Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager says he expects more damaging DNC revelations

Jeff Weaver, presidential campaign manager for Senator Bernie Sanders, speaks to the media on the floor at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Jeff Weaver, presidential campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, speaks to the media at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

PHILADELPHIA — Hacked internal Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks on Saturday showed that some staffers at the party hoped to undermine the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the bitterly contested Democratic primary. The scandal that followed led to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., last Sunday, the eve of the party’s nominating convention. Now Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, says he believes the initial leaks haven’t exposed everything the DNC did to sabotage Sanders’ effort to win.

WikiLeaks has said there is “more coming.” When asked about this late Monday evening, Weaver said he believed more messages showing inappropriate behavior by the DNC, which was supposed to remain unbiased in the primary, might yet be released. Weaver pointed to the fact that the emails released so far only include the time between January 2015 and May of this year.

“The emails only cover a certain time period, so there are other time periods and, if they have the emails, I’m sure there are emails in there,” Weaver said.

The DNC brought in security experts to investigate a potential breach in April, and the suspected hackers were locked out of their system by June. So far, the leaked emails show DNC staffers talking about pressing Sanders on his Judaism or alleged atheism in hopes of damaging him during key state primaries. Sanders has maintained he is not an atheist. The messages also show DNC staff talking about spreading a “narrative” that Sanders’ campaign was “a mess.” That idea was nixed. The messages also show complaints among DNC staff that Sanders, who has been an independent for the majority of his political career, is not really a Democrat.

These messages were written amid tensions between Sanders’ team and the DNC. At multiple points during the primary, the Sanders campaign and particularly Weaver alleged that the DNC was biased in favor of Hillary Clinton, who ultimately became the party’s presumptive nominee. In some of the messages released by WikiLeaks, Wasserman Schultz called Weaver an “a**hole” and a “liar” for complaints he aired publicly. In May, Sanders endorsed Tim Canova, Wasserman Schultz’s rival in her upcoming Florida primary.

Despite this past animosity, Weaver stressed the need to move beyond the primary. He also suggested he is satisfied with Wasserman Schultz’s interim replacement, veteran political operative Donna Brazile.

“It was going to come out at some point. It was clear that this was going on,” Weaver said of the DNC’s efforts to undermine Sanders. “But, you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has stepped down, and now it’s time to move forward. … I think Donna Brazile, who has now taken over, is committed to making real reforms there, and we’re going to support her.”

WikiLeaks has not revealed the source of the messages. Clinton’s campaign has said, based on the analysis of multiple online security firms, that the leaks came from Russian hackers. Weaver said this could be a concern but does not change the contents of the messages and the need for a continued strong response to the DNC’s actions.

“It matters on one level — obviously you don’t want foreign governments interfering in our elections,” Weaver said of a potential Russian role in the leak. “But on the other hand, the substance of the emails are the substance of the emails. And I think the response has been strong and I think forceful. … I think there’ll be further responses and, you know, I support that response.”

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