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The Cato Institute investigating a blog post authored by a senior researcher who disseminated electoral conspiracy theories

The rhetoric contrasts sharply with a statement released last week by Cato Institute President and CEO Peter Goettler, which called the assault on Capitol Hill “a direct attack on the United States Constitution, the state of law and our constitutional republic “.

Illarionov’s comments are now “under discussion among senior management” and with Illarionov directly, said Corie Whalen, spokesperson for Cato.

“The Cato Institute’s management team categorically rejects the claims made in Mr Illarionov’s blog post,” Whalen said in a statement to POLITICO. “The matter is being discussed between senior management and with Mr. Illarionov. Violent disruption of constitutional processes is unacceptable and must be unequivocally rejected. Crowd domination is not a path to freedom. Trying to forcibly keep a defeated president in power is at the heart of the Constitution’s provisions designed to protect the rights and freedoms of the American people.

Cato is one of the many institutions and entities that have attempted to distance themselves from President Donald Trump and his allies in the wake of the deadly attack on Capitol Hill. But some analysts fear that Illarionov’s comments may be legitimized because of his affiliation with the think tank, and again raise the specter of Russian attempts to sow chaos and doubt over the legitimacy of the US election.

Ilya Zaslavskiy, a researcher who is currently leading a project on post-Soviet kleptocracy, called Illarionov’s messages “really dangerous,” noting that they are widely shared in Russia and among Russian-American Trump supporters.

“Appearing academic and analytical, it further fuels hatred and insurgency,” Zaslavskiy said.

The biography of the Cato Institute of Illarionov says that he was Putin’s “chief economic adviser” from 2000 to December 2005, and “was a longtime friend of the Cato Institute”. Illarionov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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