Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials this week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 elections to help his presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
The report was published the day after The New York Times reported that House lawmakers were told by U.S. officials last week that Russia was also attempting to interfere in the 2020 elections to help the campaign of President Trump.
Sanders described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “thug” in a statement on Friday in response to the report, emphasizing that he stands “firmly against” Russian interference efforts.
“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,” Sanders said. “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.”
“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders added. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”
Sanders noted his concerns around Russian disinformation efforts during the Democratic debate earlier this week.
“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 during the debate. “I’m not saying that’s happening, but it would not shock me.”