As if Putin were not already as overexposed as a real housewife, “Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding a televised question-and-answer session, the latest edition of a heavily stage-managed annual show broadcast live by Russia’s main state networks,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, adding “opening questions focused on the economy and on low wages in the state sector, with nurses, firefighters, teachers and other complaining that they cannot make ends meet.” In response to a question about “how long Russia could expect to live under the sanctions introduced by the United States, the European Union and other countries,” Putin responded “by claiming the sanctions were a bid by Western countries to prevent Russia from playing a competitive political and economic role in the world,” according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Note, here we have Russophobia deployed as a general excuse for his incompetence and thievery. “Putin has held the event annually since 2001, except for 2004 and 2012. Since 2013, it has been held in April, but in March the Kremlin announced it was being postponed this year because of Putin’s ‘tight schedule,’” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes. Russian state-run Sputnik notes that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that 1.6 million Russians had submitted questions for the “Direct Line” event.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Russian state-run Sputnuk.





The Washington Post reports, “The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.” The Washington Post notes this “marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation”. “Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing,” The Washington Post reports. Five sources told The Washington Post, “that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week.Coats and Rogers refused Trump’s request “to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government,” The Washington Post reminds us. Procedurally, “Investigating Trump for possible crimes is a complicated affair, even if convincing evidence of a crime were found. The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president. Instead, experts say, the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings,” The Washington Post notes. Also, as a matter of policy now, TRUMPISTAN WATCH is sharing a gem from the Glenn-Greenwald-as-Kremlin-shill canon every time The Washington Post has a major scoop entitled, “WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived,” published back in January because historical memory in the face of systematic institutional and individual lies is increasingly relevant these days.

From The Washington Post.



POLITICO reports lunatic extremist by the name of James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, “opened fire at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday morning, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, members of his security detail, a congressional staffer, and a lobbyist in a scene that Sen. Rand Paul said could have been a ‘massacre.’” The New York Times reports Hodgkinson died after a shootout. Business Insider reports, Hodgkinson “shared a number of pro-Sanders and content on social media, and was a member of Facebook groups including ‘The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans,’ and ‘Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump.’” According to The Washington Post, “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Hodgkinson volunteered on his 2016 Democratic presidential campaign, although an aide said that he had no formal role and that no one could remember him.” Ergo, Business Insider notes, “Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned a former campaign volunteer who allegedly shot five people Wednesday, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.” Trump called for “unity,” which would be hilarious if it were not so tragic given that he is the most divisive political figure that perhaps this country has ever seen. As you can see, the line is being drawn to left-wing extremism while ongoing efforts are made to ignore the far right variant. Any idea where this is going? Between this incident and Reality Winner’s NSA leak last week, expect a crack down and increased scrutiny of all groups and entities on the political left, not least because this is an authoritarian tactic to crush political opposition, if not acts of outright subversion. There is also a long history of such infiltration, subversion and outright attacks on dissent in the U.S., so prepare.  Now a few critical questions to ask: did Hodgkinson have help? How did he learn about the Congressional baseball practice, presumably not publicly advertised? What sorts of interactions did he have with Russian bots/trolls/etc? Also critical: keep in mind this could be like Hinckley, an unforeseen event carried out by a random American nutter. We simply do not know, only investigators will. Given everything else that is going on in the country at the moment, either possibility is sadly all too real. Regardless, TRUMPISTAN WATCH wishes Scalise and all the other victims of this horrific mass shooting a speedy recovery.

From POLITICO, The New York Times, Business Insider, The Washington Post and POLITICO.



BBC News reports, “US senators have voted overwhelmingly to impose fresh sanctions on Russia over its alleged interference into last year’s election.” Fresh sanctions sounds so tasty! According to BBC, “They also agreed, by 97-2, to set up a process by which Congress can block any attempt by President Trump to scale back those sanctions.” CNN reports the two dissenting Senators voting against were Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Recall earlier this year, McCain charged Paul was working for Putin on the floor of the Senate.

From BBC News and CNN.



CBS News reports, “While Washington is laser-focused on allegations about any inappropriate communications between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, the Russians are focused on a major perk for their diplomats in the U.S.: their two Cold War-era estates in the U.S., in Maryland and New York.” If Trump does this, everyone should have absolutely no doubt who Trump works for – as if you should have any doubt now. The Russians can also expect to be confronted with counter measures from our citizens, who are prepared to protest in the name of science and against adversary spies. On Monday night, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak told CBS News, “It is ours. We are going to get them back”. How arrogant!   It is as if they own our President and State Department or something.

From CBS News.



Reuters reports, “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has no chance of taking part in next year’s presidential election because of a previous conviction for embezzlement, the head of Russia’s election commission told TV Rain late on Wednesday.” That is a surprise to no one and may actually give him momentum – where Russian society stands on this given the recent moxie shown by teenagers on Monday is yet to be determined. According to Reuters, “Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission, told TV Rain late on Wednesday that the conviction meant a presidential run by Navalny was out of the question. ‘I am afraid to be discourteous,’ said Pamfilova. ‘But I understand – and he understands himself – that he has no chance of being registered for the election due to his previous conviction.’”

From Reuters.



Reuters reports, “Macedonia asked Greece on Wednesday to help its bid to join NATO and the European Union, efforts frozen by a decades-long dispute over the ex-Yugoslav republic’s name.” This is truly tremendous! Reuters notes, “Greece, a member of both groups, says Macedonia’s use of the name could imply territorial claims on Greece’s most northerly province of the same name.” Now for the remarkable: Reuters reports, “’I’m here to ask for your support,’ Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, at one point Skopje’s negotiator with Greece over the name, said in Athens.” According to Reuters, “Athens would support Macedonia’s integration ‘in every way, once the name issue has been resolved,’ Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said during a joint news conference.” Wow this is a true breakthrough; where war will erupt elsewhere, we might see true progress on this most stubborn and constant of international disputes that has endured with little or no progress for 26 years now.

From Reuters.





The AP reports, “A clear majority of Americans believe President Donald Trump has tried to interfere with the investigation into Russia’s alleged election meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion, a new poll shows. Just one in five support his decision to oust James Comey from the FBI.” According to the AP, “an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows 68 percent of Americans are at least moderately concerned about the possibility that Trump or his campaign associates had inappropriate ties to Russia. Almost half of Americans saying they’re very concerned. Only 3 in 10 say they’re not that concerned.” They are the silent 30%.

From the AP.



The Hill reports, “Voters trust former FBI Director James Comey to tell the truth more than President Trump, according to a new poll,” noting, “a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 45 percent of voters said they trusted Comey more to tell the truth, while 32 percent said they trusted the president more. Another 23 percent said they had no opinion. The poll also found that 43 percent of voters thought Comey’s testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee hurt Trump more than helped the president.” In that instance, 23 percent show brainwashing works as 23 percent think it helped him and a remaining 35 percent prove enduringly brain dead or tuned out with no opinion. Despite this, “Forty-five percent of voters approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 50 percent who disapprove. But among Republicans, 81 percent approve of the job Trump is doing.” That is where it gets scary. The president is a liar and a majority of republicans do not care and half the country is not paying attention to reality. Be afraid, this is the road to authoritarianism and eventually, tyranny.

From The Hill.





The New York Times reports, “At least 16 protesters were detained in front of the Russian Parliament building on Wednesday as legislators approved a plan that could uproot up to 1.6 million Muscovites rom their aging Soviet-era residences and move them into newly built apartments.” Doesn’t that sound great? It is not, because would you give up your home and trust the Russian mafia state to do right by you? According to The New York Times, “The government said it planned to spend up to $61 billion over 15 years on the resettlement, which most opponents consider an infringement of property rights and an effort to justify large-scale public expenditures that can be siphoned by corrupt officials.” The critics would be correct, it is all of those things.

From The New York Times.



SUBSCRIBE: e-mail TrumpistanWatch@gmail.com with “TRUMPISTAN WATCH” in the subject line to receive the weekday e-mail newsletter.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter