Former Vice President Joe Biden claims that Russians are spending a “lot of money” on Facebook bots to declare that “Biden is a bad guy.”
“I’m the person most likely to beat Trump,” Biden said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “The Russians don’t want me to be the nominee. They spent a lot of money on bots on Facebook and they’ve been taken down, saying Biden is a bad guy. They don’t want Biden running. They’re not — no one’s helping me to try to get the nomination. They have good reason.”
Biden’s charge comes after reports leaked that Russians were working to aid Sen. Bernie Sanders win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Biden also said he was not informed by U.S. intelligence officials but rather told by his staff.
“I have not spoken to the intelligence community, but I think the intelligence community should inform the rest of us who are running what they told Senator Sanders. .. I was told that there are a lot of bots on Facebook, and they’ve been all taken down. … Fake accounts, yes, and they’re taken down, but I — I don’t know who — I didn’t get a call from Facebook, but I was told by my, by my that’s what happened,” Biden said.
Biden continued with a bizarre statement that “the people that occupied my [campaign] office … maybe they were Russians. I don’t know, but they — they said they were Bernie supporters.”
U.S. officials last week informed democratic socialist Sanders that Russia was trying to help his presidential campaign. The Washington Post, which broke the story, gave no specifics about how Russia is trying to help Sanders, but noted that “U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump.”
President Trump on Sunday accused longtime gadfly Rep. Adam Schiff and other Democrats of leaking information that Russia is seeking to help Sanders. The president also said that he was not informed before reports emerged about the alleged Russian interference.
“I read where Russia is helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all,” Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving on a two-day trip to India.
“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. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff.”
Trump also suggested that Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released the information to hurt Sanders’ chances of winning the nomination.
“What it could be is you know 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. It sounds like it’s ’16 all over again for Bernie Sanders,” Trump said.
“He had a great victory yesterday, but you know what happening, you can see the handwriting on the wall,” the president added. Asked if Sanders will win the nomination, Trump said: “I think so, unless they cheat him out of it. Bernie is looking more and more like he’ll be the nominee unless they cheat him out of it. A lot of people thought he was going to be nominee last time but it didn’t work out. I think they’re watching it very closely.”
Sanders blew away the field in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, pulling in 46% of the vote. His next closest rival, former vice president Joe Biden, got just 19.6% of the vote, with former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg coming in third with 15.3%.