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BREAKING

 

BLOOD MONEY

Hacked text messages by Paul Manafort’s daughters, Jessica and Andrea, were posted to “a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective” and show their father took “blood money” from Kremlin linked officials, POLITICO reports. The New York Daily News reports “Manafort is now under investigation by the FBI, CIA and NSA.” Daughter Andrea referred to Trump and Manafort’s relationship as “The most dangerous friendship in America”. She said they are “the perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs”. She also referred to her father’s earnings working for deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych following the deaths of 100 protesters on Maidan Square as “blood money”, a few months later, the status of said earnings was downgraded to “legally questionable”. Manafort confirmed his daughter had been hacked but would not comment beyond confirming just a few of the messages, whereas neither mother nor the daughters would respond to requests for comment. In a message posted to the darkweb site, the hacktivist collective promised further information on Manafort’s family is forthcoming. Messages posted suggest both daughter Jessica and Paul Manafort were targets of hacks.

From POLITICO.

 

CONFEDERACY OF A DUNCE

Trump addressed Congress and for a little over an hour “abandoned the dark rhetoric and narrow vision,” which means that was the bar he had to scale and it was very low. Yet, it did not seem he did; against better advice from H.R. McMaster, he included his favorite catch phrase of fear, “radical Islamic terrorism”.   The Washington Post asks, “Or was it the state Duma?”  He never said the word Russia, removing it “like Trotsky from Soviet photos.” Before he gave his speech to a joint session of Congress, Russia looked for positive signals, as Trump set the stage by blaming “my generals” and Obama for the death of a US Navy SEAL during a raid he authorized, allegedly over dinner, in Yemen. Widow Carryn Owens was present for the address, something highlighted during the speech. Trump also devoted less than a minute to condemning the tsunami of hate crimes he encouraged since announcing his candidacy because the man revels in violence and seemed to blame political opponents for a wave of recent hate crimes, including the desecration of a historic Jewish cemetery near St. Louis. Meanwhile, Moscow took the opportunity to announce that the planning is underway for a Trump-Putin confab with absolutely no detail given. The world is watching!

From POLITICO, The Washington Post, Reuters, NBC News, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

 

REPUBLICAN HIT BRIGADE

A day after former President George W. Bush appeared on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, Lauer spoke with House Speaker Paul Ryan. As with Bush, Ryan said, “We need to get answers,” about Trump and his team’s dealings with Russia. Ryan would not elaborate on whether a special prosecutor should be brought in or White House communications with the FBI or intelligence services but said a priority “is ensuring that the collection of intelligence data is not compromised”.

From NBC News Today Show.

 

INVESTIGATIONS, INVESTIGATIONS

 

STOP IN THE NAME OF… ?

House Republicans put the kibosh on House Democrats requests for “documents detailing President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, as well as conflicts of interest stemming from his business empire.” The “resolution of inquiry” was defeated along party lines by an 18-16 vote. Republicans were protective and vitriolic calling the “resolution of inquiry” everything from “unnecessary, premature” to “hyperbole… thick enough to cut with a knife” to derogatory charges that this is all just about “stages of grief” over the election loss (no, no it is not). Patriots, all of them, clearly.

From POLITICO.

 

GINGRICH CALLS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR MUKASEY

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News that Trump should “take a lesson from the past” and appoint a “very smart, very independent” person to investigate his ties to Russia, something he will never do willingly like release his tax returns. Gingrich recommends former President George W. Bush’s Attorney General Michael Mukasey since “you know, there are questions here”.

From NBC News.

 

“WE CERTAINLY DON’T WANT INTELLIGENCE INTERFERING WITH POLITICS”

Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway once famously said, “We don’t want politics interfering with intelligence and we certainly don’t want intelligence interfering with politics.” Well, Trump’s nominee for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian interference in the 2016 needed to be investigated. “I have no intention of holding anything back from this committee,” he reportedly said.

From Reuters.

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Where did Trump lawyer Michael Cohen get his first bit of money? Talking Points Memo reports in the taxi business where he partnered with a Ukrainian, Simon Garber, who The Wall Street Journal described in January as a “Ukrainian-born taxi baron”. Cohen sold his share in their taxi company to Garber before ending up in Trump’s orbit circa 2006-2007. But “for whatever reason” Cohen’s name is still in the city and state corporation filings. He also had another business with two other Ukrainians, Arkady Vaygensberg and Leonid Tatarchuk. Taken alone, this tells us very little other than Cohen appears to have quite a fair number of Ukrainian contacts in New York.

From Talking Points Memo.

 

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

 

THE WORST IN THE WORLD

Russia’s stock market tanked in February as the Trump-induced euphoria that hit Russia following Trump’s early morning victory on November 9 (same date the Berlin Wall fell) fades. Russia’s Micex index was the worst performing in the world for the month of February. Hope is fading of a rollback of crippling economic sanctions in the current climate of Washington. By contrast, America’s stock markets grew 5.7% in February. Just think, my fellow Americans, it can always be worse, we could already be in the big shit Russia is in. Actually, on second thought, no that’s impossible and created over centuries of feudalism and terror – and they have some lovely people too!

From Quartz and Bloomberg.

 

DISINFO WARS

 

PRANK WARFARE?

Russian state-run RT claims American experts from a shady sounding security firm, VIP Protective Services Inc., certify as “authentic” a prank call to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made by two known Russian pranksters, Lexus and Vovan, according to a Life.ru report. In other words: Russia says the fake is real, so what is new? And like all things on Russian state-run anything, should be treated as possible disinformation until further notice.

From Russian state-run RT.

 

RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM OUR PRESS AND THEIRS

 

BALKAN EXPLOSION

A NATO press release on behalf of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expresses sadness over the unattributed explosions at the Kragujevac Military Facility in Kragujevac, Serbia, which resulted in at least one death. It is unclear what NATO’s connection to the facility is from the press release as it is unclear why the explosion occurred and beyond the death of an individual in continental Europe, why NATO’s Secretary General is expressed his condolences.  Meanwhile, the Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, within Bosnia rejected a move to bring Bosnia closer on the path toward EU membership. The maneuver comes on the eve of a visit by EU High Commissioner Federica Mogherini to the Balkans from March 1-4.

From a NATO press release and Balkan Insight.

 

NO MAN’S LAND

In a similar vein, perhaps, NATO is calling on Russia “to recognize Georgia’s borders” and keep open two border crossings between the breakaway territory of Abkhazia in the northwest of the country on the Black Sea. A NATO spokesman warned that “Closure of two crossing points along the administrative boundary… which are used daily by hundreds of citizens, will have a negative impact on the situation on the ground.” The region was occupied by Russian troops during the brief, five-day August War of 2008.  The closures could add up to 30 kilometers to commuting time, which is tough when that’s through a no man’s land of sorts. Having visited the region once years ago, for some color just imagine the only billboards are for satellite communications and military hardware and the only transportation options are black Mercedes and dilapidated old minibuses.

From Voice of America.

 

NEMTSOV STREET IN WASHINGTON?

Senator Marco Rubio proposed naming the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington after murdered opposition activist and former Deputy Prime Minister under Yeltsin, Boris Nemtsov. This is an excellent idea and more than a fair trade for a puppet traitor likely compromised by Russia in the White House. Rubio submitted the draft Monday evening on the anniversary of Nemtsov’s suspicious death from numerous gunshot wounds in the shadow of the Kremlin. Rubio said changing the street name to Nemtsov “would permanently remind Putin’s regime and the Russian people that these dissidents’ voices live on”. Kyiv and Vilnius have similarly promised to name streets for Nemtsov, Newsweek reports.

From Newsweek.

 

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