Sanders blasts Russia for reportedly trying to boost his presidential campaign
WASHINGTON/LAS VEGAS: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned Russia on Friday to stay out of 2020 White House elections after U.S. officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign.
“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.
Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses.
The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said U.S. officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers.
It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.
A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.
The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative.
Sanders said he was briefed about a month ago. His campaign noted the briefing was classified.
“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” Sanders told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.”
“What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing - and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff - is they try to divide us up,” he said. - Reuters