• April 15, 2024

US officials say Russia trying to help Bernie Sanders in 2020 race

 US officials say Russia trying to help Bernie Sanders in 2020 race

by Jerry Dunleavy | February 21, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders was told by U.S. officials that the Russian government is trying to assist his presidential campaign, according to a new report.

The interference effort, aimed at disrupting the Democratic presidential primaries, has been relayed to President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, unnamed sources told the Washington Post. The article noted that it is not clear what form the “Russian assistance” has taken.

Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, released a statement through his campaign minutes after it was published.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia. Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election,” Sanders said. “I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”

The news comes one day after disputed reports that U.S. officials believe Russia is also attempting to help Trump win reelection in 2020.

Russia was blamed for an interference effort that rattled the 2016 presidential campaign.

A U.S. Intelligence Community assessment released in January 2017 concluded that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” with goals “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” The report said the Russians eventually developed a “clear preference” for Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation concluded that “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

Mueller’s heavily redacted report, released last year, cited internal documents from the now-indicted St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency which said: “Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”



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