The Washington Post
reports, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday night fired former FBI deputy director Andrew Mc­Cabe, a little more than 24 hours before McCabe was set to retire — a move that McCabe alleged was an attempt to slander him and undermine the ongoing special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign. Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department inspector general and the FBI office that handles discipline had found ‘that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.’” What a little shithead Private Russian Sessions is, was, continues to be and will probably be for all of eternity even if he is mortal and therefore ephemeral. The Washington Post notes McCabe “responded on Friday night with a lengthy statement, claiming he was being targeted because he was a witness in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and asserting that his actions were appropriate. He also alleged former FBI Director James B. Comey knew about the media disclosure about which the inspector general has raised questions.” McCabe wrote, “This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” adding, “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.” Early Saturday morning, our fake Russian bullshit president communicated this Lubyanka shitstain of a tweet, “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” The Washington Post notes, “An email notifying McCabe of the move was sent to his work account and his lawyers just minutes before Sessions’s statement was made public, though McCabe learned of the firing from press accounts”. According to The Daily Beast, “Andrew McCabe, formerly the deputy director of the FBI, has lawyered up. Michael Bromwich of the Bromwich Group”. So now Trump has shamefully publicly fired and made needless enemies out of the Director of the FBI, news delivered by television, the Secretary of State, delivered by a Chief of Staff while T Rex was on the john, and the Deputy Director of the FBI, delivered by Jeff Sessions. These are not minor incidents that will fail to deliver epic blowback.

From The Washington Post and The Daily Beast.



The New York Times reports, “Like Mr. Comey, Mr. McCabe also kept contemporaneous memos about his interactions with the president and his conversations with Mr. Comey”. Recall, Comey’s firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller after information contained in Comey’s memos was leaked to The New York Times.

From The New York Times.



The Washington Post repots, “At least one Democratic congressman has offered McCabe a temporary job so he can get full retirement benefits — and McCabe appears to be considering. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) announced Saturday afternoon that he has offered McCabe a job to work on election security in his office, ‘so that he can reach the needed length of service’ to retire.” The Washington Post notes, “Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted that he’d consider hiring McCabe, too.” The Washington Post adds, “It’s not immediately clear if getting fired from the FBI on a Friday and going to work on Capitol Hill on a Monday would solve McCabe’s problems for certain, though at least one former federal official with knowledge of retirement rules says it probably would.”

From The Washington Post.



The Daily Beast reports on Saturday morning that Trump’s lawyer John Dowd wrote in response to a question “about the firing of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe,” that “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier”. Later in the morning, Dowd wrote back to the Daily Beast alleging “that he was speaking only in a personal capacity.” Sure, buddy. The New York Times notes, “On Saturday evening, Mr. Trump for the first time posted a tweet that specifically mentioned the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The president again denounced the inquiry he is conducting as a ‘witch hunt.’” The New York Times adds, “People close to the president were skeptical that Mr. Dowd was acting on his own. Mr. Trump has a history of using advisers to publicly test a message, giving him some distance from it. And Mr. Dowd’s comments came at a time when members of Mr. Trump’s legal team are jockeying to stay in his favor.” The New York Times reports, “Hours later, the president echoed Mr. Dowd’s accusations of corruption in the theoretical ‘deep state’ that Mr. Trump has long cast as a boogeyman working to undermine him.” On Twitter, the fake Russian president wrote, “There was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State”. The New York Times adds, “Mr. Dowd’s remarks about Mr. Mueller’s investigation represented an extraordinary shift in public strategy for the Trump legal team. Since taking over the case last summer, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have urged a strategy of restraint, in which the president avoids discussing Mr. Mueller or criticizing him, and the lawyers had done nothing publicly until now that could agitate the special counsel’s team.” CNN adds, “Watergate had the Saturday Night Massacre. Now, this generation’s White House scandal has its own iconic moment — the Saturday Morning Meltdown.”

From The Daily Beast, The New York Times and CNN.



The Hill quotes a rare tweet from former CIA Director John Brennan, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.And notes, “The former CIA director was responding to a tweet by Trump hailing McCabe’s firing as a ‘great day for democracy.’”

From The Hill.



The Washington Post reports, “President Trump fired a barrage of angry statements Sunday railing against the Justice Department special counsel’s Russia investigation and attacking the integrity of former FBI director James B. Comey and his former deputy Andrew McCabe, charging that their notes from conversations with him are ‘Fake Memos.’” Sorry, that is already taken by DARKNESS AT NUNES! The Washington Post notes, “For the second straight day, Trump was unrestrained in his commentary about Robert S. Mueller III’s expanding investigation, which is looking not only into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race and possible links to the Trump campaign, but also whether the president has sought to obstruct justice.” Legislators pushed back including Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy who told “Fox News Sunday,” warned Trump’s lawyer John Dowd, “If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it,” and Senator Lindsey Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that if our fake Russian bullshit president were to fire Mueller it “would be the beginning of the end of his presidency because we’re a rule-of-law nation”.

From The Washington Post.


reports, “U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.” Reuters adds, “Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he ‘pushed back’ against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting.” Reuters reports, “Three people who attended the March campaign meeting told Reuters they gave their version of events to FBI agents or congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election,” adding, “all three, who declined to be identified, said Sessions had expressed no objections to Papadopoulos’ idea.”

From Reuters.



Business Insider reports, “Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with financial ties to the Trump Organisation, confirmed Friday that President Donald Trump’s business was privately negotiating a deal with a sanctioned Russian bank during the 2016 US election.” Business Insider adds, “On Friday, Sater told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that a local developer in Russia worked on behalf of the Trump Organisation to secure financing for a Trump Tower in Moscow from VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest bank and a US-sanctioned entity.” CNN reports, “Felix Sater, the Russian-born onetime business associate of Donald Trump’s who worked to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, says the then-business magnate asked him to ‘look after’ his kids when they were pursuing business deals in Russia.” On Friday, Sater told CNN, “that Trump had personally asked him to travel to Russia to be in Moscow with his children.” CNN adds, “The Trump Organization’s general counsel has said previously Sater was not accompanying the Trump children in Moscow. And Trump himself has downplayed his connections to Sater,” or outright said there are none. CNN notes, “Sater, a mob-linked felon turned FBI informant, is speaking out now after he has figured prominently amid questions about Trump’s connections to Russia for his role in trying to land a Trump Tower in Moscow in late 2015 and early 2016”. CNN notes, “Sater said he’s now speaking out because of his longtime intelligence work on behalf of the US, as his name has continued to surface in the congressional and special counsel investigations into Trump and Russia. Sater said he has spoken with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, but he won’t say whether he’s talked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.”

From Business Insider and CNN.



Bloomberg reports, “Stormy Daniels may face more than $20 million in damages for violating a ‘hush agreement’ that requires her to remain silent about an affair she alleges she had with President Donald Trump in 2006 and 2007.” Keep it classy, fake Russian bullshit POTUS! Bloomberg adds, “The potential damages against Daniels, an actress in adult films whose real name is Stephanie Cliffords, were disclosed Friday in a filing in federal court in Los Angeles by Essential Consultants LLC, an entity that was set up by Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2016 to pay her $130,000 in exchange for her silence.” Remarkably, Bloomberg notes, “The company moved the lawsuit, filed by Daniels last week in California state court against Trump, to federal court, saying that neither Daniels, Trump nor the LLC are California residents and the amount of damages exceeds the $75,000 minimum for a case to proceed in federal court. Trump supports the transfer of the case between courts, according to Essential Consultants’ filing.” Bloomberg adds, “Federal judges, who are appointed by the president, are perceived as somewhat more conservative than California state court judges, who are elected,” which now evidently means protecting a fake Russian bullshit president from a pornstar? Stormy’s lawyer Michael Avenatti notes, “The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable,” adding, “We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.” Neither are we, the American people!

From Bloomberg.



The Guardian reports, “The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in the tech giant’s biggest ever data breach, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.” Oh shock! Kremlin-linked organization cheats! Remember this when thinking about how the vote was not disturbed and think about how history will not be kind if Obama lied – it certainly won’t be viewed as “white lies” in his case as it is so far with Hope Hicks. The Guardian adds, “A whistleblower has revealed,” that, “Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.” Oh, let’s imagine they did more than that as so much of the trolling over the last hellish few years has been so very, very personalized! Yes, it’s this story that has prompted TRUMPISTAN WATCH to now call Fakebook FARAbook for now as we await indictments or repercussions for their criminal negligence. Also wouldn’t it be nice to know what Mark Zuckerberg’s “parental leave” was really all about? How many CEOs take time off “to be with family” when they are having breakdowns, in rehab, are fucked or facing criminal charges?

From The Guardian.



The Guardian has “Christopher Wylie, who worked with an academic at Cambridge University to obtain the data,” quoted, “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on.” Now for FARAbook and their bullshit and lies: “Documents” that have been “confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals,” The Guardian adds, noting, “The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, separately from his work at Cambridge University. Through his company Global Science Research (GSR), in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica, hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take a personality test and agreed to have their data collected for academic use.” Of note, “Last month both Facebook and the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, told a parliamentary inquiry on fake news that the company did not have or use private Facebook data.” Well, bullshit. All the info Wylie has, “He has passed it to the National Crime Agency’s cybercrime unit and the Information Commissioner’s Office. It includes emails, invoices, contracts and bank transfers that reveal more than 50 million profiles – mostly belonging to registered US voters – were harvested from the site in the largest ever breach of Facebook data.” Amazingly FARAbook continues to act terribly in the face of any assaults on Fortress Zuck You America as The Guardian notes, “Facebook on Friday said that it was also suspending Wylie from accessing the platform while it carried out its investigation, despite his role as a whistleblower.” Remember when Trump said he wanted to suspend all Muslims from getting into the country until we figured out “what the hell is going on”? Well, what the hell is going on? Well here is the smoking gun: “The evidence he supplied to authorities in the UK and US includes a letter from Facebook’s own lawyers sent to him in August 2016, asking him to destroy any data he held that had been collected by GSR, the company set up by Kogan to harvest the profiles,” The Guardian adds.

From The Guardian.



The Guardian reports, “Cambridge Analytica employed non-American citizens to work on US election campaigns in apparent violation of federal law, despite receiving a legal warning about the risks. The company’s responsibilities under US law were laid out in a lawyer’s memo to the company’s vice-president, Steve Bannon, British CEO Alexander Nix and Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire owner Robert Mercer, in July 2014.” The letter “specifically called for Nix to step down from work on US elections.” The Guardian adds, “Employees working for Cambridge Analytica in the US at the time claimed that rather than tackling the problem, management appeared to ignore it.” The Guardian notes, “Two employees confirmed that they were still answering ultimately to Nix throughout the mid-term election campaigns that ended in November 2014. In total, more than a dozen foreigners, including Britons and Canadians, filled strategic roles in campaigns across the US.”

From The Guardian.



McClatchy reports, “Congressional investigators are examining information that an ex-National Rifle Association board member who had done legal work for the group had concerns about its ties to Russia and its possible involvement in channeling Russian funds into the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump”. McClatchy adds, “Cleta Mitchell, who represented the NRA for years, is on a newly disclosed list of people whom Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are seeking to interview. Democratic investigators for that committee’s Senate counterpart also are interested in what she may know about relationships between the NRA or its allies and wealthy Russians,” however, “Mitchell told McClatchy in an email that any suggestion she has concerns about the NRA’s Russia connections is a ‘complete fabrication.’” McClatchy notes, “The nation’s leading gun rights lobby was the biggest backer of Trump’s presidential campaign, spending $30 million to help propel him to his upset victory”.

From McClatchy.



POLITICO reports, “A year into his tenure as the country’s top intelligence official, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is reshuffling the office that oversees America’s 16 intelligence agencies, consolidating many functions under a new layer of management intended to refocus its work around a new set of security challenges.” We should be especially weary of any and all such things given what the wreckage over at the State Department looks like and because the goal of active measures is to capture the state, so foreign policy, defense and the economy. POLITICO adds that at the surface it sounds inoffensive: “The yearlong reorganization effort, driven in part by a survey of employees at ODNI and the agencies it oversees, will focus the office on four major functions: integrating intelligence streams from the various agencies it oversees; allocating resources among the agencies; promoting national security partnerships that include the private sector and foreign intelligence services; and developing strategies to grapple with future threats.” But it’s the Trump trash crew and Coats definitely met with the heads of Russia’s three major intelligence agencies when they dropped by Washington for a pow wow with their puppets so beware! This could be a ten-alarm fire in the making. POLITICO adds, “Coats briefed the DNI staff on his plans at his Liberty Crossing headquarters on Wednesday, and released a public notice of the transformation initiative late Thursday afternoon. Although the proposed reorganization will not cut any positions, and will actually promote four new deputy directors, an ODNI spokesman said it is designed to be ‘resource neutral’ by saving money in other ways.” Pay attention, this is our national security at the highest level.




The Washington Post reports, “The firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is ‘a Washington, D.C., story’ in most parts of the world, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday, downplaying the ouster of an ally in the Trump administration in his first public remarks on the issue.” The Washington Post notes, “Mattis was in Afghanistan on Tuesday when the news broke that President Trump fired the nation’s top diplomat after not seeing eye to eye on several issues. A spokesman traveling with the Pentagon chief declined to discuss the news then, but Mattis did so on a military flight to Washington at the tail end of a five-day trip that also included stops in Oman and Bahrain. Mattis, asked when and how he found out about the firing and what his reaction was, said that he ‘would prefer to not answer that.’ But he suggested that the nature of American diplomacy will not change.” The full quote: “I’m just pointing out that in most parts of the world, this is a Washington, D.C., story. It’s not about whether the United States is still an ally to the countries I’ve been, or the countries I’ve been talking to. I’ve signed letters while I’ve been out here with the normal coordination. The job goes on.”

From The Washington Post.



The Telegraph reports, “The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripalwas planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.” The Telegraph adds, “They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father.”

From The Telegraph.



ABC News reports, “The Russian ex-spy who along with his daughter was poisoned by a nerve agent in the U.K. may have been exposed to it through his car’s ventilation system.” ABC News adds, “U.K. officials now have a clearer picture of just how the attack was conducted, sources said. They believe the nerve agent was used in a dust-like powdered form and that it circulated through the vents of Skripal’s BMW.”

From ABC News.



The Daily Beast reports, “On Friday afternoon, London police announced that the death of another Russian exile, Nikolay Glushkov—a vocal Putin critic who was wanted in Russia and previously predicted he would be assassinated—is being treated as murder.” The Daily Beast notes, “Glushkov was a close friend of exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, suspected by Glushkov to have been murdered on Kremlin orders in 2013.”

From The Daily Beast.



The Guardian reports, “Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker who turned in whistleblower Chelsea Manning to law enforcement, has died at the age of 37, according to authorities in Kansas. Lamo, who testified about Manning’s release of documents to WikiLeaks, was confirmed dead on Friday by authorities in Sedgwick County. The coroner’s office has not responded to inquiries about the cause of his death.” The Guardian recalls, “Manning, a former soldier whose leaks exposed the nature of warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, was released from military prison last year after Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence. Lamo had met Manning online in 2010 and eventually reported her to the authorities. Manning had reached out to Lamo after reading an article about the hacker, who was convicted in 2004 of breaking into computers at the New York Times, Yahoo and Microsoft.” Lamo also testified against her (then him) at trial but was dismayed by the length of the sentence handed down, so not an individual without compassion or a conscience.

From The Guardian.



The Washington Post reports, “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that alliance members increased their defense spending in 2017 for a third consecutive year, amid complaints from President Trump that only a handful of the 29 allies are meeting their pledges.” The Washington Post notes, “The numbers were unlikely to allay Trump’s anger over his perception that Europe is taking the U.S. defense umbrella for granted,” because you know that is not what this is really about. The Washington Post adds, “No additional countries met NATO’s defense spending goals last year, and only four — the United States, Britain, Estonia and Greece — reached the mark, although more are expected to get there in 2018,” adding, “This year, eight countries are expected to meet NATO’s 2 percent goal: Britain, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United States. In 2017, Poland narrowly missed the cut — at 1.99 percent of its annual economic output — after its economy grew faster than it had expected when it made its defense spending plans.” Note how many of those nations were once occupied by our fake Russian bullshit president’s great friends in Moscow.

From The Washington Post.



IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “Russia appears to be building up its naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean at a time that the United States is threatening to intervene against Syrian government forces attacking the rebel enclave east of Damascus. Two major Russian naval vessels – the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Essenand the Krivak II-class anti-submarine frigate Pytivyy – were photographed passing southwards through the Bosphorus by independent ship observers on 12–13 MarchAdmiral Essen is armed with Kalibr cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 km.”

From IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.



Stars and Stripes reports, “Russia submarine activity is at its highest levels since the 1980s as Moscow continues to invest heavily in its maritime capabilities, the top military commander in Europe said Thursday.”

From Stars and Stripes.





The AP
reports, “Vladimir Putin rolled to a crushing re-election victory Sunday for six more years as Russia’s president, and he told cheering supporters in a triumphant but brief speech that ‘we are bound for success.’” That is the KGB nobility “we”. The AP notes, “With ballots from 80 percent of Russia’s precincts counted by early Monday, Putin had amassed 76 percent of the vote. Observers and individual voters reported widespread violations including ballot-box stuffing and forced voting, but the claims are unlikely to dilute the power of Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.”

From the AP.



Garry Kasparov writes in The Weekly Standard, “On March 18, the popular leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, will be reelected to another six-year term as president. This is both a plain statement of fact and a complete falsehood. In American political parlance, this statement can be taken literally, but not seriously.” Kasparov notes absurdly, “the Kremlin has worked harder to promote the other candidates in the Russian election than to advertise the incumbent, so desperate are they to pump up turnout among a demoralized citizenry that is well aware that Putin isn’t going anywhere after 18 years in power.” Of course, “There is no real selection taking place.” Kasparov adds, “When I retired from professional chess in 2005 to join the Russian pro-democracy movement against Putin, I was frequently asked how my chess experience might help me in politics. My answer was that it wouldn’t help much at all, because in chess we had fixed rules and uncertain results, while in Russian politics it was exactly the opposite.” Kasparov is right in that “calling this an election soils the meaning of a word that should be treasured.” Kasparov wryly notes, “I’m fond of asking in response to questions about Putin’s ‘popularity’ if a restaurant is popular if it’s the only one in town and every other restaurant was burned to the ground.” Of his popularity, Kasparov is right, “This is not to say that a dictator or his policies cannot have popular support. The problem is defining what support means after 18 years of a personality cult and 24/7 propaganda that portrays Putin as a demigod protecting Russia from deadly enemies without and within. A year of fake news trolling and half-baked social media memes had half of America and its vaunted media running in circles in 2016. Imagine what it does to a population when that’s all there is, every hour, every day, for nearly two decades.” Kasparov adds, “The implicit, or even explicit, offer made by authoritarians is stability in exchange for liberty,” and sadly notes, “Imagine how difficult it was for us in Russia to attack Putin’s regime as undemocratic while he was being embraced by the leaders of the free world. Even Putin’s invasion of neighboring Georgia in August 2008 resulted in no censure or sanction. He was rewarded by Obama and Hillary Clinton’s reset a few months later, confirming to him that a move into Ukraine would also go unchallenged.” Kasparov continues, “Only recently have Americans and Europeans seen up close how much damage these toxic disinformation campaigns can do even in small doses, but Russians have been immersed in them for years. Every channel, every paper, every online forum and social platform—it’s a barrage, a flood of poison.” Kasparov adds, “Last week’s attempted assassination with a nerve agent of a former Russian spy in England reminds us that Putin is willing to poison bodies in the free world, not only minds.”

From The Weekly Standard.



Timothy Snyder’s new book The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America is excerpted in The Guardian on the psycho-political transition taking place as Russia stages sham elections to coronate Putin with a fourth term in office. Snyder writes, “The collapse of the politics of inevitability ushers in another experience of time: the politics of eternity. Whereas inevitability promises a better future for everyone, eternity places one nation at the centre of a cyclical story of victimhood.” Snyder notes this means, “Time is no longer a line into the future, but a circle that endlessly returns the same threats from the past. Within inevitability, no one is responsible because we all know that the details will sort themselves out for the better; within eternity, no one is responsible because we all know that the enemy is coming no matter what we do. Eternity politicians spread the conviction that government cannot aid society as a whole, but can only guard against threats. Progress gives way to doom.” Much like Trump does (another coincidence alone, surely), “eternity politicians deny truth and seek to reduce life to spectacle and feeling.” As Snyder adds, “The cliche of the politics of inevitability is that ‘there are no alternatives.’ To accept this is to deny individual responsibility for seeing history and making change. Life becomes a sleepwalk to a premarked grave in a prepurchased plot.” Sounds like great fun!

From The Guardian.





NBC News reports, “Disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn campaigned for a Republican congressional candidate in California Friday in his first public appearance since pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.” NBC News adds, “Friday’s event to endorse Republican Omar Navarro in his challenge of 14-term Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is the latest signal that Flynn is re-entering political life while still awaiting sentencing and cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with President Donald Trump’s associates.” That is one hell of a loaded sentence! NBC News notes, “Flynn said that he wasn’t at the event in La Quinta ‘to complain about who has done me wrong or how unfair I’ve been treated or how unfair the entire process has been.’” NBC News adds, “Navarro, a conservative Republican activist who lost to Waters by more than 50 percentage points in 2016 in the strongly Democratic district, slammed her in his remarks to the crowd.” The best sentence in all this extra strong covfefe is yet to come! “Waters slammed Navarro and Flynn in a series of tweets, including noting that Navarro was on probation after being convicted of attaching a tracking device to his wife’s car,” NBC News reports, adding Waters tweeted, “Desperate, unstable, and convicted criminal Omar Navarro stoops low in soliciting help from another indicted criminal in a campaign against #MaxineWaters – what a campaign!” and, “Apparently, the two will spend a lot of time together discussing their crimes”. Jesus Christ, thank god Barnum and Bailey called it quits – how could they compete?

From NBC News.



BuzzFeed News reports, “In March 2016, weeks before Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign, a company co-owned by Manafort and his son-in-law at the time, Jeffrey Yohai, opened a bank account in conjunction with real estate development efforts the pair were undertaking in Los Angeles. Two months later, the company opened a second account at the same bank. In mid-September, however, the bank forcibly closed the accounts due to a series of transactions the bank deemed to be suspicious, and a few days before the 2016 election filed a suspicious activity report, or SAR, with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).” BuzzFeed notes, “By the end of 2016, a related company controlled by Manafort and Yohai had filed for bankruptcy, as had the companies set up to handle three of the properties involved in the pair’s efforts. Jessica Manafort filed for divorce against Yohai in March 2017, which has since been finalized. By late September 2017, Yohai informed the court overseeing the bankruptcies that the ownership of new companies set up to handle the purchases of the properties while in bankruptcy was ‘misrepresented’ to him and that Paul Manafort and others associated with those companies conspired to ‘mislead’ the court and others involved ‘as to their true intentions and motivations.’” BuzzFeed adds in the suspicious activity report the online outlet reviewed, “The Banc of California accounts, a fuller picture revealed, had funds totaling $2.6 million. Baylor Holding LLC — the company in whose name the accounts were opened — had listed properties valued between $16 million and $24 million and secured a $1 million line of credit in mid-2016 to be used for renovation and construction in preparing the properties for sale”.

From BuzzFeed News.





The Atlantic features a commentary on the forthcoming constitutional crisis by Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic, which looks at the nature of the crisis we are facing. The pair notes, “Trump can whine and he can fire senior FBI officials, but he has been singularly ineffective either in getting the bureau to investigate his political opponents (they have not yet ‘locked her up’) or in dropping the Russia investigation.” This is what has long given TRUMPISTAN WATCH hope: that the right people are being investigated. In closing, they add, “What we are seeing, in other words, is a little more dynamic than rot, a phrase that assumes we know the outcome. It’s more like constitutional infection or injury. The wound may indeed lead to a crisis; it may become gangrenous. But to describe the United States today as facing a constitutional crisis misses the frenetic pre-crisis activity of the antibodies fighting the bacteria, alongside the antibiotics the patient is taking.” This is called the cancer of the Rusian mafia state.

From The Atlantic.



Axios reports, “John Kelly acknowledged in an off-the-record session with reporters today that his boss, Donald Trump, is likely speculating about staff moves to people outside the White House and that reporters are then talking to those people.”

From Axios.



Yahoo reports Aryan princess Ivanka “is acting as secretary of state, meeting with the South Korean foreign minister in lieu of Rex Tillerson, whom President Trump fired earlier this week. On Friday, the White House confirmed the meeting between Ivanka and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha in a statement to Newsweek: ‘Ivanka and members of the NSC are meeting with the foreign minister, as they developed a close relationship during the Olympic Games. The foreign minister asked for the meeting while they were at the Olympics together.’” Horror. Yahoo notes, “Ivanka lacks complete security clearance”.

From Yahoo.



The AP reports, “When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit. But that’s exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid.” Aren’t they lovely? It was practice for not giving a damn about our people en masse but in miniature compared to now. The AP adds, “The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds. While none of the documents during a three-year period when Kushner was CEO bore his personal signature, they provide a window into the ethics of the business empire he ran before he went on to become one of the most trusted advisers to the president of the United States.”

From the AP.



POLITICO reports, “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of military aircraft has cost taxpayers nearly $1 million for eight trips, newly released documents show.” Where is he going, to Moscow? POLITICO adds, “That includes a one-week trip to the Middle East in late October, which cost $183,646 for flights on military aircraft to five different cities. That trip came on top of $811,797.81 in previously reported expenditures for government-funded military aircraft.” POLITICO notes, “Emails and other documents were obtained by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington through a Freedom of Information Act request. They corroborate information released in October by the Treasury Department’s inspector general about Mnuchin’s plane use.” Remember this is the guy who is responsible for not dropping meaningful sanctions on Russia and whose wife Louise Linton hashtags all her luxury wear that she is photographed deplaning a U.S. government flight the pair took to view the eclipse. The best people. And P.S. no the Treasury Department has not yet responded to TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s effort to get at the real sanctions list Mnuchin has so far refused to implement.




The Guardian reports, “The co-director of a company that harvested data from tens of millions of Facebook users before selling it to the controversial data analytics firms Cambridge Analytica is currently working for the tech giant as an in-house psychologist. Joseph Chancellor was one of two founding directors of Global Science Research (GSR), the company that harvested Facebook data using a personality app under the guise of academic research and later shared the data with Cambridge Analytica.” Yes, you read that right. After the data was stolen, FARAbook discovered it and did nothing, they offered the thief a Mengele for the mind-sounding job and he took it. What an evil and irresponsible company! The Guardian notes, “He was hired to work at Facebook as a quantitative social psychologist around November 2015, roughly two months after leaving GSR, which had by then acquired data on millions of Facebook users. Chancellor is still working as a researcher at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters in California, where psychologists frequently conduct research and experiments using the company’s vast trove of data on more than 2 billion users.”

From The Guardian.



The Guardian reports, “as Wylie describes it, he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating ‘Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool’.” The Guardian notes, “In 2014, Steve Bannon – then executive chairman of the ‘alt-right’ news network Breitbart – was Wylie’s boss.” The Guardian adds, “Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.” Wylie is critical to this story as “he had the receipts, invoices, emails, legal letters – records that showed how, between June and August 2014, the profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users had been harvested. Most damning of all, he had a letter from Facebook’s own lawyers admitting that Cambridge Analytica had acquired the data illegitimately.” Of course, “Going public involves an enormous amount of risk. Wylie is breaking a non-disclosure agreement and risks being sued. He is breaking the confidence of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer,” The Guardian adds, noting, “His career trajectory has been, like most aspects of his life so far, extraordinary, preposterous, implausible.” The Guardian reports, “Wylie grew up in British Columbia and as a teenager he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. He left school at 16 without a single qualification. Yet at 17, he was working in the office of the leader of the Canadian opposition; at 18, he went to learn all things data from Obama’s national director of targeting, which he then introduced to Canada for the Liberal Party. At 19, he taught himself to code, and in 2010, age 20, he came to London to study law at the London School of Economics.” The Guardian adds, “Alexander Nix, then CEO of SCL Elections, made Wylie an offer he couldn’t resist. ‘He said: “We’ll give you total freedom. Experiment. Come and test out all your crazy ideas.”’” The Guardian notes, “Wylie holds a British Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa – a UK work visa given to just 200 people a year. He was working inside government (with the Lib Dems) as a political strategist with advanced data science skills.” Also of note in terms of filling in a psychographic profile of Wylie himself, “At six, while at school, Wylie was abused by a mentally unstable person,” and, “Wylie’s childhood and school career never recovered.” For his part, he says what his former employer has done is worse than bullying because “At least bullying respects the agency of people because they know.” He also says they are “mercenaries,” in that “They’ll work for pretty much anyone who pays.”

From The Guardian.



CNN reports, “Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, whose high-flying startup has been marred by scandal,” as it was a total failure and complete fraud, “surrounded herself with a remarkable roster of well-known people.” CNN adds they included, “Investors included Oracle founder Larry Ellison, venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, now Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.” All of these creatures are linked to Trump. Additionally, “Former Secretary of States Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Senators Bill Frist and Sam Nunn, and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis were once board members.” Only some of these people are linked to Trump.

From CNN.



Town and Country reports matchmaker to Aryan princess Ivanka and princeling Jared, Wendi Murdoch says, “Artsy, though, is her passion, and if there’s any truth to the company’s few public statements, she has picked a winner.” Note “if there’s any truth” because when is there ever around such a person? Town and Country continues on to red flag number one, “Founded as a partner for galleries selling art online, Artsy says its monthly sales have doubled in the past year. In just that time the company has also become a serious player in live auctions, working with all the major houses. In 2017 it held 190 of them—not fancy evening sales, but definitely day sales for Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Between the galleries and the auction houses, Artsy says it is now facilitating sales worth more than $20 million a month, all told. Meanwhile, its rivals are laying off staff.” According to Town and Country, “Murdoch supplied seed money and strong opinions. She won’t say how much she invested, but when Artsy opened for business in 2012, it had $50 million in venture capital. Last summer, amid soaring numbers, it raised another $50 million.” Town and Country adds red flag number two into the mix as Murdoch said, “Dasha and I had an idea to do this,” she says with a bright smile, referring to Dasha Zhukova, the former wife of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. “Together we raised money… I talked to leading galleries, brought them in as our supporters. Dasha did creative design.” Town and Country drops red flag number three, “In 2010, Murdoch brought in Joshua Kushner of Thrive Capital, who wrote a check for $1.25 million. Kushner went on to lead Artsy’s $18.5 million series B round of funding.” So to keep press happy and have a nice mirror for all this possible smoke on the front, “Not everyone goes to the site to buy. Many of the twentysomethings in the office are journalists turning out Artsy’s articles for a general audience—a great way to get the word out and stay atop Google. Museums are represented on Artsy too; it’s a research tool for curators and collectors alike.” Then it gets weird and engineering the humanities to be anything but as Town and Country adds, “Now Artsy has gone further, spending a chunk of its capital on ArtAdvisor, a data science startup that uses artificial intelligence as a tool to value art.” Red flag number four?

From Town and Country.



Bloomberg reports, “Perdue is the U.S. secretary of agriculture, running an agency with a $140 billion budget and a low profile. His traveling press corps, when there is one, can squeeze into the back of a van. He may be the most aggressive enforcer of President Donald Trump’s pro-business and deregulatory agenda that the fewest Americans have ever heard of.” Great, just what we needed was a lot of orange Russian bullshit tainting the food supply. Bloomberg notes, “The short Perdue list includes reversing a regulation to boost protection of the welfare of animals in organic-food production; supporting revocation of a 2015 clean-water directive; axing another Obama-era decree giving small poultry producers more power to sue big buyers such as Tyson Foods Inc.; and reorganizing the USDA to give more official power to staffers tasked with promoting production and trade rather than food safety or rural development,” adding, “As the head of one of 15 executive departments in a rule-busting administration, the former Georgia governor and onetime veterinarian is admired by many in Washington for making fast-paced changes without generating much negative attention.” Additionally, “Perdue, 71, is one of the rare cabinet secretaries in the administration who hasn’t run afoul of the president,” Bloomberg notes. There was one exception: “Perdue’s ‘Harvest Box,’ a controversial proposal announced last month to replace some spending on food stamps — which Perdue has criticized for creating a culture of dependency — with boxes of food. The plan would reverse a decades-old policy allowing low-income Americans to make their own decisions about what food to purchase.”

From Bloomberg.



The Washington Post reports, “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday used a Japanese greeting in response to a congresswoman’s question about preserving the history of Japanese American internment during World War II, drawing rebukes from lawmakers who said his remark was offensive. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), a fourth-generation American of Japanese ancestry, asked Zinke in a hearing whether he would continue a National Park Service grant program that funds research and preserves confinement sites where the government incarcerated as many as 120,000 people of Japanese descent. She said both of her grandfathers were internees.” The Washington Post adds Hanabusa asked Zinke if he was “committed to continue the grant programs that are identified, I believe, as the Japanese American Confinement Sites grants program, which were funded in 2017? Will we see them funded again in 2018?” His response: “Oh, konnichiwa. For real. The best people. The Washington Post notes, “After an awkward pause, Hanabusa corrected him. ‘I think it’s still “ohayo gozaimasu,” but that’s okay,’ she said, using the phrase for ‘good morning.’ Then she moved on.” Of course given what we are working with today alongside the Russians with this fake administration and their draconian, hateful anti-immigrant policies, it “was especially inappropriate coming during a conversation about Japanese internment, under which the government forced innocent citizens into overcrowded and often unsanitary camps, separating families and seizing private property in the process.”

From The Washington Post.



The Guardian reports, “Let’s talk about where much of the money for those expensive London houses and iceberg basements may have come from. In 2005, for instance, [Roman] Abramovich sold Sibneft, the oil company the late Boris Berezovsky originally created out of a so-called loans-for-shares privatisation, to Gazprom, which is owned by the Russian state, for $13bnAlisher Usmanov – the Uzbek-born business magnate who built up a 30% stake in Arsenal football club – meanwhile bought the metallurgical businesses of Gazprom’s investment arm, which laid the foundation of Metalloinvest, the multibillion-pound holding company of his immense empireAndrey Yakunin’s fund benefited from the sale of a portfolio of hotels situated on land plots previously owned by the Russian state railway monopoly,” of which his father had been CEO. The Guardian adds, “Ukrainian-born Sir Leonard Blavatnik privatised the oil company TNK, together with his partners Mikhail Fridman and Victor Vekselberg, in a joint venture with BP. In the end, these partners sold their half to the Russian state-owned Rosneft for a handsome $55bn.” The Guardian adds, “Accompanying this accumulation of great wealth, there have been allegations against some oligarchs of breaches of either criminal, civil or professional codes, or ethical norms, at times without foundation. Abramovich was accused by his ex-partner, Berezovsky, of stealing his share of Sibneft. Berezovsky lost his case. But the dramatic trial in London exposed the protection and control the Kremlin exercises in the world of Russian business.” So “why are Russian oligarchs so welcome in London?” Well, The Guardian notes, “Many appear to be non-doms: many pay UK taxes only on the tiny fractions of their wealth that they remit to England in order to support their living expenses. Some claim residences in Russia, Israel, Malta, Cyprus, Austria and so on. They appear to be suitcase businessmen, typical fantastic beasts.” They cleanse themselves in the eyes of the public and the elites with philanthropy. As The Guardian notes, “The Sunday Times Giving List ranked Usmanov in the top 10 most generous philanthropists in the UK by total donations made in 2016. Abramovich has been the largest donor to the Fulfilling Dreams charity, which provides holidays around the world for children with serious illnesses. Blavatnik was knighted for his philanthropy in the UK. The beneficiaries of his charitable donations – all bearing his name – were a wing in Tate Modern, and the School of Government in Oxford.” My god, that tells you everything. The Guardian observes, “One lesson the British public must learn from observing the oligarchs is that they do not add value to the economy or society to the degree that is being presented by some commentators.” Or, say the state.

From The Guardian.





The Washington Post reports, “memo leaked to HuffPost last week revealed that the housing secretary has plans to change the mission statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, by stripping out the phrase ‘free from discrimination’ and cutting references to ‘quality homes’ and ‘inclusive communities.’ A new, shorter statement will emphasize ‘self-sufficiency’ and ‘opportunity,’ in line with Carson’s stated distaste for desegregation initiatives and intense fear that someone might accidentally feel comfortable in public housing.” The Washington Post notes, “Last month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services eliminated the phrase ‘America’s promise as a nation of immigrants’ from its mission statement; in the new version, CIS is focused on ‘securing the homeland.’ This past summer, officials at the State Department scrubbed the word democracy’ from theirs.” Of course, “these mission modifications are actually significant interventions,” not to mention Orwellian bullshit given that the empire has no security as long as orange Russian bullshit is squatting in the Whites Only Haus.

From The Washington Post.



The Washington Post reports, “For a week, the world has waited: When would ‘60 Minutes’ air its interview with porn star Stormy Daniels alleging an affair with President Trump?” There is now an answer to that question: March 25. Of course, “Interviews such as this — promising insights into an alleged affair between a future president and a porn star, set against the roiling #MeToo movement — are ratings gold,” which is the whole point of everything in Trumpistan.

From The Washington Post.



The Financial Times reports, “Cambridge Analytica, the data firm alleged to have used the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge in its work for Donald Trump’s election campaign, is trying to stop the broadcast of an undercover Channel 4 News report in which its chief executive talks unguardedly about its practices.” Amazing! The Financial Times adds, “Channel 4 reporters posed as prospective clients and had a series of meetings with Cambridge Analytica that they secretly filmed — including at least one with Alexander Nix, its chief executive.” The Financial Times notes the episode “is due to air this week”. Bring. It. On.

From The Financial Times.



The Washington Post carries an opinion column by John Kirakou, “a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” who now, “co-hosts ‘Loud and Clear’ on Sputnik Radio, which is funded by the Russian government.” This is how you know his voice is influential in Washington these days among the disinfo agents and investigation interference runners. Kirakou is most known by the public for going public with details about Bush’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” and his is a tale that is a little too typical of Washington: feelings of institutional betrayal lead one to burrow further down the rabbit hole due to feelings of extraordinary disillusionment. Kirakou writes he “headed counterterrorism operations in Pakistan from January to May 2002,” and, “captured dozens of al-Qaeda fighters, including senior training-camp commanders,” among them, “Abu Zubaida, mistakenly thought at the time to be the third-ranking person in the militant group.” Kirakou writes in May of 2002 the CIA tortured Abu Zubaida, something he declined to participate in whereas Gina Haspel had not. Kirakou writes, “Putting Haspel in charge of the CIA would undo attempts by the agency — and the nation — to repudiate torture. The message this sends to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work.” Does he worry about working for the Russian government which tortures far more of its own citizens as a matter of policy on a scale that even the worst scandals to emerge in America have not yet revealed possible here? This is not an excuse or an apology for torture anywhere, TRUMPISTAN WATCH concurs torture is unconditionally wrong and deviant, but scale people, scale. If what Kirakou writes is accurate (all ex-CIA officers have to have their post-CIA writings subject to review by a special board that has powers of censorship over them), “Haspel was a protege of and chief of staff for Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s notorious former deputy director for operations and former director of the Counterterrorism Center. And that Rodriguez eventually assigned Haspel to order the destruction of videotaped evidence of the torture of Abu Zubaida. The Justice Department investigated, but no one was ever charged in connection with the incident.” While this is undeniably horrific, imagine how horrific it would be to have someone who was not loyal to our country but say Russia there and how this could turn from not only a handful of suspects abroad but large masses of the population at home. All wars do come home, though, eventually as the Jon Burge Chicago police torture scandal in Chicago reveals. Ironically Kirakou notes, “The meaning of Haspel’s nomination won’t be lost on our enemies, either.” Pity he happens to be working for one.

From The Washington Post.


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