Months after telling Hillary Clinton that Americans were “sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Bernie Sanders may be changing his mind.
Interviewed Friday on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, Sanders was asked if the furor over Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state had become large enough for the Vermont senator to reconsider his refusal to engage Clinton on the issue.
“It has,” he said. “But this is what I also think: There is an enormous frustration on the part of the American people.”
The State Department’s inspector general found in a report released this past week that the email setup violated department rules, that Clinton never sought permission for it, and that the proposal would have been rejected if she had. The report handed Clinton’s Republican opponents a fresh line of attack — and Sanders, too, if he chose to take it. Clinton’s competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination won praise at a candidates’ debate on October when he said, “Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.” At the time, his campaign used the comments in a fund-raising email.
Seven months later, the delegates to be chosen June 7 in California and five other state nominating contests represent a last-ditch effort to close the gap with Clinton before the Democratic convention in July. Clinton holds a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, and is far ahead in popular votes. But a strong performance in California could boost Sanders’ case that superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials not bound to any candidate — should switch their allegiance to him on the basis of perceived electability against Republican Donald Trump.
In another sign Sanders has taken off the gloves, his campaign late Friday demanded the ouster of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and former Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts from a platform committee at the Democratic National Convention. The campaign, in a statement, said the two are “aggressive attack surrogates” for Clinton, and Sanders’s lawyer said Malloy and Frank can’t work impartially “while laboring under such deeply held bias.”
In a letter delivered to Democratic National Committee late Friday, Brad Deutsch, Sanders’s campaign counsel, wrote of animosity by Frank toward Sanders dating to 1991.