The Daily Beast reveals that Putin has exercised control over Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in order to push a propaganda film directed against William Browder, the American businessman and Putin opponent whose efforts gave us the Magnitsky Act, which places sanctions on Russian oligarchs.
I've not seen the film. Judging from the descriptions, it argues that Magnitsky was an evil SOB who deserved
to be murdered in custody.
Members of the team of Russians who secured a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner also attempted to stage a show trial of anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder on Capitol Hill.
The trial, which would have come in the form of a congressional hearing, was scheduled for mid-June 2016 by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a long-standing Russia ally who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe. During the hearing, Rohrabacher had planned to confront Browder with a feature-length pro-Kremlin propaganda movie that viciously attacks him—as well as at least two witnesses linked to the Russian authorities, including lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Ultimately, the hearing was canceled when senior Republicans intervened and agreed to allow a hearing on Russia at the full committee level with a Moscow-sympathetic witness, according to multiple congressional aides.
Good Lord. Back in the day, did any American congressman show this level of fealty to Stalin?
Savor the irony: Heretofore, most Americans were unaware of William Browder. There are many interviews of the man available on YouTube, but the views number in the thousands, not the tens of thousands. Those interviews have gained much more exposure in recent days; I've certainly done my
part to get the word out.
In America, until recently, Browder was still a fairly obscure figure as far as the general public was concerned, though the name was certainly well-known to the cogniscenti. Putin is inadvertently transforming the man into an American hero.
Putin doesn't know us very well, does he? Traditionally, Russians have always favored a heavy-handed approach to propaganda. That approach works elsewhere, and it also works here -- but only up to a certain point. Past that point, a backlash reaction sets in.
As for Rohrabacher, "Putin's favorite congressman": I don't think he's going to hold onto his seat for much longer
. He hails from a pro-Hillary district, winning re-election through name recognition and voter laziness. But Orange County is no longer a conservative bastion -- and few there have any reason to feel love for Vladimir Putin.
We all know about that Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan were recorded "joking" that Rohrabacher takes money from Putin. The transcript does not convey the impression that the two men were being comic.