The AP reports, “President Donald Trump will hold a high stakes meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he attends the G-20 summit in Germany next week, the White House said Thursday.” Be still our beating heart, please. What could go wrong besides everything short of a nuclear exchange at a later date? According to AP, “National security adviser H.R. McMaster confirmed that the meeting is one of several Trump has scheduled when he is in Hamburg, Germany, next week.” Economic advisor Gary Cohn would not say whether the puppet would bring up hacking during last year’s election with his master, but let us imagine if he does, it will be raised with the utmost gratitude by Trump to his puppet master. McMaster also said “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is taking the lead on the discussions,” according to AP, which makes the most sense as he is a Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient, afterall, the treasonous equivalent in the current context of being a sunshine camper, only from the Russian state instead of some youth camp.

From the AP.



The Wall Street Journal reports, “Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher,” Peter W. Smith, “mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.” The Wall Street Journal adds, “with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn,” the ousted National Security Advisor and campaign aide to Trump. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.” Oh, hello collusion tantamount to high treason! Delightful! The Wall Street Journal reports, “Mr. Smith said he knew Mr. Flynn, but he never stated that Mr. Flynn was involved,” and Flynn denied requests for comment. Smith did not work for Trump and while the White House declined to comment someone involved in the campaign told The Wall Street Journal it would have been Smith working “in his capacity as a private individual.” But was he the only one? Dubious. Curiously, “Mr. Smith died at age 81 on May 14, which was about 10 days after the Journal interviewed him. His account of the email search is believed to be his only public comment on it.” The cause is unknown or at least unstated at this time. Why did he die? “In the interview with the Journal, Mr. Smith said he and his colleagues found five groups of hackers who claimed to possess Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails, including two groups he determined were Russians,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Smith told the paper, “We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government.” He also said, “after vetting batches of emails offered to him by hacker groups last fall, he couldn’t be sure enough of their authenticity to leak them himself. ‘We told all the groups to give them to WikiLeaks,’ he said.” Hi Julian! The Wall Street Journal adds, “Mr. Smith and one of his associates said they had a line of communication with Mr. Flynn and his consulting company.” There was also contact with Flynn’s wingnut son Jr. it seems, who also declined to comment. Smith was also the victim of Russian hackers once who leaked 2015 emails about efforts to replace John Boehner, the previous Speaker of the House before Paul Ryan, according to The Wall Street Journal, in case anyone still believes the Russians are ideological purists instead of looking to exacerbate the extremes on both ends of the political spectrum and cause chaos. MUST READ.

From The Wall Street Journal.



Why? To give them to the Russians or what?! Seriously, The Hill reports, “The vice chairman of President Trump’s commission on election integrity sent a letter to all 50 states Wednesday requesting information on their voter rolls.” This is the the little twerp Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, running Trump’s dummy Election Integrity Commission, whose chair is Vice-President collaborationist Mike Pence. The commission itself is a ruse to justify Trump’s post-election claims that millions of illegals voted thereby delivering three million more votes to Hillary Clinton, who recall won the popular vote. Kobach has a long history of illegal acts of voter suppression in Kansas. For the second time in my generation’s memory, we have watched an election handed to an ill-equipped idiot who did not win the popular vote; the first time was in 2000 when the Supreme Court delivered the election to George W. Bush. Even if you vote, it does not count and it certainly will not in the future is basically the message sent to a generation of young Americans under 35. So much for election integrity, a younger generation of Americans has seen almost as many elections handed to the popular vote loser as the popular vote winner. And why do they require all fifty states voting rolls if not to get to work as soon as possible on voter suppression, with or without Russian assistance? The deadline given to states is July 14, Bastille Day ironically enough. The Hill reports, “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seeking several pieces of information about voters, including their names, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their voting history dating back to 2006.” Some integrity, this is another sign our democracy is going dark before our very eyes. Now you see it, soon you won’t. The Hill reports, “Jason Kander, the head the Democratic National Committee’s Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration, blasted the letter in a statement, calling it ‘very concerning.’” Yes concerning that our country is slipping away, that is putting it mildly. Where are the legal challenges and stonewalling or is that to come? This is the road to tyranny we are on, do not mistake it or delude yourselves, or if you prefer, close your eyes, and say, “They would never hurt a fly,” over and over and over again until you believe it because like everything else, it is a lie.

From The Hill.



The Guardian reports, “The lawyer privately advising Donald Trump,” Marc Kasowitz, “on the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is head of a law firm that was involved in the sale of a prestigious piece of New York real estate to Jared Kushner”. Curiously, “Kasowitz’s law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, legally represented the owners of the former New York Times building in Times Square, Manhattan, in a 2015 deal in which part of the property was sold to Kushner for $296m.” Kasowitz also has represented OJSC Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank. The Guardian reports, “At the time of the sale to Kushner, the building was owned by Lev Leviev, an Israeli citizen born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Uzbekistan. His company, Africa Israel Investments, bought the Times Square property in 2007 for $525m.” Leviev has referred to himself as a “true friend” of Putin in the past, which he later qualified to mean, “he was a ‘true friend’ referred to Putin’s help to the ‘Jewish community in Russia’.” “Africa Israel’s Delaware LLCs, including its subsidiary that bought the former New York Times building, are registered at 40 Wall Street, Trump’s property over the road from the New York Stock Exchange,” The Guardian notes. Most interestingly, “with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that the sale of the retail portion of 229 West 43rd Street to Kushner was made in an off-market transaction of the sort normally used by owners desiring a quick sale, where speed is more important than price,” The Guardian reports. Such trades “often give an advantage to the purchaser seeking to acquire property at a bargain,” The Guardian notes. After selling the top 12 floors to the Blackstone Group for $160m, “Leviev let go of the entire building after owning it for eight years and committing millions of dollars in renovations for a total price that was beneath the $525m he had originally paid for it,” The Guardian reports, adding, “Kushner sealed the refinancing deal with Deutsche Bank and SL Green over his half of the former New York Times building last October.” Again Deutsche Bank.

From The Guardian.



POLITICO reports, “An overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate sanctions bill targeting Russia and Iran hit a new snag Wednesday, as Democrats sought assurances that House Republicans will not water it down after what the GOP has billed as a simple fix.” According to POLITICO, citing a senior Senate Democrat aide, “Democrats — aware that the White House is urging House Republicans to make the sanctions bill more friendly to President Donald Trump — asked the GOP to commit to no new, significant changes in the House, that commitment didn’t arrive”. Republican Senator Bob Corker blamed Democrats for the delay, calling it “self-defeating,” as opposed to his colleagues in the House, even though Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, was willing to sign off on any changes to get the bill through. POLITICO notes, “The crux of the sanctions delay has been a provision in the Senate-passed bill that allows Congress to block Trump from easing or ending sanctions against Russia. Changing sanctions policy would affect federal revenue, and the Constitution requires any bills that change revenue to start in the House”. That is a hell of a technicality and some excuse for not sanctioning a nation that has directly attacked our democracy, but they do not car it was on behalf of the Republicans, they will only whine when Russia does it next time for an adversary of theirs greater than an enemy nation, namely the Democrats.




Reuters reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin received former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin on Thursday, the Kremlin said in a statement.” According to Reuters, “Kissinger was in Russia for the Primakov Readings, an annual forum of experts, diplomats and politicians.” The Kremlin and the elusive Kissinger did not say what was discussed, but one can wager Trump was at the top of the agenda.

From Reuters.



Fortune reports, “The FBI interviewed several U.S. employees of Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab this week as part of an investigation into the company’s operations,” citing two sources. According to Forbes, “Federal Bureau of Investigation agents visited the homes of Kaspersky employees late on Tuesday in multiple U.S. cities, although no search warrants were served”. NBC News first reported the interviews. One U.S. official told Fortune, “U.S. intelligence agencies believe that the company and its president have had close ties to Russian political and intelligence officials since at least 2012, when a major shakeup of the firm’s executive ranks brought in new members with ties to Russia’s three main intelligence agencies.” Meanwhile U.S. Senators are seeking to ban the military from using Kaspersky Lab products, Reuters reports, which has angered Moscow which “does not rule out retaliatory measures if the United States bans Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab’s products,” Reuters reports citing Russian state-run RIA news agency reports.

From Fortune and Reuters.



Stars and Stripes reports, “The United States will extend its forward presence of forces in eastern Europe through 2020, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday, continuing a commitment to the Continent’s security that was declared 70 years ago this month.” Mattis cited the Marshall Plan’s origins to “strengthen eastern Europe’s ability to counter any further acts of Russian aggression,” as “outlined June 5, 1947,” by then U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall. Fittingly, “Mattis said in a speech at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies,” that “We can see today in Europe the realization of a strong vision,” adding, “A peaceful, industrious and prosperous continent, free from tyranny, possessing the military strength to defend itself from aggression.” Stars and Stripes notes, “Mattis met with his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen” at the Marshall Security Studies Center in Garmisch, Germany “to commemorate the anniversary.” “Mattis said the budget includes funds to extend the presence to 2020 but could not say whether it would also increase U.S. forces,” Stars and Stripes notes. Mattis said, “Russia must know what we stand for, and equally, what we will not tolerate.” Evidently a puppet president is not high on that list.

From Stars and Stripes.





CNN reports, “The House intelligence committee plans to interview Susan Rice next month as part of its investigation into Russia meddling in the US election last year, a high-profile target for Republicans who accuse President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser of improperly handling classified intelligence reports,” citing sources familiar with the discussions. Recall DARKNESS AT NUNES accused Rice of improperly “unmasking” U.S. persons in intelligence reports when there is little substance to the impropriety allegation nor was it beyond the call of her duties as National Security Advisor at the time. CNN notes Rice previously declined a request to appear before the Senate judiciary committee in May.

From CNN.





The Hill reports, “Most Americans believe President Trump is abusing his power, a new poll finds.” And they are divided, making the country perfectly ripe for a civil war if this all goes off the skids in an improperly handled crisis, and you can bet the coming crisis will be improperly handled. The Hill reports, “The Quinnipac poll released Thursday found 52 percent said Trump is abusing his power, with 46 percent saying he isn’t.” Brainwashing through mass media works, as everyone slept while this was happening and many continue to and that is on both the right and the left, do not think you are so special just because you did not vote for Trump. After all, what have you done to stop this, any of this? Attended a few marches, maybe? That’s good, very nice, but it is not nearly enough. “Respondents were divided on whether Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was an abuse of power, with 47 percent saying it was and 49 percent saying it was not,” The Hill notes, adding, “The numbers are virtually unchanged from an April edition of the same poll”. Congratulations Russia! You have exposed our nation, all of its flaws and vulnerabilities and are halfway to divide and conquer. Bravo! Bravo! Just do not think the Chinese will not get into this game next time as 2020 is set to be Russian v. Chinese hackers. Sorry America, I know you like to pretend you are winning always, but we are so losing and having our ass handed to us. Enjoy! Nothing will save us, not our institutions, nothing but an engaged, public committed to reversing this. Your popcorn is to democracy what an iron fist in the face is to tyranny; soon enough there will be no difference between the two.

From The Hill.



USA Today cites another poll, “Americans increasingly view the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election as a serious concern, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, amid rising anxiety about President Trump’s leadership and the nation’s direction.” Oh anxiety, the malaise of our times! How anxious are precious Americans? USA Today adds, “Try ‘alarmed,’ the option chosen by 42% of those surveyed when asked how they felt when they think about how things are going in Washington today. An additional 33% feel ‘uneasy.’ Just 11% choose the positive ‘excited.’” There we go, people feel powerless and do not realize their power. At least “Nine of 10 Democrats feel uneasy or alarmed; so do a majority of Republicans,” USA Today reports. More disturbingly though is that “Trump continues to command strong support among some. Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed, including three of four Republicans, agree with his assertion that the Russia probes are a ‘witch hunt’ of him by his political enemies.” Is high treason really such a bad crime? Just think how close we were to a semblance of normal life continuing, but that is our loss because if we look back at 2016, we all behaved like spoiled children on both the left and the right, so we deserve this whether we like it or not, we did not take care of our country and demanded it take care of us. Well, now that is not happening despite all the promises and platitudes and protests. What are you going to do about it? Popcorn or tell yourself, “They would never hurt a fly”? It is all a little too little too late. And P.S. our institution are failing and will not save us but that is another beautiful lie you can tell yourself because Americans have long told themselves beautiful lies rather than face facts.

From USA Today.



Newsweek reports, “Russia is losing out from its standoff with the West and its ‘overstretching of efforts on excessive military and political competition,’ is harming its own peopleRussian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic experts have warned.” Surprise! Putin is scared, stretched thin, everyone around him presumably wants him dead for compromising them, their way of life, their riches and their children, all of which are abroad except for they themselves. A report released Thursday warned, “There are no existential clashes between Russia and the West,” adding, “Russia loses from confrontation with the West.” The think tank, which is run by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin provides a glimpse into the Kremlin’s inner circle’s strategic thinking on the current confrontation and it is not pretty for Putin, who may end up dead in all this. TRUMPISTAN WATCH prediction (Russian readers can laugh or posit a message on the fallacy of this or maybe even agree): the next leader of Russia will be even worse and likely to be the head of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, unless he is killed along with Putin.

From Newsweek.





The Washington Post reports, “The hosts of ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC criticized President Trump’s Twitter habit Thursday — ‘that’s your president of the United States lying to you,’ Mika Brzezinski said of one tweet — and then, as if succumbing to involuntary spasms, Trump’s thumbs tapped out whatever nasty, sexist thought popped into his head.” So Twitler said Brzezinski, daughter of President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, she had a “low I.Q.” and more sensationally said “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift.” Now, TRUMPISTAN WATCH hates to say, “told you so,” (still preferable to heads up, incoming nukes) but there was a time around Christmas when the co-hosts of “Morning Joe” were casually discussing nuclear war and normalizing Trump’s anticipated arms race in their pajamas.   They also showed up at his New Year’s bash at Mar-a-Lago. Don’t lean into the cage to feed the animals in the zoo is a caution that exists for a reason. That reason has largely gone unheeded by much of the American media in favor of short-term profits. There is also the fact that the Trump women have had quite a bit of work done from Ivanka’s nose to Melania’s rack, which might be the reason Trump considers himself an expert in plastic in the first instance, but let’s not invert a sexist attack into a new one and limit ourselves such. More importantly is the fact that authoritarian regimes seek to stifle the voices of women, which has not happened yet to any great effect in the U.S., as many women are leading resistance against Trump. Fortunately women are often much stronger than men because they have to be and TRUMPISTAN WATCH is pretty sure that not only can Mika handle this abuse – and let’s be clear, that’s what this is – but that it will invariably hurt Twitler much more than it hurts her. In fact, Twitler’s wholly sexist attacks may be a sign that the republic is not in such perilous straights domestically, even if this crass, vile attack is well beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency. At least Trump can go toe to toe with Putin in one area: knocking from below. That’s the one constant of the Trump administration.

From The Washington Post.


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