BRING. IT. ON.
NBC News reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what happened inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia”. NBC News adds, “The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn’s firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump”. NBC News notes, “Multiple sources say that during interviews, Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses, including White House Counsel Don McGahn and others who have worked in the West Wing, to go through each day that Flynn remained as national security adviser and describe in detail what they knew was happening inside the White House as it related to Flynn.” NBC News reports, “The obstruction of justice question could hinge on when Trump knew about the content of Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the transition, which were at the crux of Yates’s warning, and when the president learned Flynn had lied about those conversations to the FBI”.
From NBC News.
NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA – BUT WILL THEY BE ENFORCED?
POLITICO reports, “The Trump administration is levying new sanctions on Russia it hopes will force it to comply with a Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty it has violated by deploying a banned cruise missile”. POLITICO adds, “The Commerce Department will punish Russian companies that have provided technology to help develop the new weapon, which was outlawed by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the United States and then-Soviet Union in 1987. The pact banned missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, which when deployed on Europe’s periphery were seen as highly destabilizing because they would provide little advance notice of attack — and could carry a nuclear warhead.” The decision was “outlined to reporters on Friday” and “made after a lengthy review undertaken by the National Security Council.” POLITICO notes, “The steps are being taken ahead of a meeting of the Special Verification Commission, the implementing body for the treaty, which the U.S. has requested for next week.”
YOU KNOW WHAT TRUMP CAN DO WITH HIS TRANSGENDER BAN?
The AP report, “Transgender recruits will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, the Pentagon said Monday, as President Donald Trump’s ordered ban suffered more legal setbacks. The new policy reflects the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump’s demand earlier this year to bar transgender individuals from the military. Three federal courts have ruled against the ban, including one Monday in Washington state.” However, the AP notes, “Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that could make it difficult for them to join the armed services.” The AP reports, “Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the enlistment of transgender recruits will begin next month and proceed amid legal battles. The Defense Department also is doing a review, which is expected to carry into 2018.” Maj. Eastburn said, “the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they’ve been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.”
From the AP.
PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS HAS EXCUSE IN FBI EMAIL
CNN reports, “A newly released document shows that the FBI told an aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Sessions wasn’t required to disclose foreign contacts that occurred in the course of carrying out his government duties when he was a senator.” Ooof. As CNN notes, “The FBI email from March bolsters the explanation by the Justice Department for why Sessions didn’t disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador in his application for a US security clearance.” CNN adds, “An FBI agent, whose name isn’t made public in the document released by the bureau, was responding in March to a query from Sessions’ assistant. The assistant sought confirmation of what she said was an earlier conversation on the matter. At the time, news of Sessions’ Russian contacts had recently become public and prompted fierce political criticism. The agent didn’t recall the earlier conversation but affirmed that ‘he was not required to list foreign government contacts while in official government business unless he developed personal relationships from such contacts.’” At least Private Russian Sessions cannot blame his assistant ever after for saving his ass.
RUSSIAN HACKER CONFESSES FSB COORDINATED HIS CYBERATTACKS ON DNC
Meduza reports, “This summer, Konstantin Kozlovsky, a Yekaterinburg resident accused of working with the hacker group ‘Lurk,’ reportedly declared in court that he acted ‘under the command of Russian Federal Security Service agents’ when he participated in the hacking of the U.S. Democratic National Committee and stole Hillary Clinton’s emails. According to the newsletter The Bell, Kozlovsky made this announcement on August 15, at a hearing to extend his arrest.” Meduza notes, “On December 2, the case record and an audio recording of Kozlovsky’s statement were published on his Facebook account.” Meduza adds, “The Bell reports that FSB Major Dmitry Dokuchayev managed Kozlovsky using the pseudonym ‘Ilya.’ Kozlovsky also names former Kaspersky Lab official Ruslan Stoyanov. Dokuchayev and Stoyanov have been in pretrial detention since December 2016 on treason charges. According to the independent TV network Dozhd, they are suspected of leaking intelligence about Russian hackers to the American government.”
PUTIN MEETS ASSAD, SISI + ERDOGAN IN ONE DAY MIDDLE EAST TOUR
The New York Times reports, “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia undertook a whirlwind tour to his new allies in the Middle East on Monday,” when he, “touched down in rapid succession in Syria and Egypt, where he met briefly with their leaders, and landed in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, later in the day.” As The New York Times notes, “His excursion came as anger at the United States was running high over President Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem, the third holiest city in Islam, as the capital of Israel. That decision has helped isolate the United States and Israel”. Why shouldn’t Putin capitalize on Trump’s stupidity? Meanwhile, “In Brussels on Monday, for example, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was firmly rebuffed when he encouraged the European Union to ‘recognize the facts’ and endorse Mr. Trump’s action,” The New York Times adds. The AP reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory against ‘terrorists’ in Syria on Monday during a surprise visit to a Russian military base in the county [sic], where he also announced a partial pullout of Russian troops.” The AP notes, “It was Putin’s first trip to Syria, where Russia launched an air campaign in 2015 that allowed President Bashar Assad’s forces to gain the upper hand against the Islamic State group as well as Syrian rebels. It was also the first visit by a foreign head of state to war-ravaged Syria since the civil war began in 2011.” The AP adds, “In a televised speech to the Russian troops at the base, Putin hailed their ‘excellent’ performance in Syria, where the Russian military declared victory against the Islamic State group last week.” Putin said, “The Motherland is proud of you.” In Egypt, Reuters reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday, agreeing to resume civilian flights which Moscow halted more than two years ago after militants bombed a Russian tourist jet over the Sinai.” Additionally, Reuters adds, “Egyptian and Russian ministers signed a $21 billion deal to start work on Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear power plant”. In Ankara, Reuters reports, “Turkish and Russian officials will meet to finalise Turkey’s S-400 surface-to-air missile systems deal in the coming week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.”
THE SAAKASHVILI SHOW ROLLS ON ANOTHER DAY
The AP reports, “Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president turned opposition leader in Ukraine, walked free Monday after a court in the Ukrainian capital refused to sanction his arrest, vowing to push for a peaceful government change. Saakashvili was arrested Friday on allegations that he colluded with Ukrainian businessmen tied to Russia to topple President Petro Poroshenko, accusations Saakashvili rejected.” Saakashvili said, “I consider myself a prisoner of Ukrainian oligarchs”. The AP notes, “The court’s verdict marked a defeat for Poroshenko, who has faced mounting criticism for his failure to uproot endemic corruption. The victorious Saakashvili said after the verdict that he will coordinate with other political forces in Ukraine to push for a peaceful change of government.”
From the AP.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
Reuters reports, “A U.S. federal judge on Monday issued a stern warning to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to refrain from making statements to the media that could harm his right to a fair trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson chided Manafort for ghost-writing an opinion piece that was published last week in the Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper in Ukraine, lauding Manafort’s political work for Ukraine. Jackson said she would consider any similar future behavior to be a violation of her Nov. 8 gag order not to discuss the case with the media or make public statements in ways that could affect the case’s outcome.” However, Reuters notes, “Jackson stopped short of granting a request from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to deny Manafort’s proposal for more lenient bail terms, saying she would take Manafort’s proposal to lift his house arrest in exchange for posting four real estate properties as collateral under advisement and rule at a later date.” Reuters adds, “Jackson set the next status conference hearing for Jan. 16. Jackson said she has some outstanding concerns about Manafort’s proposed bail package, including his reliance on the real estate website Zillow to come up with some of the property value estimates.” Additionally, Reuters reports, “Jackson also expressed frustration that the defendants were not always giving pre-trial services ample notice about their whereabouts, saying, ‘It has to be more than an hour in advance.’” (Merch plug: get the Active Measures Active Wear Paul Manafort Tracks Changes women’s sweatshirt and/or tote bag at the one and only TRUMPISTAN WATCH merch shop.)
DEMOCRATS WANT PRINCELING JARED HAULED IN FOR FURTHER QUESTIONS
The Daily Beast reports, “Though Kushner gave an hours-long interview to House intelligence committee staff in late July,” it seems, “that Democrats on the panel want to get the presidential son-in-law to answer additional questions.” The Daily Beast notes, “one aspect of their list of outstanding questions concerns Kushner’s foreign contacts”.
From The Daily Beast.
DOWN WITH DARKNESS AT NUNES
CNN reports, “Rep. Mike Conaway said Monday that he would continue running the House’s Russia investigation even though the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has been cleared by an ethics inquiry that had prevented him from running the probe.” Recall, “Last week, the House Ethics Committee cleared California’s Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of any wrongdoing, saying he had not done anything improper over his handling of classified intelligence,” which is total crap because even after he recused he has been running nonstop interference on the House intelligence committee’s investigation into our treason trash fake president.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
WE ARE HEADED RIGHT FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
Foreign Policy asks, “What will Trump’s reaction be when he figures out he’s been duped — and that the Mueller probe, far from a ‘nothing burger,’ is a carafe of strychnine that poses an existential threat to his presidency? The likely result is that Trump will either pardon everyone involved or try to fire the special counsel, or both. And then the nation will be plunged into a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have not seen since Watergate.” Foreign Policy adds, “The storm is not yet upon us, but the dark clouds are already visible on the horizon. Ever since the guilty plea from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Dec. 1, Trump and his enablers have been throwing a hissy-fit at the FBI, the ‘Justice’ Department (the sarcastic quote marks are the president’s own), and the special counsel’s office by seizing on ‘evidence’ that all three are biased against him.”
From Foreign Policy.
TRUMP KLAN WARNED AT LEAST SIX TIMES AGAINST HIRING FLYNN
Business Insider reports, “President Donald Trump’s transition team – and, later, his nascent administration – was warned at least six times about potential conflicts of interest and compromising conversations between Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, and Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time.” Business Insider notes, “That timeline has become a focus for Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is examining why it took 18 days for the White House to remove Flynn after a stark warning from Sally Yates, the acting attorney general. She had told the White House counsel, Don McGahn, that Flynn most likely lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his calls with Kislyak. That was far from the first time, however, that an official had urged Trump and his advisers to rethink bringing Flynn into the White House.” Business Insider adds, “The first warning came from President Barack Obama on November 10.” Business Insider notes, “And days later, on November 18 – just over a week after Obama warned Trump about Flynn – Rep. Elijah Cummings sent Pence a letter requesting more information about potential conflicts of interest posed by Flynn’s lobbying work.” Then, “Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey recently suggested he thought he was abruptly dismissed from leading the transition team on November 11 largely because he had warned transition officials against hiring Flynn as national security adviser,” Business Insider adds.
From Business Insider.
DID KAZAKHSTAN’S LAUNDERED MILLIONS GO THROUGH TRUMP SOHO?
Bloomberg reports, “For eight years, Kazakstan’s BTA Bank has waged a legal war on three continents against former Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. It’s a clash that has featured death threats, a hack of Kazakh government computers and at least $4 billion in missing bank assets. Now, court cases on both sides of the Atlantic,” may reveal whether some of the funds were laundered through Trump Soho in lower Manhattan. Bloomberg adds “a new wrinkle” in that “emails reviewed by Bloomberg News show that BTA Bank’s current chairman, Kenges Rakishev, the man who’s now pursuing Ablyazov, considered buying a stake in Trump Soho in 2012.” Now for the damning expert quote: Kate Mallinson, an expert on Kazakhstan with Prism Political Risk Management in London told Bloomberg, “The Kazakhs learned from Russia that a Trump property was a safe place to park your money for awhile”. Well worth your time to dive into this piece a it indicates how notorious Trump property was for money laundering purposes, one might say ubiquitous even, in certain corners of the former Soviet Union.
LINDSEY GRAHAM IS JUST ANOTHER TRUMP BITCH NOW
MSNBC reports, “Graham’s Twitter feed took a turn toward the bizarre in recent days, promoting conspiracy theories and anti-Clinton nonsense.” MSNBC adds, “One might expect some of Graham’s over-the-top rhetoric from a conservative pundit or a House Freedom Caucus member, but the senator is supposed to be above such things. Except he’s not.” MSNBC notes, “As if to prove the point,” Graham tweeted on Sunday, “how impressed he was the “spectacular” Trump International Golf Club, and how much he enjoyed his “great day of fun” with Trump.” For those of you who thought moderate Republicans in Congress would save us, scratch that!
FUSION GPS FILES
The Washington Post obtained “hundreds of internal company documents” belonging to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for contracting the Steele dossier which was founded by a former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson. While the company’s client list is closely guarded, The Washington Post reports, “In the years before it produced the dossier, records show, Fusion worked to blunt aggressive reporting on the medical-device company Theranos, which was later found to have problems with its novel blood-testing technology. It was also hired to ward off scrutiny of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, which ultimately paid $200 million to distributors to settle claims by regulators.” The Washington Post adds, “Fusion’s other past research targets, documents show, included tech giants Google and Amazon; 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama; and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee.” Simpson said on a panel at a festival in D.C. last August, “I call it journalism for rent,” and it’s wildly more profitable than actual journalism.
From The Washington Post.
A FABULOUS FABLE OF FUSION GPS ON FAUX NEWS FOX
Fox News reports, “A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.” Fox News, citing a source on the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (HPSCI), reports, “that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects.” Fox News alleges, “Bruce Ohr met with Simpson and Steele last year,” which to them is evidence, “expanded the reach of the dossier’s creators from the FBI into the top echelons of the Justice Department.” Not quite, guys, but nice try! Maybe fake Russian bullshit will give them a cookie, or a Twitler shout out. In reality, these are a bunch of loose strands lacking cohesive information that could tie them together and form a bundle, let alone a far reaching anti-Trump conspiracy. It means people live and work in the District.
From Fox News.
THE BIGGEST LOSER: KREM’GLENN GREENWALD
Mediaite reports, “The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald spoke bluntly about the systemic flaws of the mainstream media and was critical of Fox News… while appearing on Fox News. On Monday night, Laura Ingraham invited Greenwald on to discuss his column blasting CNN for its botched reporting and their lack of handling its inaccurate report. He pointed out the ‘disturbing’ long line of Trump/Russia stories that all feed the narrative that collusion took place but that they ‘completely fall apart.’” Not quite, Krem’Glenn, it has not all fallen apart. Something he avoided: his own journalistic malpractice as the left’s greatest Russia collusion denier. Why does he love protecting oligarchs and the Russian mafia state so much?
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