—–ON THE AGENDA—–
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS ON THE HILL
USA Today reports, “Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are preparing a strong challenge to Sessions’ assertions at a hearing Tuesday, based largely on the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign and admitted to the FBI he attended a national security meeting in March 2016 with then-candidate Donald Trump, Sessions and other advisers.” CBS News (and likely other outlets as well) will have a livestream.
From USA Today.
UDAY + ASSWIPE HAD SECRET CORRESPONDENCE ASSWIPE SOLICITED
The Atlantic obtained messages exchanged on Twitter between Donald “Uday” Trump Jr. and the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Asswipe DURING THE CAMPAIGN. Most significantly, The Atlantic reports, “They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017. The messages show WikiLeaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation.” If you have any doubt about the sensational nature of this, consider Uday again confirmed his treason, as he did previously when it involved the Agalarovs and the infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin lawyer, via Twitter — where else? He released it in three parts and says that is all there is. Read parts 1, 2, and 3. Amateur hour that this is, Business Insider succinctly notes, “Trump Jr. then passed along WikiLeaks’ message to high-level campaign officials, including his brother-in-law and senior campaign adviser Jared Kushner; campaign manager Kellyanne Conway; digital director Brad Parscale; and senior strategist Steve Bannon, a source familiar with the congressional investigations into Russia’s election interference told The Atlantic. Kushner forwarded the email to the campaign’s communications director, Hope Hicks.” Head desk for real – who are these people? And why is this even up for discussion?
PENCE DENIES HE KNEW ABOUT UDAY + ASSWIPE’S SECRET TWITTER COMMS
POLITICO reports, “Vice President Mike Pence was not aware of communications between WikiLeaks and President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., during the 2016 campaign, his office said in a statement on Monday.” When you are next in the line of succession, you want to cleanse yourself of a lot of dirt. That may prove difficult if not impossible.
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS CONSIDERS SECOND SPECIAL COUNSEL
On the eve of Private Russian Sessions’ Congressional testimony today, The Washington Post reports that it obtained a letter implying “Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy”. The letter materialized as “a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath,” The Washington Post reports. Naturally this second Special Counsel would be tasked with investigating those not in power who are political opponents of the Russian puppet president because this is what post-Soviet politics look like, never American before now. Rep. Goodlatte “wanted probed” all things Clinton, including but presumably not limited to, “the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency,” all of course while taking “particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump”. Why hello useful idiot or Kremlin shill — only time and a proper investigation will determine which!
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA NETWORK NOW REGISTERED AS FOREIGN AGENT
The Washington Post reports, “The company operating the RT website and television channel has filed paperwork registering with the Justice Department as a foreign agent — a step it had said it would be forced to take to keep operating in the United States.” The Washington Post adds, “The filing, on behalf of T&R Productions, the company that operates RT, said the firm had received payments from a foreign principal identified as ANO TV-Novosti, a Russian media company. In announcing the filing, the Justice Department called ANO TV-Novosti a ‘Russian government entity.’ The paperwork lists Mikhail V. Solodovnikov as the sole owner of T&R.” According to The Washington Post, “The filing also shows RT’s two-month budget is about $6.6 million.”
From The Washington Post.
AMBASSADOR SOVIET DINOSAUR SHOWS SUPPORT FOR PROPAGANDISTS
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov supported the media outlet RT by paying a visit to the broadcaster’s Washington, DC office,” in an effort to “reassure journalists,” but they mean outed propagandists. Self-reflection is just not something the Russian state does without projecting onto others its deepest insecurities. Hilariously Russian state-run TASS adds, Ambassador Soviet Dinosaur told assembled propagandists, “We never let our people down”. Yeah, right. Go ask Putin about that day in November of 1989 when Moscow was silent that shook him to his core.
THERESA MAY TELLS PUTIN THE JIG IS UP
NBC News reports, “British Prime Minister Theresa May launched a scathing attack on Vladimir Putin late Monday, accusing the Russian president of undermining the West by meddling in elections and seeking to ‘weaponize’ information.” According to NBC News, May said, “I have a very simple message for Russia,” adding, “We know what you are doing and you will not succeed, because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us.” Prior to her statement, BuzzFeed reports Facebook quietly put out a statement “that appears to admit for the first time that some Russia-linked accounts may have used the platform to interfere in the EU referendum,” that came to be known as Brexit.
RUSSIA CONTINUES TO LASH OUT AT BILL BROWDER OVER SANCTIONS
The AP reports, “Russian investigators are pressing new charges against financier William Browder, a British citizen who has spearheaded a law targeting Russian officials over human rights abuses.” This time, the AP reports, “Russia’s state television’s top weekly news show said the charges relate to the alleged illegal funneling of funds. Late Sunday’s show featured Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika alleging that Browder used the allegedly illegal proceeds to sponsor the 2012 U.S. law that imposed travel bans and froze assets of dozen of Russian officials.” Browder responded in a tweet, “Russian Prosecutor Chaika goes on weird anti Semitic tirade calling me Yasha Browder in 9 minute prime time TV show”.
From the AP.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BAD ACRONYMS COMES PESCO
The Washington Post reports, “Nearly two dozen European nations agreed Monday to extend the European Union’s power into the military realm, approving a security pact that backers hope will boost defense cooperation.” Make no mistake, this is a direct result of Trump’s attacks on NATO and a common European understanding that stupid Americans might have kept them safe for 70 years but may not for another 70. The Washington Post notes, “Proponents say the deal is the biggest step forward in E.U. defense policy in decades and that it will open a path for robust military cooperation for years to come. Skeptics question whether the plan can succeed.” The Washington Post adds, “The initiative, known as Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, is an effort to forge a more assertive E.U. in defense matters.” The first thing that must be fixed is this acronym, it sounds like the similarly named pasta sauce but without any bite to it. The Washington Post adds, “NATO leaders have endorsed the efforts, saying they support any plan to boost E.U. defense capabilities and spending.” This move is both long overdue and also a considerable victory for Putin who seeks to fracture the transatlantic alliance.
From The Washington Post.
VOLKER + SURKOV EMERGE FROM UKRAINE TALKS WITH DIVERGENT VIEWS
No surprise here as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “After talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. and Russian envoys say their countries have ‘different concepts for how to make peace’ but will continue to work to achieve that goal.” In short, the Russian concept of peace on earth is that every other nation is as poor or poorer and shittier than it is. The American concept is to not have to bother with Ukraine. Let’s hope America wins because my god living like the Russians or worse is a horrible fate.
RUSSIA DRILLS FOR CHEM/BIO WARFARE
Newsweek reports, “Russian troops near the Black Sea coast have carried out drills for a scenario in which Russia was attacked by a chemical or nuclear weapon, the country’s military has revealed.” Newsweek adds, “Spread across three Russian regions between the Black and Caspian seas, the drills involved more than 5,000 troops, the Ministry of Defense announced in a statement Monday.” Newsweek notes, “Units specializing in chemical weapons were deployed in the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, while at least 100 personnel in the neighboring Rostov region launched a parallel decontamination drill on Monday. It followed similar exercises held by Russian overseas troops in nearby Armenia over the weekend.” You might wonder what the hell is going on. Well, Putin is paranoid now. A few weeks back several outlets including the BBC reported, “The Kremlin says foreign agents are collecting DNA samples from Russians of different ethnicities and sending the data abroad for scientific analysis.” Remember: by the end, Osama bin Laden was holed up in a compound and taken out by the Americans only to be buried at sea. By contrast, Putin merely has higher walls and a nuclear arsenal. Bin Laden and Putin are rivals in the category of initially perceiving as consequence-free the results of their violent narcissism.
HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE DESIRES SIT DOWN WITH QUSAY
Newsweek reports Rep. Joaquin Castro “of the House Intelligence Committee wants the panel to interview Eric Trump”. Castro told Newsweek, “We need to visit with some of the principals, including Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and others that we’ve not had a chance to sit down with yet.” Recall Qusay, “Eric Trump, 33, is an executive vice president at the Trump Organization,” and “Trump and his two older siblings were on their father’s presidential transition team,” Newsweek notes, adding, “Aside from the Russia issue, the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in June it is ‘looking into’ the Eric Trump Foundation.” Like his father and the Kremlin, charity money that crosses their paths seems to vanish, as if by magic.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
INTELLIGENCE IS HARD, EVEN FOR THE PROFESSIONALS
Business Insider reports, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN on Sunday that he did not know about the meeting top Trump campaign advisers took with a Russian lawyer last year at Trump Tower to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton when he said in January that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the campaign and Moscow. Business Insider adds, “Clapper was also not aware that a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, George Papadopoulos, was told about the Russian ‘dirt’ on Clinton last April and had been trying for months to arrange a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin”.
From Business Insider.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN HAVANA?
POLITICO reports, “U.S. intelligence officials are closely studying Cold War-era Soviet technology as they seek to determine whether an electronic weapon was used to disorient and injure 24 American officials in Cuba earlier this year.” According to POLITICO, “the attacks were conducted with an ‘energy directed’ or ‘acoustic’ device, possibly similar to one used by Soviet intelligence in Havana more than four decades ago, but remain unsure of its exact nature.” POLITICO notes, “The sweeping, governmentwide search for answers — spearheaded publicly by the State Department — has pulled in expertise from intelligence agencies, science and weapons development offices and health officials.” However, “investigators remain unsure of who, exactly, was behind the apparent attacks,” with suggestions “it was the work of Cuban intelligence — possibly even a rogue faction of Cuban spies hoping to derail the restored diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington. Moscow is another prime suspect, though U.S. officials are undecided whether the Russians might be the main aggressors or accomplices, or absent altogether.” Surely a reflection on our overall naïveté if that is true. Russia wants us out of Cuba much more than the Cubans whose greatest geostrategic mistake was the missile crisis, and they know it.
FEDS FIGHT BUZZFEED REQUEST FOR STEELE DOSSIER INFO
POLITICO reports, “Federal agencies are fighting BuzzFeed’s demand for information about how officials investigated a controversial dossier of claims about President Donald Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.” Recall, as POLITICO notes, “BuzzFeed published the dossier in January along with a warning that the media outlet’s reporters had been unable to verify many of the assertions in the compilation, including salacious allegations about Trump. In February, BuzzFeed was hit with a libel suit from Russian internet entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, who was mentioned in the document as having ties to hacking directed at Democratic Party leaders.” POLITICO adds, “To bolster its defense in the suit, BuzzFeed is asking a federal judge in Washington to order the FBI and perhaps others to provide details that would officially confirm the dossier circulated at the highest levels of the U.S. government and triggered some effort by American authorities to verify its contents.”
PUTIN ORDERS MANUFACTURE OF GOOD NEWS
Reuters reports citing documents it has seen that “The Russian leadership has told major companies to supply it with news stories that put its stewardship of the country in a positive light”. That will be difficult if not impossible for sure! Ballet and vodka anyone? Reuters reports, “A seven-page document spelled out the kind of articles required, with a focus on new jobs, scientific achievements and new infrastructure, especially those involving state support. It also detailed how the stories should be presented, and gave a weekly deadline for submissions.” According to Reuters, “The instructions were sent last month by the energy ministry to 45 companies in Russia’s energy and utilities sector including Rosneft, Lukoil and Novatek, according to a second document, a list of recipients.” The Kremlin is a leaky ship these days! No wonder Putin is paranoid. Reuters adds, “Both documents were attached to an invitation, dated Oct. 9, sent by the energy ministry to senior executives in the public relations and government relations departments of the firms, of which 17 are state-controlled and 28 privately-held. The invitation requested they send representatives to an Oct. 12 meeting at the ministry in Moscow to discuss how to help the government’s PR effort.” Reuters notes, “The instructions stipulated that companies should submit positive news stories every week – on the Monday, or Tuesday morning at the latest.”
TODAY IN LIGHT DISINFORMATION
Newsweek reports Aryan princess “Ivanka Trump on Monday said rock-star-sized crowds were bursting with support for her father’s White House during her recent trip to Japan, even though reports of her appearance indicated there was such a low turnout that ushers scrambled to fill empty front-row seats.” Newsweek notes, “The president’s daughter and adviser told Fox & Friends she received a ‘remarkable’ reception at the World Assembly for Women before her father arrived as part of his 12-day Asia tour. She spoke about female empowerment and entrepreneurship alongside Japanese President Shinzo Abe,” beside whom she does not belong.
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