PUTIN PROPAGANDA 'UNDERMINING' AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE McMorris Rodgers Doesn't Share President's View of Russian Leader

By Camden, Jim | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), February 26, 2017 | Go to article overview

PUTIN PROPAGANDA 'UNDERMINING' AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE McMorris Rodgers Doesn't Share President's View of Russian Leader


Camden, Jim, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


Key members of Congress were warned in 2015 about Vladimir Putin's aggressive propaganda machine, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said last week. The possibility he used it to influence last year's presidential elections is an important part of current investigations, she added.

Although she generally backs President Donald Trump on his policies and efforts "to challenge the status quo," the Spokane Republican made it clear in a recent interview with The Spokesman-Review she does not share his favorable views of Putin.

She described the Russian president as a man who controls an aggressive propaganda machine trying to undermine the United States.

McMorris Rodgers was part of a congressional delegation that went to Europe nearly two years ago to study energy issues. Russia is the continent's major source of energy supplies, but the previous winter, Putin had threatened to cut natural gas supplies because of the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, and they were studying what he might do in the upcoming winter.

One of the stops on the trip was Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, where the delegation met with the city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxer and outspoken critic of Putin.

"He impressed on us that Putin controls the media in Ukraine ... and how powerful that is," she said. "Putin has an aggressive propaganda machine, and it is attempting to influence in a whole host of ways."

When she returned home, she saw evidence of that propaganda machine in the United States, including broadcasts on Russia Television, or RT, which is carried by many cable companies in major U.S. cities.

"I think it's a subtle undermining of American institutions and American values and American goals," she said.

Asked if she thought that propaganda machine affected the 2016 presidential election, McMorris Rodgers replied: "We are investigating that. Both the intelligence committees in the House and the Senate are investigating the question as to Russia's influence over the elections."

In December, congressional leaders received a briefing from representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which led to the investigations, she said.

McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, wouldn't speculate on what actions should be taken against Russia if those investigations turn up evidence that Putin did try to influence the election. …

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