Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday blasted President Trump's call for a federal probe into allegations Hillary Clinton and the DNC rigged the party's primary, saying Dem leaders were guilty of nothing more than playing favorites.
"The DNC shouldn't play favorites," Warren tweeted. "But that's a whole lot different from illegally conspiring with Russia. The FBI knows the difference."
Her comment came amid her blistering Twitter war with Trump, after he gleefully seized on the Cambridge Democrat's comment that Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee tilted the party's 2016 primary against her rival Bernie Sanders.
"Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.," the president tweeted yesterday, in a mocking reference to the liberal darling's claims of a Native American ancestry.
Warren sparked the feud when she was asked during an appearance on CNN if she thought the Democratic primary was rigged. "Yes," she responded.
That brief exchange came in the wake of former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile's bombshell story on Politico earlier that day, when -- in an excerpt from her upcoming book -- she accused the Clinton campaign and party leaders of "unethical" financial dealings during the run-up to the convention.
Brazile spotlighted a joint fundraising agreement between Clinton and the then-bankrupt national party, but she never claimed anything criminal took place, or even that it violated election law.
Bay State Democrats and Sanders supporters said the party didn't play fair, but stopped well short of saying the primaries were rigged.
Mark Longabaugh, a senior adviser to Sanders who served as his liaison to the DNC, said he believes the party "clearly had a conflict of interest" in its various financial ties to the Clinton operation. But he said Trump's tweet was "absurd."
"Do I think the DNC was set up to be biased against Bernie Sanders and undermined our candidacy? Absolutely I believe that," Longabaugh told the Herald. "But rigged, that's kind of a loaded word. ... We kind of have to put 2016 behind us."
Linda Pinti, a Sanders delegate and member of the Massachusetts Democratic state committee, said in light of Brazile's claims, "a huge apology is owed to Bernie" and his supporters.
"Every day, we cry a little, thinking, 'we could have had Bernie!' " she said in an email.
The state's Congressional Democrats also weren't jumping to join Warren's take on the primary. Most members of the delegation did not respond to Herald requests for interviews yesterday, and those who did treated Brazile's claim cautiously.
"Without question there was a lot of infighting that took place last year, we have to understand it," U.S. Sen. Ed Markey said at an unrelated event. "We have to make sure any problems that did exist are corrected."
U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III said in his own statement that the party "undoubtedly must remedy any inequities that may exist."
Amid his "Crooked Hillary" crusade, Trump has publicly pushed federal authorities to probe a U.S.-approved uranium sale to a Russian company in 2010 as well as Democrats' ties to an infamous Trump "Russian dossier" from the 2016 campaign.
But Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor, said he was "a little at a loss" about what exactly the FBI would probe regarding the Clinton campaign's dealings with the party.
"It seems that it may be troubling, but it's mostly a Democratic Party problem. ... I don't think there's an angle really for the federal government to be involved."
Tobias chalked up the tweet to an attempt by Trump to distract attention from special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into the president's campaign and potential ties to Russia, a view Warren herself echoed on Twitter yesterday.
"You might think your tweets are cute, @realDonaldTrump," she tweeted, "but they won't stop Mueller's investigation or keep your people out of jail."
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