Russia Using Top GOP Senators For 2020 Election Meddling

Senator Ron Johnson(R-WI) and Senator Chuck Grassley(R-IA)

A bombshell segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explored the fact that Russia (read Putin), is planning to meddle in the upcoming November 2020 elections in much the same way as it did in 2016–via a misinformation campaign. The only difference in the Russian misinformation campaign in 2020 however is that this time, instead of relying heavily on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Putin is using two top GOP Senators namely Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA), to facilitate the misinformation campaign.

You’ll remember reports by right wing media outlets which suggested that former vice president Joe Biden’s son used his father’s influence to profit from corrupt deals in Ukraine. President Trump seriously played up this supposed Biden-Ukraine scandal in the hopes of knee-capping Biden’s 2020 presidential run, a scheme that didn’t work. As it became evident that Biden was poised to become the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, Senator Ron Johnson, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley who heads the Senate Finance Committee, launched investigations into the Biden-Ukraine affair, investigations which many suspected were merely extensions of President Trump’s efforts to undermine Biden’s presidential campaign.

This week U.S. intelligence agencies, in addition to warning us of Russia’s attempt to meddle in our 2020 elections, specifically singled out Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian, as the point man in the misinformation campaign. The shocking part, according to Maddow, is that the same Andriy Derkach, is the one feeding Senators Johnson and Grassley with misinformation about the Bidens for their supposed Senate investigations. In essence, Putin is running his misinformation campaign through two top GOP Senators.

Maddow specifically said, “He [Andriy Derkach] is spreading these claims by providing those claims to…the Republican U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The same pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian named in today’s intelligence report also indicates to us that he is spreading these claims by providing them to..the Republican senior U.S. Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, who runs the Finance Committee in the U.S. Senate. This is remarkable, the guy who is named by U.S. intelligence in the specific public warning today about what Russia is doing to interfere in the 2020 elections to try to reelect Trump, the way he’s been doing his work for the Russian government to mess with our election, is by feeding material to a purported investigation of Joe Biden by Senator Ron Johnson on the Homeland Security Committee and Senator Chuck Grassley on the Finance Committee in the Senate.”

Also crucially important per Maddow, is the fact that these two GOP Senators are scheduled to release the findings of their “investigations” into the Bidens, sometime in mid-September, right before the November elections. This leaves absolutely no doubt that Senators Johnson and Grassley are knowingly using their powerful U.S. Senate positions to facilitate a Russian misinformation campaign aimed at affecting the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. This is conduct quite unbecoming of U.S. Senators, and should result in their immediate resignation.

Bottom line folks, America is still coming to terms with the effects of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Congress has expended a lot of time and energy trying to figure out a way of preventing any future foreign meddling in our elections. Where, as here, top U.S. Senators are the ones responsible for facilitating such foreign meddling in our elections, the only solution is for them to resign from the U.S. Senate. Simply put, Americans have a right to free and fair elections, and any U.S. Senator working to deny them of such a right, does not belong in the U.S. Senate.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Mnuchin Grilled Over Trump’s Tax Returns Double Standard

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was grilled by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) about the apparent double standard stemming from his department’s decision to deny a request for President Trump’s tax returns from House Democrats while at the same time gladly handing over financial records related to Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans.

Sec Mnuchin’s explanation, a plausible one, was that the request for Trump’s tax returns was governed by a different provision from the one governing records request related to Hunter Biden. According to Sec Mnuchin, the records request related to Hunter Biden was a SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) request which he said Treasury has already released for over 1,000 individuals following requests by both Republican and Democratic committee chairs.

Specifically, Sec Mnuchin said, “The House disclosure of tax returns is subject to protections of 26 U.S.C. 6103 which on the advise of counsel as we documented, we had significant concerns. That’s very different than I believe what you[Sen Wyden] are referring to–SARS requests, which on a bipartisan basis we have responded to thousands ofSARS requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats on an equal basis.”

The question for House Democrats going forward is whether they can pin Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to this SARS rationale and get Treasury to release suspicious activity reports related to the Trump family from the myriad banking institutions they have been involved with, especially Deutsche Bank. This might prove particularly interesting given the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s daughter Mary Daly currently works at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FINCEN), which presumably handles suspicious activity reports from the various banking institutions. Was Mary Daly installed at FINCEN for a reason? Hmm

Bottom line folks, getting Trump’s tax returns remains a very high priority for the majority of the American public. However, there are other financial records related to Trump and his family that House Democrats could pry loose using Sec Mnuchin’s SARS rationale, especially records related to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. Hopefully House Democrats will seize on this great opportunity Sec Mnuchin has unwittingly presented them with.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Mueller Warns That Russia Still Interfering With U.S. Elections

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

In a troubling Bloomberg piece, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller  says the same Russians who interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections are busy trying to interfere with the upcoming midterms 2018. TeamMueller reportedly made this argument in a court filing trying to get a protective order on certain evidence they’ve collected related to TrumpRussia investigation. The lawyers for one of the companies Mueller has indicted in the TrumpRussia investigation, Concord Management, has requested the judge to release the evidence Mueller has against their client–a standard/routine criminal defense procedure


Team Mueller is arguing that releasing such evidence while TrumpRussia investigation is still ongoing will not only weaken their investigation into other players, but could also give Russian intelligence agencies an advantage which they can use to attack midterms 2018 and beyond. Whether TeamMueller’s legal arguments will prevail  in court remains to be seen but the important takeaway for Democrats/DNC is that Mueller’s worries are yet another reminder to Dems not to be complacent over election security issues. Grassroots Democrats, including Yours Truly have been screaming for stronger action by Dems on election security issues, especially as it relates to unverifiable voting machines

There are encouraging signs that Congressional Dems are beginning to listen to the election security cries of grassroots Dems as evidenced by the recent introduction of “PAVE”(Protecting American Votes & Elections) Act by Dem Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass

While this is clearly very encouraging news, Dems must not stop there. Dems must not only scrutinize voting machines but also look deeper into this so-called “Trump phenomenon” where Trump supposedly favors an underdog candidate in a GOP Primary and all of a sudden they become the favorite, as was the case in South Carolina with Rep Mark Sanford’s loss. Think about that folks–if the fear is that Russians interfered in 2016 and they are still interfering today, why is it such a giant leap of faith to assume that the so-called “Trump Phenomenon” is not a phenomenon at all? Are these primary wins verifiable? If not, will the 2018 midterm results be verifiable–auditable paper trail? These are the type of questions Democrats/DNC need to start asking and asking forcefully as we approach midterms 2018 and beyond. It is not a crime to pester the GOP Secretaries of State with these kinds of questions 

Grassroots Democrats are extremely excited about Dem chances in midterms 2018. It will be sad if after all that we end up with very questionable election results which nobody can verify all because the election security/voting machine questions that needed to be asked were never asked by the right people–Democratic Party establishment/DNC/Media–especially where, as here, grassroots Dems have been screaming about voting machine security all along.

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