Mitch McConnell’s Corrupt Ties To Russia
As I’ve discussed here before, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has been perhaps the most destructive Congressional leader in modern history. During the Obama presidency, McConnell was the architect of the GOP’s strategy of all out obstruction aimed at destroying the Obama presidency — at the expense of the country’s economic well being. It was the Kentucky Senator — who broke his previous promise to give every judicial nominee an up or down vote regardless of party affiliation — who blocked the 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland.
Since January 20, 2017, McConnell has destroyed many norms in his attempt to enact the extreme Trump/GOP agenda. In the summer of 2017, McConnell tried to ram an unpopular and regressive health care bill through the Senate in the middle of the night after the bill had been drafted in secret and there had been no hearings. Similarly, the $2 trillion deficit funded tax cut for the wealthy was jammed through even though there were no hearings, no CBO score and very limited debate. The Kentucky Senator has also prioritized the confirmation of right wing judges who will serve the interests of the top 1% and take away rights from women and minorities.
What has been largely overlooked about McConnell are his extensive financial ties to Russia. Len Blavatnik, a dual U.K.-U.S. citizen — contributed $7 million to various GOP Super PACs — including one run by Mitch McConnell. (Incidentally, Blavatnik’s business partner Oleg Deripaska is one of the richest men in Russia — and who is also very close to Putin.) These contributions from Blavatnik were perfectly legal due to the decision in Citizens United. Back in 2010, President Obama was excoriated by the Republicans for (correctly) predicting that this misguided decision would lead to foreign money pouring into U.S. elections.
Blavatnik’s contributions didn’t go unrewarded. It was Mitch McConnell who prevented President Obama from fully informing the voters about the Russian efforts to help Trump. In September 2016, President Obama held a meeting with the Congressional leaders from both parties to brief them on Russian interference in the election and to forge a bi-partisan response to that meddling.
The Democratic leaders acknowledged the gravity of the crisis but McConnell disparaged the underlying intelligence and told the White House he would regard any effort by the Obama Administration to call out the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.
McConnell’s corrupt Russia connection has carried over into the Trump Administration. Due to actions taken by Trump and McConnell, Rusal — a Russian aluminum company — will soon be investing $200 million in an aluminum plant in Kentucky. Until recently, Rusal was barred by U.S. sanctions from doing business in this country due to its close ties to Oleg Deripaska but Trump lifted the U.S. sanctions on this company.
The House passed a bill by an overwhelming 362 to 52 margin that would have reversed Trump’s decision and barred Rusal from doing business in America. However, a GOP Senate filibuster led by McConnell rejected the House bill and had the effect of ending the sanctions on this Russian company. Both Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted to authorize Rusal to do business in this country. (Fischer voted with McConnell and Sasse voted to maintain sanctions on Rusal.)
Once again, Russia has been rewarded by the GOP Senate leader. McConnell has blocked an up or down vote on every election security bill. According to the NY Times: “ The bills included a Democratic measure that would send $1 billion to state and local governments to tighten election security, but would also demand a national strategy to protect American democratic institutions against cyberattacks and require that states spend federal funds only on federally certified “election infrastructure vendors.” A bipartisan measure in both chambers would require internet companies like Facebook to disclose the purchasers of political ads.”
Russia is expected to interfere again in the U.S. elections in 2020. Even the Trump appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray has termed 2016 the “dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.” As we know, Trump welcomed and solicited Russia’s help in the 2016 cycle. Apparently, McConnell expects the Russians to help Trump again and he doesn’t want to do anything to stop it. It’s win at any cost for the Senate Majority Leader. He is simply amoral and doesn’t care about the cloud of illegitimacy hanging over Trump.
It’s pretty obvious that we will be up against both the GOP and Russia (again) in 2020. Hopefully, the vapid and gullible mainstream media won’t be played by the GOP and the Russians like they were in 2016. In any event, the only check and balance on Trump and a corrupt GOP is the Democratic party. We need to throw the rascals out in 2020. If not us, who? If not now, when? Let’s get it done!