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Mike Pence calls out Republican rift on Russia

Putin critic Alexei Navalny dead at 47

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a pointed series of posts prompted by the death of Alexei Navalny, Mike Pence highlights a growing divide among American leaders about Russia.

Navalny was the highest-profile Russian critic of the country’s president, Vladimir Putin. Russian authorities say Navalny died after falling ill during a walk at the facility where he was held.
Navalny’s health, political activity, and location were often tangled together in uncertainty.

In 2020, he survived a poisoning widely viewed as an assassination attempt by the Kremlin.

Navalny was serving a 19-year sentence for ‘extremism,’ his third such incarceration. In recent months, he had been moved from a conventional prison to a penal colony in the Arctic Circle. His death comes just before an election likely to give Putin another six years in power.

Pence, the former Vice President and Indiana Governor, posted a series of comments soon after the news about Navalny broke, starting with, “There is no room in the Republican Party for apologists for Putin.”

Pence went on to weigh in on the intertwined international and domestic issues that currently threaten Washington with gridlock. In his posts, Pence upbraids the Biden Administration’s approaches to the U.S./Mexico border and the Israel-Hamas war. He also calls on Congressional Republicans to unify behind Israel and Ukraine and provide them the resources they need in their wars.

Pence closes with, “We don’t need to choose between being Leader of the Free World and solving problems here at home. We can do both and have done both for generations. Anyone who says otherwise has a pretty small view of the greatest Nation on Earth. Time for Congress to lead,”

The comments come during a GOP dustup over Ukraine, Russia, and space weapons. The Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Turner, touched it off with a reference to a “serious national security threat,” later described as a spaced-based threat from Russia.

Turner’s move drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, including a formal request by fellow GOP Representative Andy Ogles for a Congressional inquiry into Turner’s claims. Rep. Matt Gaetz echoed Ogles’ sentiments in public comments, saying, “I worry that the motivation to draw so much attention to this is less about intelligence and national security and more about a politician who wants to send $60 billion to Ukraine.”