For some time now, there have been random stories and more than a few rumors about the Republican Party’s links to Russian money and, more importantly, Russia’s attack on our democratic institutions. We generally know the extent of what the head of the party, President David Dennison, has been up to for more than a few years now, but questions remain about the party establishment’s links to all of this.
And now, given the most recent string of remarks by turtly-enough-for-the-turtle-club Mitch McConnell and others, we have no choice but to wonder whether congressional GOP chiefs are aiding Trump in his flailing attempts to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.
Before we dig into McConnell, let’s take a look at Trump’s record of firing people linked to the investigation into, y’know, Trump.
- So far, peer-duplicated articles by The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, have informed us that Trump attempted to fire Robert Mueller on at least two occasions — that we know about — once in June and a second time in December.
- There’s also a renewed threat warming up in the on-deck circle: the impending firing of Rosenstein in retaliation for the no-knock raid on Michael Cohen’s home, office, hotel room and bank deposit box.
- Trump, meanwhile, confessed to firing James Comey in order to stop “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia,” and he said it on national television. (Worth noting: Trump, on Wednesday, denied firing Comey to obstruct the Russia probe. No, you’re not insane.)
- Fast forwarding to last week, when asked whether he’d fire Mueller, Trump responded: “Why don’t I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. Many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that’s a big statement.”
- We also know that Trump, last year, fired U.S. attorney Preet Bharara from his post in the Southern District of New York. Manhattan, to be specific. Today, that particular firing takes on an entirely new dimension given the SDNY’s Cohen investigation, including the aforementioned raids, court hearings and, yeah, the “taint team.”
- Meanwhile, Trump pooped more than a few tweets indicating that Jeff Sessions is on his ever-lengthening shit list (see also “recusal” tantrums) and therefore could be fired at any time. I mean, hell, “you’re fired” is a major part of the Trump brand. It’s what he’s famous for.
And yet… congressional leadership doesn’t seem the slightest bit concerned.
McConnell, on Tuesday, repeated his casual reaction to the possibility of Trump firing Mueller and added an all new level of stubbornness to it. McConnell said, “I don’t think he should fire Mueller and I don’t think he’s going to.” He continued, “So this is a piece of legislation that isn’t necessary in my judgment.”
McConnell’s lackadaisical attitude doesn’t make any sense given what we know about the president. Even if Trump assured McConnell privately that he wouldn’t fire anyone linked to the investigation, why would McConnell trust Trump to abide his own pledge? Trump’s the most dishonest human to occupy the Oval Office, there’s no reason to believe his word and every reason to believe he’ll stop at nothing to kill this investigation.
Short of a valid explanation, then, we have no choice but to conclude that the Republican leadership is in major jeopardy if Mueller’s work continues. Put another way, from this point forward, it’s safe to assume the Republicans are co-conspirators helping Trump to bury Mueller by their own inaction to protect him. From here, the next question is this: is McConnell covering for Trump because he’s protecting the president, or is McConnell covering for Trump because the GOP is terrified of what Mueller might learn and subsequently expose? Stick around, we’ll get to that.
And then there’s House side, where the lower chamber Republicans, especially Devin Nunes, seem desperate to obstruct Mueller, going so far as to take extreme measures, making it more than a little obvious that they’re concerned about what Mueller might have on them, too. (Keep a close eye on Nunes and his badgering of Rosenstein.)
But McConnell’s history with this matter snakes all the way back to the campaign when then-President Obama sought bipartisan cooperation in releasing the details of the Russian attack prior to the election. McConnell famously refused to go along with Obama at the time, adding more suspicion to this week’s chain of events.
So, where am I going with this?
It turns out there’s a gigantic pile of illegal Russian money sitting in the GOP warchest at the moment — that is if it hasn’t been spent already.
How do we know? Firstly, Mueller’s already looking into it. And, more shockingly, we discovered last year that at least $7.35 million was funneled to Republican campaign PACs from a Ukraine-born Russian oligarch with direct links to Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Putin. And lookee who received $2.5 million of that cash:
During the 2015-2016 election season, Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard “Len” Blavatnik contributed $6.35 million to leading Republican candidates and incumbent senators. Mitch McConnell was the top recipient of Blavatnik’s donations, collecting $2.5 million for his GOP Senate Leadership Fund under the names of two of Blavatnik’s holding companies, Access Industries and AI Altep Holdings, according to Federal Election Commission documents and OpenSecrets.org.
For emphasis: “Mitch McConnell was the top recipient of Blavatnik’s donations…” Naturally, at the very least, this compromises McConnell’s ability to make rational decisions about the fate of the Mueller investigation, given that McConnell has so much to gain and so much to lose depending on how he reacts to Trump’s chaotic antics.
McConnell doesn’t believe for a second that Trump will lay off Mueller. McConnell knows Mueller could be sacked at any second and he just doesn’t care. Indeed, I’d wager McConnell prefers that this whole investigation is disappeared like Russian dissidents, and the Senate leader’s willing to let Shitty Grandpa in the Oval Office do all of the heavy lifting. Incidentally, don’t expect McConnell to support any impeachment attempts should Mueller get canned. The Russians have too much cash invested in the party for the GOP to hit the emergency shut-off valve now.
Instead, if Mueller goes, you can expect McConnell to shrug his slimy little shoulders and say, “We should let the American people decide.” And that’s all. Yes, the Republican Party is owned by Russians now.
It helps to say it out loud.