Hacked emails show Democratic party disunity

2016-07-23 20:00
FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton applauds erstwhile rival Bernie Sanders during a rally in Portsmouth, where he endorsed her. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton applauds erstwhile rival Bernie Sanders during a rally in Portsmouth, where he endorsed her. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A cache of more than 19 000 emails from Democratic party officials, leaked in advance of Hillary Clinton's nomination at the party's convention next week in Philadelphia, details the acrimonious split between the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's former rival, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Several emails posted by Wikileaks on its document disclosure website show DNC officials scoffing at Sanders and his supporters and in one instance, questioning his commitment to his Jewish religion. Some emails also show DNC and White House officials mulling whether to invite guests with controversial backgrounds to Democratic party events.

Although Wikileaks' posting of the emails on Friday did not disclose the identity of who provided the private material, those knowledgeable about the breach said last month that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC computer system. At the time, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the breach was a "serious incident" and a private contractor hired to sweep the organization's network had "moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network."

On its web page, Wikileaks said the new cache of emails came from the accounts of "seven key figures in the DNC" and warned that the release was "part one of our new Hillary Leaks series" - an indication that more material might be published soon. Among the officials whose emails were made public were DNC spokesperson Luis Miranda, national finance director Jordon Kaplan and finance chief Scott Comer, but other DNC and media figures and even some White House officials communicated with them between January 2015 and last May, Wikileaks said.

The emails include several stinging denunciations of Sanders and his organization before and after the DNC briefly shut off his campaign's access to the party's key list of likely Democratic voters.

The DNC temporarily curtailed Sanders' access to the list in December 2015 because the organization accused the insurgent campaign of illegally tapping into confidential voter information compiled by the Clinton campaign. The Sanders campaign briefly sued the DNC but the party reached an accord with Sanders and the suit was dropped in April.

The emails show that after the furor over the voter records was resolved, hostility simmered from top DNC officials over the Sanders campaign.

In mid-May emails with Miranda, his deputy, Mark Paustenbach, questioned whether the DNC should use the voter record furor to raise doubts about the Sanders campaign.

"Wondering if there's a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never had his act together, that his campaign was a mess," Paustenbach wrote. Miranda spurned the idea, although he agreed with Paustenbach's take: "True, but the Chair has been advised not to engage. So we'll have to leave it alone."


The same month, in another email to DNC officials, another official identified only as "Marshall" said of Sanders: "Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps."

The Associated Press emailed Miranda, Paustenbach and DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall about the Wikileaks releases but they were not immediately available for comment. Sanders campaign officials were also not immediately available after contacts from the AP.

The Wikileaks releases also included exchanges between DNC officials and White House event planning officials about whether to allow several influential Democratic party donors to attend events where President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were scheduled to appear. The emails contained lengthy discussions about the donors' backgrounds, including, in some cases, criminal histories.

One email exchange concerned whether to allow singer Ariana Grande to perform at a DNC event in the wake of an infamous online video posted on the TMZ website that showed Grande licking other customers' doughnuts at a bakery in California. DNC officials also worried about the singer's comment in the same video that "I hate America." Grande, whose real name is Ariana Butera, later apologised for the comment.

According to the emails, White House officials vetoed Grande's performance.

Read more on:    democratic party  |  wikileaks  |  hillary clinton  |  bernie sanders  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.