17:51 GMT04 August 2021
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    On Tuesday, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein announced that she will be cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

    "We are cooperating by sharing all communications relevant to the committee's mission," Stein wrote in a Facebook post. "We support safeguarding our elections from interference, while at the same time we caution strongly against the targeting of political opposition."

    According to reports, investigators requested documents from Stein's presidential campaign in order to look into the 67-year-old Chicagoan's attendance at a 2015 banquet sponsored by RT, a news agency funded by the Russian government.

    But to David Cobb, Stein's 2016 campaign manager, the whole ordeal is simply "an example of a new era of McCarthyism."

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Cobb reaffirmed Stein's commitment to cooperating with the investigation, but doubled down on the notion that the probe has much deeper motives.

    "Let's be clear that the only critique or the concern that folks have seems to be that Jill Stein, as a presidential candidate, went to Moscow and attended a banquet being hosted by RT America, a news agency," Cobb told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "Since when has that ever been a problem?"

    Fellow guest Max Blumenthal, a journalist who also attended the 2015 event, explained that Stein's motive for attending was to talk about peace initiatives.

    "Jill had an agenda which was to talk about nuclear proliferation and de-escalation in Syria with any official she could meet with," Blumenthal said. "In the end she only wound up speaking briefly with an official in the Russian Duma… and they discussed her agenda, which she laid out on the Green Party's website."

    The issue that triggered the Stein probe, Blumenthal speculates, was a photograph that showed Stein seated at the same table as Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    ​"Problem was that after the banquet there was a photograph of Jill seated at a table… with a general who no one knew at the time… they referred to him dismissively as the ‘Obama general,'" Blumenthal said. "This is really the basis of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation."

    Echoing Blumenthal's sentiments, Cobb said, "we have to come to terms with the fact that we are living in a moment where we are seeing a demonization… an effort to reconstitute ‘communist scare.'"

    Blumenthal, who also hosts the "Moderate Rebels" podcast, called Stein's being caught up in the mushrooming collusion investigation "just collateral damage."

    "The bipartisan investigation, which is also being stimulated by leaks from the national security state, is really aimed at ultimately criminalizing diplomacy with Russia and driving a new cold war, which will be a boom to defense contractors," Blumenthal said.

    Russian officials continue to deny all accusations of interference in the 2016 election.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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