Federal U.S. officials have notified Bernie Sanders that Russia is actively attempting to boost his campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic primaries, the Washington Post reported Friday.
President Trump and lawmakers have also been informed of the matter, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sanders said in a statement to the Post:
"Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia. Let's be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election.
I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do."
The Vermont senator went on to suggest that hostile rhetoric on the internet attributed to his supporters may be coming from Russia.