The attorney general of Arizona is reportedly investigating a leak that targeted conservative commentator Paris Dennard last year and resulted in him being dropped as a contributor by CNN and other news networks.
The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that the attorney general is investigating the leak to the Washington Post of a report from Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, where Dennard once worked.
The Post printed details of the report, which were protected by laws guarding employee confidentiality, in an article with the headline, “Trump called this White House defender ‘wonderful.’ He was fired from his previous job for alleged sexual harassment.” The Post article came days after Dennard, a prominent black Trump supporter, had bested CNN counterterrorism analyst (and Trump critic) Philip Mudd in an on-air debate, causing Mudd to lose his temper.
President Trump had been so impressed by Dennard’s performance that he tweeted his praise:
Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful @PARISDENNARD over Brennan’s Security Clearance. Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED? @seanhannity
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018
“That set in motion a coordinated attempt by faceless adversaries to destroy me personally and professionally,” Dennard later wrote at Breitbart News. Dennard added:
Four years ago, while working for the McCain Institute at Arizona State University, I was investigated in connection with a claim of harassment. As hurtful as the claim was, I knew the truth would be on my side.
After an automatic and long internal investigation, I was found not to have violated the university’s sexual harassment rules.
The Post was intent on stifling my rising national conservative voice by publishing a story deliberately mischaracterizing the findings of the four-year-old confidential investigative report from my former employer, which was apparently leaked to the newspaper (in violation of the University’s own rules on confidentiality and Arizona law).
Even more reprehensible was the fact that the Post refused to show me the confidential human resources (HR) report I had never seen, even as they asked me for immediate comment about it. It’s hard to see that as a coincidence, and I don’t, because it wasn’t.
It was a political hit job.
Indeed, the Post reached a conclusion in its story that differed markedly from the conclusion reached in the report, upon which they relied. As a result, every published article in response to the Post’s false hit piece remains fruit from the poisonous tree, and in response, I was immediately suspended, without just cause, from various media organizations for which I was a paid contributor, including CNN.
The Republic noted that Dennard’s attorney has taken steps toward suing ASU, and filed a criminal complaint with the state.
Though some details of the report are theoretically available to the public, the Republic notes that “The Post story contained much more detail than what can be found in the university’s findings released via a public records request.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.