TRUMP ENDS CIA PROGRAM TO ARM ANTI-ASSAD REBELS
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia,” U.S. officials said. The Washington Post notes, “Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests.” Concessions from Moscow received in return: none. Recall, “Just three months ago, after the United States accused Assad of using chemical weapons, Trump launched retaliatory airstrikes against a Syrian air base.” Guess Assad and chemical weapons are now our friends too. According to The Washington Post, “Officials said Trump made the decision to scrap the CIA program nearly a month ago, after an Oval Office meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster ahead of a July 7 meeting in Germany with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” According to one official, “This is a momentous decision,” because it means, “Putin won in Syria,” according to The Washington Post. Isn’t this so much winning? Who is tired of winning now?
From The Washington Post.
DEUTSCHE BANK LOANS TO TRUMP UNDER SCRUTINY
The New York Times reports, “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit”. According to The New York Times, “The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks,” adding that “Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts.” Not only has Deutsche Bank lent money to Trump and “is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances,” it has also lent to princeling Jared and to his family’s real estate business. The New York Times reports, “the New York regulators recently requested information related to the hundreds of millions in loans Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management division provided Mr. Trump”. The New York Times adds, “New York regulators have questioned whether the guarantee could create problems for Deutsche Bank should Mr. Trump fail to pay his debts. To collect, the bank would either have to sue the president, or risk being seen as cutting him a special deal.” Given a past lawsuit Trump launched against the bank in 2008 to delay payment on an earlier loan, “It is not a hypothetical concern,” The New York Times notes. According to The New York Times, “The size of the loans — totaling about $300 million — is somewhat unusual by Wall Street standards, according to former and current Deutsche Bank executives and wealth managers at other Wall Street firms.” Additionally, “Kushner Companies, received a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank last year.” Curiously, “Deutsche Bank also had a ‘cooperation agreement’ with the Russian state-owned development bank, Vnesheconombank,” which has been widely described as Putin’s slush fund lacking a banking license in numerous press reports. Additional ties between Deutsche Bank and Russia include the fact that “Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank’s former chief executive, is now chairman of the board at the Bank of Cyprus,” which has been used as a vehicle to clean money coming out of Russia and introduce it to the European financial system. Also “A large shareholder of that bank was Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch who purchased Mr. Trump’s estate in Florida.” Prevezon, the vehicle by which a $230 tax fraud scheme in Russia tied to the theft of Bill Browder’s firm’s assets in Russia was converted to several million dollars worth of properties in New York, also received $90 million in financing from Deutsche Bank, according to The New York Times. Just more coincidences! Or a possible reverse Lenin thing happening?
From The New York Times.
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS NEXT TO GO?
In an interview with The New York Times published last night, “Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation,” adding in the third person that the decision was “very unfair to the president.” Well there we go, Trump lost his roof in an instant and has been digging himself into an ever deeper abyss ever since. The New York Times called it “a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters,” because with Trump loyalty is only ever a one-way streak. Trump “criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III,” The New York Times reports. Trump “warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia,” which means now he is seeking to control the uncontrolled damage he has unleashed on himself first and his family second, but not the nation, that he cares much less about. With Trump it is always Trump first, never America first. Trump said “Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia,” so please go there, special counsel, and when Mueller does, if he does, know that he is doing it for America. Tragicomically, the level of sycophantic denial continues as Trump told The New York Times, “I don’t think we’re under investigation,” adding, “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.” Yeah and Nixon was not a crook either. Delusional. As with his friends in Russia, who claim it is always and forever about the children, he said his second undisclosed meeting with Putin at the G20 that was revealed Tuesday, was “about adoption.” It is as if he really thinks we are all stupid, gullible fools but in fact only the 60 million who votes for him are; America is a nation of 323 million, however. Must read.
From The New York Times.
MANAFORT WAS $17 MILLION IN DEBT BEFORE JOINING CAMPAIGN
The New York Times reports, “Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016.” Imagine a lifetime of working for dictators encourages one to envision such a highflying lifestyle for one’s self, without the realism of Icarus entering the fantasy. According to The New York Times, “The money appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions.” The documents The New York Times obtained “include audited financial statements for the companies, which were part of a complex web of more than a dozen entities that transferred millions of dollars among them in the form of loans, payments and fees.” The New York Times notes, “The notion of indebtedness on the part of Mr. Manafort also aligns with assertions made in a court complaint filed in Virginia in 2015 by,” Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch. In that lawsuit, Deripaska asserted “Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million related to a failed investment in a Ukrainian cable television business.” According to The New York Times, “One of the Manafort-related debts listed in the Cyprus records, totaling $7.8 million, was owed to Oguster Management Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands connected to Mr. Deripaska. The debtor was a Cyprus company, LOAV Advisers, that the Deripaska court complaint says was set up by Mr. Manafort to make investments with Mr. Deripaska, a billionaire close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The loan is unsecured, bears 2 percent interest and has ‘no specified repayment date,’ according to a financial statement for LOAV.” The second debt “for $9.9 million, was owed to Lucicle Consultants, a Cyprus company that appears to have ties to a Party of Regions member of Parliament, Ivan Fursin. Lucicle, whose precise ownership is unclear, is linked to Mr. Fursin through another offshore entity, Mistaro Ventures, which is registered in St. Kitts and Nevis and listed on a government financial disclosure form that Mr. Fursin filed in Ukraine. Mistaro transferred millions to Lucicle in February 2012 shortly before Lucicle made the $9.9 million loan to Jesand L.L.C., a Delaware company that Mr. Manafort previously used to buy real estate in New York. The loan to Jesand was unsecured, with a 3.5 percent interest rate, and payable on demand,” according to The New York Times. Curiously, “Mr. Deripaska appears to have stopped pursuing his court action against Mr. Manafort and his former investment partners, Rick Gates and Rick Davis, in late 2015,” The New York Times notes.
From The New York Times.
20 CONGRESSMEN QUESTION IVANKA’S SECURITY CLEARANCE
CNN reports, “Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia assembled a group of more than 20 Democratic members of Congress to send a letter to the FBI on Wednesday requesting the agency look into Ivanka Trump’s security clearance.” That was only a matter of time once princeling Jared was encircled. According to CNN, “In the letter, the Democrats ask that the FBI examine potential discrepancies in Trump’s SF-86 form, which she was required to complete for her clearance.” This is a result of the fact that “Since his first filing, Mr. Kushner has had to update his SF-86 multiple times to reflect over 100 meetings or phone calls,” as the congressmen note in their letter, according to CNN. They note that, “We are concerned that Ivanka Trump may have engaged in similar deception.”
MORE ON ROHRABACHER’S DINNER CAPITOL HILL DINNER WITH SPIES
According to The Daily Beast, following a previously reported screening of an anti-Magnitsky Act film at the Newseum in June of 2016, Putin’s favorite Congressman Dana “Rohrabacher, [his aide Paul] Behrends, [Rinat] Akhmetshin, [Natalia] Veselnitskaya, and [former U.S. Ambassador the Soviet Union Jack] Matlock had dinner together later that night at the Capitol Hill Club, a private members’ establishment for Republicans. The evening was organized by Lanny Wiles, a veteran GOP operative.” Now let’s circle back to an ABC News report earlier this week that detailed how Veselnitskaya got her seat at the House foreign affairs committee hearing on U.S. Russian policy that former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul spoke at. That ABC News report detailed how Wiles obtained a seat for Veselnitskaya and how his wife, Susie, was chairing Trump’s campaign committee in Florida at the time. In that ABC News report, Wiles and his wife were adamant in their denials of any association with Russia or Russians. “Lanny Wiles told ABC News he has ‘absolute, zero connection’ to any relations the Russian lawyer may have had to the Trump campaign,” and his wife Susie called it “an unfortunate coincidence,” according to that report. If The Daily Beast report is accurate, these would be lies they told to ABC News. Note, “The following day, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on tape telling Republican colleagues: ‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.’” Another coincidence surely.
From The Daily Beast.
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WANTS MORE INFO ON RINAT AKHMETSHIN
POLITICO reports, “Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is demanding more information from the Trump administration on Rinat Akhmetshin, the pro-Russian lobbyist who attended a controversial meeting last year with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.” Grassley said on Tuesday he sent a letter to Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State T Rex and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly “asking for additional visa records and immigration information on Akhmetshin, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009,” POLITICO reports. The Senate judiciary committee is investigating whether “agents of the Russian government who lobbied against the Magnitsky Act” were “not registered as foreign lobbyists under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”
BURR AVOIDING WHITE HOUSE WHILE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION ONGOING
The Hill reports, “The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Senator Richard Burr, “on Wednesday said that he would be limiting his trips to the White House while the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is ongoing.” Yesterday, “while his Republican colleagues,” were at the White House, “ to talk about healthcare,” Burr “was spotted with his lunch in hand and preparing to take the elevator while his colleagues gathered in front of the Capitol.” Burr told The Hill, “I’ll make it a habit while this investigation is going on that I don’t go down [to the White House]”. Looks like someone learned the right lessons from the DARKNESS AT NUNES saga as “A clandestine trip to the White House ultimately sunk the leadership of his counterpart in the House, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).”
From The Hill.
ON DECK: PRINCELING JARED ON MONDAY
ABC News reports princeling Jared “has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling on Monday, July 24”. However, it’s a “closed-door session” but it “sets up what could be one of the most highly anticipated interviews for lawmakers to date.” Might he give testimony that contradicts Aryan princess’ Daddy, his father-in-law? How could he not – they have all told so many lies they cannot keep them straight. However, Kushner with his prepubescent voice, has preferred to use a spokesman, a first for White House aides in memory.
From ABC News.
ON DECK: UDAY, PRINCELING JARED + MANAFORT ON WEDNESDAY
POLITICO reports, “Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are scheduled to face lawmakers next week in the highest-stakes hearings yet on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.” Note, “On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee intends to call Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to testify on a panel about foreign influence in elections,” POLITICO reports. Also “The panel is also scheduled to include Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the firm that commissioned the salacious,” Steele dossier, POLITICO adds. According to POLITICO, “The requests to testify at the July 26 hearing were received on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter, and include a broad request for documents from players such as recent Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. The committee is also asking the campaign, the Trump Organization and those invited to testify to save documents from a host of characters, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The document requests also cover communications with Russian political operative Rinat Akhmetshin and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya – who were present at a Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner – along with entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone and British intelliigence operative Christopher Steele, who orchestrated the disputed Trump Russia dossier.” Of course, “It is unclear whether Trump Jr. and Manafort will actually testify,” so it needs to be seen to be believed. But should they, gather your popcorn because this will be public. Remember, whereas before we had sovereignty and a halfway decent country, now we have popcorn and fascism.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
OF THE RECRUITMENT OF ROHRABACHER BY RUSSIA
The Atlantic reports, “Representative Dana Rohrabacher, perhaps the most Russia-friendly member of the GOP caucus, led a congressional delegation to Moscow in which he was handed materials critical of the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill imposing sanctions on Russian officials. Rohrabacher has said that the documents were given to him by Russian prosecutors.” According to The Atlantic, “Rohrabacher’s 2016 Moscow trip raised eyebrows among U.S. officials, particularly at the State Department.” The Atlantic reports, “officials at the Embassy in Moscow expressed doubts about the people they were meeting with and had warned the delegation that FSB presence was constant while the members were in Moscow.” An embassy control officer “said she had seen the document given to Rohrabacher before, according to one of the sources. The document is marked ‘confidential’ at the top and is full of accusations against Sergei Magnitsky,” The Atlantic reports. A Rohrabacher aide, Paul Behrends, “was telling people they were from the prosecutors’ office in Moscow,” according to a State Department official. Citing a Financial Times report, “the person who gave Rohrabacher the document was Viktor Grin, a top aide to Yuri Chaika, the Russian prosecutor general with whom Veselnitskaya,” worked with and for, The Atlantic notes, citing what she told The Wall Street Journal. The Atlantic reports, “neither Rohrabacher nor Behrends appeared to take the warning seriously and said it was Behrends who was setting up the meetings.” The Atlantic notes, “Past Rohrabacher visits to Moscow have also been objects of controversy. A 2013 trip that enlisted Steven Seagal as a fixer also included a meeting with top FSB officials and a dinner with deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin.” On that 2013 trip, “Rohrabacher met with Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin, who had been added to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list in 2014,” according to The Atlantic. Citing a CNN report, The Atlantic adds, “In April 2017, [Rinat] Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military counterintelligence officer, met with Rohrabacher in Berlin and discussed the Prevezon money-laundering case with him”. Recall Akhmetshin was at the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a host of other Russians and Trump’s son, Donald “Uday” Trump Jr., son-in-law princeling Jared, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort. As for Rohrabacher’s aide Behrends, The Atlantic notes, “Behrends worked for Rohrabacher in the 1990s before becoming a lobbyist, most famously for Blackwater; Behrends is close with Blackwater founder Erik Prince. He at one point worked for the Alexander Strategy Group, the firm connected to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” Behrends, in other words, would not be too hard for the Russians to pick off and put on the payroll. According to The Daily Mail, “an intern in Rohrabacher’s office sent out emailed invitations to a screening of the anti-Magnitsky film in June 2016 at the Newseum, where both Akhmetshin and Veselnitskaya were in attendance”. The Atlantic notes, Rohrabacher “had requested to screen the film in Congress” but thankfully was turned down! How horrible is a man who works to conceal the torture carried out by others when he has no real need to do so for his own survival?
From The Atlantic.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT’S AMBASSADORS
POLITICO reports, “The Trump administration’s slow pace in appointing ambassadors, which has left major posts vacant around the world, is hampering the ability to carry out American policy, the top U.S. Army commander in Europe said.” U.S. Army in Europe Commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said, “It hurts not having ambassadors”. So the Trumpistani elite is not capable of solving the world’s problems on their own, even with the tremendous superpower of princeling Jared’s prepubescent voice to issue stern warnings? Shock! POLITICO reports, “Trump has yet to nominate an ambassador to France, Germany or to the European Union — as well as to Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and to United Nations posts in Geneva, Rome and Vienna”. Meanwhile, “Trump has nominated ambassadors to NATO, the U.K., Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and the Holy See, but they are all still awaiting Senate confirmation. Dozens of other posts around the world are also vacant,” POLITICO adds. According to POLITICO, “Hodges, who leads roughly 67,000 U.S. troops stationed across Europe, said the absence of an ambassador was particularly notable in Germany, where U.S. Army Europe headquarters is located on a base in Wiesbaden.” Hodges said, “Now is a bad time not to have an ambassador in Germany”. Recall: the goal of active measures is to capture the state and seize control of the three pillars of the state, namely, foreign policy, defense and the economy. We can see the work to capture U.S. foreign policy is well underway and already at a later stage. Not having ambassadors in all these places is not an accident. While some turnover between administrations is common, this is well in the realm of unacceptable given the gutting going on at the State Department. Besides, princeling Jared cannot be in all these places at once.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT’S FOREIGN SERVICE
Foreign Policy reports, “The State Department has suspended a program that fast-tracks top recruits, sparking outrage from students and graduates who planned on joining the diplomatic corps.” Another shameful act in a shameful administration that has appointed the most shamefully incompetent Secretary of State possibly ever, T Rex, also a Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient. Foreign Policy reports, “The Diplomacy Fellows Program (DFP), established as part of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Diplomatic Readiness Initiative in the early 2000’s, allows recipients of several prestigious fellowship programs to fast track their applications to the elite Foreign Service branch”. According to Foreign Policy, “It notified fellowship recipients of the suspension in a terse July 13 email”. It is as if the Trump administration does not want competent officials in the rank and file guiding U.S. foreign policy, which coincidence! Also a goal of active measures!
From Foreign Policy.
TRUMP ASSOCIATES STRUGGLING TO PAY LEGAL BILLS
Talking Points Memo reports, “At least two former associates of President Donald Trump’s campaign are struggling to pay hefty legal bills stemming from the congressional and federal probes into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.” They would be Michael Flynn and Michael Caputo. Sad! Would you contribute to the Michael Flynn or Michael Caputo legal defense fund? Surely rubles are accepted as well as dollars. Conjugal visits in prison will probably be welcomed too.
From Talking Points Memo.
RUSSIA BUSINESS OUTLOOK: “YOU RISK DYING”
Yahoo! Finance spoke with Magnitsky Act crusader Bill Browder, who hired the lawyer Sergey Magnitsky who later turned up dead from torture in a Russian jail, to investigate the $230 million theft of his company’s assets by the Russian mafia state. He was formerly the largest foreign investor in Russia, but now he says, “You don’t just risk losing your money in Russia, you risk dying in Russia”. Yahoo! Finance reports, “Browder lost 90% of his investors’ money in 1998 when his assets fell from $1 billion to $100 million following the Russian financial crisis. But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened to him in his ventures.” That did not stop him or his chutzpah though as “He went on to rebuild his fund, growing assets from $100 million to $4.5 billion, while pointing out misdeeds from Russian oligarchs. Later, he was detained at the Moscow airport and banned from the country.” Then came Magnitsky’s death. He notes, “all it takes is one wrong step doing business in Russia and you’re dead.” Browder said, he “came from this family of communists and I decided to rebel as a teenager and became a capitalist,” so “when the Berlin Wall came down” he said if his “grandfather was the biggest communist in America,” he wanted “to become the biggest capitalist in Eastern Europe.”
From Yahoo! Finance.
FEARING HACKING, TWO HOLLYWOOD FILMS CUT PUTIN OUT
The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Hollywood isn’t ready to give screen time to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who’s been excised from two upcoming studio features.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Fox’s Red Sparrow (March 2) tells the story of a Russian spy (Jennifer Lawrence) wooed by the CIA to be a double agent.” While “based on former CIA officer Jason Matthews’ novel,” and “though Putin has a key role in the book, he was dropped.” The Hollywood Reporter notes that as the script shifted from 1970s Budapest in one variation to the present as the project evolved and “Despite the explosion of interest in the Kremlin following the U.S. election, Putin’s character was not restored.” The Hollywood Reporter notes, “by avoiding Putin, Fox also is steering clear of any Russian hackers who might protest.” Far more curious however is the fact that “Putin is missing from EuropaCorp’s upcoming Kursk, the true story of a Russian submarine that sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea in 2000, even though he appears in the source material, Robert Moore’s best-seller A Time to Die”. Ajay Arora, the CEO of security firm Vera, told The Hollywood Reporter, “For a studio to release a movie about Putin that makes him look like a fool would be suicide”. Shameful.
From The Hollywood Reporter.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
BERNIE KNEW OF RUSSIAN ROLE IN HACKING, DIVIDING DNC
Newsweek reports Bernie “Sanders now says his resentment to the email developments went deeper,” after he dismissed it during a primary debate, “telling MSNBC Wednesday afternoon the Democratic Party was fully aware they were under cyberattack by the Russians.” When asked by MSNBC reporter Ari Melber Wednesday, “Did you know then that this might have been part of [the Kremlin’s] design? To leak these emails precisely so that there would be more riffs in the Democratic Party?” Sanders replied, “Well of course we knew that”. Sanders elaborated, “Of course we knew that they were trying to cause divisiveness within the Democratic Party,” adding, “That’s no great secret.” Then why do so many on the left seem to continue to believe that the Russian role in hacking our elections was no big deal? Because Glenn Greenwald says so? Ahem, victims of Russian disinfo agents, ahem.
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