Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has known for a month that Russia was trying to help his presidential campaign, but didn’t speak out until it went public.
U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.
This is not in the same universe as Trump openly conspiring with and covering for Russian election interference, but Sen. Sanders could have mitigated a lot of damage that he may suffer if he would have sounded the alarm as soon as he was briefed on this threat. Not saying anything lends the appearance that Sen. Sanders was going to keep his mouth shut and accept the Russian interference if it got him the nomination.
It might not be a fair or accurate impression, but it is impression that will be created in some primary voters’ minds.
Sanders told reporters that he was briefed about a month ago on this, and responded when asked what he was going to do about it, “We have — it was not clear what role they will play. We were told that Russia, maybe other countries involved this campaign. Look. Here’s the message. To Russia, stay out of American elections. And what they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing, and I have seen some of their, you know, their tweets and stuff, is they try to divide us up. That’s what they did in 2016. That is the ugliest thing they’re doing is trying to cause chaos, trying to cause hatred in America. It is an ugly business and all of us have got to say, sorry, you are not going to do this in this election. As President Of The United States, Mr. Putin, you will not interfere in our elections.”
Bernie Sanders, who has known for a month that Russians were trying to interfere to help his campaign, blames rival Democrats for the leading the news on Nevada caucus eve. pic.twitter.com/fJvItg006s
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 21, 2020
The Russians are trying to pick the Democratic nominee to give Trump the easiest path possible to reelection.
Sen. Sanders may not want Russia’s help, but he didn’t speak up and denounce it after he found out about it.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association