Former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is being investigated as part of the investigation into alleged Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election, and she thinks she knows exactly who to blame: Democrats.
What’s the story?
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced last month that his committee was investigating Stein’s campaign as part of its overall investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. At the time, Burr said his committee was also investigating one other campaign, which he declined to name.
In a tweet, Stein confirmed that her campaign was under investigation and promised to cooperate with the investigation:
Complying with Senate Committee request, Jill Stein urges safeguarding elections from interference – while cautioning against the targeting of political opposition pic.twitter.com/YuHsBWJA0Z
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) December 19, 2017
When reporters asked Burr what he hoped to learn from the Stein campaign, he responded, “whether there was collusion with the Russians.”
What is Stein saying now?
In a Sunday interview with WBZ-TV in Boston, Stein blamed the investigation into her campaign on a Democratic “smear campaign,” saying that:
This is a year’s worth of a smear campaign that began actually by some Democratic party operatives after the embarrassing emails revealed collusion by the Democratic party with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in order to interfere with our election. The same people who launched that smear campaign are now celebrating that I’m being investigated, really as a consequence of this smear.
In the interview, Stein also addressed her appearance at a 2015 banquet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “It was of service to the American people to be heard any way that I could.”
Why would Democrats be angry at Jill Stein?
Some Democrats allege that Stein played a role in Clinton’s loss in some key states. For instance, in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, President Donald Trump’s margin of victory was less than the total number of votes received by Stein.
Presumably, without Stein in the race, the lion’s share of those votes would otherwise have gone to Clinton. If Clinton had won all three of those states, she would have won the Electoral College tally by a margin of 278-260.