New reports have shown that President Biden received a campaign donation from top Russia lobbyist and former Republican, Richard Burt, just months before Biden made the controversial decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Interestingly, Burt was involved in the early days of the Trump campaign. He helped craft foreign policy positions and Trump’s first foreign policy speech according to the New York Post.
Critics of President Trump leapt at the opportunity to connect Trump to Russia through his work with Burt.
Politico tried to forward the unfounded Russia collusion narrative, “The revelation of Burt’s lobbying activity raises new questions about Russian influence in Trump’s campaign”. The article also cited Burt’s involvement with Nord Stream 2, a project Trump has consistently opposed.
The greatest Russia collusion conspiracy peddler of them all, Rep. Adam Schiff concluded, “The sum total of Trump’s words and actions has only encouraged Russian meddling in our elections. Insecure, unscrupulous and transactional, Trump is Putin’s ideal American president.”
Biden broke his own campaign promise when he accepted money from the lobbyist and, according to the Washington Examiner, Burt actively lobbies for five European energy companies (ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall Dea) that are partnering together to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
So far, Biden has faced no public criticism for the incident from fellow Democrats.
The harshest words he’s seen are from Anna Massoglia, an Investigative Researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics.
“Reading between the lines you can clearly see what that lobbying looks like. While it’s not evidence of anything illegal, it’s just something that is evidence of how influence works in Washington,” Massoglia told The new York Post.
Burt, U.S. Ambassador to Germany under the Reagan administration, gave $4,000 to Biden’s Victory Fund right before the 2020 presidential election and $10,000 to Unite The Country, a liberal political action committee, in March 2020.
As for how the donation was made without so much as a peep from watchdog groups, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson told The New York Post,
“He was not flagged during our vetting process. When Richard Burt donated to Biden Victory Fund, he failed to acknowledge that he was a registered foreign agent and was therefore ineligible to contribute. Because Burt also listed a different employer than on his [Foreign Agents Registration Act] registration, he was not flagged during our vetting process.”
The DNC eventually returned the funds.
Biden’s decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was met with criticism from Republicans and energy independence advocates who point out Biden that had no problem cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline despite national security concerns, the threat of lost jobs and higher energy prices.
Biden tried to justify his move to waive sanctions, one that critics argue is directly at odds with our national interests.
“Because it’s almost completely finished, No. 1. The idea that anything that — and it’s not like I can allow Germany to do something they’re not,” the president said, noting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was “almost completed by the time I took office. To go ahead and impose sanctions now, I think, would be counterproductive now in terms of our European relations. And they know how strongly I feel. And I hope we can work on how they handle it from this point on.”
Secretary of State Anthony Bliken later released a statement in an attempt to draw a hardline on what he says is the administration’s opposition to the pipeline:
“We will continue to oppose the completion of this project, which would weaken European energy security and that of Ukraine and Eastern flank NATO and EU countries. Our opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is unwavering.”
Neither the White House or Burt have responded to media requests for comment.
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