GOP group launches website attacking McCaskill

The super PAC allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates McConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Top House Democrat says party would lose elections if they were held today: report MORE (R-Ky.) is launching its opening salvo against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGiuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri McCaskill shares new July 4 family tradition: Watching Capitol riot video Joe Manchin's secret MORE (Mo.) ahead of her 2018 reelection campaign by needling her over contact with Russia with a new nickname —"Comrade Claire."

The Senate Leadership Fund's first digital ad zeroes in on McCaskill's previous comments about the Russian ambassador. It's part of a broader campaign effort first reported by The Hill that will stretch through the election.

McCaskill tweeted back in March that she had never spoken to or met Russia's ambassador to the United States during her career in the Senate. The tweet responded to reports that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE failed to disclose meetings with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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Democrats were blasting Sessions at the time for the revelations in concert with the investigation in to Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

But soon after, tweets surfaced of her commenting on a 2013 meeting and a 2015 phone call with the ambassador. And CNN reported that McCaskill had attended a reception at Kislyak's house back in 2015.

McCaskill later argued that that she had meant she never met with him as part of her role on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which both she and Sessions served together before his appointment to the Justice Department.

A Justice Department spokesperson had argued at the time that Sessions' meetings came as part of his service on the committee, an assertion Democrats openly questioned.

Senate Leadership Fund's video rehashes the controversy, complete with Russian music and imagery, pictures and news clippings from reporting surrounding the revelation. 

The group's broader campaign tars McCaskill as "Millionaire Claire" on a new opposition research website meant to soften her up before her reelection bid.

The opening digital push costs about $5,000 and will be bolstered by other buys targeting McCaskill in the future.

McCaskill is expected to have one of the toughest reelection races of the cycle, thanks to President Trump's success in her state in November.

The Senate Leadership Fund is one of the top Republican outside groups in politics and is tasked with defending the Republican majority in the Senate.