By The Associated Press
July 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton is thanking her “longtime friend” Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the Florida congresswoman’s decision to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Clinton says that Wasserman Schultz will serve as honorary chair of her campaign’s 50-state program to help elect Democrats around the country.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says she looks forward to campaigning with Wasserman Schultz in Florida “and helping her re-election bid.” Clinton responded after Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair at the end of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

The move came after the publication last week of some 19,000 hacked emails, some of which suggested the DNC was favoring Clinton during the primary season.

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President Barack Obama made a statement on Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, saying he is “grateful” for her leadership at the Democratic National Committee. Obama commented that the Florida congresswoman has “had my back,” particularly during his 2012 re-election campaign. He said she played a critical role in supporting the nation’s economic recovery and his effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system, and added that no one works harder for their constituents.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus spoke to reporters in Philadelphia, and said his Democratic counterpart’s forced resignation was “inevitable.” Priebus says Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ouster underscores the “uphill climb” Democrats face in uniting their party during this week’s convention.

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman took a much stronger tack. Paul Manafort said that Hillary Clinton should follow Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s lead and drop out of the race over her use of a secret email server. Paul Manafort said in a statement that Wasserman Schultz’s emails put the Democratic Party at risk, “but Hillary Clinton’s emails put all of America at risk.”

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The Democratic National Committee’s rules panel has decided that Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio will preside over convention sessions beginning Monday. Barney Frank, co-chair of the rules committee at the Democratic National Convention, says it was never expected that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz would preside over convention proceedings this week.

A DNC rules committee member says Fudge was voted as convention chairwoman as part of standard procedures. That makes clear that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not act in that capacity; under party rules, the DNC head acts as temporary chair until a new one is voted in.

Still in question is what role Wasserman Schultz might play during this week’s Democratic convention. Many supporters of Bernie Sanders are angry about the Wikileaks scandal, and it is unclear how this will affect their willingness to support Clinton.

The DNC rules committee member spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of internal party affairs.

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