TRUMP FAILS TO SAY RUSSIA IS A SECURITY THREAT
The AP reports, “President Donald Trump declined Monday to tag Russia as a security threat, saying he would put ‘many countries’ in that category instead.” According to AP, “‘I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what’s going on in the world today,’ Trump said after a Finnish broadcaster asked specifically about Russia and whether the president would consider it a threat to security.” Good on the Finnish media! The AP notes the comments came “during a White House news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto after they met in the Oval Office.” Additionally, “Trump declined the reporter’s invitation to say how far the U.S. would go if the situation in Baltics escalated. ‘We are very protective of that region. That’s all I can say,’ Trump said.” Not the worst reply possible there, the new standard by which Trump is judged since forever. It can also be said it is not the best either.
From the AP.
ENTER FELIX SATER: TRUMP ASSOCIATE BOASTED BOASTED OF PUTIN TIES
The New York Times reports, “A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.” According to The New York Times, “The associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin. He predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would highlight Mr. Trump’s savvy negotiating skills and be a political boon to his candidacy.” A portion of the email Sater sent to Cohen published by The New York Times reads, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected… Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will”. Recall, Ivanka pulled that move in the Oval Office too, in a much criticized photo with Daddy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The New York Times cautions, however, the masterminds were lacking some things as “There is no evidence in the emails that Mr. Sater delivered on his promises, and one email suggests that Mr. Sater overstated his Russian ties. In January 2016, Mr. Cohen wrote to Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, asking for help restarting the Trump Tower project, which had stalled. But Mr. Cohen did not appear to have Mr. Peskov’s direct email, and instead wrote to a general inbox for press inquiries.” Pretty remarkable stuff all the same. And of course, “The project never got government permits or financing, and died weeks later,” The New York Times reports. However, “Mr. Trump, however signed a nonbinding ‘letter of intent’ for the project in 2015,” according to The New York Times, which suggests he was more than aware of it and lying through his teeth about no deals in Russia during the campaign.
From The New York Times.
ABOUT THAT LETTER OF INTENT: IC EXPERT INVESTMENT CO.
Yes that is really the name of the company Trump signed a letter of intent with to build his Moscow tower, according to New York real estate rag The Real Deal Magazine. The Real Deal cites the company’s website, “the firm was founded in 2005 and has since developed millions of square feet of mixed-use property around Moscow. Most notably, the real estate firm developed the ‘Novokosino’ and ‘Novokosino-2’ complexes in Reutov, a more than 4 million-square-foot ‘micro district’ with 17 residential buildings and thousands of apartments.” But citing Russian media reports, The Real Deal notes, “construction at ‘Novokosino-2’ has taken much longer than many expected, drawing protests from apartment buyers, some of whom complained that the company is not employing enough construction workers. Some buyers haven’t been able to move in for over a year”. The Real Deal adds, “Nearby, IC Expert also developed Reutov Park, a 1 million-square foot shopping mall. The mall was co-developed with Amma Development, a company reportedly founded by former executives in the Russian division of IKEA.” The Real Deal reports, “Other development and banking partners listed on IC Expert’s website include Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender. Sberbank is embroiled in a federal gravel quarry dispute that landed in a New York court earlier this year, and it’s hired Trump’s former personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. At the time he was hired by Sberbank, Kasowitz was also working for Trump on matters related to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. A subsidiary of VTB Bank is another of IC Expert’s listed partners.” Of course, “Both Sberbank and VTB are majority state-owned and were placed under U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region in Ukraine in 2014.” No one could reach IC Expert Investment Co. for comment. Of course.
From The Real Deal Magazine.
NEW RED WEB CHAPTER SAYS PUTIN WANTED PANAMA PAPERS REVENGE
The Washington Post reports, “Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan first published ‘The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries’ in 2015,” and “Now they have released a new version of their book that includes an additional chapter on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” According to The Washington Post, “The new chapter provides important context about Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s possible motivations — as well as evidence of apparent links between WikiLeaks and the Kremlin, and details of the ongoing fallout in Russia.” According to the authors, the Panama Papers “was seen as an attack on personal friends of Putin, his immediate circle. It’s a line you cannot cross with Putin”. No one should believe Putin has real friends, the use of the word friends in this case relies on a network of proxies and Mafiosi who want a scalp when they are exposed or left hung out to dry. The authors told The Washington Post in an email, “Putin believed the Panama Papers attack was sponsored by Hillary Clinton’s people — this, in a way, provided him with a ‘justification’ for a retaliatory operation.” Read most cynically, this seems to be suggesting Washington never do anything like what they have done through WikiLeaks again to them. But we are just getting started! They also had not the kindest words for Assange suggesting his turning against Panama Papers investigative journalists was a “betrayal, both principles and people.” The authors also note in Russia after the election coup in the U.S., “Since December, the Kremlin and the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB] have been trying to shut all doors to the West for the Russian cybersecurity professionals, strongly discouraging them from communicating with their colleagues in other countries.”
From The Washington Post.
WEST VIRGINIA WTF: REMEMBER RICK DEARBORN EXISTS!
CNN reports, “A West Virginia man who was a former contractor in Iraq proposed setting up a meeting with Russians and the Trump campaign last year to discuss their ‘shared Christian values,’ raising new questions for investigators to explore as part of their Russia inquiry.” U.S. intelligence officials have said, “Russian intelligence services have sought to court conservative organizations, including religious groups, to build alliances in the United States.” According to CNN, “The Trump campaign appears to have rejected the meeting request — and seemed to believe it was serious enough to suggest that the matter should be handled by the State Department”. CNN reports, “The West Virginia man, Rick Clay, told CNN Friday that he called one of then-candidate Donald Trump’s top aides, Rick Dearborn, to pass along a request from a friend who wanted to set up a meeting with Russians and the Trump campaign.” Perfectly weird. But Clay goes on! CNN reports, “Clay, 54, said his friend was a devout Christian who had come in contact with Russians through their work in Christian organizations. Clay could not recall the names of the Russians, and he did not disclose the name of his friend who sought the meeting, only saying he lives part of the year in Alaska and part of the year in Pennsylvania.” In a bit of rehearsed pseudo-agitprop, “Dearborn, who is now the White House deputy chief of staff, did not act on the request and told Clay it was ‘inappropriate,’ saying such matters needed to go through the ‘proper channels’ of the State Department.” This all makes no sense if the Russians had a direct line to Donald “Uday” Trump Jr. and Emin Agalarov as a link to Trump. But CNN reports!
RUSSIA’S NEW AMBASSADOR TO U.S. MEETS U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA
Reuters reports, “Russia’s new ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov met U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft on Monday to discuss ties between Moscow and Washington,” citing the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to Reuters, “The two men discussed bilateral relations and ‘some international problems’, the ministry said.”
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: MASS EXODUS AT STATE DEPARTMENT
Foreign Policy reports, “The top State Department envoy responsible for overseeing U.S. policy at the United Nations and other international organizations stepped down from her post Friday, continuing an exodus that is thinning the ranks of America’s most experienced career diplomats”. While the news comes just in time for the UN General Assembly next month, Foreign Policy notes the official, Tracey Ann Jacobson, “is expected to continue in her post until early October.” But that’s not all! William Rivington Brownfield, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, also announced his resignation. His wife, “Kristie Kenney, on [sic] of the most senior foreign service officers in the State Department, announced her resignation” four months ago. It is unclear though whether Brownfield is out of a job at State for good as “Foreign Policy reported earlier this month that Tillerson was considering making Brownfield the administration’s top envoy for Latin America.” CNN adds further reporting to State Department’s woes as it reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is moving to eliminate or downgrade special envoy positions at the State Department, including the representative for climate change”. Might not be the worst thought if there were ambassadors in place, but right now the State Department needs to do much more hiring to make up for all the resignations and layoffs.
ZAPAD WATCH: RUSSIAN MILITARY SHIP BARRED FROM FINNISH PORT
The Moscow Times, citing Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reports, “A Russian military ship, the Kruzenshtern, has been barred from docking in Mariehamn by the Finnish military”. The Moscow Times adds, “Russian officials had asked permission for the 91-year-old, four-masted vessel to dock at the demilitarized Aland province between Sept. 28-30, but were denied by the Finnish Defense Forces.” The Moscow Times notes, “The dates coincide with Russia’s Zapad 2017 military exercise in Belarus, prompting security analysts to speculate whether the request was meant to provoke Finnish authorities.”
From The Moscow Times.
ZAPAD WATCH: RUSSIA CALLS UP SOUTHERN MILITARY DISTRICT
Russian state-run TASS reports, “The Aerospace Force and Air Defense units in Russia’s southern military district, including Crimea, have been alerted for the full combat readiness check on orders from the chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov”. According to Russian state-run TASS, “The check will assess the professionalism of air pilots and crews, other personnel of air defense units and the military personnel’s ability to ready aircraft for missions.”
From Russian state-run TASS.
REPUBLICAN IN WHAT SENSE, THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DONETSK?
USA Today reports, “The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he fears the panel’s Russia investigation could end up producing two separate, partisan reports offering contradictory conclusions to Americans.” Just what a divided America needs! It also means those with access to the most sensitive of investigations in U.S. history doubts the other party’s ability to do the right thing by the people of this country. According to USA Today, “Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he will work with other committee members ‘to do everything we can to prevent two separate reports’ on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.”
From USA Today.
REPUBLICAN REP FLOATS BILL TO KILL OR SPEED UP MUELLER PROBE
POLITICO reports, “Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is pushing an amendment to severely curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.” The provision “would halt funding for Mueller’s probe six months after the amendment’s passage.” DeSantis also called it a “fishing expedition”. History will not be kind to this one, even if the electorate that loves Trump because he gives license to everyone’s worst impulses will.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
COMING SOON: U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE ATTACKS
The Cipher Brief reports, “It’s likely only a matter of time before a major cyber attack hits U.S. civilian infrastructure”. Yes, that is precisely how out of hand things are! The Cipher Brief reports, “There is a ‘narrow and fleeting window of opportunity before a watershed, 9/11-level cyber attack’ against U.S. critical infrastructure,” citing “a new report issued last week by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC).” The Cipher Brief notes, “the true cyber threat to critical infrastructure would likely come from multiple campaigns – ‘death by a thousand cuts’ – not just one singular event.”
From The Cipher Brief.
#ALTRUSSIA: CHUCK JOHNSON + THE SENATE INVESTIGATION
USA Today reports as a footnote in a story about the House investigation that, “Chuck Johnson, a pro-Trump opposition researcher and editor of GotNews.com, revealed on Facebook that investigators from the Senate panel have asked to interview him and told him to preserve documents related to any communication with Russians involving the presidential election.” According to USA Today, Johnson is taking the path of defiance, as he “has vowed publicly not to cooperate with the committee’s investigation.” Last TRUMPISTAN WATCHians heard about Johnson he was whining about Kelly blocking his bullshit site from crossing the president’s desk – or so he claimed, because whether true or not, he knows he is full of shit.
From USA Today.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES TRY TO BURY NEMTSOV MEMORIAL DEATH AS FIGHT
Meduza reports, “Russian investigators are reviewing the death of Ivan Skripnichenko, the activist who died roughly a week after a pro-Putin thug attacked him while he was guarding the makeshift memorial to Boris Nemtsov at the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge. Police are reportedly treating the attack as a ‘fight,’ not an assault. A forensic expert has been appointed to review his case, though it’s unclear if investigators are examining the attack a week before Skripnichenko died, or just his death on August 23.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH has one guess as to the outcome of all this political cover! Meduza notes, “Investigators say they currently believe Skripnichenko died from cardiomyopathy, a disease affecting the heart muscle that puts people at risk of sudden cardiac death.” Sure, it was his cardiomyopathy and by the time the Russian authorities are done with propaganda on this he was a homosexual pedophile who did not deserve to live in the first place.
30 INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL FIGURES SIGN SEREBRENNIKOV LETTER
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “More than 30 cultural figures from different countries have signed a petition calling on Russian authorities to drop the criminal investigation into prominent theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “German theater director Thomas Ostermeier and director and playwright Marius von Mayenburg were circulating a petition on behalf of Serebrennikov,” adding, “The signatories of the petition included Australian actress Cate Blanchett, German actress Nina Hoss, and German film director Volker Schloendorff.”
RESISTANCE ADVICE: AMERICANS MUST DO WHAT TRUMP CANNOT: UNITE
In The Atlantic, former Vice-President and Senator Joe Biden writes, “If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation.” Biden is spot on telling every white person who bought into “the end of history” and “post-racial America” bullshit what they need to hear: “The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?” Biden continues, “Did we think the charlatans and the con-men and the false prophets who have long dotted our history wouldn’t revisit us, once again prop up the immigrant as the source of all our troubles”. However, “Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate. We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.” Biden recalls, “ in the hours and days after Charlottesville, America’s moral conscience began to stir. The nation’s military leadership immediately took a firm stand. Some of America’s most prominent CEOs spoke out. Political, community, and faith leaders raised their voices. Charitable organizations have begun to take a stand. And we should never forget the courage of that small group of University of Virginia students who stared down the mob and its torches on that Friday night.” Biden recounts, “A week after Charlottesville, in Boston, we saw the truth of America: Those with the courage to oppose hate far outnumber those who promote it.” Biden is right, “a week after Boston, we saw the truth of this president: He won’t stop. His contempt for the U.S. Constitution and willingness to divide this nation knows no bounds. Now he’s pardoned a law-enforcement official who terrorized the Latino community, violated its constitutional rights, defied a federal court order to stop, and ran a prison system so rife with torture and abuse he himself called it a ‘concentration camp.’” To close out this exuberant political speech in written form, Biden reminds us, “We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not. We have to defend our Constitution. We have to remember our kids are watching. We have to show the world America is still a beacon of light.” And there is customary Obama-era hope to close, “one thing I know about the American people, it’s this: When it has mattered most, they have never let this nation down.” The world is watching.
From The Atlantic.
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