—–ON THE AGENDA—–
MATTIS + DUNFORD TO BRIEF CONGRESS ON SYRIA STRIKES
POLITICO reports, “Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected on Capitol Hill Tuesday for House and Senate briefings in the wake of U.S. air strikes against Syria”. POLITICO adds, “Mattis and Dunford will brief House members on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and senators on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.”
TRUMP PUTS THE BRAKES ON NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS HALEY ANNOUNCED
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as ‘international economic raiding.’” Oh please Putin don’t spank me, our fake Russian bullshit president must have thought, at least not publicly! The Washington Post adds, “Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley said on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation’ that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” The Washington Post notes, “But Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them”. Because doing so has never caught up with them before, “Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday,” The Washington Post adds. Horrifyingly, “The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement.” There was some disagreement over what happened as, “Privately, another White House official said Haley got ahead of herself and made ‘an error that needs to be mopped up,’” but The Washington Post notes, “Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, especially when it comes to her public appearances. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.”
From The Washington Post.
US + UK BLAME RUSSIA FOR CYBER OFFENSIVE
The Guardian reports, “The cyberwar between the west and Russia has escalated after the UK and the US issued a joint alert accusing Moscow of mounting a ‘malicious’ internet offensive that appeared to be aimed at espionage, stealing intellectual property and laying the foundation for an attack on infrastructure.” The Guardian adds, “Senior security officials in the US and UK held a rare joint conference call to directly blame the Kremlin for targeting government institutions, private sector organisations and infrastructure, and internet providers supporting these sectors.” The Guardian notes, “Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, set out a range of actions the US could take such as fresh sanctions and indictments as well as retaliating with its own cyber-offensive capabilities. ‘We are pushing back and we are pushing back hard,’ he said,” only to be upstaged by the fake orange Russian bullshit president who put the kibosh on any serious sanctions later in the day. The Guardian reports, “Joyce was joined in the call by representatives from the FBI, the US Department of Homeland Security and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of the surveillance agency GCHQ,” meaning it is serious and unprecedented. The Guardian adds, “The US and UK, in a joint statement, said the cyber-attack was aimed not just at the UK and US but globally. ‘Specifically, these cyber-exploits were directed at network infrastructure devices worldwide such as routers, switches, firewalls, network intrusion detection system,’ it said.” The statement says in part, “Russian state-sponsored actors are using compromised routers to conduct spoofing ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations. The current state of US and UK network devices, coupled with a Russian government campaign to exploit these devices, threatens our respective safety, security, and economic wellbeing.” Wired reports after promised sanctions did not come into effect, “the White House confirmed that cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce will head back to the National Security Agency, where he previously ran the nation’s top hacking team.”
SCL FOUNDER COMPARES TRUMP TO HITLER TO BRITISH PARLIAMENT
The Guardian reports, “The parliamentary committee investigating fake news has published excerpts of interviews with individuals connected to Leave.EU and SCL that it says raise concerns about how voters were targeted in the Brexit referendum. In one clip, the founder of SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, can be heard comparing Donald Trump’s political campaigning strategy to that of Adolf Hitler.” The Guardian adds, “Nigel Oakes, the founder of SCL, can be heard comparing Trump’s campaigning strategy to that of Hitler. The Trump campaign was a client of Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US presidential election,” but Cambridge Analytica claims Oakes never worked for the company, which is more of a shell than a firm proper. Oakes adds Trump replaced Jews with Muslims in his rendering of Nazi rhetoric.
From The Guardian.
TRUMP’S LEGAL TEAM WANTS FIRST DIBS ON MICHAEL COHEN FBI HAUL
The New York Daily News reports, “President Trump’s legal team asked a federal judge to let him sift through evidence the FBI seized from his personal attorney so he can point out what he thinks should be off-limits to investigators.” The New York Daily News adds, “Lawyer Joanna Hendon has asked Judge Kimba Wood to let the President go through the material the FBI took last week when it raised the New York City home, office and hotel room and electronic devices of attorney and fixer Michael Cohen. The purpose to allow Trump to identify and protect information he feels is privileged.” The New York Daily News notes, “The standard procedure for prosecutors is to assemble a ‘taint team’ to go through the evidence, remove privileged information and hand the rest over to investigators.” The New York Daily News reports, “In her eight-page letter, Hendon asks Wood to provide Trump with a list of the material in the government’s possession.”
From The New York Daily News.
SEAN HANNITY IS MICHAEL COHEN’S THIRD MYSTERY CLIENT
CBS News reports, “President Donald Trump’s personal attorney has been forced to reveal that one of his clients is Fox News host Sean Hannity”. CBS News adds, “Lawyers for Michael Cohen argued in court on Monday that they could not identify Hannity because he asked that his name not be disclosed in connection with an FBI seizure of Cohen’s files. But Judge Kimba Wood made one of the lawyers identify him in open court. After Wood demanded Cohen’s team reveal the name of the client, an audible gasp went out in the courtroom when Hannity’s name was announced”. The New York Times reports, “Just before 4 p.m., he posted a message on Twitter: ‘Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.’ In a follow-up tweet, Mr. Hannity added, ‘I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.’” Something former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards said when he was on trial for corruption, describing the only circumstances he could be found guilty, as if “he is caught with a live boy or a dead girl,” comes to mind. Given Hannity’s level of denial and Cohen’s level of secrecy, one must imagine the kink is real and bizarre.
FBI “TOOK EVERYTHING” IN COHEN RAID
PBS News Hour reports, “Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s personal attorney say investigators ‘took everything’ during raids last week on his residence and office. The lawyers wrote in a court filing Monday that the raids a week ago to gather evidence from attorney Michael Cohen were ‘completely unprecedented.’” Not so in countries like Turkey!
From PBS News Hour.
MUELLER BLOWS DEADLINE ON POMPEO CONTACTS WITH TRUMP/RUSSIA
CNN reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office missed a deadline to respond to a congressional inquiry about whether he is preventing secretary of the state nominee Mike Pompeo from disclosing communications with President Donald Trump about the Russia investigation”. CNN recalls, “After Pompeo declined to answer certain questions about the Russia probe during his confirmation hearing last week at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, sent a letter asking Mueller if there’s ‘any prohibition on Director Pompeo’ from answering his questions. After setting a Friday deadline, Mueller’s office has not yet responded.” CNN adds, “The push comes as Pompeo is facing stiff opposition from Democrats, who appear to have the votes to deny him majority support in committee with the help of opposition from GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Pompeo still may get confirmed if the GOP unites on the floor and at least one Democrat defects to support his nomination as the top US diplomat.”
STORMY APPEARS AT COHEN’S COURT DATE
The New York Post reports, “There was no calm before the Stormy. Porn star Stormy Daniels tripped and nearly fell in a pair of towering black strappy stilettos as she was swarmed by dozens of photographers outside Manhattan federal court Monday. Daniels made a flashy appearance for a hearing over the client list of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.”
From The New York Post.
RUSSIA BLOCKS ACCESS TO CHEMICAL ATTACK SITE
CBS News reports, “A team of international inspectors who arrived Saturday in the Syrian capital have not yet been permitted by Russian and Syrian authorities to access the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack, the director of the global chemical weapons watchdog agency said Monday.” Meanwhile Reuters reports, “Western countries accused Moscow on Monday of preventing inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.”
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: THEY’RE STEALING WHAT WE STOLE
Reuters reports, “Moscow considers U.S. sanctions a form of unfair competition and any response will be in line with Russia’s interests, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. ‘The sanctions drive against Russia is becoming an idée fixe. We still consider these sanctions illegal… and we’re convinced that any economist can see open attempts to squeeze Russian companies out of global markets,’ Peskov told reporters. ‘It’s nothing more than an international asset grab,’ he added.” Oh poor babies, sucks to have stolen what they think they stole fair and square. Not that it is being stolen from them but our fake Russian bullshit president’s great friends should know that perception is everything in the era of hybrid war their KGB scum created.
NATO SCRAMBLED JETS FOUR TIMES LAST WEEK TO DEAL WITH RUSSIA
The Baltic Times reports, “NATO air-policing jets guarding the Baltic skies were last week scrambled four times from Lithuania to intercept Russian warplanes flying in the international airspace above the Baltic Sea. According to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, all four Russian aircraft were transport airplanes flying with pre-filed flight plans, maintained contact with flight controllers but had their onboard transponders off. They were flying from mainland Russia to the Russian Kaliningrad region and back.”
From The Baltic Times.
ESTONIA TO HOST LARGEST CYBER DEFENSE EXERCISE
Estonian World reports, “From 23-27 April, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia, will hold the world’s largest international live-fire cyber defence exercise, Locked Shields 2018. The annual exercise is a unique opportunity for national cyber defenders to practise protection of national IT systems and critical infrastructure under the intense pressure of a severe cyber attack.” Estonian World provide “the scenario, a fictional country, Berylia, is experiencing a deteriorating security situation, where a number of hostile events coincide with coordinated cyber attacks against a major civilian internet service provider and military airbase.” Estonian World notes, “Locked Shields 2018 is organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in cooperation with the Estonian Defence Forces, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Swedish Defence University, the British Joint Army, the United States European Command, the National Security Research Institute of the Republic of Korea and Tallinn University of Technology.”
From Estonian World.
LATVIA WILL RECEIVE THREE DRONES, NINE AIRCRAFT TOTAL FROM US
Public broadcasting of Latvia reports, “In 2019 Latvia’s National Armed Forces will receive three unmanned aircraft systems (nine aircraft altogether) with financial support from the US, Latvia’s Defense Ministry said April 16. In particular, US support of $3 million (about €2.4 million) will be used to buy three RQ-20A Puma aircraft systems from the AeroVironment company.”
NORWAY CONSIDERS WHETHER TO EXTEND US MARINES PRESENCE
Reuters reports, “Norway’s foreign minister said her government was discussing whether to ask Washington to extend the stay of U.S. Marines in the country, a presence that has irked neighbouring Russia. Some 330 Marines are scheduled to stay until the end of 2018 after an initial contingent arrived in January 2017, the first foreign troops to be stationed in the NATO member state since the end of World War Two.”
BELARUSSIAN ESCORT TIED TO OLEG DERIPASKA IN THAI COURT
Agence France Presse reports, “A Belarusian model and Russian ‘sex coach’ pleaded for US help as they arrived for a court hearing in Thailand on Tuesday, in a case that has grabbed widespread attention after the model claimed to have revelations about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.” Agence France Presse recalls, “Anastasia Vashukevich, known by her pen name Nastya Rybka, and self-styled sex guru Alexander Kirillov have been detained since they and eight other foreigners were arrested in February by Thai police who raided their ‘sex training course’ in the seaside city of Pattaya.” Agence France Presse adds, “They were initially charged with lacking a work permit but are now facing additional charges of soliciting prostitution and criminal association, according to Apichai Krobpetch, Pattaya’s police chief.” Agence France Presse notes, “The US embassy in Bangkok has repeatedly declined to comment on the case.”
From Agence France Presse.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
NEW PLAYBOY MODEL SAYS SHE BONED OUR FAKE POTUS
The Daily Mail reports, “A former Playboy Playmate has told how President Donald Trump cheated on his pregnant fiancée Marla Maples – who later became his second wife – during a steamy six-month affair. Model Barbara Moore, 49, met the tycoon in March, 1993 – three months after she became Playboy’s Miss December centerfold – and claims the president was a ‘great lover’ and a true ‘gentleman’.” So this could very possibly be bullshit because who knows, our fake Russian bullshit president’s ego being what it is, this is precisely what he would want someone to come forward and say right now: that they had sex with him, it was consensual and – shudder – even pleasurable. In any event, she has photos galore at Mar-a-Lago including one with a proto-Pepe frog. Moore also appeared on “Baywatch” and as a fembot in “Austin Powers”.
From The Daily Mail.
$93K = COST OF FAILED PUSHBACK AGAINST “FIRE + FURY”
CNBC reports, “President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign paid $93,000 to a law firm earlier this year to fight back against Michael Wolff’s hotly debated White House tell-all book, ‘Fire and Fury.’ Harder LLP — founded by Charles Harder, who represented pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker — received two payments for its efforts on Trump’s behalf. One payment of $25,000 was made in January and another for just over $68,000 was made in February, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings from the Trump campaign, released Sunday.” CNBC adds, “The campaign also shelled out $376,000 to the firm Jones Day, which is representing the campaign on election law and campaign finance compliance, as well as matters related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.” It is ok, they can afford it, as Bloomberg reports, “Trump’s campaign raised $10.1 million in this year’s first quarter,” which tells you the appetite some have for fascism in these lands. The truth still does not quite pay out like that yet, if it ever will again. Remember, fascism pays.
GOLDEN PARACHUTE WATCH: RICK DEARBORN LANDS SWEET GIG
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn has been named partner at the Cypress Group, a Washington-based consulting firm that specializes in the legislative and regulatory effect on businesses.” Who said the Trumpistani elites are struggling as alums of a treasonous, criminal fake Russian bullshit administration?
From The Wall Street Journal.
EVERYONE REMEMBER RUSSIA IS WEAK + SHITTY
Open Democracy has a good counter-point to the notion that Russia is responsible for all our woes and that in focusing on that shithole, “let us not forget that Russia is a resurgent rather than a rising power”. Open Democracy notes, “Its power and influence are just a bleak copy of those of the Soviet Union. Russia suffers from low European-level birth rates and almost African-level life expectancy. Its population has one of the highest percentages of university-educated people, but with the lowest labour productivity per hour worked in the industrialised world. The country is profoundly corrupt and though President Putin is a strong leader, the prospects of Russia’s development after him (regardless of when that ‘after’ will be) are highly uncertain.” Much like Chicago, “Russia is a classic example of a non-democracy functioning inside the institutional framework of democracy, a political regime in which elections are regularly held but in which the ruling party never loses power. It is a regime in which periodic pseudo-competitive elections are instruments for disempowering, not empowering, citizens.” Open Democracy adds, “Inside Russia’s deep state, different departments or agencies – the ministries, the police, the prosecutors, and so forth – may seem irresistibly dominant to ordinary citizens, but they spend much of their time fighting each other, often over the control of liquid assets, and face no real incentive to cooperate for a shared purpose. This kind of loose-knit and conflict-ridden state can neither impose itself consistently on society nor respond intelligently to social pressures and demands.” Critically, “Russia’s ruling class did not enrich itself by exploiting labour but by privatising the public patrimony, especially the country’s hydrocarbon industry. Ordinary Russians do not even seem to them to be worth exploiting. Nor is there much to be gained by oppressing them or forcing them to swear allegiance to an orthodox ideology. Rather than trying to dominate or control their fellow citizens, the privileged few have simply turned their backs on them,” Open Democracy observes.
From Open Democracy.
TEN MILLION TUNE IN FOR COMEY DAY: PART DEUX
Forbes reports, “James Comey, the former FBI director, sat down with George Stephanopoulos on April 15 to discuss his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, and, of course, President Donald Trump. The 10 p.m. broadcast on 20/20 garnered an average 9.8 million viewers, netting ABC News its largest viewership since its interview with Caitlyn Jenner in April 2015.” Forbes adds, “Comey’s interview, which earned 1.7 rating/6 share among adults 18-49, was conducted prior to news organizations reporting on the book’s content – and Trump’s outraged response on Twitter.” He’s no Stormy, though.
AND THE PULITZER PRIZE GOES TO…
POLITICO reports, “The New York Times and The Washington Post each won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on Monday, capping a newsroom battle last year for scoops on links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, the focus of an ongoing special counsel investigation into the 2016 election.”
CELEBRITY JUSTICE MAXIMIZATION MECHANISM TRIGGERED
CNN reports, “America’s best known TV prosecutor came out of retirement Monday with a call to action in defense of embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Speaking direct to camera in a new two-minute web video, Sam Waterston — who played Manhattan district attorney Jack McCoy on NBC’s hit crime series ‘Law & Order’ for 16 years — expressed concern about reports that President Donald Trump is considering firing Rosenstein and urged people to commit to peaceful protests if that happens.” CNN notes, “the video organized by TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org,” is put together by “a coalition of more than two dozen groups including Common Cause, Public Citizen and MoveOn Civic Action.” What is ironic is Move On came out of the Lewinsky era: censure and move on, and now here we are, having moved on, so to speak.
ONE AMERICA NEWS NETWORK PARROTS RUSSIAN STATE ON SYRIA
Think Progress reports, “The ultra conservative One America News Network (OANN), which frequently runs pro-Trump propaganda, claimed in a video report this week that it had found no evidence of an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma — the latest in a series of claims by right-wing media and far-right individuals who claim the attack was faked.” What’s more they have the audacity to do this at close range as Think Progress adds, “‘We went to Douma today — we got exclusive access — and we were brought into… the town where the alleged chemical attack happened,’ OANN correspondent Pearson Sharp stated Monday afternoon, later clarifying that the outlet had been escorted to a town ‘close to’ where the attack took place, a block and a half away, but not the site of the alleged attack itself.” Sharp also said, “We were brought in with a government escort,” which is very curious. As Think Progress notes, “OANN and Sharp’s reporting falls short in many respects, but perhaps most glaring is its apparent inability to provide concrete evidence to support any of its wild claims. Despite stating that his report is ‘not propaganda,’ for instance, much of what Sharp relays is based on information passed to him during a visit arranged by Syrian government forces, which have traditionally relied on mass disinformation campaigns in the wake of deadly attacks to twist the narrative in their favor.” Furthermore in the freak territory, “At no point does OANN try to mask the pro-Assad language peppering the report. At one point, Sharp even goes so far as to say that ‘the [residents say they] were incredibly grateful that President Assad had liberated the town; they were completely in support of President Assad.’” Who funds One America News Network, the Russian government? They came out of nowhere with the covfefe and are as close to Trump TV as there is yet, which of course means it is indistinguishable from Russian bullshit.
From Think Progress.
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