Both outlets were implicated in a declassified U.S. intelligence report that emerged in January and accused Russia of trying to help Donald Trump in last year's vote. The outlets call themselves legitimate news organizations.
In the Sputnik interview on the "By Any Means Necessary" program, Ferrell disclosed he worked for Abrams and his comments were noncontroversial.
He talked about how Democrats can defeat Trump in 2020 and how Abrams’ Stone Mountain proposal would be a “wedge issue” that black voters would remember in the May primary.
“It’s not a popular issue. It’s not a pretty issue. It might not poll well right now. But it’s an issue that’s on the minds of African-Americans and defenders of freedom in America and our allies,” he said. “I do believe it will become an issue, and I wish it wasn’t. I wish they would just take it down.”
It was one of at least three appearances on Sputnik by Ferrell, who worked as an outreach director for Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid before joining Abrams earlier this year. The other two instances came before he formally joined Abrams’ campaign and did not mention the candidate. He was not on the show during the presidential campaign.
Abrams, a former leader of the Georgia House Democratic caucus, faces former state Rep. Stacey Evans in next year's Democratic primary, and both have sharply competing strategies and visions for the future of the party.
Ferrell did not immediately comment. Abrams campaign spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha called it a “distraction from the real issues Georgians deal with every day.” A second statement said Evans’ campaign, which did not comment, “is attempting to distract from her record by flinging mud.”
The scrutiny into Sputnik comes amid a wider investigation of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Officials are probing social media ads purchased by firms with links to the Kremlin targeting Georgia and other competitive states that seized on divisive social issues such as race and immigration.