Is Tulsi Gabbard, who is parroting Russian propaganda about US involvement in bio labs in Ukraine, a “Russian asset”?

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Romney Slams Gabbard for ‘Parroting Russian Propaganda,’ ‘Treasonous Lies’

By Fatma Khaled On 3/13/22 at 7:02 PM EDT

Republican Senator Mitt Romney accused former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard on Sunday of repeating Russian “propaganda” after she claimed that the U.S. is involved in biological labs in Ukraine.

“Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda,” the Utah senator tweeted. “Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.” His remarks came after Gabbard, who hails from Hawaii, posted a video on Twitter Sunday morning in which she claimed that there are “25 to 30 U.S. funded bio labs in Ukraine.”

“According to the U.S government, these bio labs are conducting research on dangerous pathogens,” she said in the video. “These pathogens know no borders, if they are inadvertently or purposely breached or compromised, they will quickly spread all throughout Europe, the United States and the rest of the world causing untold suffering and death.”

The former congresswoman said that in order to protect everyone around the world, “these labs need to be shut down immediately and the pathogens that they hold need to be destroyed.” The U.S. and Ukrainian governments have both denied the existence of bioweapons facilities in Ukraine, according to The Independent.

This week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio asked the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland if Ukraine does in fact have biological or chemical weapons. Nuland responded that “Ukraine has biological research facilities,” adding, that she is concerned that “Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of” them.

“So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” she said.

However, a State Department spokesperson told Newsweek on Wednesday that the “biological research facilities” that Nuland mentioned are actually in reference to “Ukrainian diagnostic and biodefense laboratories” and confirmed that they “are not biological weapons facilities.”

“These institutions counter biological threats throughout the country,” the spokesperson added, and also confirmed that the country is “in compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC),” while “the same cannot be said for Russia, which has an active biological weapons program and is in violation of the BWC.”

Echoing the State Department’s comments, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Russia’s allegation of U.S. biological weapons labs is false.

“We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories,” Psaki wrote in a series of tweets.

“This is preposterous. It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent,” she added.

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Accused Russian Agent Gave to One Politician: Tulsi Gabbard

Russian-American national Elena Branson was indicted this week for lobbying for pro-Kremlin policies while not registered as a foreign agent. She gave to one U.S. politician.

Roger Sollenberge Political Reporter

Shannon Vavra National Security Reporter

Published Mar. 10, 2022 7:25PM ET 

Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii and 2020 presidential dark horse candidate, has long perplexed U.S. officials and observers with her seemingly inexplicable pro-Russian positions. And a new development this week is sure to reinforce the half-jokes that Gabbard is a “Russian asset”; as it turns out, her campaign took money from one.

That agent—dual Russian-American national Elena Branson, also known as Elena Chernykh—stands accused of illegally pushing pro-Russia policies in the United States for nearly a decade, at the direction of top Kremlin officials, without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to a criminal complaint federal prosecutors filed this week in the Southern District of New York.

But, in all her time lobbying for Russian goals, she gave money to just one federal candidate: Gabbard.

According to Federal Election Commission records, an Elena Branson made two donations in 2019 to Gabbard’s presidential campaign. The filings tie the donation to Branson’s former address at a million-dollar condo on Central Park West. However, the merchant banker listed her occupation as “not employed.” (Branson lived in the United States for decades and holds American citizenship, so the contributions were legal.)

While the combined total of those donations isn’t colossal by any means—a whopping $59.95—they do raise questions about why an alleged Russian agent, tasked with currying favor with U.S. politicians, would zero in on Gabbard, and only Gabbard.

According to a Justice Department press release, Branson, who fled the United States last year and remains at large, had ties to top Kremlin brass, and “corresponded with Putin himself.”

“At the direction of the Russian government, she led a years long campaign to identify the next generation of American leaders, cultivate information channels, and shape US policy in favor of Russian objectives,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said in the press release.

Of course, Gabbard is a longtime favorite of the Russian propaganda machine. She hired an alleged Russian agent on her campaign, and her Putin-backing has struck officials and political observers as well out of the norm for years—perhaps most famously her support for Russian intervention in Syria while defending dictator Bashar al-Assad.

That strange pattern continued even after Gabbard left office in 2021. This year, as Putin prepared to invade Ukraine, Gabbard parroted Russian talking points, urging the Biden Administration to guarantee that Ukraine will never join NATO—a longtime Kremlin demand.

Russia appears to have reciprocated. For instance, when Gabbard announced her 2020 aspirations, many of the sites that helped Russia interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections came to her side. Her campaign also received thousands of dollars from a number of influential Russia backers in the United States.

For more:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/accused-russian-agent-elena-branson-gave-to-one-politician-tulsi-gabbard?ref=author

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