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DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Stepping Down Amid Email Scandal

Wasserman Schultz announced she will leave her position after this week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Last updated on July 24, 2016, at 4:23 p.m. ET

Posted on July 24, 2016, at 4:07 p.m. ET

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would leave her leadership position after the Democratic National Convention ends this week, amid a controversy over leaked DNC emails.

Wasserman Schultz had been criticized by the Bernie Sanders campaign for appearing to favor Hillary Clinton throughout their Democratic primary.

Hackers this week also posted thousands of emails from party staff members, some of which showed DNC staffers criticizing the Sanders campaign and questioning his faith.

Earlier Sunday, Sanders had called for Wasserman Schultz to resign her position.

โ€œI asked and demanded Debbie Wasserman Schultzโ€™s resignation many, many months ago and I state that again,โ€ he told CNN. โ€œI donโ€™t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC โ€” not only for these awful e-mails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people and I donโ€™t think her leadership style is doing that.โ€

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said she was proud of the party's inclusive platform and would continue to support Clinton in her campaign.

"Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention," she said. "As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans."

Scott Audette / Reuters

Wasserman Schultz, a US representative from Florida, has served as the Democratic party chair for more than five years. She said she will continue to serve as a campaign surrogate for Clinton in addition to her work in Congress.

"Iโ€™ve been proud to serve as the first woman nominated by a sitting president as Chair of the Democratic National Committee and I am confident that the strong team in place will lead our party effectively through this election to elect Hillary Clinton as our 45th president," she said in a statement.

The Clinton campaign announced that Wasserman Schultz would be honorary chair of its 50-state program. In a statement, Clinton described Wasserman Schultz as a longtime friend and a fighter.

"I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid โ€” because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people," Clinton said.

Following Wasserman Schultz's announcement, Sanders again stressed the importance for a political party to stay impartial during the primary process.

Sanders Statement on DNC Chair Resignation

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party. While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people," Sanders said in a statement. "The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race."

President Obama said he called Wasserman Schultz Sunday afternoon to thank her personally for her efforts in his re-election as well as supporting his policies.

"Her critical role in supporting our economic recovery, our fights for social and civil justice and providing health care for all Americans will be a hallmark of her tenure as Party Chair," Obama said in a statement. "Her fundraising and organizing skills were matched only by her passion, her commitment and her warmth. And no one works harder for her constituents in Congress than Debbie Wasserman Schultz."

DNC vice-chair Donna Brazile, a political analyst, will take over as the party's chief in the interim, a DNC spokesman said on Twitter.

On Twitter, Republican nominee Donald Trump mocked Wasserman Schultz.

Today proves what I have always known, that @Reince Priebus is the tough one and the smart one, not Debbie Wasserman Shultz (@DWStweets.)

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