Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Resign as DNC Chair Amid Email Leaks

DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as interim chair through the election

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she will step down at the end of the party's convention in Philadelphia. DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as interim chair through the election.

The announcement comes amid growing pressure for the Florida congresswoman to step down after email leaks suggested committee officials favored Hillary Clinton during the party's primary.

"I think she should resign, period, and I think we need a new chair who is going to lead us in a very different direction," Sanders said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

The Vermont senator also reiterated his calls for Wasserman Schultz to resign on "Meet the Press," after more than 19,000 emails leaked Friday by the website WikiLeaks revealed that some DNC officials internally showed favoritism towards the Clinton campaign while outwardly claiming impartiality.

"This really does not come as a shock to me or my supporters. There is no question but the DNC was on Secretary Clinton's side from day one," Sanders told NBC's Chuck Todd.

The Vermont senator says a new leader is needed to focus the DNC on defeating Donald Trump, attracting young voters and improving the economy.

The White House said President Barack Obama called Wasserman Schultz Sunday afternoon to let her know that he is grateful for her leadership of the DNC. Obama said Wasserman Schultz "had my back" and brought Democrats together to accomplish the party's shared goals for the country.

"Her critical role in supporting our economic recovery, our fights for social and civil justice and providing health care for all Americans will be a hallmark of her tenure as Party Chair," the statement read. "Michelle and I are grateful for her efforts, we know she will continue to serve our country as a member of Congress from Florida and she will always be our dear friend."

Trump and his team responded to the news of Wasserman Shultz's resignation.

In a tweet, the Republican candidate called her "neurotic," saying that she "is angry that, after stealing and cheating her way to a Crooked Hillary victory, she's out!"

Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, called on Clinton to drop out of the race in a statement issued Sunday, saying Wasserman Schultz failed to "secure the DNC's email servers and the rigged system she set up" with Clinton. 

"Now Hillary Clinton should follow Wasserman Schultz's lead and drop out over her failure to safeguard top secret, classified information both on her unauthorized home server and while traveling abroad," he said. "Wasserman Schultz's emails only put the Democratic Party at risk, but Hillary Clinton's emails put all of America at risk.

On the eve of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, party officials were holding discussions about whether Schultz should resign as chairwoman of the DNC, the Associated Press reported, citing a person familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly.

Earlier Sunday, party officials announced Wasserman Schultz will not preside over the Democratic convention, voting instead to have Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio act gavel each session to order and close beginning Monday.

Fudge said in a statement issued Sunday she is "happy to serve" as chair of the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia, and thanked Clinton for recommending her to the position.

"I am looking to a great convention and our ongoing efforts as we work together for a strong party and a successful election," she added.

Sanders was critical of the Florida congresswoman throughout the primary, accusing the party of rigging the process in favor of Clinton.

Saturday, an official with the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said: "We are very proud of the campaign that we ran. Hillary Clinton has said a number of times publicly that Sen. Sanders ran an extraordinary, hard-fought-campaign based on a real vigorous, and contested primary. As far as Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Sanders, that's a question to ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz."

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