FBI tells Bernie Sanders that Russia is boosting him to re-elect Trump (and Trump uses it)

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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The FBI informs Bernie Sanders or his campaign that Russia appears to be aiding his campaign (online, assumedly) in an effort to make him the Democratic nominee.

Intelligence identified the campaign to boost Sanders as “a means to the end of re-electing Trump.” The Kremlin believes that Trump’s best chance of winning in 2020 is if his opponent is Sanders.

One plan is to use a trip Sanders took to Russia around the time of his wedding as disinformation in a smear campaign.

A month after this briefing, Donald Trump, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short all use this trip to smear Sanders during public appearances and TV interviews. (Russia would have waited until Sanders won the Democratic primaries. Maybe Trump thought his Hunter Biden smear campaign would be enough to beat Joe Biden.)

It’s unclear other methods Russia had planned to guarantee Trump’s win if Sanders beat Biden in the 2020 primaries.

Instead, O’Brien said — echoing a talking point Trump delivered at a rally two days beforehand, and which Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, would also use that same morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” — that Russia’s likely preference would be Bernie Sanders, a socialist who “honey-mooned in Moscow.” (Sanders visited Russia around the time of his wedding, though not on a honeymoon.)

The New York Times



Photo: Gage Skidmore

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