Bloomberg reports, “President Donald Trump said he has ‘no idea’ whether money from Kazakhstan was invested in Trump SoHo, a condominium hotel in lower Manhattan, while meeting with the country’s authoritarian president.” Recall this is the same fake president who just cancelled his trip to London, America’s greatest ally in the world, because he is not wanted there, who can now be seen cozying up to a post-Soviet dictator. Recall, “Trump worked in the 2000s with Bayrock Group LLC, the real estate company that developed the Trump SoHo condominium hotel in Lower Manhattan. Bayrock was founded and run by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh of Turkish extraction whose path to riches began during the scramble for profit amid the ruins of the former Soviet metals industry, in the 1990s.” Bloomberg reports, “Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in office since 1989 and has been accused of human rights abuses and spiriting billions of dollars from his country, visited the White House on Tuesday to discuss economic and security issues.” Prepare a barf bucket or huddle near a toilet as you read, “Trump called him ‘highly respected’ and said ‘he’s doing a great job’ when reporters were invited to the Oval Office for part of their meeting.” Truly horrific. Bloomberg notes, “A 2007 Bayrock presentation also listed the Kazakh metals billionaire Alexander Mashkevich as one of two strategic investors in the company’s projects. In a country dominated by Nazarbayev since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Mashkevich is widely thought to be close to the president.” Meanwhile, “A Bayrock spokeswoman said Mashkevich was never an investor or partner in the firm,” and Trump or Nazarbayev would never harm a fly either. Full Trumpistan!

From Bloomberg.



Russian state-run RT amplified Trump’s attacks on his former Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who Trump had placed on the National Security Council, rendering us all more insecure. Russian state-run RT runs with the lede, “US President Donald Trump has said that the allegations of his campaign colluding with Russia by the ‘fake news media’ are ‘dead’, as his former chief strategist Steve Bannon is set to testify before Congress and a grand jury,” because who loves Trump’s attacks on the media and the intelligence assessments that Russia helped him skate to a victory by a minority of votes more than Russia? They quote his tweet, “Do you notice the Fake News Mainstream Media never likes covering the great and record setting economic news, but rather talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative. The Russian Collusion Hoax is dead, except as it pertains to the Dems. Public gets it!” and pipe in, “The reference to the Democratic Party presumably applies to the alleged wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton in approving a uranium deal with a Russian company.” Oh yes, that’s the “real” scandal. Let your eyes roll back now.

From Russian state-run RT.



The New York Times reports, “Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia”. The New York Times adds, “The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.” The New York Times notes, “A second subpoena for Mr. Bannon to testify came from a House panel on Tuesday.” The New York Times reports, “The subpoena is a sign that Mr. Bannon is not personally the focus of the inquiry. Justice Department rules allow prosecutors to subpoena the targets of investigations only in rare circumstances.” So it was yesterday that Bannon “was questioned for 10 hours behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee”. The New York Times adds, “The meeting turned contentious as Mr. Bannon repeatedly said he could not answer questions, citing executive privilege. The committee eventually subpoenaed Mr. Bannon to compel him to provide answers.”

From The New York Times.



The Washington Post features an op-ed by Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, that notes clearly in the opening line, “Our democratic process is vulnerable to attacks by hostile foreign powers.” No shit, we have an orange Russian turd blossom squatting in the White House. Rubio and Van Hollen note, “As our intelligence community unanimously assessed, Russia used social media channels to influence and mislead voters. It also hacked political campaign committees and local elections boards in a brazen attempt to undermine and subvert our elections.” The bipartisan duo continues, “There is no reason to think this meddling will be an isolated incident. In fact, we expect the threat will grow in future years. The United States must do everything possible to prevent these attacks in the future — and lay out the consequences well in advance of our next elections. Today, we are introducing bipartisan legislation to do just that.” The bill they propose, “the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act,” or the DETER Act, “would send a powerful message to any foreign actor seeking to disrupt our elections: If you attack American candidates, campaigns or voting infrastructure, you will face severe consequences.” How? “This legislation uses key national security tools to dissuade hostile foreign powers from meddling in our elections by ensuring the costs outweigh the benefits,” which has so far not been the case, not at all. Rubio and Van Hollen believe, “Our legislation would require the director of national intelligence to issue a determination to Congress, within one month after every federal election, on whether any foreign government had interfered in that election.” We know what happened and that there was relatively little consequence, so now Rubio and Van Hollen propose that, “the Deter Act would mandate a set of severe sanctions if the director of national intelligence should determine that the Kremlin had once again interfered in a U.S. federal election. Within 10 days of such a determination, our bill would require the administration to impose sanctions on major sectors of the Russian economy, including finance, energy, defense, metals and mining. It would also block the assets of every senior Russian political figure or oligarch and prevent them from entering the United States. We also would require the administration to work with the European Union to enlist its support in adopting a sanctions regime to broaden the impact.”

From The Washington Post.



Stars and Stripes reports, “The United States’ top military officer,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford, “made the case Monday for continued use of a rotational force in Europe to deal with a possible Russia threat, while acknowledging the need for reforms to improve NATO maneuverability in a crisis.” Stars and Stripes notes, “Dunford made the statements ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO defense chiefs that began Tuesday in Brussels,” focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan. Stars and Stripes adds, “In Europe, the military has become reliant on a range of rotational units to carry out a mission that has grown since 2014, because of concerns about a more aggressive Russia. The Army has boosted troop numbers with a U.S.-based armored brigade, combat aviation brigade and a host of enabling forces that operate for long stretches in Europe. Inside the Army, however, there is a growing debate about whether that model is sustainable over the long term because of demands on soldiers and long separations from families.”

From Stars and Stripes.



The AP reports, “The Russian military is conducting massive drills involving truck-mounted intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.” What could be more comforting than the sight of ICBMs mounted on trucks moving through snow and ice covered roads in remote parts of Russia? The AP adds, “The Defense Ministry said maneuvers involving Topol-M and Yars missile launchers began Monday.   Those types of nuclear-tipped ICBMs are mounted on heavy all-terrain vehicles, making it more difficult for an enemy to spot them. The ministry said the drills are being conducted across a vast area from the Ivanovo region just northeast of Moscow to the Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia.”

From the AP.



The Telegraph reports, “Russians murdered a man on British soil by torturing and burning him in his car, Ukrainian rebels have claimed. Mikus Alps, 33, was reported missing from his home in Guernsey last week. A shotgun and human remains were subsequently found in the Latvian’s burnt out car on the island’s south coast.” According to The Telegraph, “He was said to have been a member of a volunteer brigade trying to expel Putin’s troops from the Crimea for the last two years.” The Telegraph notes, “Friends of Mr Alps said he regularly handed over used cars to Ukrainian volunteers and had been threatened for providing aid to a Ukrainian battalion in Donbass,” adding, “Forensic investigations will be completed later this week.” Rest in peace, soldier.

From The Telegraph.



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “A low-level Twitter spat between Russian opposition camps got more close and personal on January 15 when presidential hopeful Ksenia Sobchak burst into the studio of a radio talk show as it was hosting would-be candidate Aleksei Navalny’s campaign manager.” Not staged at all, a totally organic confrontation in Russian politics, surely! Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty continues, “As the Ekho Moskvy program was preparing to go on air, Sobchak confronted Leonid Volkov, accusing the Navalny camp of lying by supporting the notion she had chosen to host a glamorous corporate party for a Russian billionaire in Bali earlier this month rather than campaigning.” Of course, “Two camera operators who were flanking Sobchak recorded the incident for posterity,” which was completely an organic occurrence! Sobchak, with her flair for on air haberdashery, said, “I would simply like for Leonid to apologize on camera and say, ‘Yes, I made a mistake’. It’s that easy, Leonid”. Oh, poor baby! In response, “Volkov reached for a glass of water and typed away at his laptop as Sobchak scolded him before ultimately declining to apologize. ‘You’re lying,’ he countered, asking her to leave the studio. ‘You aren’t being rude to me, you’re being rude to viewers, Ekho Moskvy’s listeners and the station.’” So “Sobchak left without an apology.” What was this about or pretending to be about? Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “A Twitter post circulated on January 11 by Navalny allies alleged that Sobchak had hosted a corporate party in Bali instead of collecting signatures for her presidential bid. Volkov, specifically, accused her of deliberately falsifying the geotags in her publicly released photos in order to cover her tracks and conceal her real location. She has strenuously denied the allegation, saying she traveled to Bali merely to raise funds for her campaign, and has been traveling constantly to meet with supporters.”

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.



Reuters reports, “Russia’s only major independent pollster, the Levada Center, said on Tuesday it had stopped publishing polls about the forthcoming presidential election because it feared the authorities might shut it down for perceived meddling.” Reuters notes, “The move, which the Kremlin later endorsed as a necessary step to comply with the law, will reduce open source information about public sentiment ahead of the March 18 election which polls suggest incumbent Vladimir Putin, who is backed by state TV and the ruling party, will comfortably win. Levada is regarded as one of Russia’s three main pollsters and the only one not to be close to the authorities.” Reuters adds one of Levada’s sociologists, Stepan Goncharov, said, “his organization had decided to suspend publishing pre-election polls because of its designation as ‘a foreign agent.’”

From Reuters.



The Guardian reports, “The RAF has been scrambled to intercept two long-range Russian bombers over the North Sea. The Tupolev Tu-160s, known to Nato as Blackjacks, were monitored on Monday as they flew past Norway and Denmark and near the Netherlands.” The Guardian adds, “Two Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth picked them up about 30 miles (48km) from UK airspace and escorted them.”

From The Guardian.



POLITICO reports, “Prominent Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanović was killed in a drive-by shooting outside his party headquarters Tuesday.” Citing a Reuters report, POLITICO adds, “Ivanović, 64, was rushed to a hospital after being shot multiple times in the city of Mitrovica,” a tense place divided between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs. POLITICO notes, “The shooter is still unknown, though police said they believe a burned out car found in the city could be linked to the killing. Ivanović was known as a moderate among Kosovo Serb politicians and had played a major role in negotiations with NATO and the EU after the 1998-1999 Kosovo War.” POLITICO recalls, “He was convicted in 2016 of war crimes for his involvement in the killings of ethnic Albanians during the war and sentenced to nine years in prison. But the verdict was later overturned and a retrial was ordered.” POLITICO notes, “The shooting came on the same day talks to normalize ties between Belgrade and Pristina were set to begin in Brussels, but Serbia left the EU-sponsored discussions after news of Ivanović’s death.” Gee, who does it sound like this might chaos might benefit? Tough one.




Reuters reports, “The Danish government expects to win backing for a substantial increase in defense spending next month, to counter Russia’s intensified military activity in eastern and northern Europe, the NATO-member’s prime minister said Monday.” Denmark’s geography and Russia’s bellicosity gives new meaning to “live free or die”. During a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, Reuters reports Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said, “Russia’s behavior has created an unpredictable and unstable security environment in the Baltic Sea region”. Reuters notes, “In April last year, Denmark said Russia had hacked its defense computer network and gained access to employees’ emails in 2015 and 2016”. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

From Reuters.



The Daily Mail reports, “Sweden says it will issue an updated version of a Cold War era civil emergency advice booklet, amid its concerns about the threat of conflict with Russia. The Swedish civil contingencies agency says that the 2018 edition bears the working title ‘If Crisis or War Comes’ and will be delivered to some 4.7 million Swedish households by June.” The Daily Mail adds, “The agency gives practical advice on crises such as cyber and terror attacks, along with conventional warfare.” Citing, Christina Andersson, from the civil contingencies agency, The Daily Mail reports, “the decision was a result of ‘the current security situation’ in the region, as Russia intensifies military manoeuvres”

From The Daily Mail.



Yahoo! reports, “Latvia said its new e-health system was on Tuesday hit by a large-scale cyberattack that saw thousands of requests for medical prescriptions pour in per second from more than 20 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the European Union.” Yahoo! adds, “No data was compromised, according to health officials, who immediately took down the site, which was launched earlier this month to streamline the writing of prescriptions in the Baltic state.” Yahoo! notes, “The site was back up and running within a couple of hours but with reduced functionality, forcing Latvia to provisionally revert to the previous paper system that was kept as a backup after digital prescriptions became compulsory on January 1.”
From Yahoo!





POLITICO reports, “The criminal trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort appears likely to start in September at the earliest after a federal judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office to kick off the trial in May.” POLITICO adds, “The timeline emerging from an hour long hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson raises the possibility that Manafort and colleague Rick Gates could go on trial at the height of the midterm campaign season, making an already unwelcome distraction for the White House and Republicans even more uncomfortable.” Fabulous! POLITICO notes, “Prosecutor Greg Andres said during the court session that Mueller’s team expects to need about three weeks to present its case against Manafort and Gates”. POLITICO reports, “One of Manafort’s attorneys, Kevin Downing, said he plans to file a series of motions challenging the indictment, asking for more details about the charges and demanding access to more evidence in the government’s possession. However, he said the volume of records coming in complicates the defense’s efforts.” Also Manafort is suing the Special Counsel for publicity in a classic post-Soviet tactic that so far has not translated well to post-democratic Trumpistan.






The Daily Beast reports, “Corey Lewandowski, the president’s erstwhile campaign manager, has lawyered up. The Daily Beast has learned that Peter Chavkin, of Mintz Levin, is representing Lewandowski for purposes of the Russia investigations.” The Daily Beast notes, “Lewandowski will testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week.” He’s such a big boy!

From The Daily Beast.





The New York Times, which shows flashes of being a high brow Breitbart at times, runs with a fictitious headline lifted straight from the fake bill of health provided by Trump’s physician, “Trump Has Perfect Cognitive Test Score, White House Physician Says”. TRUMPISTAN WATCH knows this is bullshit, The New York Times knows this is bullshit yet… The New York Times reports, “President Trump’s White House physician said Tuesday that the president received a perfect score on a cognitive test designed to screen for neurological impairment, which the military doctor said was evidence that Mr. Trump does not suffer from mental issues that prevent him from functioning in office.” Did he open his eyes while giving this exam or is the exam itself complete horseshit? Dr. Ronny Jackson said, “that Mr. Trump’s weight is 239 pounds and that he is too sedentary. His cholesterol is too high,” because he eats a disgusting amount of fast food and garbage, “despite medicine to lower it, and Dr. Jackson said Mr. Trump would be increasing the 10-milligram dosage of Crestor to better control it.” There is simply no way Trump weighs only 239 pounds, which would resemble healthy-ish for a man his age. On the Twitter, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman notes, “Reminder that earlier physicals decades ago put Trump height at 6’2”. The 6’3” height makes a difference on his BMI from overweight to obese”. People grow with old age? That’s a new one. Dr. Ronny Jackson said, “He would like to lose 10 to 15 pounds,” but we all know he won’t because that involves trying. Also, his weight is the least problematic thing about him.

From The New York Times.



The Washington Post reports, “Late last year, the owners of the Trump International Hotel in Panama made a decision: They no longer wanted to be a Trump hotel. The owners told President Trump’s company they were terminating its management contract. Last week, the Trump Organization responded with a stern warning. The company is not walking away, a Trump official wrote. And the owners would regret picking this fight.” Why who wants to see their name removed from an alleged money-laundering front when Trump is the best-branded place to launder your money into real estate worldwide? Jeffrey Rabiea, described by The Washington Post as “a New York businessman who owns three hotel rooms in the Trump Panama hotel,” told the paper “he blames the Trump company for mismanagement and attributes the low occupancy rates in part to the president’s polarizing brand.” Rabiea said, “If you’ve got a Marriott and a Hyatt and a Trump, you’re not going to Trump.” Just what the Trump trash loves to hear — especially when Hyatt is owned by the liberal Pritzker family (Penny Pritzker was Obama’s much lauded Commerce Secretary; J.B. Pritzker is currently a Democratic candidate for Governor of Illinois, and of course every other thing in Chicago, where the family is based, bears the Pritzker name). The Washington Post adds, “On Tuesday, the leader of the rebellious owners,” in Panama, “escalated the feud further, filing a lawsuit in U.S. federal court that accused the Trump Organization of trying to ‘bully, intimidate or harass’ him with legal actions.” Recall, “Since Election Day, the Trump name has already been removed from luxury hotels in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Toronto, along with three apartment buildings in New York,” The Washington Post notes. To those who can afford it and have some notion of taste and decency, why settle for a brand associated with bigotry, hate and trash?

From The Washington Post.



CNN reports, “When Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, she could have never imagined she would find herself in the middle of a, well, shitstorm over ‘shithole.’” No, she thought she would get through with a wink and a nod because as a pretty blonde white lady and thought she would get away with whatever she damn felt like. CNN notes, “Nielsen, who attended that meeting at the White House, had said she didn’t recall the exact language Trump used in describing immigrants from certain countries. That failure to recollect put her in direct conflict with the likes of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat — both of whom have made clear that Trump used the word ‘shithole’.” Senator Cory Booker tore into the Aryan Secretary of Homeland Security as well, “When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power it is a dangerous force in our country. Your silence and your amnesia is complicity,” which is true. Lastly, crowning the case that Secretary Nielsen is a complete disgrace she testified – under oath – that she didn’t know if Norway was a majority white nation! That’s a hard one, especially when your surname is Nielsen and you are as white as the Aryan nation yourself.  Who doesn’t feel more secure now that the DHS Secretary is a complete liar? What. A. Disgrace.

From CNN, CNN and The Guardian.



Forbes reports, “Ivanka Trump’s latest memoir on empowering working women is so far a moneyloser for its publisher, Portfolio, a division of publishing giant Penguin Random House”. According to Forbes, “From its May 2017 release through the end of the year, Trump’s book Women Who Work sold 31,900 copies, according to data from NPD Bookscan, which tracks 85% of the U.S. domestic book market. That means the book, which advises women on how to excel in both their social and professional lives, has raked in about $1.1 million. Portfolio received an estimated $566,000 from all the sales, while it paid a $787,500 advance to Trump prior to her joining her father’s administration as an advisor. The First Daughter will receive another installment of her advance in the upcoming months.” Forbes, “with help from publishing experts, estimates that Portfolio, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment, has lost at least $220,000.” Sad!

From Forbes.





NBC News reports Fakebook’s “laser focus on profits and user growth has come at the expense of its users, according to one former Facebook manager who is now speaking out against the social platform.” NBC News reports, “‘One of the things that I saw consistently as part of my job was the company just continuously prioritized user growth and making money over protecting users,’ the ex-manager, Sandy Parakilas, who worked at Facebook for 16 months, starting in 2011”. This should come as no shock to Americans because anything with social value in our country has long been a money-losing endeavor whereas everything that erodes or destroys our democracy’s fiber has tremendous capitalist value and money almost always wins as other concerns evaporate into the ether like democracy. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, told NBC News, “Facebook is a living, breathing crime scene for what happened in the 2016 election — and only they have full access to what happened”. He’s right! Harris added, “What people don’t know about or see about Facebook is that polarization is built in to the business model,” adding, “Polarization is profitable.” Of course it is – look at faux news Fox News! Or as a wonderful, beautiful, young Latvian friend who predicted Trump’s win told TRUMPISTAN WATCH in May of 2016, “Americans love drama.”

From NBC News.



Yahoo! reports, “Steven Seagal responded to sexual misconduct accusations against him by saying women have ‘lied and been paid to lie about me without any evidence, any proof, any witnesses.’ ‘This is just a complete tragedy,’ the action star told ‘InfoWars’ host Alex Jones on Monday.” Jones is the most famous conspiracy theorist in America and our fake bullshit Russian president loves Jones as much as Russia loves the trinity of Trump, Seagal and Jones. All very holy hell!

From Yahoo!.



The Moscow Times reports, “The independent-leaning Dozhd TV news channel is being investigated for slander over a film linking a Russian businessman suspected of mafia connections to President Vladimir Putin.” The Moscow Times adds, “Dozhd TV named businessman Ilya Traber as ‘the only living kingpin who Putin has admitted to knowing’ in a documentary aired last year on the construction of an alleged ‘secret dacha.’ Traber was placed on an Interpol wanted list at the request of Spanish authorities in 2016 on suspicions of links to organized crime and money laundering.” The Moscow Times notes, “Dozhd director Natalia Sindeyeva told the Bell that law enforcement had requested for the filmmakers to appear at the police station. She added the network does not know the identity of the plaintiff.”

From The Moscow Times.



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