Failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton criticized President Trump as “Putin’s puppet” on Friday in response to reports that U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers that Russia is meddling in the 2020 presidential campaign to help Trump.
“Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself,” Clinton wrote on Twitter in response to an NBC News report that confirmed a New York Times story about the intelligence briefing.
The reports in question was vague, and it is unclear what evidence intelligence officials briefed to Congress. CNN anchor Jake Tapper poured cold water on the reports, saying that a source familiar with the congressional briefing said that the intelligence provided to Congress was being “mischaracterized.”
“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 said on Twitter, citing an anonymous but “reliable” source.
But that didn’t stop Clinton from seizing on the report.
“He knows he can’t win without it. And we can’t let it happen,” Clinton said of Trump.
Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself.
He knows he can’t win without it. And we can’t let it happen. https://t.co/10Z2YIipOI
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 21, 2020
Clinton has long blamed Russian involvement in the 2016 election for her stunning loss to Trump.
The intelligence community has said that Russian military intelligence was behind hacks of Democrats’ emails during the 2016 campaign. Other intelligence reports have said that Russian operatives used social media sites to sow discord in the U.S. political system. An intelligence community assessment released on Jan. 6, 2017 asserted that the Russian government’s goal was to help Trump defeat Clinton.
Trump has begrudgingly acknowledged that Russia meddled in the election, but he has denied that the Kremlin did so specifically to help him. He has also denied that Russian interference altered the outcome of the election. U.S. intelligence officials have also not claimed that Russia’s actions changed the election results.
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