CNBC’s Harwood Denies Allegation of ‘Collusion’ With Clinton Campaign

November 7th, 2016 5:26 PM

Leaked emails from the Clinton campaign cast doubts on CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood’s abilities to be an objective reporter when it came to Hillary Clinton.

But after The Hill accused Harwood on Nov. 7, of colluding with the Clinton campaign, he denied the charge on Twitter.

“Campaign Collusion: Is CNBC’s John Harwood too close to the Clinton operation?" The Hill asked in a tweet on Nov. 7. The tweet linked to an article by The Hill’s media reporter asking the same question and mentioning WikiLeaks emails.

Harwood tersely responded “No.”

The Hill article cited a Sept. 21, 2015, email in which Harwood sought the Clinton campaign’s input on a question to ask then-candidate Jeb Bush in an interview the next day.

“Jeb Bush was still a leading candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the White House — and had more money behind him,” The Hill noted.

Shortly after that email, he moderated the Oct. 28, 2015, Republican primary debate in which he asked then-candidate Donald Trump, “Is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?”

In a Dec. 8, email with Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, Harwood also insulted the GOP field and said he agreed with what he imagined President Obama thought of the GOP.

Harwood said he imagined “Obama feels some (sad) vindication at this demonstration of his years-long point about the opposition party veering off the rails.” He added that he felt that way “with respect to how I questioned Trump at our debate.”

Ironically, someone from Harwood’s own network questioned his objectivity regarding the Clintons long before WikiLeaks released any Podesta emails. Squawk Box host Joe Kernen previously pressed Harwood on March 4, about how he would treat Clinton during his interview with her.

Kernen suggested Harwood might let the Clinton campaign dictate his interview with her saying, You gonna talk about the elephant in the room, or you just gonna they gonna tell you what to talk about?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Harwood indignantly responded. But in light of the Sept. 21, 2015, email regarding Jeb Bush, Kernen’s suggestion that the campaign might feed Harwood questions was no laughing matter.

Other WikiLeaks emails showed Harwood complimenting Clinton as “pretty strong,” and critiquing her interviews in emails with Podesta. A CNBC representative did not respond immediately to MRC Business’ request for comment on the WikiLeaks revelations.

Harwood also failed to disclose a conflict of interest when he discussed WikiLeaks on Squawk Box, Oct. 11, 2016. The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics tells journalists to "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts."