Debbie Wasserman Schultz, pictured on January 16, 2016, will "step down as Democratic party chair at the end of this convention," she said in a statement on the eve of the Democratic National Convention
Philadelphia (AFP) - Embattled Democratic Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Sunday she is resigning, following a leak of emails suggesting an insider attempt to hobble the campaign of Hillary Clinton's rival in the White House primaries Bernie Sanders.
Wasserman Schultz will step down at the end of the Democratic National Convention, she said in a statement on the eve of the confab in Philadelphia that is set to anoint Clinton as the party's presidential nominee.
Her departure, long sought by Sanders, is aimed at drawing a line under the scandal as establishment Democrats seek desperately to unite the party behind the campaign of former secretary of state Clinton, who goes up against Republican Donald Trump in the November presidential election.
Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, reiterated her intention to be a surrogate for Clinton in the presidential campaign, but said her five-year stint leading the Democratic National Committee was over.
"Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as party chair at the end of this convention," she said in a statement.
She said she will still open and close the convention.
A cache of leaked emails from Democratic Party leaders' accounts includes at least two messages suggesting an insider effort to cripple the upstart Sanders campaign that had competed with Clinton -- including by seeking to present him as an atheist to undermine him in highly religious states.
The Vermont senator Sunday repeated calls for the resignation of Wasserman Schultz, whose leadership was already under fire and whose impartiality was called into question by the leaks.
President Barack Obama said he called Wasserman Schultz Sunday to say he was "grateful" for her years of service.
"Her leadership of the DNC has meant that we had someone who brought Democrats together not just for my re-election campaign, but for accomplishing the shared goals we have had for our country."
Yet Wasserman Schultz recently proved a divisive leader, with the Sanders camp and its supporters concerned the DNC was angling for a Clinton nomination.
"The emails just proved what we believed to begin with," Dora Bouboulis of Vermont told AFP as she marched in a Philadelphia demonstration.
Clinton issued a statement to thank Wasserman Schultz and to state her friend "will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states."
Trump however was quick to pile on.
"I always said that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was overrated. The Dems convention is cracking up," he taunted on Twitter.