Wednesday, February 28, 2024

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson unlawffuly received campaign cash from a Russian oligarch with ties to Putin, making the GOP look like an arm of the Kremlin

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has unlawfully received funds from a Russian oligarch with ties to dictator Vladimir Putin. Is this more evidence that the Republican Party has become an arm of the Kremlin? Mary L. Trump, Donald's niece and one of his most outspoken critics, suggests in an article at Substcack that the answer is yes. Mary Trump, a psychologist, author, and insightful political observer, puts on her journalist's hat to help break a major story under the headline "Speaker of the House Mike Johnson received illegal money from at least one Russian oligarch. There could be more." Mary Trump writes under the secondary headline "Campaign Contributions Have Ties to Russia":

The new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson received illegal money from at least one Russian oligarch.

There could be more.

As Mike Johnson settles in his role as the mysterious Christo-Fascist second-in-line to the presidency, questions have arisen about possible entanglements with the Kremlin.

As always, we have to follow the money.

In a piece that reads like a spy novel, Newsweek’s Ewan Palmer highlights a scheme that somehow failed to grab the attention of the corporate media. It’s a sordid tale about a group of Russian nationals who circumvented U.S. political fundraising laws in order to deliver campaign contributions to a slate of MAGA-entrenched Congressmen:

One of whom is—you guessed it, Mike “America is not a democracy, it’s a Biblical republic” Johnson.

The financial ties between Johnson and Konstantin Niolaev go right up to the Kremlin's doorstep, Mary Trump reports:

In 2018, Johnson received campaign contributions from “American Ethane,” a company that was 88 percent owned by three Russian nationals: Konstantin Nikolaev, Mikhail Yuriev, and Andrey Kunatbaev.

Johnson received at least three checks, each for $6,100, from the company. Why does that matter? At least one of the Russian owners, oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev, has deep ties to Putin—and even funded Russian national Maria Butina, who was deported back to Russia after spending 15 months in U.S. penitentiaries for acting as a Russian foreign agent, developing close ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), after cozying up to Republicans in order to shape U.S. policy.

As we reported in an April 2018 post here at Legal Schnauzer, former Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions (also a former AG and U.S. senator for Alabama) was firmly in the loop on early efforts to build links between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign by taking advantage of Butina's NRA ties. The goal was to form a "back channel" between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The Johnson campaign has tried to dance around the Russian-money story for several years, but their explanations appear to make little difference under U.S. law, Mary Trump writes:

Johnson’s campaign claims they returned the money after the situation first came out.

But would Johnson have kept the money if his accepting the contribution hadn’t been exposed in the first place?

Of course, as Palmer notes, its “against federal law for a campaign to knowingly accept donations from a foreign-owned corporation, a foreign national, or any company owned or controlled by foreign nationals.”

The FCC can take strict action once a situation like this presents itself.

But the FCC, for some reason, did not act strictly with Nikolaev, Mary Trump reports:

In 2018, American Ethane was fined just $9,500 in civil penalties for donating to GOP candidates.

Why does it matter if Johnson has Russian ties?

As Speaker of the House, Johnson faces one of the largest foreign policy decisions of the last decade: Will the United States continue funding Ukraine’s efforts against the illegal Russian invasion of their country?

That’s when things get even more interesting:

Mike Johnson says he will get a Ukraine aid package to the floor. He SAYS he supports its passage.

His ACTIONS tell a different story.

The organization, “Republicans for Ukraine,” who track Republican votes on the Russia-Ukraine war, gave Mike Johnson an “F” grade for his support to Ukraine’s efforts.

They note that Mike Johnson:

  • Voted against the 2022 Ukraine Supplemental Appropriation

  • Voted in favor of Amendment 21 to H.R. 2670, the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have stricken $300 million of assistance for Ukraine.

  • Voted in favor of Amendment 22 to H.R. 2670, the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have prohibited all security assistance for Ukraine.

  • Voted in favor of Amendment 25 to H.R. 2670, the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have removed the extension of lend-lease authority to Ukraine.

  • Voted against H.R. 5692: Ukraine Security Assistance and Oversight Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023.

What happens next? Mary Trump provides insights:

Despite the fact that Mike Johnson now holds a place of enormous power in the American government, he remains an elusive character whose perverted notions of American democracy and religious fanaticism still aren’t completely understood.

That’s partially because he ran unopposed in his first election, has served fewer than eight years in Congress, had no leadership experience, and never once chaired a committee, all of which makes his remarkably quick—and essentially unvetted— ascension to the speakership even more disconcerting.

As the mysterious speaker of the House fails to walk the walk when it comes to supporting Ukraine, he casts doubt on the integrity of his attitude toward Putin’s Russia and casts yet another shadow over the halls of power.

Once again, we’re left wondering about a possible web of influence that raises unsettling questions regarding the allegiance of key figures within the center of our country’s government and many of the Republicans who are running it.

One thing is certain: Our eyes are open. And we’re watching.

Mary Trump concludes her Substack piece with a personal message:

Thank you for reading this far!
I am going to be very real for a moment. I paid a high cost by calling out my family’s corruption. But I cannot stand by and watch Donald destroy our democracy.

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