The Washington Post reports, “President Trump on Tuesday appeared to suggest that Huma Abedin, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, should face jail time, days after the State Department posted emails found on her estranged husband’s computer that included confidential government information.” He of course did this all over his favorite medium by which to communicate with the people, by which TRUMPISTAN WATCH of course means media elites, aka the “enemy of the American people,” Twitter. The Washington Post adds, “In a tweet, Trump also urged the Justice Department to act in prosecuting Abedin and former FBI director James B. Comey, who the president fired in May amid the mounting investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and contacts between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.” It tells you precisely how deep under his skin the truth has gotten that it is starting to itch real bad. His insane tweet (among other equals yesterday) is befitting only the most ill suited despots went, “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others”. “Jail!” and rule of law are not compatible. The backstory is, “The State Department, responding to a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, posted online copies of Abedin’s emails from her nongovernment address that had been discovered on the laptop of her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, during an FBI investigation.” It is unclear at this time who funds Judicial Watch or its director Tom Fitton, but suffice to say their goal is to destroy the very institution they claim to watch. And, “Trump has previously accused Comey of leaking sensitive information after the former director testified that he had asked a friend to pass on notes he had taken of his interactions with Trump to a reporter for the New York Times in hopes of securing a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation. Ethics experts said Comey’s actions appeared to be legally protected, provided he did not disclose classified information,” The Washington Post adds.

From The Washington Post.



POLITICO reports, “After a year of berating the mainstream media, President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that he will be presenting ‘awards’ Monday to what he considers to be the worst of the worst.” And here is the media covering it and it will megaphone out to the world his attacks on their colleagues like little lapdogs because that is the new infusion of state propaganda in journalism that is so en vogue among the few who hold full time positions and wish to keep them in these, the days of the post-journalism apocalypse. So here, just to show that TRUMPISTAN WATCH is a bit better than this, while infinitely less well compensated, there will be no sharing of the tweet, merely a note that this is truly incompatible with rule of law as we understand our constitution. When a Charlie Hebdo happens here, Trump can wear that blood on his hands. As mother always said, “too many crazies with guns in this country.” Will Trump care? Does he care about any of us? It is not just journalists’ lives that are cheap to this fake president; it is all human life.




The New York Post does not even bother to dog whistle the racism at the Trumpenproletariat anymore, it is not even code when they write, “Russia probe grand jury looks like ‘a Black Lives Matter rally’”. The New York Post writes, “The federal grand jury handing down indictments for special counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t appear to include any supporters of President Donald Trump, according to one witness who recently testified before the panel.” Translation: whoever got a glimpse did not see any outstretched arms or members of the Aryan nation present. The New York Post adds, “Of the 20 jurors, 11 are African-Americans and two were wearing ‘peace T-shirts,’ the witness said. ‘There was only one white male in the room, and he was a prosecutor.’” Unless there are white men who are truly ignorant, bigoted and a wee bit rapey, Trump will not be treated fairly. Oh and they must exonerate him of all charges. Of note: the whole only white men can treat Trump fairly line will not work with Mueller.

From The New York Post.


The New York Times
features an op-ed from Fusion GPS’ co-founder Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, former journalists who cashed in because journalism does not pay. Simpson and Fritsch write, “Three congressional committees have heard over 21 hours of testimony from our firm, Fusion GPS.” Then the bombshell: “Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony, even as they selectively leak details to media outlets on the far right. It’s time to share what our company told investigators.” So…. Simpson and Fritsch “don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling.” Wait for it…. According to Simpson and Fritsch, “our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.” Boom. So who was it? New parlor game! At the wee hour of the morning, the name that sticks out for TRUMPISTAN WATCH as ever present and quietly having bowed out, still seemingly out of trouble is Sam Clovis – but this is pure informed as possible at this stage speculation. And wait for the one on the Republicans in Congress as Simpson and Fritsch, “suggested investigators look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump’s businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip.” But what is most upsetting? “We did not speak to the F.B.I. and haven’t since.” Say what? They conclude, “Congress should release transcripts of our firm’s testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy.” Yeah what did happen to our democracy? Meanwhile over on the Twitter, Magnitsky Act crusader Bill Browder notes, “Glenn Simpson’s NYT’s oped conveniently omits the fact that he worked for Russian gov’t interests trying to repeal Magnitsky Act at the same time as he was working on the dossier”.

From The New York Times.



The Guardian reports, “Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as ‘treasonous; and ‘unpatriotic’.” Bannon also told author Michael Wolff, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.” The book is called “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”.

From The Guardian.



Unian Information Agency reports, “There is no indication that Russia is seeking a large-scale conflict with a near-peer or peer competitor,” according to the RAND Corporation, or as it is known to those on the inside, “Mother RAND”. In a report titled, “The Russian Way of Warfare” that was released New Year’s Day, defense analyst Scott Boston and defense policy researcher Dara Massicot wrote, “There is no indication that Russia is seeking a large-scale conflict with a near-peer or peer competitor, and indeed it appears Russian leaders understand the disadvantages Russia faces in the event of a prolonged conflict with an adversary like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)”. If Mother RAND is wrong about this, it will forever after hang over them, so they must be pretty confident, which means everyone come hither and listen to Mother RAND for a moment. The report came to this conclusion because despite the constant covfefe to the contrary , “Nor is there any indication that the United States, any European state, or China are preparing to launch an attack against Russia, a country that retains a substantial nuclear arsenal and, as will be noted, considerable conventional defenses”. Unian Information Agency adds, “RAND says Russia views its efforts to seize Crimea and to destabilize eastern Ukraine as strategically defensive actions: The intent was to preserve the correlation of forces around Russia’s borders, to continue to keep Ukraine as a buffer, and to prevent Ukraine becoming too closely aligned with NATO.” Unian Information Agency continues, “RAND’s researchers predict that conventional and unconventional warfare approaches will likely be mixed in many potential conflict scenarios; special operations forces, paramilitaries, and sympathetic civilians may provide targeting, situational awareness, and some harassment capabilities throughout the battlespace.” #MeToo, however, in the infamous words of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that “Stuff happens,” such as mistakes and miscalculations.

From Unian News Agency.



The Washington Times reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized officials to create a digital currency, or ‘cryptoruble,’ that uses technology similar to bitcoin and could evade sanctions.” One of his economic advisors, “Sergei Glazev, recently told a gathering of Russian government officials that a digital currency could usefully carry out ‘sensitive activity on behalf of the state,’” which is obvious code for funding operations and money laundering worldwide. Glazev believes his crypto-ruble can function “with no regard for sanctions”.

From The Washington Times.


Think Progress
reports, “Eleonora Movsisyan is the CEO and founder of Nail Sunny, a chain of nail salons offering manicures and pedicures in several locations across Moscow. The head of the self-described ‘#1 nail art chain in Russia’ visited Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning for a meeting with her country’s new ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Ivanovich Antonov. A photo posted on Movsisyan’s personal Instagram account, and on Nail Sunny’s company Instagram page, shows that the meeting took place at a popular locale for foreign governments eager to please President Donald Trump: the Trump International Hotel.” So you have all the natural questions about the emoluments clause of the constitution, which everyone including a judge last week has chosen to ignore because the presidency is worth as much now as what the Russian nail art lady is willing to pay for a cocktail.
From Think Progress.



The Baltic Times reports, “Danish fighter jets are to arrive in Lithuania this week to replace US aircraft serving in the NATO air policing mission”. The Baltic Times adds, “The Danish aviators will commence a four-month shift to replace their US colleagues who patrolled the Baltic skies with four F-15 fighter-jets.” The Baltic Times notes, “The NATO Baltic air policing mission is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia. This will be the sixth time for the Danish Air Force in the mission since Lithuania joined NATO in 2004.”

From The Baltic Times.





Steven Hall, a former CIA officer, writes in The Cipher Brief of our third world mutation and the overlap between what he experienced in the developing world and is witnessing now in Washington. Hall notes, “To start, the rule of law is much weaker than in more developed countries. Judiciaries can be intensely politicized. Politicians with serious moral and legal flaws (at times rising to the level of war crimes) are sometimes elected by constituents who can relate emotionally to them, often along ethnic or tribal lines. The idea of a loyal opposition—of political parties who disagree vehemently on policy but nevertheless want to improve the country—barely exists, and brutal politics are conducted on a zero-sum basis.” Hall adds, “The security services—both intelligence and law enforcement—often are staffed with political hacks far down the chain of command, and are essentially immunized by the head of state against prosecution.” As Hall asks, “Sound eerily familiar? How much of what I just wrote now applies to America? Analogies are rarely perfect, but there are enough similarities here to constitute a concerning pattern.” Hall is super harsh in that, “Looking at just a smattering of the statements made by President Donald Trump and his administration—as of this writing still less than a year old—one might be forgiven for confusing official U.S. comments with those of a brand-new democracy, rather than the oldest one in the world,” but he is not wrong. Of course Trump is using “a classic technique often used by Third World dictators: When you are investigated, attack those doing the investigating.” Most disturbingly and as noted very early on in repeated warnings from TRUMPISTAN WATCH, Hall writes, “the Trump team has gone after its various enemies in a way that echoes some of the worst ethnic rivalries I witnessed in the Balkan wars,” where he served by the way in the 1990s. Concerns about press freedom are also articulated before Hall concludes, “American democracy is what is now looking more and more Third World.”

From The Cipher Brief.



The New York Times Magazine interviewed Masha Gessen about her new book “The Future Is History,” about Russia’s return to totalitarianism. Gessen notes, “a people robbed of the tools of self-understanding find themselves at a dead end — actually has relevance to this country.” While she does not think, “Americans are at a dead end,” she believes, “we should be cognizant of that danger.” She notes however that, “Now we’re confronted with a nihilistic project of just saying there’s no such thing as facts.” What she says about the Russia investigation and proving it though is more complex, but it is worth noting she observes, “it’s really mostly people trying to make money.” Gessen’s observations about Putin and Trump bear repeating and are fully endorsed by TRUMPISTAN WATCH: “I think that he feels disappointed. Putin really assumed that once Trump — who had such clear admiration for him — was elected, it would be convenient for Trump to change the relationship with Russia profoundly and instantly. On a larger scale, I think that it’s very difficult for Putin to deal with an unpredictable interlocutor, because he has always been the madman on the international stage. Weirdly, I think it would have been easier for Putin to deal with Hillary Clinton, who would have been tough but very consistent.” Finally of our fatigue because we feel nothing but higher insurance premiums in our lives, Gessen adds, “We’re seeing civil society fatigue with the different iterations of the travel ban, which is basically the exact same travel ban all over again, and that’s what I’m really worried about. Gradually, the fatigue is starting to stick.” She’s right, folks.

From The New York Times Magazine.



NBC News helpfully kicks off the New Year with a reminder that, “The evidence isn’t on Trump’s side in ‘collusion’ war of words,” – if only it were a war of words! Luckily it is something more, a hybrid war and a puppet presidency, but also something much less than a shooting war. NBC News notes, “Over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, President Trump told the New York Times — 15 different times — that there was ‘no collusion’ between his 2016 campaign and the Russians. But just two days later, the Times popped this story: The Australians notified the U.S. government, in July 2016, that the Trump campaign knew the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton and her campaign.” NBC News notes, “By our count, the Papadopoulos story, which the Mueller probe initially unearthed, is at least the THIRD instance of the Trump campaign or his family having interactions with Russians or WikiLeaks.” In recapping the other two instances they site (more are on offer), NBC News recalls Donald Trump Jr. told Russian popstar and oligarchic progeny Emin Agalarov’s publicist Rob Goldstone, “If it’s what you say, I love it” concerning dirt the Russians may have had on Clinton and Jr. and WikiLeaks traded direct messages over Twitter.

From NBC News.



The Washington Post excoriates our fake president who is a very real liar. In what may be the best lede since the reality TV clusterfuck presidency began, The Washington Post writes, “See, what happened is that the boy cried wolf so many times that, when there actually was a wolf, no one believed him. That’s the moral of the story: Keep saying something is happening when it isn’t and no one will believe you when it is. The title of today’s fable, then, is: The President Who Cried Success.” Burn. Of course, “We’re used to President Trump taking credit for things, deserved or not,” and, “He often takes credit in the abstract for other things, such as his Dec. 31 tweet about how his administration was making American great again ‘and much faster than anyone thought possible,’ as though that were something quantifiable.” However, according to The Washington Post, “his Tuesday tweet about airline safety,” is the one that “sets a new standard for credit-taking.” There were zero aviation deaths in 2017 and of course this is all thanks to our Great Lunatic. Of course, reality is “One reason 2017 saw fewer fatalities among commercial flights is that 2016 saw a fatal accident in Colombia in November — the last time there had been a fatal passenger jet airliner accident.” The Washington Post asks, “Did Trump spend his first year quietly bolstering the safety of airlines in Colombia, Lithuania, Tanzania and Indonesia?” To which the Great Lunatic and the grateful Trumpenproletariat would naturally concur he must have in a chorus on unduly praise. Also fun: “The other complication is that the number of deaths on American commercial airlines didn’t change in 2017 relative to 2016 — because it’s hard to go lower than ‘zero,’” The Washington Post notes. All of which begs the question, “Where does the line exist between what’s deserved and what’s claimed?” Of course The Washington Post wisely notes, “a rationale will be developed to defend his claim.” This will take two forms, “Some may seize on the ambiguity in the tweet, a patented Trump move to tell his base what it wants to hear but to give him breathing space from critics: ‘He didn’t say explicitly that it was because of him!’ Others, though, will simply accept the claim as intended,” The Washington Post correctly adds. This is madness in the end. Welcome to the funny farm.

From The Washington Post.



POLITICO reports the #MeToo movement and the court of public opinion has reached the judiciary as, “Chief Justice John Roberts, in his annual State of the Judiciary report, said Sunday his branch of government will examine the issue of sexual harassment within the judicial system.” So expect to see sexual harassment used stealthily to purge the judiciary in the manner that certain Republicans have spoken of cleaning out the FBI and the Department of Justice. Already, “In California, for instance, Judge Alex Kozinski resigned from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Dec. 18 amid extensive allegations of sexual misconduct.” In that case, “Before Kozinski’s abrupt exit, many of his law clerks went on to serve at the Supreme Court. Some who worked in Kozinski’s chambers are now among those accusing him of making inappropriate sexual comments or showing them pornography.” Men can behave as pigs at all levels of public and private life, however, the court of public opinion is not the place to maybe try all these claims and further inches us towards scapegoating and purges, neither of which are healthy in a democracy or any form of government. That said, TRUMPISTAN WATCH recognizes the problem of sexual harassment and gender discrimination is fully real, serious and not to be confused with criticism of purges and politics yet again playing out with women’s bodies. It is a strange kind of so-called liberation this #MeToo movement as the get ‘em out of here impulse so wholly echoes Trump’s own ethos. Is there no chance at rehabilitation through demotion or otherwise? To say nothing of the fact that in environments such as this, innocents can easily be swept in as well.




The Washington Post reports, “On the Friday before Christmas, though, the Interior Department moved to renew expired leases for a copper and nickel mining operation on the border of the park,” Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. This move reverses “a decision that was reached by the Obama administration after careful deliberation,” which is what they were known for as opposed to this reckless disregard for procedure and, well, deliberation. So who wins? Well, “This directly benefits the Chilean mining firm owned by billionaire Andrónico Luksic, who rents a six-bedroom mansion to the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, in the posh Kalorama neighborhood of Washington,” The Washington Post reports. “Reflecting the terrible optics of this, the Interior Department didn’t even put out a release to let reporters know the news,” The Washington Post notes, adding, “They also didn’t give a heads up to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who opposes the mines.” So, “aides from Interior notified Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), who then broke the story,” The Washington Post adds. Of course Luksic denies that his tenants knew anything, everyone is innocent, no innocence was harmed in the making of this item, etc.

From The Washington Post.



Well those tax cuts had to come out of someone’s pocket and as The Washington Post reports, “The White House is now warning agencies to brace for even deeper cuts in the 2019 budget it will announce early next year, part of an effort to lower the federal deficit to pay for the new tax law, according to officials briefed on the budgets for their agencies. One possible casualty: a pay raise that federal employees historically have received when the economy is humming…” The head of the National Treasury Employees Union Tony Reardon said, “Morale has never been lower”. What constant taunts of Deep State don’t motivate the workforce to really make America great again? Why aren’t their average weekly yields of making America great again going up and up to the extent that they are just so off the charts big league tremendous?

From The Washington Post.



The Washington Post cites a December 29 report in ProPublica, “The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them”. What is so deranged about this is normally those who seek to control the population like to know as much as possible about those whom they are seeking to control. The Washington Post adds, “Trump political appointees at DOJ claim that their goal is to use the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, but this spin doesn’t pass the smell test.” The Washington Post adds, “The framers of the Constitution wanted to count everyone in the country, not just citizens. The 1790 census illustrates that, and the full census hasn’t included questions about citizenship since 1950.”

From The Washington Post.



The Washington Post reports, “The fireworks seen at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve were paid for by billionaire industrialist David Koch, according to the Palm Beach Daily News, as part of another private party put on by an even more exclusive club.” As if that is not rich enough, but not quite as rich as our fake president proclaims himself to be, “The Koch party was held at the Flagler Museum, a 75-room mansion that was built by one of the founders of Standard Oil for his third wife at the turn of the last century. He was the business partner of John D. Rockefeller, who was as big a boogeyman among anti-monopolists in the 1890s as the Kochs are now on the left.” The Washington Post notes, “We are living through another Gilded Age, with growing inequality and a government that is once again tipping the scales in favor of the rich at the expense of the little guy.” Except in this Gilded Age our fake president borrows the fireworks from his far wealthier backers.

From The Washington Post.





The Washington Post reports, “It was a week before the 2016 presidential election that the New York Times wrote this headline: ‘Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.’” Of course this was not entirely accurate we know now after the election. If we travel back in time to those heady days before the problem became real, The Washington Post recalls that before that New York Times story hit, “Slate ran a detailed story asking whether a server of the Trump Organization was communicating with Moscow’s Alfa Bank.” As The Washington Post notes, “More than a year later, we now know much more about the FBI’s pre-election Russia-Trump activities, courtesy of the New York Times.” As The Washington Post notes, on Saturday there was a report, “that Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, addled by the offerings of a London pub, told an Australian official in May 2016,” that Russia had “emails that would embarrass” Hillary Clinton. “A couple of months later, hacked Democratic emails surfaced — prompting the Australians to tell U.S. officials what Papadopoulos had said,” the report this passed weekend added. Now, a full thirteen months after the election that lead us on this treacherous path, The New York Times reports, “The combination of the hacking and Papadopoulos’s disclosures, reported the New York Times, helped launch the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.” Bizarrely, The New York Times Deputy Managing Editor Matthew Purdy told The Washington Post, “the heart of that story … pretty much stands up.” Dude, which part? The Washington Post treads carefully as it knows all too well the challenges of newsgathering, noting, “The point here is that that October 2016 story purported to draw relatively sweeping conclusions about inquiries that were carefully shrouded within the FBI itself. This could well be a case of a news organization not appreciating what it didn’t — or couldn’t — know.” There is however the fact that much of their reporting has been embarrassing to a paper known as the standard bearer of excellent journalism in America. As The Washington Post notes, “Liz Spayd, who has since been relieved of her duties monitoring the newspaper from the inside, wrote in January 2017 that the New York Times was too timid in reporting what it knew about the goings-on.” Now The Washington Post does her job instead – an achievement of outsourcing!

From The Washington Post.



The Daily Express reports, Julian Assange,The prominent hacktivist sparked a frenzy of speculation over his wellbeing after he posted tweet featuring a 60 character code and Youtube link to a popular rap song just days after his account was supposedly deleted.” That rap song, by the way, is M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” with its infamous line, “I got more records than the KGB”. The Daily Express notes, “Twitter users have claimed the code could be a sign WikiLeaks is about to leak a fresh batch of files.” There is even a picture of the Trumpenproletariat trolls gathered New Year’s Eve at Trump DC excitedly tapping away like digital monkeys on their phones over the news. The Daily Express adds, “It comes after the US Navy’ bizarrely tweeted ‘Julian Assange’ from its official profile on Christmas Day to complete the series of oddities. The navy’s account later tried to clear up any confusion, writing: ‘This morning, an inadvertent keystroke by an authorised user of the US Navy Office of Information’s Digitial Media Engagement Team caused the trending term ‘Julian Assange’ to be tweeted from the Navy’s official Twitter account (@USNavy).’ The controversial figure’s account, @JulianAssange, mysteriously disappeared between 12-1am on Christmas morning.” The Daily Express reports, “Mr Assange’s last tweet was on December 22, leaving no hint as to why the account may have been removed. People trying to access Assange’s Twitter account were directed to an ‘error message’ page before it reappeared later in the day.”

From The Daily Express.



Newsweek reports, “Russia’s Defense Ministry has taken an unusual approach to promoting its armed forces, with a festive military video featuring packs of puppies.” Surely this is not a picture of the Russian military the hundreds of thousands killed or who have fled in Syria would recognize, let alone the Russian soldiers themselves who are fighting there. Newsweek notes the video, “Faithful Friends congratulate you on the coming New Year,” is military footage supposedly of “the adorable fluffy animals frolicking in the snow to the soothing sounds of elevator music.” The propagandistic bullshit “was released on YouTube on January 1, comes shortly after a more serious New Year message from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the future of Russian troops in Syria.”

From Newsweek.





The Washington Post reports, “During his first year in office, Trump has shattered the cautious and history-burdened way we used to discuss nuclear weapons.” The Washington Post notes, “On Tuesday evening, the president further escalated his war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, asserting that his ‘nuclear button’ was ‘much bigger & more powerful’ than the North Korean leader’s. He went on to threaten that the U.S. arsenal ‘works.’ Kim had previously taunted Trump in a New Year’s Day speech, saying that his nuclear button was always on his desk.” Yes, this is the hand size or the penis size debate but with nuclear weapons this time. As the former President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, notes on Twitter, “You can make your button as big as you want. Russia is bigger than any other country but minuscule as far as GDP per capita goes. It’s not the size of your button but what you [sic] button can do.”  So since the button size is at one’s discretion, it is only partially true that this is a dick-measuring contest. Furthermore if Trump were so well endowed comparing and contrasting with Kim Jong Un would not be a thing. The New Statesman gratefully elaborates further on the fact that, “there’s more than a hint of phallic suggestion to the art of global devastation.” Not mentioned in their piece is that the bikini was named for Bikini Atoll where the U.S. tested its nuclear arsenal in the Pacific first, at the time considered the sexiest thing on Earth.

From The Washington Post and The New Statesman.



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