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Sanders campaign rejects Trump claims: Democratic primary is 'not currently rigged'

Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Bernie SandersBernie SandersSinema pushes back on criticism of her vote against minimum wage, implying that it's sexist Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Schumer insists Democrats unified after chaotic coronavirus debate MORE's 2020 presidential campaign, on Monday pushed back against President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE's accusations that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is working to "rig" the primary contest against the Vermont senator.

"It is not currently rigged. Last time it was rigged," Weaver, who as served Sanders's 2016 White House campaign manager, said on MSNBC as the Iowa caucuses got under way. 

Weaver added that Trump's comments are an attempt to paint the primary as a tool of the political establishment — and himself as the only candidate working outside of the machine.

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"We’re not going to play that game," Weaver said. "The danger for Trump is the people who support Trump, working class people in Pennsylvania, people who voted for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy is Joe Biden dodging the public and the press? Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Pentagon issues report revealing ex-White House doctor 'belittled' subordinates, violated alcohol policies MORE twice and then voted for Trump, people in Iowa [are the] same way. Those people could be brought back by Bernie Sanders, not Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Myanmar military conducts violent night raids Confidence in coronavirus vaccines has grown with majority now saying they want it MORE."

Trump, in a series of tweets over the weekend, claimed that the DNC was working in tandem with former New York mayor and 2020 White House hopeful Michael BloombergMichael BloombergAs Trump steps back in the spotlight, will Cuomo exit stage left? 'Lucky': How Warren took down Bloomberg Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison MORE to "rig the election" against Sanders. Trump also alleged without evidence that Bloomberg was in talks with the DNC to "have the right to stand on boxes" during Democratic debates. 

The comments came after the DNC abruptly announced that it was nixing the donor threshold for a primary debate in Las Vegas later this month. The move could present an opening for Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman self-funding his entire campaign, to reach the debate stage. 

For the Nevada debate, Bloomberg and the rest of the candidates need to reach 10 percent support in at least four national polls, or 12 percent support in two sanctioned early-state surveys from Nevada and South Carolina, according to the new criteria. They could also participate in the Feb. 19 debate if they earn at least one pledged delegate at the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. 

Asked about the allegations in Los Angeles on Sunday, Bloomberg said that Trump "lies about everything" and that it shouldn't come as a surprise that he'd make a statement such as that one. 

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"This is what happens when someone like me suddenly rises in the polls. All of a sudden, the other candidates get scared, and I think Donald Trump knows that I can beat him," Bloomberg said. 

But the new criteria have sparked opposition from many of Bloomberg's primary opponents who have worked hard to build up a base of donors. Weaver said last week that the change is the "definition of a rigged system."

Sanders, who has predicated his 2016 and 2020 presidential bids around progressive policies such as Medicare For All and college debt cancellation, has emerged as a favorite in the primary contest, according to state and national polls. A Real Clear Politics average of polling shows he leads in Iowa by 3.7 percentage points.