Russia is taking over. Pay attention.
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, railing against Russia’s influence over Donald Trump’s administration when, as The New York Times reports, she was cut off of C-SPAN television. In place of her well-considered speech was a broadcast of Russia Today, the Russian government-owned propaganda outlet.
Ms. Waters was in the middle of this sentence:
“At this time, with a bill that would basically take our cop on the block, the S.E.C., and literally obliterate ——”
Then, Russia Today.
CSPAN chalked up the incident to a technical glitch and issued a statement claiming that RT is one of the networks they regularly monitor. Unfortunately, perception in the case of media is always reality. A U.S. congress persons anti-Russian speech was interrupted with a broadcast of Russian propaganda? Huh?
Ties between Mr. Trump’s administration and the Russian government are growing like knots in an iPhone cord of late. Analysts described Rex Tillerson, the president’s nominee for secretary of state, as Trump’s “gift for the Kremlin,” in an ABC News piece.
Tillerson loved Russia during his tenure as CEO at Exxon Mobile, which has significant business entanglements with the oil-exporting nation. He was veraciously outspoken on economic sanctions leveled against Russia after it invaded part of Ukraine.
Then there is the intelligence report leaked to CNN yesterday, which, among other things, claims that the Russian FSB could be blackmailing Mr. Trump with a video recorded in a Moscow hotel room. Trump hired some hookers and instructed them to pee on the bed where he and — among others — President Barack Obama slept, according to excerpts from the report.
Reminder, everyone. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, is not a nice man. Opponents who question him disappear from the face of the earth. Their bodies wind up with bullet holes on streets near the Kremlin. There is no substantive investigation. When a Malaysian Airlines 777 jet carrying 280 innocent civilian passengers was shot down with a Russian missile, he attempted to discredit the international investigation into who was responsible and has refused any type of international prosecution.
Regardless of whether the Russia Today incident was, as CSPAN states, an accident, or something more devious, should not mitigate our awareness of Putin’s influence. He is, after all, Fortune’s most powerful man in the world, three years running. Our new president isn’t anywhere near that spot on the list.