Standing beside an approving Donald Trump at a rally in Kentucky on Monday night, Republican Senator Rand Paul demanded the media unmask the whistleblower whose report about the president’s alleged abuse of power dealing with Ukraine sparked impeachment proceedings.
American news organizations resisted the pressure, but—in a 2019 re-play of “Russia, if you’re listening” —Kremlin-controlled state media promptly jumped on it.
Shortly after Sen. Paul tweeted out an article that speculated in considerable detail about the identity of the whistleblower—with a photograph, a name, and details about the purported political history of a CIA professional—Russian state media followed suit.
As if on cue, the Kremlin-controlled heavy hitters—TASS, RT, Rossiya-1—disseminated the same information. But unlike Rand Paul, one of the Russian state media outlets didn’t seem to find the source—Real Clear Investigations—to be particularly impressive, and claimed falsely that the material was published originally by The Washington Post.
This was the most egregious, but certainly not the only example of Kremlin-funded media cheerleading for Trump’s fight against impeachment as proceedings against him unfold with growing speed. As a chorus of talking heads on Fox News have picked up on Trump’s talking points, which is predictable—they’ve also been echoed across the pond, albeit with a tinge of irony.
“Have you lost your minds that you want to remove our Donald Ivanovych?” asked Vladimir Soloviev, the host of the television show Evening with Vladimir Soloviev.