KREMLIN CONFIRMS IT DID NOT RESPOND TO COHEN’S EMAIL TO PESKOV
The Washington Post reports, “A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Wednesday that he had received a request for assistance on a stalled Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow from a close aide to President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, but added that the Kremlin did not respond to the letter.” Peskov told reporters in a conference call, “I confirm that among a number of emails one from Mr. Michael Cohen came to us. This indeed happened”. Accordingly, “Peskov said that he had seen the email but that it was not given to Putin.” Yeah, right. Pretty sure they had a good chuckle over it if all the Botox allowed Putin to move his face at all.
From The Washington Post.
MOSCOW: OUR PUPPET IS USELESS + WE NEED TO TALK TO THE REAL POWER
Russian state-run TASS reports, “It is time to establish working contacts between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, as well as to resume the practive of regular conferences in the two-plus-two format, the newly appointed Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said in an interview with the Moscow-based daily Kommersant on Wednesday.” Oh we thought you had a direct line to Trump, Moscow. It’s like an SOS from Moscow that they need to talk to the real power as their puppet is useless.
From Russian state-run TASS.
MANAFORT’S SPOKESMAN + ATTORNEY SUBPOENAED BY MUELLER
CNN reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort’s current spokesman, an aggressive tactic that suggests an effort to add pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman.” According to CNN, “The subpoenas seeking documents and testimony were sent to Melissa Laurenza, an attorney with the Akin Gump law firm who until recently represented Manafort, and to Jason Maloni, who is Manafort’s spokesman”. CNN notes, “It’s unclear what specific information the Mueller investigators believe Laurenza and Maloni may have. But issuing subpoenas to a lawyer of someone under investigation is unusual, in part because it raises potential attorney-client privilege issues that prosecutors tend to try to avoid. Maloni, as a public relations representative, doesn’t have the same attorney-client privilege protections.” CNN recalls, “The Manafort investigation has been ongoing for years and as recently as last summer appeared to be stagnated. At the time, Justice Department officials had come to believe there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue charges”.
AMBASSADOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON ARRIVES AT NATO
Deutsche Welle reports, “The Trump Administration has finally installed its ambassador to NATO, former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. There had been some concern Trump wouldn’t fill the position at all, as a snub to the alliance.” However Trump is a weak and ineffectual puppet and as “The long-serving senator is a known entity” this “is expected to be reassuring to an alliance that has dealt with President Donald Trump’s hot and cold assessments of NATO over the last several months.” Deutsche Welle reports, “With no dramatic views on NATO, nor conflicts with the White House, and with enthusiastic bipartisan support from her former congressional colleagues, Hutchison sailed through her confirmation process in July.”
From Deutsche Welle.
FORMER CHANCELLOR SHROEDER CONFIRMS WILL JOIN ROSNEFT BOARD
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder confirmed Wednesday that he will join the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft, fanning the flames of a political controversy that has hurt his Social Democratic party ahead of September’s general election.” This should cost his former party much in the upcoming elections. To fully kick-start his absolute turn into the Oliver Stone of politics, Reuters reports, “Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hit back at those criticizing him for taking a job at a Russian energy company, saying some of his critics wanted to push Germany into a ‘new Cold War’.” He moonlights for the Russian Minister of Propaganda, did you know? Others cut hair and drive taxis. Yawn for the righteous as Schroeder also declared in the western town of Rotenberg that “he had been vindicated in his decision to oppose former U.S. President George Bush’s Iraq war in 2003 and said he was confident that his involvement with Russia would be seen in the same way.” Yes, sorry not sorry but no. Money over millions of lives of peace, prosperity, and security, right Gerhard?
ZAPAD WATCH: NATO TO SEND THREE OBSERVERS
The AP reports, “NATO said Wednesday it will send three experts to observe military exercises between Russia and Belarus next month but alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants the two countries to allow broader monitoring.”
From the AP.
NAVALNY HITS AT PUTIN’S SECRET DACHA
Closing out breaking news with some of the sensational today. Wait until Navalny gets to the little boys! Remember this creaptastic video? Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Navalny on August 30 released a new video examining a Russian island near the Finnish border where a venerable country house has been restored and, he alleges, used by Putin for holidays.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “The 50-hectare (125-acre) property, located on the islet of Lodochny, not far from the city of Vyborg, in a bay north of the Gulf of Finland, is home to several buildings and a helicopter landing pad, according to Navalny. It also has a decades-old mansion known as Villa Selgren, which was used for a 1980s Soviet film about Sherlock Holmes.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Navalny alleged the mansion was restored, beginning around 2010, under the direction of Ilya Traber, who he charged was involved in a legendary Russian organized crime group known as the Tambov Gang. Traber was one of several Russians named by Spanish authorities in a 2016 arrest warrant targeting the gang. Navalny said land records showed the property belonged to Oleg Rudnov, a Putin confidant from St. Petersburg who headed a company called the Baltic Media Group. Rudnov headed another company belonging to another Putin confidant, classical musician Sergei Roldugin, who has been alleged by the Panama Papers investigative project to be a conduit for some of Putin’s secretive wealth.” In a section Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has labeled, “Putin Museum,” where one might insert private at the front as “Navalny said another building on the island had been restored as a ‘Museum for Putin,’ with photographs and other paraphernalia dedicated to the Russian leader. He also said his investigators had located an online résumé of the property’s main engineer, which listed other projects he had worked on, including an official presidential residence on the Black Sea.” Basically Vova has a memorabilia room in its own building. How cool! Makes you wonder if there are old concert stubs from shows he went to as a youth. LOL just kidding, everyone knows Putin never had a youth in a proper sense. He was born a child of Stalin and lived his whole life as one.
PHOTOS OF MONTENEGRIN COUP PLOTTERS WITH RUSSIAN AGENTS EMERGE
The Telegraph reports, “These are the covert surveillance photographs said to offer key proof Russian intelligence officers plotted a violent coup that would have ended in the assassination of a European leader.” According to The Telegraph, the pictures they published were “obtained by European intelligence agencies allegedly show two officers of Russia’s GRU military spy service visiting the Balkans and overseeing the man they hired to orchestrate the bloody overthrow of Montenegro’s government.” Recall, “Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov are to stand trial next month with 13 others for their part in an election day plot to attack Montenegro’s parliament and kill Milo Djukanovic, the pro-Western leader,” The Telegraph notes. According to The Telegraph, “The photographs are believed to have been taken in a Belgrade park around the time of the foiled coup”. The Telegraph adds, “The plot was only foiled when a conspirator turned himself in days before Serb nationalists disguised as police were to fire on election day protesters outside Parliament, kill Mr Djukanovic and plunge the country into turmoil.” The Telegraph adds, “European intelligence agencies are understood to have helped the Montenegrins amass a wealth of evidence for what is the biggest trial the tiny Balkan nation has ever seen.”
From The Telegraph.
UDAY WILL GO BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
CNN reports, “Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to a private, transcribed interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee that is investigating his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.” POLITICO adds, “The committee would not divulge the exact date, but another source familiar with the matter said the testimony would likely occur in the ‘next few weeks.’”
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE TO SEEK MICHAEL COHEN TESTIMONY
POLITICO reports, “Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for the Trump Organization, is among the potential witnesses as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to conduct more interviews next month as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”
RINAT AKHMETSIN TESTIFIED TO SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER
The Hill, citing The Financial Times, reports, Rinat Akhmetshin, “A Russian lobbyist who attended a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer has testified before special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury,” over the course of “several hours on Aug. 11”.
From The Hill.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
BUT HIS EMAILS!
Business Insider reports, “Emails sent by members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle during the election, which are now being examined by intelligence committees in Congress, reveal a consistent effort by Russia to infiltrate and secure leverage over the Trump campaign.” Have you been paying attention? No one miss the irony here. Business Insider notes, “The carelessness with which members of Trump’s inner circle spoke about Russia and discussed their Russian contacts during the election has led some to speculate that the campaign had nothing to hide.” However, taken together all these batshit emails involving Russia to come out this summer “show that Russians were consistently trying to infiltrate the Trump campaign, and that many of Trump’s associates felt that meeting with Kremlin representatives would somehow bolster Trump’s election chances. The newly uncovered emails, moreover — along with Cohen’s statement — could used by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller to demonstrate an intent to collude.”
From Business Insider.
RUSSIA’S FOREIGN POLICY FIVE YEAR PLAN
Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center writes, “In 2014, amid the Ukraine crisis, Russia broke out of the post–Cold War system and openly challenged U.S. dominance. The result is “an era of intense competition between” great powers. Trenin notes, “Russia has also suffered a severe economic crisis, brought about by the demise of its oil-dependent economic model,” which has been “exacerbated… by Western sanctions in response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine,” as well as the drop in oil prices. Trenin’s five-year forecast is based on the fact that “Russia has stood up to Western pressure externally and kept a modicum of political and social stability internally, but it is still essentially muddling through. This dynamic will last a number of years, until such time as a more active cohort of Russian elites, capitalizing on President Putin’s eventual departure from power, decides to change the rules of the game for its own benefit.” Trenin notes, “Since February 2014, the Kremlin has been de facto operating in a war mode, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been acting as a wartime leader.” Overall, Trenin adds, “Moscow is in the process of settling down in the non-Western world.” Trenin believes that among things that are “not a priority or even an objective for the Kremlin” would include “conquering the Baltic states or establishing pro-Russian enclaves there and taking over Ukraine by force.” More like a wish list? Trenin accurately assesses, Russia “entered information warfare with the Western mainstream media in the wake of the Ukraine crisis,” adding, “Information operations are generally considered unrestricted, and conducted with no holds barred.” Trenin is partially right that “to conclude that Russia was able to manipulate U.S. elections, and impose its choice on the American people. To do so betrays a lack of self-confidence among the U.S. political establishment, and its skepticism regarding American voters who, according to this theory, can be so easily manipulated with minimal resources by a distant and hardly very attractive foreign country.” This latter point is one of the great ironies: Russian propaganda of the scale we continue to experience, albeit last year most were in the dark, was very effective on the American public where it fails in many places in their own country. An important read but know Trenin has a close ear to the ground in Moscow, which is not the same as standing on solid ground.
From Carnegie Moscow Center.
LEAK KAMPF: NATIONAL INSECURITY
Vanity Fair reports, “On July 6, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued a scathing report detailing what the Committee characterized as a seething epidemic of classified information making its way into the press. Titled, ‘State Secrets: How an Avalanche of Media Leaks Is Harming National Security,’ the 23-page document cites ‘at least 125 stories’ between Inauguration day and May 25 ‘with leaked information potentially damaging to national security.’” Vanity Fair notes, “most of the document essentially reads like a chronology of what the public has learned about the interlocking investigations into the Trump administration and its potential ties to Russia.” Washington Post and New York Times reporters are name checked. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes, “Listing individual reporters who allegedly harmed national security is something that illiberal nations do”. No shit. According to Vanity Fair, “Consternation about the report was particularly high in The Washington Post’s newsroom, not only because 33 of its journalists’ stories were in the crosshairs, but also because ‘State Secrets’ was being promoted on Twitter by one of their own. Jerry Markon was a longtime Post reporter who covered the Department of Homeland Security until February, when he left the paper to work for the Committee on Homeland Security as senior policy adviser to its chairman, Senator Ron Johnson.” Vanity Fair is wise to note, “Trump’s election was not a total sea change. Those who spoke with me agreed that the previous administration laid the groundwork for the current leak jihad,” albeit they misuse jihad – kampf might be better?
From Vanity Fair.
RUSSIAN STATE TV CORRESPONDENT TO BE DEPORTED FROM UKRAINE
Meduza reports, “Ukrainian officials announced on August 30 that they detained ad will deport Pervyi Kanal (Channel One) correspondent Anna Kurbatova.” Ukrainian National Security Agency spokesperson Elena Gitlyanska called Kurbatova a “Russian propagandist”. Meduza had previously reported citing Rossiya-24 “that Kurbatova ‘was taken in an unknown direction’ somewhere in the city’s center.”
The Verge reports, “WikiLeaks’ website appears to have been hacked by a group called OurMine, whose previous hacks have targeted tech CEOs, companies, and news sites.” The Guardian adds, “Julian Assange’s data-leaking site defaced via DNS attack, showing humiliating messages for organisation that prides itself on being tech savvy.” OurMine was described by The Guardian as a “Saudi Arabian-based hacking group”.
POPULAR BREXIT TWEETER A RUSSIAN TROLL
The Independent reports, “A ‘passionate Brexit supporter’ with more than 100,000 Twitter followers could be in the pay of the Russian government as part of an international disinformation campaign.” According to The Independent, “‘David Jones’ has been tweeting from the handle @DavidJo52951945 for more than four years, amassing an extensive following and interactions high-profile figures including Tommy Robinson and Ukip spokesman John Bickley.” The Times of London in its headline referred to Jones as a “Twitter Warrior”. The Independent notes, “Ben Nimmo, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, said all signs pointed to the person or people behind ‘Jones’s’ account being employed by the Russian government.”
From The Independent.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
LEGAL CHALLENGES TO ARPAIO PARDON UNDERWAY
The Washington Post reports, “After President Trump’s pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt for violating a court order designed to stop the violation of the constitutional rights of suspected illegal immigrants, conventional wisdom — and certainly the Trump administration — would have us believe that Trump’s pardon powers are unlimited. However, never before has someone stretched the pardon power so beyond its original intent. Trump has now drawn scrutiny not simply from critics of his racist rhetoric but from the court itself.” Citing the Arizona Republic, The Washington Post reports, “U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s upcoming sentencing hearing for his criminal contempt-of-court conviction, telling attorneys not to file replies to motions that were pending before his recent presidential pardon. However, Bolton on Tuesday stopped short of throwing out the conviction based solely on Arpaio’s request. Instead she ordered Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn’t grant Arpaio’s request.” Another group, Project Democracy along with a group of lawyers, “have sent a letter to Raymond N. Hulser and John Dixon Keller of the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, arguing that the pardon goes beyond constitutional limits.” As The Washington Post notes, “Put simply, the argument is that the president cannot obviate the court’s powers to enforce its orders when the constitutional rights of others are at stake.” According to The Washington Post, “Those challenging the pardon understand there is no precedent for this — but neither is there a precedent for a pardon of this type.” Historic! Of course, “Lurking in the background is the potential for Trump to pardon associates involved in the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and the possible obstruction of justice that followed.” This is way more than just a test.
From The Washington Post.
300 RUSSIAN CULTURAL FIGURES PUBLISH OPEN LETTER FOR DIRECTOR
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “More than 300 young Russian cultural figures have published an open letter of support for theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is under house arrest and facing embezzlement charges, and four other figures connected with the case.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “The letter comes two days after some 30 international cultural figures, including Australian actress Cate Blanchett, German actress Nina Hoss, and German film director Volker Schloendorff, issued a petition calling on the authorities to drop the charges against Serebrennikov.”
SUBSCRIBE: e-mail TrumpistanWatch@gmail.com with “TRUMPISTAN WATCH” in the subject line to receive the weekday e-mail newsletter.