Bernie Sanders told by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his campaign
Bernie Sanders warned Russia Friday to "stay out of U.S. elections" as he confirmed that American intelligence officials had briefed him on Russian efforts to help his presidential campaign.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California, that he received the intelligence briefing about a month ago. The Washington Post reported the briefing earlier Friday and said President Donald Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill had also been informed of the Russian involvement.
It isn't clear how the Russians may be trying to intervene in the current presidential campaign, but at a Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sanders hinted that abusive behavior attributed to some of his followers may have been the work of foreign elements trying to sow division.
"All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our elections and divide us up," Sanders said. "I'm not saying that's happening, but it would not shock me."
Investigations after the 2016 election found that Russia had tried to intervene in support of Donald Trump through social media campaigns and other actions. Prosecutors also said some of the actions were designed to "support Bernie Sanders" against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
In a briefing to Congress last week, intelligence officials said that Russia was intervening in the 2020 election to help Trump get re-elected. At a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Friday, Trump said Democrats were promulgating "a rumor" that Russia sought his re-election.
"Doesn't he want to see who the Democrat's going to be? Doesn't he want to see Bernie, who honeymooned in Moscow?" Trump said of Russian President Vladimir Putin."These people are crazy." Sanders has said he has visited Moscow but didn't honeymoon there.
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