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25 Feb, 2020 13:32

Trump says Russian interference ‘highly exaggerated’, blames Adam Schiff for leaking report

Trump says Russian interference ‘highly exaggerated’, blames Adam Schiff for leaking report

President Donald Trump has called reports that Russia is interfering with the 2020 election “highly exaggerated,” and blamed the rumor on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

The specter of ‘Russian interference’ raised its head again last week, when the Washington Post ran an article claiming the Kremlin is interfering in the upcoming presidential election on behalf of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, with the ultimate goal of getting Trump re-elected. The story provided no specifics on what form the supposed interference took, but claimed that Sanders and Trump had both been briefed on the threat.

“Intelligence never told me,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday at a press conference held during his state visit to India. “What I’m reading,” he continued, is that “they went to see Bernie and they told Bernie.”

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While Sanders responded to the story by denying receiving Russian assistance, and warning Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stay out of US elections,” Trump took a different approach.

Calling the story “highly exaggerated,” Trump accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of leaking it to the media, following a closed-doors briefing on Capitol Hill. Schiff, of course, was one of the principal architects of the impeachment effort against Trump, and one of Washington’s loudest proponents of the “Russian collusion” conspiracy theory.

“Schiff leaked it,” Trump said on Tuesday. “Bernie is probably winning… and maybe they don’t want him. So they put out a thing that Russia’s backing him. This is what they do. I’ve gone through it for a long time. I get it. I get the game better than anybody.

“They ought to stop the leaking,” Trump continued. “I can imagine that people are going to go after them and find out what’s happening,” he added, without elaborating further.

“I want no help from any country and I haven’t been given help from any country,” Trump stated.

The president has previously described Adam Schiff as “the biggest leaker in Washington,” and Tuesday’s press conference was not the first time he has accused the California Democrat of being behind the Sanders/Russia story. On Sunday, he warned that Schiff should “stop leaking classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media.”

Between anonymously sourced stories of Russian interference and “communist” and “Nazi” smears, Sanders is receiving similar treatment in the media as Trump did in 2016. Like Trump’s, Sanders’ popularity remains mostly undented by the negative coverage, and the socialist senator is widely considered the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, topping nationwide polls ahead of next week’s ‘Super Tuesday’ primary showdown.

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