—–ON THE AGENDA—–
PENCE KICKS OFF EASTERN EUROPE TOUR
The AP reports, “Vice President Mike Pence visits three countries in Russia’s neighborhood,” in order “to signal support for them and NATO while drawing a line against aggression.” According to the AP, “Pence’s mission will be encouraging those countries to continue to ally with the West and resist Russia’s attempts to splinter the NATO alliance.” The Washington Post adds, “Vice President Pence touched down in Estonia on Sunday on the eve of President Trump’s expected signing of legislation to impose broad sanctions against Russia”. Pence spoke “briefly with reporters in Town Hall Square here in Tallinn’s old town,” where he “held out the possibility that the implementation of the penalties,” against Russia “might actually improve relations between the two countries, saying he and Trump ‘expect Russian behavior to change.’” That is a beautiful fantasy he is constructing, both about Russia and Trump, especially when he adds in a dose of Trump never disputed Article V, then the fiction is story book fairy tale complete. Deutsche Welle adds, “The US is considering deploying Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Estonia, US Vice President Mike Pence told Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Sunday.” And the AP adds, “he met Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, the president of Latvia, Raimonds Vejonis, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.”
PRELUDE TO A SLAUGHTER: TRUMP ENDORSES POLICE BRUTALITY
The Huffington Post reports, “President Donald Trump received applause on Friday when he endorsed police brutality while delivering a speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, New York.” Indeed, “The president suggested that officers should hit suspects’ heads on the doors of their police cars,” The Huffington Post reports. What’s worse? “His remarks received significant applause,” The Huffington Post adds. Never say it cannot happen here because it can and it is.
From The Huffington Post.
WHITE HOUSE SURVIVOR: REINCE OUT, GENERAL JOHN KELLY IN
If this is to be a true reality TV presidency, every week the president is to fire but one member of his staff; this week saw the ouster of two important figures. First Sean Spicer sashayed away with the announcement that Trump would hire Anthony Scaramucci, a little vulgarian whose tongue is the output of what a Bolivian hoover might take in through the nostrils. Scaramucci’s wife loudly announced their divorce Friday on Page Six of The New York Post because the Trumpistani elite do not have much by way of what women actually want, despite all their illusions to the contrary. On Saturday came the delightful detail that she was nine months pregnant when she did so, also on Page Six. Now, the AP reports, “Trump on Friday indirectly acknowledged the troubled state of his unconventional White House when he abruptly replaced his chief of staff with hard-nosed retired Gen. John Kelly, until now the Homeland Security secretary.” Kelly is now full on in the role of General Jack D Ripper, and good for him, someone needed to fill that role in this Dr. Strangelove presidency of our times and he was always the best candidate for it. The AP notes, “Kelly will take the desk of Reince Priebus, a Republican operative who was skeptical of Trump’s electoral prospects last year and ultimately came to be viewed by the president as weak and ineffective.” The AP rather foolishly asks, “can Kelly do what Priebus couldn’t? And that’s curbing the president’s penchant for drama and unpredictability, and his tendency to focus more on settling scores than promoting a policy agenda.” Have they been paying attention? Seriously, did they even watch the earlier episodes? No one can do that.
From the AP.
WHITE HOUSE SURVIVOR: THIS WEEK IS MCMASTER ON THE ROCKS?
CNN reports, “National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is increasingly isolated in President Donald Trump’s administration,” citing “congressional and administration officials”. Because he is not a lunatic or Moscow’s puppy, “McMaster is at odds with President Trump on many key national security issues,” CNN reports, adding, “McMaster has also found himself undercut by others in the President’s orbit like chief strategist Steve Bannon and he has clashed with Defense Secretary James Mattis”. CNN reports, “McMaster could be on his way out of the White House, potentially taking a new job within the administration or military outside of the National Security Council.” That would make two National Security Advisors in a little over six months, the first of course being Michael Flynn who disgraced himself long before accepting a job in the Trump administration by going to Moscow and being feted at the Russian state-run RT gala while sitting at a table with Putin. Of course, “two intelligence officials caution that the warnings about McMaster’s fate that have arisen in recent weeks may originate from other factions in the administration trying to undermine the national security adviser’s authority,” CNN reports. Who will be fired this week on White House Survivor? Stay tuned! And skip the popcorn and just go straight for the butter because lol nothing matters.
TRUMP HASN’T YET BUT INTENDS TO SIGN RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
Reuters reports, “U.S. President Donald Trump intends to sign a bill that imposes sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, the White House said in a statement late on Friday.” Like all things Trump, it has to be seen to be believed. We will know today as the White House returns from a commercial break at one of Trump’s golf courses.
BEWARE THE BACK DOOR TO REMOVING SANCTIONS
Business Insider reports, “Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday that the president currently has the power to remove individuals from the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) sanctions list. Whitehouse said that while the president ‘is highly unlikely to be able to undo the Magnitsky Act’ — legislation passed in 2012 that imposed punishing sanctions and travel restrictions on high-level Russian officials — he does have the power to ‘remove people off the OFAC list.’” Beware! Consequently Whitehouse noted according to Business Insider, “We are looking at re-writing the Magnistky Act right now to close off that opportunity”. Business Insider reports, “The Magnitsky Act currently stipulates that, if the president wants to remove someone from the list, he or she ‘shall provide the chairperson and ranking member’ of the appropriate committees ‘with any information that contributed to the removal decision.’” She? TRUMPISTAN WATCH wonders why the rhetorical flourish, is it to acknowledge our votes count for nothing against the Russian mafia state’s interference and the Electoral College? Like, here is a reminder guys!
From Business Insider.
MORE DETAILS OF RUSSIA’S RETALIATION
The Guardian reports, “Russia has ordered the US to reduce its diplomatic presence in Russia – potentially forcing hundreds of embassy employees in the country to leave their jobs – after Congress approved a new wave of sanctions against Moscow”. Call this part of baby Vlad’s epic tantrum. According to The Guardian, “The US ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, was summoned to the foreign ministry on Friday morning to be given the news. A statement posted on the ministry’s website said the number of diplomatic and technical personnel across US diplomatic missions in Russia should not exceed 455.” According to The Guardian, “The ministry said the figure of 455 was equivalent to the number of Russian diplomatic staff accredited for work in the US. The figure refers to all embassy staff, including both US diplomats and local hires.” Wonder what makes them so nervous, could be the lack of any economy or the fact that American intelligence and woke members of the public know exactly what they did to us to help install Trump last year? “Reuters quoted an embassy source stating that there are about 300 US diplomats based in Moscow, with about 1,100 staff altogether between the Moscow embassy and three consulates across the country. If this figure is accurate, the Russian move would mean more than 600 employees would have to leave,” The Guardian notes. Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post report 755 U.S. Embassy and Consulates employees must go. Specific diplomats are not earmarked for expulsion as is usually the case in such tit-for-tats, rather the Americans get to choose who goes back to Trumpistan or humble lives of harassment at the hands of the Russian security services in their native country and who stays. Diplopundit breaks down the numbers somewhat, but it appears local hires, known as Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) will be most effected and least protected and therefore most subject to harassment by the Russian authorities. Tragicomically, Reuters “Russia is ready to normalize relations with the United States and to cooperate on major global issues, Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Friday.” Yeah, right. The little guy in the Kremlin is having a tantrum it seems.
RUSSIA’S NEW UN AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
The AP reports, “Russia’s new envoy to the United Nations took up his post Friday” as “Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that as a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia ‘will continue contributing constructively to addressing those challenges, together with the international community.’” That is a great punch line, isn’t it? Maybe after some polonium tea you will not even feel the pain of how sorrowfully inaccurate that is? The AP reports, “Nebenzia, a deputy foreign minister since 2013, replaced Vitaly Churkin who died in February. He previously was an adviser to Russia’s U.N. delegation and deputy Russian representative at the U.N. office in Geneva.” As if to note he’s replacing the dead guy, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose cause of sudden death is a classified state secret, “Guterres called Churkin ‘one of the most brilliant diplomats ever’ and stressed the importance of ‘effective cooperation’ between the U.N. and Russia.” Must be fun replacing the dead guy.
From the AP.
RUSSIA BANS VPNS
Tech Crunch reports, “Russia has banned VPNs and other technology that allows users to gain anonymous access to websites.” A new law “signed today by President Vladimir Putin, goes into effect on Nov. 1 and represents another major blow to an open Internet,” Tech Crunch notes. As per standard operating procedure in fascist Russia, “Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma’s committee on information policy and technology, has said that the law is not targeted at ‘introducing new bans for law-abiding citizens.’ Instead, he claims it is to prohibit access to illegal content.”
From Tech Crunch.
ESTONIA TO HOST CYBER DEFENSE EXERCISE FOR EU DEFENSE MINISTERS
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “Estonia plans to hold a cyber training exercise for Europe defence ministers to test how they would deal with the fallout from a major cyber attack.” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly adds, “The strategic table-top exercise, dubbed ‘EU CYBRID 2017’, will take place in Tallinn on 7 September during an informal meeting of EU defence ministers. Focused on situational awareness, crisis response mechanisms, and strategic communication, it will be ‘the first event of its kind’, according to Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik”.
US + GEORGIA HOLD MILITARY DRILLS
The BBC reports, “The US and Georgia have launched their biggest ever joint military exercises, as the Caucasus nation seeks to push its bid to join Nato.” The BBC adds, “US Vice-President Mike Pence will visit this week and is expected to back the plan, which Russia strongly opposes.” According to the BBC, “The US-Georgia military drills, dubbed Noble Partner, involve some 1,600 US and 800 Georgian troops. The US has also deployed M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and M2 Bradley infantry vehicles for the exercises, which will go on until 12 August.” BBC notes, “Although Georgia is not a member of Nato, it does voluntarily contribute to the Nato Response Force (NRF), the multinational force of land, air, navy and special operations units the alliance can deploy quickly when needed.”
From the BBC.
RUSSIAN NAVAL PARADES MARK RUSSIAN NAVY DAY SUNDAY
Agence France Presse reports, “President Vladimir Putin on Sunday oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia’s naval might, as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria. Some 50 warships and submarines were on display along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland, off the country’s second city of St. Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first-ever parade on such a grand scale.” According to Agence France Presse, “Smaller naval parades were also taking place from Russia’s base at Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and Vladivostok in the Far East. For the first time Moscow also showed off its naval hardware at its Syrian base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean.”
From Agence France Presse.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
30 YEARS OF RUSSIAN TO BE PRESIDENT TRUMP: A HISTORY
De Correspondent reports, “Donald Trump likes to present himself as a neophyte and political outsider, but that’s not even remotely true. He fantasized about a run for president as early as 1987.” As De Correspondent notes, “Trump has, in fact, been involved in politics for over thirty years.” “Trump is not ‘new to this’ – not to conniving with GOP operatives, not to collaborating with Russian intelligence, and not to presidential politics in general,” De Correspondent reports. “A 1987 Newsweek cover story on Trump paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidential ambitions, which he had announced that year. ‘He’d love to be president, but only if he were appointed,’ one friend told the magazine,” De Correspondent writes. Of course, “Trump first expressed his political ambitions while under the tutelage of ruthless lawyer Roy Cohn, one of the most infamous figures in US politics. Cohn was an advisor to Joseph McCarthy, the Senator who led anti-communist witch-hunts in the 1950s, and to Richard Nixon. While working with Nixon, Cohn befriended Nixon advisor Roger Stone, the self-proclaimed ‘dirty trickster’ who has remained active in GOP politics for over forty years. In the 1980s, Stone formed a consulting firm with Manafort and fellow political hitman Lee Atwater, where they lobbied on behalf of various dictators,” De Correspondent notes. Then “Cohn died of AIDS in 1986, and when Trump heard of his dear friend’s diagnosis, he abandoned him,” and it was “That same year, Trump was invited to visit the Soviet Union by two Kremlin officials: Yuri Dubinin and Vitaly Churkin,” De Correspondent reports. On his first trip to Mother Russia, “Trump arrived in Moscow on July 4, 1987; was housed in Lenin’s suite; and began talking business deals with the Politburo.” It was then that “Trump began discussing his desire to partner with Russia to use nuclear weapons on third countries,” such as Pakistan and France, De Correspondent reports, adding, “He also openly revealed the anti-American and xenophobic streak,” that are his hallmark. Then De Correspondent reports, “Trump’s political aspirations stalled in the early 1990s,” due to divorce, bankruptcy and perhaps, the collapse of his great champions in the Soviet Union. How could we forget, as we have, “Trump briefly ran for the presidency in 1999 and 2000 on the Reform Party ticket – on a far more liberal platform,” as De Correspodent notes? This is sort of a must read tour de force of everything American journalism and journalists should have spent 2016 reporting until it was beaten into our heads – but utterly failed to. MANDATORY READING.
From De Correspondent.
COMMANDER-IN-THIEF: PUTIN WORLD’S RICHEST MAN
Newsweek reports the man who was the largest foreign investor in Russia until his assets were inexplicably seized, Bill Browder, “told senators Thursday that he believed the title” of the world’s richest man belongs to Putin. Recall, Browder hired attorney Sergey Magnitsky to investigate how his Kremlin-aligned stooges stole his assets. Then Magnitsky was found dead in his jail cell with signs of torture and Browder has been avenging his death ever since, from the Magnitsky Act sanctioning Kremlin officials to last Thursday’s Senate hearing.. Newsweek notes, “According to Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, Russian President Vladimir Putin is richer than both Bezos and Gates combined.” Browder estimates Putin’s largely stolen wealth to be at $200 billion. Newsweek notes, “Putin’s personal fortune has been a cause for immense speculation, while the Kremlin has consistently denied any accusations of improper business dealings by the country’s most powerful man.” If you believe that, you will believe anything. However, “Browder estimates that Putin’s wealth comes from a covert deal with some of Russia’s wealthiest officials in the early 2000s,” Newsweek reports. So he’s a thief and a murderer with a country that is geographically the largest on earth with a GDP the size of Italy. If you admire cruel perverse losers, Putin is your man. No wonder Trump loves him.
ANOTHER DEAD MAN TALKING
If you have not heard of Mikhail Lesin or his death on U.S. soil in 2015, it is likely because you thought the Cold War ended in 1991. Perhaps you stopped paying attention to everything that happened with regard to Russia until the intelligence services via America media woke you up late last year, or possibly earlier this year depending on how numb you were after the election. BuzzFeed reports, “Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was murdered in Washington, DC, on the eve of a planned meeting with the US Justice Department, according to two FBI agents whose assertions cast new doubts on the US government’s official explanation of his death.” It’s the surprise that is no surprise to all who are aware of the case as “Lesin’s battered body was discovered in his Dupont Circle hotel room on the morning of Nov. 5, 2015, with blunt-force injuries to the head, neck, and torso.” Supposedly “an almost yearlong ‘comprehensive investigation,’” was carried out and “a federal prosecutor announced last October that Lesin died alone in his room due to a series of drunken falls ‘after days of excessive consumption of alcohol.’ His death was ruled an ‘accident,’ and prosecutors closed the case.” So reluctant was the Obama administration to confront Russia it seems they concealed this one, thereby completely misunderstanding that the only thing Russia respects is strength. So Russia learned that while “two FBI agents — as well as a third agent and a serving US intelligence officer — said Lesin was actually bludgeoned to death,” officially nothing would happen. More revealing is the “previously unreported revelation, the two FBI agents said it was the Department of Justice that paid for the hotel room where Lesin died. DOJ officials had invited the Russian to Washington to interview him about the inner workings of [Russian state-run] RT, the Kremlin-funded network that Lesin founded, they said.” Likely there was much more to talk about than Russian state-run RT. According to BuzzFeed, “Lesin never made it to the interview. He died the night before it was scheduled to take place.” BuzzFeed reports, “American officials now fear the threat has hit home,” that “the Kremlin would start ‘doing here what they do with some regularity in London’”. The weapon, BuzzFeed reports, was a baseball bat – making the falling down in a drunken stupor story all the less plausible.
BILL BROWDER: “A RED DIAPER BABY TURNED CAPITALIST”
CNN profiles Bill Browder whose grandfather, Earl Browder, was the “general secretary of the Communist Party USA”. As CNN’s Michael Weiss notes, “I’m not quite sure what it is about the American-born Browder family that has made its fate for nearly a century quite so dependent on the dark machinations of the Kremlin,” but so it goes. Now “by odd coincidence, Earl Browder’s grandson Bill, a Red diaper baby turned capitalist, addressed a US congressional committee Thursday on a wholly different question about Russia: how, in Browder’s view,” and those of us grounded in reality as opposed to Kremlin lies, “Vladimir Putin and his cronies stole billions in order to enrich themselves, with the regime allegedly engaging in crimes including money laundering and assassination to get away with it.” The Kremlin denies Putin and his henchmen are anything but upstanding patrons of the Russian Orthodox church and sound guardians of the state, but never believe anything until the Kremlin denies it. As CNN notes, “this is plainly now America’s problem, too, because of the international reach of Russian racketeering and the unending Page 1 controversy of whether or not Donald Trump’s campaign may have been susceptible to it on his unlikely march into the White House.” Once the largest foreign investor in Russia, “in 2005, for reasons of ‘national security,’ Browder was deported from Moscow,” CNN adds. “Eighteen months later, he said, Hermitage Capital, along with the offices of its law firm Firestone Duncan, were raided by officers of the Russian Interior Ministry,” who “confiscated corporate documents tied to various Hermitage subsidiaries on a spurious tax evasion pretext,” CNN reports. Now based “in London (he gave up his American citizenship and became a Brit in 1998), Browder hired a 35-year-old tax attorney back in Moscow, Sergei Magnitsky,” who was subsequently arrested for his investigations and found dead in his cell. Behind the haul “an officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor organ of the Soviet KGB; and tax ministry officials,” who “All moonlighted as payrolled gangsters of a ‘dangerous transnational criminal organization,’” in the words of Senator John McCain, “known as the Klyuev Group,” CNN reports. Well worth the read.
FUSION GPS’ GLENN SIMPSON: FROM CREDIBLE TO INCREDIBLE
NBC News reports on Glenn Simpson, the man behind Fusion GPS who “A decade ago, as a Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, Glenn Simpson co-authored a story about how well-connected Republicans, including future Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, were earning big fees by representing controversial clients from the former Soviet Union.” Now NBC News notes, “Simpson runs a private investigation firm called Fusion GPS, and he, too, is earning big fees representing controversial clients.” Recall, “Simpson helped write the Trump-Russia dossier,” also known as the Steele dossier, which “helped spark the FBI investigation now supervised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” However, “Simpson has worked for several years on a cause dear to the heart of Vladimir Putin,” as if he has one, namely, “investigating the case of Sergey Magnitsky”. NBC News notes, “Simpson believes he uncovered information contradicting the account of the Magnitsky case generally accepted by the U.S. government.” Of course, “That case put Simpson on the same side as the two Russians who met with Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in June 2016,” NBC News notes. According to NBC News sources close to Simpson, Simpson “plans to refuse to answer questions about the dossier”. NBC News reports, “When he left journalism for private investigations work, Simpson began a relationship with the law firm of BakerHostetler, which includes John Moscow, a longtime white-collar prosecutor for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.” According to NBC News, “Simpson has told friends that he was troubled that his work on the [Magnitsky] case might help Putin.”
From NBC News.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Foreign Policy reports, “The State Department plans to scale back its diplomatic presence at this year’s annual U.N. gathering of world leaders in September, a cost-saving initiative that delivers another powerful signal that America is deepening its retreat from international diplomacy”. According to Foreign Policy however the fake royal family will still be present as “President Donald Trump does plan to address other world leaders at the U.N, General Assembly, and he will be accompanied by other top advisors, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump, who stopped by U.N. headquarters Friday for a private lunch with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.” However, “the ranks of professional diplomats, aides and officials that attend the event to promote American policy priorities on a range of issues will be thinned out,” because obviously princeling Jared can handle everything while he handles nothing. Sources indicated to Foreign Policy that, “two officials said that the State Department is seeking to keep a ceiling down to about 300 people,” whereas “Last year, 347 U.S. officials were counted by the U.N. in the official American delegation”. Foreign Policy notes, “But the full delegation, including support staff and security, was far larger, according to former U.S. officials.” Trump won’t be there the full 10 days and he is expected to stay at his New Jersey golf club. Now this might seem insignificant but with the global effort to scale back U.S. diplomacy under Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, let’s recall the goal of active measures is to capture the state by seizing the three pillars of the state as defined by active measures: foreign policy, the economy and defense.
From Foreign Policy.
RUSSIA’S ECONOMIC PAIN EFFECTING DISINFO OPS?
EurasiaNet reports, “It seems that Russia’s economic troubles may be starting to hinder the Kremlin’s use of electronic media to push its agenda.” There is no question they spent a ton of money on their America operation last year and now we may be seeing the first signs of economic pain resulting in contraction of their disinformation operations. EurasiaNet adds, “With little fanfare, the Moscow-backed media outlet Russia Direct ceased operations this past March.” EurasiaNet notes, “Where RT or Sputnik sometimes rely on conspiracy theorists and fringe voices to push narratives friendly to Moscow, Russia Direct emphasized more well-sourced analysts.” EurasiaNet reports, “The circumstances surrounding Russia Direct’s closure are murky,” adding, “Rossiyskaya Gazeta ended its financial support for the outlet in January,” and “Rossiskaya Gazeta further barred a third party from taking over Russia Direct.” Sad!
SUBSCRIBE: e-mail TrumpistanWatch@gmail.com with “TRUMPISTAN WATCH” in the subject line to receive the weekday e-mail newsletter.