—–ON THE AGENDA—–
CALIFORNIA PRIMARY DAY: LET IT BRING DOWN ROHRABACHER, NUNES
NBC News reports Putin’s favorite Congressman “Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is facing his toughest re-election challenge after decades in the House. Rohrabacher is expected to finish first, but a Republican challenger, former Orange County GOP Chair Scott Baugh, could come in second.” In California, “candidates from all parties duke it out for two slots on the general election ballot in November.” And Trump collaborator and Russian investigation obstructionist DARKNESS AT NUNES has five challengers looking to oust him in November, including the well funded Andrew Janz, according to the Fresno Bee. Get ‘em out of here!
TRUMP SHOWS OFF WEAKNESS, SAYS WILL PARDON HIMSELF BUT INNOCENT
The Washington Post reports yesterday “morning, President Trump declared on Twitter that he has ‘the absolute right to PARDON myself.’ Trump also said he wouldn’t need to do this, because he didn’t do anything wrong, but the important news here is that Trump is, in fact, asserting that he does believe he has this power if he decides to exercise it.” Absolutism: totally incompatible with democracy and freedom. The Washington Post notes, “This comes after the news broke over the weekend that a memo from Trump’s lawyers to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III asserted that Trump possesses the power to pardon people implicated in the Russia probe, and also that as ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ Trump ‘could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry.’ The memo also argued that Trump does not need to submit to a subpoena to sit for an interview with Mueller.” The Washington Post correctly adds, “all of these moves have stirred great concern that Trump is preparing to exercise near-dictatorial powers on his own behalf, they are better seen as a window into how weak and precarious Trump’s position — politically, if not legally — has become.” He is so weak! Of course, “To see why, look at a specific point in the memo: the striking concession by Trump’s lawyers that he did, in fact, dictate that initial statement for his son Donald Trump Jr., which falsified the real rationale for the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians. As the memo puts it, ‘the president dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times.’”
From The Washington Post.
MOST OF COHEN’S LIFE SEIZED IN RAID WILL GET TO GO TO THE FEDS
Bloomberg reports, “An initial review of items seized in an FBI raid on the president’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen yielded only a few items that may not be reviewed by prosecutors. A retired judge found 162 items of more than 292,000 that were reviewed should be held back because they’re privileged or personal. The material reviewed was found in eight boxes of documents and on two cell phones and an iPad.” Bloomberg notes, “The former judge, Barbara Jones, was appointed special master to help determine which items taken from Cohen in the April 9 raid should be withheld from government investigators. She made the recommendations in a letter Monday to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood.”
STEELE DEPOSITION FORTHCOMING IN RUSSIAN TECH SUIT OVER DOSSIER
Vanity Fair reports, “‘It truly doesn’t matter to BuzzFeed’s defense whether the story about prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room ends up being true or false.’ That’s Val Gurvits, lead counsel on a team of four attorneys representing a Russian technology executive, Aleksej Gubarev, who is suing BuzzFeed for defamation. The lawsuit stems from BuzzFeed not initially redacting Gubarev’s name when it published Christopher Steele’s explosive, unverified Russia dossier, the most infamous component of which is an unsubstantiated (and vigorously denied) anecdote about the Kremlin possessing footage of Donald Trump watching call girls urinate on a hotel bed where the Obamas once slept. Gurvits and Steele are due to come face to face in three weeks when Steele submits to a deposition. By all accounts, it will be the first time that Steele will talk about the dossier in an official, non-clandestine capacity, something he’s tried hard to avoid up to now.” Vanity Fair recalls, “Gubarev makes a cameo in the second-to-last paragraph of Steele’s 35-page compendium of intelligence memos detailing alleged Russian efforts to compromise Trump and sway the 2016 election in his favor.” Vanity Fair adds, “The brief passage at issue in the lawsuit, and pertinent to Steele’s upcoming deposition, alleges that XBT Holdings, a somewhat shadowy Web-hosting firm—with subsidiaries including Webzilla—of which Gubarev is the controlling shareholder and a former C.E.O, ‘had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and ‘conduct altering operations’ against the Democratic party leadership.’ According to XBT and Gubarev, the claim is hogwash. They sued BuzzFeed (in the U.S.) and Steele (in the U.K.), despite BuzzFeed apologizing and quickly scrubbing their names.” Steele’s deposition is currently scheduled for June 18. Vanity Fair notes, “The deposition will take place outside of court, in a London office space rented by the plaintiffs. ‘We are expecting at least 20 people in the room,’ said Gurvits.” However, “Sir Robert Jay of the Royal Court of Justice ruled on May 18 that Steele’s questioning be limited to the narrow slice of the dossier pertaining to Gubarev and XBT, thereby dismissing a request from BuzzFeed for Steele to answer questions about the dossier as a whole.”
From Vanity Fair.
MEANWHILE IN FLORIDA, BUZZFEED SCORES VICTORY OVER RUSSIAN’S SUIT
The Hollywood Reporter writes, “In its continuing fight against a Russian tech entrepreneur who alleges being defamed by the publication of the infamous Trump dossier, BuzzFeed has scored an important ruling in Florida court that may ultimately immunize the news site from liability. Aleksej Gubarev is suing BuzzFeed and editor Ben Smith for publishing the entire Trump dossier in January 2017”. The Hollywood Reporter adds, “One of the affirmative defenses raised by BuzzFeed in reaction to Gubarev’s lawsuit is that the news site has what’s called a ‘Fair Report Privilege,’ referring to a doctrine that allows journalists to report on government activity without having to verify the truth of what’s in goverment documents and proceedings.” In hyperlinking to a CNN story about FBI briefings over the matter, BuzzFeed made it clear to readers the Steele dossier was the subject of government activity, the judge ruled.
From The Hollywood Reporter.
EX-CON + OLIGARCH SON-IN-LAW SERVED 30 DAYS, NOW IN ICE CUSTODY
Get him out of here! Fox News reports, “Alex Van Der Zwaan, the Dutch lawyer linked to the Trump campaign who pleaded guilty in February to misleading federal investigators, was released from prison Monday morning and turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials”. Fox News recalls, “Van Der Zwaan, 33, the son-in-law of Russian oligarch German Khan, was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team with knowingly making false statements to investigators during an interview about his time working for a major law firm hired by the Ukraine Ministry of Justice in 2012.” Van der Zwaan worked for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP when he and other lawyers with the top law firm “drafted a report that was used to justify what many critics charged was the politician prosecution and jailing of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko — one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution, and a fierce political rival of Russia-aligned President Viktor Yanukovych.” Fox News adds, “Both former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Trump adviser Rick Gates were accused of secretly using offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to Skadden to pay for the report, according to The New York Times. Van Der Zwaan was specifically accused of lying about his [sic] comunications with Gates”.
From Fox News.
GRENELL PUNCHES BACK AT CRITICS WHO WANT GERMANY TO PNG HIM
The Washington Post recalls how the new U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a far right troll, “is being criticized over an interview with hard-right news site Breitbart, in which he said he wants to ‘empower’ conservatives in Europe. His remarks leave room for interpretation, but they were criticized both in the United States and in Europe for politicizing diplomacy with a core U.S. ally and as a further blow to transatlantic relations.” Well “Grenell rejected the criticism on Twitter early Monday, writing: ‘Absurd. I condemn those comments completely. Don’t put words in my mouth. The idea that I’d endorse candidates/parties is ridiculous. I stand by my comments that we are experiencing an awakening from the silent majority — those who reject the elites & their bubble. Led by Trump.’” Except reality intercedes here as he praised Austria’s far right, pro-Russian Sebastian Kurz in the interview, so please, troll. And it’s not as if TRUMPISTAN WATCH is alone as, “The German foreign ministry said on Monday it was seeking “clarification on whether the statements were actually made in the form they were given,” The Washington Post adds, noting how “Although Chancellor Angela Merkel is from the conservative Christian Democrats, that does not seem to be what the ambassador has in mind.” The Washington Post adds, “Grenell has called himself a ‘big Merkel fan’ in past interviews and credited her economic performance, but regarding perhaps the most important criterion he listed to Breitbart — migration — Merkel stands for the exact opposite.” The Washington Post notes, “While German government officials remained silent or sought clarification, Social Democrats — who are part of a coalition with Merkel’s Christian conservatives — criticized Grenell for inappropriately interfering in the internal affairs of a host nation.” Go home, Grenell.
From The Washington Post.
NATO KICKS OFF BALTIC SEA MILITARY EXERCISE BALTOPS
Naval Technology reports, “The 46th iteration of the multinational maritime-focused activity, Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018, has commenced in the Baltic Sea. The live training event started from Klaipeda, Lithuania, and is set to conclude in Kiel, Germany.” Naval Technology adds, “It will involve the participation of several air, maritime and ground assets from various Nato ally and partner countries.” Naval Technology notes, “The 16 partner nations that contributed forces to participate in the BALTOPS exercise are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and the US. Personnel were also provided by Canada, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia.”
From Naval Technology.
POOR LIL’ VOVA WHINES “FIERCE” US POLITICS KEEP HIM FROM HIS PUPPET
Reuters reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed political ructions in the United States for difficulties in arranging a summit with President Donald Trump, in remarks broadcast on Monday.” Reuters adds, “Asked by Austrian broadcaster ORF why it was taking so long to arrange, he said: ‘You have to ask our colleagues in the USA. In my view it is the consequence of the fierce domestic political contest in the United States.’” Poor little guy! He cannot visit his puppet because the sovereign will of a sovereign nation is in the way. What’s a little guy to do but have a tantrum, something he shares with our fake Russian bullshit president. Sad!
SWISS FREEZE $1 BILLION IN VEKSELBERG ASSETS OVER US SANCTIONS
The Moscow Times reports, “Swiss banks have reportedly frozen $1 billion in the accounts of Russian metals tycoon Viktor Vekselberg over fears that they may be fined following U.S. sanctions against the businessman.” The Moscow Times notes, “Vekselberg, Russia’s ninth richest man with an estimated net worth of $14.4 billion, was one of several Russian businessmen hit by U.S. sanctions this year for alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and other ‘malign activity.’ The tycoon has since been forced to cut his shares in foreign companies and repay more than $1 billion in loans made by European banks including JPMorgan, Credit Suisse and UBS.” Also all this looks so good in casting Putin and his oligarch bandit collaborators as men, as opposed to enemies, of the people. Russians, this is your wealth, your riches and your money that these crooks have stolen.
From The Moscow Times.
GAZPROM ACTS ALL SAD DUTCH DIDN’T TELL THEM ABOUT ASSET FREEZE
Reuters reports, “Russian gas producer Gazprom said on Tuesday it had received no official notification of a move to freeze its Dutch assets to enforce an arbitration ruling that it should pay $2.6 billion to Ukraine’s state-owned Naftogaz. Naftogaz said on Tuesday that a Dutch court had approved its petition to freeze Dutch assets of Gazprom to enforce a ruling made by the Stockholm arbitration court in February.” Oh, sad!
RUSSIA SENTENCES UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST TO 12 YEARS FOR SPYING
The AP reports, “A Russian court convicted a journalist for Ukraine’s state news agency Monday of spying and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.” The AP adds, “Ukrinform correspondent Roman Sushchenko has been in custody since his 2016 arrest by Russia’s top domestic security agency, the FSB. The FSB alleged he was a Ukrainian military intelligence officer collecting sensitive information about the Russian armed forces. Sushchenko denied the accusation.”
From the AP.
EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT WANTS US ALL TO BE NICER TO RUSSIA
The Guardian reports, “Jean-Claude Juncker has called for an end to ‘Russia-bashing’ two months after scores of Moscow’s diplomats across the EU were expelled in response to the use of a nerve agent in the UK.” No thank you. Bring your barf bucket near and feel free to muse openly about how much did this cost or how much might it cost in blood as The Guardian adds, “The president of the European commission said he believed it was time to renew ties with Vladimir Putin’s country, given its size and importance.” Ugh serious no thank you. And what dear Juncker did Putin do to deserve such recompense?
From The Guardian.
BRITISH OFFICIALS BACKED CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA’S TRUMPISTAN BID
BuzzFeed News reports, “Cambridge Analytica, the collapsed political consultancy at the centre of an international storm over the misuse of Facebook data, had the enthusiastic backing of senior British government officials as it tried to position itself as a player in Donald Trump’s Washington”. BuzzFeed adds, “Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that two of the Foreign Office’s top officials in the US regarded Cambridge Analytica – which worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign – as a British success story worth supporting in its efforts to win a larger slice of the lucrative US data analysis market.” BuzzFeed notes, “The officials even discussed having Cambridge Analytica feature in a campaign to promote British technology companies, which they called ‘#dataisGREAT’.” Oh pity they didn’t, that would have aged so well. BuzzFeed adds, “‘Our job is to help you win new business,’ Ross Allen, Britain’s director of international trade in the US, wrote to Cambridge Analytica on 20 January 2017 – the day of Trump’s inauguration. Trump had been sworn in as the 45th US president in Washington just hours earlier. Allen had been looped into an email communication between Cambridge Analytica and his boss, Antonia Romeo, Britain’s consul general in New York, who also seemed to be eager to support the support the London-based political data firm’s ambitions to grow in the US.” BuzzFeed notes, “The emails also reveal that the UK government was considering holding events jointly with Cambridge Analytica.”
From BuzzFeed News.
A CHANGE IS GONNA COME
The National Law Journal reports, “The office of special counsel Robert Mueller has said in a new filing that there’s ‘probable cause’ to believe former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses.” However The National Law Journal notes, “Manafort, who is currently confined to his home, has not been charged with witness tampering. Manafort faces federal criminal charges, including bank and tax fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent, in federal courts in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia.” The National Law Journal adds, “In the motion, Mueller asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise Manafort’s pretrial release.” The National Law Journal notes, “The filing describes developments that occurred after a February superseding indictment against Manafort that included new allegations related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Those allegations had to do with his lobbying work in connection to a group of former European officials known as the Hapsburg Group. Mueller’s office alleges that Manafort sought to contact two individuals ‘who were principals of a public relations company’ and acted ‘as intermediaries between Manafort, Person A, co-defendant Richard Gates, and the Hapsburg Group,’ after the superseding indictment was filed. Manafort contacted those two principals, identified as Persons D1 and D2, by calling Person D1’s cellphone and using an encrypted application to send messages, according to the motion.”
From The National Law Journal.
AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG
The Hill reports, “The wife of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos on Monday appealed to President Trump to pardon her husband, who pleaded guilty last year in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.” So naturally she went on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, the official broadcast outlet of the occupation regime of the fake Russian bullshit president. The Hill adds, “Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that her husband was ‘dedicated and committed’ to the Trump campaign. She said his ‘freedom is challenged’ after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last October amid the probe into Russian campaign interference.” Are we sure it is just his freedom. Are we sure this is the only way in which Papadopoulos is challenged? Maybe intellectually, too?
From The Hill.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
KEEP UP THE PRESSURE WE ARE BRINGING THE TRUMP REGIME TO A BOIL
POLITICO reports, “The White House was thrown into turmoil after a handful of photographs of school-aged immigrant children, held behind fences in detention centers, ignited on social media. President Donald Trump and top aides including policy adviser Stephen Miller felt deeply frustrated that these images, which dated back to the Obama administration, were getting pinned on them”. Oh the treasonous fascist bitches don’t like misinformation now when it is weaponized against them? Too goddamn bad. You dish it, you take it, you eat it and then you get shit all over yourselves, boys. POLITICO continues that despite the old imagery, the fact remains “Trump’s own administration has increased the likelihood of family separation with a new policy to refer anyone suspected of crossing the border illegally for prosecution, including asylum seekers.” Truth, it still explodes like a bomb in their faces. POLITICO adds, “The shift has brought tensions to a boil between some administration officials and the White House over how far they can push immigration policy, both legally and politically.” POLITICO notes White House Advisor and total insecure fascist fuckwad Stephen “Miller has worked closely with a web of political appointees throughout the administration, including Sessions’ son-in-law John Walk, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, as well as lawyer Chad Mizelle; Thomas Homan, the soon-to-retire head of ICE; Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Gene Hamilton, a former staffer to Sessions on Capitol Hill who’s now at the Department of Justice. These hardliners feel that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a close ally of White House chief of staff John Kelly, isn’t being creative or tough enough in using executive authority to carry out the president’s immigration agenda.” It’s a total fascist versus proto-fascist split! In this case, you should all stand with the lesser fascists in the schism but only in an effort to compel the destruction of all fascists. Also note how misinformation has been used for good. Since journalism is dead, this is what we have now. Now is no time for idealism, especially in the face of such facts and conditions.
MORE ON WIKISTRAT: SHADY ISRAELI INTEL FIRM LINKED TO FLYNN
The Daily Beast recalls, “In the fall of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and other key aides to the future president reportedly met in Trump Tower with Joel Zamel, the founder of a company called Wikistrat.” The Daily Beast adds, “Wikistrat bills itself as a ‘crowdsourced’ geopolitical analysis firm based in Washington, D.C. But interviews with current and former employees and documents reviewed by The Daily Beast tell a different story: that the vast majority of Wikistrat’s clients were foreign governments; that Wikistrat is, for all intents and purposes, an Israeli firm; and that the company’s work was not just limited to analysis. It also engaged in intelligence collection.” The Daily Beast notes, “according to internal Wikistrat documents marked ‘highly confidential and sensitive material,’ 74 percent of the firm’s revenue came from clients that were foreign governments.” The Daily Beast adds, “the company boasted incredible access to top U.S. military and intelligence officials. The firm’s advisory council lists former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser James L. Jones, former deputy director of the National Security Council Elliott Abrams, and former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd, among others.” The Daily Beast notes, “Zamel apparently wanted former national security adviser Michael Flynn to be a member of the firm’s advisory board; Zamel spoke with him about it on multiple occasions around the time Flynn was forming his ill-fated Flynn Intel Group,” according to “a former high-ranking Wikistrat employee,” who said, “Flynn took a real shining to Joel”. The Daily Beast continues, “Another former Wikistrat employee appeared to confirm Zamel’s links to Flynn, saying a mutual contact, Adam Lovinger, helped introduce Zamel to numerous Pentagon officials. Lovinger, a Pentagon strategist and former Trump NSC analyst, had been named to the National Security Council by Flynn and was reportedly associated with Flynn Intel Group.” Meanwhile “Lovinger told The Daily Beast that he had introduced Zamel to Pentagon officials after a Navy commander brought him to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. ‘I know both Joel and Mike Flynn, but I don’t know the extent of their relationship,’ Lovinger added.” But the story of how Flynn is involved is murkier yet as The Daily Beast adds, “Zamel had apparently been introduced to Flynn by Bijan Kian, Flynn Intel Group’s former vice chairman of its board of directors.” And while “Neither Flynn nor Kian responded to requests for comment,” Marc Mukasey, Zamel’s attorney, told The Daily Beast, “Joel Zamel has never met Michael Flynn,” but when, “Asked about Zamel’s relationship with Kian, Mukasey hung up. He did not answer to further questions.” Shady!
From The Daily Beast.
MELANIA’S FORMER “MODELING AGENT” IS SUDDENLY VERY VULNERABLE
The New York Post’s Page Six reports, “Italian mogul and ambassador Paolo Zampolli has split from Brazilian model Amanda Ungaro after a 10-year romance — and the breakup is getting messy. Sources say the pair — who share an 8-year-old son — ‘drifted apart’ and the relationship collapsed last August, with Ungaro and their son moving out in January.” You know what this means!? The New York Post’s Page Six adds, “presidential pal Zampolli tells us things became nasty when Ungaro sued him for a substantial child support payout.” Pay her off and quit talking to tabloids, fool, especially as the probability of him having income and assets he cannot legitimately account for is great. But that’s not what Zampolli is doing because that would be smart. Instead, Page Six adds, “While Ungaro has long been referred to in press reports as Zampolli’s ‘wife,’ he claims they never had a wedding. He further says Ungaro is claiming that the pair have a common-law marriage — and so she says she’s entitled to child support after the split.” A decent man would pay for his own child and end it there. But instead, it’s Zampolli and we get a new delicious linkage to another man known not for his role in fashion but in bunga bunga as Page Six notes, “But Zampolli — who made a fortune by selling his Italian toy empire to Silvio Berlusconi before going into real estate and opening a modeling agency in New York, and is said to have a Canaletto and a Picasso in his Gramercy Park townhouse — claims that there’s no common-law marriage.” Hello that old euphemism “modeling agency” again. What else traffics in beautiful women? What might this “toy empire” be? Hmmm…. No one in New York fashion had heard of Melania or Zampolli and one source in the industry has said calling him a “two bit mobster would be a compliment”. Damn. One more thing “Ambassador” Zampolli represents the little mobbed up island of Dominica at the UN. The place is so extraordinary the one person TRUMPISTAN WATCH knows who visited was telling stories about it as we walked into a bar – sober, mind you – and immediately were asked to leave the bar due to the content of the stories.
ARYAN PRINCESS IVANKA’S SHOES DUMPED BY DISCOUNT RETAILER
Racked reports, “A DSW employee on the vendor relations and inventory control team at the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, said that the national shoe chain has ended its partnership with Ivanka Trump shoes, according to an email sent to a California shopper, which was obtained by Racked.” Sad! Racked notes, “When reached for comment, the Ivanka Trump brand denied that DSW is dropping its brand. DSW did not respond to a request for comment.”
NAÏVE LIL’ TRAITOR SNOWDEN STILL SNOWBALLING US SECURITY
The AP reports, “National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off U.S. government surveillance methods five years ago, but intelligence chiefs complain that revelations from the trove of classified documents he disclosed are still trickling out.” The AP adds, “The top U.S. counterintelligence official said journalists have released only about 1 percent taken by the 34-year-old American, now living in exile in Russia, ‘so we don’t see this issue ending anytime soon.’” TRUMPISTAN WATCH makes a practice of not taking anything the demagogue Glenn Greenwald, who worked with Snowden, says seriously or quoting him unless it is to subject him to relentless ridicule. So, if you think it is wiser to let pro-Russian messengers Snowden and Greenwald instead of the CIA determine what documents should be available to the public, whose privacy and security might be concerned and whether no harm is done to our national security by Snowden’s disclosures, TRUMPISTAN WATCH is very sorry that you have not been paying attention as they consistently undermine – or try to – investigations into Trump’s numerous connections to Russia. The AP notes, “Moscow has resisted U.S. pressure to extradite Snowden, who faces U.S. charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years. From exile, Snowden often does online public speaking and has been active in developing tools that reporters can use, especially in authoritarian countries, to detect whether they are under surveillance,” but if you listen to him, who is to say you are not handing info over to Russia, his great state sponsor?
From the AP.
EPA FRAUD PRUITT THINKS THE AGENCY STAFFERS ARE HIS ERRAND BOYS
The Washington Post reports, “In mid-September, the Environmental Protection Agency chief’s director of scheduling and advance contacted the Trump International Hotel in Washington with an unusual request. Millan Hupp wanted to know how much the hotel would charge EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for purchasing one of its used mattresses.” The Washington Post adds, “Hupp’s search for a discount ‘Trump Home Luxury Plush Euro Pillow Top’ mattress, which she detailed in a recent interview with congressional investigators, was one of several unusual tasks she performed for the administrator. The senior aide also scouted apartments for her boss in some of the District’s hippest neighborhoods and helped arrange his family vacation to California over the New Year’s holiday so that the Pruitts could watch the Oklahoma Sooners play in the Rose Bowl.” The Washington Post notes, “The Oversight Committee is conducting a probe of several spending and management decisions Pruitt has made since taking the helm of the EPA.” The Washington Post adds, “Citing the new information that surfaced during Hupp’s interview, [Rep. Elijah] Cummings and [Rep. Gerald] Connolly asked that the chairman ‘issue a subpoena to obtain documents that are currently being withheld by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relating to Administrator Scott Pruitt’s multiple abuses of authority in using agency staff for his own personal purposes.’”
From The Washington Post.
EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES TURNS TO SHIT: RONNY JACKSON EDITION
CNN reports, “The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation into allegations related to Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s one-time personal White House physician whose nomination as veterans affairs secretary was withdrawn amid allegations of misconduct and poor administration of the White House medical office.” The Pentagon would not say “if the investigation is administrative or criminal in nature, although the IG can conduct both. The investigation was initiated in the last month, he said, and includes interviews with persons he declined to identify. Jackson is facing allegations of personal and professional misconduct by unidentified current and former colleagues including that he casually dispensed prescription drugs.”
RUSSIA HAS A NEW RICHEST PERSON: VLADIMIR LISIN
Bloomberg reports, “Vladimir Lisin, who started as an electrical fitter in Siberia in the 1970s, is now Russia’s wealthiest person. The metals magnate slipped past rival Alexey Mordashov Monday as shares of Lisin’s Novolipetsk Steel PJSC climbed 3.5 percent, pushing his fortune to $20.19 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.” Bloomberg adds, “Lisin, 62, also controls Russia’s largest freight rail operator and interests in shipping, shipbuilding and tourist cruise services.”
MCMASTER SHOPPING A BOOK AROUND
BuzzFeed reports, “Former national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster is shopping a book around to publishers, his agent confirmed to BuzzFeed News, becoming the latest figure in the Trump orbit to seek to cash in on the surging appetite for politics books.” BuzzFeed adds, “Prominent book agent Amanda ‘Binky’ Urban from ICM is representing McMaster in his pursuit. At a book party Monday night for her husband, media writer Ken Auletta, Urban confirmed that she was working with McMaster.” Adults with TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s real first name with the nickname “Binky”?! So conflicted.
RUSSIA MADE KIM JONG UN SMILE, PHOTOSHOPPING OF COURSE
Meduza reports, “The weekly news show ‘Vesti Nedeli’ on the TV network Rossiya 1 has aired some pretty wild stuff over the years,” noting how, “The host, outspoken pro-Kremlin pundit Dmitry Kiselyov,” is not responsible for “all of the show’s insanity” as not all of it “flies out the mouth of its host”. Meduza adds, “the digital wizards who queue up the visuals that appear over Kiselyov’s shoulder during each episode reminded viewers last Sunday that they’re every bit as ready to play fast and loose with your grasp of reality. On June 3, the show’s digital wizards apparently edited a photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to show him smiling when shaking hands with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who traveled to Pyongyang on May 31. In the original photograph, Lavrov flashes his trademark smile, while Kim frowns seriously.” Lavrov has a trademark smile? Who knew? TRUMPISTAN WATCH always thought he looks like he is constipated in pictures, but being backed up is the essence of Russian state happiness, evidently. Naturally for a propagandist tasked with promoting state lies and bullshit, “Dmitry Kisleyov, meanwhile, denies that his team altered the image in question. He claims that photographers took so many pictures that some photos from roughly the same moment captured different facial expressions.”
HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE + THEN SUBVERT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab (DFR Lab) reports, “On May 17, multiple social media users in Latvia noticed that Facebook and Instagram accounts that shared nice images of Riga city changed their name to S Online and finally to Saskana Online — the name of the major Russian language political party in Latvia. The content also changed. Accounts started posting political content and mocking the local nationalist party the National Union.” DFR Lab adds, “The same was reported about Saskana Online Instagram account by Facebook user Baiba Lapsiņa.” DFR Lab notes, “Saskana, the biggest party in Latvia that represents Russian speakers, misled followers of Instagram and Facebook accounts initially named ‘Riga Online’. The accounts shared beautiful images of the city of Riga and garnered a significant fallower base. Recently, the accounts were renamed to ‘Saskana Online’ and started posting political content.” DFR Lab notes the utility in the maneuver as, “The tactic proved an effective audience discovery tool. The party created consistent brand identity on Facebook while securing the fan base that perhaps might not have self subscribed to Saskana’s political content.”
From DFR Lab.
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
IF KIM JONG UN DID A THING TO MAKE THE WORLD MORE SECURE ALREADY…
CNN reports, “As President Donald Trump huddled in the Oval Office on Friday with Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man, he was accompanied by only one other US official: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Absent was the administration’s most vocal North Korea hawk, national security adviser John Bolton.” CNN adds, “The White House insists the meeting was always intended to remain small. But the tableau reflected deeper rifts among Trump’s national security team and a new reality as the President prepares for his historic meeting with Kim next week in Singapore”. Of course, “Bolton raised the so-called ‘Libya’ model to describe US intentions in North Korea,” which is code for being anally raped by a knife before being dragged across the earth and left to rot on a thin cushion before the world’s cameras to any dictator, not whatever the hell Bolton was thinking about surrendering Islamabad dry cleaning plastic wrapped nuclear blue prints, but whatever Kim Jong Un may do ever after, at least be grateful for this one thing, truly his only true contribution to geopolitical security to date.
WATCH: TRUMPISTAN WATCH give a TEDx talk on “Active Resistance”.
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