President Trump once raged against CNN when debate questions were shared with Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 primaries. But might his campaign have peeked at some questions, too?
During the first Republican primary debate, hosted by Fox News in 2015, Trump famously faced a difficult question from Megyn Kelly, who confronted him about his past comments about women. Two Fox insiders and a source close to Trump told The New Yorker's Jane Mayer that they "believe that [former Fox CEO Roger] Ailes informed the Trump campaign about Kelly's question."
Mayer writes that two of the sources "say that they know of the tipoff from a purported eyewitness," and a former Trump campaign aide also said that "a Fox contact gave him advance notice of a different debate question." This second question reportedly was about whether each of the candidates would pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. Trump said he wouldn't.
Mayer notes, however, that these claims are "hard to evaluate" and "conflict with substantial reporting suggesting that the rift between Trump and Fox was bitter," while another Trump campaign aide said Trump was surprised by Kelly's question, and a Fox spokesperson denied that any questions were given in advance. Kelly has said she doesn't believe Trump had questions in advance. However, she has confirmed that Trump called Fox at the time and complained that he heard Kelly was going to ask him a "very pointed question."
If Trump was tipped off, it would certainly be ironic considering he was outraged when it was revealed that Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee chair, told the Clinton campaign about some debate questions in advance when she was a CNN contributor. Brazile was fired from CNN for doing so. Trump at the time asked, "Why didn't Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions — she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary."