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GOP’s ‘Putin wing’ takes a bizarre stand on war crimes resolution

Six House Republicans opposed a resolution on collecting and preserving evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.


Much of the world has been horrified by evidence of Russia committing gruesome war crimes in Ukraine, so it came as no surprise when the U.S. House voted yesterday on the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act.

The surprising part was the fact that the vote wasn’t unanimous. The Hill reported:

The House passed bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would require the Biden administration to detail its efforts to collect evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.... The measure approved by the House would specifically require the Biden administration to outline the process for the U.S. government to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began in late February. It would also require the Biden administration to submit a report to Congress about the process for a domestic, foreign or international court or tribunal should one request information from the U.S. about war crimes.

On the surface, this was a welcome example of bipartisanship. The resolution was introduced by Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, and his panel’s ranking Republican, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul. The measure also enjoyed the support of every member of both parties’ leadership teams, en route to passing the chamber 418 to 6.

And who thought it’d be a good idea to oppose such a resolution? The list, comprised entirely of Republicans, features some familiar names:

  1. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  2. Warren Davidson of Ohio
  3. Paul Gosar of Arizona
  4. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
  5. Thomas Massie of Kentucky
  6. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there have been a series of House votes on measures related to the attack, each of which have been approved easily, despite opposition from the contingent that Rep. Liz Cheney labeled the GOP’s “Putin wing.”

It was about a month ago, for example, when the House voted overwhelmingly to ban oil imports from Russia. In all, 15 House Republicans opposed the measure — including most of the members who voted “no” yesterday.

A week earlier, the House easily passed a non-binding resolution in support of Ukrainians, which three Republicans opposed, most of whom also voted “no” yesterday.

Soon after, the House voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, and that measure was only opposed by eight Republicans, three of whom also voted “no” yesterday.

Note, in each of these instances, the far-right members knew the bills would pass easily. But they nevertheless wanted to go on the record voting against them.

As for the Venn diagram, how many House GOP members voted against the resolution in support of Ukrainians, the ban on Russian oil imports, the suspension of normal trade relations with Russia, and the resolution on Russian war crimes?

Just one: Thomas Massie. The Kentucky Republican is perhaps best known for being derided by Donald Trump as a “third-rate grandstander.”

Postscript: Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is currently listed as having voted against the resolution, but her office confirmed that her vote was cast in error. The official record will be amended to reflect her support for the measure.