Biden’s DOE Pick Jennifer Granholm Spent Years Pushing Russia Conspiracy Theories

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to helm the Department of Energy, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), has a history of publicly promoting theories about Russian collusion in the 2016 election.

Granholm, who if confirmed by the United States Senate as energy secretary, would be in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, began pushing the notion that President Donald Trump was enamored of Russia in mid-2015, according to the former governor’s social media posts.

The former governor, in particular, was an early proponent of the idea that Trump’s reluctance to release his tax returns during the 2016 contest might have been tied to business dealings in Russia. At the time, Granholm even speculated that Trump might be a “tool” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Trump bested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Granholm pivoted to suggesting that the Republicans had only carried the White House because of help from Russia.

During one particular appearance on CNN in August of 2018, the former governor argued that “Russian interference” in the 2016 race through social media platforms like Facebook had cost Clinton the election. At the time, Granholm also suggested that if Democrats, like then-Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), failed to do well in the upcoming 2018 congressional elections, it was likely because Russia played a role.

When pushed by a CNN political contributor that it was unfair to blame Russia for the “Democrats’ poor performance” in elections, both past and present, Granholm disagreed. “I can blame the Russians for interfering in this election, and every single intelligence agency says they did interfere” in 2016, the former governor said in response.

Even after claims of Russian collusion were found to be unproven by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Granholm did not let go of the notion. In December 2019, the former governor intimated that Trump had “love for Putin” when sharing a photo of the president meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Granholm repeated the suggestion that Trump was somehow beholden to Russia as recently as September of this year.

Trump is not the only Republican that Granholm has accused of doing Russia’s bidding. On a number of occasions, the former governor has lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as “Moscow Mitch.” The nickname, which was first coined by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough after the release of the Mueller report, has been used by congressional Democrats to attack the Senate leader for refusing to support their proposal on election security.

McConnell, who is likely to be pivotal to Granholm’s chances for confirmation provided Republicans remain in control of the Senate pending two runoff elections in Georgia, has expressed displeasure at the nickname. In September 2019, the GOP leader told Hugh Hewitt, the conservative-leaning radio host, that the nickname amounted to nothing more than an “over the top effort” to “smear” him for refusing to support legislation favoring mainly Democrats.

It is unclear if Granholm’s history of pushing Russian collusion theories on social media will have any impact on her nomination. The president-elect’s transition team did not respond to comments for this story.

Granholm in recent weeks, though, seems to have become aware that her old social media posts could be controversial. Data compiled by Social Blade, a digital media analytics company, indicates that the former governor has deleted at least 67 old posts from Twitter since the start of December.

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