Date: February 21st, 2019 1:25 PM
February 21, 2019 - 01:00 PM EST
Is Putin attacking Sanders, Harris and Warren to help Trump?
Special counsel Robert Mueller should be called as an expert witness to testify before Congress about the Russian attacks against the American election in 2016, the attempted Russian attacks against the midterm election in 2018 and the potential Russian attacks against the presidential election in 2020.
In one of the most important stories about the 2020 presidential campaign, there is now strong evidence of concerted social media attacks against leading liberal Democratic candidates for president.
The sources of these attacks are almost certainly seeking to undermine Democratic opponents of President Trump in the 2020 election, perhaps to help Trump get re-elected.
Recent news stories suggest a pattern of aggressive social media attacks aimed at Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas). These attacks are similar to Russian attacks against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Politico story, discussed on a recent Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, details this pattern of attacks and quotes experts on the subject.
The various reports about these social media attacks against Democratic presidential candidates suggest that some originate from foreign sources and that they may or may not involve coordination.
Leading foreign suspects for these attacks are Russia, North Korea and Iran but, at this stage, the identity of those launching foreign attacks against Democratic presidential candidates and potential candidates has not yet been ascertained.
It is also clear that these alleged foreign attacks against liberal candidates involve the same tactics Russia employed against Hillary Clinton in 2016, pitting Americans against each other over the divisive issues of sexism and racism.
The attacks attempt to undermine enthusiasm of Democratic and liberal voters and to divide white working-class voters against liberal Democrats.
When the Mueller report is released, all evidence detailing the Russian attack against American elections should be fully disclosed. There must be no censorship or coverup of the findings.
Mueller should be called as an expert witness during congressional hearings to discuss everything he has learned about the Russian attacks against American elections.
Specifically, these hearings should focus on the allegation that foreign-sourced attacks against Democrats are being continued and escalated from 2016 levels.
These hearings should detail whether Russia is involved with or spearheading current attacks against Harris, Sanders, Warren and O'Rourke and whether there is any coordination or collusion between foreign attacks against prominent liberals and any domestic social-media operations.
These hearings should include testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss which foreign sources may be involved in these attacks and whether there is any evidence of intention to use them to support the re-election of President Trump.
All intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement officials should provide a microscopic focus on the pattern of potentially escalating attacks against leading Democratic presidential candidates.
While I cannot prove at this time that Russian forces under the command of Vladimir Putin are behind these attacks, I definitely believe they are, and I call for Congress, law enforcement, prosecutors and major news organizations to give this danger the intense focus it deserves.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.