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Washington Post inadvertently debunks Trump-Russia theory in story on Russia helping Bernie Sanders

'...not any particular affinity for the persons running'

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Washington Post reported Friday that American intelligence officials have briefed Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign.

In that same story, the Post inadvertently debunked the Trump-Russia collusion theory, which resurfaced this week.

What did the Post report?

The Post reported that "Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest."

Intelligence sources who spoke with the Post said it is not clear what specific actions Russia has taken, though the country is most likely spreading disinformation on social media to sow chaos and manipulate voters.

"I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president," Sanders told the Post. "My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do."

How did it debunk the Trump-Russia theory?

This week, liberal commentators and the mainstream media resurfaced the conspiracy theory that Russia is helping Trump's campaign and that Trump is actively doing Trump's bidding. Remember, the Mueller investigation found zero evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

"The president is a Russian operative," MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell claimed on Thursday. "It is Vladimir Putin's greatest achievement ... the president of the United States is now helping the president of Russia help the president of the United States to get re-elected."

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Russia is again helping Trump's campaign. "Lawmakers are warned that Russia is meddling to re-elect Trump," the Times declared.

However, the Washington Post made clear in the 10th paragraph of the story on Sanders that Russia is not explicitly aiding specific candidates or colluding with campaigns.

Despite Trump's skepticism of Russian efforts to damage American democracy, officials in his administration have repeatedly warned that Russia has ongoing plans to interfere in U.S. elections and foster divisions among Americans, part of a strategic goal to undermine U.S. standing in the world.

Some analysts believe that the Kremlin's goal is to cause the maximum disruption within the United States, and it throws the support of its hackers and trolls behind candidates based on that goal, not any particular affinity for the persons running.

Indeed, CNN's Jake Tapper, citing sources that he knows and trusts, also discredited the Times story.

"What's been articulated in the news is that the intelligence community has concluded that the Russians are trying to help Trump again. But the intelligence doesn't say that," Tapper's source said.

CBS News' Catherine Herridge also reported that her sources indicate the intelligence does not show that Russia is helping Trump.

One last thing…
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