Wikileaks releases 20,000 DNC emails as part of new 'Hillary Leaks' series
UPDATE: Julian Assange has his first scalp. Congresswoman Jenny Wasserman Schultz has resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee after Wikileaks published emails that indicated the DNC was biased in favour of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
EARLIER: Wikileaks has released 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, apparently stolen by Russian hackers, as the instalment of what it bills as "part one of our new Hillary Leaks series."
Hillary Clinton was US secretary of state when Wikileaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012, fearing that extradition to Sweden would see him in turn turned over to US authorities to face questioning over top secret diplomatic cables that were published on his site.
Mr Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy to this day. It's possible that with the new "Hillary Leaks" story, he is extracting a little utu — especially given the release seems timed to blight the Democratic Convention, due to start in Philidelphia tomorrow.
The DNC oversaw the primary race between Mrs Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Mr Sanders constantly referred to the race being "rigged."
At the time, that was taken as a reference to the Democrat's primary system that sees a layer of "super delegates" (Democrat members of Congress and those in the party hierarchy having a say in the outcome). Super delegates overwhelmingly backed Mrs Clinton.
But the leaked emails are said to indicate some DNC members had an inclination to literally rig the race.
Specific examples have been few and far between so far. Fox News quotes one message (which NBR could not locate in a search), noting:
In one email, DNC staffers were looking for ways to blunt Sanders’ popularity with Democrats. In a May 5 email, a DNC employee asked a colleague to collect information on his religious beliefs – claiming it might sway voters in West Virginia and Kentucky. In that particular email, Sanders name was not mentioned but he was the only other candidate in the race at that time against Clinton.
DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall wrote, “This would make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
After winning a number of policy concessions in the Democrat platform (or election manifesto) Mr Sanders appeared onstage with Mrs Clinton go give her a wholehearted endorsement on July 12. Donald Trump supporters will be hoping the leaked emails re-open the Sanders-Clinton rift.
If so, it will probably need more than the above email (neither Democrat candidate's religious persuasion – or lack of it – featured as an issue during the primaries, let alone as a decisive one).
Neither Mr Clinton nor Mr Sanders has commented on the leak so far, and some mainstream media are still ignoring it a half day in. Overall, Mrs Clinton has regained control of the news cycle with the announcement of Tim Kaine as her running mate as part of the buildup to the Democratic Convention next week.
But with Wikileaks promising further installments, she has reason to be nervous.
And a certain rival has reason to be rather happy with Mr Assange:
The Republican nominee unleashed a string of tweets about the leaks, including:
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
The Wikileaks e-mail release today was so bad to Sanders that it will make it impossible for him to support her, unless he is a fraud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
Don't expect Mr Sanders to take the bait. His hatred of Trump is stronger than his dislike of Clinton.
Nevertheless, the leaked emails will help Mr Trump press his case that Mrs Clinton is a Washington insider.
The freedom-loving Wikileaks founder just became the demagogue's best friend.