BBC News reports, “Theresa May is set to announce a series of measures against Russia after it failed to meet her midnight deadline to explain how a nerve agent was used to poison a former double agent in the UK.” BBC News adds, “Mrs May will be briefed by senior intelligence chiefs in Downing Street ahead of giving an update to MPs later. She will make a statement to the House of Commons after midday’s Prime Minister’s Questions.” BBC News notes, “Measures could involve the expulsion of Russian diplomats, financial sanctions against wealthy Russians with links to the Kremlin, possible curbs on the Russian-funded TV station RT, or boycotting the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year,” and, “The Foreign Office is set to brief a session of the North Atlantic Council – Nato’s political decision-making body – on the Skripal incident later.”

From BBC News.





CNBC reports, “The Russian military has threatened action against the U.S. if it strikes Syria’s capital city of Damascus”. CNBC adds, “The threat, by Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, was widely reported by Russia media sites such as state news agency RIA and Tass. It said Gerasimov said Russia had ‘reliable information’ about militants preparing to falsify a government chemical attack against civilians. He continued by saying the U.S. would then use this attack to accuse Syrian government troops of using chemical weapons. He added that the U.S. would then plan to launch a missile strike on government districts in Damascus.” CNBC notes, “Gerasimov said Russia would respond to a U.S. strike on Syria if the lives of Russian servicemen were threatened, targeting any missiles and launchers involved.” CNBC reports, “The U.S. Department of Defense urged Russia to ‘stop creating distractions’ and ‘enabling the Assad regime’s brutality’ in a statement sent to CNBC responding to the allegations.” Russia threatening the U.S. with military action is the height of real news. CNN adds, “America’s top military officer, Gen. Joseph Dunford, spoke with his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov, on Tuesday, the same day Gerasimov threatened to target US forces in Syria should they retaliate against the regime’s use of chemical weapons. The call was first revealed by the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Russian state-run Tass adds the conversation “was held at the initiative of the Russian side.”

From CNBC, CNN and Russian state-run Tass.



POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump said Tuesday that it appears that Russia was behind the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in Britain, but he stopped short of directly condemning the Kremlin until ‘we get the facts straight.’” What the fuck is that? What is that really? T Rex made it pretty clear the U.S. helped the U.K. identify the nerve agent Novichok in his comments on the matter the day before he was unceremoniously shown the door via tweet (more below). So this is what our fake Russian bullshit president had to say for his traitor trash self: “‘It sounds to me like it would be Russia based on all of the evidence they have. I don’t know if they’ve come to a conclusion,’ Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to an assessment from British authorities that Russia was likely behind the attack. ‘As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.’” Again, what the fuck is that? What is that really? No way does Russia respect him, Russia only respects strength and Trump is their bitch, the political equivalent of Deripaska’s former escort locked up in Thailand.




The Telegraph reports, “A close associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been found dead in Britain, it has been reported. Nikolai Glushkov, a former deputy director of Aeroflot, died at the age of 69, Russia’s Business FM radio station said, citing his lawyer.” The Telegraph notes, “The lawyer, Andrei Borovkov, did not mention a cause of death. Mr Glushkov, a close ally of Mr Berezovsky, was twice charged with fraud in Russia.” The Telegraph adds, “Mr Berezovsky was once one of the most powerful businessmen in Russia and was instrumental in Vladimir Putin‘s rise to power in 1999. He later fell out with the Russian president and fled to London in 2000, where he became one of Mr Putin’s most outspoken critics.” Guess her midnight Tuesday deadline has been met with a credible response. One question: is this Putin doubling down or Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Russian National Security Council, doubling up? Discuss amongst yourselves. We all know Britain is resigned to doing the minimal, feeling isolated as it does post-Brexit, a fact that is suddenly highlighted.

From The Telegraph.


Russian state-run Tass
reports, “Russia’s RT TV channel may be stripped of its broadcasting license in case British investigating authorities come to the conclusion that Russia was involved in the poisoning of former intelligence officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter, British media watchdog Ofcom said in a statement on Tuesday.” Meanwhile ABC News reports, “Alexey Navalny, an anti-corruption activist seen as Putin’s most-effective critic, said that if it’s proved conclusively that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning, the British government should eschew ‘symbolic gestures’ such as a soccer World Cup boycott or banning Russian propaganda stations, and instead target wealthy Putin allies in the U.K.” ABC News notes, British officials have suggested they’re looking at a broad range of retaliatory actions, including diplomatic expulsions, fresh economic sanctions and cyberattacks, and the government has also made clear that it’s considering sanctions against individual Putin allies, by imposing visa bans and possibly freezing assets.”

From Russian state-run Tass and ABC News.



The Washington Post reports, “President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team”. According to The Washington Post, “Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.” This last part has yet to be proven and evidence suggests otherwise. The Washington Post notes, “Pompeo will replace him at the State Department, and Gina Hapsel — the deputy director at the CIA — will succeed him at the CIA, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s take: T Rex proved himself a little too loyal to America, especially in his parting words to the nation (and this is a man who had a Russian Order of Friendship award so imagine how degraded the standards are already). T Rex was also the smartest man in the room by any sane standard, so this is a loss and as is known, TRUMPISTAN WATCH hated him. He even sounded quasi-presidential to our degraded standards, at least in old terms, even concluding with the salutation, “God bless the American people,” in his final chance at the podium after he wrecked the department he served, but not fake presidential in reality human garbage freak show terms. He mentioned the Constitution, honesty, and our civil servants, praising each. For a fake Secretary of State he hit all the notes of a real one. He also hinted that the U.S. may have helped identify what nerve agent was used to assassinate Sergey Skripal in the UK the day before he left. As for Pompeo, he met with the sanctioned heads of Russia’s intelligence agencies. So what is there to expect? Some new form of human degradation as Trump continuously knocks from below, but all with the tacit consent of those who are still willing to call themselves Republicans? Meanwhile, POLITICO adds, “Tillerson, in farewell remarks from the State Department briefing room, said he would hand off his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan but remain officially in his post through the remainder of the month.”

From The Washington Post and POLITICO.



POLITICO reports despite initial reports indicating T Rex knew late last week and was speaking off the cuff about Russia yesterday, “a spokesman for Tillerson said Tuesday he had not been planning to leave and wasn’t sure why he was being ousted now.” (Um, hello, those things he said about Russia yesterday that are true.) Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said, “The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted.” Evidently he found out via tweet, The Washington Post reports. POLITICO adds, “Later on Tuesday, the State Department said Goldstein, too, would leave.” The Washington Free Beacon adds, “The White House announced on Tuesday that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert will be the acting under secretary of state for public diplomacy.” Her previous experience consisted of a stint at faux news Fox News.

From POLITICO, The Washington Post, POLITICO and The Washington Free Beacon.



The Washington Post reports, “Tillerson was arguably the weakest secretary of state in the post-World War II era. He oversaw a failed reorganization effort at Foggy Bottom, which depressed morale and led to an exodus of veteran diplomats. His downgrading of human rights as an essential part of American foreign policy mortified the human rights community and initiated a retreat from defense of democracies at the very time Western democracies are under assault from authoritarians and neo-fascists. His aversion to the press and to the role of public diplomacy more generally, as well as his frosty relationship with Congress, indicated that he never made the successful transition from oil executive to the country’s lead diplomat.” The Washington Post adds, “In retrospect, it was a ridiculous pick. At a time of multiple, complex threats, hiring someone with no public service experience at all, let alone State Department service, was reckless in the extreme.” Dennis Ross, a veteran Middle East negotiator adds, “One thing he should have been able to resolve was the imbroglio between the Saudis/Emirates and Qatar. Here he tried and failed and made a cardinal mistake in the process: he showed up in the region trying to broker the deal without having already worked everything out privately in advance.  It was his first real foray in conflict resolution and he needed to succeed, not showcase a failure.” The New York Times Editorial Board adds, “he will be remembered as one of the country’s weakest and least effective secretaries of state. With no experience in foreign policy or government, he provided little leadership and eviscerated the department he was chosen to lead, enthusiastically carrying out the budget-cutting orders of a hot-headed president uninterested in diplomacy. Scores of senior diplomats and other professionals, the core of America’s foreign service, were either forced out or chose to flee. And yet we have cause to regret his departure, because his replacement is likely to be worse.” Precisely. Draining the swamp was done to hasten the search for bottom feeders.

From The Washington Post and The New York Times.



Salon reports, “Rex Tillerson’s parting words as secretary of state were, perhaps appropriately, words that differed from President Donald Trump on a key issue — Russia.” POLTICO adds, “Tillerson said he would encourage other State Department officials to remain in their jobs. He touted the administration’s campaign to increase pressure on North Korea and warned that Russia’s current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone’s interests.”

From Salon and POLITICO.



POLITICO reports, “Gina Haspel, who Trump said would replace Pompeo and who was named the CIA’s deputy director last year, is an agency veteran who in 2002 ran one of its detention sites in Thailand, where she oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects, according to a New York Times report. Tapes of those interrogations, which included waterboarding and smashing one suspect’s head into a wall, were ordered destroyed in 2005, the Times reported.” Just beware Kirstjen Nielsen proves women are no more careful with the truth or delicate human lives. The Washington Post adds, “The good news is that Haspel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, not uber-partisan Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), will replace Pompeo. She drew rave reviews from former acting CIA director John McLaughlin, who told me she is a ‘consummate professional’ and ‘well-respected throughout the Agency.’ The protection of the CIA’s independence and integrity is essential under any administration, but no more so under Trump, given his aversion to truth-telling and his habit of contradicting the intelligence community.” The New York Times Editorial Board however sounds an alarm, adding, “Although Ms. Haspel is reportedly respected by many C.I.A. agents, she effectively ran an illegal and immoral program. At a time when leaders throughout the world are abandoning democratic norms and a dedication to human rights, her appointment sends an unfortunate signal, especially when the president has expressed support for torture.”

From POLITICO, The Washington Post and The New York Times.



The Wall Street Journal broke the story shortly after news of T Rex’s ouster broke that, “President Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was escorted out of the White House on Monday, two senior administration officials said. The cause of the firing was an unspecified security issue”. CNN adds our fake Russian bullshit president’s “longtime personal aide John McEntee was fired because he is currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes”. As one TRUMPISTAN WATCHian pointed out the best line in this story is, “Minutes after news of his departure broke, the Trump campaign announced McEntee would be joining the reelection effort as a senior adviser for campaign operations.” The New York Times notes, “he was known by colleagues to be a gambler.” The New York Times adds, “McEntee had been expected to travel with Mr. Trump — as he always does — when the president departed for a trip to California Tuesday morning. For Mr. Trump, the absence of Mr. McEntee strips away another of the handful of close associates who have constantly been by his side as he made the transition from real estate mogul to politician.”  Of note, “McEntee was one of the few people with nearly constant access to the president he served.” If his expertise is financial crimes, he will do very well on the campaign! It is practically a qualification — no wait it is. This is smash-and-grab robbery as a form of governance.

From The Wall Street Journal, CNN and The New York Times.



The Washington Post reports, “A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned over what he described as ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ statements made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE acting director Thomas D. Homan.” The Washington Post adds, “James Schwab worked out of the agency’s San Francisco office until he abruptly quit last week. He said he had been told to ‘deflect’ questions about the Oakland, Calif., mayor’s interference with an ICE raid last month and to refer reporters to  Sessions and Homan that suggested that hundreds of ‘criminals’ (‘criminal aliens,’ Homan called them) escaped capture in Northern California because the mayor tipped them off.”

From The Washington Post.



Business Insider reports, “A top Russian General announced on Tuesday that Russia’s military will conduct a second test of its new, most powerful nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile amid rising tensions with NATO. ‘The first launch of this missile took place at the end of December last year. At the moment preparations are in full swing at the Plesetsk cosmodrome for another pop-up test,’ Russian General Valery Gerasimov told state-run media”. Business Insider recalls, “During Putin’s State of the Nation speech on March 1, he talked up the new system, called the RS-28, or the ‘Satan 2’ by NATO members, while showing footage of its testing.”

From Business Insider.




The Moscow Times
reports, “A local Russian election commission’s error has resulted in some 1.2 million printed leaflets redirecting voters to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s website, which is calling for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections.” The Moscow Times adds, “Election officials in the city of Belgorod printed and distributed 1.2 million election invitations to local residents before learning that the website printed on the leaflets did not exist, the local ‘Belgorod No. 1’ Telegram channel reported Tuesday. ‘Navalny’s volunteers were the fastest to read our story and registered the belizbirkom.ru domain. Now, every Belgorod resident who received the invitation to vote came a little closer to their boycott,’ the channel said.

From The Moscow Times.





POLITICO reports, “Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, runs a significant risk of spending the rest of his life in prison and the evidence against him by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office seems strong, a federal judge declared in an order made public on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and is assigned to a newly filed indictment against Manafort dealing with bank fraud and tax evasion, said the veteran lobbyist and political consultant posed ‘a substantial risk of flight’ because of his assets and the gravity of his legal predicament.” POLITICO adds, “‘The defendant is a person of great wealth who has the financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large, as well as every incentive to do so,’ Ellis wrote in an order setting the terms of what the judge called ‘home incarceration’ for Manafort, 68, who lives in Alexandria but also has homes in Florida and on Long Island.” POLITICO notes, “The order, dated Friday, puts Manafort in a ‘24-hour-a-day lockdown’ at his Alexandria condo, except for medical appointments or emergencies, court appearances and meeting with his defense attorneys. Ellis did not require Manafort to post any assets, but did order that he pay $10 million if he fails to appear in court.” CNN notes Manafort faces “almost 300 years or more”. adds, “On tax charges he faces in Virginia alone, his likely sentence would be eight years, prosecutors said in a previous court filing. He also faces nine charges of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy, which each carry a maximum 30 years in prison, for 270 years maximum. In the DC case, Manafort faces a likely sentence of 15 years to 20 years in prison if convicted there on five total conspiracy charges and foreign lobbying violations.” If he starts talking, he may help himself to avoid much of that unpleasantness.






NBC7 San Diego reports, “President Donald Trump visited the border wall prototypes that stand just a few feet from the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday during his first official visit to San Diego. The president was joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and border agents and officers as he viewed the eight different prototypes that were built in October 2017.” The photos resemble Kim Jong Un looking at things. Walls are also terribly authoritarian retrograde, in case anyone needs the reminder.

From NBC7 San Diego.



Lordy! The Daily Beast reports, “Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican responsible for overseeing the House intelligence committee’s investigation into Russian election meddling, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that his committee will challenge the way the Intelligence Community came to the conclusion that Putin wanted Trump to win. But he added that it’s still very possible that Putin was, in fact, pulling for Trump.” That is some bullshit, especially since his committee failed to interview key witnesses, follow the money, do much more than take witnesses who did appear at their word, and you know, our fake Russian bullshit president, the biggest active measure of them all unleashed on our state all the while. Demuring terribly from his committee’s inane findings, “‘Only Putin knows for sure what he was trying to do,’ he added,” as if the truth were somehow unknowable and nobody really cared, but seeing as how our fake Russian bullshit president lacks legitimacy, that stain just washed all over Conaway. That stain, by the way, is Lubyanka shit. As The Daily Beast notes, “Last night, the committee posted a document saying its report would concur ‘with the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump,’” that is just how disingenuous Conaway is in his stewardship of the intelligence committee on this issue. The Daily Beast adds, “Rep. Adam Schiff on Tuesday released a lengthy document detailing all the avenues of inquiry committee Democrats say are untapped. Schiff listed a litany of witnesses they have not interviewed, including White House advisor Stephen Miller, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, ex-campaign advisor Sam Nunberg, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Republican super-lawyer Cleta Mitchell. Schiff’s write-up also said the committee had ‘only begun to explore’ potential questionable ties between the Trump Organization, Deutsche Bank, and the Kremlin.” The Daily Beast notes, “John McLaughlin, who formerly headed the CIA, said the committee’s internal fighting and partisan dissolution was ‘a sad thing.’” The Washington Post wryly notes, “It’s amazing how hard it is to find something when you are not looking for it — if, in fact, you are trying to hide it.” So The Washington Post asks, “How did the Republicans miss what is evident to everyone else? By shutting their eyes and closing their ears.”

From The Daily Beast and The Washington Post.



CNN reports, “Newly released emails cast doubt on claims by Secretary Ben Carson and his spokesman that he had little or no involvement in the purchase of a $31,000 furniture set for his Department of Housing and Urban Development dining room.” However, “Emails show Carson and his wife selected the furniture themselves.”

From CNN.



The Jamestown Foundation reports, “Several statements and interviews from Russia’s military top brass, especially marking the fifth anniversary of the appointment of Sergei Shoigu as minister of defense in November 2012, note the effort to reintroduce a number of divisions to the order of battle (OOB). These structural-level changes appear to mark a departure from Anatoly Serdyukov’s (defense minister in 2007–2012) reforms to move the OOB to a brigade-based model. The reappearance of divisions in the Ground Forces has also been interpreted as a sign that the General Staff is preparing to conduct ‘large-scale’ warfare against a conventional enemy. This interpretation seems to fit with the idea that the Russian military is preoccupied with confronting a threat from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, some of the details around the move to reintroduce divisions to the OOB, as well as the locations of these formations, point to Moscow preparing for long-term conflict in Ukraine, replete with a range of escalation options”. The Jamestown Foundation concludes, “Beyond the Ukraine conflict, such developments, complimented by modernization and shifts in operational tactics, will place a wider set of military options at the Kremlin’s disposal, making recourse to military power more palatable in a variety of situations, not least for coercive purposes.”

From The Jamestown Foundation.




The New York Daily News
reports, “The parents of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich are suing Fox News for a retracted story they say fueled conspiracy theories about his death. Joel and Mary Rich have filed a lawsuit against the network, along with investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman and commenter Ed Butowsky, for including ‘false and fabricated facts,’ according to the lawsuit”. The New York Daily News recalls, “Rich, a voter-expansion data director for the DNC who was offered a new job on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was talking on the phone on July 10, 2016, when he was gunned down on the street. While his parents believe he was killed in an attempted robbery, Fox News published a story in May 2017 claiming Rich was killed after he leaked work emails to WikiLeaks. Police have found no evidence to support that theory.” The New York Daily News adds, “According to the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, the defendants ‘intentionally exploited’ Rich’s death ‘through lies, misrepresentations and half-truths — with disregard for the obvious harm that their actions would cause Joel and Mary.’”
From The New York Daily News.


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