It's not just Trump: GOP senator asks Putin to interfere in US politics

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Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said the Russian strongman should release 'dirt' on the Biden family 'if in fact he has it.'

A North Dakota Republican senator on Wednesday joined former President Donald Trump in calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release "dirt" on President Joe Biden in an effort to hurt his presidency.

In an interview that aired this week with Just the News, a right-wing website founded by Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist John Solomon, Trump made groundless accusations that Russians had given money to the Biden family and said, "How is it that the mayor of Moscow, his wife gave the Biden family three and a half million dollars? I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer. I'm sure he knows."

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) was asked by a reporter what he thought about Trump's call on Putin "to reveal dirt on the Bidens."

"I don't know if he has dirt on Biden. If he does he should reveal it," Cramer said. "But he is a war criminal so I don't expect that he's right now sitting around thinking about ways that he can reveal other information if in fact he has it. I don't know of any that he has, so I don't know what the president might be talking about." Pressed on whether Putin should reveal information, Cramer answered:

Well, I think that anybody that has information about crimes that have been committed — all the rest of us would obviously reveal that. Criminals don't generally do that. In other words, I think it's perhaps amusing to you that he requested it. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it, if in fact it exists at all, which I'm not sure it does. ... The appropriateness of things that Trump asks for is more amusing to you than it is to me.

Other Republicans, asked about the appropriateness of Trump's request, said they wouldn't have done what Trump did.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who often defends even Trump's worst impulses — said, "That would not be something that I would do" when asked if he thought Trump's comment was appropriate.

"My message to Putin is that he needs to go," Graham added.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) also chastised Trump for asking for Putin's help.

"No former President should ever ask an evil man like Putin for a favor… like Trump did just yesterday," Kinzinger tweeted on Wednesday. "This is absolutely undermining the national security of this country and should be disqualifying for any re-election. @GOPLeader must address this, as must every Republican."

This is not the first time Trump has asked for Putin's help against his opponents and perceived enemies.

Trump asked Putin to interfere in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, saying at a July 2016 press conference "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." According to an indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2018, Russia attempted to hack email accounts tied to both Clinton's personal account and and her campaign "on or around" that same day.

He did it again this week, asking Putin to release information he might have about Biden's son Hunter. Right-wing media and Republican lawmakers are trying to make a scandal out of the contents of a laptop owned by Hunter Biden, signaling that this will become a new investigation target if the GOP wins control of Congress in the midterms, possibly similar to their probe of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi and Clinton's email server. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) admitted at the time that the Benghazi probe was meant to harm Clinton's future political ambitions.

Meanwhile, Putin's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has led to more than 1,100 civilian deaths and a huge humanitarian crisis as more than 4 million people have fled the country. The Senate passed a unanimous resolution on March 15 condemning Putin as a war criminal.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.