McConnell has earned his nickname
The Washington Post
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell really doesn’t like being called “Moscow Mitch,” said Dana Milbank. In a fiery speech on the Senate floor last week, the Kentucky Republican defended his blocking of House-passed bills to fortify the nation’s defenders against Russian election interference and insisted that he has been standing up to the Kremlin “for decades.” While it’s true that McConnell used to be a Russia hawk, for some reason that’s changed. Last year, McConnell fended off a bipartisan congressional effort to reinstate sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin. Three months later, Russian aluminum giant Rusal, which Deripaska controls, announced it would invest $200 million to build an aluminum plant in Kentucky. McConnell says his work to exempt Deripaska from sanctions was “completely unrelated” to the decision on the aluminum plant. Sure. Now former McConnell staffers who maintain close ties to the senator have signed on to work as lobbyists for the project, which is seeking $1 billion from the federal government in low-cost financing. If McConnell doesn’t want to be called “Moscow Mitch,” he should stop cutting corrupt deals with oligarchs—and blocking legislation “to protect democratic elections” from Moscow.