MCMASTER OF HIS DOMAIN: TRUMP DEFENDS MCMASTER V DISINFO
The Washington Examiner reports, “President Trump is defending White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster amid a steady drumbeat from conservatives,” and Russian disinformation, “who are calling on the president to fire him for alleged disloyalty.” The Washington Examiner cites “an unusual statement issued shortly before midnight Friday,” that states, “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” adding, “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.” It is like Trump realizes Russian disinformation cannot save him and only merciful Generals can. Yes, Generals is capitalized so long as the president remains a puppet, as they are the head of state now. The Washington Examiner notes, “The two men met on Thursday amid Gen. McMaster’s purge of Trump loyalists from the White House national security council, a heated debate about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and a report that he allowed former Obama administration aide Susan E. Rice to keep her security clearance.” McMaster of his domain. This despite, as Business Insider notes, the newly launched Hamilton 68 dashboard which tracks Russian propaganda on behalf of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a German Marshall Fund project, observed, “Twitter accounts that have been linked to Russian influence operations have jumped on the anti-McMaster bandwagon, too, using hashtags like #FireMcMaster and #deepstate”.
BRING IT ON: MUELLER USING MULTIPLE GRAND JURIES
NBC News reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has tapped multiple grand juries, including juries in Washington and Virginia, in an effort to gather evidence in the ongoing federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election”. While NBC News notes, “The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Mueller had impanelled a separate grand jury in Washington,” NBC News learned “that Mueller is using existing grand juries in both Washington and Virginia.” Very, very smart. NBC News notes, “The use of a grand jury is part of the normal process of a complex investigation and it is a tool not just for hearing testimony but for learning about and obtaining records from individuals or companies. It is a powerful tool prosecutors can use to seek indictments and subpoenas, and may be a signal Mueller’s work is far from over.” NBC News also reports, “that both Flynn and Manafort are formally considered ‘subjects’ of a criminal investigation,” which their lawyers of course deny, as they are paid handsomely to do so. However, NBC News hedges considerably in noting, “A ‘subject’ is someone whose conduct is being examined by the investigation, and may be suspected of a crime. So far, no public evidence has surfaced linking Flynn and Manafort to the Russian interference effort.” Bring it on!
From NBC News.
BRING IT ON: MUELLER WANTS FLYNN DOCS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
The New York Times reports, “Investigators working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently asked the White House for documents related to the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, and have questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the final months of the presidential campaign”. Wicked fun! The New York Times notes, “Though not a formal subpoena, the document request is the first known instance of Mr. Mueller’s team asking the White House to hand over records.” The New York Times adds, “Investigators are also examining the flow of money into and out of the Flynn Intel Group”. While taking money from “any foreign government is not illegal,” The New York Times notes, “failing to register as a foreign agent is a felony, and trying to hide the source of the money by routing it through a private company or some other entity, and then paying kickbacks to the middleman, could lead to numerous criminal charges, including fraud.” Mueller’s team has “also asked about the White Canvas Group, a data-mining company that was reportedly paid $200,000 by the Trump campaign for unspecified services,” which, “The Flynn Intel Group shared office space with”. White Canvas Group “was founded by a former Special Operations officer who was a friend of Mr. Flynn’s,” The New York Times reports.
From The New York Times.
DOJ WANTS TO PLUMB FOR LEAKS
NPR reports, “The Justice Department has experienced an ‘explosion’ in the number of referrals, or requests for probes, this year from intelligence agencies over the leak of classified information, prompting the attorney general to consider whether to loosen regulations on when it can subpoena media organizations.” Private Russian Sessions does that and we will fall down the rabbit hole so very fast because you never know where such things lead, especially with DARKNESS AT NUNES screaming unmasking. Also, we never had a foreign-backed coup before imposing a lunatic on the republic or a puppet president who goes to war with our intelligence services by calling them “Nazis”. NPR adds, “But Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was also at Friday’s event, said federal employees should report suspicions of wrongdoing within their organizations or to Congress — and not take matters into their own hands.” Only allow Russia to take active measures into their own hands! According to NPR, “To members of the intelligence community who may be considering an unauthorized leak, Coats said, ‘Anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the American people.’” There is a big difference between left wing fake hero Edward Snowden (a “fear-o”) and the heroes and sheroes who are trying to save the republic from total Russian infiltration and the subversion of our democracy. So we have to ask, which group of leakers is this aimed at? If the first, hell no, the latter, hell yeah. Another subtext: members of Congress could be prosecuted for dishing dirt to the press. No one said it was fun to live in interesting times but persevere we must because ancient Latvian wisdom says hope never dies! Russians foolishly say, “Hope died last,” but that is why Russia is hopeless.
CHRISTOPHER STEELE-IN’ A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME
POLITICO reports, “Two Republican House Intelligence Committee staffers traveled to London earlier this summer to track down the former British intelligence operative who compiled a controversial dossier on President Donald Trump and Russia”. POLITICO notes “The previously unreported trip,” appears to have “inflamed simmering tensions between House and Senate investigators as they pursue simultaneous probes into the Trump-Russia connection.” POLITICO reports, “The House staffers left their contact information at two addresses associated with Steele, a former agent for Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence service. One of those locations was Steele’s lawyer’s office, where the former spy was meeting with his counsel when the House investigators showed up.” Always fun when that happens, as it does. POLITICO adds, “The London trip has also angered Democrats in both chambers of Congress, who were not consulted by their colleagues before the investigators knocked on Steele’s door. Democrats fear House investigators are more interested in discrediting the dossier than trying to substantiate its allegations.” Don’t deprive America of a pee pee tape after all we have been through! It’s all we have to offer the masses for the suffering caused by the regime now in lieu of, you know, an actual government. Recall, “The 53-year-old Steele has said almost nothing publicly since he went into hiding after the dossier was made public, enraging Trump officials and many Republicans who denounced it as a compilation of false statements and innuendo.” Smart man.
FBI MONITORED SOCIAL MEDIA + SENT CONGRATS AFTER THE COUP?
CNN reports, “The FBI monitored social media on Election Day last year in an effort to track a suspected Russian disinformation campaign utilizing ‘fake news,’” or as it should be known, propaganda, disinformation and psyops, as Trump has now appropriated the term “fake news” to mean simply news he does not like. According to CNN, “On Election Day, dozens of agents and analysts huddled at a command center arrayed with large monitoring screens at the FBI headquarters in Washington watching for security threats”. CNN reports, “That included analysts monitoring cyber threats, after months of mounting Russian intrusions targeting every part of the US political system, from political parties to policy think-tanks to state election systems,” but they never touched or altered a vote? Ruthless KGB tyrants and fascists never hurt a fly either. CNN notes, “FBI analysts had identified social media user accounts behind stories, some based overseas, and the suspicion was that at least some were part of a Russian disinformation campaign”. And to the great horror of everyone confronted by the aftermath of officials seeming ability to not grasp the true enormity of the problem, CNN reports, “At the end of day, top officials exchanged congratulations for an election day that was completed without disruptions of the vote.” Horrible. Luckily CNN notes, “One Obama White House official responded to the messages of congratulations with the opposite view, saying the US government response to the Russian operation was ‘a failure of imagination.’” This official asked others in the White House, “Are you kidding?” Adding, “What they did worked!” Of course it did. It’s supplanted the D-Day landing that never occurred at Calais as the gold standard of the disinformation genre. How horrible.
PENTAGON ASKS WHITE HOUSE FOR WEAPONS FOR UKRAINE
NBC News reports, “A recommendation to send high-tech tank-killing weapons to Ukraine to help in its fight against Russia is now at the White House”. NBC News notes the “proposed aid package includes Javelin anti-tank missiles with an estimated cost of about $50 million.” Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Ret. Adm. James Stavridis said, “It is the right move and I see the fingerprints of Secretary of Defense Mattis all over it”. Also time for a helpful reminder that Ukrainians are dying to protect the borders of Europe so you can live freely.
From NBC News.
T REX IN MANILA SAYS BFF SERGEY WILLING TO DISCUSS UKRAINE
The AP reports “on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Philippines,” that, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia is showing ‘some willingness’ to start talking about a resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.” Does that mean getting the hell out of Ukraine or something else? Only one of these options is satisfactory. The AP notes, “Tillerson says the U.S. has deep differences with Russia including on Ukraine, but that it’s not a good idea to ‘just cut everything off on one single issue.’” Additionally the Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. will respond by Sept. 1 to Russia’s move to force a major reduction in American diplomatic staff,” The AP reports. In response, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We felt the readiness of our U.S. colleagues to continue dialogue. I think there’s no alternative to that”. The two men then had a tickle fight and shared a chocolate sundae — just kidding, but totally possible.
KISLAK LIVES ON TO LIE ANOTHER DAY
Reuters reports, “Russia’s former ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, said on Saturday his conversations with former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn had been transparent and focused on matters of U.S.-Russia cooperation.” Yeah, right. During a panel on Russian state propaganda television, Kislyak said, “We only spoke about the most simple things … but the communication was completely correct, calm, absolutely transparent. In any case, there were no secrets on our side.” Every state has secrets. Or as @DarthPutinKGB Twitter account constantly implores, “Never believe anything until the Kremlin denies it.”
CRYPTO-THREATS FROM IGOR SECHIN OF ROSNEFT
Business Insider reports Igor Sechin, the head of Rosneft, said Thursday, “New U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia will have negative consequences for the United States and backfire on U.S. energy majors.” Moscow said the new wave of sanctions “amounted to a full-scale trade war,” and given their country has a GDP the size of Italy that produces nothing but criminals and energy, they cannot take it. As if awakening to the reality of American politics after a few years of embracing delusions, Sechin said, “The powers of the U.S. president are limited, and sometimes it seems to me that sanctions are imposed on him, not us.” Great Russian cynics cannot truly harbor so many delusions, however, about their own system, can they? Possible, but unlikely. More likely: they have entered the take the money and run phase now, but cannot because they are trapped by the executive suite.
From Business Insider.
ZAPAD WATCH 2017: LATVIA INVITED TO OBSERVE TOO NOW
The Baltic Times reports, “The Latvian Defense Ministry has today received an invitation from Belarus to send two military observers to Zapad, a military exercise to be held jointly by Russia and Belarus in September this year,” according to the Latvian Defense Ministry. The Baltic Times notes, “The invitation to Latvia was extended based on the Vienna Document, which is an agreement between the participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about confidence and security building measures, including an annual exchange of military information about forces located in Europe, prior notification of certain military activities and their observation, inspection and evaluation visits etc.” The Baltic Times adds, “both Lithuania and Estonia have already received invitations to observe Zapad drills.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH previously only caught wind of the Estonia invite.
From The Baltic Times.
NAVALNY PROBATION EXTENDED
Russian state-run TASS reports, “A court in Moscow on Friday sustained the federal penitentiary service’s request to prolong opposition figurehead Aleksey Navalny’s period of probation in the Yves Rocher case by twelve months”. The only surprise is how unsurprising this is. Accordingly Judge Svetlana Tumanina did the Kremlin’s bidding when she “ruled the penitentiary service’s request should be sustained and Navalny’s probation period prolonged by twelve months till December 30, 2020.” That’s quite a bit longer than next year’s sham elections – imagine! Must be another coincidence.
From Russian state-run TASS.
FRESH LAWSUIT AGAINST NAVALNY
Riga-based Meduza reports, “A charity accused by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) of having corrupt ties to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has filed a lawsuit against Navalny and his organization.” Meduza adds, “The ‘Sotsgosproekt’ (‘Social State Project’) Foundation is demanding that Navalny and the FBK retract a part of their Medvedev investigation that claims the charity is somehow involved in a corruption scheme. Sotsgosproekt also demands that the FBK retract its claims that the foundation doesn’t actually perform charitable work.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
CAPITALISM CONSENTS IF THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE
Bloomberg reports, “Investors have plenty of reasons to avoid the $6.2 billion of bonds issued by Russia’s most politically connected bank,” Vnesheconombank. However, that is not stopping larger banks because no one is ever really punished for financial misdeeds in the first world outside of Iceland! Bloomberg reports that while Vnesheconombak “has been locked out of international debt markets by U.S. and European sanctions since 2014,” that is not stopping “some of the world’s biggest money managers,” including “BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity Investments”. Bloomberg notes, “flush with cash and attracted to VEB’s relatively juicy 5 percent yields,” these banks, “have instead been loading up on the Russian lender’s bonds.” What could go wrong? Of course “BlackRock stressed that its purchases are fully compliant with financial sanctions,” according to Bloomberg, hinting at either loopholes or lies but either way, money does not care who owns it. Bloomberg reports, “During a series of meetings with some bondholders in the U.S. and U.K. in May, VEB executives discussed finances and strategy”. Bloomberg notes, “While VEB is prevented from selling new long-term debt in euros or dollars, bonds issued before the 2014 sanctions can still be traded freely, according to Philip Urofsky, a partner at law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP, which has advised banks and financial institutions on Russian sanctions.” So be sure and backdate all activities before the Treasury Department or Internal Revenue Service show up! Of course, “Officials for Fidelity, JPMorgan and PGIM declined to comment on their holdings,” while one official with Commerzbank more than suggested, “The primary motivation for investors in Russian bonds is the yields on offer”.
NAVALNY GIVES HIS CHANCES OF SURVIVAL AT 50/50
CBS News reports, “Russia’s main opposition figure thinks there’s a 50 percent chance he will end up dead for speaking out against President Vladimir Putin”. CBS News notes, “A lawyer by training, Navalny has been convicted three times over the past five years as his anti-corruption campaign has attracted the wrath of the Kremlin. Both he and his brother Oleg were convicted of embezzlement in 2014 and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.” Sadly CBS News adds, “After widespread protests against the conviction, Alexei’s sentence was suspended. Oleg, however, remains in prison.” Navalny is right “it’s 100 percent he’s in jail just because he’s my brother. It’s the only reason”.
From CBS News.
EVERYONE’S A NAZI: FAR RIGHT AUTHOR D’SOUZA, BANNON + GORKA MEET
Talking Points Memo reports, “Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza on Friday posted pictures of top White House staffers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka posing with him and his new book, which argues that the modern Democratic Party practices tactics promoted by fascist leaders like Mussolini and Hitler.” None of these propagandists have taken a long, hard look in the mirror lately. The book, called “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left,” is undoubtedly complete bullshit. Promotional material for the propaganda reads, “The Democratic left has an ideology virtually identical with fascism and routinely borrows tactics of intimidation and political terror from the Nazi Brownshirts.” Talking Points Memo notes, “Ironically, Gorka has received a lot of press attention for his ties to ultranationalist groups in his parents’ native Hungary”. Talking Points Memo adds, “It is illegal for federal employees to use their public offices to endorse a product, and executive branch conduct rules prohibit accepting gifts worth more than $20.” For this reason perhaps, “D’Souza deleted the pictures from his Twitter account soon after he posted them, but later shared a cropped version of the photo with Bannon, alongside a graphic with a link to the book’s website,” Talking Points Memo reports. What more is there to say? Oh, right, TRUMPISTAN WATCH wishes to point out that a favorite Russian disinformation tactic is to accuse all opponents of being Nazis and fascists. Classic case study in “I know what you are but what am I?”
From Talking Points Memo.
FAUX NEWS FOX EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE “PERPLEXED”
CNN reports faux news Fox News employees are “perplexed” by the slow state of the investigation into how the network “reported” blather on the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, which it has since retracted. A faux news Fox News employee told CNN, “People are talking about it,” adding, “Frankly, there’s confusion over it.” Why? Frankly it is confusing that faux news Fox News employees imagine their network reports much actual news. Recall, “on May 23, FoxNews.com deleted a story that suggested Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks before his death.” CNN notes, “The story rested on quotes from Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate the unsolved murder,” who was paid by Ed Butowsky, who Wheeler is now suing along with Fox News. Of course, “The story was immediately seized on by President Trump’s media allies, who treated it as an explosive scoop and used it to cast doubt on the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia-backed hackers stole the internal DNC emails published by Wikileaks,” CNN notes. Also Russian trolls and state propaganda joined in on the fun of the coordinated media assault. One employee told CNN, “People need to start getting canned over the [Seth Rich] thing,” while another said, “No one ever gets fired from Fox for publishing a story that isn’t true.”
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