Two of the most infamous Joes in history – McCarthy and Stalin – would be stunned by the Republican Party’s embrace of Russia these days, its leader, Vladimir Putin, and a Russia-loving American president, Donald J. Trump.

Joseph McCarthy, the fear-mongering, anti-communist senator, and Josef Stalin, the dictator of the former Soviet Union who oversaw the murder of millions of his own citizens, then including Ukrainians, would be astonished by the actions and words of Republicans from Trump to Republican members of Congress such as Devin Nunes of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio and John Ratcliffe of Texas.

The impeachment hearings are focused on Trump’s pressure campaign to withhold critical military aid to Ukraine, essential to defend itself against Russian aggression, in return for political favors.

Testimony to date makes it clear that President Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, blocked $391 million in weapons to Ukraine and a White House meeting unless its new leadership undertook an investigation of the Biden family’s involvement with a Ukrainian energy company.

The proceedings are not going well for the president and his defenders. Witnesses have testified that Trump and Giuliani withheld that assistance unless it received a promise to help Trump with his political challenges.

Defying White House orders not to testify, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a $1 million donor to Trump, confirmed that the Trump-Giuliani pressure was a “quid pro quo.”

A career ambassador, William Taylor, testified that he objected to Trump pressure to block the aid – critical to Ukraine’s ability to fight Russia’s aggression. Fiona Hill, a leading expert, said: “Please don’t promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Hill put her finger on the larger context of the matter: that President Trump and the Republican Party have become faithful and frequent defenders of Russia and Putin.

A few facts:

• Russia committed the only major aggression against a sovereign nation in Europe since World War II.

Russia seized Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine after a popular revolution in 2014 that chased away a pro-Moscow leader, Viktor Yanukovych, and led to a pro-Western government. Over 13,000 Ukrainians have died in the last five years of Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine.

• The pro-Moscow Yanukovych is believed to have absconded with over $30 billion when he fled to Moscow. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who advised Yanukovych, is now in prison for seven years on corruption charges.

• Donald Trump has leaned over backward, beginning before his 2016 election, to befriend and be helpful to Russia and Putin.

Trump regularly praises Putin. His aides watered down the Republican convention platform on U.S. support for Ukraine’s democracy. He has frequently opposed bipartisan sanctions on Russia’s struggling economy – which is one half that of California’s.

• Republican members of Congress continually ignore the conclusion of all American intelligence agencies, the Mueller probe and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee that there was “massive” Russian interference in the campaign in favor of Trump.

• In addition to Russia’s cyberwar for Trump, millions were invested in Trump properties by Russian oligarchs over the years. Russian gun rights groups reportedly gave $30 million to the National Rifle Association. The NRA spent the same on Trump.

• The National Security Strategy of the U.S. government formally cites Russia as a major threat to the United States, saying it seeks to “erode” American power and values.

In a continuing attack on America’s historical alliances and allies, Trump said Russia should return to the G-7; it was ejected after invading Ukraine.

After the 2018 Helsinki summit, Trump said he trusted the word of Putin that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 U.S. election, dismissing all American intelligence.

Lastly, whenever he is criticized by American newspapers, Trump derides them as “the enemy of the people,” a term popularized by Josef Stalin.

If he were here today, and restaging his scurrilous hearings on “un-American activities,” Joe McCarthy, eventually disgraced and chased from office, in part because of the courageous voice of Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, the Wisconsin senator would look up and see that his only defendants and witnesses were today’s Republicans – now routinely placing Russian interests ahead of the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law and our democratic values.


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