In the past, I’ve covered Jill Stein in a roundabout way, through her celebrity endorsers like Viggo Mortensen and Susan Sarandon. Just days before the 2016 election, Sarandon made a big public Jill Stein endorsement, calling Stein her “vote of conscience.” A few weeks later, Sarandon claimed that she’s not responsible for Donald Trump’s victory, and that was where I talked about the actual data of the election: Jill Stein and her Green Party voters did make a difference, particularly in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, three states Hillary Clinton lost by slim margins, and three states where Jill Stein’s voters “outperformed” those slim margins. Add to all of that the simple fact that there are still some questions about Jill Stein’s tangled relationship to Russia, and we’ve got another conspiracy. Jill Stein would like you to know that it’s all fake news though. Seriously. Stein gave an interview to Politico which I would suggest reading in its entirety. Some highlights:
Does Stein have regrets? “I don’t think so… I consider it a great honor that the party and our prior campaign for president is suddenly being attacked outside of an election season.”
The Russia connection. Some Democrats would like to see Stein hauled in front of Congress to explain mysteries like what, exactly, she was doing at a 2015 Moscow gala thrown by a Russian state-owned broadcaster—the same RT event that got Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in such trouble… Stein didn’t just attend the gala—dressed in a shimmering silver shawl, she sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has barely disguised his glee at the political chaos that what he calls “patriotic” Russian hackers have unleashed in the United States. And she recorded a video from Moscow’s famous Red Square, in which she talked about “the need to rein in American exceptionalism” and replace “a U.S. policy based on domination”—words that sounded like they were ripped from Putin’s talking points.
She isn’t sorry: Stein isn’t sorry about any of it. She says she’d welcome the opportunity to testify before Congress and dismisses the idea that she was a spoiler or that her campaign was co-opted as a tool of Russian influence as Democrats’ “pathetic excuses” for losing the election.
She doesn’t think she took any money from Russia: “I am certainly not aware of any ties whatsoever, financial or otherwise, to the Russian government.”
How she feels about Putin: Stein has also hit back at “fake news” claiming she has praised Putin. For the record, Stein says, “Putin is an authoritarian and has a very troubled, disturbing record.” But, she adds, “It’s important to look at where Putin comes from. … It was Larry Summers and the guys from Harvard who basically privatized the public domain [in post-Soviet Russia] and created the oligarchs.”
Stein really is close to Kremlin-backed entity RT: Shared opposition to the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy consensus has led to significant intermingling between the Green Party and the network. Stein’s vice presidential shortlist included RT host Chris Hedges, a former New York Times journalist who has become popular on the left for his jeremiads against war. Her eventual running mate, Ajamu Baraka, who has slammed the “gangster states of NATO,” has long regularly appeared on the network.
Another Russian connection: Three months before she traveled to Moscow in December 2015, photos Stein posted on Facebook and her campaign website show her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at another RT gala in New York. Stein says the encounter lasted only a minute or two, and that she used it plug the Green Party’s nuclear disarmament plan. “He was, like, very skeptical that that could happen,” she says. “That’s about as far it went.”
Stein still believes the world would have been sh-t under Clinton: “There are differences between Clinton and Trump, no doubt, but they’re not different enough to save your life, to save your job, to save the planet. We deserve more than two lethal choices.”
Stein believes the election was hacked, she just doesn’t know if Russia is behind it: “Most people are saying, ‘Oh it’s the Russians,’ but there is not a lot of evidence for that,” Stein says. She also rejects the contention from some on the left that her recount efforts made her a vehicle for Democratic Party interests, calling it “fake news.”
There’s a bunch of other stuff in there about how the Green Party encouraged the wedge between the Bernie Sanders faction and the more old-guard Clinton-supporting Democrats, how the Green Party cozied up to Julian Assange (Wikileaks was weaponized by Russia) and how Stein’s presidential run got financing from a “libertarian” who also gives a lot of money to hard-right conservative groups. Yeah, I f–king hate Jill Stein. I’m fully prepared to don a tin foil hat and figure out what the sh-t is going on with Stein’s Russia connections. The thing about it is… I kind of wonder if Stein really understood that she was being manipulated by outside forces? It seems like she still doesn’t get that. Her obliviousness is not an excuse, obviously. Also: to all of the people (including Stein) still whining about how Hillary still would have been just as bad as Trump… shut the f–k up. Just stop.
Speaking of Jill Stein and Russia, funny story… pic.twitter.com/eglAg7yr88
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) June 2, 2017
Photos courtesy of Getty.