Protesters nearly drown out Wasserman Schultz

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Furious protesters nearly drowned out Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ speech to her home state delegation Monday, crowding the stage and screaming, “You’re ruining our democracy!”

A row of police officers stood between the stage and the protesters as the Florida congresswoman, who is up for re-election, finished her speech. Several of her supporters stood on chairs and waved T-shirts bearing her name, whole some yelled at the Sanders’ supporters to step back or sit down.

The Sanders’ supporters held paper signs that said “E-mails” on one side and “Thanks for the ‘help’ Debbie,” on the other.

Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday she would step down from the party chairmanship after the convention this week. She was pressured to resign after hacked emails revealed the DNC may have favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the party’s presidential primaries.

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9:30 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman says Donald Trump and Russian leader Valdimir Putin have “a kind of bromance going on.”

John Podesta said he believes news reports that hacks of the Democratic National Committee’s emails were orchestrated by Russian military intelligence agencies.

Podesta said on MSNBC Monday that there’s, “a kind of bromance going on between Putin and Trump which is distinct from this leak.”

The Republican presidential nominee has done business in Russia. Trump has spoken favorably of Putin as someone he could negotiate with, producing better relations between the U.S. and its former Cold War adversary.

Podesta says, “maybe it’s simply just a mutual admiration society.”

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9:22 a.m.

Outgoing Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is being heckled at a breakfast of Florida delegates, with opponents shouting, “Shame!”

The Florida congresswoman announced Sunday that she would resign as the party’s chair at the end of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Wasserman Schultz is telling the crowd during a raucous scene that “we have to make sure that we move together in a unified way.” But supporters of Bernie Sanders shouted at her during her brief remarks to the breakfast.

Her ouster came after a firestorm over hacked emails that suggested the DNC favored Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries against Bernie Sanders.

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9:20 a.m.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is downplaying turmoil in the Democratic Party, saying it “doesn’t really matter” who is the party chair.

Pelosi blames the Russians for the hack of Democratic National Committee emails that revealed that party officials strategized against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Pelosi says the matter should be “scrutinized,” and “I do think there should be some examination of what happened at the DNC and action should be taken.”

The revelations led party chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce she would step down after the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Pelosi predicts that development will end up being “probably one of the most unimportant things that happened at the convention.”

She made her comments at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News Monday in Philadelphia.

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9:17 a.m.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic Party, said Monday that “we’re done” with the controversy over hacked party emails.

“I think the good news now is we’re done,” McAuliffe said, after speaking to a delegate breakfast in Philadelphia on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. “We’ve dealt with the issue. Debbie has resigned and now we’ve got to go forward. She did the right thing. I used to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee. You should never tolerate anyone on your staff or allow people to write those kinds of things.”

McAuliffe said he hopes the delegates will treat Wasserman Schultz with respect, noting that “she wants to get up there” and participate this week. He added that she has worked hard and “it’s not an easy job.”

McAuliffe said he spoke to Wasserman Schultz last night and said the resignation “was very hard on her. You don’t like to see anyone have to go through this.”

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8:36 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s spokesman says hacked emails in which Democratic party officials discuss how to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign don’t mean the nomination process was rigged.

But campaign spokesman Brian Fallon is not defending emails that discuss using Sanders’ religious beliefs against him. He calls those emails “completely unacceptable” and noted that the official involved has apologized. Fallon left open the possibility that the person could face “further action.”

He says that, “by every standard Hillary Clinton won a decisive victory.”

He noted that Clinton won more pledged delegates and had a greater popular vote than Sanders, and that the Vermont senator himself has acknowledged that Clinton is the “rightful nominee.”

Fallon spoke on CNN.

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8:03 a.m.

Donald Trump is brushing off claims that Russia is trying to help his campaign by leaking thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Trump said in a Tweet Monday that reports of Russia releasing the emails because Russian President Vladimir Putin likes him is “the new joke in town.”

The Republican presidential nominee was reacting a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager accused “Russian state actors” of breaking into the DNC’s emails to boost Trump. Robby Mook told CNN that it’s no coincidence the emails are coming out on the eve of the party’s nominating convention in Philadelphia. Some Republicans opposed to Trump have sought to cast him as pro-Putin.

Wikileaks has posted emails that suggested the DNC was favoring Clinton during the primary season. The disclosures forced the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In another Tweet, Trump says “bad judgment was on display” by DNC officials who criticized Clinton’s primary rival Bernie Sanders.

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7:48 a.m.

Retired Gen. John Allen is endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, calling it “a very personal decision.”

Allen, who most recently served as America’s special envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said Monday that he generally keeps out of politics but “given the complexities of issues facing our country today and its longtime allies, I felt compelled to speak up and be heard.”

He added: “I have no doubt that she is the leader we need at this time to keep our country safe.”

Allen is the former deputy commander of U. S. Central Command and previously oversaw NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Republican Donald Trump has said that in his administration, the U.S. might not come to the defense of NATO allies who don’t contribute enough to the alliance. Republicans and Democrats have widely panned that position as dangerous and evidence of Trump’s lack of fitness for high office. NATO members promise that an attack against any of them is considered an assault against all.

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7:07 a.m.

Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of liberals, will deliver the keynote address at the Democratic convention.

The Massachusetts senator speaks Monday night in an opening lineup that also includes first lady Michelle Obama, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who finished second in the Democratic primary.

Sanders will notably deliver the night’s closing address. Sanders generated enormous enthusiasm among young people and liberals during the Democratic primary, voters Hillary Clinton needs to show up for her in November.

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3:20 a.m.

Democrats are opening their national convention in Philadelphia eager to show off a forward-looking party united behind Hillary Clinton. But they face lingering bitterness among supporters of defeated rival Bernie Sanders and a fresh political mess of the party’s own making.

The resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee made for a rocky start on Sunday. The Florida congresswoman heeded Sanders’ longstanding call to leave as party chief. Her departure comes a few days after the publication of 19,000 hacked emails, which the Vermont senator said confirmed his belief the national party played favorites for Clinton during the primary.

Wasserman Schultz’s abrupt departure was undoubtedly an effort to keep the Democrats’ gathering from devolving into the tumult that marred last week’s Republican National Convention.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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