The Senate votes to block Democrats from imposing sanctions on Rusal, a Russian company that is later revealed to be a proxy for Vladimir Putin’s international influence efforts. The decision is campaigned for by Mitch McConnell.
The House had overwhelmingly voted 362-53 to enforce the sanctions.
As it turns out, the night before the vote, an executive from Rusal had dinner with Craig Bouchard, the then-CEO of Braidy Industries. Braidy Industries wants Russian funding for an aluminum-rolling mill in Kentucky, Rand Paul and McConnell’s state.
Within three months of lifting sanctions on Rusal, which is co-owned by Paul Manafort associate Oleg Deripaska, the company starts investing in the Braidy project. By the end of 2019, Rusal invests at least $75 million from Russia.
Another Deripaska business partner donated $3.5 million to McConnell’s PAC between 2015 and 2017.
At the time, no one knows where Deripaska’s money is really coming from. However, a Senate Intelligence Committee report in 2020 identifies Rusal as a tool in Putin’s arsenal for international government influence and economic measures.
It’s not relevant to this story in particular, but Deripaska is also friends with Leon Black, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s business partners and someone Donald Trump has known since at least 1996.
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