PRE-DAWN FBI RAID OF MANAFORT’S VIRGINIA HOME
The Washington Post reports, “FBI agents raided the home in Alexandria, Va., of President Trump’s former campaign chairman,” Paul Manafort, “arriving in the pre-dawn hours late last month and seizing documents and other materials related to the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” The raid took place on July 26. It’s the same day the Department of Justice announced that it was tying Manafort’s former business buddy Dmytro Firtash to Semion Mogilevich, the godfather of godfathers of the Russian mafia. That day, Trump also tweeted, “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe”. The Washington Post notes the raid “signaled an aggressive new approach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” adding, “agents appeared the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a day after he met voluntarily with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members.” It means the FBI also obtained a search warrant that “requested documents related to tax, banking and other matters.” The Washington Post reports, “People familiar with the search said agents departed the Manafort residence with a trove of material, including binders prepared ahead of Manafort’s congressional testimony.” Note, “To get a judge to sign off on a search warrant, prosecutors must show that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.” As “Manafort has been voluntarily providing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s election interference,” The Washington Post notes, “investigators may have argued to a federal judge that they had reason to think Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.” Additionally, “The raid also could have been intended to send a message to Trump’s former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller’s team members,” The Washington Post reports.
From The Washington Post.
FEDS SOUGHT COOPERATION FROM MANAFORT’S SON-IN-LAW
POLITICO reports, “Federal investigators sought cooperation from Paul Manafort’s son-in-law in an effort to increase pressure on President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman”. POLITICO adds, “Investigators approached Jeffrey Yohai, who has partnered in business deals with Manafort, earlier this summer, setting off ‘real waves’ in Manafort’s orbit”. POLITICO reports, “It is unclear if investigators have secured cooperation from Yohai, who also hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing. A lawyer for Yohai didn’t respond to a request for comment.”
RUSSIAN SPY PLANE FLIES OVER DC, NEW JERSEY, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB
POLITICO reports, “A Russian military spy plane cruised the skies over Washington and New Jersey on Wednesday — in a perfectly legal bit of aerial reconnaissance that nonetheless appeared to be an attempt to troll President Donald Trump.” POLITICO cites the State Department in reporting, “A 1992 agreement known as the Treaty on Open Skies allows each country to conduct surveillance flights over the other’s territory, something the U.S. and Russia have done a combined 165 times over the past 15 years”. POLITICO adds, “But Russia’s choice of targets this go-round have a decidedly Trumpian flavor, taking the spy plane over Trump’s current hometown of Washington, D.C.,” so the White House, “and past Bedminster, N.J., where the president is vacationing at one of his golf clubs, according to a flight-tracking website “. POLITICO adds, “On Wednesday, the plane also flew at low altitude over Dayton, Ohio, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, before vanishing from a live flight-tracking website in the afternoon. It later resumed its flight, crossing back over the D.C. area and Philadelphia before zigzagging over New Jersey.” According to POLITICO, “The Russian air force’s Tupolev Tu-154M — similar to a medium-sized airliner — appeared to have left Moscow early Wednesday and flown through Reykjavík, Iceland, before entering U.S. airspace around Virginia’s Chincoteague Island.” The Pentagon said, “the Russians gave the required notice of at least 72 hours and that the mission has American personnel on board as observers,” POLITICO reports. The Russian Air Force flight is the tenth such flight this year, POLITICO adds.
NATO REBUKES PUTIN’S VISIT TO OCCUPIED GEORGIAN TERRITORY
POLITICO reports, “NATO rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday for visiting the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on the ninth anniversary of a brief war over the territory and another disputed region, South Ossetia.” He was celebrating the anniversary of his campaign to dismantle Western civilization. Remember the five-day August Russian-Georgian War of 2008 during the Beijing Olympics that occurred as no one noticed or listened to the entreaties of Georgian diplomats before and after that Russia was on the warpath? Yes, that conflict. POLITICO notes, “Russia has all but annexed the two regions, which exist only thanks to Russian economic aid and the protection of the Russian military and security services. Putin signed an agreement effectively integrating South Ossetia in 2015 and a similar treaty with Abkhazia in 2014.” According to POLITICO, “Putin met Tuesday with the president of Abkhazia, Raul Khadzhimba, in the Black Sea resort town of Pitsunda, and a NATO spokesman in Brussels quickly denounced the Russian leader’s move.” NATO’s condemnation is about nine years late and right on time for a Western world that preferred to keep its eyes closed to make money.
DOD WARNS AGAINST RUSSIA TRAVEL FOR SERVICE MEMBERS
Stars and Stripes reports, “U.S. servicemembers and their families are being subjected to heightened ‘scrutiny and harassment’ while traveling to Russia, prompting officials to urge the U.S. military community to avoid unofficial visits to the country.” Seriously if you need to be warned about Russia, you are kind of an idiot and probably very likely FSB bait. Stars and Stripes adds, “In the past couple of months, DOD personnel and their families in the Kaiserslautern Military Community have experienced an increase in such treatment by Russian immigration and customs agents, the U.S. Army’s Kaiserslautern-based security office said in a message to staff on Tuesday.” Kaiserslautern is near Ramstein Air Force Base and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Stars and Stripes concludes, “The Army referred personnel to a standing U.S. State Department cautionary message for Defense Department members that advises travelers to consider the ‘current political-military environment’ when planning unofficial travel to the Russian Federation. It said that the defense attache office in Moscow recommends avoiding such travel except for family emergencies until further notice.” Seriously do not go to Russia right now unless you enjoy a life of no dignity and wish to be compromised. This is not hard. Unless you for some reason have family there who is not bones in a gulag somewhere, there is pretty much no great reason to go there and it is easy enough to avoid despite having so much territory. Besides, most places on earth are more pleasant.
From Stars and Stripes.
ZAPAD WATCH: NORTHERN FLEET LARGE-SCALE PRE-GAME EXERCISE
The Independent Barents Observer reports, “The Northern Fleet, the most powerful of Russia’s five fleets, is unfolding a special exercise which includes key parts of fleet capacities. The drills will be headed directly by Russian Navy Head Commander Vladimir Korolyev and will last ‘for several days’.” A Russian Navy representative told Russian state-run Interfax according to The Independent Barents Observer that in the exercise “Included are about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels. Also aircrafts, helicopters from the Air Force and Air Defense will be deployed”. The Independent Barents Observer reports, “In the course of the training, antisubmarine and anti-sabotage activities will be conducted along with navigational, hydrographical, anti-mine and search and rescue operations.” According to the Russian Navy, “the exercise is held as a preparatory phase,” for Zapad.
US AIR FORCE GIFTS ESTONIA TWO M28 AIRCRAFT
Estonian Public Broadcasting reports, “The Estonian Air Force (EAF) is to receive two PZL M28 Skytruck transport aircraft as a gift from the U.S. The aircraft are to arrive in Estonia next year.” According to Estonian Public Broadcasting, the aircraft are “worth a total of $6 million,” and are “a gift on condition that Estonia covers the costs needed to ensure they conform to European flight safety regulations as well as transport costs.”
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE REVIEWS MEETING NOTES, COMEY MEMOS
CNN reports, “The Senate judiciary committee is now going through documents that could give a fuller picture of the controversial Trump Tower meeting where Donald Trump Jr. was promised Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” as well as “the contents of memos written by fired FBI Director James Comey”. CNN adds, “According to committee officials, the panel has now received roughly 20,000 pages from the Trump campaign responding to a detailed series of questions posed by the panel last month,” only a small fraction of which come from Trump Jr. or Manafort.
TRUMP-ALIGNED NATIONAL ENQUIRER ATTACKS MANAFORT
The Washington Examiner reports, “On the same day news broke that the FBI raided the home of Paul Manafort last month, the gossip magazine National Enquirer reported Wednesday night that the president’s former campaign chairman cheated on his wife with a younger woman.” A similar report had previously surfaced in Radar Online, but the National Enquirer is closely linked to Trump. TRUMPISTAN WATCH did not report the Radar Online story, although it was aware of the report, as it failed to see a political relevance pertinent to Trump and Russia. Additionally, The Washington Examiner notes, “The Enquirer story alleging Manafort’s affair accuses him of ‘betraying his country.’” Recall, “Trump has previously suggested he has leverage over the Enquirer, which embraced him throughout the presidential race and has continued its positive coverage of him as president. MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, with whom Trump has publicly feuded, alleged in June that White House officials threatened them with a negative Enquirer story,” The Washington Examiner notes, adding, “David Pecker, the chief executive of American Media, Inc., which owns the Enquirer, has been friends with Trump for decades. Last spring, the Enquirer made its first ever political endorsement, throwing its support to Trump.”
From The Washington Examiner.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
CHICKEN DON ON THE MALL RECEIVES WAVE OF PRESS ATTENTION
Yesterday’s TRUMPISTAN WATCH carried an item at the very end in the RESISTANCE ADVICE sub-section of RADIO MOSCOW about plans to inflate a 30 foot Chicken Don on the Washington Mall within view of the White House. Chicken Don garnered widespread media coverage and even made it to Fox News, “Shep, it appears to be a very large chicken.” Well done! Now fry that chicken! It’s no secret TRUMPISTAN WATCH loves fried chicken.
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