stabilized the party at a time when the party should have been focused on the general election…when you are controlling the research department, the communications department, when you're controlling investments, the finances inside the party…I guess that would give the picture that the party was under the control of the Clinton campaign, which in fact, I found no evidence that the primary process was rigged. Hillary won it."
Brazile is a Grace King and LSU graduate. FOX 8's Sabrina Wilson asked Brazile about statements that she still admires Hillary Clinton and whether she thinks Hillary would take her call now that the her book is out.
"Well, I don't know that I'm seeking anybody's approval…I wanted to share with the American people what happened to the DNC, what happened to our country in 2016," she said.
In online posts, some Democrats have labelled Brazile a traitor.
"Politics is not for the faint-hearted. I've known that all my adult life. I've been involved in 11 presidential cycles, 21 mid-term cycles…it doesn't hurt to be criticized. I learn from critics," Brazile stated.
The hacked DNC emails spurred accusations that Brazile gave Clinton a heads up on questions before a CNN town hall. Brazile has said CNN never shared questions with her.
"Well, selectively leaked would be a proper way of describing stolen, hacked emails," she said. "It's as if somebody walks into your house and decides that they just want your furniture but leave your TV there…they walked in and they stole emails they felt could cause dissension and discord against Bernie and Hillary. With regards to CNN, I had been a part of the CNN political team for over 14 years. I loved my relationship with CNN, but when that controversy came up, I tried to get home to find out if the emails were accurate, and when I could not find the emails in question. Then I thought the best thing for me to do was to leave CNN because I could not disprove the lie."
And will her political fire wane after decades fighting for causes and candidates?
"No, this is a passion that comes from a place that cannot be drowned out by the noise of the partisans," said Brazile.
And Brazile, who remains a staunch LSU fan has some advice for her beloved Tigers.
"I tell my friends that Alabama guys eat biscuits. We eat beignets. We need to put some more biscuits in our recipe for our team to win this year," she said.
Brazile has a heavy schedule while in New Orleans. Friday she speaks at the Independent Women's Organization. Saturday she will signs copies of her book at the Garden District Bookshop on Prytannia Street.