Bloomberg Kicks Off Debate By Saying Russia Wants Sanders To Win Nomination

Democratic presidential hopefuls former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg gesture ahead of the tenth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign sea... Democratic presidential hopefuls former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg gesture ahead of the tenth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 25, 2020 8:17 p.m.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg kicked off his second presidential primary debate appearance by alleging that Russia supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) because they wanted President Donald Trump to be re-elected.

“I think that Donald Trump thinks it would be better if he’s president,” Bloomberg said, asked about Sanders’ economic agenda. “I do not think so. Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you lose to him.”

“Oh, Mr. Bloomberg,” Sanders interjected. “Let me tell Mr. Putin, okay, I’m not a good friend of president Xi of China. I think president Xi is an authoritarian leader.”

“And let me tell Mr. Putin who interfered in the 2016 election, trying to bring Americans against Americans. Hey, Mr. Putin, if I’m president of the United States, trust me, you’re not going to interfere in any more American elections.”

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Sanders had received a classified briefing that Russia was attempting to help his campaign — but that it was unclear what form the assistance was taking, nor to what end.

Sanders quickly denounced any foreign support.

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