Bloomberg campaign hits Sanders over reports of Russian interference

Mike Bloomberg’s campaign seized on reports that Russia has sought to interfere in the 2020 election to boost the campaigns of his Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE.

“This is a no-brainer for the Russians,” Bloomberg’s campaign tweeted Friday. “They either nominate the weakest candidate to take on their puppet Trump, or they elect a socialist as President.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bloomberg's campaign weighed in after separate reports surfaced in The Washington Post and The New York Times that Russia is intending to meddle in the 2020 election to support both Sanders and Trump.

Bloomberg, who made a late entry into the 2020 race in November, has for months insisted that Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, would be a weak contender to face Trump in November and that only a centrist like himself can win.

“Look, the real winner of the debate last night was Donald Trump because I worry that we may very well be on the way to nominating somebody who cannot win in November,” he said Thursday, referring to Sanders, after the Democratic debate in Las Vegas.

Sanders confirmed Friday that he was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials about Russian attempts to interfere in the election, calling Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming MORE a “thug” and maintaining that he stands “firmly against” Russian interference efforts.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The ugly thing that they are doing, and I've seen some of their tweets and stuff, is they try to divide us up. That's what they did in 2016,” he said in a statement.

Bloomberg’s campaign mocked Sanders after The Washington Post reported that officials told the senator that Russia was seeking to interfere in the election to help his campaign.

The former New York City mayor's campaign tweeted a post in Russian that roughly translated to “feel the burn,” a play on words of the Sanders catchphrase “feel the bern.”

Trump, meanwhile, dismissed reports that lawmakers had been briefed on Moscow’s efforts to boost his own campaign, saying earlier Friday that Democrats were responsible for spreading a “misinformation campaign.” 

“Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa,” he tweeted.

Trump at a rally in Nevada later in the day accused Democrats of trying to start a "rumor" about Russia interfering in the election on his behalf.

“I was told a week ago. They said, you know, they’re trying to start a rumor. It’s disinformation. That’s the only thing they’re good at. They’re not good at anything else. They get nothing done,” Trump said, referring to Democrats.