Decision 2020: U.S. Intel, Bernie Sanders, and His Subsequent Rebuke of the Kremlin

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

A cloak of suspicion was draped upon a U.S. Senator who is currently in the middle of a surging national political campaign for the American presidency.

According to BBC, Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) received an official briefing from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee (HIC) sometime last month. The Washington D.C. bureaucratic team beseeched Senator Sanders to make him aware of a serious issue; possible interference in the U.S. political process by a foreign government.

Sanders (pictured above) was told by HIC officials about the involvement in helpful political actions, which were taken on the U.S. Senator’s behalf; courtesy of the former socialist Russian government in Moscow. The unnamed Kremlin officials reportedly expressed their public support for the 78-year-old, self-styled socialist politician’s presidential bid.

However, according to a report published by a national U.S. newspaper, there are no specific details about the size or scope of the assistance Russian officials reportedly granted Sanders. HIC officials also recently briefed current U.S. President Donald Trump and select Washington D.C. lawmakers about Russia’s pro-Trump activities and other matters.

On February 21 in Bakersfield, California, Sanders made his own public confirmation about being briefed on the Russian situation. In a public statement to members of the press, the Jewish American legislator denied he that has any questionable connection to Moscow. Sanders also expressed his strong dislike of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“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 said.

“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign. 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,” the candidate continued.

“They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America,” he added.

On February 22, Russia’s Moscow Times newspaper counteracted the information in Western media circles about the Kremlin’s purported endorsement of Sanders. Kremlin officials rebuffed the HIC’s claims about their alleged affairs of political sovereignty violations.

They feel as though the speculation over Russia’s election meddling amounts to hogwash.

“These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (U.S.) election. They have nothing to do with the truth,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Moscow Times.

To his credit, Senator Sanders has offered the strongest repudiation of foreign interference in America’s federal election-related affairs thus far. This sentiment must be echoed by all federal-level U.S. politicians; whether they are incumbents or candidates who are seeking elected offices in the American government. This issue is also a matter of national security.

Foreign conspirators who interfere in a sovereign country’s national electoral affairs can operate clandestinely, as well as more openly. It is also important to be aware of the fact national election meddling can sometimes serve as a cover for more sinister purposes than propaganda peddling for foreign political candidates.

In reference to more broad ramifications, the manipulation of a foreign nation’s election process to influence its final result is a direct violation of international law. In retrospect, ranking officials from each branch of the U.S. federal government must hold its own bureaucratic brass accountable for any involvement in election tampering overseas.

Rod Rosenstein, the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General, played a critical role in obtaining the 2018 federal indictments, which brought down approximately a dozen Russian intelligence officials. These Kremlin-based saboteurs were accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and other crimes, such as aggravated identity theft.

During a July 2018 press conference, Rosenstein talked lucidly about the threat posed by election-focused international criminals. He also behooved his colleagues in Washington to stay the course as it pertains to solidifying nonpartisan solutions to prevent these crimes.

“When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on which side was victimized,” Rosenstein said.

The former face of America’s foreign election meddling crackdown gave a cautionary reminder indeed.