—–ON THE AGENDA—–
ON THE HILL: TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR WALID PHARES
Bloomberg reports, “Walid Phares, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is set to be questioned in private Friday by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian election interference”.
THERE WAS FOLLOW UP TO THE JUNE 9, 2016 TRUMP TOWER MEETING
CNN reports, “The British publicist,” Rob Goldstone, “who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle later that summer”. CNN notes, “The emails raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at Trump Tower.” Shock! Everyone in the fake Russian bullshit president’s orbit is a liar from the transnational mafiosi he calls his associates to his idiot kids. Recall, “Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session.” Adoptions is code for sanctions, remember that. CNN adds, “The emails from the publicist, Rob Goldstone, were discovered by congressional investigators and raised at Wednesday’s classified hearing with Trump Jr., who said he could not recall the interactions, several sources said. None of the newly disclosed emails were sent directly to Trump Jr. They are bound to be a subject during Goldstone’s closed-door meetings with the House and Senate intelligence panels, which are expected to take place as early as next week.” Notably, “An email from Goldstone to senior Trump aide Dan Scavino, now the White House director of social media, reveals a previously undisclosed topic that was discussed at the meeting. It encourages Scavino to get candidate Trump to create a page on the Russian social networking site VK, telling him that ‘Don and Paul’ were on board with the idea — a reference to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump Jr.” But more significantly, “In one email dated June 14, 2016, Goldstone forwarded a CNN story on Russia’s hacking of DNC emails to his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting along with Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort, describing the news as ‘eerily weird’ given what they had discussed at Trump Tower five days earlier.” This suggests a mole among those present. Beautiful. Nothing like paranoia to eat away at the regime from within.
VKONTAKTE EXECUTIVE IN CONTACT WITH UDAY + DAN SCAVINO
The Washington Post reports, “An executive at a leading Russian social media company made several overtures to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 – including days before the November election – urging the candidate to create a page on the website to appeal to Russian Americans and Russians. The executive at Vkontakte, or VK,” Konstantin Sidorkov, “emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and again in November of last year, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users, according to people familiar with the messages.” VK is Russian Facebook with a lot more intellectual property theft, if you can imagine. The Washington Post notes, “He had apparently crossed paths with Trump at least once before, at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Sidorkov posted photographs from the after-party on his VK page, including one in which Trump posed with a thumbs upnext to Olivia Culpo, the previous year’s winner, and musician Nick Jonas.” Sidorkov also “posted a photograph this July posing next to Vladimir Putin.”
From The Washington Post.
DARKNESS AT NUNES + ERIK PRINCE TALKED UNMASKING AFTER RECUSAL
Business Insider reports DARKNESS AT “Devin Nunes met with Blackwater founder Erik Prince earlier this year and discussed Nunes’ investigation into the unmasking of Americans’ identities in US intelligence reports, Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in an interview last week.” Of course, “The meeting, which took place over ‘the summer or early fall,’ has raised eyebrows given Nunes’ recusal from the Russia investigation and Prince’s status as a witness in that probe.” Isn’t DARKNESS AT NUNES the worst? What’s he hiding that they have turned a man into such a little lapdog? Business Insider notes that during his testimony, “Prince alleged that he had learned from former US intelligence officials that his name and others were improperly unmasked by Obama administration officials. But he did not provide details, and refused to name his source when pressed by the Democrats.”
From Business Insider.
DARKNESS AT NUNES: THE NEW ETHICS WHERE ANYTHING GOES
POLITICO reports, “The House Ethics Committee on Thursday cleared Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, of allegations that he disclosed classified information earlier this year.” Beyond. If what DARKNESS AT NUNES does is deemed ethical, then anything goes, truly. Recall, “Nunes was forced to step aside from the helm of the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including alleged collusion with President Donald Trump’s allies, in the wake of his March statement that members of the Trump transition team had their communications legally monitored by the U.S. intelligence community.” Ever since then, he has been busy running interference on the investigation he is to preside over and issuing errant subpoenas solo without the support of his fellow committee members. (The TRUMPISTAN WATCH merch shop sells DARKNESS AT NUNES Useful Idiot Totes!!!)
FBI DIRECTOR WRAY ON FISA, DYSFUNCTION BEFORE CONGRESS
NBC News reports, “FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared to provide the first official confirmation Thursday that the FBI has applied for secret FISA warrants in the Russia investigation — the type of warrants that can allow the bureau to spy on the email and telephone calls of specific individuals.” NBC News adds, “Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray was being questioned about whether the FBI would provide the committee with information about its applications for the secret warrants, which can grant investigators access to phone calls, email, web browsing history and other electronic records. Wray told lawmakers that he could not provide the information, but that the FBI ‘has been having extensive interaction with the Congressional intelligence committees on our interaction’ with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.” Additionally The New York Times reports, “Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., defended his work force on Thursday in a politically charged hearing on Capitol Hill, rebutting President Trump’s accusation that the bureau was in ‘tatters’ and fending off attacks from Republicans on personnel.” The New York Times notes, “The unusual scenario — the nation’s top law enforcement official pressed by normally deferential Republican lawmakers — was a reflection of the extreme partisanship that has taken hold in Washington.” That is because they belong to a cult now and they do what the cult leader, our fake bullshit Russian president, demands even if it means total intellectual, moral and political inconsistency, so be it. The point of no return was passed long ago.
DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS SEND LETTER TO PRINCELING JARED
Bloomberg reports, “A group of Democratic lawmakers has sent a letter to White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner asking if since the election of his father-in-law Donald Trump he has discussed with foreigners the financing of a Manhattan office tower owned by his family.” That tower will run his family into the ground, it is princeling Jared’s personal Babel.
T REX + LAVROV TALKED UKRAINE + LET OTHERS IN THE ROOM
The AP reports, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that Ukraine was the sole sticking point keeping the United States and Russia from forging a closer relationship, suggesting that all other disputes were secondary.” Hey, but guess what this does! The AP notes, “The assessment from America’s top diplomat notably played down other areas of dispute, particularly Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”
From the AP.
WIKILEAKS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Reuters reports, “WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are facing multiple investigations by U.S. authorities, including three congressional probes and a federal criminal inquiry”. Reuters adds, “The Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees and leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are probing the website‘s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign”. Reuters notes, “The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating who gave WikiLeaks the hacked Democratic National Committee data that WikiLeaks published in July 2016, which included more than 44,000 emails and 17,000 attachments,” and “Senate Judiciary Committee leaders have asked Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, for emails related to WikiLeaks.”
KASPERSKY WILL CLOSE ITS WASHINGTON OFFICE
Russian state-run TASS reports, “Russian antivirus solutions provider Kaspersky Lab will close an office in Washington that dealt with sales of solutions for US government authorities, representative of the corporate press service Andrei Bulai”. Here is the money quote: “The goal of its operations was to sell our solutions to US government authorities; there is no such opportunity at present”.
From Russian state-run TASS.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Reuters reports, “President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort did not violate a court gag order when he helped edit an opinion piece about his political work in Ukraine, his defense lawyer Kevin Downing argued in a court filing on Thursday.” Recall, “Thursday’s filing came after prosecutors working for Mueller said earlier this week that they no longer could agree to more lenient bail terms for Manafort after discovering that he was working with a colleague tied to Russian intelligence agencies on an opinion piece that cast his work in a favorable light,” Reuters adds, noting, “The piece appeared online in the English-language Kyiv Post on Thursday.” Reuters adds, “The article, which was authored by Oleg Voloshyn, a former spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry, praised Manafort’s political work in helping Ukraine secure better relations with the European Union,” which is heavy revisionist history as the man he actually supported, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign an Association Agreement with the EU. The result was months-long protests on Maidan Square and 100 dead after Yanukovych ordered demonstrators be fired upon. Details.
POLITICO reports, “Lawyers representing former Donald Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates filed a motion Thursday notifying the court that he has enlisted the help of two people willing to post their property as collateral to help guarantee his $5 million bond conditions.” POLITICO adds, “Gates’ attorneys said they had presented special counsel Robert Mueller’s office with the two individuals willing to put up their property on Gates’ behalf and that those individuals had been interviewed by the special prosecutor’s team. Gates’ lawyers did not identify the individuals, and their filing noted that they had asked Mueller’s team not to identify them either, in order to protect their privacy.” Are they Russian or known allies and/or proxies of the Russian mafia state?
HOUSE OF THE RISING SON
Reuters reports, “The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge presiding over the criminal case for President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been recused from handling the case”. Reuters notes, “According to a court filing, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over a Dec. 1 hearing where Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia, will no longer handle the case.” Instead, “Flynn’s sentencing will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. Sullivan was appointed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
NATO’S SHIFT ON CYBER POLICY
Foreign Policy reports, “last month, NATO made a dramatic change in its cyber policy announced by the NATO Secretary General that arguably was the alliance’s biggest overall policy shift in decades.” Foreign Policy adds, “In short, NATO embraced the use of cyber weaponry in NATO operations. This is a marked departure from NATO’s historical stance of using cyber only defensively, mainly to ward off incursions against its own networks. The more aggressive approach was intended as a strong message, primarily to Russia.” Most importantly to the discussion is the fact that “with cyber weapons, once that weapon is used, the adversary knows about the cyber techniques employed and an adversary can readily build cyber defenses to prevent future attacks using that cyber weapon. Essentially, cyber weapons are one-use weapons. This makes it likely that Allies will be reluctant to share and use their cyber weapons with NATO unless their own national survival is at stake.”
From Foreign Policy.
“MY HUSBAND, HE IS NOT RICHARD GERE”
USA Today reports, “If she could spend the holidays anywhere in the world, Melania Trump says she’d take her family to a deserted, tropical island. The first lady revealed her wish Thursday during a Christmastime visit with patients and staff at Children’s National hospital in the nation’s capital as she continued a holiday tradition begun more than 60 years ago by first lady Bess Truman.” The last we heard from her she was watching ballerinas in the White House in a totally surreal David Lynch scene and before that, the pretty woman was comparing herself to a Venezuelan political prisoner.
From USA Today.
KREMLIN TROLLS MIRRORED AMERICAN LOCAL NEWS ENTITIES ON TWITTER
Bloomberg reports, “The Kremlin-backed Russian Internet Research Agency operated dozens of Twitter accounts masquerading as local American news sources that collectively garnered more than half-a-million followers. More than 100 news outlets also published stories containing those handles in the run-up to the election, and some of them were even tweeted by a top presidential aide. These news imposter accounts, which are part of the 2,752 now-suspended accounts that Twitter Inc. has publicly disclosed to be tied to the IRA, show how the Russian group sought to build local communities of followers to disseminate messages.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH has also observed mirrors of existing social services and community outreach organizations, such as Chicago’s Father Pfleger and St. Sabina on the South Side, albeit it is unknown whether these are directly or indirectly connected to the Russian propaganda effort. Bloomberg notes, “Many of the news imposter accounts amassed their following by tweeting headlines from real news sites, while others sought to represent certain communities. They targeted a diverse set of regions across the political spectrum, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston.” Of course loser now fired neo-Nazi Sebastian Gorka retweeted one of these accounts, @tpartynews, “The era of the pajama boy is over January 20th and the alpha males are back.” Yeah some fucking alphas these are, indistinguishable from Lubyanka shitstains. At least a beta understands the most basic notions of progress. As Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council Digital Forensic Research Lab said, “It’s that attempt to amplify the differences in society.”
A REMINDER TO MEDIA: COVER WHAT THEY DO, NOT WHAT THEY SAY
Coda has a wonderful piece on how our culture of manufactured outrage has leant itself very nicely to an overlay of Soviet-style Russian disinformation tactics, especially when it comes from the mouth of the regime/administration. As Code articulates, “What people in power say is only useful to know in the context of what they do.” Imagine! Then we might be outraged by worthy things instead of the constant ephemeral covfefe du jour.
RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA CHIEF’s EFFUSIVE HAGIOGRAPHY IN KUSHNER RAG
Lol this one is too rich. The Kushner-owned Observer flatters the head of Russian state-run RT propaganda outlet Margarita Simonyan with an effusive, flowery hagiography. It is as if Kushner himself has some debt to pay to the Russian mafia state! Pull up a barf bucket and read the whole damn thing if you want but just know this exists.
From The Observer.
THE INTERCEPT + RUSSIAN STATE-RUN SPUTNIK MIRROR EACH OTHER
On December 5, Krem’Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept ran a Russia coup-dismissing story blaming instead Israel. The headline on The Intercept’s story, “Trump’s Transition Team Colluded With Israel. Why Isn’t That News?” echoes the sort of call-it-what-you-will is popular in leftist circles and of course, anything to deflect from Russia’s role is especially blessed by the Kremlin. If it is anti-Semitic or racist, well, all the better! Evidence, no matter! So it may come as no surprise then to TRUMPISTAN WATCHians to learn that two days later, on December 7, Russian state-run Sputnik ran a piece with the headline, “Forget Russia, Israel Actual Foreign Power Collaborating With Team Trump”. Of course, both stories cite no actual evidence of the sort that has materialized to implicate Trump’s orbit in their treasonous ties to Russia but it makes some people feel better to ignore the truth presumably. Or they get paid to. Or black mailed. Tips as to what Russia has on Krem’Glenn welcome any time!
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