Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

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Is Tulsi Gabbard The Trump Candidate?

The question as to whether Dem Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is a “spoiler” has been around ever since she announced her bid for the U.S. Presidency. Some in the mainstream media have even accused her of being a Russian plant out there to forment chaos in the Democratic Presidential nomination thereby handing Trump an easy win. Tulsi’s camp has of course vociferously denied these allegations

When news came out after the first Democratic Presidential debate that Tulsi was the most Google-searched candidate, rumors flared up again with some claiming that Russian troll bots were the ones engineering those searches. Google even temporarily shut down Tulsi’s advertising campaign during these wild searches which the tech giant characterized as “suspicious”. Team Tulsi countered Google’s action with a massive $50 million dollar lawsuit accusing the tech giant of among other things, violations of her free speech rights. The lawsuit is still pending in federal court.

The “Tulsi is a Russian plant” controversy however officially blew up yesterday during the second Democratic Presidential debate in Detroit where she eviscerated one of the leading and beloved Dem Presidential candidates Kamala Harris over her record as a California prosecutor.

The issue that got most people’s attention is not the fact that Tulsi eviscerated Senator Kamala Harris, but the manner in which Fox News and it’s most valued customer President Trump, amplified the attacks. This to many “Tulsi is a Russian plant” enthusiasts was the “a-ha” moment they’d been waiting for. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, just look at mainstream media’s S.E. Cupp‘s Tweet which says it all. So Team Tulsi before you start gunning for Yours Truly, a near certainty at this juncture, maybe you should go after mainstream media’s S.E. Cupp first.

Bottom line in every election cycle there are always accusations of “spoiler” candidates–you’ll remember Jill Stein in 2016. Yours Truly is by no means saying Tulsi is the spoiler candidate in 2020. All Yours Truly is pointing out is that this “Tulsi is a Russian plant” narrative has been simmering amongst grassroots Democrats for a while now and it appears to have finally boiled to the surface after last night’s debate. Why is Trump’s favorite TV network Fox News so interested in and even cheering on Tulsi? Is Tulsi the Trump candidate? All these are questions that will only get louder as the Dem Presidential nomination contest progresses and as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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Did Mueller Get Trump’s Tax Returns? Dems Must Ask

As America gets ready for Robert S. Mueller’s public testimony before Congress slated for Wednesday 7/24/2019, there are questions as to whether House Democrats will manage to squeeze any more information from him than what he has already provided in his 400 page report. Mueller has previously stated his objection to testifying before Congress pointing to his detailed 400 page report as his testimony. Concerns about him not being very forthcoming during his congressional testimony are therefore well placed.

There is one question however that House Democrats must ask Mueller when he testifies before them and that is whether or not he got Trump’s tax returns. If not, why didn’t he? Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) posed this question to Attorney General Barr during his confirmation hearing but Barr refused to answer telling Sen Klobuchar to ask Mueller instead.

Well, it turns out Democrats now have a perfect opportunity to get an answer to Sen Klobuchar’s very important question as to Trump’s tax returns and one hopes they will deliver on it.

Bottom line, Trump’s tax returns have been a major topic of interest for many Americans and they continue to be today. More importantly, reasonable people will agree that anybody looking into whether Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections would have looked into his tax returns to see whether he had any financial ties with Russia or people closely tied to the Russian government. Muerller therefore has an obligation to disclose to Americans whether or not he obtained Trump’s tax returns during his TrumpRussia investigation and if not, explain why his team concluded that such information was not relevant. Equally important, House Democrats must also find out if TeamMueller did indeed seek Trump’s tax returns but their efforts were rebuffed by the Trump administration. This goes to the whole “we fully cooperated” argument that we have become accustomed to from the Trump administration. Simply put, Democrats must put to rest all questions/concerns related to Trump’s tax returns when Mueller shows up before them.

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Manafort Is Proof Of #YesCollusion

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe concluded, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have latched on to the “time to move on” mantra incorrectly suggesting that Mueller was hired to investigate TrumpRussia collusion and found no evidence of such collusion. This is a very clever argument, which Republicans have calculated will be widely accepted by their voting base. From a factual basis however, the argument that Mueller never found any evidence of collusion is as deceptive as it gets.

It is a well established fact that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had multiple contacts (while chairman), with Russians tied to the country’s military intelligence. It is also a well established fact that Manafort as Trump campaign chairman, shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with a Russian military intelligence aide(Konstantin Kilimnik). It is also a well established fact that Manafort fought tooth and nail to keep his communications with the said Russians away from Mueller’s team, even risking spending the rest of his life in prison to that end. In his recent press briefing, Robert Mueller concluded by saying this about Russian meddling, “There were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”

Any reasonable presented with these set of facts will inevitably arrive at the conclusion that Manafort’s obfuscation/refusal to fully cooperate was the reason Mueller failed to establish a clear cut TrumpRussia collusion case. In other words, Mueller had evidence of TrumpRussia collusion but without cooperation from Manafort, could not make an an iron-clad case. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did an excellent segment on this very topic.

Bottom line, there cannot be a conclusive determination as to whether Trump campaign colluded with Russians without getting to the bottom of Manafort’s well documented contacts with Russian military intelligence. What was the content of his communications with them? Why did he share polling data with a Russian with close ties to Russian military intelligence? What exactly was the polling data he shared with them? What discussions did Trump’s lawyers have with Manafort regarding his cooperation with Mueller? These and many more, are questions that must be posed to Mueller and Manafort if they ever testify before Congress. Preferably, the Manafort question should be a key aspect of Trump’s impeachment hearings because it would force Manafort, Trump and his lawyers to testify about this incident under oath. Simply put folks, #YesCollusion!!

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Austrian Video Reignites TrumpRussia Questions

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently veered into a story about Austrian politics that even by her own admission, appeared awkwardly off topic. However a few minutes into the Austria segment, it quickly became apparent as to how the story was 100% relevant to the current situation in American politics especially as it relates to the ongoing TrumpRussia controversy.

Maddow featured a bombshell video that is reportedly making rounds in Europe showing details of how the Kremlin helped install an ex-Nazi political party to power in Austria. The video which is apparently seven hours long, shows a meeting between an Austrian politician and a Russian woman, the niece of a Russian Oligarch, scheming on how the Kremlin will install the politician’s party(Freedom Party) to power in return for lucrative government construction/infrastructure contracts. In other words, the Russians help the Austrian get elected and once he is in office, he swings Austrian government contracts to companies run by the Russian Oligarch. The full Maddow segment is available here but relevant clip is below.

Maddow summed up the bombshell video thus; “The blonde lady who you see there whose face is pixellated, she is posing in this interaction as the niece of a Russian Oligarch who would like to support the Freedom Party. That’s who these Freedom Party guys think she is. She is visiting from Russia with a whole bunch of money to spend to help them out. In this video which stretches for seven hours, the Vice Chancellor of Austria, the guy in the front of the screen here, head of the Freedom Party….a group founded by ex-Nazis, who they[Russians] elevated to the number two person in that government, he chats with this young woman about what he wants from her uncle, what he wants from a Kremlin-connected Russian Oligarch to support his party and to support his political aspirations. He tells this woman that this Russian Oligarch should use Russian money to take control of the biggest tabloid newspaper in Austria, turn that tabloid into a mouthpiece for the Freedom Party, help them get elected. Once they get control of the government, the Russian Oligarch should then form a construction company and then this guy who would then be running the government would make sure that all the road building contracts, all the big infrastructure contracts in Austria would then go to the new construction company secretly set up for that purpose and run by the Russian Oligarch who spent all that money to get the ex-Nazi party in charge. So you pay for us to get in power, we will pay you. You infiltrate our country and our press on behalf of Russia. You install a Kremlin-friendly far right political party in Austria and once we are in there we will pay you back in cash with public contracts. Win win win!”

Millions of Americans followed closely Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into TrumpRussia. Any one of them presented with the details of this video of the Kremlin’s operation in Austria would immediately be struck by the shocking similarities this video has to the Russian influence in our 2016 elections. The first image that comes to mind when watching this Austrian video is the infamous Trump Tower meeting where Don Jr and other senior members of the Trump campaign met with now confessed Russian agent Maria Butina. Was a similar deal struck–help us get elected and we will pay you back with government contracts?

Fox News and The National Enquirer also come to mind. The Austrian politician is seen begging the Russians to buy an Austrian tabloid newspaper and turn it into his political party’s mouthpiece to help him get elected. Was Fox News, The National Enquirer, or both of them influenced by Russia to help Trump get elected in 2016? Are they still being influenced by Russia for Trump’s benefit as we head into 2020?

The proposed $200 million investment in Senator Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky by a formerly sanctioned Oligarch who was a key TrumpRussia suspect also comes to mind. Is Oligarch Deripaska getting “paid” by Mitch McConnell for helping Republicans win the White House in 2016? Remember Sen Mitch McConnell was one of the Senators who voted down efforts to keep sanctions on Derpaska’s businesses. If the U.S. Senate had left the sanctions intact, Deripaska’s company Rusal would not have been able to invest $200 million in Kentucky.

Maddow also points out the troubling role of Steve Bannon in Russia’s global quest for political dominance. Bannon who was part of the Trump campaign and helped craft Trump’s far right nativist, even xenophobic message, is apparently now based in Europe helping nativist political parties like the one featured in this Austrian video, gain political power in Europe. There is no question that Putin’s Russia is behind Bannon’s efforts in Europe, just like they were during our 2016 elections.

Bottom line folks, this Austrian video is yet another stark reminder that despite Trump’s constant dismissal of the TrumpRussia conspiracy as a hoax, the Russian global political operation is alive and well. Yours Truly sincerely hopes that this seven hour video depicting Russian election meddling in Austria will be carefully perused by the relevant U.S. law enforcement agencies as a blueprint of how Putin’s global election meddling scheme works. Importantly, U.S. law enforcement agencies should look at the implications of this Austrian story to our current political climate. Americans for example would like to know why a formerly sanction Russian Oligarch with deep ties to the Kremlin is all of a sudden making a significant investment in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Isn’t this exactly the kind of pay-for-play scheme we see in the Austrian story? This video should also be cause for further inquiry into the infamous Trump Tower meeting featuring Natalya Veselnitskaya. Lastly but not least, there should be more light shed on the troubling actions of Republican Party operative Steve Bannon who is seemingly helping Russia install nativist, xenophobic governments in Europe. Does that help or hurt the U.S.?

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Ivanka’s Lawyer Told Cohen To Lie About Her Role In Trump Tower Moscow

There was a bombshell revelation in MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show yesterday that Ivanka Trump’s lawyer Abbe Lowell directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Ivanka’s role in the Trump Tower Moscow project. You’ll remember that Ivanka’s role in Trump Tower Moscow project became a huge issue of concern among those who believed President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections. Intense media coverage around this issue led to Ivanka’s infamous remark that she knew “literally almost nothing” about the Trump Tower Moscow project. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Maddow said on last night’s show, “One of the allegations at issue here for which there is apparently some sort of documentary trail, is the allegation that lawyer Abbe Lowell specifically told Cohen that he should tell Congress Ivanka Trump had essentially no knowledge of Trump Tower Moscow. According to Michael Cohen that wasn’t true. According to Cohen, Ivanka Trump was regularly briefed on Trump Tower Moscow. Well, if as Cohen alleges, Abbe Lowell was involved in telling Michael Cohen to lie to Congress specifically about the involvement of Ivanka Trump in that scheme….that is sensitive on a lot of different levels.”

Maddow’s segment essentially raised questions as to why Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was prosecuted and is now serving prison time while the people who crafted the said lies that got him in legal trouble (attorneys Abbe Lowell, Jay Sekulow and others) got away scot-free. Maddow’s segment also raised legitimate questions as to why Trump’s eldest son Don Jr was never prosecuted even though there is enough evidence showing he engaged in the exact similar conduct as Cohen–lying to Congress. Even more troubling, as Maddow correctly pointed out, Don Jr has not just gotten away with clear cut felonies, he is also now dictating to Congressional committees the terms under which he will testify before them–a total travesty of justice.

Bottom line, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated in previous posts, we are facing a crisis of confidence in the U.S. justice system. Specifically, it is becoming quite evident that there is a separate and distinct system of justice that applies to the poor (especially minorities) and the one that applies to the rich (especially rich White people like Don Jr and Abbe Lowell). All reasonable people will agree that if Michael Cohen was prosecuted and is now serving prison time for lying to Congress, then lawyer Abbe Lowell and others who crafted the lie he presented to Congress should also be criminally prosecuted or face some kind of sanctions up to and including disbarment. Reasonable people will also agree that if Michael Cohen was prosecuted for lying to Congress as part of the TrumpRussia investigation, then Don Jr should also be prosecuted for committing the exact similar offense. Simply put folks, we either have equal justice under the law or we don’t.

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No Election Interference Discussion in Trump-Putin Call

There was a shocking revelation yesterday that in a Trump-Putin phone call that lasted more than an hour, President Trump never brought up the troubling issue of Russian election meddling, a key finding in the Mueller report. Specifically, the Mueller Report concluded that Russia in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” interfered with the 2016 elections. One of the most important roles of a U.S. President is that of Commander in Chief who is sworn to protect the country from all enemies, local and foreign. Given the recent troubling findings of the Mueller Report vis-a-vis Russia, Americans have a reasonable expectation that as Commander in Chief, Trump would adopt a tough stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Shockingly however, at a press briefing to discuss his phone call with President Putin, Trump expressed amusement at Putin’s mocking of the Mueller Report which by all reasonable standards is very shocking behavior by a sitting U.S. President.

President Trump was asked a point blank question, “Did you ask him [Putin] not to meddle in the next election?” to which he responded, “We didn’t discuss that.”

The Russian threat is well recognized both from our law enforcement officials and even members of Trump’s own Republican party. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 identified Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical foe. He repeated this assertion shortly after the release of the Mueller Report. A sitting U.S. President to totally ignoring the very real threat Russia poses to our democracy therefore constitutes a serious dereliction of his duties as Commander in Chief and should engender bipartisan outrage.

There are already enough reasons to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The fact that Trump is now seemingly leaving us open to a Russian cyber attack, one that could disrupt our electoral process, should be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it. Senator Elizabeth Warren appears to share the same sentiment

Bottom line, Democrats need to stand up and carry out their constitutional duty as to impeachment which incidentally, was a major reason for their election victory in 2018. If the current Democratic House leadership is not willing to follow through with the people’s demands then tough decisions have to be made, up to and including a change in the Democratic House leadership. People have to know exactly what Russia did in 2016 and at this point it appears only impeachment hearings could shed light on that. Simply put, Mueller failed America by being afraid to make a decision as to Trump’s obstruction of justice. The Democratic party leadership must not be allowed to fail Americans again by being afraid to carry out their constitutional duties as to impeachment of an unfit president, especially in a dire case like this where the unfit President also exhibits a callous disregard for a serious national security issue.

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Hillary Clinton’s Dire Russia Warning For 2020

In an interesting segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, 2016 Dem presidential candidate Hillary Clinton issued a dire warning for Democrats as they head into 2020—all your policy proposals mean nothing unless you get to the bottom of the Russia problem. In essence, Clinton warned Democrats that the level of Russian election interference may have become so sophisticated that in 2020 they may actually be able to alter election results.

https://youtu.be/i1DAH4qS5wo

Specifically, Clinton said, “I’ve met with the candidates[Democrats] who are running this time, and answered their questions. I always tell them you can run the best campaign, you can be the person who gets the nomination, but unless we know how to protect our election from what happened before and what could happen again because there is greater sophistication about it, you could lose. And I don’t mean it to scare anybody, but I do want every candidate to understand that this remains a threat.” Maddow then interjected, “that they[Democrats] could lose at the hands of a foreign power, not that they could lose fair and square” to which Clinton responded, “That’s right.”

Bottom line, the argument that Democrats should worry more about the Russian threat to our elections is a common refrain from election integrity activists chief among them, the venerable Jennifer Cohn. Yours Truly has repeatedly lamented the lack of mainstream media coverage of the efforts by Jennifer Cohn and others. Now that a Dem heavyweight Hillary Clinton is raising similar concerns, hopefully the DNC and the mainstream media will take this issue seriously. Simply put, Russia altering our election results is not(never has been) a conspiracy theory.

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Manafort Is Proof Trump’s Campaign Colluded With Russia

A spectacular segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show drawing from the Mueller report shows how the activities of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort leave absolutely no doubt that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in 2016. Maddow’s straightforward argument is that a decade before Manafort joined the Trump campaign, he was already being paid to install Kremlin-friendly leaders worldwide. Therefore the fact that the same Manafort who was being paid to install Kremlin-friendly leaders somehow ended up as Trump’s campaign manager should leave no doubt in any objective person’s mind that the Kremlin had a vested interest in Trump being elected president and more importantly, that they(Kremlin) actively worked to achieve that goal(colluded with TeamTrump). The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below

Specifically, Maddow said, “Manafort’s job for more than a decade before he started working for Trump was that he installed friendly political officials in office on behalf of a Kremlin-connected Oligarch. The Oligarch paid him to install people in high office in foreign countries for the convenience of the Kremlin. That was Donald Trump’s campaign chair…..Manafort did repeatedly send detailed internal polling data from the Trump campaign to a Russian guy[Kilimnik] who it was understood would then send that information to the Kremlin connected Oligarch[Deripaska]. He repeatedly provided internal polling data to that Russian guy.” Maddow added that in August 2016 Manafort also provided Kilimnik with Trump campaign plans to win the battleground states which he identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Also very noteworthy is that according to the Mueller report, Manafort communicated with the Russians using highly encrypted communications that Mueller’s team was unable to recover. Manafort has fought tooth and nail to keep such communications hidden, even risking death in prison if that is what it would take. What Manafort did with the Russians in aid of the Trump campaign remains an open question meaning even with the release of the Mueller report, the collusion question is not yet resolved.

Bottom line there is no way any reasonable person looking at the Manafort episode can conclude that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Think about that folks, the Kremlin settled on Trump as the U.S President who would best help them advance their interests. The guy(Manafort) the Kremlin had been paying to install Kremlin-friendly leaders worldwide ended up as Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with Kremlin operatives and has fought tooth and nail, even risking death in prison,to hide his communications with Kremlin operatives while he was Trump campaign chair. Simply put folks, unless and until there is enough sunlight shed on the Manafort-Kremlin contacts especially as relates to the sharing of internal polling data, any reasonable person would conclude at this juncture that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin in 2016 and that Manafort was a key player in such collusion.

Also as a side note, it has been widely reported that it is Manafort who brought Mike Pence into the Trump campaign. Now would be the perfect time to find out whether VP Pence was brought in at the request of the Kremlin.

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GOP Lawmakers Who Spent July 4 In Moscow

GOP Lawmakers at a meeting in Moscow on July 4th weekend(2018)

You will remember that eight Republican lawmakers spent the July 4 (2018) weekend in Moscow. The story was met with outrage back in the U.S. as was very well stated in this July 5, 2018 WaPo piece, by Karoun Demirjian.

The most troubling aspect of this July 4 visit was that while the GOP lawmakers were in Moscow, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report concluding that Russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections to help then GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Even more troubling, according to Demirjian’s piece, the Russians were mocking the GOP Legislators on Russia’s state TV, with one military expert Igor Korotchenko reportedly saying, “We need to look down at them[GOP lawmakers] and say: You came because you needed to, not because we did.”Simply put, this July 4 Moscow visit was a total embarrassment to the U.S. and the Russians knew it too

This was a very important story but for some reason Yours Truly never made the now customary HANDY LIST to “name and shame” the GOP lawmakers involved. Here is a belated HANDY LIST of the shameful GOP Lawmakers who saw it fit to spend the 2018 Independence Day weekend in Moscow, palling around with Kremlin-tied politicians even as the Senate was releasing a report back in the U.S. that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections.

Bottom line given all the smoke surrounding TeamTrump’s ties to Russia, ongoing questions about Russia’s continuing influence on the Trump White House, and the ongoing threat Russia poses to our election infrastructure, the mainstream media and House Democrats owe the public a duty to investigate exactly why these Republican lawmakers saw it fit to visit Moscow on Independence Day weekend despite news reports that Russia was planning to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections.

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