What did he know and when did he know it?
For the majority of Democrats, the implied he in the above question clearly refers to Donald Trump, a man who continues to be engulfed in never-ending political scandals. Now that an offspring with the last name Trump has been caught meeting with a foreign adversary with the intent of receiving opposition research, it appears as if the constant drip, drip, drip is getting ever closer to the usurper in the Oval Office. With more and more of the Steele Dossier being confirmed and Bobby Three Sticks amassing legal scholars like Merryl Streep amasses award nominations, it seems as if the walls are closely collapsing among the most inept president in our country's history.
Yet, Donald J. Trump isn't the only person who continues to question Russia's involvement in our election while simultaneously having benefitted from it. During the 2016 election cycle, there was another high-profile candidate who was able to use Russian intel to boost his campaign. Time and time again, this candidate would parrot popular talking points in order to attack the presumptive Democratic nominee. These attacks served to not only to take down the Democratic Party's frontrunner but to give ammunition to this candidate's rabid base, many of whom had already brainwashed by fake news sites and articles. By playing into his followers' deep-seated hatred and misogyny, this candidate was able to tap into the same kind of ugly populism that ultimately helped catapult Donald Trump to his party's nomination. Like Donald Trump, this candidate made no apologies for the kind of campaign he ran and, he too, was able to parlay his campaign into personal financial gain.
And like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders has some 'splainin' to do.
Because Sanders' motivations for running remain unclear to this day. We know that Sanders never considered himself a Democrat, used the party to gain media exposure, and has already registered as an Independent ahead of his 2018 reelection campaign. Money clearly had something to do with it as Sanders was able to parlay his candidacy into a nice payday for himself and consultant Tad Devine. There was also the infatuation with fame, something that provided Sanders with opportunities to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner, see "Hamilton" in New York City, and meet the Pope at the Vatican. Despite these perks of money and fame, one component seems to be oddly absent from the junior senator from Vermont's repertoire:
Bernie Sanders had no way of achieving any additional power by placing second to Hillary Clinton. Nobody remembers the first runner-up and for Sanders, this seemed like a difficult pill to swallow. In fact, many saw Sanders' inability to concede the race to Hillary Clinton as being indicative of how he simply couldn't admit that the ride was over. Despite having the ability to potentially influence the Democratic Party platform, Bernie Sanders knew his power would inevitably wane and his legion of adoring fans would eventually fall by the wayside. Yet, there he would find himself in early June of 2016, the only thing standing between him and the most powerful position in the world simply being a matter of roughly 900 delegates. Unless something dramatic happened, Sanders would come up just short of becoming the most powerful man in the free world.
Yet, inexplicably, Sanders continued to hold out hope.
The question becomes why. Why did Bernie Sanders pledge to support Hillary Clinton in a meeting with Barack Obama on June 9th? Why did Bernie Sanders then continue to refuse to concede in the coming week despite pleas from the Democratic Party to do so? And why did it take Sanders nearly five weeks to finally concede on July 12th?
Answering these questions is integral in determining Bernie Sanders' involvement with the entire Russian scandal. The fact that Donald Trump, Jr. met with Russian adversaries on the exact same day that Bernie Sanders pledged to support Hillary Clinton and then did an immediate 180 has to be troubling to even the most die-hard Sanders supporter. Was Sanders holding out for some alleged kompromat on Hillary Clinton that might miraculously convince the superdelegates to swing his way? If so, how would he know that the Trump campaign was seeking this information? And why would he then wait an entire month before finally conceding a primary that had been mathematically over since mid-April?
Nobody can be sure of what Bernie Sanders knew and when he knew it. Sanders now has his money and fame yet was never able to attain his power. Knowing what we now know about Bernie Sanders, we can't help but question what he might have done to get that final bit of power to help him reach his goal. Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders was willing to go to great lengths to bring down Hillary Clinton. Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders was willing to hurt his own party to promote his own personal agenda. And like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders was willing to do whatever it took to get to the top of the mountain.
No matter how he got there.
What did he know and when did he know it?