I’ll repeat the question – “What’s going on between the GOP and Vladimir Putin?” – because absolutely, positively, no-two-ways-about-it, something IS going on. And it has everything to do with treason.
I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party viewed Russia (The Soviet Union and Russia are pretty much the same thing) as the enemy of everything American. I vaguely recall a Republican President – named Reagan – who took credit for destroying the Soviet Union and tearing down the Berlin Wall. We fought the Cold War behind the scenes rather than on an actual battlefield. In place of soldiers, there were spies, counter spies and intelligence assets. When the Soviet Union finally crumbled into pieces, one man emerged atop the corruption heap and took ultimate power: Vladimir Putin, literal spymaster.
On 25 July 1998, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the KGB. Not long after, Yeltsin announced officially that he wanted Putin to succeed him. And, not long after that – New Year’s Eve 1999 – Yeltsin resigned suddenly, handing the reins to Putin. Take this to the bank: Putin’s being a spy – with access to all sorts of kompromat – paved that road.
Putin Lusts For “Greater Russia”
Though the Soviet Union was gone, Putin never stopped wanting it back. Not the communism. He didn’t give a toss about that. He believes in a “Greater Russia”. And Putin has a religious streak in him, too. He sees himself as a modern Russian Orthodox Crusader hell bent on reclaiming the Holy Land from infidels. That’s why Steve Bannon loves him so much. They share the same, sick, twisted Christian fantasies.
Putin despises the United States. He despises democracy and American influence. He would do almost literally anything to destroy us in any way he can. It’s personal, you see.
Putin’s Favorite Congressman
Being a spy, you have to think long term. Recruiting humint – human intelligence assets – takes time and patience and money and energy. Sometimes you have to seduce people into becoming your spy. You might have to cajole them. Or set down pictures in front of them where they’re doing something they damned well shouldn’t have been doing.
A perfect example of how this works is former California Representative Dana Rohrbacher. Rohrbacher helped get Reagan elected twice and helped develop the Reagan Doctrine! Yet, in the early 90’s – after an evening of “drunken arm wrestling” in Russia, Rohrbacher turned from Reaganist foe to Putinist pal.
As if Rohrbacher didn’t know!
“Putin Pays Rohrbacher And Trump”
Jump to June 2016. A month later, the GOP will hold its convention and officially nominate Trump as their standard-bearer. But, there’s still time to stop him. If only they knew something dangerous about him!
Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy exited a meeting where the Intelligence Community briefed Congressmembers about Putin’s ongoing efforts to sabotage Ukraine’s fragile, new democracy. Leaving that meeting, McCarthy immediately entered another, this one of GOP leaders.
The very first thing McCarthy said upon entering meeting number two: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!”
That was a strange thing to say, period.
It was a really strange thing to say about your about-to-be presidential nominee. That Putin pays him.
But let’s add context. Everyone present agreed that “Putin pays Rohrbacher”. That wasn’t a secret or unknown. Nobody leapt to Dana Rorhbacher’s defense. But, “Putin pays Trump”? That should have started a whole other conversation. At the very least, it should have started a phone call to the FBI.
Instead, it caused a ripple of nervous laughter. From the GOP leaders there. That’s what prompted McCarthy to add “Swear to God!”
“I’m serious, guys! I mean it! I’m not kidding!” That’s what McCarthy insisted to those other GOP leaders.
“I really do think the leader of Russia has compromised our about-to-be presidential nominee”.
How We Know We’re ‘Family’
Nobody contradicted McCarthy or demand he produce receipts for such an outrageous accusation. Problem was? It wasn’t outrageous; it was a fact. It must have been because then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan stepped forward and shut it all down.
Per Adam Entous in the WaPo: “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: ‘“’No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.” Didja catch that? “No leaks”. Leaks of what? The truth? That Donald Trump – were he to become POTUS – would pose a grave threat to America’s national security?
“Hey, Russia, If You’re Listening…!
Why on earth would any American – Republican, Democrat or Independent – keep such a thing secret?
A month later, the GOP did nominate Trump to be their presidential nominee despite the party’s leadership knowing that “Putin pays Trump”. Then, the day after the nomination, Trump got up on his hind legs and brayed “Russia, if you’re listening…!”
Trump knew Russia was listening. So did the entire Republican leadership. They knew Putin was listening because he was paying Trump.
Whatever hopes anyone had for a “democratic” Russia under Putin, they were delusional. By 2016, Putin was back to being America’s foe in almost every way. Remember this stare down between Putin and Obama?
We know that Putin had already set in motion a whole plan to destroy us. In Donald Trump, Putin saw what Trump saw in himself. A way to invade the Republican Party and take it over.
Putin Corrupts The GOP
Putin knew: if he could corrupt a Dana Rohrbacher, he could corrupt pretty much any Republican. He poured Russian money into Republican coffers every way he could – most notoriously via the NRA. Remember Maria Butina? Let’s please recognize her first and foremost for what she was and is: a master spy who did her job with utter professionalism.
Butina is just the public face of Putin’s spying operation against the Republican Party. She wasn’t Putin’s only intelligence asset working the Republican room, creating more intelligence assets. There were others. Trump’s entire campaign operation had strong ties to Russia.
The Republican Party knew who Paul Manafort was when he took over running Trump’s campaign. Manafort (like his pal Roger Stone) was a furious Nixonite, still licking the Watergate wounds. He worked for Putin pal (and FSB agent) Oleg Deripaska and ended up owing Deripaska around $17 million. Manafort hoped his campaign manager gig would provide something he could use to cancel his debt.
Manafort went to prison for handing Deripaska (via his go-between Konstantin Kilimnik) proprietary polling data for four states – Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The FSB turned that polling data into targeted Facebook ads. Those ads went to Black Democratic voters in MI, WI and PA and lied about Hillary Clinton being a closet racist. The point? Make those Black Democratic voters getting those targeted FB ads stay home and not vote.
To judge by the narrow margin by which Trump won – 70,000 votes across those three states – Manafort’s illegal efforts on Trump’s behalf worked perfectly.
Trump’s Putin Love
How about Wikileaks – and their relationships with Russia and with Trump?
Has there ever been an American president more devoted to another foreign leader than Trump was/still is to Putin? Can you think of another presidential portrait to match this one?
Why does any Republican want to refuse aid to Ukraine? We know it has zero to do with fiscal responsibility. The problem is, we can’t ask that question without hearing “Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” echoing in our ears.
The reason Trump had to try and steal the 2020 election was because not only did he steal election 2016, he did it with Russia’s direct assistance. If not for Russia, Trump would never have been president.
A mere handful of Republicans have stepped away from their fellows. The rest have made their choice. They’ve chosen Russia over America. And treason over patriotism.
What’s going on between the GOP and Vladimir Putin? It turns out, everything. And all of it is criminal.