By Jeffrey Toobin
The great e-mail-leak crisis of the Democratic National Convention may soon become yesterday’s news, but the story offers a useful window into what’s likely to be an increasingly common scenario.
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To review: shortly before the Democratic Convention opened in Philadelphia this week, Wikileaks released a collection of almost twenty thousand e-mails by and to staff members of the Democratic National Committee. In the resulting brouhaha, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman, was forced to step down as the chair of the committee. (No one mourned her departure, apparently, because she was universally unpopular.)
Why did D.W.S., as she is known, have to leave the D.N.C.? Well, the gist is that Bernie Sanders and his supporters took offense at what appeared in several e-mails to be bias in favor of Hillary Clinton at Democratic Party headquarters, which is supposed to be neutral territory in a nomination fight. (The Washington Post has helpfully laid out “the most damaging things” contained in the e-mails.)
Sanders and his campaign had long publicly maintained that D.W.S. and the D.N.C. had worked to help Clinton during the primaries—by, for example, scheduling only a handful of debates, often in the viewing ghetto of Saturday night. In other words, there was already bad blood between the Sanders team and the D.N.C., which made this week’s unpleasantness deeply unsurprising. What was so terrible about the e-mails?