As articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump move forward in the U.S. House of Representatives, pro-Trump Republicans continue to insist that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election — a claim that foreign affairs expert Fiona Hill described as total nonsense during her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month. Regardless, Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina recently told an NBC News reporter that in 2016, “Every elected official in the Ukraine was for Hillary Clinton. Is that very different than the Russians being for Donald Trump?” And former CIA officer Alex Finley, in a December 10 article for Just Security, explains why Burr’s assertion is a “false equivalence” that “completely and dangerously mischaracterizes the threat we are facing” from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2016, Finley explains, some “Ukrainian officials publicly expressed a dislike for candidate Trump” and “looked to hold” some “corrupt” associates of former President Viktor Yanukovych “accountable” — and one of those associates “happened to be Trump’s campaign chairman” (Paul Manafort). But, Finley quickly adds, “Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, is aiming to destroy western democracies.”
Those who think that statement about Putin sounds “overblown,” Finley asserts, should consider what Putin told the Financial Times: “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”
Putin, Finley stresses, is opposed to the very ideal of liberal democracy.
“Russia has been running, and continues to run, a covert intelligence operation aimed at duping westerners and inflaming internal divisions, in order to break down our democratic institutions,” Finley observes. “Putin aims to bring down the western liberal order, which — with the United States at the helm — has generally brought peace and stability to the west for 70 years.”
Republicans, Finley warns, “should ask themselves why Putin sees them as a good partner” in his anti-U.S. goals.
Finley goes on to list some things that the Russian government under Putin’s leadership did in 2016, from hacking Democratic e-mails to running an “influence campaign” through websites like WikiLeaks to infiltrating “the NRA and GOP circles with Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin.”
Moreover, Finley writes, Putin’s government is not only trying to undermine western liberal democracy in the United States, but also, in Italy, France, Germany and other countries that have long been U.S. allies.
“Congressional Republicans have become pansies of Putin in a much larger game,” Finley warns. “This is not about one election or even two elections. Putin is playing a long game aimed at changing the international system in his favor, and Republicans are aiding and abetting him. Does the party of Ronald Reagan really want to be an accomplice to the destruction of the U.S.-led liberal world order?”
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Putin Attacked US 2020 Election to Help Trump Says Just-Released US Intel Community Report
Russian President Vladimir Putin once again attacked the United States, this time during the 2020 election cycle, in order to help President Donald Trump win re-election, according to a just released declassified report from the U.S. National Intelligence Council, which is part of the broader United States Intelligence Community (IC).
“President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.,” one of the report’s key judgments reveals.
The Wall Street Journal adds “Iran carried out a multipronged covert influence operation intended to undercut Mr. Trump’s re-election chances but didn’t directly promote his rivals,” according to the report. China did not actively interfere, the report also states.
“Despite the various foreign campaigns, however, the report said there were no indications any foreign actor had attempted to alter ‘any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 U.S. elections,’ including voter registration systems, individual ballots, vote tabulation systems, or the reporting of results.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
‘Putin Told Me’: Former White House Officials Say Russian President Convinced Trump of Ukraine Conspiracy Theory
Former top officials from the Trump White House say they “feared” Vladimir Putin convinced President Donald Trump of a widely-debunked conspiracy theory – that Ukraine, and not Russia, attacked the U.S. 2016 election.
“Almost from the moment he took office, President Trump seized on a theory that troubled his senior aides,” The Washington Post reports, that “Ukraine, he told them on many occasions, had tried to stop him from winning the White House.”
That conspiracy theory, debunked and decimated by a now-famous Intelligence Community unanimous consensus that Russia attacked the 2016 election, apparently got into Trump’s head via President Putin.
“The strong belief in the White House was that Putin told him,” one former official said.
One former senior White House official said Trump even stated so explicitly at one point, saying he knew Ukraine was the real culprit because “Putin told me.”
Apparently it was Trump’s first meetings with Putin, at the July, 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, that “were a turning point,” the Post reports.
Another former Trump White House official “said the President would say: ‘This is ridiculous. Everyone knows I won the election. The greatest election in the world. The Russians didn’t do anything. The Ukrainians tried to do something.’ ”
Read the entire Washington Post report here.
#PutinsGOP Exposes How Republicans Are Closely Tied to Russia and the Kremlin
Remember when Trump revealed “code word” classified information to his Russian visitors, or last year when eight GOP lawmakers spent the 4th of July in Moscow?
Right now on Twitter #PutinsGOP is among the top trending topics. Its goal, apparently, is to expose and highlight the close ties some top Republicans have with the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Remember, Russia is an enemy of the United States. Most Americans agree on that. Russia attacked our election with the intent to sow discord and later, to install Donald Trump as president. That’s per the U.S. government’s intelligence community.
Many of the #PutinsGOP tweets cite proven news stories.
Like the eight Republicans who spent the 4th of July in Moscow last year, meeting with Russian officials.
The Congresspeople who visited Moscow on 07/04/2018? All Republican.
Sen Steve Daines (R-MT)
Rep Kay Granger (R-TX, 12th Dist)
Sen John Hoeven (R-ND)
Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Sen John Kennedy (R-LA)
Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Sen Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen John Thune (R-SD)#PutinsGOP pic.twitter.com/7NIQuNMule
— #NoRedactionsForCongress (@myminutia) May 9, 2019
In case you’re skeptical, here’s Dana Milbank, veteran Washington Post journalist, writing about the visit last year:
“What does July 4th mean to me? Freedom,” Sen. Ron Johnson chirruped on Twitter on Independence Day.
For the Wisconsin Republican, it meant, specifically, the freedom to spend July 4 in Moscow with seven other Republican lawmakers posing for propaganda photos with Russian officials. On the same day it was reported in Britain that two more people had been poisoned by a Russian nerve agent British officials say came from Vladimir Putin’s regime. On the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the election to help Donald Trump.
Johnson and his colleagues apparently exercised their freedom not to meet with opposition or civil society figures (those whom the Putin regime has not imprisoned or killed), avoiding the risk of offending their hosts. They also exercised their freedom to soft-pedal their criticism of the Russian government, leading Russian politicians and state media to mock them as supplicants.
Or Donald Trump, Jr., bragging about his and the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia.
Here’s video I found of Don Jr talking about the Russian hotels and golf courses he’s looked at. Says he was in Russia “looking at a potential golf development and high end hotel assets.” Then says “any of those things would be possibilities.” #PutinsGOP pic.twitter.com/Qb8zUUcI38
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) May 9, 2019
Or, Donald Trump himself, talking about his business dealings with Russia:
Can you do us a favor? Can you retweet this? It’s video we found of Trump saying he:
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) May 9, 2019
There’s this tweet which refers to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delivering a letter from President trump to President Putin. Here’s the story from Politico back in August of 2018. It also links to a CNN story about a sanctioned Russian corporate giant “investing $200 million in a Kentucky mill.”
@RandPaul went to Russia to deliver a secret letter from Trump last year. Last week Russian Company, Rusal, invested in a 200 million dollar company in Paul’s home state of Kentucky! #PutinsGOP. https://t.co/spxU953F7U
— Sara Spector (@Miriam2626) May 9, 2019
And, of course, these photos. The unprecedented act by President Donald Trump of inviting Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov into the Oval Office, with no Secret Service present. It was then Trump told the Russians he had fired “nut job” FBI Director Jim Comey, saying it relieved “great pressure” for him.
During that Oval Office visit Trump revealed “code word” classified information to his Russian visitors.
— Lucy (@LucyWithSword) May 9, 2019
And who can forget this disturbing story from 2016?
There's two people I think
Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump."
I think it's way past time for Kevin McCarthy explain exactly what he knows about Putin and who he got his information from. @GOPLeader@GOPChairwoman@GOP
#AMJoy #ImpeachTheMF #PutinsGOP #TrumpShutDown
— Arctic_Char (@Arctic__char) January 6, 2019
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