Friday's release of nearly 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee revealed that despite repeatedly deflecting accusations that the party was playing favorites, high-level officials did in fact plot to damage Bernie Sanders' campaign. Though Sanders has yet to respond to the leaked documents, that may soon change.
The Vermont senator has not appeared publicly since the leak, and his Twitter account has only commented on campaign issues, such as immigration reform and income inequality. His campaign did not return a request for comment.
However, Sanders will undoubtedly be asked to comment on the DNC emails as early as Sunday when he appears on three morning talks shows: NBC's "Meet the Press" at 9 a.m., CNN's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. and ABC's "This Week" at 10 a.m.
While Sanders himself has not opened up about the DNC emails yet, his campaign reacted on Saturday. In an interview published Saturday afternoon, Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver said the campaign was "disappointed" that the emails confirmed Sanders' suspicion that the DNC was working against him. While he did not name anyone in particular, Weaver said "someone does have to be held accountable."
WikiLeaks dumped 19,252 emails Friday morning, just hours before presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton announced her vice presidential pick and days before next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Several documents divulge exchanges between high-level DNC officials discussing ways to undermine the Sanders' campaign at a time when the Vermont senator was still competing for the nomination.
On May 5, DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall proposed to some colleagues in an email titled "No s—-" that they play up religion in Kentucky and West Virginia where Southern Baptists may have trouble accepting "an atheist" with a Jewish heritage. Marshall did not, however, mention Sanders by name, though Sanders was the only Jewish candidate to run for the nomination. Marshall later told the Intercept that said he did not recall sending that particular email, but that he was most likely referring to a "surrogate."
Saturday, a message apologizing for the email materialized on what appeared to be Marshall's Facebook page. "I deeply regret that my insensitive, emotional emails would cause embarrassment to the DNC, the Chairwoman, and all of the staffers who worked hard to make the primary a fair and open process," the message stated. "The comments expressed do not reflect my beliefs nor do they reflect the beliefs of the DNC and its employees. I apologize to those I offended."
In another exchange in May between two high-level DNC officials, national press secretary Mark Paustenpach wondered if there might be a "narrative" to spin against Sanders, portraying his campaign as a "mess" that never had its act together.
At least one chain of emails show that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who during the primary season had very vocally defended the DNC against accusations of corruption, took part in exchanges brainstorming ideas to cripple Sanders.
Wasserman Schultz and DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda discussed the possibility of using Sanders' moderate stance on the Israel-Palestinian conflict against him. "That Israel stuff is disturbing," Wasserman Schultz said in reference to a Washington Post article that reported Sanders appointees pushing for "a more balanced position" in the Democratic Party platform to address the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Another email shows Wasserman Schultz dismissing Sanders after he told CNN's Jake Tapper that if he were elected president, she would no longer be the DNC chair. "This is a silly story. He isn't going to be president," Wasserman Schultz said in an email on May 21.
She also called Weaver "an ASS."
Sanders, who endorsed Clinton on July 12 and plans to speak at the convention where she is expected to officially become the party's nominee, has been heavily critical of the DNC — and particularly Wasserman Shultz — throughout the primary season. He accused the DNC of leaning in Clinton's favor on a number of issues, ranging from a small number of debates to its system of superdelegates who have overwhelmingly sided with the former secretary of state.
In May, Wasserman Schultz accused the Sanders campaign of adding "fuel to the fire" for not condemning violence that broke out at the Nevada Democratic convention when pro-Sanders supporters accused the state party of favoring Clinton. Weaver rebutted, saying Sanders did, in fact, put out statements condemning the violence, and he blamed Wasserman Schultz for "throwing shade on the Sanders campaign since the very beginning."
Sanders has endorsed Wasserman Schultz's primary rival Tim Canova in the Democratic primary for Florida's 23rd congressional district.