Vladimir Putin

Putin Puts International Justice On Trial – Betting That The Age Of Impunity Will Continue
Although the potential for holding Russian commanders, and even President Vladimir Putin, accountable and punishing them for international crimes is more likely now than in the past, the path will likely be long and difficult.
Where Things Stand: Tulsi Gabbard Has Some Thoughts About Those ‘Biolabs’ That The Kremlin Is Fixated On
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Former long-shot presidential candidate and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is just the latest U.S. politician to seize on debunked, Kremlin-backed conspiracy theories about the supposed existence of U.S.-run bioweapon research labs in Ukraine.

But she’s the first high-profile Democrat to do so.

What started as an InfoWars talking point has been embraced by the Russian and Chinese state media and has morphed in recent days into a full blown right-wing effort to place the blame for President Putin’s deadly war on Ukraine squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. right’s usual cast of enemies, including President Biden and, of course, Anthony Fauci. Kate Riga digs into the madness here.

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Humanitarian Corridors Could Help Civilians Get Out Of Ukraine. But Russia Has A History Of Not Respecting The Pathways
Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict could offer a window into its Ukraine war strategy.
Where Things Stand: Trump Was Asked About Ukraine. In Response, He Yelled About Windmills
This is your TPM evening briefing.

We know the former president has a lot of enemies — both political and inanimate.

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Where Things Stand: Maria Butina’s Bizarre Sign-Of-Life Interview Is Riddled With Kremlin Propaganda
This is your TPM evening briefing.

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on this character.

Convicted Russian spy Maria Butina just did a bizarre and rather concerning interview with the BBC in which she argued that Ukraine is “bombing” its own civilians and pushed Kremlin talking points that President Vlodymyr Zelensky, a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors, is a Nazi.

The interview honestly sounds like a confused hostage video. I’ll get into the details more below. But since serving 15 months in U.S. prisons after being convicted of working as an unregistered foreign agent — for attempting to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and after admitting to helping set up a Russian backchannel for conservative strategists ahead of the 2016 election — Butina returned to Russia in 2019. And she’s a politician now — apparently a fairly successful one. Butina became a member of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber in 2021 and has batted away accusations that President Putin helped hand her the position as a “reward” for her criminal endeavors in the U.S.

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Where Things Stand: Shutting Down RonJohn’s Upside-Down Theory On A ‘Weakened’ Ukraine
This is your TPM evening briefing.

As we’ve documented closely over the last 12 days of Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, Republicans are offering up a confusing mix of reactions and deflections in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Some have praised Putin, others have condemned him. But all are mostly mad at President Biden, for a slew of reasons mostly tied to a vague assertion that he’s been weak on foreign policy since taking office.

But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) offered up a rather unique and entirely backwards hypothesis last week when he suggested that somehow those involved in impeaching President Trump the first time might be to blame for the current war in Europe. Of those attracting his ire: retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was himself born in Kyiv and also became an important whistleblower in the impeachment drama.

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Meet Russia’s Oligarchs, A Group Of Men Who Won’t Be Toppling Putin Anytime Soon
Putin has kept most oligarchs at a distance – literally and figuratively
Where Things Stand: Here’s Why Some Evangelicals Think Putin’s War Is The Beginning Of The End Times
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Over the years, Pat Robertson and other fringe evangelicals and non-serious Christian scholars have become known for exegesis-ing any and all current news events into some sort of Biblical End Time prophesy. For some, COVID vaccines are the “Mark of the Beast.” For others, President Obama was the anti-Christ. (Trump got that distinction, too). The legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. was believed to be a signal that some hybrid Sodom and Gomorrah/rapture-induction event was imminent.

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