Several top Republicans have been exposed for accepting huge donations from one of the world’s richest men, Leonid “Len” Blavatnik. Mr. Blavatnik is a Ukrainian-born businessman who nows owns the Warner Music Group and his portfolio is quite varied. But it was the sale of Rosneft, which was the largest government controlled oil company in the world that landed Len at the top of the oligarch pile. The Russian oil company was cited in the infamous Russian “pee tape” dossier.
A report by the Democratic Coalition says political action committees for Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and John Kasich and John McCain accepted $7.35 million in contributions from Blavatnik. Not only is Len himself closely tied with Putin but he remains close with many oligarchs close to Putin, particularly Oleg Deripaska. Bill Browder’s recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee classified the Russian ruling class a “kleptocracy” — a murderous one.
Per OpenSecrets, Mitch McConnell was the top recipient of Blavatnik’s donations, receiving $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.
Are there any Republicans who won’t eventually find themselves on the periphery of the Russia investigation? The more they try to dismiss the investigation as unimportant or a hindrance to “real issues,” the worse they look.
It’s a good time to remember that leaked McCarthy tape, exposed by Washington Post back in May, in which Kevin McCarthy says in June 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” There was laughter and then House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.” Ryan’s story evolved from it never happened/totally fake news/totally fake tape to admitting the tape was real but assuring the Washington Post it McCarthy was only joking.
Paul Ryan is almost as good at forgetting things happened, decrying reportage as fake, and finally “evolving” memories as Donald Trump Jr.