Top watchdog just exposed the Republicans who helped Putin’s propaganda machine

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America’s leading non-profit hate group monitor has revealed the links between Putin’s recently indicted Internet Research Agency (IRA) and numerous Republican political operatives, including Donald Trump’s former White House senior advisor.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch publication connected the dots between “Putin’s Chef” Evgeny Prigozhin who ran the IRA, a top Kremlin propagandist named Alexander Dugin, and Steve Bannon, the former Trump campaign chair, former Breitbart executive editor and former White House senior advisor.

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Alexander Dugin founded Russia’s fascist Rodina party and is a frequent Infowars guest today, with a virulently anti-America ideology, and a history of extreme racism. In 2014, Steve Bannon flew literally halfway around the world to Rome, just to give a speech extolling Dugin’s ideology to an anti-LGBT hate group according to Hatewatch:

Many of the crucial connections between [Dugin’s] Katehon network and the Western far-right can be found through their mutual commitments to the anti-LGBQT hate group, World Congress of Families. When Stephen Bannon delivered a speech on the merits of Dugin and fascist occultist Julius Evola in June 2014 to high-level members of the World Congress of Families in the Vatican, he effectively endorsed the guiding “Eurasianist” spirit behind Katehon.

Bannon’s speech came in the middle of a four-year period during which Robert Mercer paid him to work for an anti-Clinton group. Also the primary funder of Breitbart News, Mercer was a member of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP), which supported Trump staunchly during the 2016 elections and is heavily involved in the World Congress of Families.

As we reported during the presidential election – based on a leaked membership directory – both Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, still a senior White House advisor, were members of the secretive extremist, CNP conservative group.

It turns out that the CNP’s ties to Russia go far beyond Bannon and the Mercers through one unusually connected Russian-American professor to a list of prominent current and former Congressional Republicans, including Trump’s current Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Hatewatch wrote:

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The CNP has a long history of bridging U.S. and Russian far-right interests, dating back to when its founder Paul Weyrich and executive committee member Robert Kriebelhelped launch the career of pro-Russia lobbyist Edward Lozansky — a man who would take a leading role in feeding the troll armies of the far right nearly 30 years later.

Deeply connected to the U.S. far-right, Lozansky founded a dubious think tank eventually named the American University in Moscow “on the same floor as the Heritage Foundation.”

Through his organizations, Lozansky has hosted conferences and an annual event known as the World Russia Forum. Featuring speakers like Chuck Grassley, Jeff Sessions and Dana Rohrabacher, the World Russia Forum and Lozansky’s Russia House enjoy a high profile inside the Beltway of Washington, DC.

“While Weyrich and the New Right had supported ameliorating the divide between Russia and the US,” the SPLC’s Alexander Reid Ross told Washington Press exclusively, ” Steve Bannon’s speech in the Vatican explicitly signaled affinity with the fascist Traditionalist faction, thus exposing the radicalism of his influence within the GOP and the broader international religious right.”

Dr. Edward Lozansky’s World Russia Forum meetings – which included politicians from both parties, but mostly hard-right Republicans – were held at the Senate Hart Office building for many years (here he is trolling then-GOP presidential nominee John McCain in 2008), and he’s still politically active as a columnist for the arch-conservative Washington Times.

Lozansky went on NPR last year as an ‘American in Moscow,’ to explain why he thought Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russia is a “witch hunt” and to support President Trump.

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Today, Professor Lozansky is an international affairs instructor at Moscow’s nuclear physics school, where he recently arranged for an appearance by Putin-cheerleading filmmaker Oliver Stone. But Lozansky maintains his American University in Moscow front group, which is possibly the fakest school this side of Trump University.

As Hatewatch’s Alexander Reid Ross reveals, Lozansky’s “university” is actually a meeting place for pro-Russia propagandists and Republican conspiracy theorists, including a top member of former GOP insurgent presidential candidate Ron Paul’s Institute and one who pumps up the fever swamps of Infowars:

Lozansky’s American University in Moscow has become a crucial hub for the cultivation of editors and journalists behind key “fake news” sites propagated by the “Translation Project.” The list of “Fellows” at his institution is a rogues gallery of syncretic pro-Kremlin spin doctors and the alt-right:

Other pro-Kremlin Fellows listed by Lozansky’s American University in Moscow, Darren Spinck, James Jatras and Anthony Salvia are partners in pro-Kremlin groups like the American Institute in Ukraine and the PR group, Global Strategic Communications Group, which sold its services to Rodina during a period when Rodina’s deputies signed a petition to ban Jews from Russia… Jatras also served as a witness for the defense at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic

Just one example of the odd news coming from Lozansky’s collection pro-Putin GOP propagandist associates is James Jatras, a co-author of his Washington Times columns. He is a registered foreign agent lobbyist and former staffer to disgraced Republican Senator Larry Craig.

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Jatras took it upon himself in September 2015 to become the only Republican publicly declaring his candidacy for Vice President, which he hoped would allow him to run alongside Donald Trump, telling ABC News that “our stupid [Republican] party could do a lot worse.”

Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment might not sweep the thirteen Russian nationals off the streets and into federal custody, but they lifted the veil on clear links between the Trump Campaign, Republicans, and Russia’s propaganda apparatus.

Knowing that now-President Trump hired a presidential campaign chair with world-class connections to hate groups and Russia’s leading anti-semitic political party makes his claims of a “witch hunt” ring even more hollow.

Author’s Note: The SPLC credited original investigative reporting by myself and co-author Patrick L. Simpson for their story.

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Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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