‘Never Trump’ PAC co-founder had ties to Russia, was registered foreign agent
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
An anti-Trump political action committee (PAC) that is running ads accusing the president of being an agent of Russia and Vladimir Putin was itself co-founded by a registered foreign agent for a Russian state-owned company that was founded by Vladimir Putin.
The first line of the Lincoln Project’s mission statement reads, “Defeat President Trump and Trumpism.” It lists several Republican operatives as co-founders, including John Weaver whose name and company turned up on a 2019 Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act report showing at least $350 thousand dollars in payments for 2019 from Russian state-owned company ROSATOM. Weaver received the Russian payments the same year that the Lincoln Project was founded. Neither Weaver nor the Lincoln Project responded to requests for comment.
According to reporting by Washington Examiner, Weaver “dropped off his contract with Russia-owned nuclear energy company Tenam Corporation” in 2019.
Weaver originally tried to defend himself over the Russia contract, writing he became convinced after he “learned a stable market is in line with US national security interests, keeps supplies stable for American energy producers and keeps nuclear proliferation at bay.” And Weaver claimed that “adding uncertainty to the uranium market would make this globe even more dangerous.”
But on Thursday, Weaver went the other direction, with his lawyers informing Tenam the deal was off.
The Lincoln Project PAC, formed in December of 2019 by so-called “never Trump” Republicans and funded by Democrats, has produced dozens of harsh and hyperbolic anti-Trump video ads that rely less on fact and more on Democrat caricatures of the president. One ad was a fake endorsement for Trump’s reelection from Vladimir Putin:
“Our special services worked overtime to elect Comrade Trump. We waged a war against the so-called ‘truth,’ and convinced you decadent Americans to believe in our comrade,” the mock video says.
The revelation that one of the founders of the Lincoln Project is a registered agent for Russia sheds new light on possible motives for attacking the president. Democrats have maintained since before the 2016 election that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton but historical data, as well as new evidence, indicates that officials close to the Kremlin actually provided disinformation about Trump to the Clinton campaign.
The justice department report was filed by The Network Companies LLC and Weaver, who is listed as the “senior partner.” The report states that the “sole shareholder of ROSATOM is the Russian government.”
According to Politifact.com, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, ROSATOM bought Uranium One, a company that has “mines, mills and land in U.S. states equal to about 20% of the American uranium production capacity.” The foreign purchase of a U.S. uranium producer required approval of a Department of Treasury board on which Clinton sat and was the most powerful official making the decision to allow the sale.
Multiple news reports at the time showed suspect donations from Russian oligarchs to the Clinton Foundation, and Russia paid former President Bill Clinton at least one million dollars for two speeches he made in Russia.
While it is rarely included in discussions of Trump-Russia collusion, throughout the eight years of the Obama Administration Republicans were highly critical of accommodations both Obama and Clinton made for Putin and Russia.
Such accommodations included returning ten Russian spies to Moscow two weeks after a multi-year FBI investigation had found them working in a “sleeper cell” inside the U.S. At the time, national security experts were shocked that the spies were sent back before they could be thoroughly interrogated.
Earlier this week Department of National Intelligence director, John Ratcliffe, announced that U.S. intelligence agencies had evidence that Iran and Russia were attempting to interfere in the upcoming election. Both nations denied said involvement.