The media is crying “Russia” again ahead of the November election, but Donald Trump isn’t letting them off easy this time.
The president called for an investigation into Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) after leaked “intelligence” surfaced claiming that Russia wants to help Bernie Sanders in his bid for the White House, Reuters reported. Trump, who has tweeted sympathetically of Sanders, indicated that he was not aware of the intelligence about the senator until he saw news reports about it.
“They leaked it, Adam Schiff and his group. They leaked it to the papers and — as usual — they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information,” Trump said.
Trump accuses Schiff
The claims about Russia and Sanders raised some suspicions, including with Sanders himself, who seemed to suggest that they were strategically leaked a day before the Nevada caucuses to hurt his chances. The senator said that his campaign was briefed on the intelligence last month.
“Why do you think it came out?” Sanders asked, with a wink. “It’s The Washington Post? Good friends,” he added, sarcastically.
President Trump, who has said repeatedly that he thinks the Democratic party establishment wants to “rig” the nomination again to deny Sanders a chance, did not hesitate to blame Schiff for the leak, saying: “I think what it could be, the Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly. And it sounds to me like a leak from Adam Schiff because they don’t want Bernie Sanders to represent them.”
Establishment goes after Sanders…again
Schiff denied Trump’s claims and accused the president of “deflecting” from Trump’s alleged desire to continue soliciting Russian help. “Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again,” he tweeted.
Reports surfaced about Russian efforts to help Sanders only a day after similar claims leaked about an effort by Russia to help Trump’s re-election. The president was reportedly angry after Congress was briefed — and that Schiff was present at the briefing — fearing that Democrats would use the mere intimation of any Russian involvement to attack him. Sure enough, Democrats flipped when the president fired his Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, last week and temporarily replaced him with a “loyalist,” U.S. Ambassador Ric Grenell.
The Democratic establishment and liberal media have also come out in full force against Sanders, who is the undisputed primary front runner after sweeping the caucuses in Nevada Saturday, alarming the party elite.
Members of the liberal establishment have amplified the Russia leaks to attack Sanders, in some cases eliding the apparent contradiction that Russia wants to help both Trump and his potential opponent. But many have raised questions about the leaks, pointing to apparent parallels between the media’s treatment of Sanders and similar attacks on Trump in 2016 — and long after.
Yet another leak
In a pair of tweets Saturday night, Trump signaled that he had not been briefed about the alleged plot to help Sanders and dismissed the claim that Russia wants to help him win re-election as “just another Schifty Schiff leak,” adding, “isn’t there a law about this stuff?” His National Security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has denied that there is any solid intelligence behind the claims.
“I think this is the same old story that we’ve heard before,” O’Brien said on ABC’s This Week. “We’ve been very tough on Russia, and we’ve been great on election security. So I think it’s a nonstory.”