Putin’s Beasts of Burden

Throughout the past four years it has been difficult to understand the reason behind White House decisions, particularly when it was hard to see a direct profit for Trump or his friends or family.

However, one consistent factor in those decisions was the benefit for Russia and/or Vladimir Putin. From the Helsinki summit through ignoring Russian bounties paid to the Taliban for killing American soldiers, Trump acted like the loyal Kremlin employee that the Mueller investigation showed him to be. Trump’s treason has not been a solo act, he is supported by the GOP. Republicans, having been bought by Russian money funneled through the NRA, willingly provided Russia a series of propaganda victories that Cold War Soviet spymasters never would have dared to dream of.

The most recent Russian propaganda win provided by Republicans was their disgraceful attempt to undermine democracy in the aftermath of the election. Putin, however, clearly knew what Trump and the Republicans would not acknowledge. Joe Biden won, so Russia extensively hacked U.S. government agencies and businesses in an attempt to gain some advantage once Biden takes charge and he can no longer rely on Trump.

Putin has been working on his bench of Republicans for a while, and on July 4, 2018, eight GOP lawmakers spent Independence Day in Moscow. At the time, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called them out on their visit, saying, “So, what do we call these Red Square Republicans? My interlocutors on Twitter suggest “Moscow Mules.” Or, given the position they put themselves in before our masters in Moscow, perhaps they should be called the Prostrate Eight: Sens. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Hoeven (N.D.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Thune (S.D.) and Ron Johnson (Wisc.), plus Rep. Kay Granger (Tex.).”

At around the same time as these mules were in Moscow, the story broke about Russia paying bounties to the Taliban for killing Americans in Afghanistan. To this day, Trump has never said a word about the report. For Trump, to acknowledge the story at all would implicate the Russians. However, reports of the hack of U.S. government agencies and businesses, last week is different. While we still do not know the full extent of the damage from the extensive infiltration, it is clear it was carried out by Russian intelligence services. Even Trump’s Secretary of State (Pompeo) and Attorney General (Barr) have said so. But Trump himself has fallen back to his old playbook. He blames China for the hack without any evidence.

Lack of evidence has become standard operating procedure for Trump at this point. As Trump contemplates using the military to overturn the election results in his favor, he is also working to make the U.S. a Russian client state. Before becoming a conduit for illegal Russian campaign donations to the GOP, the NRA was filled with people stockpiling weapons for the type of crisis Trump has brought on.

So, while you’re counting the hours until Inauguration Day and watching Republicans carrying water for Putin, I suggest having a Moscow Mule. Better to drink one than be one.

The Moscow Mule via Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh is:

Juice of half a lime

2 oz vodka

ginger beer

Squeeze lime juice into a Moscow Mule mug, drop spent lime shell into mug add ice cubes and vodka and fill with ginger beer.