Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California created a website to promote the narrative that the Russian government influenced the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump.
Swalwell, the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he created the website so people understand the "context" in which his "Protecting Our Democracy Act" was introduced.
That bill, introduced on Jan. 6, aims to "examine any attempts or activities by the Russian government, persons or entities associated with the Russian government, or persons or entities within Russia to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in elections for public office held in the United States in 2016," according to the Library of Congress.
"I’m here to help put this into context," Salwell says in a statement on his website. "Examining Russia as a country that has committed serious war crimes and human rights violations across the globe, the Trump Administration’s continued and close ties to Russia, and what Russia did to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections is essential to understand the significance of its attack and what we need to do to ensure this never happens again."
Several pages on the website accuse Russia of various misdeeds around the globe to build up the case that Russia is an enemy of the U.S.
On the page titled, "Russia: Not Our Friend," Salwell lists several allegations of Russian hackers leading cyberattacks on countries in the former Soviet Bloc, such as Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
It also lists allegations of Russian government-backed attacks on journalists within Russia, as well as the controversial military assistance Russia provides Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in his fight against rebels, some of whom the U.S. backs.
In the section titled, "Russia: Influencing Trump & His Team," Salwell accuses Attorney General Jeff Sessions of being influenced by the Russian government. Salwell cites Sessions's 2016 meeting with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak as evidence of such influence, despite pointing out that Sessions has been "one of the strongest anti-Russian hawks" in the U.S. Senate for several years.
"Throughout his 19 year Senate career, Sessions had long supported increased military spending to counter Russia and called for policies that would ensure Russia’s threat was dealt with through military strength and not diplomatic talks," Salwell states. "In 2010, Sessions voted against the New START Treaty with Russia which called for further nuclear arms reduction between the two countries, arguing that it played into Russia’s hands and made America weaker. In 2014, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sessions called for Russia’s exit from the G8 and for sanctions against Russia."
There is reportedly no other evidence relating to Sessions's alleged pro-Russia turn other than the meeting with the Russian ambassador, who has also met with Democratic senators, including Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who denied meeting with Kislyak even after tweeting about the meeting in 2015, and previously in 2013, reports Polifact.