US Democratic Convention opens amid leaked email controversy

United States Democrats open their national convention (DNC) Monday, set to affirm former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, but embroiled in controversy over leaked emails that show how Democratic party leaders sought to ease her path to the nomination by mocking her challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, was pushed out of the post Sunday in the aftermath of the WikiLeaks disclosure of nearly 20,000 emails. She was jeered Monday by Sanders’ supporters as she spoke to a group of delegates from her home state of Florida, where she is a congresswoman, but did not talk about the emails.

VOA stated that Wasserman Schultz told the gathering she had gladly accepted Clinton’s offer to be a campaign surrogate for her in the coming months, after leaving as party chief at the end of the four-day convention.

Sanders, a democratic socialist who waged a tough months-long campaign against Clinton before she claimed the nomination, said he was outraged by the email disclosures that disparaged him, but said they justified his long claims that party officials favoured Clinton in her quest to become the country’s first female president.

Sanders now has endorsed Clinton and is set to deliver a key address for her as the convention convenes Monday in the eastern city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First lady Michelle Obama and a progressive Democratic favourite, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, are to also make the case for Clinton in her race against Republican Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who claimed his party’s nomination last week.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday it is probing what it described as a “cyber intrusion” at the Democratic headquarters that resulted in the WikiLeaks disclosures, to “hold accountable those who pose a threat.”

Democratic officials say the emails were hacked from their official computers by “Russian state actors,” a claim some U.S. computer experts say was possible, but a contention mocked by Trump.

Trump has commented about the Russian leader, saying Putin exhibits more strength as a world leader than U.S. President Barack Obama.