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Donald Trump doesn’t want people to think the Russians helped him in 2016. Maybe not, but their goal was to stop Hillary Clinton, and that included doing things to help Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, in the general election.

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The Hill noted that Stein’s vote totals were higher than Trump’s margin of victory in the critical Midwestern states.

In Michigan, Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, while Stein got 51,463 votes, according to current totals on the state’s official website. And in Wisconsin, Trump’s margin over Clinton was 22,177, while Stein garnered 31,006 votes. In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, Stein’s total of 49,485 votes was just slightly smaller than Trump’s victory margin of 67,416 votes, according to the state’s latest numbers. . .

Of course, the Russian release of Democratic emails had a one-two punch against Hillary. First, much of the public thought they were the infamous “Hillary server” emails, which Trump had asked the Russians to hack—and they began to, that very day, according to Business Insider.

More importantly, the release of the Democratic National Committee emails rubbed salt in the wounds of Bernie supporters, at a time when the party was trying to come together. In fact, Bernie supporters even booed Bernie when he campaigned for Hillary.

The convention was supposed to be the moment of unity after a bitterly competitive primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But the hacked emails, showing that DNC officials who were supposed to be neutral were privately belittling Sanders and his campaign, came out on the very first night. . .

Now new indictments released by special counsel Robert Mueller allege that the release of the hacked DNC emails was timed to hit during the convention for maximum impact: Mueller’s latest indictments suggest Russian intelligence agents and WikiLeaks planned to engineer discord between Sanders and Clinton supporters. Some former Sanders delegates say this is an obvious conclusion, given President Trump’s open call to Russia to find Clinton campaign emails.

“I don’t think anyone who is paying attention is surprised to hear that Russia hacked the DNC, that Russia released the emails,” said Ray McKinnon, a pastor and 2016 Sanders delegate from North Carolina. “They played on people’s heartfelt dislike and their own emotions for their own purpose. That was real then and it’s real now.”. . .

If WikiLeaks and the Russians wanted conflict, they got it. Even as Sanders actively encouraged his supporters to get out and vote for Clinton at the 2016 convention, he was booed at almost every turn. Many Sanders supporters jeered at mentions of Clinton’s name at the convention and were adamant that Sanders would be the better choice to run against Trump. . .

Meanwhile, the National Review says the latest release of information from the Robert Mueller investigation of Russian hacking says there was a Trump-Bernie connection (not to say collusion).

A list of exhibits filed in a Virginia federal court Wednesday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller includes emails between Paul Manafort and former Bernie Sanders aide Tad Devine. Devine, Sanders’s chief strategist during his 2016 presidential run, is a former business partner in Manafort’s lobbying operation, which is at the center of the case. . .

The filing, submitted Wednesday night, lists a number of emails and other communications between Devine and Manafort sent between February 2010 and June 2014.

Politico says the Russians seemed to have an anybody-but-Hillary approach.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election.

Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads. . .

The ads show a complicated effort that didn’t necessarily hew to promoting Trump and bashing Clinton. Instead, they show a desire to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders and Stein. A number of the ads seemed to question Clinton’s authenticity and tout some of the liberal criticisms of her candidacy.

Bernie doesn’t want to talk about it.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declined to directly address Friday’s revelation that Russian actors sought to boost his presidential primary campaign and sink Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, instead insisting that the special counsel’s investigation proceed unimpeded.

The indictment revealed that the efforts included “operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Russian “specialists were instructed to post content that focused on ‘politics in the USA’ and to ‘use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them.),’” the indictment continued. It said that message was sent around Feb. 10, 2016, the day after both Sanders and Trump won their respective parties’ all-important New Hampshire primary contest.

As Bernie says, the only person who doesn’t seem to accept that the Russians were working to Trump’s benefit, is Donald Trump.

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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