Sen. Bernie Sanders urged that special counsel Robert Mueller be protected, echoing the concerns of Democrats across Capitol Hill. | Pete Marovich/Getty Images
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declined to directly address Friday’s revelation that Russian actors sought to boost his presidential primary campaign and sink Hillary Clinton‘s in 2016, instead insisting that the special counsel’s investigation proceed unimpeded.
“It has been clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 elections and intends to be involved in the 2018 elections. It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs,” Sanders said in a statement. “It is absolutely imperative that the Mueller investigation be allowed to go forward without obstruction from the Trump administration or Congress.”
Sanders’ urging that special counsel Robert Mueller be protected echoes the concerns of Democrats across Capitol Hill.
The independent senator’s statement came shortly after Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities for helping the Kremlin interfere in the last presidential election starting as early as 2014.
The indictment revealed that the efforts included “operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
Russian “specialists were instructed to post content that focused on ‘politics in the USA’ and to ‘use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them.),’” the indictment continued. It said that message was sent around Feb. 10, 2016, the day after both Sanders and Trump won their respective parties’ all-important New Hampshire primary contest.
Clinton and her spokesman have not yet commented on the indictments.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement that “this indictment gives us a chilling look at just how sophisticated, well-funded and wide-ranging this attack on democracy really was. It should send chills up the spine of every American.”