Mike Turner claims Russian propaganda has seeped onto House floor

Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said he believes Russian propaganda surrounding Russia’s war in Ukraine is seeping into the Republican Party, even making its way to the House floor. 

Turner, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he has heard his Republican colleagues use information from propaganda on the House floor related to claims of the war about NATO. In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Turner agreed with previous claims that Russian propaganda made its way into the GOP. 

“There are members of Congress today who still incorrectly say that this conflict is over NATO, which of course it is not,” Turner said. “Vladimir Putin having made it very clear both publicly and to his own population that his view is that is a conflict of a much broader claim of Russia to Eastern Europe and including claiming all Ukraine territory as Russia’s.”

Turner continued, “We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor.”

He said it makes it difficult to paint the war as an Authoritarian versus Democracy battle to Republicans.

“To the extent that this propaganda takes hold, it makes it more difficult for us to really see this as authoritarian versus democracy battle, which is what it is,” Turner said. “President Xi of China, Vladimir Putin have identified it as such. We need to stand up for democracy.” 

Turner’s comments come as his colleague, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), made comments that Russian propaganda has “infected” a portion of the GOP base.  

“I think Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately,” Rep. McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said. “It’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base.”

McCaul singled out conservative talk shows, which he said spin almost identical information that the Russian state media says. 

“There are some more nighttime entertainment shows that seem to spin, like, I see the Russian propaganda in some of it — and it’s almost identical [to what they’re saying on Russian state television] — on our airwaves,” McCaul said, adding “these people that read various conspiracy-theory outlets that are just not accurate, and they actually model Russian propaganda.”

Turner said this was a critical time for Congress to step up and aid Ukraine. He did not say, however, that he believes Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) would lose that position, despite Rep. Marjorie Taylor Grene’s motion to vacate. 

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“I don’t think he’s at any risk,” Turner said. “What people have been referring to as the ‘Chaos Caucus’ those individuals who are seeking attention for themselves, trying to stop all of the important work in Congress, are now seen as merely disruptive.” 

He also pointed to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Leader of the House, who has made it “clear” that Democrats will not join the motion to vacate the speakership. 

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