Republican lawmakers excused Donald Trump's courting of the Russian president for over four years.
President Joe Biden's decision to accommodate a request from Germany and waive sanctions against a company building a pipeline from Russia to Germany has Republican lawmakers mad. After years of defending Donald Trump against accusations of collusion with President Vladimir Putin and Russia in the 2016 election and afterwards, some are now accusing Biden of being in the Putin's pocket.
According to an Axios report on Tuesday, the Biden administration deemed that Nord Stream 2 AG, the consortium wholly owned by Russian state energy giant Gazprom that has already completed 95% of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and its CEO, former East German intelligence officer and Putin associate Matthias Warnig, have engaged in actions that merit sanctions, but will hold off on applying those sanctions in accordance with U.S. national interests.
The administration determined that applying the sanctions now would most hurt Germany, and sources told Axios that this approach will give the United States leverage to implement the sanctions at any time in the future.
Republicans were quick to accuse Biden of acting on Putin's behalf and worse.
"A week after Russian hackers shut down a U.S. pipeline, President Biden lifted sanctions on a Russian pipeline," Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana tweeted on Tuesday. "What does Vladimir Putin have on President Biden??"
"So Biden is about to waive sanctions to clear the way for the NordStream 2 Pipeline, which will make Russia very rich and bring them jobs, BUT he killed the Keystone Pipeline which would give Americans jobs," wrote Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. "That's something a Russian asset would do."
"One of our pipelines was hacked less than two weeks ago by a company in Russia, and now we are lifting sanctions on Putin's pipeline?" asked Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson. "Can you imagine the feeding frenzy that would be infecting the cable news networks if the previous president did this?"
"Biden's weak on Russia, tough on America," said Montana Sen. Steve Daines.
"President Biden is caving to Vladimir Putin," tweeted Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
"Objectively speaking, the Biden administration is shaping up to be the most pro-Russia administration of the modern era," claimed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"This is one of the most pro-Russia, anti-American actions his Administration could take," said Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said that Biden was "essentially giving Putin a free pass to weaponize global energy security and continue malign acts. It's a pro-Kremlin posture."
Although the Republican accusations against Biden include Putin, the federal government has thus far found no evidence of Russian government involvement in the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline.
But the GOP's sudden concern about having a tough-on-Putin president does not match its behavior over the past five years.
Donald Trump publicly sought help from Putin's regime in his campaign for the presidency. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," he said at a July 27, 2016, press conference.
"On or about July 27, 2016," according to special counsel Robert Mueller's July 2018 indictment of 12 Russian officers on charges of hacking, they targeted Hillary Clinton's email accounts, then gave stolen Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks, which published them to undermine Clinton's candidacy.
This was after a Russian official contacted the Trump campaign that June offering dirt on Clinton. Rather than report the approach to the FBI, high-ranking campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., arranged to meet with the official at Trump Tower days later.
In July 2019, Mueller told Congress that Russia believed it would benefit from Trump winning, confirming a 2017 conclusion reached by every major U.S. intelligence agency.
In February 2017, asked by Fox News why he respected Putin despite him being a known "killer," Trump answered, "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?"
GOP lawmakers defended Trump and attacked Mueller's investigation.
"@SpeakerPelosi yelled about the Trump-Russia hoax for 4 years," Banks complained in December 2020.
Boebert called it "the fake Russia hoax."
Banks said in October, "Luckily, just like HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton's] campaign, their witch-hunt failed."
Cruz said in May 2020 that the Russia investigation "wasted the country's time for 2 years."
In March, the National Intelligence Council reported that Russia conducted operations to help Trump in his unsuccessful 2020 race.
The report said that Putin approved "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the U.S."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.