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May 26, 2024

Pelosi Calls for FBI Probe Into Potential Russian Backing of US Pro-Palestine Protesters

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Jan 29, 2024

Pelosi Alleges Some Gaza Ceasefire Protesters Have Ties to Putin Regime

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made waves Sunday when she called for the FBI and Director of National Intelligence to investigate whether pro-Palestine protesters demonstrating against Israeli military action in Gaza have connections to Russia or are potentially funded by entities linked to Vladimir Putin’s government.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union program, Pelosi stated “I think we really have to investigate this because it very well could be – as they say, the buzzword of the day – Russian instigation.” She went on to allege that “Some of these pro-Palestinian protesters are actually trying to spread Mr. Putin’s message in the United States” and asserted that their funding and coordination should be scrutinized.

Pelosi’s remarks come amidst mass protests across major US cities demanding Israel agree to an immediate ceasefire after over two weeks of airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas. Over 200 Palestinians have been reported killed, including dozens of children.

Fierce Backlash from Advocacy Groups and Progressives

The House Speaker’s assertions were met swiftly by condemnation from a range of civil rights and Muslim advocacy organizations.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced Pelosi’s comments as “shocking and dangerous” and accused her of smearing “Americans who criticize unjust Israeli actions as somehow being linked to a foreign adversary.” They called on Pelosi to either provide evidence to support her claims or retract her statement.

Group Quote
CAIR “We condemn Speaker Pelosi’s shocking claim that Americans exercising their constitutional right to protest are somehow spreading propaganda for the Russian government if they oppose Israeli bombings of Palestinian civilians. This outrageous and bizarre accusation appears to be an attempt to smear Americans who criticize unjust Israeli actions as somehow being linked to a foreign adversary.”
Muslim Public Affairs Council “For the Speaker to make these unfounded accusations without providing any evidence is shocking and dangerous.”
Arab American Institute “These kinds of accusations, that Palestinians or their advocates in the US have dual loyalties & can’t be trusted, date back over a century and need to end.”

Fierce criticism also came from the progressive wing of Pelosi’s own Democratic party. Newly elected Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the remarks “dangerous incitement” and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan argued Pelosi was employing “the same tactics the right uses to stifle dissent.” Independent Senator Bernie Sanders dubbed the allegations “outrageous.”

Pelosi Defends Comments, Reiterating Call for Investigation

Appearing Monday on MSNBC, Pelosi stood by her initial comments and demand for a federal probe into potential Russian backing of some Gaza ceasefire protesters:

“When I said we should investigate to see the sources of funding and what about—what connections there are to Russia, this was not criticizing protest,” she stated. “I myself am very much in support of protesters advocating for whatever they want to advocate for.”

“It’s just saying, let’s investigate the sources of money that is driving some of this activity and see what connections there are to Russia and Putin, who wants to undermine democracy at every opportunity that he can.”

The Speaker went on to argue that the US has a responsibility to guarantee Israel’s right to self-defense while also minimizing Palestinian civilian casualties. She declined to directly respond to criticisms that her rhetoric threatened free speech and protest rights.

White House Distances Itself from Pelosi’s Assertions

While some Congressional Democrats have echoed support for investigating potential Russian ties to pro-Palestine protesters, the Biden administration appeared keen to avoid being directly associated with Pelosi’s more inflammatory allegations.

“The Speaker can speak for herself,” Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters Monday. “From our perspective, we certainly would condemn any foreign efforts to exploit tensions surrounding the ongoing crisis.”

Singh declined to comment on whether President Biden agreed with Pelosi that Russia may be funding or otherwise assisting protesters against Israeli military strikes in Gaza. The FBI has also not publicly indicated if they intend to open an investigation as Pelosi suggested.

What’s Next?

  • Pelosi will likely face ongoing criticism and demands to retract her call for investigating Gaza ceasefire protesters
  • It remains unclear if federal law enforcement or intelligence agencies will actually probe potential Russian ties to pro-Palestine demonstrations
  • The White House wants to avoid being directly linked to Pelosi’s more controversial remarks
  • Protests over Israeli military strikes in Gaza seem poised to continue, with this new controversy potentially intensifying turnout

The Speaker’s dramatic allegations have added fuel to the fire around an already emotive issue. Her defiant defense of the comments means this new controversy will likely persist in the background even as international efforts towards a Gaza ceasefire continue.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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