Friday, February 21, 2020

U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign



U.S. officials have warned Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that Russia is attempting to boost his prospects of winning the White House in 2020, according to the Washington Post. President Donald Trump and Congressional lawmakers have also received briefings regarding the Kremlin’s efforts to boost Sanders, sources familiar with the matter told the Post. “I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement to the newspaper. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.” “In 2016, Russia used internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the Internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters,” he added. A spokesperson for the Sanders campaign would not comment on the nature of Russia’s attempted efforts to help the Vermont senator. The development comes after Sanders raised the prospect of Russia being behind online posts in support of the lawmaker, which have been described as toxic and violent by former Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) at this week’s Democrat debate in Nevada. Several other Sanders detractors have made similar claims. “All of us remember 2016 and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our election and divide us up,” Sanders said, referring to memes posted by alleged Russian government agents in the last election.
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President Donald Trump mocked Democrats for suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin would try to help him win reelection in 2020. “I see these phonies, the do-nothing Democrats, they said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected,” Trump said. “Here we go again.” Trump dismissed the rumors as “disinformation” from Democrats, pointing out that it was the only thing that they were good at. But Trump appeared skeptical that Putin wanted him to win. “Doesn’t he want to see who the Democrat is?” he asked. “Wouldn’t he rather have Bernie, who honeymooned in Moscow?” The newlywed Sanders famously took a trip to visit the USSR in 1988 with his wife, when he was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where he celebrated the virtues of the Soviet Union. The crowd booed the mention of Bernie Sanders and the Democrats. “These people are crazy,” Trump said. “That’s all they think about. They don’t think about the country, they don’t think about jobs, they don’t think about lowering your drug costs, infrastructure.” Trump repeated that he would always fight for America first. Trust me, I like what we are doing and I love this country,” he said. “At the same time, we want to get along with Russia, we want to get along with all these countries.”
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