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Stein, Flynn and Putin at RT dinner in Moscow

Last December the very strange retired General Michael Flynn and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein joined Vladimir Putin at a gala dinner in Moscow honoring the Russian TV propaganda outlet RT.

Flynn is in the tuxedo, Putin has the red tie and Stein is in the gray sweater:

Flynn, former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, retired from the military in 2014 and began appearing on RT (as has Stein). According to Politico:

His attendance at the RT gala, before which he also gave a talk on world affairs, appeared to inaugurate a relationship with the network—presumably a paid one, though neither Flynn nor RT answered queries on the subject. Flynn now makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst, in which he often argues that the U.S. and Russia should be working more closely together on issues like fighting ISIL and ending Syria’s civil war. “Russia has its own national security strategy, and we have to respect that,” he said in one recent appearance. “And we have to try to figure out: How do we combine the United States’ national security strategy along with Russia’s national security strategy, despite all the challenges that we face?”

At a moment of semi-hostility between the U.S. and Russia, the presence of such an important figure at Putin’s table startled current and former members of the Obama administration. “It was extremely odd that he showed up in a tuxedo to the Russian government propaganda arm’s party,” one former Pentagon official told me.

Donald Trump has received briefings from Flynn and reportedly considered him as a possible running mate. And the retired general was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention in July.

Judging from this video of Stein rhapsodizing about her visit to Russia, she has more in common with Trump in relation to the Putin regime than either does with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Neither Trump nor Stein has anything critical to say about Russia’s intervention in Ukraine or about the country’s appalling human rights record– or about its murderous indiscriminate bombing campaign on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria.

I am sure Putin would be pleased to see either Trump or Stein elected president, but he understands political reality, and so is focusing his regime’s efforts (hacking, paid trolls, etc.) on helping the Republican.