On December 18, 2018, Russia Today, a media outlet controlled by the Kremlin, reported that “a campaign calling for the independence of California from the United States has opened an ‘embassy’ in Moscow. The movement, Yes California, is hoping for a ‘Calexit’ break from the US. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Louis Marinelli, leader of the movement, said the embassy will not deal with diplomatic issues, but will act as more of a cultural center that will educate Russians about California’s history, boost trade ties and promote tourism.”

How does a fledgling secession movement with little grassroots support afford a Moscow “embassy”? Snopes says a group funded by the Kremlin is letting them use the space for free.

Over the weekend, Marinelli gave a television interview to MSNBC host Alex Witt. “Do you think people might grow skeptical and concerned that this movement is just part of a bigger strategy by the Kremlin to destabilize the West?” she asked.

“Sure, we believe that’s certainly a reasonable skepticism for people to have,” Marinelli said, “but the truth of the matter is that the American government has for a long time tried to rally the American public against Russia no matter what the issue is.”

That wasn’t quite a denial, was it?