JARED SPEAKS – SORT OF, OK HE RELEASED A STATEMENT
The Washington Post reports, “Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, plans to detail four meetings,” while denying “any improper contacts or collusion in testimony to a congressional panel on Monday.” According to the Washington Post, “Kushner defends his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and other Russian officials as typical contacts in his role as the Trump campaign’s liaison to foreign governments, according to an 11-page prepared statement he plans to submit for the record,” which the Post obtained. Note “typical” for the Trump campaign does not mean typical in American politics or legal in any sense. In the statement, “Kushner says he has had only ‘limited contacts’ with Russian representatives and denies any wrongdoing,” adding, “I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government”. Kushner (or more accurately, his lawyers and communications team) wrote, “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities”. Curiously, Kushner writes, “Dimitri Simes, the publisher of The National Interest, a foreign policy magazine,” was responsible for introducing “Kushner to four ambassadors, including Kislyak.” He also “writes that he received a ‘random email’ on Oct. 30, 2016, from a screenname ‘Guccifer400,’ which he interpreted as ‘a hoax’ that was ‘an extortion attempt and threatened to reveal candidate Trump’s tax returns and demanded that we send him 52 bitcoins in exchange for not publishing that information.’” The Secret Service advised him to ignore it, he says. According to The Washington Post, “Kushner also details two interactions with Russian officials during the transition period”. The statement also includes, “I did not suggest a ‘secret back channel,’” nor, “an on-going secret form of communication for then or for when the administration took office. I did not raise the possibility of using the embassy or any other Russian facility for any purpose other than this one possible conversation in the transition period.” If true, looks like Kushner was set up royally as he writes, “The second transition-period meeting Kushner says he had with Russians was on Dec. 13, when Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, a banker with ‘a direct line to the Russian President,’ at the urging of Kislyak.” The conclusion here: this is why you don’t put the idiot newbie son-in-law of a traitor trash president in charge of U.S. foreign policy in any capacity.
From The Washington Post.
SURPRISE! TRUMP JR.’S RUSSIAN LAWYER LADY FRIEND HAS FSB TIES
Reuters reports, “The Russian lawyer,” Natalia Veselnitskaya, “who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s FSB security service among her clients for years,” according to court documents. Veselnitskaya “successfully represented the FSB’s interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in northwest Moscow between 2005 and 2013,” Reuters adds. The documents show, “Veselnitskaya and her firm Kamerton Consulting represented ‘military unit 55002’ in the property dispute”. Reuters adds, “A public list of Russian legal entities shows the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, founded the military unit whose legal address is behind the FSB’s own headquarters.” The building is now occupied by Elektronintorg, which according to Reuters “is owned by state conglomerate Rostec, run by Sergei Chemezov, who, like Putin, worked for the KGB and served with him in East Germany.” Curiously when Reuters called, and “asked which organization was located there, an unidentified man who answered a speakerphone at the main entrance laughed and said: ‘Congratulations. Ask the city administration.’” The company maintained to Reuters the building was only a legal address while operations were located elsewhere. In case you are having trouble connecting the dots, it appears she helped the FSB appropriate office space for its own use and then the FSB put up a front organization to mask the real activities based there.
SO DOES THE SO-CALLED “EIGHTH MAN,” IRAKLY “IKE” KAVELADZE
The Guardian reports, “Irakly Kaveladze’s partner Boris Goldstein was a Soviet-born banker whose ties to former KGB officials attracted interest from US investigators in the 1990s”. Surprise! Recall also that Kaveladze, who worked for the Crocus Group owned by the Agalarovs, father Aras and pop star crooner son Emin, “was found in 2000 to have created hundreds of shell companies for a $1.4bn scheme that US investigators suspected was used to launder Russian money through American banks.” Well his partner in crime “was Boris Goldstein, a Soviet-born banker whose ties to former KGB officers attracted interest from US investigators after he moved to California in the early 1990s.” The Guardian reads the footnotes whereas other media skim because they picked up on “a little-noticed footnote” in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that read, “We have obtained information that indicates that this individual has had a close relationship with companies associated with members of the former Soviet Union’s intelligence agency”. While “Goldstein was not identified by name in the 2000 report, but his biography matched that of the person described by investigators,” The Guardian notes, “His identity was confirmed at the time by the San Francisco Chronicle.” Goldstein, like everyone else, denies this in a phone call with The Guardian because hint: that’s what the KGB and successor organization FSB tell you to do. However The Guardian reports Goldstein also had a KGB-connected business partner insofar as “Before moving to the US in 1991, Goldstein had founded a bank in his native Latvia that merged with a bank run by Edmunds Johansons, the former chairman of the KGB in Latvia.”
From The Guardian.
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS DISCUSSED CAMPAIGN WITH HANDLER KISLYAK
The Washington Post reports, “Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general”. Private Russian Sessions held a private Russian session with the Russians?! That’s so unlike him! According to The Washington Post, “Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies”. Recall as The Washington Post does, “Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.” According to The Washington Post, “A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had ‘substantive’ discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.” In January, during his confirmation hearing, Private Russian Sessions said, “I did not have communications with the Russians”.
From The Washington Post.
STARRING MICHAEL FLYNN AS ICARUS
The AP reports, “Embattled former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has opened a new consulting firm called Resilient Patriot, LLC that is advising private equity firms, according to one of his brothers, who says Flynn is ‘moving on with his life.’” Luckily patriot in Russian is also patriot! According to AP, “Joe Flynn said his family also is in the early stages of starting a fund to pay for the legal bills his brother is racking up as he sits at the center of multiple probes into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.” Would you contribute to the Michael Flynn Legal Defense Fund? Joe Flynn told the AP, “Mike’s not a millionaire, not even close,” ergo why he was so susceptible to Russian bait as a dangle, adding, “This situation has put him in a tough spot financially. This is going to cost him a lot of money.” You know what else has been placed in “a tight spot” because of Flynn’s activities? American democracy. AP notes, Flynn’s “son, Mike Flynn Jr., used the name Resilient Patriot on Twitter”. Flynn Jr.’s Twitter was monitored by officials who watch extremist networks online because he “sent numerous posts on Twitter about the conspiracy theories of Pizzagate, a fake new story suggesting a Washington, D.C., pizza shop plays a key role in a child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton.”
From the AP.
SEAN SPICER RESIGNS; ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI APPOINTED
In news that spread like wildfire across the info-sphere Friday, blotting out all previous talk that Trump has asked about his ability to pardon himself and his accomplices, POLITICO reports, “White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday following his disagreement with President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier, as the new communications director”. Let’s revisit a now deleted tweet by that great patriot (read: Kremlin agent) Edward Snowden, the one that said, “2016: a choice between Goldman Sachs and Donald Trump,” because Scaramucci is a Goldman Sachs alum! Of course Scaramucci wrote an op-ed in early 2016, which CNN unearthed over the weekend that said “America deserves better” than “unbridled demagoguery,” but that was then and this is now, the present glorious future great state! The Washington Post notes that when “Asked if he had any regrets, Spicer replied: ‘None.’” So maybe TRUMPISTAN WATCH ought point out some regrets he should have! Let’s bid farewell to Spicer by revisiting his finest, by which TRUMPISTAN WATCH means his worst, moments of revisionist history. Never again will we have to listen to this sad, sorry pathetic excuse for a man tell us that not even “someone as despicable as Hitler” sunk to “using chemical weapons,” in his, you know, “Holocaust centers”. Or what about the time he repeated Trump’s unfounded wiretap allegations against Obama? The press will miss him because they loved to hate him for filling up their 24 hour news networks with a lot of bile and garbage to drive the continuum of rage cycles off of which this administration and much other cultural rubbish feeds from. And when TRUMPISTAN WATCH says never again will we have to hear this man, it is in the same spirit in which most say never again on genocide, so you know, until the next time. Until a cable new network hires him to blather on air rather than get the feed for free from the White House press briefing room.
KISLYAK KISSES AMERICA GOODBYE
Deutsche Welle reports, “Sergey Kislyak’s diplomatic role as head of the Russia embassy in Washington, DC, came to an end on Saturday, the Russian Embassy announced on its Twitter feed.” Sad! Don’t come around here no more. Hit the road, Sergey. Deutsche Welle notes, “Current Minister-Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission Denis V. Gonchar will head up the embassy until the arrival of Kislyak’s successor, who is likely to be the current Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Antonov.”
From Deutsche Welle.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS DEAL REACHED
Glory, glory hallelujah! The New York Times reports, “Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on sweeping sanctions legislation to punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors, they said Saturday, defying the White House’s argument that President Trump needs flexibility”. According to The New York Times, “The new legislation would sharply limit the president’s ability to suspend or terminate the sanctions — a remarkable handcuffing by a Republican-led Congress six months into Mr. Trump’s tenure.” Indeed, “Now, Mr. Trump could soon face a decision he hoped to avoid: veto the bill — a move that would fuel accusations that he is doing the bidding of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — or sign legislation imposing sanctions his administration has opposed.” The Kremlin of course, through spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said it viewed this as “Highly negative”. Too damn bad. Additionally “two senior administration officials said they could not imagine Mr. Trump vetoing the measure in the current political atmosphere,” The New York Times notes. Early Monday, the AP reports, “The White House has indicated that President Donald Trump would sign a sweeping Russia sanctions measure”. Glory, glory hallelujah!
MEANWHILE EUROPE IS ASLEEP + DOESN’T RECALL ITS SECURITY BLANKET
POLITICO Europe reports, “The European Commission plans to hit back ‘within days’ at the United States if possible new sanctions against Russia, which could be finalized by the end of the month, are agreed upon and leave European energy and other companies vulnerable to U.S. interference.” Um, wake up Europe! Russia is your problem, don’t feel so high and mighty because voters – this time – turned their backs ultimately on Wilders and Le Pen, there is a bear on the loose and Europe is well within its sights. “According to an internal note prepared for Commissioners, and seen by POLITICO, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is particularly concerned about energy-related measures in the sanctions, which he believes could be used unfairly against European energy companies.” Hey Juncker, 10,000 Ukrainians are dead fighting largely so you can live and be corrupt in freedom — worry about them or the next 10,000 dead, or 100,000 dead, please. According to POLITICO Europe, “The note, dated July 19, said, ‘The measures risk breaking the transatlantic and G7 unity’ on handling Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Ukraine.” Note: “The biggest affected interest would be the mooted Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, itself a source of political controversy in the EU,” so do not use Ukraine, which we all know is not Europe’s first concern as an excuse! Do not disgrace the dead. Some of us would like a future.
From POLITICO Europe.
RUSSIA + VENEZUELA DISCUSS CITGO STAKE TO AVOID US SANCTIONS
Reuters reports, “Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft is negotiating to swap its collateral in Venezuelan-owned, U.S.-based refiner Citgo for oilfield stakes and a fuel supply deal – a move to avoid complications from U.S. sanctions”. Holy hell Congress better raise a ruckus! Recall “State-owned Rosneft holds a 49.9 percent stake in Citgo as collateral for a loan last year of about $1.5 billion to” Venezuela, Reuters reports. The loan came just after Moscow carried out a coup in Washington last November leading to Donald Trump’s victory. Of course, “The arrangement with Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, PDVSA, has drawn fire from U.S. senators who do not want Russia in a position to own a substantial stake of U.S.-based energy assets in potential violation of existing economic sanctions,” Reuters adds. While Venezuela has been in a death spiral brought on by Chavismo for some time, “The negotiations took on more urgency this week, one of the sources told Reuters, when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose ‘strong economic actions’ on Venezuela unless embattled leftist President Nicolas Maduro aborts plans to establish a new legislature with powers to rewrite the nation’s constitution.” Oh the irony because Trump will probably want to do that here some day if he survives his current predicament. Reuters notes, “Senators have questioned whether the deal could violate U.S. sanctions – designed to punish Moscow for aggression in Ukraine – if Rosneft ever collected the collateral.” Opposition lawmakers in Venezuela also object to the “auctioning off” of the country’s assets to save the dying Chavista state in its death throes.
EXXON WILL SUE US FOR ITS RIGHT TO SANCTIONS BUST
Reuters reports, “Exxon Mobil Corp sued the U.S. government on Thursday, blasting as ‘unlawful’ and ‘capricious’ a $2 million fine levied against it for a three-year-old oil joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft.” Recall on Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department “slapped the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer with the fine for ‘reckless disregard’ of U.S. sanctions in dealings with Russia in 2014,” Reuters notes, adding, “Exxon took the government to court despite the fact that the fine, the maximum allowed, would have a minor impact on the company, which made $7.84 billion in profit last year.” In context, the fine is very low, so the reputational stain that surrounds the perception of unlawful interactions with Russia given what is going on in Washington, and of course former CEO T Rex’s role in inflicting active measures on the State Department, must be the true cost. You gotta fight for your right to sanctions bust!
SIEMENS WILL STOP DELIVERING POWER PLANT EQUIPMENT TO RUSSIA
The New York Times reports, “A dispute between Berlin and Moscow escalated on Friday after Siemens, the German industrial giant, said it would stop delivering power plant equipment to Russia after gas turbines were moved to the disputed territory of Crimea against the company’s wishes.” The decision to stop deliveries to Russia “comes less than two weeks after it complained that a Russian customer had shipped electrical machinery to Crimea instead of its intended destination in southern Russia. The relocation of the turbines defied a contractual agreement not to violate international sanctions,” The New York Times reports. Russia, not play by the rules? Shock! The New York Times adds, “On Friday, the German company said four gas turbines sold to Technopromexport had been illegally moved to Crimea, twice as many as previously known.” Of course the Kremlin’s chief liar Dmitry Peskov “said that the turbines moved to Crimea were made in Russia from Russian parts, and so were not subject to sanctions restrictions,” but if you believe anything Peskov says, you are probably a gullible fool. Siemens “moratorium” will stay in place “for the time being,” so an indeterminate amount of time. The New York Times notes, “A company spokesman said he could not provide information on how many existing orders would be affected, or how many sales it stood to lose.” However the fine print here is that Siemens will “deliver only equipment that its workers installed themselves, to ensure there were no further violations of sanctions,” and “Siemens said it would sell its stake in Interautomatika, a Russian firm which sells and maintains technology for power plants,” The New York Times reports. The German government is still determining what, if any, actions to take, but a deputy foreign minister, Markus Ederer, has already made mention of the illegal transfer in a speech earlier this month.
From The New York Times.
US ARMY EUROPE COMMANDER URGES “A MILITARY SCHENGEN”
Reuters reports, “Citing lessons learned from recent big military exercises, the U.S. Army’s top general in Europe urged Germany to spend more on transportation and missile defence to help it meet its NATO target of 2 percent of economic output.” In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Army Europe Commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said, “more needed to be done to ease the movement of military equipment and forces across Europe in the event of a real crisis, and Germany could play a crucial role”. As so much heavy military equipment moves by rail, Hodges said, “There’s not enough rail capacity for U.S., German, Polish and British forces… or for the NATO VJTF [Very High Readiness Joint Task Force] rapid response force,” adding, “We’d all be competing for the same rail cars.” One thing that could be done is “Berlin could ensure guaranteed rail access as part of its bid to boost military spending from around 1.2 percent of gross domestic product to the 2 percent NATO target,” Hodges told Reuters. Hodges also encouraged Germany to spend “more on short- and longer-range missile defence”. Hodges said, “In my view, we need something like a military Schengen zone,” noting, “Currently, military movements are difficult given differing legal requirements, and gaps in infrastructure, such as the fact that many bridges could not support the weight of a tank, and a NATO pipeline does not extend much beyond Berlin.” Hodges is very right about Russia, “They only respect strength and they despise weakness”.
US ENVOY TO UKRAINE VOLKER: RUSSIAN AGGRESSION TO BLAME
Reuters reports, “Russian aggression is to blame for violence in eastern Ukraine, where people are dying in what should be seen as a ‘hot war’ rather than a ‘frozen conflict’, the U.S. special envoy to the Ukraine peace talks said on a visit to Ukraine on Sunday.” Recall, “Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, was appointed to his current role on July 7 to help resolve the conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists,” as Reuters notes more than 10,000 have been killed in this burst of Russian aggression, or as we call the Russians in America, Donald Trump’s great friends. Volker visited Ukrainian-controlled Kramatorsk, 690 km (430 miles) southeast of Kiev and “said he would prepare a set of recommendations on how Washington can better engage with the peace process.” Reuters reports, “Leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia will speak by phone on Monday to discuss the conflict.”
CHINESE NAVY ARRIVES IN THE BALTIC SEA TO JOIN RUSSIAN EXERCISE
CNN reports, “One of China’s most-advanced warships is leading a small flotilla to the Baltic Sea, where it will engage in exercises with the Russian Navy.” CNN adds, “The Russian and Chinese defense ministries have confirmed the participation of a Chinese guided-missile destroyer in the week-long war games, the first-ever joint operation by the two powers in European waters”. The exercise “will include anti-submarine warfare and air defense drills,” according to CNN. “China said the joint drills would be the first for the Type 052D destroyer Hefei, which was commissioned less than two years ago. It’s being joined by a missile frigate, a supply ship and about 10 Russian ships,” CNN reports, adding, “British, Dutch and Danish warships have at various times been escorting the Chinese flotilla as it made its way to the drills through the English Channel and across the North Sea.” Russian state-run TASS notes the exercise kicked off Friday with a boring name, Maritime Cooperation 2017, citing Baltic Fleet official Roman Martov who said, “The first stage of the Russian-Chinese naval exercises ‘Maritime Cooperation-2017’ will be held from July 21 to July 28. It consists of two stages – a coastal stage, from July 21 to July 24, and an active sea stage, from July 25 to July 28.”
PRINCELING JARED BEFORE SENATE + HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES
ABC News reports, “White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has agreed to appear in a closed session before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling on Tuesday, July 25”. Note, “This will be the second of two interviews Kushner has scheduled with congressional investigators next week,” as ABC News reported earlier princeling Jared “is also scheduled to appear on Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.” Also of note ABC News reports, “The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, have agreed to provide documents and sit for closed-door interviews with the Senate Judiciary Committee, after the panel initially invited them to testify at a public hearing next Wednesday.” The House intelligence committee also wants to hear from Donald “Uday” Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort and is prepared to issue subpoenas if need be, ABC News reports.
From ABC News.
ANOTHER LAWYER FOR UDAY
Reuters reports, “The president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has added a lawyer with congressional experience to his legal team,” Karina Lynch of Williams and Jensen. Lynch confirmed the hire in an email to Reuters Sunday.
SENATE SUBPOENAS GLENN SIMPSON OF FUSION GPS + STEELE DOSSIER
POLITICO reports, “The Senate Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Friday to the co-founder of the firm that commissioned the now-infamous dossier of unsubstantiated allegations about President Donald Trump after he declined to testify before Congress next week.” According to POLITICO, “The senators said Simpson’s attorney has asserted that his client will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoena.”
SUSAN RICE CLOSED DOOR SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE MEETING FRIDAY
CNN reports, “Susan Rice, who served as former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, quietly met behind closed doors Friday with Senate intelligence committee investigators probing Russian meddling in the elections, according to an official familiar with the matter.” Recall DARKNESS AT NUNES accused her of “unmasking” officials involved in the Trumpworld orbit around the Kremlin’s sun, even though if she did so (and she likely did), it was well within the rubric of her job description as National Security Advisor at the time to do so. Indeed Senator Richard Burr said, “The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes”. That should be the least shocking news of all to all TRUMPISTAN WATCHians. TRUMPISTAN WATCH has called him DARKNESS AT NUNES since the beginning for a reason: TRUMPISTAN WATCH knows Soviet-style tactics and bullshit on sight, often at first sight. You can thank those who survived Comrade Józef for that.
—–“UNPRESIDENTED”: ASPEN SECURITY FORUM SPECIAL—–
HAYDEN: “MOST SUCCESSFUL COVERT INFLUENCE OPERATION IN HISTORY”
The strength of America over Russia is admitting defeat, acknowledging one’s flaws and seeking to repair the system rather than rely on some ill-conceived notions of supremacy. So it goes Yahoo! News reports, “Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA and the CIA, on Friday called Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election the ‘most successful covert influence operation in history.’” We failed to protect ourselves because of the shortsightedness and obsessively singular focus on adversaries du jour in a world where there are multiple threat vectors at any given time. Let’s be frank about an uncomfortable truth for all war on terror critics: while civilians, the press, politicians and the business community slept, the national security apparatus was on it. Speaking at the Aspen Security Conference, Hayden said, “I just have to admit as a former director of NSA, [Russia’s hack and theft of email] is honorable state espionage”. Washington needs more of this: acknowledging an adversary’s strengths, not through the prism of Washington but rather of reality. Hayden goes one step further: “What the Russians then did with the information,” was “that turned [it] into what we call a covert influence operation.” He also acknowledged, “At its heart, this is a Russia issue”. Sadly, this is also an American issue now.
From Yahoo! News.
CLAPPER: TRUMP IS “MAKING RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN”
USA Today reports, “Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan held nothing back during a panel discussion hosted by the Aspen Security Forum.” USA Today notes, “Clapper, playing off the president’s own campaign slogan, said that Trump’s actions were ‘making Russia great again.’” Clapper added, “It’s painful for me to speak like this,” because intelligence officials normally never ever disparage presidents past or present in such a way that one could call this wholly out of character. There is a bit on the Steele dossier as well as USA Today reports, “In a Jan. 6 meeting with Trump prior to his inauguration, Clapper said he and other top officials offered a ‘compelling case’ pointing to Russia’s involvement in the election.” While officials “didn’t get a lot of push back,” Clapper said that came “five days later when information compiled in a lurid, unsubstantiated dossier about Trump was made public in news reports. Brennan and Clapper said Trump was briefed on the contents of the dossier during the Jan. 6 meeting, as a precautionary measure.” Clapper denied any part in the leak but added, “there is ‘no dissent’ among U.S. officials that Russian interfered in the election.” Except of course Moscow’s pet, the puppet president, still has some misgivings.
From USA Today.
BRENNAN: TRUMP IS “DISGRACEFUL”
Reuters reports, “Former CIA director John Brennan on Friday criticized as ‘disgraceful’ President Donald Trump’s efforts to play down U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.” The full quote: “These types of comments are just disgraceful … and the person who said them should be ashamed of himself.” Is Trump capable of shame? We will not know until the very end and that will depend on how it ends. Reuters adds, “Brennan said he was disappointed by the president’s handling of security issues in his first six months in office.” Brennan said, “in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing on the international stage that I think pose serious questions about how he is keeping safe our national security.”
ON DEFENSE, CLAPPER + BRENNAN RIP TRUMP A NEW ONE
POLITICO reports former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA director John Brennan “tore into President Donald Trump on Friday, saying in sometimes personal terms that Trump has shown disrespect for intelligence officials and a distasteful affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and warning he may be endangering U.S. national security.” *May* be? Oh dear god, no, he is. Our citizens, institutions, infrastructure face continued harassment under the Kremlin kowtowing human garbage currently squatting in the White House. They also played defense too as Brennan said, “I think we did pretty damn well…. there was no playbook for this”. Clapper added, “This is uncharted seas that we were trying to navigate”. POLITICO notes, “Both men endorsed the creation of a law requiring regular disclosures to Congress of foreign cyber intrusions before U.S. elections.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
TRUMP’S POSSIBLE CONDUIT TO THE KREMLIN: ARAS AGALAROV
The Washington Post reports on the relationship between the Agalarovs and Trump, and the paper starts with “an extravagant party entrance for their guest, Donald Trump: an armored Mercedes stretch limo driving off a freight elevator right into a ballroom with 3,000 bedazzled Russian guests.” The Washington Post notes, “Aras Agalarov, the real estate magnate and amiable purveyor of high-end goods in all sizes and shapes, has emerged as a possible conduit from the Kremlin to Trump,” as “the most punishing scandal of his six-month-old presidency,” evolves around the two brazen businessmen and a Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 involving their conduits. The Washington Post reports, Agalarov “is a man who rose through the Moscow luxury, real estate and entertainment worlds by playing the role of consummate fixer and reliable executor, building political capital in the Moscow region, and increasingly in the Kremlin itself.” The Washington Post reports, “Agalarov, 61 was born in Baku, the capital of the then-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, and studied computer engineering before moving to Moscow,” adding that “Primarily through real estate, his wealth has blossomed to nearly $2 billion”. His son, the pop star “Emin was married to the daughter of the president of Azerbaijan in 2006,” until they divorced in 2015. His Crocus City expo complex hosted a millionaire’s fair in 2005 and “In 2009, he opened a concert hall and the country’s only privately owned metro station nearby.” The complex, on the outskirts of Moscow, is “close to the offices of the Moscow regional government, where Agalarov forged a close alliance with Boris Gromov, the powerful regional governor until 2012.” The region is now held by “Gov. Andrei Vorobyov, who previously served as an aide to Sergei Shoigu,” the Russian defense minister, who “Along with Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general since 2006,” is “seen as an important interest group within Russian politics.” According to The Washington Post, “They regularly cross paths with Agalarov. Vorobyov cut the ribbon at the opening of Agalarov’s Vegas concert hall in the city of Krasnogorsk last year, and Agalarov wrote a sharply worded defense of Chaika in the newspaper Kommersant after a 2015 corruption allegation by the opposition leader Alexei Navalny.” The Washington Post notes, “Agalarov’s work in the Far East,” constructing a 70-building university complex, “earned him an Order of Honor at a Kremlin ceremony.” The Washington Post adds, “In 2014, Agalarov signed on to save two troubled football stadiums, in Kaliningrad and the southern Russian city of Rostov, for the 2018 World Cup, as well as a 30-mile stretch of a new Moscow beltway,” and the year before, there was an agreement “with the state-run Sberbank to finance a $3 billion Crocus Group development, possibly including a Trump Tower.” But most importantly, “Agalarov also sought to bring Trump and Putin together.”
From The Washington Post.
NEW JERSEY BUILDING TIED TO AGALAROVS, EIGHTH MAN + EMIN BUDDIES
NewJersey.com reports, “Irakly ‘Ike’ Kaveladze founded a company, International Business Creations, that was the subject of a federal investigation into Russian money laundering through U.S. banks in the 1990s. International Business Creations lists its address as Suite 309 in the Palestroni building at 333 Sylvan Avenue in Englewood Cliffs.” Additionally “Emin Agalarov, the Tenafly High School graduate and Russian pop star, and his billionaire father and real estate mogul, Aras Agalarov – two central figures who helped arrange the Trump Tower meeting that is now part of an FBI probe” have used the address. According to NewJersey.com, “A business card for International Business Creations left with the management of the Englewood Cliffs building names Emin Agalarov as a ‘purchasing agent’ for the company. Another company that operates out of Suite 309, RJI Properties, is run by two men who graduated with Emin from Tenafly High in 1997: Jason Tropea and Roman Beniaminov.” Now if you work in the former Soviet sphere, you do not overlook such glaring details. Adding to the oddities is the fact that “A directory in the building lobby lists IBC and still another company, Russian Art Mall, as occupants of Suite 309. Until this week, the name plate on the door of Suite 309 said ‘Corsy International, Inc.’ but that has been removed,” NewJersey.com notes. “Kaveladze is listed as a registered agent of Corsy International on corporation records,” NewJersey.com reports. So NewJersey.com paid them a visit on Thursday and the door was answer by a man who “identified himself only as ‘Jason’ and would not respond to questions. Asked what business he was from, he responded, ‘None of your business.’ Other tenants on the third floor said mail frequently piles up at the front door of Suite 309, and that the activities inside were a mystery.” NewJersey.com notes in the past, “Kaveladze used International Business Creations and another company, Euro-American Corporate Services Inc., to set up the shell companies.”
EXPLORING NEW US AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA JON HUNTSMAN’S TIES
The Washington Post reports the newly officially appointed U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon “Huntsman’s experience in Russia appears to be limited to his business interests there. A company owned by Huntsman’s family does business in Russia, and he has traveled to that country in that capacity”. What are said business connections? The Washington Post does not really delve into it, instead opting to examine his connections to a corporate board and a DC-based think tank. Well “for the past three years, Huntsman has served on the board of directors of Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil and gas company — and one of the biggest corporations affected by curent [sic] U.S. sanctions against Russia,” The Washington Post notes. “One of Chevron’s biggest oil plays abroad is in landlocked Kazakhstan. In partnership with Russia’s state-owned Transneft, Chevron gets that oil to the Black Sea via a pipeline through Russian territory,” The Washington Post adds. However, “Transneft is one of several Russian firms targeted by the Treasury Department with sanctions,” The Washington Post notes. However “Chevron has shown interest in doing more business with Russia. It sought a deal to drill in the Russian Arctic with another state-owned oil company, Rosneft, but that partnership was ultimately forged instead with the only larger U.S. energy firm, ExxonMobil,” which used to employ T Rex and was fined last week for sanctions busting when he was CEO. By contrast “As chair of the Atlantic Council, a foreign-policy think tank, Huntsman oversaw initiatives that scrutinized Russia’s role as an energy supplier to Europe and advocated for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” Overall and by most all accounts, Huntsman appears to be a savvy political and economic player who may bend with the winds of opportunity, therefore the climate that opportunists find themselves in both in Washington and beyond becomes of the utmost importance. We cannot let the culture of stupid currently festering in the White House prevail.
From The Washington Post.
THROUGH THE ENEMIES’ EYES: L’AFFAIRE RUSSE A LA RUSSE
Rolling Stone has a helpful article from a writer, Matt Taibbi, who was reluctant to concede the Russian role in the election last December but seems to have come around somewhat, albeit with a strong dose of whataboutism. However, it is helpful to get inside the enemy’s head rather than Washington’s lens on the enemy, so it is in this spirit TRUMPISTAN WATCH takes you back to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Yeltsin years! This is not to vindicate what happened in 2016, but it is useful to remember “we meddled in their elections,” which “especially annoying to Russians because we were ostensibly teaching them the virtues of democracy at the time.” As Rolling Stone notes, to rub it in, “After Boris Yeltsin won re-election in 1996, Time magazine ran a gloating cover story – YANKS TO THE RESCUE!” It is undeniable that “American interference throughout the Nineties was extensive,” as Rolling Stone notes. Rolling Stone is right that “the privatization effort under Yeltsin, much of which was coordinated by Americans, helped lead to a little-understood devil’s bargain that sealed Yeltsin’s electoral victory,” to defeat “surging communist Gennady Zyuganov. The likes of Vladimir Potanin, Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky were gifted huge fortunes before bankrolling Yeltsin’s re-election bid.” Truth be told, the deteriorated state of the Soviet Union and the chaos unleashed by its collapse was unwieldy as any witness of the era will testify and oligarchs might have risen on their own but to Russian eyes, “Americans surely helped usher in the oligarch era by guiding Russia through its warped privatization process”. Arguably more problematic is the fact that “The West also aided Yeltsin during that election season by providing a $10.2 billion IMF loan that just happened to almost exactly match the cost of Yeltsin’s vicious and idiotic invasion of Chechnya.” And more problematic yet for a broken and dilapidated empire was a quid pro quo “1990 deal struck between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze,” that the Soviets would back off creating problems for Germany’s reunification if the U.S. would not “leapfrog” into the former Eastern bloc states, many of which are now willing and eager NATO members.
From Rolling Stone.
SWEDISH NAZIS TRAINED IN RUSSIA BECAUSE RUSSIA LOVES NAZIS
Despite the constant Russian rhetoric that all their adversaries are Nazis, Russia really loves Nazis, enough to train them! BuzzFeed reports, “When two Swedish Nazis thought their group’s leaders had gone soft, they went to train with Russian paramilitaries, before returning home to carry out an attack.” Actually three. Indeed the “case shows how nationalist extremism across Europe is being transformed by the conflict in Ukraine,” Buzz Feed reports. Members of Sweden’s largest Nazi organization, the Nordic Resistance Movement, targeted a makeshift shelter for asylum seekers who had been turned down and were awaiting deportation, bombing the “rundown concrete motel on a lonely road off the highway running into Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city,” on January 5. According to BuzzFeed, “fragments of a bomb and the bicycle it had been strapped to that matched a 23-year-old named Viktor Melin. Melin was the leader of the group’s Gothenburg cell, and prosecutors ultimately brought charges against him and two other members, 20-year-old Anton Thulin and 50-year-old Jimmy Jonasson.” When the case went to trial six months later, “prosecutors dropped a bombshell” of their own: “Prosecutors presented evidence that two of the men had traveled to Russia, where they trained with paramilitaries who had fought alongside Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine,” BuzzFeed reports. BuzzFeed notes, “Some security analysts believe that the war in Ukraine has transformed nationalism in the West in a way that echoes another conflict that fueled extremism around the globe: the fighting in Iraq and Syria.” Must read for European security officials and those concerned about security on the continent and the spread of violent extremism.
SHIT SERGEY LAVROV SAYS: PUTIN + TRUMP MAY HAVE MET MORE TIMES
NBC News reports, “President Donald Trump may have held more meetings with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit earlier this month, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday”. Look what good friends the Russians are for Trump – they screw him over at every chance they get. In an interview with NBC News, Lavrov said, “They might have met even much more than just three times”. Yes, they were like lovers meeting in secret for a rendez vous over and over again. Of course given how totally vulgar Lavrov is, his notion of a nominal joke includes the suggestion that, “Maybe they went to the toilet together”. Isn’t that funny, a real joke, like the Russian economy. Appropriately however, Lavrov did compare the two to “children mingling at a kindergarten,” however this play date concerns us all and geopolitical security, so not quite the same, despite the febrile tantrum-prone little men concerned. Most incredulously given their work to install Trump by coup, Lavrov still claims, “We do not believe in regime change anywhere,” which just does not hold water any more, not that it ever did.
From NBC News.
HANNITY WILL NOT RECEIVE BUCKLEY AWARD AFTER OUTCRY
CNN reports Kremlin disinfo agent and “Fox News Channel star anchor Sean Hannity will no longer receive the conservative Media Research Center’s William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence at its September 21 gala”. CNN notes, “Buckley, the founder of the National Review, who died in 2008, was hailed in his day as ‘arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States.’” By contrast, “Giving an award in his name to Hannity — a pugnacious talk radio host who has shared conspiracy theories on his popular cable news show — had caused hand wringing among some conservatives.” According to CNN, “It also caused distress among Buckley’s family — in particular his only child, best-selling author Christopher Buckley.” Of course, CNN reports, “Through a Fox News Channel spokesperson, Hannity said he is unable to attend the event that night and be there in person to accept the award.” Cop-out.
BALTIC STATES RESPOND TO RUSSIA’S FOREST BROTHERS FILM OUTCRY
The Baltic Times reports, “At a Vienna forum of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Moscow made critical remarks about a NATO film about the Baltic ‘brothers of the forest’ who fought against the occupation by the Soviet Union.” The Baltic states responded to Russia’s efforts at revisionism in a joint statement that read in part, “our countries had the right to resist occupation and this is what they did; many people were deported to Siberia, were tortured and massacred.” The Baltic Times notes, “Active guerrilla fighting for Lithuania’s independence took place in 1944-1953. More than 21,000 participants of the resistance efforts, their family members and supporters were killed during the rule of Soviet dictator Josif Stalin.” The Baltic Times notes, “NATO recently presented a brief movie about the guerrilla movement of the Baltic states, which Russia criticized and accused the guerrilla of collaborating with the Nazis responsible for civilian deaths.” Of course Russia’s revisionist history neglects the fact that “it was the Soviets who collaborated with the Nazi Germany at the start of World War II and the guerrilla war took place after the Nazi rule had been demolished.” Details Russia wishes were not real, but sadly, are all too real as hundreds of thousands were deported to gulags and destroyed by mass repressions carried out by Stalin. Every Baltic family has this repression as part of their reality, which unlike Germany where history has been confronted, Russia remains in a state of total denial, the final stage of genocide.
From The Baltic Times.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIA HAS NEW OPPRESSIVE VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR UK NATIONALS
The Telegraph reports, “Russia has added a number of intrusive new questions to its already lengthy visa application forms, including requiring details of applicants’ Facebook and Twitter accounts,” while nothing this is “raising concerns that Britons will be deterred from visiting.” Why is that a concern for the U.K. when it should be for Russia and Russia alone? Besides who wants to go to Russia as long as it remains an oppressive place when you can go to North Korea or Trumpistan or the free world? According to The Telegraph, “As well as any social media accounts, the embassy now asks for information about parents, bank accounts and children, whether they are travelling or not.” The Telegraph notes, “The questions were introduced this week under a ‘miscellaneous information’ section of the application, which already required details of every country visited in the last 10 years.”
From The Telegraph.
STEPHEN COLBERT VISITS PEE PEE TAPE HOTEL ROOM IN MOSCOW
Rolling Stone reports, “Stephen Colbert visited the site of one of the most damning rumors surrounding Donald Trump on Thursday’s The Late Show.” Colbert led into the clip, “Back in January, 10 days before Donald Trump was inaugurated, a document was leaked containing allegations that Trump has deep financial ties to Russia, that his campaign was being supported by the Russian government and that the Russians had compromising videos of Donald Trump watching prostitutes urinate on a bed in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton presidential suite. It was a bombshell.” Rolling Stone reports, “Colbert then revealed that he rented the suite where the alleged video occurred – Room 1101 of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton – and takes his production team on a tour of the suite.” Before showing the video, he led the audience in chants of, “Pee pee tape! Pee pee tape!” Because this is where we are as a nation. One last great detail, “Colbert admired the view out the suite’s windows, only to realize it is overlooking the Kremlin. ‘They don’t need to install cameras in here; they could just give Putin some binoculars,’ Colbert said.”
From Rolling Stone.
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