If you’ve followed our reporting at all on the links between not just Trump and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, but the connections between the Kremlin and a great number of GOP bigwigs, you already know about the paper trail of money leading directly back from Republican doorways on Capitol Hill to Ilyinka Street in Moscow.
We’ve covered Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Dana Rohrabacher, the dubious trip of seven Republicans to Moscow last Fourth of July, and yes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But it’s Mitch who holds the most sway, obviously, and Mitch who could, given the assumption that there is some favor being given in exchange for financial support from Russian sources, provide those favors the easiest. Mitch decides what comes up for a vote in the Senate and Mitch gives the ultimate thumbs up or down on amendments, judicial appointees, filibusters, and generally every piece of legislation that Democrats don’t have enough votes in the Senate to force through.
Like the action they just took to lift sanctions on a prominent Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska.
Legislation to leave the sanctions on Deripaska in place passed overwhelmingly in the House with bipartisan support. Some Republican Senators even voted for that same legislation. But Mitch organized enough resistance to the bill that it failed — and the sanctions were automatically lifted.
So why does this one particular guy matter so much?
Well, as we covered in our more in-depth piece on McConnell’s Russian links in the past, one of the major donors to Mitch’s Senate Leadership Fund PAC — to the tune of three and a half million dollars — is a Ukrainian man with dual citizenship in the United States and United Kingdom named Len Blavatnik. Notably, Blavatnik calls his birthplace “the former Soviet Union,” rather than Ukraine — a practice of those (like Putin) who long for the days of unified Republics under a single banner in Moscow.
Len Blavatnik is also the business partner of Oleg Deripaska in the world’s second-largest aluminum manufacturing company, RusAl.
We are guilty of a little speculation when it comes to the source of the money donated to McConnell’s PAC, but with good reason. Mitch McConnell has been operating like a man who is compromised for more than a year now. All that shady, pro-Russia behavior would be explained fully if it turned out that any of the money from Blavatnik came from his partnership with Deripaska — not only has the oligarch been under sanctions for some time, but the fact is that if any funds came from RusAl profits, which is a company based in Russia, it would be a felony campaign finance violation.
You can’t take money from Russia, and Mitch is about to find that out.
Featured image via screen capture