Russia efforts to reach Bernie Sanders supporters more than was known, researcher says – The Washington Post https://t.co/9CtIcYihsX
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) April 12, 2019
This might be embarrassing, to a campaign capable of embarrassment:
… While much attention has focused on the question of whether the Trump campaign encouraged or conspired with Russia, the effort to target Sanders supporters has been a lesser-noted part of the story. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, in a case filed last year against 13 Russians accused of interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign, said workers at a St. Petersburg facility called the Internet Research Agency were instructed to write social media posts in opposition to Clinton but “to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
That strategy could receive new attention with the release of Mueller’s report, expected within days.
Sanders told Vermont Public Radio last year that one of his campaign workers figured out what was going on, alerted Clinton campaign officials and told them, “I think these guys are Russians.” But Sanders said he never knew, and he later backed off his suggestion that his staff did. A spokesman referred questions to 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver, who said in an interview that Sanders “misspoke a little bit and conflated a few of the facts . . . He did not know, I did not know, none of us knew” that Russia was behind the efforts.
Only recently, with the latest analysis of Twitter data, has the extent of the Russian disinformation campaign been documented on that social media platform…
Russia’s effort to promote Sanders as a way to influence the U.S. election began shortly after he declared his candidacy in the spring of 2015, according to Mueller’s indictment of the 13 Russians. The aim was to defeat or weaken Clinton, who had angered Russian President Vladimir Putin when she was secretary of state.
Around the time that Sanders was featured on RT, Russian employees at the Internet Research Agency were given a document explaining how to influence the U.S. election. The workers were told to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),” according to Mueller’s indictment of the Russians.
The Twitter database shows the impact. The tweets sent from Russia, cloaked to look as though they came from Americans, included: “Bernie Sanders looks to black voters to boost his underdog campaign”; “Hillary Clinton’s summer of drama creates openings for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden”; and “I’m for Bernie all the way!”…
Linvill, the Clemson researcher, said the Russians saw Sanders as “just a tool.” “He is a wedge to drive into the Democratic Party,” resulting in lower turnout for Clinton, he said. The tweets suggested either voting for Trump or a third-party candidate such as Green Party nominee Jill Stein, or writing in Sanders’s name…
I haven’t forgotten every time @berniesanders voted against the Magnitsky Act (four times, and a non-vote on Oleg Deripaska)
— Revenge politics is a dish best served cold. (@KAMALAMODE) April 12, 2019