—–ON THE AGENDA—–
NEW ROUND OF SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
Business Insider reports, “US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on Sunday that the US will imminently impose a new rounds of sanctions on Russia. ‘Russian sanctions will be coming down,’ Haley said during an interview on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’ ‘[Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use.’” The New York Times adds, “ The Trump administration plans to impose new sanctions against Russia on Monday to punish it for enabling the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in its civil war, the latest in a series of actions by both sides underscoring the deterioration in relations between Moscow and the West.”
COHEN COURT APPEARANCE WITH POSSIBLE STORMY CAMEO
Reuters reports, “U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan ordered Cohen to appear in court on Monday afternoon, after holding three hearings on Friday into his request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking prosecutors from reviewing seized materials.” The New York Daily News adds, “Stormy Daniel’s lawyer announced a likely upcoming appearance by the porn actress—at a hearing for President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen Monday.”
THE PENTAGON STRIKES SYRIA; TRUMP DELIVERS DOD’S MESSAGE FIRST
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump made good on his threats to attack Syria Friday night, launching what he called ‘precision strikes’ against three chemical weapons sites in a military action certain to enrage Russia and raise new questions about his Middle East strategy. Trump announced the strikes in a somber televised address less than a week after what U.S. officials call a poison gas attack on civilians conducted by Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime.” POLITICO adds, “At a Pentagon briefing late Friday night, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the strikes were limited to Syrian chemical weapons facilities and did not target Syrian troops or military assets.” In a somber, stately briefing, the Pentagon noted that, “despite previous threats from Moscow to shoot down U.S. cruise missiles, Dunford said he was not aware of any response by Russia’s military, which has fought alongside its ally Assad for years in Syria’s brutal civil war. Dunford added that the U.S. had used a pre-existing ‘deconfliction’ line of communication with Moscow, adding: ‘We did not do any coordination with the Russians on the strike, nor did we pre-notify them.’ Flanked by Dunford and the British and French defense attaches, whose militaries assisted the U.S. operation, Mattis called the attacks a ‘one-time shot.’” POLITICO adds, “The first target, Dunford said, was a facility near Damascus where chemical weapons were manufactured. The second and third targets were chemical weapons storage and command-and-control facilities near Homs. Other Syrian chemical weapons facilities were not struck, Dunford said, due to concerns about harming civilians.”
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED LIKE IT’S 2003
POLITICO reports, “Trump on Saturday morning heralded a ‘perfectly executed strike,’ praising the military and tweeting that it was ‘Mission Accomplished!’” He later doubled down and made it clear he had no idea that this is forever associated with George W. Bush’s failed war in Iraq after he declared combat operations were over aboard an aircraft carrier before a banner with these words written on it. One imagines when the regime of our fake Russian bullshit president is toppled this phrase will get much mileage.
PENCE TO RUSSIA: “YOU’RE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY”
CBS News reports, “Vice President Mike Pence had a simple message for Russia Saturday, after overnight airstrikes in Syria that Russia condemned.” CBS adds, “‘Our message to Russia is, you’re on the wrong side of history,’ Pence, who is in Peru in President Trump’s place this weekend, told reporters. ‘It’s time for Russia to get the message that President Trump delivered last night. That you’re known by the company you keep.’” CBS News notes, “Pence said Iran also is partly to blame in Syria. ‘Russia and Iran are on the wrong side of history,’ Pence added.”
From CBS News.
TWITLER FREAKS AFTER INITIAL COMEY PR BLITZ
How will he survive Stalingrad? The Washington Post reports, “President Trump lashed out Friday at former FBI director James B. Comey on Twitter, calling him a ‘weak and untruthful slime ball’ who deserved to be fired ‘for the terrible job he did.’” Dood bro, he gave you the presidency by violating the Hatch Act, chillax. Or at least wait until Sunday but whatever, ship is sinking, bullshit spraying everywhere, regime in flames, let it bleed and let the motherfucker burn, burn motherfucker burn. The Washington Post adds, “‘It was my great honor to fire James Comey!’ Trump wrote in his first remarks since advance copies surfaced of Comey’s upcoming book that includes blistering descriptions of Trump and his presidency.” All very healthy alternative fact ideation! The Washington Post adds, “On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted criticism of Comey, denying some of Comey’s allegations and alleging that Comey revealed classified information and lied to Congress. ‘Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!’ Trump wrote.” The Telegraph adds Twitler “called for former FBI director James Comey to be jailed, accusing him of revealing classified information and of lying to Congress.
COMEY: TRUMP UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT
The Washington Post reports, “Former FBI director James B. Comey said in his first televised interview since being fired that he believed Donald Trump was ‘morally unfit to be president’ and that it was ‘possible’ that the Russians had material that could be used to blackmail him. In a wide-ranging conversation with George Stephanopoulos broadcast on ABC late Sunday, Comey took aim at Trump in no uncertain terms, comparing his administration to a mafia family, likening his presidency to a forest fire and asserting there was evidence that he had committed a crime.” Comey said, “This president does not reflect the values of this country”. The Washington Post adds, “Comey detailed in the interview Trump’s fixation on unproven allegations that he watched prostitutes urinate on one another in a Moscow hotel in 2013, asserting that Trump at one point said he was contemplating ordering Comey to investigate and disprove the incident because he did not want ‘even a 1 percent chance’ that his wife, first lady Melania Trump, would believe it happened. Comey said that struck him as odd. ‘I remember thinking, “How could your wife think there’s a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?”’ he said, adding that his assessment was it’s possible Trump is guilty of the accusation. ‘I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,’ Comey said. ‘It’s possible, but I don’t know.’” The Washington Post notes, “Comey described in great detail several conversations he had with Trump, telling Stephanopoulos of how the president asked for his loyalty and how that interaction and others reminded him of his time as a prosecutor in New York pursuing mob families, for whom loyalty to the boss and the organization were the only values that mattered.” ABC News published the full transcript.
TRUMP PARDONS SCOOTER LIBBY; FU TO MUELLER, SIGNAL TO MANAFORT
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, the chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney who was caught up in the investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.” POLITICO adds, “Libby came under scrutiny in connection with the leak in 2003 of the identity of Plame, who had worked undercover overseas and was married to a prominent George W. Bush administration critic, Joseph Wilson. Libby was never charged with leaking, but was indicted in 2005 on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to investigators, largely for denying his contacts with the media about Plame.” POLITICO notes, “Trump so far has used his pardon power sparingly, but there has been intense speculation over whether Trump may pardon any of his aides facing charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, particularly former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has so far refused to cooperate with Mueller’s probe,” meaning this was a signal to him. POLITICO adds, “Plame, appearing on MSNBC on Friday,” agrees and “suggested that Trump is telegraphing a message to Manafort and other aides, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are also key figures in the Russia investigation.” Plame said she did not believe it was about her or Libby but rather “I think he’s got an audience of three right now. That would be Manafort, Flynn and Kushner, and perhaps others.” Amen.
FORMER RUSSIAN SPY WORKED ON TRUMP MOSCOW PROJECT IN 2016
BuzzFeed reports, “A former Russian spy helped Donald Trump’s business team seek financing for a Trump-branded tower in the heart of Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign”. BuzzFeed adds, “This connection between Trump and Russian intelligence — made public here for the first time — is known to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and raises fresh questions about the president’s connections to the Kremlin. The former agent, who had served in Russia’s military intelligence arm known as the GRU and later worked as an arms dealer, negotiated for financing from a Russian state-owned bank that was under US sanctions at the time,” VTB Bank. BuzzFeed notes, “The former Russian spy also helped pass intelligence to the United States government on key national security matters, including al-Qaeda’s weapons caches and North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. BuzzFeed News is not naming the Russian agent because two US intelligence officials said that doing so would endanger his life,” but, “That individual is a former colonel with Russia’s military intelligence,” who worked with Felix Sater on this project. BuzzFeed adds, “Sater contacted the former GRU officer in 2015 to help arrange financing.”
TRUMP CALLS COHEN FRIDAY
ABC News reports, “President Donald Trump spoke Friday with his personal attorney Michael Cohen,” adding remarkably, “Cohen still remains Trump’s attorney.”
From ABC News.
PROSECUTORS ATTACK COHEN’S PRIVACY CLAIM IN COURT FRIDAY
Reuters reports, “A U.S. prosecutor on Friday attacked a claim by President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen that many of the materials seized this week in FBI raids on Cohen’s office and home as part of a criminal investigation should remain private.” Reuters adds, “Prosecutors also confirmed in a court filing on Friday that they have been investigating Cohen for months, largely over his business dealings rather than his legal work.” Reuters notes, “Cohen wants Wood to let them or a ‘special master’ review the seized materials to decide what can be turned over, without violating the right of his clients to shield communications with their lawyers.” Reuters adds, “The judge also heard from a new lawyer for Trump, Joanna Hendon, who said the president had ‘an acute interest’ in the case. Hendon, who said Trump hired her on Wednesday evening, urged Wood not to decide who gets first shot to review seized documents until after she files a brief by Sunday night.” Let the good times roll!
MICHAEL COHEN WAS IN PRAGUE IN AUGUST 2016
McClatchy reports, “The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign”. This is significant as, “Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election. It would also be one of the most significant developments thus far in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House.” McClatchy notes, “Cohen has vehemently denied for months that he ever has been in Prague or colluded with Russia during the campaign.” McClatchy adds, “It’s unclear whether Mueller’s investigators also have evidence that Cohen actually met with a prominent Russian – purportedly Konstantin Kosachev, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — in the Czech capital. Kosachev, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of a body of the Russian legislature, the Federation Council, also has denied visiting Prague during 2016. Earlier this month, Kosachev was among 24 high-profile Russians hit with stiff U.S. sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s meddling.” McClatchy adds, “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany, apparently during August or early September of 2016 as the ex-spy reported”.
FBI SEIZED CALLS WITH STORMY’S FORMER ATTORNEY DURING RAID
CNN reports, “The FBI seized recordings President Donald Trump’s attorney made of his conversations with a lawyer representing two women who had alleged affairs with Trump”. CNN adds, “Cohen recorded some calls he had with attorney Keith Davidson, who at the time represented both Daniels and McDougal. Davidson no longer represents either woman.”
DEATH CULT GOP TOP DONOR RESIGNS OVER PLAYMATE ABORTION PAYOUT
In the aftermath of the initial reports of the aforementioned item, POLITICO reports, “GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy has stepped down as Republican National Committee deputy finance chair”. POLITICO notes, “The departure followed reports on Friday afternoon that in 2017, President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen had negotiated a $1.6 million payment on Broidy’s behalf to a Playboy Playmate who said that Broidy had impregnated her.” Wait isn’t the death cult supposed to be all pro-life when they are not supporting neo-Nazis barging into a school to gun down 17 former classmates with a military-grade weapon? Or when it’s neo-Nazis again(!) on the streets alongside a pistol-firing militia member, gangs of thugs with sticks, and a young man willing to drive his car into a crowd on the streets of Charlottesville? Confusing! In any event, “He is the second RNC Finance Committee member to step aside in recent months,” because sometimes you just gotta grab ‘em by the pussy, you know? The Wall Street Journal adds the payment came from the same Delaware LLC responsible for paying out a Miss Stormy Daniels: Essential Consultants. You know how this went down: Trump said to Broidy, “I got a guy.”
SPEAKING OF “I GOT A GUY”…
The Daily Beast, citing the pay walled Wall Street Journal article, rewrites, “President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen reportedly killed a 2013 Us Weekly story alleging that Donald Trump Jr. had an affair with a Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day”. The Daily Beast adds, “When the magazine called the Trump Organization for comment on the story, Cohen allegedly called back and threatened legal action.” The Daily Beast notes, “The magazine then dropped the story after determining that it was not worth the legal fight, and wanting to maintain a ‘good working relationship’ with President Trump on Apprentice-related stories.”
From The Daily Beast.
FBI WANTS INFO ON COHEN’S TAXI BUSINESS PARTNERS
CNN reports, “FBI agents who raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen sought information about taxi owners who had financial dealings with Cohen”. CNN adds, “The warrant, in addition to seeking other records and documents, specifically identified Semyon and Yasya Shatayner, Ukrainian immigrants who own a large taxi operation in Chicago”. CNN notes, “Cohen is listed as someone who repeatedly loaned money to the Shatayners within the past 10 years”.
COHEN PICTURED SMOKING A STOGIE WITH DEUTSCHE BANK EXECUTIVE
The Guardian reports, “One of the men photographed smoking cigars around Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in New York last week was once accused of racially abusing and threatening to run over a black parking attendant. Jerry Rotonda, a Deutsche Bank executive, was charged with violating the civil rights of Shirlene Pierce after she placed a $20 ticket on his Audi for an expired meter in Boston in December 1998. Rotonda, 50, was pictured on the outskirts of a gathering Cohen held outside the Loews Regency hotel on Manhattan’s upper East side on Friday, while Cohen’s attorneys were in court trying to seal documents seized from him by the FBI.” Recall, both Trump and his princeling son-in-law Jared Kushner are heavily indebted to Deutsche Bank, which loaned to them at a time when no one else would.
From The Guardian.
WHITE HOUSE TRIED TO BLOCK PENCE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
Axios reports, “The White House kept it quiet until now, but on Friday the President nearly blocked the Vice President from getting his chosen national security adviser.” Axios notes, “Trump typically gives Pence a long leash on personnel appointments. This is the first time the President has tried to block Pence from filling a senior staff position. The scene also highlights — once again — the extraordinary importance Trump places on personal loyalty.” According to Axios, “Trump was furious when he learned Pence was bringing on Nikki Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner”. Axios adds, “The President believed Lerner was a card-carrying member of the ‘Never Trump’ movement because Lerner crafted brutal attack ads for Club for Growth’s multimillion-dollar anti-Trump blitz during the Republican primaries.” Axios adds, “Trump told Kelly to get rid of Lerner. On Friday, as turmoil unfolded, Pence’s team was on the plane to Peru for the Summit of the Americas. Pence’s team got wind of what was happening, and when Pence landed he called the President and talked him around on Lerner, according to administration officials familiar with the situation. Trump was in the Oval when Pence called.” However, Reuters adds, “A new national security aide to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stepped down on Sunday, only two days after being officially named to the job, after a behind-the-scenes White House argument hit the headlines, a White House official said.”
MANAFORT’S BANKER MET WITH ARMY OFFICIALS ABOUT JOB
ABC7 Chicago reports, “Shortly after President Donald Trump was elected, congressional Democrats say an economic advisor to his campaign, and Chicago bank executive, was in touch with top military personnel about becoming Secretary of the Army. The banker, Stephen Calk, met in Chicago on November 16, 2016 with ‘the Army’s Chief of Staff’ according to defense department documents obtained by a House Oversight Committee.” Yes, this is the fake Russian bullshit president’s former and since indicted campaign manager Paul Manafort trying to literally sell off our national security to secure an overvalued home loan. Horror. ABC7 Chicago adds, “Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley was in Chicago during that time period and according to his social media posts that show him speaking at Soldier Field and meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel for Veteran’s Day,” and he also did a lunch for local business leaders which Calk attended. ABC7 notes, “The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether that meeting was part of a ‘quid-pro-quo arrangement to secure Mr. Calk a job in Mr. Trump’s administration,’ specifically the post of Army Secretary. About the same time, Calk’s business, the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, provided the first of several mortgage loans, totaling $16 million, to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.” Yes, the bank actually has the initials FSB. As tragic as this all is, most of all is the failure of it all as, “Calk did not get the nomination as Army Secretary and it is not certain whether he was actually in the running for that or any other post at the Department of Defense,” but he did position himself to face a world of legal hurt instead. The Wall Street Journal adds, “An executive whose bank lent as much as $16 million to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort around the time the banker was seeking to become Army secretary called Army personnel shortly after the election to inquire about the confirmation process”.
ROGER STONE THREATENS MAN’S DOG AFTER LINKS STONE TO J-ASS
Yahoo reports, “New York City comic and ex-radio host Randy Credico says that longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone sent him ‘scary,’ obscenity-filled emails — including one threatening his dog — after he went public disputing Stone’s claim that Credico was his ‘backchannel’ to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Yahoo continues, “In a new interview on the Yahoo News podcast ‘Skullduggery,’ Credico shared with co-hosts Daniel Klaidman and Michael Isikoff email messages he said he had received from Stone in just the last few days.” One of the emails reads, “You are a rat. You are a stoolie. You backstab your friends — run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds”. Yahoo adds, “Then Stone added: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you,’ referring to Credico’s ‘therapy’ dog, a Coton de Tulear named Bianca. ‘Not a f***ing thing you can do about it either because you are a weak broke piece of s***.’” This is all incredibly healthy coming from a close aide of an American president, even a fake Russian bullshit one. Yahoo reports, “‘I think he’s wigging out right now,’ Credico said. ‘After Cohen was raided, I’m sure he thinks he’s next.’ Asked for comment, Stone responded Thursday night in an an email to Isikoff: ‘Go f*** yourself FBI Schill [sic].’”
BALLER DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN TAKING CUES FROM DOJ ETHICS OFFICE
CNN reports, “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continues to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after consulting with a career ethics adviser at the Justice Department about his ability to oversee the Russia probe.” CNN adds, “Rosenstein has consulted with the ethics adviser over the course of the investigation on whether he needs to recuse himself, and he has followed that individual’s advice”. CNN notes, “Rosenstein has offered little by way of explanation publicly, but he made clear last year that if he were to become a subject of Mueller’s investigation, he would recuse himself.”
INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT FAULTS FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR MCCABE
The Washington Post reports, “The Justice Department Inspector General alleges in a damaging report made public Friday that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe inappropriately authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and then misled investigators and former FBI Director James B. Comey about it on several occasions.” The Washington Post adds, “The report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz is remarkable for its level of detail, casting McCabe as a man who repeatedly lied to investigators and his own boss about his role in a disclosure of information, even while he lashed out at others who he thought might be responsible for leaks. It accuses McCabe of lying at least four times, three of them under oath, and says that while he had the power to approve disclosures of information to the media, his doing so in this instance violated policy because it was done ‘in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.’ It also says McCabe and Comey contradicted one another in their descriptions of how a media disclosure was authorized.” In a burst of totally unhinged crazy, The Washington Post notes how “Trump wrote on Twitter Friday, ‘DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster. He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!’” The Washington Post adds for the rebuttal, “Michael Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, said in a statement that McCabe’s treatment was ‘far more harsh and far less fair than he deserved,’ and that the inspector general’s report ‘utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe.’ He said the report did not detail ‘any understandable motive for his alleged wrongdoing,’ and said Trump had ‘further tainted the process’ with his previous public comments on the Justice Department inspector general.” CBS News posted the full report.
FBI NAMES NEW DEPUTY DIRECTOR
POLITICO reports, “The FBI on Friday said it has officially replaced former deputy director Andrew McCabe,” adding, “Director Christopher Wray has tapped Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich to ascend to McCabe’s role, according to a bureau release. Bowdich previously served as assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, where he oversaw investigations including the San Bernardino terror attack and the LAX active shooter investigation.”
DEATH CULT GOP COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN WANT THE COMEY MEMOS
The Hill reports, “Three Republican House chairman have asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide copies of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos, which are said to detail the conversations he had with President Trump before he was fired. In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday, the lawmakers requested that they receive the memos in unredacted form, arguing that they have a legal basis to review them.” The Hill adds, “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) all signed the letter.”
From The Hill.
ALEXANDER NIX LIED TO THE HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE
BuzzFeed reports, “Two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee have told BuzzFeed News that the head of the embattled political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica misled the committee last year when he denied that his company had obtained millions of personal records through Facebook. Alexander Nix’s disputed testimony is likely to intensify pressure in Washington for more information on the role Cambridge Analytica played in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, including whether Trump’s digital operation gave data to Russians to help them target US voters through social media.” Bring. It. On. BuzzFeed notes, “Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has sought emails of Cambridge Analytica employees who were assigned to the Trump campaign. Any effort by the Trump campaign to help Russia could fit into Mueller’s broad investigation into possible coordination between the two.” BuzzFeed adds, “Nix’s testimony to the committee in December has not been made public. But Reps. Mike Quigley and Joaquin Castro, who are Democratic members of the committee, both said they believe he was dishonest when he was asked whether Cambridge Analytica had obtained its data from Facebook.”
GERMANY: RUSSIA HACKED OUR FOREIGN MINISTRY
Reuters reports, “The German government has to assume that a cyber attack on its Foreign Ministry stemmed from Russia, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the broadcaster ZDF on Sunday.”
RUSSIA IS FREAKING OUT + FLAILING IT’S ARMS LIKE TRUMP – WEAK!
The Washington Post reports, “Russia banned a popular messaging app, threatened to pirate U.S. goods, and claimed Great Britain had orchestrated a staged chemical attack in Syria — all on the same day.” Oooh, scary! Note how none of these are military options or involve banking or sanctions because after all, their counter-sanctions only created a headache, as they had to move goods from the West through friendly third countries such as Belarus and Armenia. The Washington Post cautions, “Friday’s rapid-fire series of events underscored the intensity with which Russia’s estrangement from the West and its rollback of domestic freedoms continues to play out. Analysts warned that rock bottom is still far off.” The Washington Post adds, “the way Friday unfolded showed how Putin is girding for an escalating battle on multiple fronts — from tamping down the opposition at home to engaging in an expanding economic — and potentially even military — conflict abroad.” The Washington Post notes, “Amid the escalating tensions, opposition leader Navalny announced plans for nationwide protests against the Kremlin to be held the weekend before Putin’s May 7 inauguration for a fourth term. But in the past, tensions with the West have helped shore up Putin’s support domestically.”
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIA THREATENS US TITANIUM SUPPLY
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “If a bill on the response to the US sanctions is adopted, Russia will stop the supply of titanium, which is necessary for the production of Boeing aircraft, to the United States, Sergey Ryabuhin, the chairman of Federation Council’s committee on budget, told Sputnik on Friday.” Don’t worry this will probably be handled like all the other counter-sanctions: through a third country!
RUSSIA SENDS WARSHIPS WITH TANKS TOWARDS SYRIA
Yahoo reports, “Russia has sent two warships carrying tanks and military equipment towards the Middle East following co-ordinated military action in Syria. The boats were spotted on The Bosphorus on Sunday, as Vladimir Putin warned that the world would experience ‘chaos’ if Syria was attacked again.” Yahoo adds, “A Russian military source claimed that the ships are ‘keeping track at a close distance of US and NATO assault ships and submarines in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea’.”
RUSSIA TO REPEAT ITS BALTIC AIRSPACE SHUTDOWN FOR “TESTS”, AGAIN!
Public broadcasting of Latvia reports, “Latvia’s Defense Ministry reported April 13 that the Russian military will for the second time in as many weeks shut down air traffic over parts of the Baltic Sea, apparently in order to fire missiles.” This is curious as last time they provided no advance warning nor did they disclose anything more than missile testing as a generic stand in for doing absolutely nothing we are aware of. Public broadcasting of Latvia adds, “‘Russia’s Chief Air Traffic Control Center has informed the Latvian Civil Aviation Agency that the Russian Navy has reserved airspace from April 17 to 19, and plans to perform test missile launches in airspace above the exclusive economic zone of Latvia in the Baltic Sea on April 19, from 11:00 to 23:00,’ the ministry said. The Russian side has called on the Civil Aviation Agency of Latvia to close airspace to a height of 20 kilometers in a missile firing zone approximately 40 kilometers from the coastline of Latvia.” Citing the fact that Russian safety is basically shit, “‘The [Latvian] Ministry of Defense continues to regard this kind of training in the immediate vicinity of the territorial waters of Latvia as unjustified and provocative, and expresses its concern about Russia’s ability to provide security during such training,’ the ministry said, adding that on April 12 a Russian Ka-29 military helicopter crashed shortly before midnight on the coast of the Kaliningrad Region over the Baltic Sea during a night flight trial. Both members of the crew were killed.” Public broadcasting of Latvia notes, “Russia shut down parts of the Baltic Sea during a previous rocket shooting exercise in the exclusive economic zone of Latvia from 4 to 6 April, though no missiles were actually detected when bad weather prevented the stunt generating any suitable photo opportunities for international media,” the greatest clarity we have to date on what the fuck happened there. In any case, sad!
HEAD OF RUSSIA’S INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE TAUNTS OLEG DERIPASKA
The Daily Beast reports, “Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s feared Investigative Committee, had unkind words for the Russian oligarch during a recent lecture to law students at St. Petersburg University. Bastrykin told his audience about a boy who had shouted ‘down with corruption’ as he hung on a lamp post during a protest on Moscow’s Pushkin Square in March 2017: ‘Do you know who he was? The son of Deripaska, who Navalny caught vacationing with some woman.’ The young man was questioned by police, according to Bastrykin, and told them he had traveled half the world with his father and was already bored with life, but he had never been in Pushkin Square, named for Russia’s greatest poet.” The Daily Beast adds, “It’s funny, Bastrykin went on, that the heirs of the Russian oligarchs allow themselves to shout about crime. Because no one has forgotten that ‘Deripaska has himself figured in corruption cases, which would have been pursued if amnesties hadn’t come up. In the 1990s, the economy was being derailed with the help of corruption, direct banditry, fraud. The state pretended that this era was over, all was forgiven. Well, it’s not for you, Deripaska’s son, to shout “down with corruption!”’” The Daily Beast cautions, “Bastrykin has a history of becoming unhinged—he once was forced to apologize publicly for threatening to kill a journalist who offended him—and Putin is rumored to be considering a major reorganization of his investigative agencies. So perhaps Bastrykin was just feeling under pressure and decided to vent. But his comments may also have reflected displeasure with Deripaska on the part of Putin”.
From The Daily Beast.
RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST FELL TO DEATH
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian investigative journalist Maksim Borodin of Yekaterinburg has died of injuries sustained on April 12 when he fell from the window of his fifth-floor apartment. Borodin, 32, died on April 15 in a hospital without recovering consciousness. Officially, his death was being investigated as a suicide.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “Polina Rumyantseva, the editor in chief of Novy Den, where Borodin worked, said the same day that she did not believe Borodin committed suicide. A friend of Borodin’s, Vyacheslav Bashkov, wrote on Facebook on April 15 that Borodin contacted him at 5 a.m. on April 11 and said his building was surrounded by ‘security forces’ wearing camouflage and face masks. He said that Borodin was alarmed, but not hysterical or drunk. Borodin reportedly said that he believed his apartment was about to be searched and that the security officers were waiting for a court order. He asked Bashkov to find him a lawyer. An hour later, however, Borodin called back and said he had been mistaken and that the security officers were conducting some sort of drill.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Borodin regularly wrote on crime and corruption. In recent weeks, he wrote extensively about the deaths in February of Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria, identifying several fighters from the Urals city of Asbest who had been killed. On February 7, a group of Russian mercenaries with tanks and artillery attacked territory held by U.S.-backed opponents of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S.-led international coalition responded with air strikes that are believed to have killed dozens of Russian fighters.” Recall these are fighters that officially the Kremlin and the Russian government denies exist or are in Syria.
DENMARK WILL GREENLIGHT NORDSTREAM2 IF UKRAINE TRANSIT SOLVED
Ukrinform reports, “Denmark has decided to link the permit for the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia’s guarantees for the continuation of gas transit to Europe via Ukraine. ‘In this regard, the Ukrainian issue is crucial,’ Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in Berlin after the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel”. Ukrinform adds, “Rasmussen recalled that the Danish government had not yet given its consent to the construction of the gas pipeline in the country’s exclusive economic zone. Danish laws require the government ‘to take into account the geopolitical framework conditions’ when making a decision. This aspect is now being studied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.’” Ukrinform notes, “It is clear that Nord Stream 2 is not only a purely commercial project, but involves politics as well, the Danish Prime Minister said. Its construction concerns not only Denmark, therefore, according to Rasmussen, he is glad that Chancellor Merkel made an unequivocal statement on this issue on April 10.” Hint: do not take Russia’s guarantees of anything at face value.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
TRUMP’S GREATEST CON WAS CHEATING US OUT OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY
The Atlantic carries a piece by former CIA officer turned #NeverTrump presidential candidate Evan McMullin. In it he writes, “Trump’s attack on the rule of law and the essential institutions of American democracy is not a partisan issue, a contest between the left and the right. He is forcing a fight for the integrity of our system of self-rule, for our liberty.” Nail hit on the head! We cannot pretend everyone is equal under the law or even that justice is for everyone in these lands but our sovereignty and our freedoms are at stake. We cannot rely on the press alone as McMullin rightfully points out as, “The press offers another avenue through which truth can be revealed, but journalists lack the legal authority often needed to discover hidden wrongdoing, and without law enforcement’s pursuit of facts, journalistic efforts become even more difficult as well.” Of course, “Congress can do more than talk,” but that will be the day. McMullin says theoretically, “They can act, passing legislation protecting the special-counsel investigation—with a veto proof majority, if necessary—and holding the president accountable for any further efforts to render the federal justice system incapable against him,” but it’s the death cult GOP in there now and minus all those pesky legislators with no stamina for continuing in their roles as bottom feeders on the republic, they are having a ball – Mitch McConnell said 2017 was the best year for conservatives in 30 years. As McMullin notes, “The Constitution provides a remedy for such a gross breach of duty: impeachment,” but since the death cult GOP refuses and has refused until now, there you have the basic fact that the death cult GOP is complicit in the making of our Constitutional crisis. Thank you Evan for giving the future a chance!
From The Atlantic.
ONE-FIFTH OF TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN MONEY WENT TO LEGAL BILLS
BuzzFeed reports, “President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign has spent about $835,000 in legal fees so far this year, or about 22% of its total spending, according to the latest fundraising reports filed quarterly with the Federal Election Commission.”
HERE IS HOW OUR FAKE RUSSIAN POTUS PIMPED HIMSELF TO RUSSIA
The Washington Post reports, “Speaking to a real estate trade publication in 2008, Donald Trump Jr. made a comment that would haunt his father’s candidacy eight years later. ‘In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S.,’ he said, ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.’ That claim — excluding the introductory ‘into the U.S.’ part — seemed to run contrary to Donald Trump’s campaign-trail assertions that his businesses had no overlap with Russian interests. Including the introduction, it’s clear that Trump Jr. is mostly talking about Russians buying Trump properties in the United States. That, he said, is certainly the case ‘with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.’” The Washington Post notes, “Despite announcing the project on his television show, Trump didn’t actually invest any money in the building,” rather, “it was Trump-branded only, with a company called the Bayrock Group doing the financing. The managing director of the Bayrock Group was Felix Sater, who’s become enmeshed in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” The Washington Post adds, “Trump Soho was completed in 2008. In September 2009, someone named Aygul Safina registered a new domain: TrumpSoho.ru.” The Washington Post notes, “Unlike the brochure, TrumpSoho.ru included a photo of Trump alongside two other men. They are Ruedi Sieber, president of Sieber International in Miami, and Igor Bogomolny, identified in a 2012 blog post as Russian sales director for Sieber International. A somewhat cryptic article from another Russian-language site suggests that Bogomolny approached Trump Jr. about a deal in New York and that Donald Trump was so impressed that he insisted on meeting Bogomolny. By November 2008, he’s identified by the now-defunct, government-run news outlet RIA Novosti as the Eastern European head of Trump Soho.” Ivanka and her brother Uday nearly were indicted on federal fraud charges for overstating sales on the property but their lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, interceded with a campaign contribution to the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. The Washington Post adds Aryan princess Ivanka “also starred in magazine ads promoting Trump Soho that ran repeatedly in the Russian-language magazine 100k Russia.” So surprise Trump used Aryan princess Ivanka to pimp the family to Russia.
From The Washington Post.
ANOTHER EMPIRE FADES AWAY
The Washington Post reports, “Before he ran for office, Donald Trump made millions by selling his name to adorn other people’s products. There was Trump deodorant. Trump ties . Trump steaks. Trump underwear. Trump furniture. At one time, there was even a Trump-branded urine test. Now, almost all of them are gone. In 2015, Trump listed 19 companies that were paying him to produce or distribute Trump-branded consumer goods. In recent weeks, only two said they are still selling Trump-branded goods. One is a Panamanian company selling Trump bed linens and home goods. The other is a Turkish company selling Trump furniture.” What will prove the Falkland Islands of Trump branded shit? Shrimp stew, shrimp gumbo, shrimp jumbalaya, shrimps on a po’ boy, maybe a Trump-branded shrimping boat?
From The Washington Post.
SCHROEDERIZATION IS THE NEW FINLANDIZATION
Up North reports, “In Finland, Soviet infiltration was much deeper than in Western Europe, because the country was forced to act within the framework of the so-called ‘YYA treaty’. The arrangement ensured that the KGB remained practically immune from judicial prosecution or other problems that might arise in achieving the Kremlin’s goal to create a political, social and economical network of influence. This was called ‘finlandization’, a phenomenom the West Germans were afraid of. According to archival sources, their fear was not without reason.” Up North adds, “The USSR also used Finland to spread the ideas of ‘finlandization’ among its Nordic and European partners. Within this system, social democratic parties held the key position. ‘Finlandization’ produced a fertile historical launchpad for future ‘schröderization,’” which is the process of corrupting a foreign politician a la former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, for whom it is named. Up North notes, “In the days of The Soviet Union, unwitting agents of the totalitarian regime in Moscow were generally identified ‘useful idiots’. This ‘idiotism’ was often ideologically motivated and its origins may be founded in real problems that existed among Western societies, such as social and economic inequality, crony capitalism or the shadows of imperialism. In West Germany, an unwilligness to recognizie the crimes of Nazism, at an individual level, was a significant factor when violent left-wing radicalism reared its ugly head.” Up North adds, “However, not all those who collaborated with the Soviets were ‘idiots’ Some of them completely understood the totalitarian nature of the Kremlin regime, but didn’t care and/or tried to harness the efforts of East Bloc intelligence agencies to their own advantage. These collaborators may have been left-wing politicians, but they were also influenced by money and even blackmail.” As Up North correctly states, “To understand the present ‘hybrid war’, we have to understand the international ‘active measures’ of the Soviet Union.”
From Up North.
DEMOCRATS PUSH FOR INFO ON LOANS TO KUSHNER FAMILY COMPANY
ABC News reports, “Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a group of top Democratic lawmakers are renewing their focus on two loans totaling more than $500 million made by a pair of Wall Street firms to Jared Kushner’s family real estate business and asking for more information about another, recently disclosed loan made by one of the firms. In a pair of letters sent on Friday,” Warren along with three other Senators “asked Citigroup and Apollo Global Management to provide detailed records of the loans to Kushner Companies as well as contacts with Kushner”. ABC News recalls, “Citigroup lent Kushner Companies $325 million for a Brooklyn property in March of 2017, shortly after Citigroup chief Michael Corbat met with Kushner at the White House.” ABC News notes, “Democrats are asking for a more detailed timeline of the loan deal, and whether any of Citigroup’s debt financing to Kushner Companies involve financing from foreign entities or governments.” ABC News adds, “Apollo Commercial Real Estate loaned Kushner Companies $184 million in November 2017 to refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper after Joshua Harris, a founder of parent company Apollo Global Management, had met repeatedly with Kushner and even advised other Trump administration officials,” and, “Apollo participated in another loan to Kushner Companies worth $75 million for the purchase of properties in Brooklyn in the spring of 2017 but said Apollo was not aware of any ‘direct engagement’ between its real estate arm and Kushner Companies.”
COHEN IN TRUMPWORLD: KUSHNER KRAP KOMBO
Bloomberg reports, “As Cohen became ensconced in Trump’s world, he took on his own development projects. From 2011 through 2013, limited liability companies affiliated with Cohen purchased four walk-up buildings in lower Manhattan, paying $11.4 million in cash, before taking out another $13.9 million to pursue an aggressive flipping effort, replacing boilers, updating plumbing, and adding partitions to create more bedrooms. The quick work drew ire from residents, who filed formal complaints about burst water pipes, and work being done without proper permits.” Because capitalism is all about building something for yourself on someone else’s back (ok, not just capitalism), “the plan proved lucrative,” and, “In late 2014, Cohen’s companies doubled their initial investment when they sold the buildings to companies affiliated with the descendants of Clarence Seid, a Brooklyn-born lawyer and ham-radio enthusiast. The family, including Herbert Chaves, who married Seid’s daughter Jane, was looking to reinvest its gains from the $38 million sale of a Brooklyn development site to a partnership of SL Green and Kushner Cos., then run by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.” Bloomberg adds, “The Seid-Chaves family partnered with Cohen again a few months later, to purchase an Upper East Side apartment building for $58 million, taking out a $17 million mortgage to do so. Cohen’s companies control 38 percent of the property, public records show. In October of last year, Cohen sold his unit in Trump World Tower for $3.3 million. His in-laws still have units there.”
ANOTHER POLITICAL APPOINTEE IS RACIST CONSPIRATORIAL TRASH, AGAIN!
CNN reports, “A political appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services shared an image in 2017 that said ‘our forefathers would have hung’ Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for treason”. Oh my god, it is like suddenly all of this is problematic, again! CNN adds, “Ximena Barreto is a far-right political pundit who in December 2017 joined the Trump administration as deputy director of communications at the department.” That means she worked beside the departed Hope Hicks, the woman with the worst taste in men in the world. CNN notes, “Barreto was placed on leave by the department on Monday after the liberal watchdog Media Matters reported that Barreto called Islam ‘a cult’ and pushed the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which alleged that Clinton was part of a child-sex ring based in part at a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant.” CNN adds, “her Twitter account ‘RepublicanChick’ found that Barreto also repeatedly used the hashtag #BanIslam and twice shared conspiracy theories about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Barreto also shared a conspiracy theory that French President Emmanuel Macron was controlled by the Rothschild family and that Clinton and Obama were controlled by investor and Democratic mega-donor George Soros.” Yes, oh my god, the Jews! Didn’t you know?!
HOW THIS ALL EFFECTS THE BOARDROOM OF A SWISS SUPPLIER OF PUMPS
Bloomberg reports, “The boardroom of a Swiss supplier of pumps and compressors is an unlikely place to feel the full force of geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and Russia.” Wait what?! That seems completely wrong! However, “that’s what Sulzer AG experienced a week ago, when President Donald Trump slapped sanctions on a slew of Russian oligarchs, catapulting the mid-sized industrial company into a crisis that would send its investors fleeing, lead banks to stop trading its stock and force it to buy shares from majority owner Renova Holding Ltd. to pull itself out of the thickening quagmire,” Bloomberg notes. Ok you went to bed with Russian oligarchs and oh my god, in the harsh sunlight the morning after they are still Russian oligarchs! They might not even be directly responsible but they wear the stain of the abuses of their mafia state – and for good reason! Disaster struck “For Gregoire Poux-Guillaume, Sulzer’s 48-year-old chief executive officer, Friday April 6,” but the day “started out at a leisurely pace. He had decided to take the day off to accompany his 16-year-old son, who had qualified for a French junior ski competition at Bonneval-sur-Arc in the French Alps. About 370 miles from Winterthur, the Swiss town where Sulzer is based, he got a call saying the U.S. measures targeted Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and Renova as well as the companies in which they owned more than a 50 percent stake.” Like a good father, “Poux-Guillaume stepped into crisis mode, leaving his son stranded in the mountains as he fielded endless phone calls and raced back to base.” They basically had no plan because Vekselberg is not the dirtiest oligarch out there so they came up with a plan to buy out his shares over the weekend – the height of creativity in the orbit of these dead inside Swiss men. Poor rich Swiss things!
PENTAGON ANNOUNCES 2000% INCREASE IN TROLLS LIKE ITS EARLY GWOT
Axios reports, “Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in Saturday’s Pentagon briefing that there has been a ‘2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours,’ following the coordinated strike against Syria on Friday night.” Gives you nostalgia for early global war on terror years when such statements were made about terrorists. Comparatively Russian kids who do not mean it and just want to save up enough money for a car and then quit is not so scary.
*NEW* WATCH: TRUMPISTAN WATCH give a TEDx talk on “Active Resistance”.
MERCH: TRUMPISTAN WATCH shop.
SUBSCRIBE: e-mail TrumpistanWatch@gmail.com with “TRUMPISTAN WATCH” in the subject line to receive the weekday e-mail newsletter.