Bernie Sanders: Obama Should Have Been Tougher on Putin to Stop Election Meddling
Guardian: How serious in your view are allegations that the Trump campaign might have colluded with the Russian government in interfering with the 2016 presidential election?
Sanders: For a start, what we know to be a fact, is that Russia played a very heavy role in attempting — successfully, I think — to impact our election. That is unacceptable. The evidence is that they have done it before and they will do it again. For all democracies around the world it is not acceptable that democratic institutions are being undermined by an authoritarian government and we ought to figure out how we deal with that — how we protect our democracies and at the same time make certain that Russia stop doing what it is doing. It is absolutely unacceptable. I think probably Obama was not as strong as he should have been in getting that message out to Putin.
So that’s Number One: There’s no question but they did do that. They had many many, hundreds and hundreds of paid employees. What the exact mechanism is, who paid them may not be clear, but there were people working with the approval of the Russian government trying to undermine American democracy.
Number Two: What we don’t know and what absolutely needs to be investigated is whether or not there was direct collusion between the Trump campaign and these Russians.
Number Three: What we need to know is what kind of influence the Russian oligarchy has over Trump. Many people are kind of astounded. Here he is seemingly in strong disagreement with Australia, with Mexico, with long-term allies but he has nothing but positive things to say about Mr Putin who is an authoritarian leader, who is every day undermining democracy in Russia.