— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 22, 2019
A sitting United States Senator is trying to shade an American hero, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) November 22, 2019
At least a dozen Republican congressional campaigns used materials stolen from Democrats by Russian hackers during the 2016 election. Several other Republican campaigns received millions in contributions from an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2018, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on the National Republican Congressional Committee to make a bipartisan pledge not to utilize stolen or hacked information in House elections. After months of negotiations, in September of 2018, House Republicans backed out and refused to sign the pledge. These are just some of the often-overlooked reasons why Republicans have been so reluctant to criticize President Trump’s willingness to accept “dirt” on an opposing candidate from a foreign government.
Robert Mueller’s investigation clearly found that Russian operatives intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Asked this week, sitting behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office, whether he might accept such assistance again, Trump said he would. Republicans responded to this brazen admission by trying to defend Trump’s invitation for hostile foreign powers to interfere in our democratic process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is actively blocking any efforts to stop it from happening in 2020.
Blackburn, in particular, has close ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian politician who has recently come under intense scrutiny. Her former lawyer, G. Kline Preston IV, who represented Blackburn when she was facing allegations of possible campaign finance violations, also worked closely with Alexander Torshin, the prominent Russian politician with close ties to Putin who is now under intense scrutiny for allegations he illegally channeled Russian funds through the National Rifle Association in an effort to influence the 2016 election. According to the Washington Post, Blackburn has received the most NRA money since 2002 of any Tennessee member of Congress. (She was in the House before her election to the Senate in 2018.)
Republican lawmakers who went to Russia seeking a thaw in relations received an icy reception from Democrats and Kremlin watchers for spending the Fourth of July in a country that interfered in the U.S. presidential election and continues to deny it.“Cannot believe GOP, once the party that stood strong against Soviets & only a decade ago sought to democratize the Middle East, is now surrendering so foolishly to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Kremlin’s kleptocracy — only two years after Russia interfered in U.S. election,” tweeted Clint Watts, an information warfare specialist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and frequent featured expert before congressional panels examining Russian influence operations.“Russians wooing with a shopworn song — repugnant as nails on a blackboard,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a Twitter post in response to the delegation’s trip. “They are enemies and adversaries, attacking us.”Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) led the eight-member delegation on a multiday tour of St. Petersburg and Moscow, a trip that included meetings with Russia’s foreign minister and parliamentarians. It did not include a session that senators had been hoping for: a meeting with Putin, whom President Trump is scheduled to meet at a summit this month.