The Russian government is trying to boost Sen. Bernard Sanders’ presidential campaign, according to a report the candidate appeared to confirm Friday — though he vehemently denounced the effort.
It’s not clear what form the assistance is taking, but American intelligence officials informed the Sanders campaign of the attempt, The Washington Post reported.
Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election are still roiling the political scene four years later. That makes Russia’s latest effort deeply contentious as Democrats are trying to pick their nominee to face President Trump.
Mr. Sanders issued a statement denouncing the assistance and calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “an autocratic thug.”
He also used the revelations of Moscow interference to explain recent campaign hiccups where Sanders supporters have been accused of vile attacks on other Democratic contenders.
Mr. Sanders said those may not be supporters but Russian trolls
“In 2016, Russia used internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters,” the Vermont senator said.
Russia in 2016 ran two different meddling operations. One hacked into political campaigns and leaked damaging documents and emails. The other sought to sow dissension online, posting incendiary content from both the right and left.
Investigators later concluded that Mr. Putin was intent on damaging Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, so he boosted both Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders.
Congress was recently briefed that Russian meddling is ongoing, and reportedly has benefited the Trump campaign. The new revelation suggests that the meddling is in fact similar to 2016, with efforts assisting both sides.
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