A new release of emails from Wikileaks reveals that top party officials at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) privately planned to undermine Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and colluded on a pro-Clinton narrative.
The release includes over 19,000 emails and more than 8,000 attachments from the period of January 2015 to May 2016.
Some of the more interesting emails include DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach instructing Communications Director Luis Miranda to plant a narrative in the media that Sanders’ “campaign was a mess,” reports The Hill.
DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall also wrote about a plan to question Sanders’ religion prior to the Kentucky and West Virginia primary elections.
“Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist,” wrote Marshall, according to the Hill, “This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” the email says.
With the Democratic National Convention also being held in the upcoming week, tensions are running high between the two candidates camps. The DNC rules committee may be a particular source of contention according to Democratic sources who talked with CNN.
At one point during the campaign cycle, there was discussion in the DNC over how to respond to Sanders’ assertions that he would oust DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz if elected.
“This is a silly story,” Wasserman-Schultz wrote in a May 21st email, according to The New York Times, “He isn’t going to be president.”
Sanders had endorsed Wasserman-Schultz’s primary opponent in her congressional race in Florida. According to CNN, as part of an agreement between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, Sanders agreed to drop his fight to contest Wasserman-Schultz as DNC head if the party agreed to include more progressive principles in its official platform. One Democrat told CNN that the leaked emails, “…could threaten their agreement.”
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted, “Leaked emails of the DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes [sic] really vicious. RIGGED.”
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
The leaked emails come from the email accounts of seven key DNC figures: Communications Director Luis Miranda, National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan, Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer, Finance Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish, Finance Director Allen Zachary, Senior Advisor Andrew Wright, and Northern California Director Robert Stow. Luis Miranda’s email trove makes up the vast majority, totaling nearly 11,000 emails alone.
As a result of the Wikileaks email scandal, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been removed as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Wasserman-Schultz’s ouster as the head of the DNC comes just before the party’s convention this week in Philadelphia.
According to NBC News, Bernie Sanders made the following statement, “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party,” he said. “While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”
A DNC spokesperson said on Twitter that Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge has been selected to serve as chair of the Democratic National Convention, which starts on Monday. Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as Interim Chair through the election.