TRUMP WANTS CHECK$ BUT HAS NO BALANCE
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans in Congress to ‘take control’ of the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prompting some head-scratching from a top GOP investigator on Capitol Hill.” For instance, “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he didn’t know what the president meant,” POLITICO notes. Hilariously for it’s near total transparency, Grassley told reporters, “I don’t know what the president has in mind, and I don’t think I better comment until I have a discussion with the president on that,” but then “seemingly catching himself, Grassley added: ‘And I don’t intend to have a discussion with the president on that point, and I hope he doesn’t call me and tell me the same thing that you said he said.’”
MUELLER TIME: CYBER PROSECUTOR ADDED TO SPECIAL COUNSEL TEAM
The Washington Post reports, “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has added a veteran cyber prosecutor to his team, filling what has long been a gap in expertise and potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes. Ryan K. Dickey was assigned to Mueller’s team in early November from the Justice Department’s computer crime and intellectual-property section, said a spokesman for the special counsel’s office.”
From The Washington Post.
CYPRIOT COMPANY SUES VERY INDICTED MANAFORT AND GATES
Reuters reports on our MAGA (Manafort and Gates Arrested) couple, “U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort faced a new legal headache on Wednesday after a Cyprus-based company tied to a Russian oligarch sued him and his business partner Richard Gates over allegations they committed financial fraud by misappropriating millions of dollars.” This appears to be a revival of an old battle as Reuters notes, “Surf Horizon Limited, a company linked in corporate filings to ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin named Oleg Deripaska, accused Manafort and Gates of misappropriating more than $18.9 million that the company had invested in Ukrainian telecom companies known collectively as the ‘Black Sea Cable.’” Reuters adds, “Wednesday’s lawsuit, brought against the pair in a New York state trial-level court, marks the second time now that the Deripaska-linked company has sued them along with Pericles Emerging Market Partners, an investment management firm controlled by Manafort and Gates.”
SENATE DEMOCRATS DROP REPORT ON RUSSIAN ELECTIONS HACKING
The Washington Post reports, “In a highly anticipated report due to be released Wednesday, congressional Democrats are expected to raise renewed concerns about mounting evidence of Russian interference in at least 19 European nations”. The Washington Post adds, “The report, commissioned by Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and numbering more than 200 pages, directly criticizes President Trump as failing to respond to the threat, even as other nations in Europe have taken much stronger measures to counter Russian efforts in the region.” Cardin also outlined the finding in an op-ed in The Washington Post. As Foreign Policy notes, “Conspicuously absent from the report, however, is a Republican buy-in.”
HIT THE ROAD ANTONI!
Defense News reports, “Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has been removed from his position and will be replaced by former Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, the Polish government announced Tuesday.” Recall, TRUMPISTAN WATCH has been calling for this for months as he has purged his command of loyal officers, installed lackeys, provided insights on “what Putin wants” to a Kushner-owned paper in America and generally done everything he can to serve Russian interests in the heart of Europe and NATO’s eastern flank. According to Defense News, “Macierewicz was removed from office as part of a broad reshuffle of cabinet positions by the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, or PiS.” Defense News does not touch on what kind of a massive problem Macierewicz was, but if you search TRUMPISTAN WATCH, you will find at least a half a dozen items over many months about him, his deputy and his needless purges of Poland’s command. Good riddance and bye bye!
From Defense News.
MILITARY CHIEFS GERASIMOV + DUNFORD TALK ON THE TELEPHONE
Russian state-run TASS reports, “US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. and Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, who had a telephone conversation on Wednesday, agreed that regular exchange of opinions is of major importance, Joint Staff Spokesperson Col. Patrick S. Ryder told TASS.” Russian state-run TASS notes, “The conversation focused on issues of mutual interest, to include the situation in Syria,” according to Col. Ryder, who added, “Gen. Dunford has spoken to Gen. Gerasimov approximately a dozen times over the last year. They last spoke December 6, 2017. Both leaders recognize the importance of maintaining regular communication in order to avoid miscalculation and to promote transparency in areas where our militaries are operating in close proximity.”
From Russian state-run TASS.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER TALKS OF UPDATES TO NUCLEAR TRIAD
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “The share of advanced weapons in Russia’s nuclear triad should grow up to at least 90 percent by 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.” Citing Shoigu, Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “the Russian armed forces are set to receive more high-precision arms, latest surveillance systems, the most cutting-edge gear for troops.” Russian state-run Sputnik notes, “The statement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin said in December that the share of the advanced weapons in Russia’ nuclear triad had reached 79 percent by the end of 2017.”
PUTIN PROMISES MINIMUM WAGE RAISE AFTER THE SHAM ELECTIONS
Reuters reports, “President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the minimum wage level in Russia will be raised from May 1 this year.” Better chance of getting him to deliver it was before the sham elections in March, not after he gets his eternal mandate to do whatever the hell he wants. Any enthusiasm for our new Russian overlords should be tempered by the fact that Putin “said the minimum wage should be raised from 9,489 roubles (£123) at present to be in line with the minimum cost of living, which now stands at 11,163 roubles.”
RUSSIA SO DESPERATE FOR ELECTION TURNOUT IT RUNS A CONTEST
The Telegraph reports, “Worried about a lower turnout for Vladimir Putin’s fourth election bid, the Kremlin has told regional authorities to award iPhones for best polling station selfies,” so desperate are they for turnout in their sham elections. In classic Soviet fashion, The Telegraph adds, “A presentation from the presidential administration, seen by RBC newspaper, calls on regions to hold ‘Election Photo’ contests during the March ballot to ‘mobilise voters of 18-39 years of age’ and ‘create a positive backdrop and holiday atmosphere at polling places’.” What could be more festive than an eternal mandate for the leader? Can’t you just imagine the youthful vitality of the officials on the receiving end of such instructions? But there is more! “According to the plan, volunteers will help voters take selfies in special picture frames set up at polling stations and upload the shots to Instagram or VK, Russia’s biggest social network, with a contest hashtag,” The Telegraph adds. What could be cooler than a hashtag besides everything? Or as a favorite South African drag queen of both TRUMPISTAN WATCH and Nelson Mandela, Tannie Evita says, “The world has gone mad, the hashtags have spawned their own hashtags!”
From The Telegraph.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
TRUMP SOLD $35 MILLION IN REAL ESTATE TO SECRET BUYERS IN 2017
USA Today reports, “President Trump’s companies sold more than $35 million in real estate in 2017, mostly to secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ identities, continuing a dramatic shift in his customers’ behavior that began during the election”. According to USA Today, “In the two years before the nomination, 4% of Trump buyers utilized the tactic. In the year after, the rate skyrocketed to about 70%.” Of course, despite bullshit empty promises that he would have nothing to do with his businesses – never mind all the time he spends visiting and promoting them since becoming our fake Russian president — “Profits from sales of those properties flow through a trust run by Trump’s sons. The president is the sole beneficiary of the trust and he can withdraw cash at any time,” USA Today notes.
From USA Today.
SECURE THE VOTE!
Ars Technica reports, “A bipartisan group of six senators has introduced legislation that would take a huge step toward securing elections in the United States. Called the Secure Elections Act, the bill aims to eliminate insecure paperless voting machines from American elections while promoting routine audits that would dramatically reduce the danger of interference from foreign governments.” Ars Technica notes, “The first objective is to get rid of paperless electronic voting machines.” While “States have begun moving away from paperless systems,” the reality of “budget constraints have forced some to continue relying on insecure paperless equipment. The Secure Elections Act would give states grants specifically earmarked for replacing these systems with more secure systems that use voter-verified paper ballots.” Ars Technica adds, “The legislation’s second big idea is to encourage states to perform routine post-election audits based on modern statistical techniques. Many states today only conduct recounts in the event of very close election outcomes.” The bill has bipartisan support as Senator James Lankford, a Republican of Oklahoma, and Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat of California, are key co-sponsors. Additionally Ars Technica reports, “The Lankford bill has other important provisions, too. It would take several steps to encourage more information sharing between state and federal officials about suspected attacks. The bill would require voting equipment vendors to promptly notify the relevant authorities about cybersecurity incidents. It would help state election officials to get security clearances so they can receive classified briefings from intelligence agencies.”
From Ars Technica.
TRUMP LOOKING STUPID DISAPPEARED FROM PUBLIC TRANSCRIPT
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump on Tuesday tried to show that he could do his job.” How? By pretending everything was a reality show, silly! As The Washington Post tells it, “With his afternoon immigration meeting with lawmakers — into which he invited the press corps to watch for nearly an hour — Trump sought to definitively answer the question that has been nagging at him for the past week: Is the 71-year-old mentally fit to be commander in chief?” Of course, “while Trump offered captivating television drama, he also muddled through the policy by seeming to endorse divergent positions, including simply protecting the dreamers or a plan contingent upon funding for his long-promised wall at the nation’s southern border,” The Washington Post notes. Indeed, “So pliant was Trump that when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one of the most liberal members of the chamber, asked if he would support ‘a clean DACA bill’ that protects the dreamers with no other conditions, the president sounded amenable.” So much for “Build the wall!” A bunch of fascist Republican youth in Wisconsin will be so disappointed! Evidently Trump said, “Yeah, I would like to do it,” raising ire and concern among fellow Republicans. The Washington Post notes, “When the White House released its official transcript Tuesday afternoon, the president’s line — ‘Yeah, I would like to do it’ — was missing.” At first you see something with your very eyes, but then it vanishes and you are told it was never there and never happened. Where, oh where have we seen this pattern of disappearing truth before on earth and in human history? Never in Russia, that Russia thing is a hoax.
From The Washington Post.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
WHAT WE REALLY TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ADOPTIONS
Meduza runs a translated piece from Ekho Moskvy v Peterburge on Russia’s ban on American adoptions, a retaliatory move for the Magnitsky Act. “In December 2012, thanks to the Dima Yakovlev law, the Morris family of San Diego, California, didn’t have enough time to complete the paperwork to adopt Lera, a Russian girl with Down syndrome. The law, which bans U.S. citizens from adopting children in Russia, left another 30 or so American families in a similar situation. The families responded by creating their own association and suing Russia in the European Court, but they were only able to win monetary compensation.” We meet “Lera, now 12 years old,” who, “Five years ago… was supposed to be adopted by an American family. But Russia’s ban on U.S. adoptions took effect just a few days before the Morrises would have claimed Lera, marooning her on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.” Ah so to combat a law against human rights abusers (the Magnitsky Act), Russia retaliated by taking away the future homes of some 30 vulnerable children, now stuck in orphanages in Russia. These 30 or so families “formed an organization called ‘Parents United,’ where they collect money and try to lobby U.S. officials and public groups to campaign against Russia’s law, or at least push Moscow to allow them to complete the adoptions that were already in progress by December 2012.” So this is what it is actually all about folks, not the children like some after school special cliché, but the most vulnerable and their future. If this is what Putin is willing to do to orphans in his own country, imagine how little he cares about the vulnerable, children, the disabled, minorities, etc, in yours.
From Ekho Moskvy v Peterburge via Meduza.
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