How deep does the Russia collusion go? To McConnell?
On this Mueller collusion report day, it's worth remembering the lengths to which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to cover up what he knew before the election. The Russians were working to elect Donald Trump, and American intelligence agencies knew it. They told McConnell that. He threatened them with all-out political warfare if they tried to make that information public.
In the report, Mueller details Paul Manafort, then Trump campaign manager, instructing his deputy Rick Gates to get internal polling information from battleground states to Oleg Deripaska, the oligarch and friend of Putin, through go-between Konstantin Kilimnik. "Manafort expected Kilimnik to share that information with others in Ukraine and with Deripaska," Mueller found. And Gates did it.
So what does this have to do with McConnell? Good question. Fast forward to January of this year, when Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer forced a vote in the Senate on Trump's Treasury Department's decision to lift sanctions on companies linked to—you got it—Oleg Deripaska. One of those companies is aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal. The vote failed, with McConnell voting no.
Fast forward again to this week, and this: "Russian aluminum giant Rusal spent most of last year under US sanctions. Now it's pumping $200 million into a new project in Kentucky." Home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. What a shock, huh? By the way, Rusal is co-owned by Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard (Len) Blavatnik, who donated $2.5 million to McConnell's GOP Senate Leadership Fund through two of his holding companies during the 2016 campaign and a further $1 million in 2017.
Meanwhile, McConnell launched his re-election campaign Thursday morning, conveniently just as Attorney General William Barr was frantically trying to spin the upcoming disaster of the Mueller report release away. The cornerstone of his announcement was that he's introducing legislation to raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21. As of now, Kentucky reporter Joe Sonka has tweeted that McConnell hasn't been asked about the report and the new big investment from Russia in his state.