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Wikileaks email dump suggests DNC favored Clinton over Sanders

In one email, a Democratic National Committee official wonders if playing up Sanders' alleged atheism in the southern states would hurt his campaign.
Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton applauds as Senator Bernie Sanders endorses her during a campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S., July 12, 2016. (Mary Schwalm/Reuters)

An enormous trove of emails posted by Wikileaks from top officials at the Democratic National Committee offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into just how ruthless the fight for the democratic presidential nomination was, and seem to confirm what Sanders suspicion during the campaign that the top dogs at the DNC were out to derail his nomination.

The DNC is, in theory, a neutral base for Democratic candidates. But the emails suggest it is anything but.


"Wondering if there's good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess" wrote DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach in an email titled "Bernie narrative." "It's not a DNC conspiracy, it's because they never had their act together."

"True" replies communications director Luis Miranda. "But the Chair has been advised not to engage. So we'll have to leave it alone," referring to DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In an email from May titled "No shit,"the DNC's chief financial officer Brad Marshall considers smearing Sanders on religion in the southern state primaries.

"It might may [sic) no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief," Marshall writes. "Does he believe in a God. He has 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. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."

"AMEN" replies DNC Chief Executive Officer Amy Dacey.

In one, Rachel Palermo from the DNC's communications department shares a number of articles about Sanders accusing Wasserman Schultz of disproportionately packing the DNC with Clinton supporters, and threatening to stay in the race for a contested convention. Deputy communications director Eric Walker replies: "#bernieclickbait."

Related: Exclusive: Hillary Clinton exchanged top secret emails on her private server with three aides


In another, Wasserman Schultz describes Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver as "an ass." In a separate email, Wasserman Schultz recounts an interview with CBS' Nancy Cordes. "Btw, Nancy Cordes has the most puzzled look on her face when she asked me to respond to Weaver saying I had been throwing shade at Sanders. I said, well my response to that is #SMH," Wasserman Schultz wrote (acronym for "shaking my head). "She paused for a second and looked very confused."

The leaks include 20,000 emails and 8,000 attachments that were sent or received from top Democratic officials that WikiLeaks named the "Hillary Leaks series."The emails are from January 2015 to May 2016, and include emails from seven DNC officials.

WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leak, but last month the DNC said Russian hackers had broken into its computer system and stolen data, including the committee's opposition research on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Follow Tess Owen on Twitter: @misstessowen