RUSSIA’S ELECTION MEDDLING ANOTHER U.S. INTEL FAILURE
The New Yorker reports, “After American intelligence agencies failed to detect and stop Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack, sixteen years ago, Congress more than doubled their budgets and gave them unprecedented secret authorities.” Consequently, “The National Security Agency obtained permission to collect and store the private Internet correspondence and cell-phone data of millions of Americans. The F.B.I. was granted the power to obtain citizens’ banking, library, and phone records without court approval. The C.I.A. opened secret prisons abroad where they tortured terrorist suspects. Local police departments began employing military-grade weapons, armored vehicles, and cell-phone-tracking devices.” However, The New Yorker reports, “All these measures, and many more, were put in place in the name of national security. And yet, last year, these vastly larger agencies failed to defend, or even warn, the American public against the most audacious Russian covert operation toward the United States since the end of the Cold War.” Now, if this is not a classic case of “when white people do things,” what the hell is?
From The New Yorker.
TRUMP WILL PAY HIS OWN LEGAL BILLS NOW, ALLEGEDLY
Reuters reports, “U.S. President Donald Trump has begun paying his own legal bills related to the Russia investigation and will no longer cover the costs using political donations to his re-election campaign or the Republican Party, his attorneys confirmed on Friday.” Since Trump always gets Russians or fools to pay his everything, this will not be truly confirmed until the check is cashed – and it does not bounce, if it does not bounce. However, Reuters notes, “The RNC confirmed it is no longer paying the bills.” Expect many unpaid lawyers and years of litigation to follow suit.
A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND
The Washington Post reports, “Six months into a special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, White House aides and others in President Trump’s close orbit are increasingly divided in their assessments of the expanding probe and how worried administration officials and campaign aides should be about their potential legal peril”. The Washington Post observes, “The investigation reached a critical turning point in recent weeks, with a formal subpoena to the campaign, an expanding list of potential witnesses and the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Some within Trump’s circle, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, have already been interviewed by Mueller’s investigators, while others such as Hope Hicks — the White House communications director and trusted confidant of the president — and White House counsel Donald McGahn are expected in coming weeks.” The Washington Post notes, “Trump’s lawyers have also repeatedly said the president himself is not personally under investigation.” Naturally, “the reassurances from [White House Russia probe counsel Ty] Cobb and others — which seem at least partially aimed at keeping the president calm and focused on governing — are viewed by others as naïve,” because they are terribly so. Critically, “Mueller’s investigators are also still actively mapping out all the attempts by Russian nationals and people with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government to connect with and possibly infiltrate the Trump campaign. So far, at least nine people in Trump’s orbit had contact with Russians during the campaign or the transition to the White House, according to Mueller’s charging documents and interviews and records obtained by The Washington Post.” Stay tuned! These are the days of our lives.
From The Washington Post.
ROMAN ABRAMOVICH SAILS INTO THE PORT OF MAR-A-LAGO
Well, Palm Beach, but close enough. The Palm Beach Post reports, “Days before President Trump flies into town for Thanksgiving, one of the world’s most expensive yachts, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, sailed into the Port of Palm Beach Friday afternoon.” The Palm Beach Post notes, “The 533-foot Eclipse, valued at $400 million to $500 million, comes equipped with a pool, helipad, submarine and room for a crew of 92, according to marine websites. It made its way past The Bahamas and docked at 1:15 p.m,,” adding, “According to the MarineTraffic app, she plans to head south on the Intracoastal Waterway, toward downtown West Palm Beach.” The Palm Beach Post wishes to alert the “Transportation Security Administration: That would put a Russian submarine within a mile or so of the winter White House.” Naturally in this day and age, “Bloomberg Politics has reported that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has met Abramovich one-on-one and with their wives on a number of occasions.” Submarines are a popular toy with those who are of the yacht-buying demographic because at that point you must have more.
From The Palm Beach Post.
BUT HIS EMAILS: KUSHNER FAILED TO DISCLOSE RUSSIAN’S OVERTURE
NBC News reports, “President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose what lawmakers called a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite’ involving a banker who has been accused of links to Russian organized crime”. According to NBC News, “An email chain described Aleksander Torshin, a former senator and deputy head of Russia’s central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as wanting Trump to attend an event on the sidelines of a National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 2016”. Additionally, “The email also suggests Torshin was seeking to meet with a high-level Trump campaign official during the convention, and that he may have had a message for Trump from Putin,” NBC News reports. According to their sources, “Kushner rebuffed the request after receiving a lengthy email exchange about it between a West Virginia man and Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn”.
From NBC News.
BUT HIS EMAILS: PRINCELING J-KUSH LIED TO CONGRESS
CNN reports, “White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had,” which we all know now is bullshit.
MORE OF THE STEELE DOSSIER CHECKS OUT AS MORE AMERICANS DO TOO
Business Insider reports, “President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was copied on emails sent to the Trump campaign last year from Sergei Millian, the Belarus-born businessman who has worked with the Trump Organization and was reportedly a key source in the explosive dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia.” Surprise! Americans have given everyone the benefit of the doubt for 10 long months now and all the lies and bullshit that we knew about in January but refused to believe are checking out! Surprise! Congrats America, you have been played like a fiddle just as Obama and Bush before you. Meanwhile on planet princeling Jared, Oops he did it again! Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand who has carved out a niche as the one journalist whose attention to detail is exacting that she excels at putting together the disparate clues, reports, “It is still unclear who was communicating with Millian, but a Washington Post profile of Millian from March could offer a clue: Millian told associates last year that he was in regular touch with George Papadopoulos — a campaign foreign policy adviser who earlier this year pleaded guilty about making false statements to the FBI about the extent and nature of his contacts with Kremlin-linked foreign nationals.” According to Bertrand and Business Insider, “Millian founded the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and has described himself as an exclusive broker for the Trump Organization with respect to the company’s potential real-estate dealings in Russia. He attended several black-tie events at Trump’s inauguration, and told the Russian news agency RIA that he had been in touch with the Trump Organization as late as April 2016.” Business Insider notes, “Millian is also believed to be a key source in a collection of unverified memos known as the Steele dossier.”
From Business Insider.
COMING TO AMERICA: EMIN AGALAROV’S PUBLICIT ROB GOLDSTONE
NBC News reports, “The British publicist,” Rob Goldstone, “who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office”. One of the most painful things about this period in history is how the losers are suddenly the big fish. According to NBC News, “Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller’s office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone.” NBC News adds, “Goldstone’s New York lawyer, G. Robert Gage, declined to comment other than to say, ‘nothing is presently scheduled.’” Recall, “Goldstone helped set up — and attended — the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower at which Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she presented information to Donald Trump Jr. and other key Trump aides.”
From NBC News.
COMPLICIT CORKER COMPLAINS ABOUT T REX BREAKING STATE
POLITICO reports, “Sen. Bob Corker, having already turned on the president, has a new target for his frustration: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.” POLITICO adds, “The Tennessee Republican and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman has voiced concerns about Tillerson’s management of the State Department and his still-fuzzy plans to restructure it. At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Corker agreed with several criticisms of Tillerson and his team expressed by Democrats”. Make sure you see those slides that led to this “still-fuzzy plans” description, it’s pretty clear T Rex and his inner circle, which includes Insigniam consultants, have not a clue what an embassy does or how it functions. Something to keep in mind: by the standards of his own party, this is much worse than getting into bed with the Kremlin. It seems he may have wised up to his role as useful idiot as, “Corker shares Tillerson’s basic goal of reshaping the State Department. But he is frustrated with Tillerson’s execution of the plan,” because maybe there is no plan but to let active measures run their course and destroy it? Recall the goal of Russian active measures is to capture the state: foreign policy, defense and the economy. But Corker’s Chief of Staff Todd Womack downplayed any suggestion that Corker is wise to Russian operational designs as, “any notion that he is souring on Secretary Tillerson is way off base. He still has full confidence in the secretary,” told POLITICO, which adds, “Corker, a relatively moderate, pragmatic Republican, was once one of the most prominent voices in the GOP to support Trump”. Of course, “Corker has questioned Trump’s mental fitness for the Oval Office, saying the president needs ‘adult daycare’ and warning that the Republican commander in chief could lead the United States into World War III.” Maybe a similar late awakening will happen insofar as it concerns active measures. For the sake of the nation, let’s hope more than just Corker wake up to the reality of the attack we are facing before it truly is too late. Do not think everything will magically be alright; it won’t be. With Russia, there is no better late than never.
TREASON + LIES ARE FUNNY IF YOU’RE PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS
Newsweek reports, “Speaking at a lawyers conference on Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened with a joke about the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.” According to Newsweek, “At the 2017 National Lawyers Convention hosted by the Federalist Society, an organization of conservative and libertarian legal experts, Sessions joked, ‘Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? Before I get started here, any Russians? Anybody been to Russia? Got a cousin in Russia?’ The crowd laughed and applauded at the jokes, which were not in his prepared remarks.” Very funny. The republic is laughing so hard it is choking itself to death.
THUS SHOOK PUTIN
The Guardian reports, “The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a ‘serial killer’ – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.” Oh wow, the irony. The Guardian adds, “Court documents seen by the Observer reveal that Russian state investigators have named Browder, a London-based hedge fund manager, as the suspect behind the mysterious murders of three men. All three deaths are linked to a £174m fraud believed to have involved Russian officials – a crime that was uncovered by Browder’s Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, in 2008. Magnitsky was subsequently imprisoned on charges widely considered to be false, and died in jail amid claims he was tortured.” For his part, “Browder said the latest in several recent attempts to undermine him indicated Putin was becoming ‘delusional’ in his anger over the repercussions that have arisen from the case.” Browder told The Guardian, “Putin is so rattled by the Magnitsky sanctions that he has completely lost touch with reality”.
From The Guardian.
AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN VISITS RADIO FREE EUROPE, VOICE OF AMERICA
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The U.S. ambassador to Russia said during a visit to the the Moscow bureau of RFE/RL and Voice of America (VOA) that new Russian legislation targeting foreign media is a ‘big concern’ to the United States.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said during his November 17 visit — viewed as a gesture of support for RFE/RL and VOA — that ‘I’m here because we as Americans believe that freedom of the press [and] transparency are…an absolutely critical ingredient to a successful and strong democratic system.’”
TROLLING NIKKI HALEY
Newsweek reports, “Russian officials trolled the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Twitter after Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have renewed investigations into chemical weapons in Syria on Thursday.” Of course, “The vote would have extended an investigation into chemical weapons in Syria,” however, “Haley complained to reporters that Russian officials were ;too busy to talk’ ahead of the vote.” Memo to Ambassador Haley: that is deliberate. Haley said, “For some reason, the phones at the Russian Mission are not working.” But then Ambassador Nebenzia was all like, “Not a single missed call on my phone. And our experts replied as many times as been contacted by the #US counterparts,” on Twitter. Basically give up on human evolution; we have reached a dead end.
TRUMP TO BE PRESENTED WITH PACKAGE TO ARM UKRAINE
ABC News reports, “President Donald Trump will be presented with the recommendation to finance and sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government — a move aimed at deterring aggression from pro-Russian separatists,” according to a State Department official. ABC News adds, “The National Security Council decided during a meeting on Tuesday to greenlight the presentation of a $47 million grant package to the Ukrainian government to purchase American defense arms, including the powerful Javelin anti-tank missiles.” The Russians are reportedly not pleased.
From ABC News.
STOLTENBERG SAYS NATO’S DOORS ARE OPEN TO UKRAINE
The Kyiv Post reports, “The doors of NATO are opened for Ukraine, although the decision to allow Ukraine to join the Alliance will be taken by all 29 members, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has said at the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF).”
From The Kyiv Post.
U.S.’S $10.5 BILLION PATRIOT MISSILE DEAL WITH POLAND APPROVED
Deutsche Welle reports, “The US has approved the $10.5 billion sale of a Patriot anti-missile system to NATO ally Poland. Eastern European NATO states have been ramping up their military capabilities in the face of perceived Russian aggression.” According to Deutsche Welle, “the US and Poland agreed on Friday a major arms deal that could see the eastern European NATO member soon begin conducting air and missile defense operations.” Deutsche Welle adds, “As part of the $10.5 billion (€8.9 billion) sale, Poland is expected to receive 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 16 M903 launching stations, four AN/MPQ-65 radars, four control stations, spares, software and associated equipment.”
From Deutsche Welle.
U.S. + SERBIA HOLD JOINT DRILLS
The AP reports, “American and Serbian paratroopers held joint military exercises Friday in Serbia, watched with unease by Russia, which is trying to increase its influence in the Balkans and keep the country within its fold.” The AP notes, “Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attended the last day of the four-day drill that included joint jumps by Serbian and U.S. parachutists from two U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules transport planes that flew close to the Serbian capital, Belgrade.”
From the AP.
BIDEN: ONE OF THE “MOST DANGEROUS TIMES IN MODERN HISTORY”
The Hill reports, “Former Vice President Joe Biden lashed out at President Trump on Saturday for creating a ‘dangerous’ climate in America.” Biden was “speaking about his upcoming book at the Miami Book Fair in Florida,” when he said, “I think it’s one of the most dangerous times in modern history.” You don’t say?
From The Hill.
HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE WEIGHS TWITTER SUBPOENA
CBS News reports, “The House Intelligence Committee is weighing whether to subpoena Twitter over the messages between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks”. Recall last week, Donald “Uday” “Trump Jr. released screenshots of what he claimed were all of the Twitter private messages between him and Wikileaks. The top members on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that the documents from Kushner’s lawyer failed to include ‘several documents that are known to exist’ concerning September 2016 email communications to Kushner about WikiLeaks”.
From CBS News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
TRUMP’S TRIP TO THE USSR IN THE 1980S BROUGHT TO YOU BY…
POLITICO excerpts part of Luke Harding new’s book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, suggesting Trump has been in the KGB’s sights since the 1980s, if not longer. Harding writes, “When did the KGB open a file on Donald Trump? We don’t know, but Eastern Bloc security service records suggest this may have been as early as 1977. That was the year when Trump married Ivana Zelnickova, a twenty-eight-year-old model from Czechoslovakia. Zelnickova was a citizen of a communist country. She was therefore of interest both to the Czech intelligence service, the StB, and to the FBI and CIA.” Harding notes, “According to files in Prague, declassified in 2016, Czech spies kept a close eye on the couple in Manhattan.” According to these files, “There was periodic surveillance of the Trump family in the United States. And when Ivana and Donald Trump, Jr., visited Milos in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, further spying, or ‘cover.’” Of course, “Like with other Eastern Bloc agencies, the Czechs would have shared their intelligence product with their counterparts in Moscow, the KGB,” Harding notes, adding, “As Trump tells it, the idea for his first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin. This was in autumn 1986; the event was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the businessman son of Estée Lauder.” Harding adds, “According to Natalia Dubinina,” Dubinin’s daughter, “the actual story involved a more determined effort by the Soviet government to seek out Trump.” On Dubinin’s first trip to New York, Natalia picked him up and “The first building they saw was Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, she told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Dubinin was so excited he decided to go inside to meet the building’s owner. They got into the elevator. At the top, Dubinina said, they met Trump.” The first thing Dubinin said was, “The first thing I saw in the city is your tower!” and “Trump melted at once. He is an emotional person, somewhat impulsive. He needs recognition. And, of course, when he gets it he likes it. My father’s visit worked on him [Trump] like honey to a bee,” Dubinina said. Harding notes, “This encounter happened six months before the Estée Lauder lunch.” Harding notes, “Dubinin’s invitation to Trump to visit Moscow looks like a classic cultivation exercise, which would have had the KGB’s full support and approval.” The excerpt concludes after all the details of how Trump stayed in “Lenin’s suit at the National Hotel,” that “Nothing came of the trip—at least nothing in terms of business opportunities inside Russia. This pattern of failure would be repeated in Trump’s subsequent trips to Moscow. But Trump flew back to New York with a new sense of strategic direction.” For the first time, “Trump was thinking about running for president.”
WHY DID PAUL MANAFORT MEET THE NEW ECUADOREAN PRESIDENT?
The AP reports, “Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa called on his successor Lenin Moreno to explain to his country why he met with the indicted former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year.” The AP reports Correa said in an interview with the newswire Sunday, “If they keep it secret it’s because they are hiding something”. Correa added, “It’s very worrying that there should be a meeting with types like Manafort and that it should be kept hidden from the Ecuadorean people”. He seems to really understand what is at stake finally as he said, “This is not a fight among buddies, this is a profoundly ideological conflict”. Do not forget WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
From the AP.
HERE ARE THE EUROPEAN PARTIES ACCUSED OF HAVING RUSSIAN TIES
The Washington Post reports, “The United States is far from being the only country where connections between politicians and Russian officials have recently come under renewed scrutiny. European parties — ranging from the far right to the far left — are facing similar accusations.” A new report from The Atlantic Council, “examines the extent to which Russia has succeeded in influencing the parties that are currently believed to be most favorable toward the Kremlin.” The parties include UKIP in the UK, Alternative für Deutschland and The Left Party in Germany, the National Front in France, Podemos in Spain, the Northern League and 5 Star Movement in Italy and Golden Dawn and Syriza in Greece.
From The Washington Post.
RACIST REDDIT VOICE OF AMERICA REPORTER ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE
The Washington Post reports, “Voice of America has placed journalist Joshua Fatzick on administrative leave after Mediaite reported that he posted racist, sexist and homophobic messages in a pro-Trump Reddit channel under the screen name UncleSam4200.” Administrative leave is not the same as being fired, which is curious as “Fatzick’s reporting appears to have been colored, at times, by his apparent political views, just as Voice of America is working to combat suspicions that it could be used to advance President Trump’s agenda,” The Washington Post adds, noting, “in addition to highlighting popular right-wing themes — claims of racism are dubious, free speech is in peril, the Second Amendment is under attack — Fatzick has presented information in misleading ways.”
From The Washington Post.
A TWITTER OF FOOLS
CNN reports, “A Kremlin-linked troll that has become infamous after having fooled thousands of Americans appears to have returned to Twitter more than a week ago. The account is proudly touting itself as a Russian troll in its Twitter bio, but Twitter has taken no action against it.” After CNN published its story of course then Twitter CentCom snapped into action and removed it but meanwhile, “The new account, which began tweeting on November 8, doesn’t just boldly use the name Jenna Abrams in its handle. It also used, for a period, the same profile picture as the original account. And when it started tweeting, it immediately began mocking, in tweets and in its profile, American media’s coverage of the original account.” This is very Surkovian (after Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov, current Ukraine negotiator, often described as Putin’s “dark cardinal”), insofar as it wants you to know you have been deceived so as to degrade your sense of perceptions and demoralize you. The goal here, “As of Friday morning, the new account had just 25 followers and had sent only 38 tweets,” is “to fly in the face of Twitter’s telling Congress just two weeks ago that it is working to ensure ‘the experience of 2016 never happens again.’” To that end, mission accomplished. CNN also spoke with Natasha Redkina, a “real person who lives in St. Petersburg, Russia — the city where the Internet Research Agency is based,” whose photos were stolen and used for the account. She could not say too much to CNN as “she works for the Committee for the State Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, a part of the St. Petersburg city government,” but did say “she had not heard of the Internet Research Agency and that she hopes her photos will be removed from any existing accounts. ‘I don’t know how to change this situation,’” Redkina told CNN. Nor does our government, Natasha.
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
RUSSIA FINGERED IN EUROPE’S CHERNOBYL-LIKE RADIOACTIVE CLOUD
News broke last week that there was an unusual radioactive cloud hovering over the European sky. It is a specter not seen since Chernobyl. Now NPR updates us that the source of the radioactive cloud is, surprise…. Russia! Who is surprised? If you are, have you been reading TRUMPISTAN WATCH all these decrepit months? NPR reports, “some Western scientists say they suspect the source might have been a Russian research institute near the city of Dimitrovgrad, west of the Ural Mountains. The reason for their suspicion comes down to atmospheric calculations and the type of work being done at the facility, known as the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors.” Why aren’t the European more grateful to have Trump’s great friends as a neighbor? Here is a hint for spotting the deranged in any society: look for who is in bed with Russia. They are long living under a radioactive cloud.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
ARREST IN KIEV IN MURDER OF RUSSIAN FORBES EDITOR PAUL KLEBNIKOV
The Kyiv Post reports, “The murder of an American investigative journalist and ex-chief editor of Forbes Russia magazine Paul Klebnikov in July 2004 remains among many unsolved contract murders of journalists in Russia.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH remembers it well and recommends his book, Godfather of the Kremlin, to all of you. According to The Kyiv Post, “Security Service of Ukraine reported on Nov. 18 the arrest of a Russian national of Chechen origin in Kyiv who might be involved in the murder of Klebnikov. Although SBU didn’t disclose the name of the man, it provided enough details for media to identify him as Kazbek Dukuzov, one of the three suspects in the case.”
From The Kyiv Post.
CNN reports, “America’s brand has taken a major hit in the age of Trump.” America NOT First! CNN notes that, “according to a survey that ranks the world’s best nation brands,” the times they are a-changin’ as “The United States lands with an overall No. 6 ranking in the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, which measures 50 nations in multiple categories”. CNN notes however it “isn’t the first time that the United States has experienced such a big drop in the survey,” as we previously had a quasi-illegitimate Republican president before in Bush, who was an unequivocal disaster, however, “The US fell to No. 7 then,” and that was a domestic ordeal. Germany is number one now, which is why TRUMPISTAN WATCH always asks everyone if they are hopeless to see hope in postwar Germany.
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