John Weaver, one co-founder of The Lincoln Project Super PAC, signed a deal in 2019 with a Russian state-owned company to advocate for its interests — but ultimately rejected the contract once he was accused of hypocrisy for his years of calling President Donald Trump a pawn of Vladimir Putin.
Weaver, a career political consultant who started The Lincoln Project to defeat President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, signed an agreement on May 10, 2019 with Tenam Corporation, “a subsidiary of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company,” Politico reported at the time.
According to the contract, which Weaver was required to file with the Department of Justice because he was acting as a foreign agent, he was tasked with lobbying the Trump administration and Congress on “sanctions or other restrictions in the area of atomic (nuclear) trade, or cooperation involving in any way the Russian Federation.”
The Russian government-owned company was to pay Weaver $350,000 “plus expenses” for six months of work. If Russia wanted to continue utilizing Weaver beyond that term, Tenam was required to pay him $40,000 a month, according to the agreement.
The contract stipulated that if Trump signed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Weaver could be fired.
Just three years earlier, Weaver wanted “sanctions from Hell” placed on Russia.
And Putin needs to face "Sanctions from Hell," so that he and his KGB cronies can't move their stolen money around the world.
— John Weaver (@jwgop) December 15, 2016
That needed to be done to Putin “so that he and his KGB cronies can’t move their stolen money around the world,” Weaver wrote on Twitter in 2016.
In an interview with Politico, Tenam President Fletcher Newton would not say who recommended hiring Weaver to protect Russia’s interests.
“I can tell you it’s about as good a recommendation as anybody could ask for,” Newton said.
But less than a week after signing the agreement, Weaver ended it, acknowledging a barrage of criticism on social media and tried to explain that he was not contradicting his posture of hostility toward Trump and Putin.
“I’m rejecting the contract,” he told CNBC reporter Brian Schwartz.
“[M]y only focus is the replace[ment] of Donald Trump as ‘president’ and his low traveling minions,” Weaver said. “While I believe strongly in a stable uranium market, for the U.S. national security issues and economic issues — plus keeping proliferation at bay — I don’t want to be distracted or disputed.”
Weaver, a former consultant for John McCain and John Kasich’s presidential campaigns, now wants Joe Biden elected to the White House.
Weaver recently told NPR his group’s strategy was to give Joe Biden’s campaign breathing room to be successful in defeating Trump.
The Lincoln Project bought airtime on Fox News in Washington, D.C., theorizing Trump would see their messages.
“[W]hen we were able to buy time in Washington on one of the president’s favorite propaganda shows on Fox, he reacts to it and then may spend a week or two weeks either prosecuting against us at The Lincoln Project or about some issue that we raised,” he said, “and that gives the Biden campaign clean air and time to run their own campaign and run positive messages about the vice president.”
Weaver said the group is raising money to be spent on “positive ads about Vice President Biden” in Midwestern states.
While the Lincoln Project has become one of the most infamous political groups in this year’s election cycle, progressives are not welcoming its Republican members into their ranks. Rick Wilson, another co-founder, saw himself excoriated by cartoon news anchors during an appearance this week on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The animated interviewers roasted Wilson as sexist, complicit in Trump’s election, and a “grifter.”
Author: Kyle Olson