By Nicholas Sones
Collusion with a foreign power occurred, unwittingly possibly, but collusion happened. The indictment makes clear that the Russian government wanted to help then-presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. While so many people continue to focus on Donald Trump and the issue of collusion, it is just as important to explore the issue of the Russian government aiding Bernard Sanders.
While the efforts by the Russian government did not include the Russians or anyone connected to this operation having direct contact with the Sanders campaign, what is made clear by last week’s indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller is the Russians were able to contact the Trump campaign.
This may provide some comfort to the Sanders crowd, however, Sanders should be held to the same standards members of my party want to hold Trump. If we fail to do so, we are demonstrating we have no issues with the Russian government interfering as long as it helps our side.
Sanders has refused to comment on the issue of Russian support of his failed presidential bid. Americans should be just as concerned about members of the Senate being blackmailed by foreign governments as we are about the president. If we do not, let us stop pretending impeachment or even resignation of Trump are important.
Why did the Russians want to aid these two candidates? In the indictment we learned they attacked not only Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but also several Republican candidates, including Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. With Sanders, we know more about his relationship than Trump’s to the Russians.
Sanders and his wife, Jane, went to Russia on their honeymoon in 1988. Part of the argument offered by Sanders is he was trying as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, to set up sister cities overseas. It is interesting someone such as Sanders would consider setting up a sister city program with a communist state.
When it became clear Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee, the Russians shifted their approach to ensure Trump would be elected. As the indictment makes clear, the Russians set up accounts to encourage Americans to vote against Clinton. One of the accounts went by the username “Blacktivist.” This account, among others, targeted Black voters to cast their ballot for third party candidates like the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Trump has the ability to use military force to ensure the Russians never attempt to interfere in another election in the United States. I am somewhat surprised this issue is not something Donald Trump is screaming about on Twitter.
The indictment states the Russian government sought to help Trump, but what is more clear is the Russians were intending to help anyone but Hillary Clinton and establishment Republicans.
The most important question to ask is why were the Russians fascinated by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump?
If Democrats are serious about the need for Trump to either resign or be impeached, then Sanders could speed this argument up by resigning.