Bernie Sanders Calls for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Resign in Wake of Email Leaks

PHOTO: Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters at an event where he went over his core political beliefs on June 23, 2016 in New York City.PlayShannon De Celle/NurPhoto via Getty Images
WATCH Bernie Sanders Calls for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Resign in Wake of Email Leaks

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that in the wake of the leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee its chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, should step down.

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"I think she should resign, period,” as chair of the DNC, Sanders said on ABC's "This Week."

“I told you long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton,” Sanders told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday on “This Week.” “So what I suggested to be true six months ago turned out to be true.”

Sanders says he is “disappointed” by what the leaked emails show but “not shocked.”

“Our campaign was about revitalizing American democracy. I want to see that incorporated into the Democratic Party,” Sanders said. “And I don't believe that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the person to be able to do that.”

WikiLeaks released about 20,000 emails on Friday, just days before Democratic National Convention is set to kick off in Philadelphia, that appear to show Democratic National Committee officials attempting to aid Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the party’s primary.

Several of the emails released indicate that the officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Sanders and his campaign as the primary season advanced.

One email exchange suggested bringing up Sanders’ religious beliefs as a way to hurt his campaign in parts of the country.

“It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded “AMEN,” according to the emails.

Brad Marshall did apologize to Sen. Sanders, and Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told Stephanopoulos that apologizing is an “appropriate step.”

He continued that “Obviously, nobody should -- in politics -- be attacked for their religion, ever. And I think the DNC needs to get to the bottom of the facts and then take appropriate action on any of these emails.”

In the wake of the email leak, Democratic Party officials are negotiating to significantly downgrade the public role of Wasserman Schultz at the convention, according to a top Democratic Party source. Party officials are considering as one possibility finding someone besides the DNC chairwoman to preside over the convention, possibly by naming a new permanent chairperson for the convention but not for the Democratic National Committee itself, the source said.

The party’s officials fear that displaying Wasserman Schultz in a prominent role would lead to booing on the convention floor from Sanders’ supporters and delegates.

Additionally, Green Party candidate Jill Stein offered an outlet for alternate support to Sanders and his supporters tweeting, “if Bernie Sanders repudiates the Democratic Party that betrayed him I would welcome him to the Green Party U.S. to continue the revolution.”

Sanders said that the focus should remain on doing what it takes to defeat Donald Trump in November.

“Right now we have got to defeat Trump, we have to elect Hillary Clinton,” he said. “We have to elect progressive candidates in the house, and in the senate, and school boards, and city councils. And most importantly, we have got to continue the fight for an agenda to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the people on top…that is the mission I will be undertaking”

Sanders also dismissed attempts by Donald Trump to woo his supporters.

"I can't speak for 13 million people, but I think most of my supporters understand Trump has got to be defeated," Sanders said. "We need to elect as many progressives as possible."

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