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CNBC’s John Harwood: Nothing Wrong with Asking Hillary’s Campaign How to Interview Jeb Bush

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02: Journalists John Harwood (L) and Jonathan Karl attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner Weekend Pre-Party hosted by The New Yorker's David Remnick at the W Hotel Washington DC on May 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The New Yorker

CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent John Harwood is arguing that he did nothing wrong by asking a Democratic presidential campaign to brainstorm interview questions for a Republican presidential candidate.

On Sunday morning, a newly-released email from Wikileaks, dated September 21, 2015, showed Harwood consulting Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta on questions to ask former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. “What should I ask Jeb in Speakeasy interview tomorrow?” the email reads.

As news of this message spread across social media, hundreds of people raged at Harwood, but he insisted that this behavior is standard practice among his peers.

Harwood appears to insist that he reaches out both to Democratic and Republicans campaigns to help draft questions. However, the majority of his correspondence shows Harwood pursuing much more than a professional relationship with Podesta — raising flags on his claim of impartiality.

From Harwood’s frequent emails to Clinton’s campaign chairman, we have learned that the CNBC reporter:

Podesta quips in one email thread that Harwood “just butters us up to get better access.” Readers can judge for themselves whether Harwood’s friendly overtures are sincere or not, but this pattern of behavior clearly shows Harwood has cultivated a personal relationship with Clinton’s campaign chairman and failed to disclose this fact in his reporting and his moderation duties.

A representative for CNBC failed to respond for a request for comment.

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