Party unity?"Everybody is disappointed that much of what we felt was happening at the DNC was in fact happening, that you had in this case a clear example of the DNC taking sides and looking to place negative information into the political process."
—Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager
Amid a batch of leaked emails showing how Democratic National Committee operatives put their "fingers on the scale" during the primary season, with the chair of the party in "quarantine," with the progressive base in an uproar over Hillary Clinton's VP choice, and as Bernie Sanders' top aide calls for heads to roll—the idea of a party unified going into this week's convention seems on Sunday a quaint notion.
In response to Friday's leak of internal DNC emails showing party officials determined to undermine the Bernie Sanders campaign, Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver said the party—including DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz—should be made to answer for that conduct.
"Someone does have to be held accountable," Weaver told ABC News during an interview on Saturday. "We spent 48 hours of public attention worrying about who in the [Donald] Trump campaign was going to be held responsible for the fact that some lines of Mrs. Obama's speech were taken by Mrs. Trump. Someone in the DNC needs to be held at least as accountable as the Trump campaign."
Weaver said Schultz, accused throughout the campaign of betraying a neutral role by operating on behalf of Hillary Clinton campaign, deserves specific scrutiny – especially as the contents of the leaked emails "reinforce" that the party had put "its fingers on the scale" during the hard fought primary process.
"Everybody is disappointed that much of what we felt was happening at the DNC was in fact happening, that you had in this case a clear example of the DNC taking sides and looking to place negative information into the political process," Weaver said.
As Common Dreams and others reported throughout the campaign, there were numerous instances (here, here, here, here, here) where it appeared the DNC was acting as a political arm—and one with significant sway—of the Clinton campaign.
"We have an electoral process. The DNC, by its charter, is required to be neutral among the candidates. Clearly it was not," Weaver added. "We had obviously pointed that out in a number of instances prior to this, and these emails just bear that out." Amid the controversy, it was reported Saturday that Wasserman-Schultz will not speak during this week's national convention that begins in Philadelphia on Monday.
According to CNN:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose stewardship of the DNC has been under fire through most of the presidential primary process, will not have a major speaking role in an effort "to keep the peace" in the party, a Democrat familiar with the decision said. The revelation comes following the release of nearly 20,000 emails.
One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Bernie Sanders' faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Hillary Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.
Wasserman Schultz is expected to gavel the convention in and out, but not speak in the wake of the controversy surrounding the leaked emails, a top Democrat said.
"She's been quarantined," another top Democrat said, following a meeting Saturday night.