(denoted with a *)





The Cipher Brief notes, “U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is due to meet today with Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak at the World Gas Conference in Washington.”

From The Cipher Brief.





NBC News reports, “Defense Secretary James Mattis learned in May from a colleague that President Donald Trump had made the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and scrambled to get his boss on the phone before a formal announcement was made,” and notes, “A month later, Mattis was informed that Trump had ordered a pause in U.S. military exercises with South Korea only after the president had already promised the concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.” That’s right, the fake Russian bullshit president made a major decision involving an ally of more than a half a century without consulting his defense secretary and informing an adversary first. American first! None of this should surprise those paying close attention. Officials told NBC News, “The president is relying less and less on the advice of one of the longest-serving members of his cabinet”. NBC News adds, “In recent months, however, the president has cooled on Mattis, in part because he’s come to believe his defense secretary looks down on him and slow-walks his policy directives, according to current and former administration officials. The dynamic was exacerbated with Trump’s announcement in March that he had chosen John Bolton as national security adviser, a move Mattis opposed, and Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as secretary of state soon after.”  The Lubyanka shitstain’s proclivities — even before he became the illegitimate president — has long been to choose loyalists over wisdom.   Sadly for the nation and those who want a future, “The president is now more inclined to rely on his own instincts or the advice of Pompeo and Bolton”. NBC News notes, “a broader shift in the relationship between the president and his defense secretary has occurred during the past six months. It began in earnest when Trump decided in December to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, White House and defense officials said. Mattis opposed the move, saying it would heighten security concerns in the region.” And so it goes “The list of policy decisions Trump has made against Mattis’s advice or without his knowledge has since grown.” Most bizarrely, Trump is fixated on removing allowances for having dependents of military personnel based in South Korea against Mattis and Kelly’s advice, a move that contravenes all logic unless Trump is taking directives from an adversary nation.

From NBC News.



Courthouse News Service reports, “The Trump Organization drew federal fire Monday for its request to spend two weeks reviewing material seized by the FBI from Michael Cohen, the president’s embattled attorney.” Courthouse News Service notes, “Of the roughly one dozen phones taken from the April raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, two are at the heart of the Trump Organization’s request for an extension until July 11 of the privilege review deadline.”

From Courthouse News Service.



Courthouse News Service reports, “attorney Michael Avenatti took to Twitter to slam prosecutors for canceling a meeting with his client, porn actress Stormy Daniels.” Courthouse News Service quotes Avenatti’s tweets, “So I was just informed by the US Attys office that they are canceling the [meeting tomorrow] scheduled with me and my client (for weeks) because the press found out about the [meeting] and they can’t handle a few cameras outside their offices,” and, “If they consider this a big deal,” Avenatti continued, “how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high-profile matter? We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right.” While “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment,” Courthouse News Service notes, “Avenatti published his email to the prosecutors – with their email addresses – but not their side of the communication,” which is not right either. What is this guy doing? Courthouse News Service recalls, “U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood warned what she described as Avenatti’s ‘publicity tour’ could imperil a fair trial should prosecutors ultimately charge Cohen,” noting, “Rather than scale back his media appearances, Avenatti withdrew that day from the case.” When Avenatti started out in this he seemed like much less of a tool than he is turning out to be.

From Courthouse News Service.


ABC News
reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller is digging deeper into Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince”. ABC News adds, “Prince, America’s most famous private military contractor, acknowledged last week that he ‘cooperated’ with Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after falling under scrutiny amid questions about an alleged effort to establish a backchannel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, something Prince has vehemently denied. ABC News has since learned that Mueller is also reviewing Prince’s communications, a sign that Mueller could try to squeeze Prince, as he has others, probing potential inconsistencies in his sworn testimony in an attempt to pressure him to turn into a witness against other targets of the investigation. In response to questions from ABC News, a spokesperson for Prince released a statement noting that Prince has provided Mueller with ‘total access to his phone and computer.’” ABC News notes, “Two of Prince’s former business associates, both of whom asked to remain anonymous, told ABC News they have been contacted by investigators probing a pair of proposed business deals between the Hong Kong-based security firm Frontier Services Group, of which Prince is the founder and chairman, and Russian nationals. One former business associate, who has worked with Prince since the 1990s, recounted a recent conversation with FBI agents from Mueller’s office.” ABC News adds, “The associate said he told the agents about Prince’s previously undisclosed alliance with Dimitriy Streshinskiy, a former Russian special forces soldier turned arms dealer and manufacturer. According to a 2015 interim report from an internal investigation conducted for the company by an outside law firm, a man named ‘Dimitry,’ whom two sources later told ABC News was actually Streshinskiy, acted as Prince’s partner in an effort to secure a possibly illegal private security contract with Azerbaijan.” As it never ends, “Another former business associate told ABC News that he was approached by the FBI about Frontier Services Group’s dealings with the Russian state-owned energy firm Rostec. According to the former associate, Rostec asked Prince’s Frontier Services Group to work on logistics for a proposed refinery operation in Tanzania and Uganda.”

From ABC News.



The New York Times reports on “Ms. Watkins, then a 22-year-old intern in the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers,” and how she “met James Wolfe, a 50-something senior aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, while hunting for scoops on Capitol Hill. He had become a helpful source, but there were times when he seemed interested in other pursuits — like when he presented her with a Valentine’s Day card.” This continued into a three-year relationship, which soured after, “On the morning of June 2, 2017, a shaken Ms. Watkins approached her Politico editors with a bizarre tale. The day before, she explained, she had received an anonymous email from a man who claimed to work for the government and wanted to meet. Over drinks at a Dupont Circle bar, the man quizzed Ms. Watkins about her sources on a story about Russian espionage. He then stunned her by reciting the itinerary of her recent vacation to Spain, including stops at Heathrow Airport and the Canary Islands. He also knew with whom she had traveled: Mr. Wolfe.” The New York Times adds, “The man said he had temporarily relocated to Washington to work on leak investigations, and asked Ms. Watkins to help him identify government officials who were leaking to the press. ‘It would turn your world upside down’ if this turned up in The Washington Post, the man said to Ms. Watkins, who told her editors she believed he was threatening to expose her personal relationship.” The New York Times continues, “Ms. Watkins later went back to the bar and obtained a receipt with the man’s name on it: Jeffrey A. Rambo, a Customs and Border Protection agent stationed in California.” Yes Customs and Border Protection, also known as CBP, falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which as of late has become known, certainly in leftwing circles as “Trump’s Gestapo”. Notably, The New York Times adds, “Two former Justice Department officials said there was a surge last year in government personnel assigned to hunt for leaks — a priority of the Trump White House — but a current official said there is no evidence that Mr. Rambo was ever detailed to the F.B.I.” Wolfe was arrested on June 7 and Watkins was informed back in February that she had her records seized by the Feds. This is not the normal process or procedure as it was in the former USA, not at all. Recall, Watkins broke the story that Carter Page had been in contact with a Russian spy in 2013 – an early fixation of Trump’s death cult GOP to charge the investigation into the fake Russian bullshit president was a Deep State plot.

From The New York Times.



POLITICO reports, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation promises to “shed new light on the former European politicians Paul Manafort considered recruiting as part of the ‘Hapsburg group.’ Mueller has accused Manafort of violating foreign lobbying law by orchestrating the group’s lobbying efforts in the U.S. without registering as a foreign agent. The document, a 2012 memo written by former journalist Alan Friedman and addressed to Manafort, identified eight politicians that Friedman and Alfred Gusenbauer, a former Austrian chancellor, proposed recruiting to lobby.” POLITICO adds, “Only one of those politicians responded to requests for comment from POLITICO at the time. But we heard from another one, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a former Polish president, late last week. He said he’d never heard of the Hapsburg group. Kwaśniewski said he met Manafort for the first time on Oct. 23, 2012, ‘during the international conference in Berlin, so the attached documents from September 2012 are completely unclear to me,” he wrote in an email, referring to the memo in which Friedman proposed recruiting him. Kwaśniewski said he traveled to the U.S. a few months later. On Feb. 1, 2013, he “had a series of meetings in Congress, Senate and State Department about Ukraine, but I cannot find my notes from these meetings and after so many years I do not recall who I was meeting with,’ he wrote.” POLITICO notes, “In a follow-up email, Kwaśniewski wrote that he didn’t recall who had arranged those meetings, but that it wasn’t Manafort. ‘I have never worked for Mr. Manafort,’ he wrote. ‘I was acting as a Former President of Poland, engaged in the Ukrainian matters since 1991. … The main subject of the meetings was the situation in Ukraine and the relations between Ukraine and the West.’”




The Hill reports, “in the early days of the Trump administration,” there was an effort “to try to get Assange to agree to ‘risk mitigation’ — essentially, limiting some classified CIA information he might release in the future.” The Hill adds, “The effort resulted in the drafting of a limited immunity deal that might have temporarily freed the WikiLeaks founder from a London embassy where he has been exiled for years, according to interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators.” The Hill notes you can “Read the draft immunity deal proffer that the Justice Department was considering for Assange here.” The Hill continues, “But an unexpected intervention by Comey — relayed through Warner — soured the negotiations, multiple sources tell me. Assange eventually unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come.” But the intrigue is does not end there as “This yarn begins in January 2017 when Assange’s legal team approached [Adam] Waldman — known for his government connections — to see if the new Trump administration would negotiate with the WikiLeaks founder, holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy. They hoped Waldman, a former Clinton Justice Department official, might navigate the U.S. law enforcement bureaucracy and find the right people to engage. Waldman had helped Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to assist the FBI from 2009 to 2011 in searching for a retired FBI agent captured in Iran; the FBI rewarded Deripaska by granting him entry to the United States after years of being banned. Waldman also arranged evidence from Hollywood players such as Johnny Depp that helped prosecutors in a U.S. corruption case against Malaysian figures”. The Hill notes, “Waldman was asked by Assange’s team to work pro bono, and he did.” The Hill adds, “Waldman contacted [Bruce] Ohr, a Justice official he’d met during the Russia election case. They talked by phone and encrypted text messages in early January, then met Feb. 3, 2017, in Washington, records show. In between, Waldman met three times with Assange in London.” Nothing came of it and J-Ass released the “Vault 7” hacking tools so fuck him.

From The Hill.



The Washington Post reports, “Attorneys for a Russian firm accused of funding an Internet trolling operation to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss charges, saying the Justice Department’s appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III violated the Constitution and the department’s own regulations.” The Washington Post adds, “Concord Management and Consulting was indicted in February with 13 Russian individuals and two other companies, and accused of being part of an ambitious effort to trick Americans online into following and promoting Russian-fed propaganda that pushed 2016 voters toward then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.”

From The Washington Post.



Haaretz reports, “A delegation of senior Hamas officials discussed U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan and the situation in the Gaza Strip with Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on Monday.” Princeling Jared has been touring the Middle East of late, kibitzing about peace in some public relations fantasy, probably collecting some cash payments and generally being far, far away from the crimes against humanity that are blowing up in the face of the fascist cockroaches in Twitler’s regime in the past week. As meetings with Lavrov are almost always a precursor to Russia throwing a massive rake into the glorious plans and messaging of the Trump regime, Haaretz adds, “The head of the delegation, Dr. Moussa Abu Marzouk, said Russian officials assured they would oppose the plan. ‘We agreed with the Russians that we won’t allow the promotion of the deal of the century,’ Marzouk said. He added that the delegation will visit Iran after leaving Russia.” Haaretz notes, “A senior Hamas official in Gaza told Haaretz that the timing of the visit is not a coincidence; the meeting came as Trump’s envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, toured the Middle East to discuss the peace plan with regional leaders.” Princeling Jared and his garbage regime hellspawn wife Aryan princess Ivanka: forever clueless.

From Haaretz.



Fox News reports, “A group of nine House Republican lawmakers has signed a letter asking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to provide the names of everyone ‘past and present’ who has worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.” Since they want names, take these down: “The letter is signed by Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.; Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.; Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; Andy Harris, R-Md.; Jody Hice, R-Ga., Scott Perry, R-Pa.; and Ralph Norman, R-S.C.,” Fox News notes. Why isn’t DARKNESS AT NUNES a signatory? How odd.

From Fox News.



Russian state-run Tass reports, “The US Congressmen, who are planning to visit Russia in the coming days, had requested a meeting with Russia’s Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko but were notified that this meeting is impossible due to her foreign trip, Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev said.” The sadist in TRUMPISTAN WATCH really gets off on this because here we have Russia, a weak and fairly shitty nation with a GDP roughly the size of Italy’s fucking with a bunch of death cult GOP Senators who are like fuck all context and Mueller’s investigation, yee-haw we’re going to Moscow! So what could be better than a pure Soviet rebuttal to their American optimism than, “‘We informed the US side that the requested meeting at the level of the Federation Council Chairman is impossible as the Federation Council Chairman will be on her foreign trip. But we confirmed our readiness to meet at other levels and will now see what their reaction will be. We haven’t received the response so far,’ Kosachev said.” This is Russia’s version of kicking the can down the road made all the more delicious by the fact that the fake national security advisor John Bolton is arriving in said shithole’s capital tomorrow and these quisling Senators are spending America’s most patriotic holiday, the Fourth of July far, far behind enemy lines. But hey the death cult GOP makes this seem like such a feckless country nowadays, will they even notice the diss? Russian state-run Tass adds, “Last week, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said the visit of the US Congress delegation to Russia is an ‘important signal’ and will give an impetus to resuming bilateral inter-parliamentary ties. The delegation will include both members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Antonov said.” So far, only the names of four Senators on this Congressional delegation have been disclosed: Richard Shelby, John Hoeven, John Kennedy and Steve Daines.

From Russian state-run Tass.



Bloomberg reports, “More than four years since Vladimir Putin’s popularity shot to record highs after his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, support for the Russian president has fallen right back on an unpopular plan to raise the pension age.” Bloomberg adds, “Confidence among Russians in Putin declined to 42 percent in mid-June from 45 percent a week earlier, the lowest level since December 2013, according to state-run polling company VTsIOM. It said Putin’s approval rating fell from 77 percent to 72 percent, the worst result since March 2014, the month he signed an order absorbing Crimea into Russia. A separate poll by the Public Opinion Foundation showed a similar drop.” Remember: Russians will not be forthcoming about their real views to a stranger they do not trust and that trust is hard earned. Putin’s actual support is much likely much lower.

From Bloomberg.



The AP reports, “A court in the Russian capital has extended opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s probation, a ruling that maintains the pressure on the Kremlin’s top critic. Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court ruled Monday to extend Navalny’s probation by one year.”

From the AP.



POLITICO reports, “Defense ministers from nine EU countries, including the U.K., on Monday pledged to form a joint European military intervention force that will allow British support to last post Brexit. The European Intervention Initiative, spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron as part of plans for an autonomous European defense force outlined in his Sorbonne speech in September, will be tasked with quickly deploying troops in crisis scenarios near Europe’s borders. The group includes Germany, Belgium, the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal.” This might be derided as a NATO alternative but it is truly long overdue and luckily has nations, which are present along all major European waterways, so this is very good. POLITICO adds, “The initiative will be distinct from the European defense pact known as PESCO — which includes all EU member countries except Britain, Malta and Denmark — enabling the U.K. to continue to participate after it leaves the bloc in 2019.”






BuzzFeed News reports, “Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is appealing a judge’s order sending him to jail while his case is pending. Manafort’s lawyers filed court papers Monday notifying the judge in Washington, DC, presiding over Manafort’s case that they are appealing her June 15 order revoking his pretrial release. The case will now go to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.” BuzzFeed News adds, “Manafort is also appealing a judge’s order in April dismissing his civil lawsuit challenging the validity of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment.” BuzzFeed News notes, “Since June 15, Manafort has been held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia. Jail records indicated that Manafort had ‘VIP’ status at the facility, but in a recent interview with BuzzFeed News, jail superintendent Ted Hull pushed back on the idea that this meant Manafort is enjoying luxury accommodations.”

From BuzzFeed News.





The AP reports, “The Pentagon is preparing to build temporary camps for immigrants at two military bases, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Sunday. He did not name the two bases, but said the details are being worked out, including how much capacity is needed. The Pentagon had initially talked about four potential bases, but Mattis indicated the number is now two.” The AP adds, “Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Asia on Sunday, Mattis said the military has housed people in the past, including Vietnamese fleeing their country as well as Americans needing shelter in the wake of natural disasters.” Hell TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s dad was born in a U.S. Army run displaced persons camp, so the Army actually has a clue what it is doing here, unlike ICE which is run by an unqualified Nazi at present and seems to have a few more on the payroll. However, of note, “The Pentagon has said it will have no role in operating the temporary shelters, which would be controlled by HHS,” or Health and Human Services, the AP adds. “A Pentagon memo to members of Congress, obtained by The Associated Press, said it has been asked to have the facilities available as early as July, through the end of the year.”

From the AP.





Just Security reports, “Donald Trump would have been an active target of Russian intelligence since the moment they laid eyes on him for two reasons that come straight from the classical espionage textbook: He has influence; and he is potentially vulnerable to various forms of compromise.” Just Security adds, “Playing by the book, the Russians would have attempted to initiate multi-layered operations to develop varied means of access to him in an effort to establish and ultimately exploit mechanisms of control over Trump and his associates.” Just Security notes, “Based on well-practiced history, intelligence services typically hold off making a direct approach to high priority targets for years. Traditionally, the modus operandi (‘method of operation,’ the preferred term in intelligence jargon) is to wait for the right opportunity to present itself in order to maximize leverage over the target and enhance prospects of success. The key questions in this tradecraft are to determine if and how the target can be turned to serve another nation’s interests, rather than the interests of their own country. Espionage is a loyalty test, in the final analysis. Better put, a litmus test for loyalty and betrayal.” Just Security adds, “In the established business circles Trump and his associates run in, it would have been logical to test interest in lining one another’s pockets for mutual gain. Even if the Russians were ultimately unsuccessful in compromising Trump directly, they would have been content to compromise and exploit lesser targets along the way – minnows with access to the big fish.” Just Security notes, “The Russians want to determine their target’s threshold for cooperation. Will the target report a crime? How will he respond to a test of his loyalty to American interests, if not American law? What are his limits? In any relationship, whether it be with a citizen and his country, or a wife and a husband, a secret relationship with a third party is not a sign of a healthy relationship.” Just Security adds, “As for any US government response, the anticipated Obama administration reaction to the Russian intelligence activity never came. Blue skies ahead. All systems go.” Of course, “Putin seems to be the type of leader Trump himself aspires to be if he could only shed all these constraints – the media, liberal progressive types, enemies real and imagined – that drag him down in business and now in politics. Trump’s unwillingness to criticize Putin’s liquidation of his opponents and assault on free speech must have been very revealing to Putin – and to Russian intelligence.”

From Just Security.



Mother Jones reports, “Democratic congressional candidate Harley Rouda will challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher this November in an attempt to flip California’s 48th Congressional district from red to blue.”

From Mother Jones.





CNN reports, “It has been just a few months since Mark Zuckerberg was dragged before Congress to answer for his company, but Facebook has been put in the hot seat again — and is falling for a faux scandal cooked up by conservatives. Amid a new round of unsubstantiated claims of anti-conservative bias from a group of conservative leaders, Facebook launched a review of its practices in May. But instead of relying on a neutral third party, it enlisted former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl to lead the review, along with the conservative Heritage Foundation.” The Heritage Foundation has staffed the Trump regime and hosted conspiracy theorists like Jerome Corsi who wrote “Killing the Deep State,” which ironically enough advertises on CNN in the former USA. Yet “Despite this, Republican leaders weren’t satisfied. Shortly after Facebook launched the review, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, doubled down on the bias narrative, writing to Twitter and Facebook to complain of ‘suppression of conservative speech’ and ‘rampant political bias” on the platforms.’” So what do the fashies who only care about their bottom line at FARAbook do? CNN adds, “instead of pointing to the ongoing formal review and letting it run its course, Facebook intensified its efforts to mollify right-wing critics. It arranged a meeting earlier this month between senior Facebook executives and McDaniel, Parscale, and Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.” It’s like they know the death cult GOP cannot win on ideas so they have to bring the brunt of the government to bear on a billion dollar company based on trading user data like a privatized Stasi. Meanwhiel FARAbook continues to talk about itself most disingenuously as a force for good in the world? On what pretext exactly?

From CNN.





Business Insider reports, “The Trump Organization has long been known to have bought up a slew of domain names associated with President Donald Trump and his family, including URLs containing the phrases ‘Donald Trump Sucks,’ ‘Im Being Sued By The Donald,’ ‘Ivanka Poker Champion,’ and ‘Play With Donald.’” The fashie regime cockroaches never did get TrumpistanWatch.com though! Now Business Insider adds, “there’s one domain name the company seems to have overlooked: the innocuous-sounding trumphotels.org.” Oops, oversight! Also, the best people always, only, ever. Business Insider adds, “This domain name was registered by an unnamed party sometime last weekaccording to Gizmodo, and now features a darkly satirical tribute to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which have drawn widespread criticism and resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 immigrant families in recent months.” So it goes, “Visitors to trumphotels.org are greeted with a landing page featuring photos of immigrants detained behind chain-link fences and children wrapped in emergency blankets.” #Luxury

From Business Insider.


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