During a press conference on Wednesday, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power, sending shockwaves throughout Washington. Later that day, during a meeting with Republican attorneys general, he predicted that the Supreme Court would decide the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
A similar prediction was issued on Vesti Nedeli, a popular show hosted by CEO of the state news agency Rossiya Sevodnya. During a September 20 broadcast, the station aired a report by U.S.-based reporter Valentin Bogdanov, who said that the Supreme Court may “play a key part” in the upcoming presidential contest, especially “if none of the parties are willing to concede defeat.”
On September 21, another Russian state-owned television channel, Rossiya-1, weighed in on the situation. Its U.S.-based correspondent Denis Davydov said that it is likely the judicial branch will determine the winner of the upcoming election.
Trump and his fellow Republicans are expected to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last Friday, in record time. Media reports allege that Trump has chosen Judge Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement.
Barrett, it seems, enjoys the support of Kremlin-backed news outlets. Russia Today has already published a column in support of her candidacy. On the same day it published the op-ed, the channel released a deepfake video depicting Trump as Vladimir Putin’s preferred candidate.
During a campaign rally on Monday, Trump discussed his relationship with Russia’s president.
“I like Putin. He likes me,” he told a crowd of supporters.
Two days later, the commander-in-chief accused the Democratic Party of interfering in the electoral process and stressed the importance of appointing his judge before November 3.
“I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling, it’s a scam, this scam will be before the United States Supreme Court and I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation. Just in case it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a ninth judge.”
At the same time, the Trump administration’s latest moves with regard to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline have, apparently, angered the Kremlin. On the TV show 60 Minutes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent suggestion that the U.S. will stop the project were described as a declaration of war.
“Notorious Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky ranted and raved about the U.S. threat to Nord Stream 2, vocally regretting his champagne-soaked celebration of Trump’s 2016 election victory,” The Daily Beast wrote.