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This isn’t Don McGahn’s first trip to the Russian Rodeo

This isn't Don McGahn's first trip to the Russian Rodeo

by digby

Emptywheel is very likely to be right about White House counsel Don McGahn being questioned about the conspiracy investigation not just obstruction of justice. He was the Trump campaign's general counsel fergawdsakes and the GOP's top campaign finance lawyer for years.

I agree with Wheeler that this is a big fat CYA operation using the NY Times to reassure Trump, not upset him, and it's likely to do with the fact that many of the laws Trump and his henchmen are suspected of breaking have to do with foreign money in his campaign, transition and elsewhere.

I wonder if people remember that Don McGahn made his bones defending Tom DeLay in a major Russian money scandal in the late 90s? He did:

One of the scandals surrounding DeLay involved a 1997 trip he made to Moscow, where he was joined by Abramoff, paid for by conservative nonprofit, the National Center for Public Policy Research. The group also financed two trips to Moscow by DeLay's chief of staff, Edwin Buckham, who went on to become a corporate lobbyist.

The trips were organized by prominent Russian businessmen who, joined by the Russian government, were mounting a major lobbying effort for increased foreign aid. In 1998, "DeLay voted for a bill that included the replenishment of billions of dollars in IMF funds used to bail out the Russian economy."

According to associates of Buckham, Russian oil and gas executives subsequently gave $1 million to the U.S. Family Network, a conservative advocacy group founded by Buckham in 1996. The Network was part of DeLay's "political money carousel," and later received $500,000 from the National Republican Campaign Committee, where McGahn was also in-house counsel. The group was named in a RICO lawsuit against DeLay filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1998.

McGahn defended the huge contribution and denied that it had any ties to Russia when Public Campaign ran political ads in 2006 attacking DeLay for the scandal.


This scandal was obscured at the time by the much more important investigation into Bill Clinton's pants.

Here's the full story of DeLay's Russia money scandal.

Let's just say that Don McGahn had some very special experience in dealing with Russian money being funneled into Republican campaigns.