Donna Brazile claims she considered replacing Clinton with Biden weeks before Election Day

Last Updated Nov 4, 2017 8:09 PM EDT

Former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile claims in her new book that she considered replacing Hillary Clinton with then-Vice President Joe Biden as the party's nominee, mere weeks before Election Day. 

Brazile says she contemplated the major change in the aftermath of Clinton's September 2016 collapse in New York City, in part because her campaign was "anemic" and had assumed an "odor of failure," according to excerpts of the book obtained by The Washington Post.

Brazile claims she wanted to replace Clinton and her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, with Biden and Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey. Brazile writes she believed the Biden-Booker combo would have the power to win over working-class Americans. But she thought better of the 11th-hour overhaul of the Democratic Party.

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Interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

"I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them," she writes.

DNC rules do not appear to allow the chairperson to select a new nominee unilaterally — that has to be done through national committee members, and only then in the case of a vacancy through the case of death or a person voluntarily giving up the nomination. So far, there is no evidence Brazile made any effort to replace the nominee, and it's unclear whether she discussed the matter with anyone.

Senior members of the Clinton campaign team responded in a Medium post saying they were "shocked" by Brazile's claims and wrote that they "do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book."

"It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate's health," said the post, which was signed by Huma Abedin and more than 50 others.

Those explosive details add to the highly controversial excerpts Politico already published from Brazile's book -- that she believes the election was rigged in favor of Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House," comes out Tuesday from Hachette Books.

CBSN political contributor and Democratic strategist Nomiki Konst, who is part of the DNC's reform commission, said she was not surprised by Brazile's remarks about Sanders and Clinton. "I think a lot of people feel vindicated," Konst said. 

Her book, The Washington Post reports, contains other odd details, such as how Brazile reacted to the death of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was killed in Washington, D.C. last year. His death has become fodder for fringe conspiracy theories. 

Brazile writes that after Rich's unsolved murder, she feared for her life, shutting blinds so snipers could not see her, and placing surveillance cameras inside her home. She also ponders whether Russians wiretapped the plants in the DNC executive suite. 

President Trump has already said the public "deserves" a probe of Clinton after Brazile's rigged election claims. 

CBS News' Stefan Becket and Caroline Linton contributed to this report. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.