POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump blocked the public release Friday of a classified House Democratic memo written in response to Republican claims that the FBI inappropriately spied on a Trump campaign adviser in 2016, prompting furious Democratic charges of hypocrisy and political exploitation of intelligence secrets.” Yes, it is not a good look for a fake Russian president combatting charges of politicizing intelligence and servicing an enemy to do exactly that. POLITICO notes, “The House of Representatives can still vote to release the memo despite Trump’s action, which could set the stage for a partisan brawl in the House next week over the document’s fate.” Partisan brawl!!! Trumpistan loves those, even dating back to the democratic American republic. POLITICO adds, “Trump on Saturday tweeted: ‘The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!’” There is no way he composed that on his own. And good lord, he thinks the DARKNESS AT NUNES nonsense was in proper form – that alone ought be an impeachable offense. POLITICO notes, “The dueling Republican and Democratic memos are part of a larger fight over the legitimacy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling. Many Democrats consider the fight a Republican diversion meant to distract from the underlying question of whether the Kremlin infiltrated the Trump campaign.” That is not even a question, the proof is happening every day before our very eyes. For his part, Schiff said he would meet with the FBI to discuss possible redactions, CNN reports.




When it is possible to name the number three official at the Justice Department? The New York Times reports Rachel Brand is stepping down. The New York Times notes, “Ms. Brand’s profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel’s inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein.” The New York Times notes, “Ms. Brand, who became the associate attorney general in May, will become the global governance director at Walmart, the company’s top legal position, according to people briefed on her move. She has held politically appointed positions in the past three presidential administrations.”

From The New York Times.


The New York Times
reports, “After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on President Trump, according to American and European intelligence officials. The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times.” The New York Times recalls, “The theft of the secret hacking tools had been devastating to the N.S.A., and the agency was struggling to get a full inventory of what was missing.” The New York Times adds, “Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian, who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. Instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.” The New York Times notes, “The United States intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.” The New York Times continues, “The United States officials worked through an intermediary — an American businessman based in Germany — to preserve deniability. There were meetings in provincial German towns John le Carré set his early spy novels, and data handoffs in five-star Berlin hotels. American intelligence agencies spent months tracking the Russian’s flights to Berlin, his rendezvous with a mistress in Vienna and his trips home to St. Petersburg, the officials said. The N.S.A. even used its official Twitter account to send coded messages to the Russian nearly a dozen times.” The New York Times adds, “The episode ended this year with American spies chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom, the American businessman said. The Trump material was left with the American, who has secured it in Europe.” The New York Times reports, “The Russian claimed to have access to a staggering collection of secrets that included everything from the computer code for the cyberweapons stolen from the N.S.A. and C.I.A. to what he said was a video of Mr. Trump consorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, according to American and European officials and the Russian, who agreed to be interviewed in Germany on the condition of anonymity.”

From The New York Times.



CBS News reports, “The CIA is pushing back against reports that American spies attempted to retrieve sensitive documents from a shadowy Russian, and were offered documents alleging compromising information about Donald Trump. The Intercept’s James Risen first reported Friday that the U.S. intelligence community attempted to recover stolen NSA records related to hacking capabilities, and was working to repossess those records when Russians offered information about Mr. Trump and the 2016 campaign.” (As little as possible, TRUMPISTAN WATCH links to The Intercept due to the fact that the name atop the masthead is none other than Krem’Glenn Greenwald, one of Russia’s chief apologists and a key voice of active measures against the left. Risen was The New York Times’ intelligence correspondent for years and only recently began writing for The Intercept. TRUMPISTAN WATCH sadly warns such consequences could become the unraveling of a brilliant career at the end à la Seymour Hersh.) CBS News adds, “Shortly after The Intercept published its story on Friday, The New York Times reported that a shadowy Russian who claimed to have the NSA cyberweapons and compromising information on Mr. Trump bilked the Americans out of $100,000 last year, citing American and European Intelligence officials. The Times reported that cash — government money, but routed through an indirect channel — was delivered to a Berlin hotel room in September of 2017. Reacting to the story on Saturday, the CIA called it ‘fictional,’ saying the reporters who worked on it — Risen and The New York Times’ Matt Rosenberg — were the ones who were ‘swindled.’” Now here is where it gets complicated as Matthew “Rosenberg, who wrote The New York Times story, said in a tweet later on Saturday, ‘@CIA is denying something we did not write – the @nytimes story does not specify CIA as source of funds, which we write came “through an indirect channel.”’”   Then, “President Trump also responded to the story but he had a different response, seeming to give credence to Times’ report on Twitter,” so credibility to the fact that it was a Russian disinformation operation. Twitler wrote, “According to the @nytimes, a Russian sold phony secrets on ‘Trump’ to the U.S. Asking price was $10 million, brought down to $1 million to be paid over time. I hope people are now seeing & understanding what is going on here. It is all now starting to come out – DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

From CBS News.



ABC News reports, “A leading Senate Democrat has called on the Treasury Department to turn over banking and real estate records related to Donald Trump’s 2008 sale of a six-acre Palm Beach estate to a Russian billionaire – a real estate flip that yielded Trump $95 million after paying $41 million for the property just four years earlier.” ABC News notes, “The transaction between Trump and Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev is being reviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, Wyden says in his letter, citing a report by Bloomberg News.” ABC News adds, “Wyden, who also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, said in his letter to Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin that he has questions about the deal, which at the time was considered one of the most expensive house sales on record. Wyden noted the deal emerged at a time when published reports indicated Trump was having difficulty finding banks to lend him money and the sale came just months before Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” ABC News continues, “The purpose of a request to Treasury is to gain access to Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – records the Treasury Department keeps of large transactions that raise red flags for possible money laundering. Wyden is also seeking copies of records collected by the Treasury Department that would identify the parties who later bought slices of the Palm Beach estate, which Rybolovlev subdivided after the 2008 purchase. Those sales, to anonymous shell corporations, would have been difficult to scrutinize, but these occurred after the Treasury Department began requiring title insurance companies in specific areas, including Palm Beach County, to demand the identities of individual buyers and file reports with those names.” Wyden’s letter is dated February 9, 2018.

From ABC News.



Spiegel Online reports, “FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed an indictment in Washington in October against the president’s former campaign manager. The 31 pages of the ‘United States of America vs. Paul J. Manafort, Jr.’ reveal that the German woman,” Ina Kirsch, “played a central role in what has become the primary focus of the investigation: whether Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, secretly, and therefore illegally, did lobbying work in the United States on behalf of the Ukrainian government before he joined Trump’s team.” Spiegel Online notes, “This also means Kirsch played a supporting role in the much larger drama — the battle over the White House — because the indictment is just one part of the bigger picture. It is intended to create pressure for Manafort to testify about other events. At issue is the question of whether the Trump team may have colluded with the Russian government during the election — something that could cost the president his job.” Spiegel Online adds, “The special counsel believes the German was Manafort’s strawman in his well-camouflaged lobbying work in the U.S. Kirsch allegedly helped Manafort clean up the Ukrainian regime’s image up until 2014 — a dirty job that supposedly made Manafort millions. Although Kirsch’s name does not appear explicitly in the indictment, every reference in the document to the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine is also directed at her. Since 2011, Kirsch has headed the Brussels-based center, an allegedly independent organization with the noble pursuit of tying Ukraine more closely with the West. But suspicions arose early on that the center was being used as a cover for corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych and his party. And as Special Counsel Mueller sees it, Manafort was also hiding behind the group’s façade and working for Yanukovych. Kirsch, it appears, may have been a willing accomplice.” Kirsch spoke to Spiegel Online “to make it clear to the reporters that there is no reason for them to write about her, because she never worked for Manafort. Kirsch claims she never received instructions or assignments from him. And she also says she was never a mouthpiece for the Ukrainian government. ‘That is totally untrue,’ she says, before adding, ‘One is always smarter in hindsight.’ So, is it possible that Kirsch was merely naïve and that she had been taken advantage of unwittingly?” Spiegel Online provides some background on Kirsch who it seems “speaks fluent Russian. She was born in Khabarovsk, far in Russia’s east, only a few millimeters from China on a map. Her mother worked for a newspaper there and her father was famous in East Germany (GDR). Rainer Kirsch, the lyricist and novelist, was kicked out of the Socialist Unity Party, East Germany’s Communist Party, and refused to collaborate with the Stasi secret police. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he served for 10 months as the last president of the East German Writer’s Union.” Spiegel Online continues, “Ina grew up in the GDR. She defected to the West in 1987 by staying in London during a trip there. She wasn’t even 20 years old at the time. After the fall of the Wall, she joined the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD). She went to Moscow for two years to work for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think tank closely aligned with the party, before moving to Brussels take a job with the Social Democrats in the European Parliament.” Kirsch worked for the firm of former Hillary campaign manager and Russian hacking target Jon Podesta and the Mercury Group but no money ever exchanged hands, she claims. In a three-page document to Spiegel Online, “Kirsch admits having met with Manafort three times.” Spiegel Online adds, “This led the center to decide in 2012 to do a bit of lobbying work there. She claims that Manafort gave her the tip to hire Podesta and Mercury for those efforts. That’s why she signed contracts with the firms to carry out small assignments in the U.S., like distributing the center’s English-language newsletter.” But “She says she honestly isn’t aware of all the things that were potentially done in her name.” Spiegel Online observes, “But that’s a bit strange.”

From Spiegel Online.



The Washington Post reports, “A Russian business mogul allied with President Vladi­mir Putin threatened Friday to sue media outlets for reporting accusations that the tycoon held a secret meeting with a senior Russian government official aboard his yacht in 2016.” The Washington Post notes, “Oleg Deripaska, who owns one of Russia’s largest industrial groups, said in a statement that the investigation by Navalny was part of a ‘planned campaign aiming to damage my reputation,’” which was of course as sterling as any Putin-aligned oligarch’s could be. The Washington Post recalls, “In a video posted to YouTube, the opposition leader accused ­Deripaska of bribing the official, Sergei Prikhodko, a deputy prime minister and former aide to Putin, by entertaining him on his yacht with several women described as escorts. The video has attracted more than 1.2 million views but no official reaction.” The Washington Post adds, “A spokesman for Putin declined to comment on the video Friday during a daily call with journalists. ‘I want to warn the media against the dissemination of these mendacious accusations,’ Deripaska said in his statement, which was emailed to news organizations including The Washington Post. ‘I will severely suppress any attempts to create and disseminate false information flow using all legal measures and will defend my honor and dignity in court.’ The statement was also posted on the Instagram account of Deripaska, who has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, according to Forbes. Business media outlet RBC said Friday that Prikhodko responded to inquiries about the video in a statement. ‘I would have answered him like a man, but we will remain within the legal framework,’ the statement said. Prikhodko went on to say that he did not know Paul Manafort, former campaign chief for Donald Trump and a figure in a U.S. special prosecutor’s investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” The Washington Post adds, “Navalny’s investigation was based on open-source data and Instagram photographs and videos posted by a woman named Nastya Rybka, who has written a book about her escort work.” The Washington Post continues, “In an interview on Russian television last year, Rybka said she was hired by a modeling agency to spend time on Deripaska’s yacht. The investigation linked the yacht trip with salacious details in ­Rybka’s book and speculated that the meeting could be tied to accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

From The Washington Post.



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The Pentagon says U.S. commanders notified Russian counterparts of an air and ground assault on pro-Syrian fighters in response to an attack on U.S.-allied militias in eastern Syria. Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White on February 8 declined to say whether there were any Russian soldiers or mercenaries among the dozens killed in the attack, which occurred just east of the Euphrates River deconfliction line in Deir al-Zor Province.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later called the attack ‘perplexing,’ adding that initial information did not reveal any Russian forces among the attackers. ‘We don’t think there are any Russians, but I am not confirming that,’ he told reporters.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “The Russian Defense Ministry said that the U.S. strike wounded 25 Syrian pro-government fighters it said were searching for militants near an oil refinery. In a statement on February 8, the ministry said the pro-government fighters had failed to coordinate their actions with the Russian military before launching the search mission.”

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.



Russian state-run Tass reports, “The outcome of the latest meeting between Russian president’s aide Vladislav Surkov and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker is not hopeless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview,” on Rossiya-1 television. Russian state-run Tass reports Lavrov is referring to the meeting that “took place in Dubai on January 26, 2018.”

From Russian state-run Tass.



Unian Information Agency reports, “Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France plan to meet on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) next week to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the head of the gathering said on Feb.8.” Note who is not included!

From Unian Information Agency.



The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reports, “Latvia became the sixth country in the world and the final of the three Baltic countries to pass a version of the Magnitsky law on Thursday. Its parliament voted to impose travel restrictions to 49 Russian citizens who were involved with to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky or other human rights abuses.”

From the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Estonia and Russia have swapped two convicted spies after both men received presidential pardons, Estonian authorities say. Officials on February 10 said Estonian businessman Raivo Susi was exchanged for Russian national Artyom Zinchenko at the Koidula border post in southeast Estonia.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “The Estonian man had been arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2016 over espionage charges related to his alleged actions from 2004-07. He was sentenced in 2017 to 12 years in a strict penal colony. Susi, a co-owner of two companies involved in sales and repairs of aircraft, had been on his way to a Central Asian country when detained.” Meanwhile, “Zinchenko had been sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Tallinn last year, convicted of spying on behalf of Russia’s GRU military intelligence. Zinchenko, who had been living in Estonia since 2013, was found guilty of gathering and transmitting intelligence that compromised national security,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.





POLITICO reports, “Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may be picking up a new defense lawyer. Manafort’s current defense team — Kevin Downing and Tom Zehnle — told a federal district court judge Friday that they’re moving offices from a Connecticut Avenue location to New Jersey Avenue. The duo appear to be moving into the Washington, D.C., offices of New York-based law firm Kostelanetz & Fink. There’s no sign Downing and Zehnle are joining that firm. However, one member of that firm could be joining Manafort’s defense.” POLITICO adds, “A Kostelanetz partner who specializes in tax cases and works out of that same office, Jay Nanavati, had been talkative about the Manafort case in recent months, but he fell silent on Friday when asked by POLITICO whether he was joining the defense team of the chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.”






The Washington Post reports, “President Trump on Saturday appeared to side with men accused of domestic abuse or sexual misconduct, following a week of turmoil surrounding allegations of spousal abuse against two male aides that brought the national #MeToo movement inside the White House. In a tweet, Trump questioned whether ‘due process’ is being given to those accused of wrongdoing and expressed sympathy for their damaged careers and sullied reputations.” The Washington Post notes, “The brief message, which made no mention of the accusers, marks the president’s most pointed response to the ongoing national reckoning with sexual harassment and abuse and put him seemingly at odds with a movement that in recent months has led to the downfall of several powerful men accused of abhorrent behavior.” Of course, “Trump has denied accusations from more than a dozen women that he has sexually abused them or behaved inappropriately,” and “As a candidate, Trump acknowledged that he had made lewd comments about grabbing women’s crotches after The Washington Post reported on a recording of Trump making these claims. ‘When you’re a star, they let you do it,’ Trump said on a hot mic before recording a segment of ‘Access Hollywood” in 2005.’”

From The Washington Post.



The Washington Post reports, “White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Friday morning instructed senior staff to communicate a version of events about the departure of staff secretary Rob Porter that contradicts the Trump administration’s previous accounts,” or in simple English, to lie. The Washington Post adds, “During a staff meeting, Kelly told those in attendance to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning that abuse allegations from two ex-wives were credible”. One of the officials at the meeting said, “He told the staff he took immediate and direct action,” who added, “people after the meeting expressed disbelief with one another and felt his latest account was not true.” The Washington Post notes, “That version of events contradicts both the public record and accounts from numerous other White House officials in recent days as the Porter drama unfolded. Kelly — who first learned of the domestic violence allegations against Porter months ago — issued a glowing statement of support for Porter’s personal character after the allegations first surfaced publicly Tuesday and privately urged him to remain on the job until the next day when his resignation was announced. At Friday’s meeting, Kelly also told subordinates to convey to other White House aides that he cares about domestic violence”. Not enough to remove someone who cannot get a security clearance because of it or refrain from glowing testaments to the character of an abuser. Never forget John Kelly once said, “women were sacred” – an attitude he contradicted by his actions this past week. CNN adds, “White House chief of staff John Kelly did not formally tender his resignation to President Donald Trump on Friday, but he did make clear that he would resign if the President wanted him to”.

From The Washington Post and CNN.



POLITICO reports, “A second White House official has resigned over domestic abuse allegations, according to the White House.” What a perfect grenade to go off in this White House! Whoever orchestrated it – and let’s all sincerely hope it is The Deep State – it means we have a fighting chance because this issue goes all the way to the very top, by which TRUMPISTAN WATCH means the bottom, with the pussy grabber. POLITICO adds, “Speechwriter David Sorensen, who worked at the Council on Environmental Quality, part of the Executive Office of the President, submitted his resignation after being confronted by White House officials, said deputy press secretary Raj Shah. POLITICO notes the latest resignation “comes amid the ongoing fallout from the resignation of staff secretary Rob Porter following allegations from his two ex-wives that he was verbally and physically abusive during their marriages. A White House official said his position did not require a security clearance and his background check was ongoing.” Sorenson also denied it releasing a statement to the far right fake news and conspiracy channel The Daily Caller, “‘I want to be as unequivocal as possible: I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life,’ he said. ‘My accuser can produce no authentic evidence, no legal record, and no witness to support her baseless and malicious claims of domestic violence on my part.’ Sorensen, a former aide to Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage, joined the White House last year.”




Newsweek reports, “During Flynn’s tenure, the neophyte intelligence overseer and the general came to share a number of beliefs. One was that the CIA was suppressing the release of documents captured from Osama Bin Laden’s lair that supposedly showed a closer relationship between Al-Qaeda and Iran than the Obama White House, then conducting backchannel talks with Tehran on halting its nuclear weapons program, wanted known. Nunes, according to a then-close observer, demanded the CIA open up its files for him and Flynn one Saturday. ‘He was going to sneak up on them’ on a weekend, the source snorted, speaking on terms of anonymity to discuss the sensitive incident. Nunes denied that excursion, but said he did go down to Central Command headquarters in Tampa ‘to meet with the team that was doing exploitation of the documents in 2013.’” Newsweek continues, “He and Flynn seemed to share an obsession with Iran. Nunes concurred with Flynn’s insistence that Tehran was involved with the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate and annex in Benghazi, and oversaw a two-year investigation into the incident, focusing on what Republicans had portrayed as] the Obama administration’s inept responses. But the committee’s final report, signed by its then-chairman Mike Rogers, ‘debunk[ed] a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies’ and concluded thatthere was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria,’ according to the Associated Press’s account. The report also found no evidence tying Benghazi to Iran. Nunes called it a ‘whitewash.’” Newsweek adds, “The congressman’s ‘nutty’ reputation was enhanced in 2013 when he insisted on moving a joint U.S.-U.K intelligence base from England to the Azores, his ancestral home. The $1.2 billion price tag and national security concerns about relocating to such an obscure spot in the mid-Atlantic doomed the effort, according to an investigation by the National Review,” and “the Pentagon accused Nunes’s staff of manipulating the numbers on the Azores gambit.” Newsweek notes, “Nunes and Flynn evidently maintained close ties through the election and beyond, even as Flynn’s world was beginning to unravel with questions about his payments from Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today, secret talks with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a confidential lobbying contract with a law firm tied to Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ‘I talk to Flynn virtually everyday, if not multiple times a day,’ Nunes told me in the late December 2016 interview. ‘Seldom there’s a day that goes by that I don’t talk to Flynn, and especially right after the campaign, directly.’”

From Newsweek.



The Washington Post did a curious thing in calling Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “the Ivanka Trump of North Korea” in a headline. Kim Yo Jong is at the Olympics in Pyeoongchang as her brother’s envoy, leading a charm offensive that has at times placed her seats away from Mike Pence. But what does The Washington Post mean by this? How do they compare the two? Well, it cannot be Kim Yo Jong’s “barely-there makeup and her lack of bling,” nor, “her plain black outfits and simple purse,” “her hair back in a no-nonsense style,” or her lack of plastic surgery. Nope, we get closer to it in that Kim Jo Yong is “a political princess,” and a woman “with a sphinxlike smile who gave nothing away”. The Washington Post also notes, “her family connections and her ability to be a compelling saleswoman” are what land her the comparison to Aryan princess Ivanka.

From The Washington Post.



The Washington Post reports, “Former White House aide Sebastian Gorka appears to be no longer wanted for arrest by Hungarian police, according to media outlets in Budapest. Gorka, a Hungarian citizen, was long listed as ‘wanted’ on the website of the country’s police, but his name has now disappeared from the site. The outstanding arrest warrant only became widely known in mid-January when a member of the public accidentally came across it in the police database. Gorka’s date of birth and other personal information matched those on the official Hungarian police website and it was described as an active warrant at the time.” The Washington Post notes, “The original entry listed few details, but it appeared to indicate that the warrant stemmed from an incident of ‘firearm or ammunition abuse’ and was issued in September 2016, less than two months before President Trump’s election victory. The warrant had apparently remained active since that time, including during Gorka’s brief tenure as a White House adviser on counterterrorism. It remained unclear when the crime was believed to have been committed, but Hungarian website 444, which first reported the warrant as well as its subsequent disappearance, said it could have taken place in 2009, according to details on the police site.” The Washington Post adds, “In an unrelated incident, TSA officials intercepted Gorka at Reagan National Airport in early 2016 as he attempted to bring a firearm onto a plane. A Virginia judge later dismissed the charge.”

From The Washington Post.



Russian state-run Sputnik features a lengthy discussion based on a Russian state-run RIA Novosti article highlighting Russia’s propagandistic selling points on the Nordstream2 oil pipeline from Russia to Germany bypassing the Baltic states which would blow up European security. After railing against a 2017 law in Denmark that could allow lawmakers to block the pipeline on national security grounds as it must transverse Denmark’s territorial waters, we get to the part where the Russian state-run propaganda outlet cites a discredited Israeli academic, Brenda Schaffer (they have it misspelled as “Shaffer), who previously shilled for the Azerbaijani government (meaning she is for sale). Sadly the Washington establishment has lent her credibility as she is “an adjunct professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.” Horrible. Russian state-run Sputnik extolls the virtues of “Shaffer’s article with the eloquent title ‘What’s Good for Russian Gas Is Good for America,’” whereas TRUMPISTAN WATCH chokes on vomit reading that rubbish title.

From Russian state-run Sputnik.



Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The Belarusian woman, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, claims to have carried on an affair with Deripaska. Her Instagram account features a photo of the two together on Deripaska’s yacht. She also posted audio in which Deripaska and Prikhodko appear to be discussing U.S.-Russian relations, though it was not possible to conclusively verify that they are the two men speaking.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Rybka is a close associate of a Belarus-born man who goes by the name Alex Lesley and who describes himself as a ‘sex guru’ who teaches classes for men on seducing women. Lesley, who was profiled in the British media last year over his purported plan to challenge President Vladimir Putin for the Kremlin, is seen in photographs on Rybka’s Instagram account cavorting with her and other young women in locations all over the world.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Navalny says he and his team discovered Rybka’s social-media posts by chance after looking into a September stunt in which several of her scantily clad associates entered his Moscow office. Video footage shows the young women being accompanied by a regional lawmaker from Putin’s ruling United Russia party who had previously been associated with Lesley’s seduction classes. After Navalny published the investigation, Rybka took to Instagram to thank the politician for the attention.”

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.





BuzzFeed reports, “It covers just eight pages, misspells names, and relies on only one Russian intelligence source. The so-called second dossier echoes many assertions about Donald Trump’s activities with Russians that former British spy Christopher Steele made in his reports, now called ‘the Steele dossier.’ And the ‘second dossier’ is gaining increasing attention in Washington, where Republicans say it provides additional evidence of anti-Trump taint in the Trump-Russia investigation.” Of course because the GOP death cult must concoct a real dodgy dossier to try and distract and detract from the original! As BuzzFeed notes, “But to paraphrase the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, we’ve read the second dossier, and it’s no Steele dossier. It’s not even a dossier.” BuzzFeed continues, “Written by Cody Shearer, a one-time journalist who became an activist in the 1990s and has close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, its 26 paragraphs are divided into two reports — one dated Sept. 24, 2016, the other, Oct. 12, 2016 — that summarize his interviews with people he solicited for dirt on Trump in Russia. The main sources are two prominent American journalists said to have chased Trump sexcapade rumors in Russia; an unnamed Turkish businessman with ‘excellent contacts’ in Russia’s Federal Security Service, and an unnamed member of the service. Two-thirds of the reports cover Trump’s supposed sexual activities and add only a couple of details to the Steele dossier. The rest concerns Trump financial activities, with a focus on Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic with a not-quite-completed Trump tower.” BuzzFeed notes, “House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes said his committee is probing the State Department as ‘phase two’ of its investigation, following an examination of the Justice Department’s application for the warrant to monitor Page.”

From BuzzFeed.



POLITICO reports, “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a relentless critic of the media, has found a way around the often unflattering coverage of his role in the Trump-Russia investigation — by operating his own partisan news outlet. Resembling a local, conservative news site, ‘The California Republican’ is classified on Facebook as a ‘media/news company’ and claims to deliver ‘the best of US, California, and Central Valley news, sports, and analysis.’ But the website is paid for by Nunes’ campaign committee, according to small print at the bottom of the site.” POLITICO notes, “Leading the home page most recently: a photograph of Nunes over the headline, ‘Understanding the process behind #ReleaseTheMemo.’”






The Washington Post reports, “A regional airliner flying out of one of Russia’s busiest airports crashed Sunday outside Moscow, killing all 71 people aboard, officials said. Saratov Airlines Flight 703, heading from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport to the city of Orsk on the Kazakhstan border, was carrying 65 passengers and six crew members, Russian officials said. It disappeared from radar screens several minutes after takeoff and went down in what witnesses described as a fiery crash southeast of Moscow.” The Washington Post adds, “Almost all of the people on the plane were from the eastern part of the Orenburg region, according to the regional governor’s office, the Interfax news agency said. Orenburg lies on the southern end of the Ural Mountains.” The Washington Post notes, “Russia has long struggled with a poor airline safety record. From 2008 to 2017, 326 people died in accidents on Russian-scheduled commercial flights, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization. Sixty-one people died in the same period on U.S. flights.”

From The Washington Post.



Keep Uber on your phone folks! That’s a great idea. Russian state-run Tass reports, “The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has reached an agreement on investments in the joint venture of Yandex.Taxi and Uber with a potential of tens of millions of dollars, Head of the Fund Kirill Dmitriev told reporters.” That’s the same Kirill Dmitriev who hung out with Blackwater founder Erik Prince, America’s most famous mercenary army leader, in the Seychelles in January 2017.

From Russian state-run Tass.



The AP reports, “With flags, patriotic tunes and a troupe of cheerleaders, Russia wants to throw the biggest party at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Never mind that Russia’s team must compete in neutral uniforms. Never mind that 45 Russian athletes were excluded from the games early Friday. In the Sports House on the Gangneung seafront, the doping scandals never happened.” The AP notes the Sports House, “opened Friday afternoon with rousing speeches from Russia’s ambassador to South Korea and former Olympic champions. For them, Russia is now and forever a sports superpower.” The AP adds, “The ‘Sports House’ name may be bland, but it’s definitely Russian inside. There is a traditional samovar of tea, a folk choir, even the dress in which figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal in Sochi in 2014. One side of the hall is adorned with photographs of President Vladimir Putin meeting South Korean dignitaries.”

From the AP.



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