It has never been as clear as it is today that Donald Trump acts as if he were an enemy of the United States.
Russian State TV pundits are pleased that Russia’s propaganda about Hunter Biden allegedly funding bioweapons in Ukraine has “served up a beneficial deck of cards for Trump” and helps “our partner Trump.”
Julia Davis, columnist for The Daily Beast, shared this clip from Russian State TV calling for Americans to change presidents before President Biden’s term “expires” in order to help their “partner” Donald Trump:
Meanwhile on Russian state TV:
Host Evgeny Popov says it’s time for the Russian people to call on Americans to change “the regime in the U.S.” before its term expires “and to again help our partner Trump to become President.”https://t.co/orPMoKoxwG pic.twitter.com/sPVDhVWm6Q
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 29, 2022
This establishes several important points: Russia listens to Trump’s pleas for their help, wants to help, does help, and views Trump as a partner in their genocide.
This clip should be the absolute end of the Fan Boys referring to Russiagate as a “Democratic Conspiracy.”
Russiagate was real in 2016, it was established in the Mueller Report, and it is ongoing. Everyone involved knows it’s going on, as proven by Donald Trump asking Russia for dirt against Joe Biden as Russia is committing international war crimes and Russian state TV acknowledging that they hear his plea and want to help “our partner Trump to become president.”
Trump Taints The GOP Hunter Biden Plot With Russian Propaganda
And it shouldn’t be missed that this clip also destroys any Republican hopes that the dirt they get from Russia will harm President Biden’s son – who is not in office, has no connection to the White House other than his father is the President, and thus is rather irrelevant and certainly not comparable to Donald Trump’s clear indebtedness to Russia.
The Hunter Biden laptop claim has now been forever tainted as Russian propaganda.
If there were any truth to it, it would not need to be laundered through Russia, known for their subtle tactics of embedding damaging and false propaganda among legitimate information.
The Hunter Biden laptop cries have served as a sad flop of a “both sides” attempt by the Republican Party, which is led by Donald Trump – a man who is asking President Putin for help as Putin commits genocide in Ukraine and murders pregnant women and children.
For far too long, the Russia contingency within the Republican Party has been referred to as the “fringe.” It is not fringe. As CNN’s John Harwood said today, Donald Trump is the leader of the one of our two main political parties.
While leaders like Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) manage to quash discussions of their Russian financial windfalls, the Q-Anon caucus, like “orgies and cocaine” Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) say the quiet part out loud with no subtly at all: “Zelenskyy is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”
Conservative Bill Kristol observed over the clip of Cawthorn saying the above that Republican House leadership is on board with Cawthorn’s pro-Putin lies while they keep coming for Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who has a steel backbone when it comes to her country and refuses to bow to the Putin Bootlickers running her party: “The @NRCC, headed by @RepTomEmmer, and ultimately accountable to @GOPLeader, is so far as I know fully on board with @CawthornforNC. But of course they won’t support @Liz_Cheney. She tells the truth and isn’t a Putin apologist. The House GOP prefers liars and Putinistas.”
Yes, I’m quoting Bill Kristol. Because there are two sides in this country now, the pro-democracy side and the pro-Putin murderous regime side. Bill Kristol has shown the courage to reject what his party has become. He now is not only The Bulwark’s (a conservative publication of intellectual honesty) Editor at large but also the Director of Defending Democracy Together.
As the attack on our Capitol proved, we are at war. We are not being physically invaded by Russia like the Ukrainians, but the Republican Party has been co-opted by Russia to attack our democracy to the point of domestic terrorism on our Capitol, and the purpose is the same: To undermine if not destroy western democracy as an idea. (Putin apparently missed the memo that wars on ideas do not work.)
Here’s Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s White House chief strategist in the first seven months of Trump’s freedom-destroying term, saying Republicans who voted to send aid to Ukraine “should be ashamed of themselves”:
Steve Bannon says Republicans who voted to send aid to Ukraine “should be ashamed of themselves.”
Steve is the one who should be ashamed. pic.twitter.com/Icy7JoMNR2
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) March 10, 2022
Ah yes, don’t vote for aid to Ukraine – unless, of course, they “do us a favor” by helping Donald Trump manufacture dirt on Joe Biden. This denied quid pro quo was the reason Donald Trump was impeached the first time, and let us all recall how Senate Republicans refused to convict him even though he illegally withheld aid to Ukraine while demanding they find dirt on Biden’s family. (It should not go unnoticed that even with all of his international partners in crime helping him, Trump could not find even a hint of a way to tie dirt to Joe Biden himself, and thus he has landed on Joe Biden’s son, who unlike his own children, does not work in the White House and does not impact our policies.)
Can one be on Russia’s “side” and still be on America’s side? No. The answer is no. Not because it’s unAmerican, but because Putin has remade Russia in his own image and he hates America. He hates any democracy, because it shows his oppressed people that democracy can work.
Putin shares an ideology with his “de facto second man” Yuri Kovalchuk, who is described by Mikhail Zygar, a Russian journalist and the author of “All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin” in the New York Times as “also an ideologue, subscribing to a worldview that combines Orthodox Christian mysticism, anti-American conspiracy theories and hedonism.”
How close is this man to Putin? “Mr. Kovalchuk, who is the largest shareholder in Rossiya Bank and controls several state-approved media outlets, has been Mr. Putin’s close friend and trusted adviser since the 1990s. But by 2020, according to my sources, he had established himself as the de facto second man in Russia, the most influential among the president’s entourage.”
In that piece, Putin is described as seeing the West as weak. This is a worldview held by Republicans as well, at least as it pertains to President Joe Biden (and any other Democratic president), as they have been saying publicly since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Some conservatives have gone so far as to wrongly suggest that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president. They seem to not grasp that this claim tells on themselves more than it says anything about Biden. Yes, Putin sees Trump as a “partner” – a weak one, at that. An easily manipulated partner for whom Putin only needs to dish out cheap propaganda dirt on political opponents in order to achieve the undermining of the United States.
The GOP’s Financial Ties To Russia
There are the recent indictments related to payments from a Russian oligarch to Republican PACs and other Trump-controlled funds, including attempts to funnel illegal donations to Republican Representative Pete Sessions of Texas and others in the 2018 election.
For example, in 2019, Senate investigated the NRA’s alleged money laundering operation and their resulting report found “The NRA and Russia: How a Tax-Exempt Organization Became a Foreign Asset.”
The congressional probe into the National Rifle Association’s relationship with Russia showed a U.S. tax-exempt organization working as a conduit to provide Russian officials access to Republicans with the quid pro quo of “lucrative personal business opportunities.”
Open Secrets determined in September of 2021, “GOP operatives funneling Russian money to Trump is the latest foreign “straw” donor scheme”:
Federal prosecutors claim Jesse Benton and Doug Wead accepted $100,000 from an unidentified Russian foreign national in exchange for getting the person a meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump at a fundraiser in 2016. Allegedly, the two funnelled $25,000 to the Trump campaign’s joint fundraising committee and pocketed the other $75,000.
Benton, a former campaign manager for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), worked for the pro-Trump super PAC Great America PAC in 2016. In December 2020, Benton was pardoned by Trump on charges tied to hiding bribes in a 2012 scandal. At the time, Benton allegedly paid a vendor who then paid a subvendor, violating the FEC’s ultimate vendor disclosure rules.
These “foreign straw donor” schemes are not new, Open Secrets reminds readers. They’ve been around for decades, but have “mushroomed” in recent years. Members of both parties have reportedly been recipients of this tainted money, which is a direct assault on democracy. We can’t have elected officials being influenced by foreign power. (There is, of course, a distinction between officials taking this money unknowingly, taking it knowingly but not giving a foreign power what it asks for, and as we see with the Trump Republican Party, taking the money and attempting to give a foreign enemy what it most wanted.)
A Factcheck of claims about Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s biggest donor being a sanctioned Russian oligarch upon whom Republicans lifted sanctions determined this to be false, but noted, “In 2015-16, Blavatnik’s contributions went to GOP PACs and top Republican leaders, including McConnell, according to FEC records.
“In that cycle, his companies contributed over $6.3 million, with $2.5 million going to McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund. In 2017, Blavatnik donated another $1 million to the committee, records show, bringing the total to $3.5 million.”
It’s not true that this Russian is McConnell’s biggest donor, because others have donated more:
“While Blavatnik certainly donated a lot of money to McConnell’s committee, he is nowhere near the majority leader’s highest contributor. In the 2017-18 cycle alone, at least two other donors, Sheldon D. Adelson and Miriam Adelson gave $25 million (a piece) to his leadership fund.”
Putin Can’t Beat Biden, So He Is Rooting For Trump’s Return
I do not know our current President other than covering him in a crowded room a few times as Vice President, but I, unlike Putin and the Republican Party, can see in Joe Biden something underneath the folksy uncle persona that says it would be a mistake to mess with his country while he is the President. Apparently, Putin’s propagandists can see the same, as Davis noted in her above-linked piece, “While the pro-Kremlin mouthpieces are seething with anger against the current U.S. president, they are still rooting for the return of his predecessor.”
Biden has been around for decades. He knows who Putin is and what Putin is all about. He doesn’t trust Putin, whereas the modern Republican Party sees Putin as a partner in maintaining and obtaining power.
Since Putin is our enemy, and an enemy of the entire West, it cannot be ignored any longer that the Republican Party is subservient to his propaganda, enables his poisonous lies meant to weaken our country, and their leader is viewed by Russian propagandists as their “partner.” Russia wants Trump back in office because Trump helps Putin.
Putin is a murderer, a war criminal and is guilty of genocide. As he is committing these crimes, his propagandists want Trump to take over the U.S. Presidency. Any U.S. political pundit who concludes from that that Putin is afraid of Trump is perhaps in need of a cult intervention. Putin is not afraid of Trump. Putin is enraged by President Biden because Putin made the grave error of buying into Republican propaganda that Joe Biden is weak.
There is nowhere for the Republican Party to hide. They have deep financial ties to Russia on way too many fronts and are doing Russia’s bidding every time they undermine the U.S. President’s attempts to help Ukraine, attempts to bolster voting rights, and attempts to protect democracy by shutting down Russian propaganda.
Note: It can be very discouraging to be barraged by news of attacks on our democracy. Therefore I want to remind everyone that they can do something about it, within their own community: Volunteer and donate if you comfortably can to local candidates on every level. Pay attention to who is running to handle elections. Help get out the vote. As former President Barack Obama reminded us all: Yes, We Can.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.