The GOP's 'Putin wing' is doing Russia's 'misinformation' dirty work for them: conservative

In a scorching column for the conservative Bulwark, Amanda Carpenter pointed out that there is nothing subtle about the latest stream of misinformation that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants broadcast to Americans as he invades Ukraine -- and that he has a willing cast of high-profile MAGA-Americans doing his dirty work for him.

When the Russian strongman wanted Donald Trump to be president in 2016, Kremlin deployed an army of trolls and bots to spread rumors and conspiracy theories on social media to manipulate low-information voters. With his Ukraine invasion struggling, and world opinion quickly turning against him, Carpenter suggested Putin has been able to cut out the middle-man with the help of characters like Tucker Carlson, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Donald Trump Jr. and Glenn Greenwald.

Case in point, the conspiracy theory du jour that it will be America using bioweapons in Ukraine and not Russia.

As Carpenter, who once advised Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained, "Recall how the Russia-sympathizing, Q-adjacent, Trump-loving MAGA media machine first pilloried Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling. Russia wasn’t responsible, they said—a computer server in Ukraine ran the operation. Then, in 2020, they accused Ukrainian officials of withholding dirt on Joe Biden’s family. Now they allege that the United States is funding bioweapons laboratories in Ukraine and our government is covering it up."

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Writing, "Make a Venn Diagram of the people pushing each of those three narratives and you’ll find they overlap almost completely. It’s all the same people: fringe Internet figures, Fox News hosts, Steve Bannon and his acolytes, Marjorie Tayor Greene caucus members, and the millions of people who love them," she added that Don Trump Jr. took the lead on the bioweapons misinformation campaign when he twisted testimony on bioweapons by Victoria Nuland, the under secretary of state for political affairs, into a narrative that serves Putin's interests.

Following the testimony, the son the former president Donald Trump tweeted, "Well that went from conspiracy theory to senate testimony in about 6 days… It used to take six months to go from conspiracy theory to fact," with Carpenter pointing out that Tucker Carlson of Fox News took the story and ran with it.

"Fox News ratings king Tucker Carlson took the non-story to primetime. And, boy, did it play well in Russia. Carlson’s commentary is so Kremlin-friendly that, according to a memo obtained by Mother Jones, Russian officials have ordered their state-run media outlets to feature his clips," she wrote before adding, "This is the big story in their minds. Not the Russian invasion and the unfolding humanitarian disaster but the Russian disinformation about bioweapons, which provides a cudgel for whacking the Biden administration—no matter how bogus the claims."

"It’s not a coincidence that two major scandals of the Trump era–the Mueller investigation and Trump’s first impeachment–involved Russian interference and Ukraine. Or that Trump went on to pardon members of his inner circle ensnared in the Russia probe, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national security advisor Mike Flynn. All of these characters belong to the same story," she pointed ou before adding, "None of this goes to say these men, or the others parroting similar lines, bear any responsibility for Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine. But it’s ghastly how eager they are to latch on to Putin’s version of events to score cheap points against Democrats and advance their own interests."

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