The Washington Post reports, “New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year. A new indictment has long been expected in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution of Manafort and his right-hand man, Rick Gates, on fraud and money laundering charges. Manafort served as President Trump’s campaign chairman from June to August 2016. Gates also served as a top official on Trump’s campaign. The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges.” The Washington Post notes, “The filing Thursday comes at a time of significant uncertainty in the case about when a trial might happen, or even who the defense lawyers will be.” POLITICO adds, “The new indictment accuses Manafort and Gates of dramatically understating their income on federal tax returns filed from 2010 through 2014. The pair is also accused of bank fraud totaling more than $20 million tied to three loans Manafort applied for in connection with various homes he owns. In all, Manafort and Gates laundered more than $30 million in income, chiefly from their Ukraine work”. A reader was gracious to point out one of the funnier more dad-like moments in the indictment which POLITICO makes mention of as well. “In response to one of the profit-and-loss statements provided in connection with a loan request, the unnamed ‘conspirator’ allegedly replied that the document was too obviously faked,” POLITICO notes, adding, ‘Looks Dr’d. Can’t someone just do a clean excel doc and pdf to me?’ the indictment quotes the bank employee as replying.” So older folks, learn how to do pdfs, less you be similarly busted ever!

From The Washington Post and POLITICO.



The Daily Beast reports, “Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates has fired his lawyer, The Daily Beast has learned. And, contrary to recent media reports, Gates is not about to make a deal with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller”.   To add to the confusion, “Instead, Gates—for the time being, at least—isn’t flipping. And Green is out, replaced with Barry Pollack, of Miller Chevalier, according to sources familiar with the matter. Neither Green nor Pollack immediately returned a request for comment, however Green told Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed after the publication of this story, ‘It is ludicrous and I am representing him.’ When asked if he will ‘continue to represent,’ Green told The Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand, ‘Yes indeed.’” Basically Gates’ plea deal appears to have broken down.

From The Daily Beast.



POLITICO reports, “A federal judge has rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s latest effort to win release from house arrest by offering up properties aimed at fulfilling the $10 million bail the judge has set. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she would not accept Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia, condominium as part of the bail package because it is pledged as part of the security for a $10.5 million loan Manafort obtained in 2016 on another home in Long Island, New York.” POLITICO notes, “Lawyers for Manafort argued in a court filing earlier this week that Manafort’s Long Island home is worth $13.5 million and could more than satisfy the outstanding loan if he defaulted. But the judge said both properties are liable for foreclosure under the loan, so the Alexandria condo isn’t a free-and-clear asset that can be used to secure Manafort’s release.” POLITICO adds, “Manafort had offered four properties to secure his bond, including the Alexandria condo, a property in Arlington, Virginia, and two properties in Manhattan. One of those is an apartment in Trump Tower.”






The Washington Post reports, “A Russian oligarch believed to control the Russian mercenaries who attacked U.S. troops and their allies in Syria this month was in close touch with Kremlin and ­Syrian officials in the days and weeks before and after the assault, according to U.S. intelligence reports. In intercepted communications in late January, the oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, told a senior Syrian official that he had ‘secured permission’ from an unspecified Russian minister to move forward with a ‘fast and strong’ initiative that would take place in early February.” Might that be Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu? The Washington Post notes, “Prigozhin made front-page headlines last week when he was indicted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on charges of bankrolling and guiding a long-running Russian scheme to conduct ‘information warfare’ during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.” The Washington Post adds in Syria, “The mercenaries, employed by a company called Wagner, comprise ultra­nationalist Russians and military veterans, some of whom also fought in the Ukraine conflict, according to Russian news reports.” The Washington Post continues, “the attack marked the biggest direct challenge to the U.S. military presence in eastern Syria since U.S. Special Operations forces began deploying there in 2015 in support of their Syrian allies in the fight against the Islamic State.” The Washington Post reports, “The intercepted communications show not only that Prigozhin was personally involved in planning the attack but that he had discussed it with senior Syrian officials, including Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Fadlallah Azzam.” The Washington Post reports, “In a Jan. 24 exchange, Prigozhin said he had secured permission from an unspecified Russian minister the day before to move forward with a ‘fast and strong’ initiative and was awaiting a decision by the Syrian government. On Jan. 30, Prigozhin ‘indicated he had a “good surprise”’ for Assad ‘that would come between 6 and 9 February.’ According to one intelligence report, he also was assured by Azzam that he would be paid for his work.” The Washington Post adds, “The reports indicated an increased tempo of communications between Prigozhin and Kremlin officials during the same period, including Putin chief of staff Anton Vayno and deputy chief of staff Vladi­mir Ostrovenko, but the content of those talks is not known. The communications continued until Feb. 5 and resumed the day after the attack.” The Washington Post adds intrigue, “According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Prigozhin owns a Russian company called Evro Polis, which, according to the Russian news site Fontanka, struck a deal in 2016 with the Syrian government to receive a 25 percent share of oil and natural gas produced on territory recaptured from the Islamic State. Most of those fields are on the eastern side of the Euphrates, where SDF fighters, accompanied by U.S. forces, have been advancing on the militants. The Prigozhin-linked mercenary company Wagner apparently provides the ground forces to help achieve that goal, working under contract with the Syrian government.”

From The Washington Post.



Reuters reports, “A Yugoslav army veteran who manned anti-aircraft defenses during the NATO bombing in 1999 tossed a hand grenade into the U.S. embassy compound in Podgorica, capital of Montenegro, around midnight and then blew himself up, police said on Thursday.” Reuters notes, “The Montenegrin man, aged about 41 and born in Serbia, was identified by police only by the initials D.J., though media named him as Dalibor Jaukovic, a decorated Yugoslav army veteran.” Reuters recalls, “In 1999 NATO planes bombed targets in Montenegro and Serbia which together formed rump-Yugoslavia at the time, to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians in Serbia’s then southern province of Kosovo.” An assistant police chief said, “an investigation was underway to determine whether he had acted alone or with others”.

From Reuters.



CNN reports, “Jared Kushner has been unable to obtain a full security clearance in part because of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation”. Beautiful. Oh sweet revenge. CNN adds, “Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is unlikely to obtain the full clearance as long as the special counsel’s probe is ongoing,” adding, “Kushner’s application for a top-level security clearance has been held up for over a year in part because it cannot be completed while the special counsel’s team continues to probe Kushner’s contacts with Russians and his financial dealings with foreigners”. CNN notes, “During that time, Kushner has been able to access the government’s most sensitive secrets thanks to an interim security clearance. But that access could soon be cut off — unless Trump steps in with a waiver,” which of course he will to keep the probable moneyman employed but not formally on the payroll.   Oath of office be damned!

From CNN.



Reuters cites four administration officials (you can bet they are probably tied to Aryan princess Ivanka and princeling Jared) report, “Longstanding friction between U.S. President Donald Trump and two top aides, the National Security Adviser [H.R. McMaster] and the Chief of Staff [John Kelly], has grown to a point that either or both might quit soon”. Now who sees these rumors panning out and those two quitting any time soon? Like them or loathe them we need them there to remove all the neo-Nazi scum and Info Wars lies that surround a fake Russian bullshit president unchecked. Reuters adds, “Both H.R. McMaster and John Kelly are military men considered by U.S. political observers as moderating influences on the president by imposing a routine on the White House. They have also convinced Trump of the importance of international alliances, particularly NATO, which he has criticized as not equally sharing its burdens with the United States.” Of course Reuters is sure to hedge (as are their little lying administration sources) as, “all the officials were quick to add that the tensions could blow over, at least for now, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor”. Haha just kidding Jared and Ivanka, although none of this is funny – nor is our national security, or maybe that is the funniest thing of all these days. None of this of course is as big of a joke as “the kids,” however in Rupert Murdoch’s “Fire and Fury” immortalized words.

From Reuters.



Axios reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election has talked to ‘at least one’ Facebook staffer”. At long last the grand reckoning begins.

From Axios.



Defense News reports, “The U.S. State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale of four Patriot air-and-missile defense systems to Sweden for an estimated total of $3.2 billion.” The missiles are made by Raytheon.

From Defense News.


The Guardian
reports, “Moscow appears to have deployed an advanced new stealth fighter to its airbase in Syria, reports in Russian news media and online videos of the aircraft indicated on Thursday, in what analysts say could be a risky attempt to gain publicity and operational experience for the jet in one of the world’s most tangled conflicts.” The Guardian notes, “The deployment of two Su-57 fighter aircraft, which were filmed landing at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase along the Mediterranean coast, would represent the latest high-tech military system Russia has exhibited in Syria”. The Guardian adds, “Both the Kremlin and the Russian ministry of defence declined to comment on whether the fifth-generation Russian fighter jets, which are still in combat testing phases, had been deployed. Russian news agencies, including the respected RBC business daily, published reports on Thursday saying sources in the ministry of defence had confirmed the presence of the advanced fighter jets in Syria.”

From The Guardian.



IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Sentinel R1 airborne stand-off radar surveillance aircraft have been flying missions around Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, where Moscow deployed nuclear capable Islander-M ballistic missiles earlier this month.” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly adds, “The two missions by the aircraft, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, were revealed in open source tracking of their transponder signals. On one of the missions, an RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft accompanied the Sentinel of 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, suggesting that the United Kingdom was executing a complex surveillance plan to monitor Russian reactions to multiple aircraft movements.” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes, “On 5 February, Russian State Duma Defence Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov confirmed the Iskander-M deployment after months of speculation” were indeed in the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.

From IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.



The Global Edition of German publication Handelsblatt reports, “The German government has perturbed lawmakers and foreign allies by not condemning Russia for the devastating ‘NotPetya’ cyberattack last year. The United States joined Britain last week in condemning Russian military for unleashing a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged computers in countries around the world. Australia and Denmark have also spoken out against Moscow.” Handelsblatt continues, “Now Handelsblatt has learned that White House authorities shared confidential insights into the attack’s origins with German intelligence. Despite that, and even though big German companies including Deutsche Post, rail operator Deutsche Bahn and cosmetics giant Beiersdorf were among the victims, the silence from Berlin is deafening.” Handelsblatt notes, “It’s unclear why Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has been so quiet.” Handelsblatt adds, “Germany’s allies are already suspicious about its policy towards the Kremlin. Many European countries are deeply critical of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany deepening their energy cooperation. Acting Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also recently raised eyebrows with his calls to ease Russian sanctions sooner rather than later.” Horrible.

From The Global Handelsblatt.





Fox News reports, “A former State Department official and associate of Sen. John McCain has invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in connection with questions from the House Intelligence Committee about the anti-Trump dossier’s Russian sources.” Fox News claims, “a central player in how the unverified Trump dossier made its way to the FBI in late 2016, testified before the committee in December in a closed-door session, indicating he had information about the dossier’s sources.” Citing and contradicting an earlier report in the similarly Trump-friendly Washington Examiner, Fox News adds, “The law enforcement source confirmed, however, that Kramer did not appear and has exercised his Fifth Amendment rights.” So all this hinges on a single Fox News “law enforcement source”. Fox News begins to build new covfefe in adding, “Yet Kramer gave a videotaped deposition last December in separate civil litigation against BuzzFeed,” because spooky!!! Fox News recalls, “Kramer was personally briefed in late November 2016 by Steele in Surrey, England. After that briefing, Steele told the British court that an arrangement was made so that Fusion GPS — co-founded by Glenn Simpson – would provide hard copies of the dossier to McCain via Kramer. Shortly afterward, the dossier was given to the FBI, which already had its own copy from Steele.” Fox News notes, “The next hearing regarding Kramer’s deposition in the BuzzFeed defamation suit, and whether it should be publicly available, is set for Feb. 27. According to January civil proceedings in the case, ‘Gubarev, et al v. Buzzfeed et al,’ Kramer’s attorney wants ‘his entire deposition as attorney’s eyes only confidential.’” Can’t you just see the covfefe being made? You can almost taste the covfefe, but it’s slow roasting now.

From Fox News.





CNN reports, “President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dipped back below 40%, a new poll released Wednesday found. Trump’s approval rating stands at 37%, slightly down from 40% approval earlier this month, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday.” CNN notes, “A majority of Americans, 58%, disapprove of the President’s job performance.” CNN adds, “In the new Quinnipiac poll, despite what the President believes, more Americans think the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 election — 76%, compared with 68% in January.”
From CNN.



Lawfare has a post under this most excellent headline “Uncivil Military Relations?” where it acknowledges, “Trump has shredded one civil-military relations norm after another. These include, but are not limited to, appointing a disproportionate share of senior military officers to high postsblaming the generals for a risky raid in Yemen that Trump himself orderedpoliticking before military audiences; battling with the intelligence community (which is inextricably intertwined with the military through defense agencies like DIA and NSA); deploying his chief of staff (retired Marine Gen. John Kelly) to attack a Congresswoman over handling of a bereaved Army widow; tweeting uncoordinated orders banning transgender troops; and encouraging troops to join the political fray on Trump’s side. And now, to top it all off, Trump now wants a military parade, something that will politicize the military even more.” As Lawfare writes, “three big questions loom for civil-military relations under Trump—and after Trump:”

  1. How will new norms of civil-military behavior evolve under Trump?
  2. assuming these civil-military norms continue to evolve, will they outlast Trump?
  3. will Trump’s civil-military behavior cause worse national security outcomes?

All excellent questions.

From Lawfare.



CNN reports, “The agency in charge of US immigration services has updated its mission statement to no longer include the phrase ‘nation of immigrants.’” This is just Kirstjen Nielsen turning up empty trying to figure out if there are black folks in Norway and thinking why risk it, isn’t it? Less you had any doubt she is truly America’s other Aryan princess, gather your barf bucket and bring it near as CNN adds, “Instead, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ new mission statement emphasizes ‘safeguarding its integrity’ and ‘securing the homeland.’ The new statement was announced to the agency’s employees Thursday”. And what will we do in this newly pure and secured homeland, begin to cleanse the others? The new Orwellian mission statement reads, “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.” Remember, we must also pretend to have integrity and values as we lose our common humanity, even as we strip such terms of all meaning and content, just as we will others before slaughter!

From CNN.



The Washington Post reports, “Donald Trump Jr. landed in India earlier this week for a contractually obligated trip to promote his family’s branded real estate projects, but controversy seemed to dog the president’s eldest son at every turn. The trip was meant to climax with a foreign policy speech at a business summit on ‘Indo-Pacific’ relations, but amid the outcry over conflicts of interest between the family business and his father’s job, it was hastily changed to the more innocuous ‘A Fireside Chat with Donald Trump Jr.’” Poor Uday! Again, The Washington Post notes, “In conversations with handpicked Indian journalists, Trump did once stray from the business at hand to hold forth about American mainstream media — ‘disgusting’ — and the difficulty of being a husband and father while living in a high-pressure fishbowl and the grind of the investigation into alleged Russian involvement into his father’s presidential campaign.” As TRUMPISTAN WATCH brought you news yesterday that Uday has implored us to admire his honest and humble sacrifice instead. Heil, heil Uday and his sacrifices!

From The Washington Post.




Business Insider
reports, “The right-wing media sphere has latched onto a new and fairly routine judicial order as evidence that the former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, may soon be exonerated as part of the Russia investigation.” Business Insider adds, “The order directed special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to hand over any exculpatory evidence — evidence that may exonerate Flynn — to Flynn’s defense attorneys.”   Ergo, “‘Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys?’ said a blurb atop an article from The Federalist, a right-leaning publication. ‘There is reason to believe so.’”

From Business Insider.




reports, “Russian Olympic bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva has tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug, the Russian bobsleigh federation said in a statement on Friday. The federation said in a post on its official Facebook page that the athlete had tested positive on Feb. 18, five days after a previous doping test returned a negative result for her.”

From Reuters.



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