FOLLOW THE MONEY: ALL ABOARD THE MOSCOW EKSPRES
ABC News reports, “Three Americans with significant Russian business connections contributed almost $2 million to political funds controlled by Donald Trump”. Surprise! ABC News adds, “The timing of contributions coming from US citizens with ties to Russia is now being questioned by investigators for special counsel,” citing a Republican campaign aide. According to ABC News, “Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire who holds American and British citizenship, has contributed $383,000 to the Republican National Committee since late April 2016 and added another $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund. Those figures include more than $12,000 that was later directed into President Trump’s legal defense fund”. Additionally, “contributions from Russian-connected donors came from Russian-born oil executive Simon Kukes and New York businessman Andrew Intrater, who oversees the U.S. arm of the Russian conglomerate Renova Group.” ABC News adds, “After Trump secured the nomination, Kukes gave $280,000 to an assortment of Trump-controlled funds over the next several months. Intrater contributed $35,000 to the Trump Victory committee, plus $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration fund.” ABC News notes, “All three men — Blavatnik, Kukes, and Intrater — have been publicly identified as associated with Viktor Vekselberg”. Both Blavatnik and Vekselberg “have business ties to another Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska”.
From ABC News.
MUELLER HAS MANAFORT + FLYNN TAX RETURNS
CNN reports, “The IRS is now sharing information with special counsel Robert Mueller about key Trump campaign officials, after the two entities clashed this summer over both the scope of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and a raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home”. According to CNN, “the IRS Criminal Investigation division is now sharing information about campaign associates, including Manafort and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.” CNN adds, “A former high-level Justice Department official says the information shared would include anything tax return-related such as real estate and banking records.” Trump too, please, ok?
MANAFORT’S PRIVATE BRIEFINGS TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE BIZ FAILURE
Bloomberg reports, “When Donald Trump’s campaign chairman,” Paul Manafort, “offered private briefings to a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin last year, he wasn’t only appealing to a superpower, he was pursuing a personal mission: the end to a costly dispute over a failed business deal.” If that is not straight from the department of obvious things, what is? According to Bloomberg, “The message, sent by email on July 7, 2016, through an intermediary, was never delivered to the intended recipient, Oleg Deripaska, and the briefings never occurred”. Fail! The deal concerned is Black Sea Cable, a “venture” in Ukraine with Deripaska that had already proven costly for Manafort.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: MANAFORT EXPECTS INDICTMENT
The New York Times reports, “Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to President Trump, said on Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman,” Paul Manafort, “is expecting to be indicted by federal prosecutors investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election.”
From The New York Times.
RUSSIAN FAKEBOOK ADS SUPPORTED TRUMP, STEIN + SANDERS
Surprise! POLITICO reports, “Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election. Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended.” Russia pulls at the extremes of both parties to pull us apart so our country can come undone and they can extract all they damn please.
IRONIC: RUSSIA WILL BLOCK ACCESS TO FACEBOOK IN 2018
Reuters reports, “Russia will block access to Facebook next year unless the social network complies with a law that requires websites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers,” citing Russian state news reports. According to Reuters, “The threat was made by Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor”.
LAVROV + T REX QUIETLY END DIPLOMATIC TIT-FOR-TAT
BuzzFeed reports, “After months of angry statements, diplomatic expulsions, and shuttered consulates, US and Russian officials have quietly put an end to the tit-for-tat retaliations between the two sides, and US officials are now considering reviving parts of a Russian proposal from March to strengthen military-to-military contacts.” BuzzFeed notes, “The improvement in relations follows talks between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week.” According to BuzzFeed, “In New York, Tillerson held two bilateral meetings with his Russian counterpart. But before his second meeting in Midtown’s luxurious Palace Hotel, Tillerson flipped the script and asked Lavrov if the two men could meet alone. That decision kept Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon, the top acting US official for Europe, Elisabeth Millard, and other US officials outside the room for 45 minutes while the two men talked privately. State Department officials declined to give a full readout of the conversations, but Lavrov came away from the meeting with an upbeat view of the US–Russia relationship.” Ugh! Lavrov should feel upbeat about nothing, as he only deserves sorrow and misery.
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE BACKS AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN
Reuters reports, “The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously backed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman to be President Donald Trump’s first ambassador to Russia on Tuesday, clearing the way for his likely approval by the full Senate.” Huntsman has previously served as Ambassador to Singapore and China.
SYRIAN FRONT: DECONFLICTION JUNCTION WHAT’S YOUR FUNCTION?
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russia and U.S.-allied forces in Syria exchanged accusations that deaths within their ranks were caused by fire from the other side,” adding, “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov asserted on September 25 that the United States was to blame for the death of a Russian general over the weekend, without providing evidence.” The State Department through spokeswoman Heather Nauert of course said Russia lies, e.g. “no basis in fact,” because they do all the time about most everything. Then “a spokesman for the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Russian planes targeted SDF fighters in gas fields not far from the city of Deir al-Zor, killing one and injuring two of the fighters.” So, “Russia denied the accusation and a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Syria said that while rounds hit the SDF forces, it could not confirm that the fire came from Russian forces,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.
DUNFORD RECOMMENDS ARMS FOR UKRAINE
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The top U.S. military commander,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford, “has said he recommended that the United States provide lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine to help the country ‘protect [its] sovereignty’ amid a conflict with Russia-backed separatists.” Note, “The U.S. special envoy for negotiations on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Kurt Volker, has also advocated providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine,” because Russia only respects strength. Never forget this when the next end of history arrives.
OPEN SKIES: U.S. PROPOSES RESTRICTIONS ON RUSSIAN MILITARY FLIGHTS
The Wall Street Journal reports, “U.S. officials have proposed restrictions to Russian military flights over American territory under the international Treaty on Open Skies”. Good. About goddamn time.
From The Wall Street Journal.
PUTIN FIRES RUSSIAN AIR FORCE COMMANDER
Russian state-run TASS reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has relieved Russian Aerospace Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Viktor Bondarev of his duties and dismissed him from service.” Citing a defense official, Russian state-run TASS adds, “Head of the General Staff, First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces Lieutenant General Pavel Kurachenko was appointed Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces”. Russian state-run TASS notes, “The specified order also relieved Deputy Commander of the Black Sea Fleet Vice Admiral Valery Kulikov, Head of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation Lyubov Glebova and head of the Interior Ministry’s Saratov Region Main Directorate Sergey Arenin of their duties.” Lots of reshuffling! But wait, there’s more…
From Russian state-run TASS.
PUTIN FIRES SECOND REGIONAL GOVERNOR THIS WEEK
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Valery Shantsev, the second regional leader to lose his job this week”. Not good! Two banks also collapsed and were seized by the state this month in a country where stability trumps law and order and neither concept has much meaning. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “A decree posted on the Kremlin website on September 26 said that Putin accepted Shantsev’s resignation and appointed Gleb Nikitin, a 40-year-old who until now was a deputy trade and industry minister, as acting governor of the region on the Volga River.”
REALITY WINNER’S LAWYERS WANT HER RELEASED PENDING TRIAL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “Reality Leigh Winner should be released from jail pending her trial in the National Security Agency leak investigation because new information has surfaced that weakens the government’s case for keeping her behind bars, her attorneys are arguing in new court papers.” Recall Winner leaked an NSA document while she worked as a U.S. government contractor to debunk disinfo operative Glenn Greenwald, a great friend of Russia and the mad left, but instead he basically turned around and outed her to the NSA. Prediction: no way in hell does a judge, especially one in a southern state, distinguish between the injustice of Winner’s prosecution and the fact that Manafort, Flynn, Roger Stone and of course the lunatic puppet fanatic squatting in the White House are free and grant her whatever the equivalent of bail is in an espionage trial. Reality Winner after all is guilty of the high crime of leaking out of turn and taking Greenwald seriously enough to be baited by such a jackass into ruining her life. These are serious errors, no doubt, that call into question the maturity and worldly understanding of the NSA’s contractors, but now, isn’t that the real point? How the Russians really turned this too on its head via a highly morally malleable proxy whose outrage could not be more disingenuous (Greenwald) is as close to art they have come in all this. Evil but clever.
MANAFORT SUBPOENA AT THE READY
The Washington Post reports, “The Senate Judiciary Committee has reached an agreement to subpoena documents from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as part of its ongoing probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections,” citing Senator Dianne Feinstein.
From The Washington Post.
HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE GETS CLASSIFIED BRIEF ON KASPERSKY
Bloomberg reports, “The House Science Committee received a classified briefing Tuesday related to Kaspersky Lab Inc.”. Bloomberg adds, “The discussion dealt with recent news and U.S. government actions regarding the Russian-owned company’s anti-virus software.”
HOW “FAKE NEWS” + RACIST BULLSHIT ROCKED SMALL TOWN IDAHO
In Twin Falls, Idaho, two boys, one Iraqi the other Sudanese, molested a young girl in an apartment complex laundromat. According to The New York Times Magazine, what followed was months of lies, bullshit and innuendo, mostly of an anti-Islamic and anti-refugee character from self-professed activists. From this morass, Lee Stranahan, now a Russian state-run Sputnik radio show host in the D.C. area, emerges as the Breitbart so-called investigative reporter cutting his teeth in the exciting world of disinformation, rumors and fakery. Here we have a prototypical instance where an incident, which exists is distorted, exaggerated and then racialized – effectively how Russian propaganda works, with the ultimate goal of divide and conquer. While there is little to suggest a Russian role in the magnification of this incident and none mentioned in the article, Alex Jones of Info Wars, of course is, and with the addition of Stranahan’s presence suggest there very well may have been.
DARK MATTER: FAKEBOOK BEING MORE COOPERATIVE THAN TWITTER
No surprise here. BuzzFeed reports, “Facebook pledged last week to reveal all ads being shown to its users, even those not appearing on advertiser profiles, after it was revealed that the company ran Russian-linked ads meant to influence the election. Twitter, however, will not commit to the same, and appears to have no plans to expose its so-called dark posts to public scrutiny.” BuzzFeed notes, “Twitter, which had an outsized presence in the 2016 US presidential election thanks largely to then-candidate Donald Trump, currently hides promoted posts that don’t appear publicly on ad buyers’ profiles,” but the company did take time to tell BuzzFeed that at least the company has the decency to mark such dark posts as “promoted”. Oh, the humanity!
SUBSCRIBE: e-mail TrumpistanWatch@gmail.com with “TRUMPISTAN WATCH” in the subject line to receive the weekday e-mail newsletter.