Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
reports, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Vienna next week, with Syria and Ukraine to be on the agenda”. On Friday, a senior State Department official “said the meeting is set to take place on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in the Austrian capital, most likely on December 7.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Tillerson is scheduled to travel to Brussels, Vienna, and Paris on December 4-8 for NATO, European Union, and OSCE meetings.” The OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is highly relevant to Ukraine as they manage the Special Monitoring Mission.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.





As is known, Michael Flynn will go down in history rivaling Benedict Arnold for his betrayal of our nation, but neither will replace Trump at the top. But around 10:22am on Friday, Flynn walked into a courthouse and accepted the terms of a plea deal of one count of lying to the F.B.I. For all who have spent months fighting against this bullshit, and for many whose resistance lasted a mere 90 days if that earlier this year, it was a glorious, emotionally satisfying moment. POLITICO reports, “Prosecutors said Flynn’s conversations about sanctions with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016 came after input from at least two other top members of Trump’s presidential transition team. A Republican close to the White House indicated that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was one of the transition officials named in the Flynn plea documents and that K.T. McFarland — who would go on to become deputy national security adviser and is now the president’s nominee for ambassador to Singapore — was the other.” (More on McFarland in INVESTIGATIONS, INVESTIGATIONS) David Ignatius, The Washington Post columnist most closely tuned to Langley, notes, “an ex-general follows the chain of command. Given his seniority as the designated national security adviser, there are only two people who would likely have authorized this contact with Russia: Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who had been conducting his own extensive back-channel contacts with Kislyak and other Russians, and the president-elect himself, who had said throughout the campaign that he wanted to improve relations with Russia.” More importantly, however, than the who goes next charade of the public scandal, is what it portends: “At the center of this story is a mystery that will propel the rest of the inquiry: What was Trump so worried about that it made him deny contacts with Russia and denounce attempts to investigate those contacts? What was he afraid might emerge?” Ignatius writes. In other words, never forget why this truly matters because the minefield is set with thousands of little scandals that will injure, maim and kill.

From POLITICO and The Washington Post.



Bloomberg reports, “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea Friday for lying to the FBI is alarming news for Donald Trump. But the first person it’s likely to jeopardize will be the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” According to Bloomberg, “Two former officials with the Trump transition team who worked closely with Flynn say that during the last days of the Obama administration, the retired general was instructed to contact foreign ambassadors and foreign ministers of countries on the U.N. Security Council, ahead of a vote condemning Israeli settlements. Flynn was told to try to get them to delay that vote until after Barack Obama had left office, or oppose the resolution altogether. That is relevant now because one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U.N. Security Council resolution.” This could signal a possible Logan Act violation which is “A relic of the John Adams administration, this discredited law makes it illegal for a private U.S. citizen to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting president in contact with a foreign power,” albeit, “No American has ever been successfully prosecuted under that law. “ POLITICO adds, “On Sunday, the president’s son-in-law used his first-ever public remarks on the Middle East peace process to make a case for his own continued relevance in the Trump White House”. This is hilarious for two reasons: now that he is in deep shit he deigns to speak to us and he will also never be relevant in a sense in which those words have any meaning.

From Bloomberg and POLITICO.



The Daily Beast reports, “A day after Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating the Trump team’s alleged ties to the Kremlin, Trump tweeted about Flynn: ‘I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!’” Pretty remarkable. It is no wonder the Department of Justice below Private Russian Sessions must have tremendous gratitude for his predilection towards the Twitter. Think about it, as The Daily Beast notes, “Whether the president remembered it or not, he has never before stated that Flynn lied to the FBI. Whether the president realized it or not, conceding that he knew about Flynn’s FBI lie – to which Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday – opens Trump up to a world of legal hurt. Trump had asked James Comey, the former director of the FBI, to drop an inquiry into a man Trump now says he knew lied to the bureau.” They have told so many lies even the lies reveal further lies and they can no longer keep the lies straight. So it was the case NBC News reports, “In a series of tweets early on Sunday morning, Trump denied asking Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn and hit out at the FBI.” Eyeroll. Bizarrely His Heinous Twitler then tried to pus the blame for this one onto his lawyer John Dowd. ABC News reports, “President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer, John Dowd, says he drafted the president’s Saturday morning tweet that stated he fired former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying not only to Vice President Mike Pence but also to the FBI.” Recall: a good lawyer does not cover up for their clients, a good lawyer dutifully informs them when the clients are fucked and works to get the clients the best deal possible under the circumstances.

From The Daily Beast, NBC News and ABC News.



The Hill reports, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday she believes an obstruction of justice case is beginning to form against President Trump”. The Hill quotes Feinstein on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice,” adding, “I think we see this in the four indictments and pleas that have just taken place, and some of the comments being made. I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets”. Feinstein added, “I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of Director Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice”. Feinstein noted, “We’ve got major problems in the world with our allies now”.

From The Hill.



Forbes (Forbes!) writes, “On the night of March 23, 1997, Marshall Applewhite prepared to achieve his life’s mission. He had already supervised the successful ‘evacuation’ of several followers. The leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult would be the last of the chosen few to join the alien spacecraft trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet speeding past the Earth. As he mixed a lethal dose of phenobarbital into his apple sauce, did he experience doubt? Did he wonder whether his psychiatrists had been right? Maybe there were no aliens waiting to whisk him away. He had failed to uncover any empirical evidence to support his worldview. Perhaps that was because his worldview was flawed and false. Regardless, he probably ate his poison and slipped the bag over his head with a smile on his face.” Which moves us to Roy Moore and the modern GOP where we have a guy who was “removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for his erratic behavior and banned from the mall for harassing teenage girls,” who now, “has cloaked his campaign for the Senate in the language of ‘spiritual warfare.’” And then let’s move right along to what will cripple the republic and deliver the death knell to the economy in the third pillar of our state (the other two being foreign policy and defense) to fall to active measures. Forbes (again, Forbes!) writes, “At this moment, why are Republicans trying to slash taxes for the wealthy? Why would someone castrate themselves and commit suicide? Because that’s what the cult demands.” As Forbes notes, “There are no bright economic minds suggesting that this is a good idea. There is no difference of opinion among sane, credible people about whether America needs a massive tax cut for the rich.” Forbes concludes, “By all accounts, the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were nice people who avoided harming others. They kept their sickness inside their ranks. By contrast, Republicans are forcing an entire country, and to a certain extent the world, to choke down their poisoned applesauce.”

From Forbes.



Our real president, or rather the man who comes closest to actually running the country for providing steadfast leadership in the absence of any over at the Whites Only Haus, Defense Secretary James Mattis, shat on reports that T Rex is going anywhere. POLITICO reports, “‘I make nothing of it. There’s nothing to it,’ Mattis told reporters before a meeting at the Pentagon with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez el-Sarraj.” POLITICO adds, “Mattis also briefly addressed the crisis with North Korea, which on Tuesday launched a new and powerful ballistic missile that the defense secretary has said could hit virtually any target in the world. Asked whether negotiations had failed, the retired Marine four-star general said that he was ‘not willing to say that diplomacy has not worked.’” Mattis added, “our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options in there.” So it has come to pass that the one with the call nickname “Mad Dog” and the call sign “Chaos” is the sanest of all of them. Thank god he looks enough like Patton and could trick Trump to get a little sane through the door of the loony bin. For god, country and the U.S. Department of Defense.




Mediaite has video of CIA Director Mike Pompeo defending “President Trump‘s tweeting habits yesterday [Saturday] at the Reagan National Defense Forum.” Mediaite notes, “Fox News’ Bret Baier brought up the President’s retweets of unverified anti-Muslim videos, which former CIA Director Leon Panetta––also in attendance––was very troubled by.” Like a troubled, compromised sycophant muttering regime giberrish, Pompeo puckered his lips to kiss the president’s ass with these words: “I’ve actually seen it help us. I have seen things the President has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what’s going on in other places in the world.” Oh yeah? Pompeo thinks having us watch him lick a shitstain off a Lubyanka toilet might actually help us? How does he figure?

From Mediaite.



The New York Times reports, “A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign.” Wait for it, because the subject line of that email was, “Kremlin Connection”. According to The New York Times, “In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders.” The “Kremlin Connection” email “was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill,” The New York Times adds, and, “Both efforts, made within days of each other, centered on the N.R.A.’s annual meeting and appear to involve Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Russian central bank and key figure in Mr. Putin’s United Russia party, who was instructed to make contact with the campaign.” So what is in the email? “ ‘Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,’ the N.R.A. member and conservative activist, Paul Erickson, wrote. ‘He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election. Let’s talk through what has transpired and Senator Sessions’s advice on how to proceed.’” Oh goodie, Private Russian Sessions! Of note, “Mr. Erickson, a longtime conservative operative who has been involved in several presidential campaigns, presented himself in the email as a well-connected intermediary to the upper reaches of the Russian government.”

From The New York Times.



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has canceled a trip to Russia’s Far East after local officials ‘were uniformly unable to find time’ to meet with him, the U.S. Embassy said.” This is one more indication of the climate of fear and paranoia that permeates in Russia and among Russian officials at present moment. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Huntsman met successfully with officials last month during trips to Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg and has held ‘productive’ meetings with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and other officials in Moscow, the embassy said.” So obviously it is the middle and lower ranks and those furthest from the centers of Petersburg and Moscow who are most afraid, which makes perfect sense.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.



The Financial Times reports, “Opec and countries outside of the oil cartel including Russia agreed on Thursday to keep curbing their production throughout 2018 as they seek to further shrink global stockpiles and prop up prices above $60 a barrel.” The Financial Times notes, “The nine-month extension of the deal, which was set to expire in March, sent prices up 2.3 per cent on Friday afternoon in London to $64.15 a barrel.”

From The Financial Times.



CNBC reports, “The Russian ruble dropped suddenly against the U.S. dollar on an ABC News report that Michael Flynn will testify that he was directed by Donald Trump to make contact with officials of the country.” CNBC adds, “The dollar gained more than 1.1 percent against the ruble Friday.”

From CNBC.



Russian state-run TASS informs, “The Kremlin understands the initiative of a State Duma committee to introduce a ban on entering the lower house’s building for journalists representing US mass media, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Earlier, Chair of the State Duma Committee for Control and Regulations Olga Savastyanova said that the committee will propose the lower house to ban all American news outlets from visiting it in response to the withdrawal of RT’s credentials in the US Congress. The initiative is expected to be submitted to the Duma’s Council on December 5.”

From Russian state-run TASS.



The Moscow Times reports, “Police in Samara released eight supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Sunday morning after they were detained ahead of a campaign rally in the southern Russian city.” The Moscow Times adds, “Navalny’s supporters were detained while they were preparing for the rally in front of Kirov Square. Local authorities had argued that the rally could not go ahead because a belly dance festival was already scheduled at the location.”

From The Moscow Times.





The New York Times reports, “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, removed a top F.B.I. agent this summer from his investigation into Russian election meddling after the Justice Department’s inspector general began examining whether the agent had sent text messages that expressed anti-Trump political views”. The New York Times adds, “The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators. He helped lead the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton had mishandled classified information on her private email account, and then played a major role in the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.” Strzok was demoted and “reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller’s investigation to the F.B.I.’s human resources department, where he has been stationed since.” As The New York Times notes, “Mr. Strzok’s reassignment shows that Mr. Mueller moved swiftly in the face of what could be perceived as bias by one of his agents amid a politically charged inquiry into Mr. Trump’s campaign and administration. But the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt,” which is precisely what happened Sunday morning when the president tweeted a chryon that he had seen moments earlier on “Fox and Friends”: ““ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE”. Make the pain caused by The Stupid stop.

From The New York Times.



CNN reports, “The Justice Department has agreed to allow congressional investigators to interview a key FBI employee believed to have served as the main contact, or ‘handler’ of, former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who compiled the so-called ‘dossier’ of allegations about President Donald Trump’s connections to Russia”. CNN notes, “The interview, the product of a month-long negotiation, comes as a spat between Justice officials and the House Intelligence Committee has spilled into public view without much context.” CNN adds, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who has stepped into the shoes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he recused himself from all matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation — had been on the phone with Nunes and agreed to permit House investigators to interview FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as long as he’s not questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller‘s ongoing Russia investigation.”

From CNN.



CNN reports, “Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that KT McFarland, a former Trump transition official and deputy national security adviser, needs to provide testimony to Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller.” Warner is the vice-chair of the Senate intelligence committee. CNN notes, “McFarland was one of the transition officials described in the Flynn court filings and that she and Flynn discussed what to communicate to the Russian ambassador to the United States about US sanctions on Russia.” CNN adds, “The New York Times reported that McFarland wrote in an email last December that Russia had “thrown” the US presidential election for Trump”.

From CNN.





The Daily Beast reports, “In a previously unreported comment to the now-defunct Maximum Golf magazine, Donald Trump singled out a ‘young socialite’ at his club at Mar-a-Lago by telling a reporter, ‘there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy.’” The Daily Beast adds, “The remark never made its way to print, as a top editor of the magazine forbade the reporter from putting it in the publication. But the former journalist who wrote the article, Michael Corcoran, and another editor, both confirmed that it was said by Trump as Corcoran followed him around at his Florida golf club for a profile.” Of course, “Trump’s use of the word fits a pattern he exhibited before he found himself at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.” The Daily Beast adds, “In 2000, Corcoran was a guest on Trump’s 727 that weekend, and he wasn’t the only one. The article published in Maximum Golf magazine notes Trump had to wait at the marine terminal for now-disgraced pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his society gal-pal Ghislaine Maxwell—who have since been accused by dozens of women of running what amounted to a ‘sex slave’ ring. Corcoran, who didn’t know the pair at the time, remembers Trump standing in the doorway of the plane yelling to them, ‘You broke the cardinal rule, Jeffrey! Never be late for someone else’s plane!’” The Daily Beast continues, “Though not mentioned in the article, Corcoran now recalls a young woman boarding with them. ‘I honestly couldn’t guess her age, but she was young made up to look a bit older,’ he says, adding that nothing ‘untoward’ happened during the flight.” The Daily Beast notes, “Epstein was a regular at Mar-a-Lago and had, according to a sworn deposition from Epstein’s brother, ferried the future president at least once on his plane. It has never been reported that Trump returned the favor.” As for the pussy quote, “Corcoran used the quote as the kicker in his piece, but says it was changed by the editor in chief, who replaced the obscenity with the word ‘talent.’ Joe Bargmann, Corcoran’s editor at Maximum Golf, confirmed Corcoran’s account.”

From The Daily Beast.


The Atlantic
profiles the American neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin who created The Daily Stormer and last year trolled the Jewish residents of a town in Montana, Whitefish, now known for a $300 million sham contract issued by the Department of the Interior to fix the electrical situation in Puerto Rico. His site has been read by killers like Dylan Roof of the black church massacre in Charleston and Thomas Mair who shot the British MP Jo Cox, according to The Atlantic. So where is Anglin now that the site was dropped earlier this year by its domain provider and not even Russia would allow it hosted? The Atlantic reports, Anglin’s “absentee ballot arrived in Ohio from Krasnodar, a city in southwest Russia near the Black Sea, according to Franklin County records. That the Russian government wouldn’t know about an American inside its borders publishing a major neo-Nazi website seems improbable.” Russia loves Nazis! The Atlantic adds, “Anglin worshipped Putin, and seemed like exactly the type of online agitator Russia might use to sow chaos during the U.S. election. In March, Auernheimer told Daily Stormer commenters that he was setting up the site’s forum on ‘a much beefier server in the Russian Federation.’ Anglin would later swear on his site—‘under penalty of perjury’—that he’d never taken money or direction from the Russian government.” You know, like a big strong man that is not at all cowardly and cowering in the face of consequences. The Atlantic notes, “But whether Anglin knew it or not, his site appears to have gotten a boost from someone in Russia. A collective of data scientists called Susan Bourbaki Anthony conducted an analysis of The Daily Stormer’s reach on Twitter from February 2 to March 2, 2017, and found that Anglin’s content was being spread by a mysterious network of accounts. This network, which is still active, has amplified divisiveness in American political discourse on Twitter since at least early in the year. It includes bots and “sock puppets” (accounts operated by actual people under false identities), and essentially shuts down each night from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast—midnight to 6:30 a.m. local time in Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

From The Atlantic.



Foreign Affairs asks the not so rhetorical question, “Say Latvia were invaded. Its allies would, naturally, want to respond immediately. First out would most likely be NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF, a 5,000-troop rapid-reaction group. Together with NATO air power, the VJTF would quickly deploy to assist the Latvians and the 1,100-troop-strong Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup stationed in the country. After that, however, Latvia’s allies would struggle to quickly dispatch a large follow-up force. Logistics, unavailable troops and equipment, decision-making: all of these factors would slow the allies down.” Foreign Affairs adds, “It is expensive to keep forces ready.” As for the sitting ducks in the Baltics, “the VJTF and NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroups stationed in the Baltic states can only fend off an adversary temporarily—for several days, as they’re only supposed to function as a tripwire—and, in any case, they lack capabilities to protect themselves, such as air defense.” Of note, “NATO planners estimate that it would take the second wave 60 days to reach the Baltic states, but a recent RAND study found that Russian forces would only need 60 hours to reach the Baltic capitals. In other words, getting NATO support to VJTF some 57 days after the initial invasion would hardly help.”

From Foreign Affairs.





The Washington Post reports, “President Trump on Sunday morning lashed out at ABC News, two days after an erroneous report by investigative journalist Brian Ross involving the president. Ross had incorrectly reported Friday that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had directed Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials before the election. Later that night, Ross read a ‘clarification’ on ‘ABC World News Tonight,’ saying Trump had actually asked Flynn to make contact with Russia after the election, when he was president-elect.” Well, that error and its correction, exonerates no one. Of course, it fueled Trump klan krazy, but you know they are in a death cult, most anything will.

From The Washington Post.



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