US President Donald Trump has denied being told by intelligence officials that Russia is intervening in the 2020 primaries.
“Nobody said it to me at all,” Trump said on Sunday, when asked if he has been briefed that Russia is trying to help Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
President Trump fielded questions from reporters on the White House lawn before he departed for a India.
He previously expressed his surprise at the news on Twitter.
Asked by reporters if he thought Mr Sanders would be the nominee, Mr Trump said, “I think so — unless they cheat him out of it.”
“I hope they treat him fairly,” Mr Trump said, referring to Mr. Sanders’ Democratic party.
“I hope it’s not going to be a rigged deal because there’s a lot of bad things going on,” he said, suggesting that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, who served as the lead House impeachment manager, might have leaked false information about Russia.
‘The Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly,” Mr. Trump said.
“And it sounds to me like a leak from Adam Schiff because they don’t want Bernie Sanders to represent them,” Mr Trump said.
“It sounds like it’s ‘16 all over again for Bernie Sanders. And he won he had a great victory yesterday. But you know what’s happening, you can see the handwriting on the wall,” he added.
President Trump also took to Twitter on Saturday to tweet a warning to Democrat voters, saying they needed to “be careful,” — just hours after he had dismissed a claim that the Kremlin was election meddling again.
The tweet came after Friday’s news that Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders had been informed by Washington officials that the Kremlin was trying to assist his presidential campaign.
But those Russian espionage claims and attacks from rivals were shrugged off by supporters of Mr Sanders as the Vermont senator galvanised crowds for the latest Democratic presidential nomination vote.
On a cold and wintry Friday night at the Nevada nature centre, where Sanders hosted his final rally a day before the desert state’s caucuses begin, the audience’s fanatical faith in the leftist firebrand was palpable.
This information, and Sanders’ swift rebuttal, appeared to have only strengthened convictions.
“Bernie’s not gonna allow it,” said military veteran Brenda Bolton, 67.
“He doesn’t want interference — Trump does, Trump welcomes it.”
“It speaks a lot that the day before the Nevada caucus, it just so happens that there’s information leaks,” added 23-year-old Mr Jones, in a conspiratorial tone. “There’s a lot of shady stuff happening.”
Nevada polls indicate that Mr Sanders’ support is growing — he has surged to a double-digit lead in the contest.
Mr Trump’s tweets came after The New York Times published a report claiming that the Kremlin wanted to see the US president win re-election because it would be better for their interests.