—–ON THE AGENDA—–
RUSSIAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE SUMMIT IN PRAGUE
The Guardian reports, “Security specialists from 27 countries including Britain and the US are meeting in Prague on Monday in what has been billed as the most concerted attempt yet to counter alleged Kremlin destabilisation measures aimed at undermining western elections.” The five-day summit is hosted by the Czech Republic’s Interior Ministry and is staged by NATO’s Strategic Communications or StratCom. The conference is “an effort to persuade governments and the European Union to strengthen electoral processes amid rising concern”. The Guardian notes, “High-level delegations from the Pentagon and the US Department of State are expected to take part in the conference”. It is also tied to a Czech think tank, European Values, but the location is an interesting choice given the Czech President Milos Zeman is another one of Putin’s puppets.
From The Guardian.
FORMER TOP INTEL OFFICIAL SAYS U.S. UNDER ASSAULT BY TRUMP
CNN reports, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that he thinks US institutions are under assault from President Donald Trump.” Clapper told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “”I think in many ways our institutions are under assault both externally — and that’s the big news here is the Russian interference in our election system — and I think as well our institutions are under assault internally“. Clapper said, “no one should portray his comments as ‘exculpatory’ — something Trump has done repeatedly on Twitter”. He also said former FBI Director James Comey was uneasy about accepting a dinner invitation from Trump at the same time as he was investigating him. Clapper also told ABC News George Stephanopoulos that Comey’s dismissal was ““another victory on the scoreboard for” Russia.
TRUMP’S LAWYERS UP WITH RUSSIAN LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR, FOR REAL
The AP reports, “Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Friday that a review of his last 10 years of tax returns did not reflect ‘any income of any type from Russian sources,’ but their letter included exceptions related to previously cited income generated from a beauty pageant and sale of a Florida estate.” Well, that’s income, $95 million worth of income. Of course, “The attorneys did not release copies of Trump’s tax returns,” because that would likely disprove their already specious claims. The letter came from attorneys Sheri Dillon and William Nelson from the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Lewis & Bockius was named the Russian law firm of the year in 2016. Yes, this happened. Pro-tip: whilst denying ties to Russia do not use the Russian law firm of the year. You would not believe this if it were a television show or a movie; you would say the story lacks verisimilitude.
From The AP.
TRUMP CLAIMS WHITE HOUSE TAPES, RECALLING NIXON’S DOWNFALL
The AP reports on Friday, “President Donald Trump on Friday shot a sharp warning at his ousted FBI director about possible ‘tapes’ of their disputed private conversations, raising the provocative possibility that recording devices have been installed in the White House”. There is a reason White House tapes went out of fashion after Nixon but Trump was never much of a student of American history, only autocrats. White House spokesman Sean Spicer, “refused to comment on whether listening devices are active in the Oval Office or elsewhere, a non-denial that recalled the secretly taped conversations and telephone calls that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s downfall in the Watergate scandal.” Indeed! During an interview with Fox News on Friday, Trump said of the tapes he alleges, “Well that I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest. And I hope he will be”. The AP also reports, “On Friday, a person close to the former director recounted a different version. At a one-on-one dinner at the White House in January, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president and Comey declined, instead offering to be honest with him”. The AP notes, “Trump was widely known to record some phone conversations at his office in Trump Tower during his business career,” something that is illegal in many states if both parties do not consent. But law breaking is not something new to the pussy grabber in chief, it just matters more when white men are concerned, it seems.
From The AP.
FBI RAIDS REPUBLICAN STRATEGY FIRM IN MARYLAND
The Baltimore Sun reports, “The FBI raided a Republican campaign consultant’s Annapolis office Thursday,” around 8:30 a.m. local time. Bloomberg notes, “The target of the raid was Strategic Campaign Group Inc.,” which has ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump advisor Roger Stone through one of the firm’s senior advisors, Dennis Whitfield. According to The Baltimore Sun, “FBI spokeswoman Lindsay Ram said the investigation is being conducted through the bureau’s Washington field office, which has jurisdiction in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. The New York Daily News reports, the firm was “accused of fund-raising without approval from candidates.”
FBI REFUSES TO RELEASE DOCUMENTS ON TRUMP’S CALL FOR RUSSIA HACK
The Guardian reports, “The US justice department is refusing to disclose FBI documents relating to Donald Trump’s highly contentious election year call on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.” The reason Justice Department officials are giving is the standard, namely that doing so would “interfere with enforcement proceedings”. In a Washington, D.C. federal court filing, the Department of Justice stated for the record that, “because of the existence of an active, ongoing investigation, the FBI anticipates that it will … withhold all records,” according to The Guardian, suggesting “Trump’s provocative comment last July is being seen by the FBI as relevant to its own ongoing investigation.” Recall Trump said very publicly on July 27, 2016, “I will tell you this, Russia: if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”. He repeated the treasonous call on Twitter later that day, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!” The Department of Justice’s statements were in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by Ryan Shapiro of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard and journalist Jason Leopold. Together they submitted a FOIA request last August. Initially, the FBI “declined either to confirm or deny the existence of any documents on this matter, but later reversed its position”. The result is that the FBI in effect admits, “that records relating to Trump’s provocative remark were in the agency’s possession.” Yee-haw!
From The Guardian.
U.S. NAVY REPORTS RUSSIAN HARASSMENT IN THE BLACK SEA
NBC News citing U.S. military officials reports, “A Russian fighter jet twice came within a short distance from a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea this week”. U.S. Naval Forces Europe Captain Pamela Kunze said the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon was “conducting routine operations in international airspace,” was approached by a Russian Su-27 jet. Kunze added the P-8A’s mission commander said “the interaction ‘was considered safe and professional,’” which is odd considering it is the subject of an NBC News story. Russia’s Ministry of Defense by contrast said it had “executed a ‘greeting’ maneuver”. NBC News also reports, “on Friday morning, a P-8 Poseidon had another close encounter with an SU-27 over the Black Sea, about 120 miles southeast of Crimea, said Pentagon Spokesperson Cmdr. Sarah Higgins.” The two aircraft came within 45 feet of each other, according to NBC News.
From NBC News.
NAVALNY RETURNS TO RUSSIA AFTER EYE SURGERY
The AP reports, “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has returned home after surgery in Spain,” following a state sponsored attack that left his face splashed and eye injured with green cleaner known in Russia as zelyonka. Unsurprisingly for those familiar with what sort of cowardice occupies the Kremlin, “His supporters identified the attacker as a pro-government activist. Police have failed to track him down.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Navalny wrote on Twitter, “I’m back.” He also “said that a presidential decree issued while he was in Spain to tighten the rules on holding such protests would not stop the planned events from going ahead.” Separately police forced Navalny to leave a protest Sunday against the demolition of residential homes in Moscow by the state in what is tantamount to a typical imminent domain-style seizure and resettlement all too typical in the post-Soviet sphere when greedy politicians eye land they can use and seize it, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.
WHITE HOUSE EVOKES RUSSIA IN NORTH KOREA RESPONSE
Yes you read that right. POLITICO reports, “The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump ‘cannot imagine that Russia is pleased’ with North Korea’s latest missile test.” Suddenly now the White House speaks for the Kremlin? The statement came from Sean “Holocaust centers” Spicer. WTF.
—–CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS WATCH: COMEY FIRING—–
TRUMP FIRED COMEY IN A MANNER BEFITTING OF TRUMP TRASH
POLITICO reports, “Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week.” As per standard operating procedure in Trumpland, Trump fired Comey in the trashiest, most ill-conceived way possible, by sending his enforcer turned fancy White House title holder Keith Schiller (who according to CNN “now sits sentry outside the Oval Office doors,” because Trump must be so very afraid) with a nasty, biting letter to do it, according to POLITICO. By contrast, Comey’s own letter to his former bureau was pure class. Contrary to all other explanations for the firing, which TRUMPISTAN WATCH is deliberately ignoring as the duty of the journalist is to cut through bullshit, not promote it, POLITICO reports, Trump “had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia.” The illiberal lunatic “repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.” There is also extraordinary symbolism in sending your muscle to crush the law, something akin to mafia justice. POLITICO notes, “The news stunned Comey, who saw news of his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH by contrast was utterly unsurprised and awaiting something of the sort. As per standard impetuousness, Trump did not inform his staff, if POLITICO is correct, as “Nobody really knew”. Stupidly, this White House was customarily ill prepared for blowback. Surprise, their ignorance of everything from the Holocaust to physics (“for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”) is total! Trump claims Comey gave him three assurances he was not under investigation, something he noted in his dismissal letter, but to believe that requires believing a habitual liar. Also, if such conversations took place that would be a “no-no” as it points to interference in an active investigation, e.g. obstruction of justice in the eyes of the law. One Republican legislative aide sent a text to CNN, “This is a shitshow”.
FALLOUT BOY: AG SESSIONS PROMISED TO RECUSE BUT NOW INTERFERES
The Washington Post correctly notes that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be “in deep trouble,” as the headline of Jennifer Rubin’s column puts it, because he helped Trump fire Comey by providing a letter of justification. Recall Sessions lied under oath about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, widely reported to be a spy, and consequently offered to recuse himself from any investigations of Trump and his nefarious Russia ties. Well, “Sessions consulted with the president and coordinated the firing of James Comey.” Now “the attorney general may now be in considerable legal peril” because his decision to assist Trump in firing Comey, and in writing, stokes the debate over “whether firing Comey constituted obstruction of justice.” The Lawfare blog makes a “persuasive analysis” that Sessions may have violated several statutes concerning obstruction of justice. Lock him up! Lock him up!
From The Washington Post.
FALLOUT BOY: DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN JOINS THE COVER UP
CNN notes that attached to Comey’s dismissal letter was one from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein’s letter stated, “I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails,” cause that is what they initially decided to pretend this was about, emails! It was so effective in deflecting from the Kremlin’s active measures of which Trump is a walking, talking one, for months during the campaign leading up to the coup, so why not reach for it now? Rosenstein wrote, “I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.” CNN reports, “Rosenstein’s key role in the drama surprised a number of his current and former colleagues at the Justice Department, leaving some to wonder whether he acted on his own”. Quite the lackey, he must make Trump so happy! An unnamed Department of Justice official hinted at further purges within the FBI, telling CNN, “There is a lot of cleaning house that needs to be done”. Well what is to be done? Resign Rosenstein, resign. Especially since Trump himself told NBC News’ Lester Holt, “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.” Earlier Thursday, POLITICO reports, “Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe on Thursday called the FBI’s own ongoing investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials a ‘highly significant investigation’”. Who will you believe, the partisans or patriots?
ROSENSTEIN IN CLOSED DOOR SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE MEETING
POLITICO reports, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was seen arriving at the Senate Intelligence Committee’s secure office spaces Thursday afternoon.” The meeting was requested by Rosenstein and both “Committee leaders, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), who both hastily left an open, televised committee hearing for what Burr said was a meeting ‘we can’t push off.’” Rosenstein arrived with a security detail, POLITICO reports. He also requested a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who declined according to POLITICO.
THE MESSAGE IS THE MASSAGING OF FACTS INTO ALTERNATIVE BULLSHIT
CNN reports that hours after Comey was fired, when the White House previously said it would have no further comment, “top aides were marched to television cameras on the North Lawn to explain the decision,” largely because they are a stupid, loquacious bunch and their boss is an impetuous child with no concept of grand strategy. The man baby squatting in the White House “was upset because he perceived that nobody was defending him on the cable networks”. So everyone, go place yourself in precarious legal crosshairs! In-house talking heads Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders were all dispatched to disgrace themselves as well as the highest office in the land. Spicer decided to place himself “in the dark between a gaggle of reporters and a large shrub on the White House driveway,” which quickly became a meme of sorts. “Another Tuesday at the White House,” The Washington Post reports “Sarah Huckabee Sanders quipped,” or Wednesday or any day really as they do antidemocratic shit 24/7.
COMEY PRESSED FOR MORE RESOURCES FOR RUSSIA PROBE
The AP reports, “Days before he was fired by Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates”. The request was made to his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, and “It was unclear whether word of the Comey request… ever made its way to Trump.” Let’s say it did. The Washington Post reports, “several Democrats confirmed that Comey had informed lawmakers of the request he made last week in a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein”. The day after Comey was fired, “Rosenstein’s own role in Comey’s firing became increasingly murky”. However, the AP notes, “Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores denied that Comey had asked Rosenstein for more resources for the Russia investigation.” According to The AP, “Trump advisers said the president met with Rosenstein, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on Monday after learning that they were at the White House for other meetings.” What a coincidence! Do you believe anything these people say? You probably should not as the White House is full of serial, habitual liars. What was discussed? If it was the investigation into Trump’s shady, shady ties to the Russian mafia state then that would be obstruction of justice.
McCONNELL AND RUSSIA PARTY CLOSE RANKS TO PROTECT KREMLIN DOG
When this all shakes out history will not be kind to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who is currently blocking efforts to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s deeply troubling ties to Russia. Not only will McConnell be judged poorly for damaging America and its sovereignty but the damage to his party will also be noted as “Republicans are giving President Donald Trump a pass for his surprise decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, even though a number of GOP senators appeared uncomfortable defending the president’s timing,” POLITICO reports. Even though there was a “flurry of GOP statements Tuesday night criticizing Trump for axing Comey so suddenly, there were no new Republican calls on Wednesday for a special prosecutor”. Senator John McCain is the one exception; he continues to call for a Senate select committee to investigate. The rest of the Party of Russia “From Fox News to the Senate Floor,” as a Washington Post headline put it, quickly closed ranks behind Trump over Comey’s firing. Why might this be? Imagine for a moment, they were also hacked and Russia is sitting on a pile of kompramat and potentially a pile of payments. They don’t care about protecting America, only their own hides. As one Washington Post editorial headline has it, “Mitch McConnell may be making the most important career mistake of his life,” – maybe!? No, surely.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE INVITES COMEY TO TESTIFY
POLITICO reports, “Ousted FBI Director James Comey has been invited to testify in a closed session next Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee”. If Comey were to testify, “The session would provide a first chance for Comey to weigh in on the circumstances of his firing and update senators behind closed doors on the status of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.” Trump cannot shut the truth down but he can defer his ultimate justice and possibly destroy the republic in the meantime.
SENATE PROBE OF TRUMP’S RUSSIA TIES THREATENED
POLITICO reports, “The firing on Tuesday of FBI Director James Comey eliminated one of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s most critical allies,” which may have the consequence of “potentially knocking the probe into turmoil.” NO! This cannot happen, it must not happen, stay focused Senate intelligence committee! Comey “was unexpectedly cooperative with the intelligence committee as it conducted its own probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.” Senate intelligence committee chair Richard Burr said, “Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees”. Co-chair Senator Mark Warner said, “I think it’s safe to say that Jim Comey had the trust of both Republicans and Democrats”. Committee member Senator Martin Heinrich said, “This is a direct attack on the integrity and independence of the FBI. I’m renewing my call for an independent prosecutor to take over this investigation.” And this was supposed to be “our last hope” – no my friends, if you have a drop of Baltic blood in you, you know hope never dies! The “news of Comey’s firing was met with shock, and a tangible fear that members — after months of working to ensure the probe was bipartisan and credible — may have just lost their key ally.” No! Their key ally is the American people who love freedom and democracy — the probe must go on!
HOUSE PROBE TO MOVE FORWARD, FORWARD!
The Houston Chronicle reports, “Texas U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, who is leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, pledged Thursday to ‘move forward’ with the probe in the wake of President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.” Conaway, who took over after DARKNESS AT NUNES was pushed aside because he was cavorting with and running interference for the same orange lunatic he was supposed to be investigating, issued a joint statement saying as much with House intelligence committee co-chair Adam Schiff.
From The Houston Chronicle.
REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS CAN DESTROY OUR COUNTRY IF THEY WANT
The Washington Post reports, “Republicans in Congress control the fate of the FBI’s Russia investigation now that President Trump fired Director James Comey. Because they hold a majority, Republicans have the power to approve or reject Trump’s new pick for a replacement, who may or may not continue the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia during the campaign.” In the crude vernacular of Russia, that means they can fuck our democracy and therefore all of us – and this is before anyone breaks ground on the forthcoming rape camps! Assume they were hacked as well and Russia is sitting on a pile of kompramat illuminating how corrupt they all are. Do you try and save yourself and the party or the country or are you smart enough to realize you and your party will not be saved if the country is gone the way of Russian style kleptocratic mafia rule, the road we are on now? Check out the charts of who does and does not support an investigation. If your reps or senators do not, blow up their phone lines for America and demand an independent investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia.
From The Washington Post.
BEYOND NIXONIAN: ARE WE AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS YET?
The AP writes that Trump’s decision to fire Comey, “earns Trump the dubious distinction of being the first president since Richard Nixon to fire the official overseeing an investigation involving the commander in chief.” Trump’s willingness to challenge “the institutions created to hold the president accountable” places us in precarious, some might even say dangerous territory. Even the Nixon Library found fit to troll Trump, tweeting, “FUN FACT: President Nixon never fired the Director of the FBI”. According to The AP, the only other president to fire an FBI chief was Bill Clinton and that was done “amid questions about the director’s use of FBI aircraft for personal purposes,” so for a very different reason. Several law professors debate whether or not it is in fact a constitutional crisis or if that is coming in POLITICO Magazine. Either way, heads up: we’re on a dangerous path away from democracy towards the sort of kleptocratic mafia state in the fist (or in Trump’s case, little baby fist) of an autocrat.
“I’M TRYING TO AVOID THE CONCLUSION THAT WE’VE BECOME NICARAGUA.”
Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, a man who is about as apolitical as it gets in Washington, has been making the rounds since Comey was fired and allowing the comparisons to Nicaragua to fly, despite stated hesitations. Why? He told The Cipher Brief in a Q+A over the Comey firing, “I’m trying to avoid the conclusion that we’ve become Nicaragua,” while noting that “in 110 days, we have fired the National Security Advisor, the Acting Attorney General, and the Director of the FBI.”
From The Cipher Brief.
SHIT SERGEY LAVROV SAYS: IS THAT A JOKE? YOU’RE KIDDING!
Everyone knows that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has this expression on his face that corresponds to the taste of rancid milk in perpetuity, except of course when greeting Russian puppets. So from the State Department with his buddy, Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Lavrov attempted a “joke” about Trump (or Putin’s) decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week. A reporter shouted at the end of T Rex’s expressions of profound gratitude to his bff Lavrov making the trip from Moscow, “Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks?” Lavrov, the funnyman, responded, “Was he fired? You’re kidding! You’re kidding!” The idea of Sergey Lavrov telling a joke is a joke unto itself. CBS News reports Lavrov also said Trump “didn’t even raise” the issue of Russia hacking our democracy and installing Trump by coup because that’s the real joke, our fake president, but it’s only funny for Russia.
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: BE GENTLE, WE’RE BROKE
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the firing of FBI Director James Comey, “This is an absolutely internal affair of the United States, this is a sovereign decision by the U.S. president, which has absolutely nothing to do, or should have nothing to do with the Russian Federation”. Except for one tiny detail: Comey was fired for continuing to investigate and requesting more resources to investigate the Kremlin’s meddling into the sovereign affairs of the U.S., namely our election, which has been an internal affair of the United States prior to 2016. Sorry Dmitry, this just does not cut it. More sanctions now!
“THEY TRICKED US!”
Photos from Trump’s meeting with his master’s proxies were released by Russia’s news agency TASS. CNN reports one “angry White House official” said, “They tricked us”! Sorry, but look at what the White House and Trump did to America, really shit thing to do to your country. Well, fools, this is how Russia works, they lie, they cheat, they steal, and they fuck you and they don’t give a shit. That’s Russia’s m.o. At least this cost Trump and showed him as the puppet and fool he is, one willing to troll and degrade America and the highest office in the land. America might be lost at the moment but at least other nations were not lost as a consequence of Trump and his master Russia’s behavior – this time. In fact, the impetus to a victory dance might cost them moves on the chessboard later as the bloodlust for the downfall of Trump is all too real now and the discourse has shifted from intelligence investigation to prosecution. Lock him up! Lock him up!
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS FLYNN
POLITICO reports, “The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed any Russia-related documents from former national security adviser Michael Flynn”. POLITICO reports, “The legal order, announced by the panel’s bipartisan leaders Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), went out Wednesday after Flynn’s attorneys informed the panel they would not cooperate with the probe unless the embattled former general was granted immunity”.
GRAND JURY SUBPOENAS FOR FLYNNSTONES IN FBI INVESTIGATION
CNN reports, “Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records”. CNN said it learned of the subpoenas in the hours before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Citing sources familiar with the investigation, CNN reports, subpoenas were “issued in recent weeks by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, were received by associates who worked with Flynn on contracts after he was forced out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014”. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, declined to comment, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia.
MANAFORT BANKING RECORDS REQUEST
Fox News reports, “Federal investigators last month reportedly requested bank records of former Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort as a part of a widening probe into potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.” In mid-April, “The Department of Justice requested Manafort’s banking records from Citizens Financial Group Inc.” Fox News notes “officials are also looking into Manafort’s real-estate and financial to see if there are any indications of money-laundering or fraud.” Hint: be sure to look on and offshore.
From Fox News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
MATTIS IN LITHUANIA
Last Wednesday Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Lithuania and The New York Times has a color-filled piece on his trip to a tiny town on the border with Russia, Pabrade, which he toured with “a German officer who has been a target in that war, falsely accused of being a rapist and a Russian spy,” Lt. Col. Christoph Huber. According to The New York Times, “Colonel Huber and his soldiers have been the subjects of two recent cyberattacks: false claims of wrongdoing that officials believe were put in circulation by an increasingly aggressive Russian intelligence operation that is meant to sow doubts and resentment of NATO’s growing presence in the Baltics.” The Russians idea of a sick and perverse valentine to the German troops in Lithuania was an email hoax sent to a member of parliament (previously reported by TRUMPISTAN WATCH when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg disclosed the attack at the Munich Security Conference) falsely claiming German soldiers had raped a girl. Ah yes, Russia, great protector of women. Sadly, “The story rippled through the country before the police determined that it was untrue.” Then, “A few weeks later, another series of emails circulated with what seemed to be photos of Colonel Huber among a group of Russian partisans. The photos were faked,” according to The New York Times. Most recently, “in early April, came a phony story about a supposed chemical assault on American troops in nearby Estonia, which appeared mysteriously on a popular Lithuanian news site.” After meeting with defense ministers from all three Baltic nations, Mattis stood with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite at the presidential palace and said, “Have no doubt that we stand with you united in a common cause.” Grybauskaite also “said she wants a continued presence of U.S. troops in her country as Russia builds up its forces in the region and prepares for military exercises in September,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
PREPARING FOR RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISE ZAPAD
The Washington Post reports, “The United States will put ships in the Baltic Sea and take over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s air policing in the region ahead of the exercises in August and September”. The Russian military exercise known as Zapad, “occurs every four years and will take place this year in western Russia, including Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.” It is believed that “that 70,000 to 100,000 Russian troops could take part in the exercise,” which makes it one of the largest so-called exercises in the world.
From The Washington Post.
U.S. MAY SEND PATRIOT MISSILES TO THE BALTICS
ABC News reports, “U.S. defense officials said a long-range Patriot missile battery may be deployed to the Baltic region later this year as part of a military exercise.” Indeed “if finalized,” moving Patriot missiles into the region “would be temporary but signal staunch U.S. backing for Baltic nations”. Defense Secretary James Mattis declined to confirm the details on Wednesday but said, “We are here in a purely defensive stance. Everyone knows this is not an offensive capability. For anyone who says otherwise, I would just say I have too much respect for the Russian army to think that they actually believe there’s any offensive capability.” The Patriot missiles would “move into the region during the July air defense exercise, but it would be gone by the time a large Russian military exercise begins in August and September.” ABC News notes, “It would be the first time the system has been deployed in the Baltics.”
From ABC News.
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? 58 PERCENT DISAPPROVE + CLIMBING!
The Washington Post reports “Trump’s disapproval rating rising to 58 percent,” – and that is before he fired FBI Director James Comey! Hooray, Americans do not like Russian dogs! Only 36 percent approve of the lunatic, let’s call them maniacs. Even crazy people know better. The Washington Post notes, “The only other poll to show his disapproval that high since his inauguration was Gallup, which briefly showed his disapproval rating ticking up to 59 percent in March before it dropped to 52 percent a week later… The Quinnipac poll also shows the president’s favorable rating — more of a personal measure than a job measure — dropping to a new low of 35 percent.” Only 25 percent “strongly approve,” which is still tragically high, but that is who is helping aid the enemy and hold our nation hostage to illiberal values and autocracy. The good news however is that “the percentage who strongly disapprove has reached an all-time high of 51 percent.” Keep climbing up there!
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIA VISITS ITS WHITE HOUSE DOG + THEY TROLL AMERICA TOGETHER
The day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he was joined in the Oval Office for a confab with his master Putin’s manservants, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Recall Kislyak got Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in such hot water that one was fired and the other forced to say he would recuse himself from investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia because it is widely alleged Kislyak is a spy. On Wednesday, the two Sergeys and Trump were all smiles during their happy-happy fun time as Trump received his first performance evaluation as a Kremlin puppet. To add injury to insult, only the Russian “media,” e.g. Russian mafia state propagandists (probable spies), were allowed to attend. According to The Washington Post, intelligence “officials cited the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics.” The optics is enough to cause the eyes to bleed red, white and blue – for America, not Russia, never, ever for Russia! Afterwards the White House whined they were tricked. The photographer introduced as Lavrov’s official photographer also “worked” for Russian state-run TASS (e.g. so he was probably a spy). Tricking Trump is evidently not very hard and he clearly has not a clue who the Russians are or how they work, even as they own him. Sad! And the Russian take beyond victory dance jigs in what was once a people’s house and is now a Russian mafia state clubhouse? According to Russian state-run Sputnik, “Lavrov’s visit to Washington would pave the way for Putin’s talks with Trump.” Let’s hope the orange one is gone and the courts are grilling him until he bakes by then, so such an encounter between master and dog may never occur. The BBC reports on how smitten the Russians are with their pets in the White House and the State Department. Of course the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not content alone to troll America and the press in the flesh and took to Twitter as well because the Russians are really into their victory dances, CBS News reports. May it cost them dearly. For his part, Russian dog Trump assisted in the trolling, tweeting “Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart”. That’s what the fake president has to say? Shameful. What a Kremlin troll!
EYE FOR AN EYE, CYBER FOR CYBER
CBS News reports, “Two former intelligence officials and a retired Navy admiral told a Senate committee Thursday that the U.S. should consider responding… with a military cyberattack of its own.” The two officials, “Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, and retired Admiral James Stavridis said the U.S. should consider targeting the bank accounts of Russian President Vladimir Putin”. Oh TRUMPISTAN WATCH likes it. Drain Putin, not the swamp, dry! Je suis the swamp. However “former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that any cyberattack against Russia could invite severe retaliation,” — but they gave us Trump. Stavridis suggested two ways to go after Putin, both of which would rock our world for the better: “By attacking his accounts, and diminishing them, or by simply revealing them to his people”. Let’s go with the reveal option and then the looting, after all eye for an eye, cyber for a cyber. According to CBS News, “Stavridis, who led the U.S. European Command and was NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2009 to 2013, said less extreme options than trying to undermine Putin include targeting the offshore bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and lower-level government officials.” Let’s do that too! All of it sounds great! Or maybe the expose then loot approach again? Just get ‘em! And let’s follow Clapper’s sage advice, “if we’re going to attack, we need to be prepared for a counterattack.”
From CBS News.
TRUMP THREATENS TO CANCEL WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFINGS
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that ‘it is not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy’ to the American public.” He followed up his threat saying “he would either move the briefings so that they are far less frequent and done by him, or not have them at all.” On Twitter he posted the most insecure tweet ever recorded in history, “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” Can you imagine? No need to, this happened, he is actually that weak.
From The Washington Post.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
DUTCH DOCUMENTARY ALLEGES TRUMP HAS DEEP TIES TO RUSSIAN MAFIA
Raw Story posted a video of a documentary that aired on Dutch television, which “alleges that President Donald Trump has extensive connections to Russia’s ruling oligarchs and a history of illegal racketeering.” The documentary, “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians,” aired on Dutch TV the week before last but is available in English as far as TRUMPISTAN WATCH knows for the first time. According to Raw Story, which posted the documentary, “The 45-minute documentary was produced by Zembla TV and examines Trump’s alleged relationship with Russian mobster Felix Sater — which Trump reportedly took pains to hide from regulators.”
From Raw Story.
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