Jumaane Williams once a regular guest on Russian State TV

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Jumaane Williams once a regular guest on Russian State TV

From Russia with Jumaane.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams made at least eight appearances on Russian state television while a city councilman, where he denounced President Trump as a “Nazi” and falsely stated Russia and the CIA had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday, Russia abruptly shut down the network and laid off most of its staff after it was dropped by DirecTV and Roku, dealing a crushing financial blow to the network.

In a January 2017 appearance on RT America, Williams promised he would be involved in “civil disobedience … from day one” to protest Trump’s election.

“Everyone can agree there was some input on the Russians and the CIA,” he said, later qualifying that “Democrats lost because of the hubris of themselves. It had nothing to do with the other things.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams made at least eight appearances on Russian state television while a city councilman.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams made at least eight appearances on Russian television while a city councilman.
A map shows the areas of Ukraine threatened by Russian incursion.
A map shows the areas of Ukraine threatened by Russian incursion.

In a July appearance that same year in which he discussed whether the U.S. should work with Russia on issues like North Korea and ISIS, Williams said the United Sates was a “hegemon” — an international relations term describing a state with political and military supremacy.


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.


In a discussion about racist violence in Charlottesville, Va., Williams savaged Trump’s comment that there had been bad participants on “both sides”

“We have a sitting president who is legitimizing white supremacy, [and] is legitimizing Nazism,” Williams said.

Williams used his RT America appearances to excoriate then-President Trump.
Williams used his RT America appearances to excoriate then-President Trump.

The pundit gigs all came between 2016 and 2017 on the television show “News with Ed Schultz” hosted by the former liberal radio personality and MSNBC anchor.

The show was a political commentary program aired on RT America — an English-language arm of the Russian propaganda network RT. The network is headquartered in Washington D.C. and is intended for US audiences.

The then-city councilman’s appearances came more than two years after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Crimea and eight years after the country’s invasion of Georgia. Russia was already under sanctions by the United States.

The then-city councilman's appearances came more than two years after Russia's invasion of neighboring Crimea.
The then-city councilman’s appearances came more than two years after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Crimea.

In addition to exporting pro-Russian propaganda, experts say the network’s primary purpose is to exacerbate social division in countries Russia is at odds with.

“They are looking for an American stooge all the time. Somebody who will bash America and they use it for their personal propaganda projects,” said Curtis Sliwa, a former GOP candidate for mayor who also appeared once on the network.

“RT has spent its 17 years in existence hiring Americans and bringing on guests who will assist RT — wittingly or unwittingly — in furthering their aims of sowing discord and spreading conspiracy theories to benefit America’s adversaries,” said Curtis Houck, managing editor of the watchdog Media Research Center.

Williams stopped appearing on the network in 2017.
Williams stopped appearing on the network in 2017.

“Given the topics that they had him onto discuss, it was quite clear why he was invited,” Houck added of Williams.

Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney also stopped by in 2013 to talk about a government shutdown, while Donald Trump offered an interview to Larry King just months before he was elected president. King infamously hosted a show on the RT network after being given the boot from CNN.

“The Public Advocate has always believed in sharing his message to even those he strongly disagrees with, and joined conversations on Ed Schultz’ program several times after he left his position as a host on MSNBC,” William Gerlich, a spokesman for Williams said.

On Thursday, Russia abruptly shut down the network and laid off most of its staff.
On Thursday, Russia abruptly shut down the network and laid off most of its staff.

“In 2017, Williams stopped appearing on the network — and has refused to since —because of its connections to the Russian government and its attacks on democracy, the harm of which far overshadowed any journalistic or public outreach value to the appearances.”

 

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