Political Insider

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Connecting dots: The NRA, the Washington Post, and Russia

The National Rifle Association has picked a fight with the Washington Post in the latest of its series of Internet videos promising to bring “the clenched fist of truth” to those of different political leanings.

Specifically, NRA narrator Grant Stinchfield criticizes the newspaper for dumping on a previous NRA video, calling it a "dark" piece that dwelt on "politics, not guns." In this latest video, Stinchfield engages in some philosophical dissonance. Says he:

“We talk about more than guns because every freedom is connected. If one is threatened, they all are threatened. And the organized anarchy that you and your politicians and your activists are pushing is destroying our country.”

Okay. But here, the NRA spokesman implies that some unalienable rights are more unalienable than others:

“Don’t worry about how many guns are in our videos. Worry about how many facts are in your articles. Because if gun owners abused our Second Amendment the way that you abuse your paper and the First Amendment, our rights would have been taken away long ago.


“You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combined has ever done with a firearm.”

You can watch it here:


And when you do, you may catch why the NRA has singled out the Post. “The fake news outlet even went so far as to make the blatantly false claim that the NRA had illegal ties to Russia,” Stinchfield says midway through his script.

Actually, no. The newspaper didn’t allege any illegality. But last April, the Post did turn a piece on the changing attitude among American conservatives toward Russia. Among examples cited: Prior to last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, evangelist Franklin Graham met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin. About the same time, top NRA brass traveled to Moscow to visit gun manufacturers and government officials.

That year’s turbulent events — in which Russia’s incursion into Ukraine prompted the Obama administration to enact strict sanctions against Moscow — illustrated the Russians’ alliance with U.S. gun advocates.


Butina argued in a Russian interview that firearm sellers in her country, including the popular Kalashnikov, were among the “most impacted” by sanctions, which specifically blocked its assets.


In Washington, the NRA’s lobbying arm blasted the order, saying that such restrictions have “long been used by the executive branch as a means of unilaterally enacting gun control.”


In the aftermath of last night’s collapse of the Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, local conservative insurgent Erick Erickson is calling for one head in particular to roll:

The entirety of the GOP agenda is stuck in the Senate where Mitch McConnell seems intent to let it all die on the vine while blaming conservatives.


It is time for the Senate GOP to replace Mitch McConnell so that President Trump can actually get some of his legislative policies advanced. It is not conservatives who are the obstacle, but the Senate leader himself.


Last week, Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for governor, attacked rival Casey Cagle over law enforcement pay. This morning, the lieutenant governorannounced endorsements by 58 sheriffs around the state.

The list includes two of the best known sheriffs in Georgia: Butch Conway of Gwinnett and Howard Sills of Putnam.


Karen Handel aide Charlie Harper used his latest column in the Dublin Courier-Herald to take a victory lap -- and send a message to pundits who doubted her Sixth District campaign strategy.

The pundit-turned-operative argued that the former Georgia secretary of state's adherence to her record  helped ensure her victory. From his column:

It’s always easy for bottom feeders to run against everything and anything, hoping the average voter can’t or won’t differentiate between their anger at inaction in DC and the demonstrable results achieved at the state level...


A few of the consultants that were openly critical of her efforts – and who are coaching their current candidates for next year’s elections – should probably take note of that.


Speaking of Handel, we’ve received word about her first two potential hires for her congressional office. Ashley Disque Jenkins, a Marietta lobbyist and UGA alumna, will be Handel’s district director based in Roswell. And we're hearing that Muffy Day, a seasoned Capitol Hill hand, is among the top contenders to be Handel’s chief of staff. Day currently  is Republican Rep. Mia Love's top aide.


Civil rights hero John Lewis broke down during an interview with political operative David Axelrod on CNN over the weekend.

The longtime Atlanta congressman was visiting a new audio exhibit depicting key moments from the civil rights era, including the scenes protestors like him faced at lunch counter sit-ins across the South, with Axelrod at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Watch here:


You might have missed our 11 p.m. post last night, but the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, will be on Capitol Hill with a group of African-American clergy members today to protest President Donald Trump's proposed budget and the troubled Senate health care bill.

He'll be joined by the Rev. Cynthia Hale, senior pastor of Ray of Hope  Christian Church in Decatur. Read more here.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.