TRUMP FLOATED TAKING TROOPS OUT OF BALTICS TO PLEASE PUTIN
The Daily Beast reports, “A senior National Security Council official proposed withdrawing some U.S. military forces from Eastern Europe as an overture to Vladimir Putin during the early days of the Trump presidency, according to two former administration officials.” As The Daily Beast notes, “the proposal was ultimately not adopted,” but, “it is the first known case of senior aides to Donald Trump seeking to reposition U.S. military forces to please Putin”. The Daily Beast continues, “The official who offered the proposal, a deputy assistant to Trump for strategic planning, mused in February 2017 about withdrawing U.S. troops close to Russian borders as part of a strategy proposal to ‘refram[e] our interests within the context of a new relationship with Russia,’ the former official told The Daily Beast, who heard this directly from the official, Kevin Harrington.” The spelling error authenticates that this is indeed the regime’s doing. The Daily Beast notes, “Harrington is the NSC’s senior official for strategic planning. He had neither military experience nor significant government experience before joining the White House. But he had an influential credential: As a managing director for the Thiel Macro hedge fund, he was close to Trump patron and ally Peter Thiel”. He also can’t spell, so he fits right in.
From The Daily Beast.
TRUMP WANTS HIS PEOPLE BETTER CONCEALED FROM VIEW IN INTEL
PBS NewsHour reports, “President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to develop rules for disclosing the names of Americans whose identities are blacked out in classified spy reports disseminated across the government.” Who might Trump be trying to protect here? Just a week after his ex-Chief Strategist and one-time member of the National Security Council Steve Bannon was disappeared from public life following accusation that Uday, Donald Trump Jr., behaved in a “treasonous” way, we can only guess this is the beginning! PBS NewsHour notes, “he issue prompted a heated partisan debate after Republicans alleged that Obama administration officials improperly shared the identities of members of Trump’s presidential transition team mentioned in intelligence reports.” You know, “The Deep State”. Recall Trump lackey on the Hill DARKNESS AT NUNES, “the chairman of the House intelligence committee, wrote a letter to Coats in July saying that senior government officials in the Obama administration had ‘easy access’ to the names of Americans omitted from intelligence reports and sometimes provided little justification for requesting their identities.” Treason is not justification for the Trumpistani elite; it is their raison d’état. This is so short sighted however; what will they do when it is theirs or Russian enemies they wish to pursue and expose? Rules will have to be changed again, then, at a later date. Especially when the hour comes to really take down the Clintons and lock her up!
From PBS NewsHour.
TRUMP’S PERSONAL ATTORNEY SUES BUZZFEED, FUSION GPS
ABC News reports, “Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal attorney and close confidant, says he filed a pair of lawsuits on Tuesday, one in federal court against the private investigative firm Fusion GPS and the other in state court against the popular website BuzzFeed. In both suits, Cohen claims that the infamous dossier of salacious but unconfirmed allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian agents compiled by Fusion GPS and later published by BuzzFeed contained ‘false and defamatory’ allegations that resulted in ‘harm to his personal and professional reputation, current business interests, and the impairment of business opportunities.’” The New York complaint “names BuzzFeed’s top editor Ben Smith as well as Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs”.
From ABC News.
FEINSTEIN’S OFFICE RELEASES GLENN SIMPSON TRANSCRIPT
The New York Times reports, “Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday unilaterally released a highly anticipated transcript of the committee’s interview with one of the founders of the firm that produced a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier outlining a Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign. The interview, with Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS, took place last summer and was expected to shed light on the origins of the firm’s work, its concerns about the Trump campaign’s activities, and what the F.B.I. may have done with the information.” POLITICO adds, “Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, whose firm commissioned a controversial dossier alleging secret ties between President Donald Trump and the Kremlin, told congressional investigators last summer that the FBI found the dossier credible because an undisclosed ‘human source’ associated with Trump had offered the bureau corroborating information.” The Washington Post, citing reporters for Business Insider and NBC News, reports that the “human source” was George Papadopoulos, who was first to be indicted. Additionally, “Steele later briefed a senior FBI official in Rome, Simpson testified, but later ‘broke off’ communications with the bureau,” POLITICO adds. By way of explanation of Steele’s decision, “Chris was confused and somewhat disturbed and didn’t think he understood the landscape and I think both of us felt like things were happening that we didn’t understand and that we must not know everything about, and therefore, you know, in a situation like that the smart thing to do is stand down”. According to the transcript, “there was concern that the FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people”. The BBC adds, in a detail that has been given remarkably short shrift by the very normalizing American media that, “The ex-British spy who compiled a dossier on Donald Trump feared he was being blackmailed by the Kremlin.” Does that mean Russia or domestic fascists because those are his people? TRUMPISTAN WATCH is still combing through the transcript, but you can follow along as TRUMPISTAN WATCH does so in a Twitter thread set up for the purpose.
SENATE REPORT WILL REAFFIRM RUSSIAN MEDDLING WORLDWIDE
The New York Times reports, “Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election fits into a nearly two-decade pattern of meddling with governments around the world, and the United States’ response to its brazen attack is being hindered by President Trump, a new report prepared by Senate Democrats concludes. The report, which is to be released on Wednesday, is one of the most extensive to date on foreign interference by Russia and President Vladimir V. Putin. It tracks Russian efforts in 19 countries, chronicling misinformation campaigns, the funding of far-right political causes and the manipulation of energy supplies long before 2016 in an attempt to glean lessons for American officials considering how to counteract similar efforts here.” The New York Times adds, “the report offers more than 30 recommendations to safeguard the country’s electoral process and to work with allies, primarily in Europe, to establish new standards to address these types of threats.” Among the recommendations: “sanctions to punish states that initiate cyberattacks on elections or critical infrastructure, an international summit meeting centered on such threats, an allied commitment of mutual defense against cyberattacks, as well as forcing social media companies to disclose the sources of funding for political ads.”
From The New York Times.
HUNTSMAN TO CONGRESS: US-RUSSIA RELATIONS HINGE ON 2018
The Daily Beast reports, “Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, warned in a closed-door briefing with lawmakers on Tuesday that the U.S.-Russia relationship would be ‘done’ if the Kremlin tries to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.” The briefing with members of the House foreign affairs committee “was unequivocal in stating that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.” Ambassador Huntsman also “offered a stark warning: Russian actors were on course to meddle in U.S. elections again in 2018 and 2020, in addition to elections in other countries.” Huntsman was clear, “I don’t think Russia is going to quit,” adding, “Putin probably has never been stronger,” which might be a misread as pressure has built against him considerably. Arguably Putin was at the pinnacle of his power immediately after the occupation of Crimea.
From The Daily Beast.
TWITTER MISSES CONGRESSONAL DEADLINE
Axios reports, “Twitter missed a Monday deadline to respond to written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian online interference in the election, the panel’s top Democrat said on Tuesday.” Warner told Axios he is “disappointed” with Twitter and, “Facebook and Google met the deadline, and [with] voluminous amounts of information, Twitter did not”.
U.S. ISN’T DONE WITH HAVING RUSSIAN INTEL FRONTS REGISTERED
Russan state-run Sputnik whines, “The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has demanded that international news agency and radio Sputnik’s partner in the country, RIA Global LLC, should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act due to its alleged political activities on US soil.” They are sad about having their intelligence and disinformation front outed – sad! Russian state-run Sputnik notes, “According to the DOJ [Department of Justice], the registration should take place within 30 days starting from January 5.”
RUSSIAN EMBASSY’S STREET IN DC TO BE RENAMED FOR NEMTSOV
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The local government in Washington, D.C., has approved a measure to rename the street in front of Russia’s embassy after slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. In separate votes on January 9, the District of Columbia Council passed the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act in its first reading and unanimously approved the renaming”. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “The city initiative renames the block of Wisconsin Avenue that is home to the Russian Embassy in honor of Nemtsov, a reformist politician and fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin in 2015.”
DUTCH COURT ORDERS FREEZE ON UKRAINIAN OLIGARCHS ASSETS
Reuters reports, “A Dutch court has issued a provisional order to freeze the Netherlands-based companies of the flagship business group owned by Ukraine’s richest man in connection with a long-running $820 million lawsuit. Systems Capital Management (SCM) is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, who has amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune through his conglomerate’s industrial and financial holdings, and owns Ukrainian soccer club FC Shakhtar Donetsk.” He is also closely linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who fled in disgrace and fellow Ukrainian oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Dmytro Firtash as well as the boss of bosses, Semion Mogilevich. Reuters adds, “In December, a Cypriot court issued a provisional worldwide asset freezing order against Akhmetov and various SCM companies – part of a legal dispute with Cyprus-based firm Raga, which says SCM has not paid it in full for the 2013 sale of telecoms group Ukrtelecom.” The walls are not tumbling down just yet, but they are closing in on the perps.
ECUADOR LOOKS TO OUST JULIAN ASSWIPE FROM LONDON EMBASSY
The Guardian reports, “Ecuador’s foreign minister has said Julian Assange’s five-and-a-half-year stay in her country’s London embassy is ‘untenable’ and should be ended through international mediation.” Given what past hosts have had to say about Asswipe, it is amazing he lasted so long there. According to The Guardian, “Ecuador’s foreign minister, María Fernanda Espinosa, said her country was now seeking a ‘third country or a personality’ to mediate a final settlement with the UK to resolve the impasse and said it was ‘considering and exploring the possibility of mediation’.”
From The Guardian.
U.S. DESTROYER ENTERS BLACK SEA TO GO OUT ON PATROL
Stars and Stripes reports, “The USS Carney cruised into the Black Sea on Friday, the third U.S. destroyer since August to patrol the tense region.” Stars and Stripes notes, “Moscow views the increased U.S. presence in the Black Sea as part of Washington’s more aggressive posturing since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.” Officially, “Navy officials say the ships are being sent there to bolster allied defenses and protect waters of economic and military importance,” Stars and Stripes adds but we all know why they are there so read between the lines.
From Stars and Stripes.
BEATEN SOBCHAK “VOLUNTEER” OUTED AS PRO-PUTIN NATIONALIST
The Moscow Times reports, “A volunteer that was beaten while canvassing for Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential campaign over the weekend has been identified as a one-time member of a pro-Putin nationalist group.” Recall a line from yesterday’s TRUMPISTAN WATCH quoting Spiegel on Russia’s political system: “Imitated democracy relies more on deception than on violence.” The Moscow Times notes, “Sergei Selyukov was assaulted and hospitalized after collecting signatures for Sobchak in a northern Moscow suburb last Sunday, the presidential candidate said in a statement on her blog. Social media users recognized Selyukov as an ex-National Liberation Movement provocateur who took part in multiple attacks on local opposition activists, The Insider news website reported Tuesday. A YouTube video screenshot depicting Selyukov kicking an activist was posted on Twitter by Vladislav Zdolnikov, an IT consultant associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund.” The fake opposition even has fake incidents to accompany Russia’s fake elections in their fake democracy. Ironic: the violence against a Sobchak volunteer is intended to authenticate her fake campaign because Russia.
From The Moscow Times.
—–INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
BuzzFeed News reports, “Rick Gates — former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s longtime associate and codefendant — can get out of house arrest while his criminal case is pending if he agrees to forfeit assets if he flees, stays under GPS monitoring, and doesn’t leave Richmond, Virginia, without the court’s permission, a judge ruled in an order unsealed on Tuesday.” BuzzFeed News adds, “Under the order unsealed Tuesday by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in order for Gates to be released, he’ll have to agree to post a property that he owns in Richmond as well as two other properties owned by individuals whose names are redacted in the order. Gates will also have to agree to forfeit other assets, including a life insurance policy and retirement and investment accounts, if he fails to show up to court. Jackson wrote that if the amount of those assets didn’t add up to a combined value of $5 million — and she noted elsewhere in the order that they did not appear to — a person who had agreed to serve as a surety would be required to make up the difference. That person’s name was redacted.” Restrictions on Gates include, “ the court’s permission for any domestic travel beyond Richmond, except for visits to Washington, DC, for court appearances and to meet with his lawyers. He’ll have to abide by an 11 p.m. curfew. He won’t be allowed to travel abroad, and he’ll be required to stay away from ‘transportation facilities,’ such as airports and train stations, except for approved travel.”
From BuzzFeed News.
LET IT BE
BuzzFeed News adds, “Jackson has yet to issue a release order for Manafort. As of Tuesday afternoon, Manafort’s lawyers hadn’t filed the forfeiture agreement and other documents Jackson asked for with the court. Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing did not return a request for comment.” According to BuzzFeed Nws, “Once released from his home in Alexandria, Virginia, where he’s lived since his first court appearance, Manafort will have to live at his home in South Florida, get the judge’s permission for most domestic travel — he won’t be allowed to travel overseas — continue GPS monitoring, and abide by an 11 p.m. curfew. Manafort will have to agree to forfeit four properties in New York, Florida, and Virginia if he fails to show up at court. If Manafort does flee and the value of the four properties ends up being less than $10 million, Manafort’s wife and daughter have agreed to serve as sureties to make up the difference.” Is he still around or did he flee by submarine or fake his own death yet?
From BuzzFeed News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
OH THE SACRIFICES OF THE TRUMP FAMILY FOR THE NATION!
The Hill reports, “The White House on Monday remained firm in its rejection of Stephen Bannon’s apology for attacking President Trump’s children in a new book, saying that first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are ‘sacrificing’ to serve the American people.” Other than their dignity on the daily, what might they be sacrificing? According to Trump spokesman Hogan Gidley, “They both gave up personal and private lives to come work at the White House and work for the American people.” Of course, “Gidley’s remarks come after the former chief strategist was quoted in Michael Wolff’s new book, ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,’ as saying Ivanka Trump is ‘dumb as a brick’ and that Kushner conducted some ‘greasy’ business with Deutsche Bank,” The Hill notes. That sounds more accurate, less alternative fact-y.
From The Hill.
HE SAID, HE SAID: BILL BROWDER V GLENN SIMPSON
Business Insider reports, “A fierce, but muted, battle erupted last year between banker-turned-human-rights activist Bill Browder and the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which produced the explosive, unverified dossier that detailed President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to, and escapades in, Russia.” In the transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to Congress released by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office yesterday, “Simpson said his work for the American law firm BakerHostetler – which was representing the Russian holding company, Prevezon, accused by the US government of laundering money into New York City real-estate – was focused ‘on trying to get William Browder to testify under oath about his role in this case and his activities in Russia.’ Browder, according to Simpson, had told the Justice Department that the laundered money was stolen from Russia as part of the tax-fraud scheme that his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, had uncovered in 2008.” Business Insider notes, “Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned that year, and Browder’s reputation has become inextricably linked to the global human-rights campaign he launched after Magnitsky died in prison in 2009.” Now we learn from the transcript that according to Simpson, “Simpson told lawmakers in August that Browder would not answer any of BakerHostetler’s questions about Magnitsky and Prevezon’s purported involvement in the tax-fraud scheme. Browder also evaded subpoenas.” Business Insider adds, “In December 2016, Browder lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Justice alleging that Fusion’s work for BakerHostetler on behalf of Prevezon violated disclosure requirements.” Of course, “That complaint caught the eye of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who wrote a letter to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente demanding to know whether the Justice Department was investigating Fusion for alleged violations of FARA.” Grassley also wants the Justice Department to probe Fusion GPS over the Steele dossier. For its part, “Fusion has denied that its opposition research against Browder on behalf of BakerHostetler was an effort to undermine the Magnitsky Act. The basis for that claim is that Browder was never able to prove that Prevezon engaged in the tax-fraud scheme Magnitsky allegedly uncovered,” Business Insider notes. However, “Simpson acknowledged during his testimony in August that BakerHostetler had instructed Fusion to give its Browder research to the Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. Akhmetshin then lobbied Congress”.
From Business Insider.
DER UNTERGANG: KOMPLETT
POLITICO reports, “Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon stepped down Tuesday as executive chairman of Breitbart News, amid a fight with President Donald Trump and after a key financial backer abandoned him.” Sad! As The Washington Post columnist and Soviet historian Anne Applebaum writes on Twitter, “I feel that the further fate of Steve Bannon need not concern us”. Latvian family consulted in the making of this item believed the Trumpistani elite would begin to erase Bannon from past photographs “immediately”. Ergo, here are TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s favorite images with Bannon’s likeness before the former Chief Strategist and member of the National Security Council vanishes.
WHERE IS MY PAGE? ENGAGING IN A FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT AGAINST MEDIA
The New York Daily News reports, “Former Trump adviser Carter Page made his first court appearance Tuesday — acting as his own lawyer — in his ongoing defamation suit against media giant Oath. Page told the federal judge she should ignore a motion to dismiss filed by Oath’s lawyers — and let his case continue.” Page whined to the judge, “They were false allegations. I gave a speech in Moscow in 2016. It was totally misrepresented”. The suit stems from, “A report from Yahoo News said that American intelligence was looking into Page after a July 2016 trip to Moscow, as well as the possibility that he met with top Russian officials. Page then sued Yahoo’s parent company, Oath, as well as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose outlet Radio Free Europe wrote an account based off of the original story. He has also slammed HuffPost, another Oath outlet, for defamatory articles.” Evidently it’s libel if you don’t refer to Page as king of all knowledge and instead opt for the truth.
From The New York Daily News.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
STALINIST CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT
Reuters reports, “A Russian historian whose exposure of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s crimes angered state officials is due to begin enforced psychiatric testing this week amid fears he will be falsely declared insane, his lawyer said on Tuesday.” Reuters adds, “Yuri Dmitriev, 61, is on trial in northwest Russia on charges brought by state prosecutors of involving his adopted daughter, then 11, in child pornography, of illegally possessing ‘the main elements of’ a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor.” These are classic Soviet charges for a man who by all accounts was dedicated to exposing Soviet crimes and the slaughter carried out by Stalin’s henchmen. Reuters notes, “Some of Russia’s leading cultural figures say Dmitriev was framed because his focus on Stalin’s crimes – he found a mass grave with up to 9,000 bodies dating from the Soviet dictator’s Great Terror in the 1930s – jars with the latter-day Kremlin narrative that Russia must not be ashamed of its past.”
HEAD OF RIGHTS GROUP MEMORIAL IN CHECHNYA ARRESTED
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The head of the prominent Russian human rights group Memorial’s office in Chechnya has been detained on a drug charge, according to Chechen officials and a lawyer for the rights defender. A fellow activist at Memorial dismissed the accusation against Oyub Titiyev as absurd, saying that it would be ‘more credible to accuse him of killing Napoleon.’” Why not? He did that too!
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