'Party of Treason' Video on Putin's GOP 'Puppets' Viewed Over 1M Times

A political video attacking the Republican Party by calling it the "party of treason" has been viewed more than 1 million times on Twitter.

The video takes aim at eight GOP lawmakers who met with high-ranking Russian officials in July 2018 by accusing them of siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin while he worked to "destabilize Western democracy."

The advertisement, which is paid for by the Really American PAC, which supports Democrats, is the latest example of anti-Putin sentiment being used in political attacks as the Russian leader faces heightened scrutiny amid his invasion of Ukraine.

The lawmakers who attended the meeting included: Montana Senator Steve Daines, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, South Dakota Senator John Tune and Texas Representative Kay Granger.

The video also attacked them for voting against election security bills and in favor of exonerating former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment—when Democrats accused him of withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"We can't allow his puppets to sink their paws deeper into our government," the advertisement said.

A spokesperson for Kennedy wrote in a statement to Newsweek that he went on the trip to "call Russia to the carpet for attempts at election meddling."

Following the 2018 trip, which did not include a meeting with Putin, the lawmakers faced criticism, but defended the meetings. Shelby, who led the delegation, said at the time that he told Russian officials "the worst thing you can do is try to meddle in our elections."

"We also told them that even though our relationship is strained, it would be better for the world for us to be competitors, always, rather than adversaries. But we'll have to see what happens," Shelby told the Associated Press.

Kennedy told The Advocate in 2018: "I also intend to talk frankly about Russia's attempt to interfere and meddle not only in the United States' elections, but also France's elections, the Brexit vote and the German elections."

Following Russia's invasion, some Republicans have faced criticism for making remarks that some say are pro-Putin. Trump recently faced backlash after he called the Russian president's military moves "genius." North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn attacked Zelensky last week by calling him a "thug" who led the "incredibly corrupt" Ukrainian government that pushed "woke ideologies."

The congressman's controversial remarks sparked condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans.

Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, defended the Ukrainian president while slamming Putin as a "murderous thug," while Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger criticized pro-Putin Republicans who have an "affection for authoritarianism." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also called Putin "evil" during a press conference last Wednesday.

Newsweek reached out to the offices of each lawmaker mentioned in the video. This story will be updated with any response.

Video attacks GOP as "party of treason"
A new video takes aim at the GOP as the “party of treason.” Above, the Republican Party’s elephant symbol. Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images