THIS IS NOT YALTA: TRUMP + PUTIN SPEAK AFTER ASSAD VISIT TO SOCHI
The Hill reports yesterday morning, “Russian President Vladimir Putin will call President Trump on Tuesday as Moscow tries to jump-start diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian civil war.” This story appeared of course before the call, but The Hill notes, “The call comes after a rare meeting between Putin and Syrian leader Bashar Assad in the Russian resort town of Sochi.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH was informed American television media hyped the call yesterday so much the public could not imagine it was such a footnote to a much larger media not involving America. Yalta this was not.
From The Hill.
DONNA BRAZILE ALLEGES RUSSIAN HACKERS DESTROYED DNC DATA
The Hill reports, “Donna Brazile said in an interview Tuesday that Russian hackers destroyed ‘critical data’ when they breached the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of the 2016 presidential election.” The comments were made in an interview with Joe Madison on Sirius XM. Brazile said, “We had so much shit in … our entire technology ecosystem that we couldn’t clean it up. Oh man, [those] Russians were on us like white on rice. I mean, they were, Joe, they were destroying data, critical data”. Brazile added, “All of our critical data. So, I no longer trusted this damn list that I’ve had for … over 20 years of knowing every frequent voter, every Democratic voter.” The DNC however pushed back strongly telling The Hill, “Her allegation is inaccurate – there is no evidence the voter file was compromised.” Curious.
From The Hill.
PRINCELING JARED IN MUELLER’S CROSSHAIRS
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Robert Mueller’s investigators are asking questions about Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, including his involvement in a dispute at the United Nations in December, in a sign of the expansive nature of the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the election”.
From The Wall Street Journal.
T REX + HIS BFF LAVROV GAB BY PHONE
Russian state-run TASS reports, “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by phone on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Syria and Donbass, as well as prospects for cooperation of the two countries in settling key problems on the international agenda, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.” Russian state-run TASS further notes, “They also touched upon certain issues within the framework of bilateral relations, including the schedule of future contacts, the Foreign Ministry said.”
From Russian state-run TASS.
FOREIGN AGENTS R US
Russian state-run RT reports, “The upper house of the Russian parliament has overwhelmingly supported a landmark bill requiring foreign media outlets such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to register as foreign agents,” in a surprise to no one. According to Russian state-run RT, “The Federation Council supported the legislation during a vote on Wednesday. Under the law, any foreign-funded media outlet may be designated a foreign agent by the Justice Ministry. The status stipulates that those outlets must comply with the requirements of the new law.” So it’s very broad and very far reaching, all in keeping with past power grabs by the Kremlin.
From Russian state-run RT.
The Moscow Times reports, “The Kremlin is reportedly throwing its weight behind the fired police chief of the breakaway republic of Luhansk amid an internal power struggle in the eastern Ukrainian region.” According to The Moscow Times, “Armed men in masks and unmarked military fatigues took up positions outside the local interior ministry in the provincial capital of Luhansk on Tuesday. Luhansk leader Igor Plotnitsky said the occupation ‘proved’ that he correctly fired his interior minister, Igor Kornet, a day earlier.”
From The Moscow Times.
VENEZUELA DETAINS CITGO CHIEF
The AP reports, “Venezuelan authorities detained the acting president of Citgo, the state-owned oil company’s U.S. subsidiary, and five other executives for their alleged involvement in a corruption scheme”. According to the AP, “Jose Pereira and five Citgo vice presidents have been detained on suspicion of embezzlement stemming from a $4 billion agreement to refinance company bonds, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab said.” Recall the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has put its stake in Citgo up for collateral against loans from Russian oil giant Rosneft. Is this what the Russians might call counter-sanctions?
From the AP.
DATE OF PUTIN’S ANNUAL PRESSER ANNOUNCED
The Moscow Times reports, “President Vladimir Putin will hold his annual end-of-year press conference on Dec. 14, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.”
From The Moscow Times.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
MANAFORT + GATES GRANTED ALCOHOL-FREE THANKSGIVING LEAVE
BuzzFeed reports, “Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates got permission from a judge on Tuesday to temporarily leave house arrest later this week to celebrate Thanksgiving.” Justice for no one, in other words. Think of the dead of Maidan when you think of Manafort enjoying his Thanksgiving. BuzzFeed adds, “The order from US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson came with a few conditions: Manafort and Gates will remain under GPS monitoring, must report exactly where they’re going and when, and they won’t be allowed to drink alcohol.”
BLACKWATER’S ERIK PRINCE TO GO BEFORE HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE
POLITICO reports, “Erik Prince, former head of security contractor Blackwater and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.” POLITICO notes, “Prince has come under scrutiny since The Washington Post reported in April that he tried to set up a secret back channel between Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia just days before Trump’s inauguration.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
PUTIN’S FAVORITE CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER IN FOCUS
The New York Times reports, “The F.B.I. and the Senate Intelligence Committee are each seeking to interview him about an August meeting with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, Mr. Rohrabacher said. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is said to be interested in a meeting he had last year with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.” Meanwhile, The New York Times notes, “fellow Republicans — questioning his judgment and intentions — have moved to curtail his power as chairman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats. And back home in Southern California, where Democrats and Republicans alike smell blood, the 15-term congressman is facing his toughest re-election contest in decades, with well-funded candidates from both parties lining up to unseat him.” Of course, The New York Times notes, “Thee story of Mr. Rohrabacher’s transformation from Cold Warrior to pro-Putinist is well worn.” But the headline briefly lit up the Twitter sphere because it suggested the Kremlin had given Rohrabacher a code name. Isn’t that exciting? Click! But there is nothing so sexy in the article, which rehashes old news on everything.
From The New York Times.
THE DEBATE OVER WEAPONS FOR UKRAINE ADVANCES
BuzzFeed reports, “President Donald Trump’s top advisers are closer now to achieving what seemed unthinkable at the start of his presidency: Shipping millions of dollars of US weapons to Ukraine’s embattled military.” According to BuzzFeed, “The key to persuading Trump, officials said, is requiring Ukraine to pay for at least some of the equipment and casting the arms package as a step toward ‘peace’ in the three-year conflict between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists.” BuzzFeed adds, “Senior US officials began feeling out Trump’s position on sending arms to Ukraine in late September when Trump held a bilateral meeting with Poroshenko on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. At the time, Trump told his top advisers ‘I just want peace,’ which arms advocates have taken as an opportunity to make the case that Javelin missiles will advance the cause by deterring further Russian aggression.” Look at how easy to manipulate he is, it’s pretty incredible! BuzzFeed adds, “That view has the support of Trump’s top advisers, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,” and “The State Department’s special envoy for the Ukraine crisis, Kurt Volker, publicly made the case for sending arms during an interview with three reporters on Saturday.”
FAKEBOOK TO MEET RUSSIAN REGULATORS (CENSORS)
Reuters reports, “Facebook (FB.O) plan to meet Russian regulators in late December or early January to discuss compliance, TASS news agency cited the head of Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor as saying on Tuesday.” Furthermore, BuzzFeed adds, “Russia may prevent Facebook from working within the country if the company does not comply with its laws on data storage, according to a Russian official.” Payback! Welcome Fakebook to what rubles are really worth to Trump’s great new Russian friends. Invite them to the Thanksgiving table just keep your drink covered.
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