Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell single handedly blocked election security legislation that would have made it harder for Russia to interfere with the 2020 U.S. elections. This led to his new nickname “Moscow Mitch” and to widespread accusations that he’s some kind of Kremlin agent. This led McConnell to give a defensive and rattled speech in response. Now we’re learning why McConnell was so rattled.
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska – who previously had close financial ties to Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort – decided earlier this year to build an aluminum mill in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. It’s long been obvious that this mill had something to do with McConnell’s eagerness to ease Russian sanctions, and his unwillingness to to enact election security against Russia. It’s just never been clear how the aluminum mill was specifically connected to McConnell – until now.
Two of Mitch McConnell’s staffers quit working for him, only to become lobbyists who took on the Russian aluminum mill as a client, and turned around and lobbied McConnell’s office to make it happen. This is according to a bombshell new report from Politico. This makes clear that McConnell protecting Russia legislatively, and Kentucky landing the mill, weren’t mere happenstance; people in McConnell’s Senate office orbit made the Russian mill happen.
This kind of lobbying alone isn’t necessarily illegal on its own. But it exposes the specific link between Mitch McConnell’s legislative fondness for the Kremlin, the Russian oligarch, and the Kentucky aluminum mill. Now that this has been illuminated, it should be possible to dig into what all was really going on here. The “Moscow Mitch” scandal is just getting started.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report