The Russian government is interfering in Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders' 2020 Presidential campaign, so as to help him secure the Democratic nomination, as per a report published in the Washington Post on Friday. Also, the Vermont Senator was briefed by the US officials about the alleged Russian meddling, over a month ago.
Sanders acknowledged the same and denounced the Russian attempt to boost his campaign. "My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president, I will make sure that you do", he said.
Russia meddles, again
After widespread allegations that the Eurasian nation and United States' arch-enemy, interfered in 2016 US Presidential elections, to boost Donald Trump's chances of entering the White House, similar reports have resurfaced.
A month ago, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was briefed on Russian efforts to aid his presidential campaign. According to the report, 'President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence'. The report hasn't cited the form of interference, but according to it, in 2016, the Russians used social media to help Sanders' campaign against Hillary Clinton.
Sanders denounces Russia's attempt
"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 on Friday.
"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", he added.
"I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president", he said in a statement to WaPo. He blamed the widespread criticism of his supporters' poor conduct online, on Russia. "Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters", he said.
On why he didn't speak on the issue, if he knew for a month
Quite alike the US President, Bernie Sanders too put the blame on media [Washington Post, in particular] for putting him in such a tight spot. He implied that the report was purposefully released just before the Nevada caucuses, slated on Saturday, February 22. "Washington Post? Good Friends", he said, while talking to reporters.
Donald Trump weighs in
US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to speak on the issue. "Fake media, have now added Crazy Bernie to the list of Russian Sympathizers, along with Tulsi Gabbard & Jill Stein (of the Green Party), both agents of Russia, they say. But now they report President Putin wants Bernie (or me) to win".
He referred to it as 'disinformation' employed by "Do Nothing Democrats", to prevent Sanders from getting the Democratic nomination. "It's all rigged, again, against Crazy Bernie Sanders!", the President said.