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19 Dec, 2017 17:38

Stein warns of 'political' targeting but hands documents over to Senate

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein announced she is complying with a Senate Intelligence Committee request for campaign documents in the “Russiagate” probe, but warned against politicized targeting.

“We are cooperating by sharing all communications relevant to the committee’s mission,” Stein wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “We support safeguarding our elections from interference, while at the same time we caution strongly against the targeting of political opposition.”

The committee is investigating whether there was Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign was involved. Russia has consistently denied any interference in the election.

"What is noteworthy about this latest move is that it can be seen as both a warning shot against third party challenges and a cynical move by the state and corporate sector to limit the range of information and acceptable opinion reaching the US public – a win-win for the ruling elite," Ajamu Baraka, Stein's vice president running mate said in an emailed statement to RT. "The latest bit of ridiculousness from the Senate Select Committee’s investigation of the Stein/Baraka campaign" is part of  "the neo-McCarthyist assault on the freedom of thought and speech," he added.

READ MORE: ‘CNN should register as agent of capitalism’: Green Party VP hits out at RT ‘foreign agent’ tag

The committee is looking into Stein’s potential “collusion with Russia,” Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) said Monday, according to BuzzFeed.  Burr had previously said the committee was also looking into reports the Democratic National Committee paid for research that went into a dossier containing allegations of Donald Trump’s alleged exploits in Moscow.

Stein’s former campaign manager told BuzzFeed he expects the committee will want to know more about the 2015 Gala dinner hosted by RT, celebrating its 10th anniversary in Moscow. Stein sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security adviser. Stein said she was not paid to attend the dinner and paid for her own travel costs.

“[We] made the trip with the goal of reaching an international audience and Russian officials with a message of Middle East peace, diplomacy, and cooperation against the urgent threat of climate change, consistent with long-standing Green principles and policies,” Stein wrote on Facebook.

Stein has been a frequent guest on RT America to comment on events such as gun control, foreign policy, and environmental matters. She notably made appearances during Third Party presidential debates hosted by the network during the 2012 and 2016 elections.  The only other US network to host third-party candidates was CNN, which organized a Libertarian town hall in June and a Green town hall in August.

Stein requested to speak to Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or someone in the Russian government to discuss her policies, but the request was not granted, she told the Intercept.

“We sought contact with every powerful world leader we had access to,” Stein said, adding that she was particularly interested in the Russian government’s involvement in the Syrian War.

Stein, and her vice president running mate Ajamu Baraka received about 1 percent of the popular vote in the 2016 election.

She cautioned that the Senate investigation is exercising “overreach, politicizing, and sensationalism” and that is “a danger to democracy, especially in the current climate of all-out war on our First Amendment rights.”

Hillary Clinton’s partisans are painting Stein as a Russian spy to “explain away their colossal failure to defeat Donald Trump,” Max Blumenthal, senior editor at Alternet, told RT.

“I spoke to Jill Stein,” said Blumenthal. “She told me that Putin sat at the table for two minutes. There was no conversation between the two of them, no discussions whatsoever. Michael Flynn at the time was not even known as a Trump surrogate, he was known as a former Obama general. So this story is revolving around a picture that’s developed into a pseudo-scandal that’s being used to suppress all opposition to the left of the Democratic Party. It is a McCarthyite scam.”

The expansion of the Senate Committee Intelligence investigation comes as the House panel’s investigation is finish up its probe.

The House Intelligence Committee is interviewing a number of high-profile witnesses this week, according to the Boston Globe. Among them are Rob Goldstone, the music producer who helped set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016; FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman; and Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime aide.