Democrats Downgrade Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Role at Convention

The talks come in the wake of leaked emails by DNC aides about Sanders campaign.

ByABC News
July 24, 2016, 2:17 PM

— -- Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's role at the party's convention this will be severely limited, though she does appear likely to still gavel in the convention and may speak at some point this week in a brief fashion, according to party sources.

The decision comes out of negotiations among Democratic Party officials, in consultation with the campaign staffs of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The talks came in the wake of leaked emails that appear to show top Democratic National Committee aides strategizing about ways to harm Sanders politically in the party primary. The convention begins Monday in Philadelphia.

Wasserman Schultz will not be part of the major evening speaking program as of now, though she and her aides are still negotiating that out, according to Democratic Party sources.

One Democratic Party official noted that the plan was always to have a permanent chair of the convention, the role that will be filled by Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, a Clinton loyalist, who, according to an internal party document obtained by ABC News, is in line to become the convention's permanent chairperson. Four years ago, that role was filled by the then-mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa.

But whereas the plan was to have Wasserman Schultz open the proceedings and speak briefly at the start of the convention Monday afternoon, the plan is now to only have her briefly open the convention and then hand things over to Fudge, party sources said.

In any event, this will be a major downgrade in her planned role. Even a brief appearance, though, is likely to be met with widespread jeering among Sanders delegates, party officials acknowledge.

DNC officials have not responded to requests for comment going back to Friday, when WikiLeaks released the emails in question.

On "This Week" today, Sanders reiterated his call for Wasserman Schultz to be replaced. And of course Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, suggested that the Russian government was behind the hacking, in an apparent effort to help Donald Trump.

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