Sarah Isgur Flores, a former GOP operative and recently hired political editor at CNN, will not participate in any Democratic primary debates the network will host in the coming months, according to The Daily Beast.
This announcement comes after a firestorm of criticism from political and media figures, including journalists inside CNN, over the network’s hiring of Isgur to help produce coverage of the 2020 election. Isgur has spent her career working for GOP politicians like Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz. She has never held a job in journalism before.
The reaction inside the DNC to the hiring was apparently one of “disbelief.”
“[Chairman] Tom Perez and the DNC expressed to CNN that they have serious concerns with the hire,” a DNC aide told The Daily Beast. “They continue to talk to the network about how this impacts 2020, and as of Wednesday, they got assurances that Flores would not be involved in debates.”
In her most recent position as senior counsel to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, Isgur was accused of promoting the far-right conspiracy theory about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. She has also shared misleadingly edited videos about Planned Parenthood and directly criticized CNN.
There’s even suspicion that Isgur was in direct contact with the Trump administration in regards to the Rich conspiracy. Isgur was mentioned in a 2017 lawsuit against Fox News by private investigator Rod Wheeler, in which he said Fox made up a quote from him stating that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks before his murder. Far-right conspiracists alleged that Rich, not Russian operatives, was responsible for the DNC leaks during the 2016 election.
From The Daily Beast:
Wheeler specifically mentioned pro-Trump money manager Ed Butowsky as having coordinated between Fox News and Trump administration officials, including Isgur, on advancing the claims that Rich was the source of the leaks. [...]
Isgur denies that these conversations took place.
“I have not spoken about the death of Seth Rich with or to anyone except in response to questions pertaining to this lawsuit. I have not been contacted by either party or their counsel in reference to this case,” Isgur told the site. “There is a legitimate discussion that can be had around my future employment, but this is not part of it.”
As incredible as it is that CNN hired Isgur, what’s even more amazing is that they weren’t the only network considering doing so. According to Vanity Fair, she also pitched her “insider” information on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to MSNBC. The network ultimately decided to pass.