🇷🇺 Trump/Russia

 
This annotated bibliography started 7/26/2017.
 
💽Recommended⋙ Mueller She Wrote Podcast
http://bit.ly/2PgTKWs

 

Russian Intelligence Services:

Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) – The Foreign Intelligence Service reports directly to the President of Russia.
GRU – Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces.
Federal Security Service (FSB) – The Federal Security Service is responsible for counter-intelligence, state security and anti-terrorist operations

🔄 ECFR , Mark Galeotti [EU] (2016): Introduction: Putin’s hydra: Inside Russia’s intelligence services http://bit.ly/2NZWN1h
// 5/11/2016, Intro
⋙ 📒 ECFR, Mark Galeotti [EU] (2016): Report: Putin’s Hydra: Inside Russia’s Intelligence Services [pdf] http://bit.ly/2NYjG5b 20p
// May 2016, Full report

 

 
Key People: Roman Abramovich, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, Rinat Akhmetov, Rinat Akhmetshin, Yulya Alferova, Anatoly Antonov, Andrii Artemenko, Arron Banks, Andrey Baronov, Vitaly Bespalov, Leonid “Len” Blavatnik, Anna Bogacheva, David Bogatin, Wm Browder, Mariia Butina, Carole Cadwalladr, Michael Caputo, Yuri Chaika, Igor Chekunov, Michael Cohen, George Cottrell, Oleg Deripaska, Igor Divyekin, Kirill Dmitriev, Aleksandr Dugin, Arkady Dvorkovich, Paul Erickson, Oleg Erovinkin, Nigel Farage, Dmitri Firtash, John Fotiadis, Gene (Evgeny) Friedman, Daniel Gelbinovich, Rob Goldstone, Sergei Gorkov, Henry Greenberg, Andrew Intrater, Bidzina Ivanishvili, Mikhail Kalugin, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Saak Karapetyan, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Denis Katsyv, Irakly (“Ike”) Kaveladze, Konstantin Kilimnik, Sergey Kislyak, Artem Klyushin, Konstantin Kosachev, Aleksandra Krylova, Elena Khusyaynova, Alexander Litvinenko, Simona Mangiante, Alexander Mashkevich, Viktor Medvedchek, Josef Mifsud, Semion Mogilevich (Don Semyon), Konstantin Molofeev, George Nader, Eduard Nektalov, Konstantin Nikolaev, Vyacheslav Nikonov, Yevgeniy Nikulin, Alexander Nix, Isabel Oakeshoff, George Papadopoulos, Sam Patten, Alexander Perepilichnyy, Dmitry Peskov, Igor Pisarsky, Yevgeny Prigozhin, Vladimir Putin, George Ramishvili, Dmitry Rogozin, Alexander Rovt, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, Dmitry Rybolovlev, Konstantin Rykov, Mikheil Saakashvili, Felix Sater, Igor Sechin, Christopher Steele, Ruslan Stoyanov, Oleg Solodukhin, Peter Strzok, Taiwanchik (aka Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov), Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (aka Taiwanchik), Aleksandr Torshin, Yulia Tymoshenko, Viktor Vekselberg, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Vyacheslav Volodin, Curt Weldon, Andy Wigmore, Alexander Yakovenko, Viktor Yanukovych, Ivan Yermakov, Viktor Yushchenko, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Maria Zakharova, Joel Zamel

 

 

Bios w links (Wikipedia unless otherwise noted): Roman Abramovich, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, Rinat Akhmetov, Rinat Akhmetshin, Yulya Alferova (National Compass), Anatoly Antonov, Andrii Artemenko, Arron Banks, Andrey Baranov (Bloomberg), Vitaly Bespalov, Leonid “Len” Blavatnik, Anna Bogacheva (NYT), David Bogatin (NYT), William Browder, Mariia Butina, Carole Cadwalladr, Michael Caputo, Yuri Chaika, Igor Chekunov, Michael Cohen, George Cottrell, Oleg Deripaska, Igor Divyekin, Kirill Dmitriev, Aleksandr Dugin, Arkady Dvorkovich, Paul Erickson, Oleg Erovinkin, Nigel Farage, Dmitri Firtash, John Fotiadis (Archinect), Gene (Evgeny) Friedman, Daniel Gelbinovich (Daily Beast), Rob Goldstone, Sergei Gorkov, Henry Greenberg (Miami Herald), Andrew Intrater, Bidzina Ivanishvili, Mikhail Kalugin, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Saak Karapetyan /a>, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Denis Katsyv, Irakly Kaveladze, Elena Khusyaynova (NYT), Konstantin Kilimnik, Sergey Kislyak, Artem Klyushin (National Compass), Konstantin Kosachev, Aleksandra Krylova (NYT), Alexander Litvinenko, Konstantin Malofeev, Simona Mangiante (Papadopoulos), Alexander Mashkevich, Viktor Medvedchek, Josef Mifsud, Semion Mogilevich (Don Semyon), Eduard Nektalov (NYMag), Konstantin Nikolaev (Forbes), Yevgeniy Nikulin (Bloomberg), Vyacheslav Nikonov, Alexander Nix, Isabel Oakeshoff, George Papadopoulos, Sam Patten (WaPo), Alexander Perepilichny, Dmitry Peskov, Igor Pisarsky (RIM), Yevgeny Prigozhin, Vladimir Putin, George Ramishvili (Bloomberg), Dmitry Rogozin, Alexander Rovt, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (CNBC), Dmitry Rybolovlev, Konstantin Rykov, Mikheil Saakashvili, Felix Sater, Igor Sechin, Oleg Solodukhin, Christopher Steele, Ruslan Stoyanov, Peter Strzok, Taiwanchik (aka Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov), Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (aka Taiwanchik), Aleksandr Torshin, Yulia Tymoshenko, Viktor Vekselberg, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Vyacheslav Volodin, Curt Weldon, Andy Wigmore, Alexander Yakovenko, Viktor Yanukovych, Ivan Yermakov (Moscow Proj), Viktor Yushchenko, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Maria Zakharova (BuzzFeed), Joel Zamel (Wikistrat)

 

By @jzikah

 

Key Documents

 
⋙ 💙💙🔄 Moyers&Co: Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump http://bit.ly/2uVHc9j
// continually updated

⋙ 💙💙🔄📒 DocumentCloud: Steele Dossier [pdf] http://bit.ly/2y5ZhnF 35p

⋙ 💙💙🔄📒 FBIRecordsVault: Records Between FBI and Christopher Steele http://bit.ly/2KqLoF1

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ AP: Mueller Investigation documents http://bit.ly/2ihbK0l

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ CitJourno: Trump/Russian Mob Connections http://www.citjourno.org

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ CNN, Marshall Cohen, Tal Yellen & Liz Stark: Tracking the Russia investigations (documents) http://cnn.it/2hVCpU5

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NYT: Russian Hacking and Influence in the U.S. Election http://nyti.ms/2NqFXeY

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ BrennanCenter: Trump-Russia Investigations http://bit.ly/2yRKcu6

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ Politico: The people connected to the Russia probes [ Interactive ] http://politi.co/2FUDhz2 //➔ Democrats, Prosecutors, Law Enforcement/Lobbyists/Media,Team Trump, Foreign Nationals

🔄 💙💙🔄 TheMoscowProject: Trump’s Russia Cover-Up By the Numbers http://bit.ly/2ycY959
// Center for American Progress; 80+ contacts with Russia-linked operatives https://themoscowproject.org/about/ http://bit.ly/2ycY959

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NBCNews: Russia timeline: Key players, meetings and investigation details http://nbcnews.to/2vtR3YW

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ DailyBeast: Democrats Release the Fusion GPS Testimony on Trump and Russia http://thebea.st/2qMmH1d w attachment [pdf]
⋙ via Dianne Feinstein http://bit.ly/2FjtlPP
 

By @jzikah

 
⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NYT: Justice Department Gives Congress Comey’s Memos on Trump http://nyti.ms/2HdLe2Z
// 4/19/2018 ➔ DocumentCloud: http://bit.ly/2HOGC4z

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ DOJ: Indictment of Internet Research Agency LLC et al … [PDF] http://bit.ly/2CqdHzD 37p //➔ Mueller Investigation
// 2/16/2018

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ Amy Siskind: The Weekly List ~ “This is How Democracy Ends” https://theweeklylist.org

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NYT: Mueller Has List of Questions for Trump http://nyti.ms/2rfDuqK + http://nyti.ms/2HExEKi
// 4/30/2018, Majority Relate to if Trump Obstructed Inquiry on Russia

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NYT: The Trump Lawyers’ Confidential Memo to Mueller, Explained [ Document ] http://nyti.ms/2kKPgq9
// 6/2/2018, NYT article about document: http://nyti.ms/2swIZSc

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ TIME: The Arguments President Trump Has Made Against the Mueller Investigation http://ti.me/2MdeARX
// 6/8/2018

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ TIME: Wikipedia: Links between Trump associates and Russian officials http://bit.ly/2K42VDF
 

By @jzikah

 
⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ WaPo: Who has been charged in the Russia probe and why http://wapo.st/2toNwH2
// continually updated; WaPo Russia page

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ ForeignAffairs Anthology: A New Cold War? Russia and America, Then and Now 1947- http://fam.ag/2KEA4dF

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ Justice.gov: Mueller Indictment of 12 Russians in the GRU for Election Hacking [pdf] http://bit.ly/2NbphV6 29p
// 7/13/2018

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ FactCheck.org: Timeline of Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2KZ4qaQ
// posted 6/7/2018, updated 7/13/2018; Key moments in the FBI probe of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election; Readable

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ Legal Process Server: DNC Lawsuit vs Russia, Wikileaks, et al http://bit.ly/2KIOhBq

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ NYT, Linda Qiu: Truth-Testing Trump’s 250-Plus Attacks on the Russia Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2MY609E
// 8/18/2018

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ Justice.gov: Manafort Plea Agreement [pdf] http://bit.ly/2CZiVb7 17p
// 9/14/2018

⋙ 💙💙🔄💽 NYT: Opinion | Operation Infektion: A three-part video series on Russian disinformation http://nyti.ms/2OHqSSV
// 11/12/2018

 

By @jzikah
 
⭕ 16 Nov 2018

🐣 RT @MalcolmNance Made prediction that Assange will be indicted for Conspiracy to Defraud US on @Msnbc several times this summer. Also said next round of indictments will be assets in RU infowar: http://Wikileaks.org , Stone, Credico, poss Alex Nix & Cambridge Analytica & Natalya Veselnitskaya.

NYT: Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals http://nyti.ms/2K9smEK
// by Charlie Savage and Michael Schmidt

⭕ 15 Nov 2018

🐣 RT @SethAbramson I think Roger Stone (and possibly Trump Jr., Jerome Corsi, and Randy Credico) will be indicted very soon. Meanwhile, Mueller will continue working on Manafort, who (a) is probably the person Trump says was “threatened” by Mueller, and (b) can *bury* Trump.
[…] (PS2) We know Manafort can bury Trump because Trump implied as much to multiple friends by telephone in January ’18, per an NBC News report. And we know Trump was (Giuliani implies, improbably, still *is*) in a defense agreement with Manafort. So Trump’s tweet on “threatening”…
[…] (PS3) …was likely a freakout prompted by learning from someone in Manafort’s camp that Mueller is “threatening” to increase Manafort’s prison sentence if he doesn’t tell the truth about everything Trump did. This would also explain Trump’s more-deranged-than-usual mood. /end

Esquire, Jack Holmes: Trump Just Blurted Out, Unprompted, That He Installed His Pet Attorney General Over the Russia Probe http://bit.ly/2DKhT20
// If you wait long enough, the president will tell you outright that he did the shady thing.

DailyBeast: Facebook Hired GOP Oppo-Research Firm to Link Protesters to George Soros: Report http://thebea.st/2qX4POJ

Bloomberg, Timothy O’Brien: Trump’s Attack on Mueller Is About One Thing: Fear http://bloom.bg/2zZqTvW
// Why would the president risk adding to Mueller’s obstruction inquiry? There are bigger things at stake for him.

WaPo: Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal in inadvertent court filing http://wapo.st/2PZ5pcB

🐣 RT @JulieDavisNews #Russia’s state TV mocks and taunts the U.S./Trump admin. ¤ State TV host Evgeny Popov says: ¤ “Slight amnesia occurred on Capitol Hill, in the United States – they were promising us draconian sanctions, but forgot to impose them. Imagine that!”© ¤ #Skripal

🐣 RT @CoryBooker Results of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation so far:
☑️ 3 people sentenced to prison
☑️ 1 person convicted at trial
☑️ 6 people pleaded guilty
☑️ 35 people & entities charged
☑️ 191 criminal counts
We must pass our bipartisan bill to protect this investigation.

🐣 RT @MuellerSheWrote Mueller couldn’t tell the court who Manafort helped them roll and in what way without revealing info about an ongoing investigation. He just asked for ten day extension. That means the related indictments are likely not coming tomorrow. But by the 26th. #beans

🐣 RT @kelly2277 [VentureCapital, 3/29] Evidence to charge Trump w Treason is here. Konstantin Rykov’s confession on Facebook named Aleksander Kogan who worked w Joseph Chancellor at GSR. Rykov connected to Artem Klyushin Yulia Alferova & Emin Agalarov who were w Trump when Putin called
// 3/29/2018
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/kelly2277/status/979403917636395009?s=20

🐣 RT @MollyJongFast It’s not like Manafort was the president’s campaign manger.
⋙ 🐣 RT @ JamieOGrady BREAKING: Mueller asks court for ten-day delay in joint status update in Manafort case. This suggests Special Counsel expects Manfort’s cooperation to come to a head very, very soon.

🐣 RT @elechner Something will happen between now and the Monday after Thanksgiving that is so helpful to Manafort and Mueller being ready to sentence Manafort that, instead of the usual “wait 60 more days to sentence,” it’s only 10 days… ¤ Could be indictments of who knows how many…

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson I’m really excited to see how much we get to stress test our Republic in the next few months.

Slate, Mark Stern: The Justice Department’s Legal Defense of Matthew Whitaker’s Appointment ~ It’s laughable. http://bit.ly/2BaMHXw

🐣 RT @MarkWarner We need to recognize that the Special Counsel’s investigation is under serious threat of political interference from this President. Heck, it’s happening in front of our eyes. It’s time for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to #ProtectMueller.
[4 Trump Tweets:] https://twitter.com/MarkWarner/status/1063097237201399808/photo/1
⇊ ⇊
🐣 RT @real The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. We are the envy of the world. But anytime I even think about making changes, the FAKE NEWS MEDIA goes crazy, always seeking to make us look as bad as possible! Very dishonest!
[…] The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t…
[…] ….care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!
[…] Universities will someday study what highly conflicted (and NOT Senate approved) Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs have done to destroy people. Why is he protecting Crooked Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page & her lover, Peter S, and all of his friends on the other side?
[…] The only “Collusion” is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC? They still don’t have it. Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are in favor of the Democrats. That’s the real Collusion!

🐣 RT @joncoopertweets As Trump hears the footsteps of Lady Justice getting closer, he’ll become increasingly unstable and paranoid. Soon he’ll be afraid to trust even his closest aides & advisers, relying only on the few people he feels will always have his back, like Ivanka & Don Jr. Dangerous times.

🐣 RT @TonySchwartz Remember when he talked about hiring the best people? Most members of this administration are not simply mediocre, they are literally D-listers, losers, miscreants, fools and extremists — people like him. We have a government run by no-nothings.
… For nearly two years, I have believed that Mueller will ultimately detail a raft of high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the man whose name I no longer use. That day is very near. It will prompt the ultimate showdown about who we are as a nation. Will good triumph?

NYT: A Look Inside the Tactics of Definers, Facebook’s Attack Dog http://nyti.ms/2Ds2brk

Politico, Darren Samuelson: ‘Preparing for the worst’: Mueller anxiety pervades Trump world http://politi.co/2KdStKV
// Half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has started to set in.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: What Trump’s Latest Outburst About Mueller Could Mean http://bit.ly/2DofdWW
// The president was unusually specific in his attacks against the special counsel.

SoufanCenter: IntelBrief: Paris and the Prospects & Perils of a Post-American Order http://bit.ly/2B957HU “despite the anomalous presidency of Donald Trump … the United States continues to maintain resilient institutions and remains a leader in most areas that matter”

● As the recent World War I centenary tribute in Paris foreshadowed, the world order may be shifting, with the contours of a ‘Post-American Order’ slowly taking shape.
● The defining characteristic of a post-American world would be multipolarity, with revisionist powers like Russia and China growing more assertive, near-peer adversaries like Iran and North Korea gaining in relative strength, and traditional allies in Europe and Asia reconsidering their relationships with Washington amidst American retrenchment.
● Still, despite the anomalous presidency of Donald Trump, largely considered to be an outlier in terms of American grand strategic tradition, the United States continues to maintain resilient institutions and remains a leader in most areas that matter—military, economic, and technological.
● It is still premature to begin speaking of a ‘Post-American Order,’ although continued hegemony is no fait accompli. Likely the United States will rebound from its current morass to reclaim its role as the leading promoter of global stability and defender of human rights, democracy, and free markets.

Axios: Scoop: The millionaire funding the campaign to break up Facebook http://bit.ly/2qNEWAB David Magerman, a Pennsylvania philanthropist and former hedge fund executive

🐣 RT @renato_mariotti 1/ Journalists need to press Giuliani–does a refusal to answer the questions mean Trump is taking the Fifth as to those questions? ¤ Most likely Trump’s team will try to dodge the questions without formally taking the Fifth, which they can do until or unless Trump is subpoenaed
⋙ WaPo: U.S. judge refuses to toss out Mueller probe case against Russian firm owned by ‘Putin’s chef’ http://wapo.st/2qPZbhe plus update: Giuliani on status of Trump answering Mueller’s questions
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1063208566335709185

🐣 RT @RussiaUN #Russia could not support amendments proposed by #US to the draft res. on combating glorification of Nazism.We are against proposals aimed at justifying the Nazis and their allies, denying the danger of spread of racist and xenophobic rhetoric and ideology. @mfa_russia @RusEmbUSA
// Huh?!
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @RussiaUN Today we are facing persistent attempts to falsify and rewrite #history for the sake of political and #geopolitical benefits. In some countries the glorification of Nazism has been elevated to the level of state policy.
https://twitter.com/RussiaUN/status/1063207117837017094/photo/1

🐣 RT @BrookingsFP Russia sees AI-driven disinformation campaigns as a low-cost way to compensate for its conventional military inferiority relative to the West, writes @apolyakova.
⋙ Brookings, Alina Polyakova: Weapons of the weak: Russia and AI-driven asymmetric warfare http://brook.gs/2ThtGcH

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”[1] – Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2017.

“A people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”[2] – Hannah Arendt, 1978

🐣 RT @rgoodlaw The fix is in.
Senator McConnell, Nov 9, 2018:
#Whitaker “will be a very interim AG…I expect we’ll get a new nominee quickly.”
Senator Graham, Nov 15, 2018:
Whitaker and I “discussed sort of what he wants to do next year in terms of his legislative agenda.”

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind Looks like the connection between Russia and Stone to get to the Trump campaign may be coming to a US court. So [sic] wonder Trump is so crazed. Coming from all sides.
WSJ: U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange http://on.wsj.com/2DGPoCz
// Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against the WikiLeaks founder

🐣 RT @MSNBC .@MaddowBlog: Last week, Mueller stopped reporting to Rosenstein and started reporting to Whitaker. Now, Pres. Trump claims to know about the “inner workings” of the probe.
⋙ MSNBC, Steve Benen: Trump claims to know about ‘the inner workings’ of Mueller’s probe http://on.msnbc.com/2Dpt1AH

🐣 RT @FranklinFoer In summation: Facebook– a dominant source of global news and information–pays to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and shades the truth to avoid offending Republicans.

TheAtlantic, Alexis Madrigal: When the Tech Mythology Collapses http://bit.ly/2FmokKt
// The industry’s fall from grace may feel unprecedented, but we have a model for what happens when a beloved industry fails us.

🐣 RT @kelly2277 [Venture Capital) @Facebook hired Definers Public Affairs tied to American Rising an Alt Right group and Matt Whitaker to shift blame to Soros and others- AND @Redrum_of_Crows tied them to the Russian IP matrix‼️ cc @maddow @kenklippenstein
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @kenklippenstein To portray its critics as Soros-backed, Facebook hired a PR firm called Definers Public Affairs. ¤ That firm is headed by Joe Pounder, who also runs America Rising — a right-wing oppo group Trump’s Acting AG Matt Whitaker hired for “research” in 2015-16:
⋙ TYT (11/9): Secret Documents Could Shed Light on Whitaker’s Partisan Past http://bit.ly/2qQ1xfY
According to a 2017 report in the New York Times, America Rising used the Freedom of Information Act to request emails of EPA employees deemed critical of the president and then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
According to the IRS filings, FACT paid America Rising $144,000 in 2015 and $180,150 in 2016 for “research” services.
The tax records also show FACT hired Creative Response Concepts, or CRC, the public-relations firm that touched off controversy when it was reported that they helped push a conspiracy theory to rebut a sexual assault allegation regarding Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. (TYT recently reported on CRC’s ties to Vice President Mike Pence.)
FACT paid CRC $133,324 in 2015 and $134,149 in 2016 for “public relations” services.
Although FACT’s connections to America Rising and CRC have been previously reported, TYT also found that the group’s ties with several Republican-dominated law firms show similar patterns.
⋙ 🐣 RT @kenklippenstein Definers and America Rising even list identical business addresses
https://twitter.com/kenklippenstein/status/1062869252447895553?s=20/photo/1-2
⋙ 🐣 RT @kenklippenstein Here’s the bombshell NYT report about Facebook hiring a PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, to portray its critics as Soros-backed: [link to “Delay, Deny and Deflect” article below]
Text Block: https://twitter.com/kenklippenstein/status/1062882176960737288?s=20/photo/1

🐣 RT @ProudResister
Nixon: Witch Hunt
Trump: Witch Hunt

Nixon: I’m not a crook
Trump: Hillary is a crook

Nixon: Obstructed justice to cover up a conspiracy led by Americans to break into the DNC
Trump: Obstructed justice to cover up a conspiracy led by Russians to hack DNC & interfere in election

🐣 RT @CIASpygirl Dear Universe,
My morning’s been rough:
Put gym clothes on inside out & didn’t realize it until after class
Set off alarm
Spilled morning beverage (related: why I can’t have nice things)
Mtg cancelled last minute
So…what I’m saying is I really need some indictments today.
thx
⋙ RT @AshaRangappa_ I could use some indictments too — it’s my birthday! 🎊🎁🎉
⋙⋙ 🐣 All I want for🎅🏼Christmas🎅🏼 this year are 🎁Indictments🎁 😇

TheAtlantic, Richard Fontaine: Trump Gets NATO Backwards http://bit.ly/2Dn8w7y
// The U.S. defends Europe out of self-interest.

CNN: Trump-appointed judge upholds Mueller’s indictment against Russian troll farm http://cnn.it/2zUPqT4

🐣 RT @MuellerSheWrote Tin Foil Hat Beans: what if Fox, Wiki, Drudge, etc… are dark because they conspired to disseminate the Russian-hacked emails and they’re under some kind of gag order or cooperation deal? Disclaimer: these are super duper space beans (theory)

≣💙💙DailyCaller: Full Transcript Of Trump’s Oval Office Interview With The Daily Caller http://bit.ly/2OHAn4s uh …

THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —

POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?

WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.

POTUS: A 20-page?

THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.

POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody that’s very respected.

I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.

It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.

THE DAILY CALLER: Right.

POTUS: He’s heading this whole big thing, he’s not Senate confirmed.

So anyway, I have a lot of respect for Matt Whitaker, based primarily on reputation. And I think he’s really — I think a lot of people are starting to come out very much in favor of him during this period of time.

THE DAILY CALLER: What about who will eventually replace him, sir?

POTUS: Well, I’m looking at a lot of people. I have been called by so many people wanting that job. We have some great people. In the meantime, I think Matt’s going to do a fantastic job.

🐣 RT @CheriJacobus Roger Stone likely shared his WikiLeaks advance info with Ailes and that may be why both FOX News and WikiLeaks have gone dark on twitter.
⋙ 🐣 RT @CheriJacobus “Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and longtime confidant Roger Stone coordinated with Ailes to monitor and undermine the ousted Fox chief’s perceived adversaries.”
⋙⋙ Politico, Ben Schreckinger (2017): The Widening Blast Radius of the Fox News Scandal http://politi.co/2zegSeP
// The metastasizing Ailes affair is spilling over into the politics of New York, Virginia and the White House.
// 5/14/2017

🐣 RT @NormEisen In the face of these kinds of threats and lies by Trump, how does Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote on the Mueller protection bill differ from aiding and abetting obstruction of justice?

🐣 RT @20committee Two salient points missed by most because some people want you to miss them. ¤ 1. Team Mueller has been at work for 18 months. They are veteran investigators & prosecutors, this ain’t their first DC rodeo. ¤ 2. With #natsec crimes, DoJ’s gloves really come off. No soft touches.

🐣 RT @keithboykin Sounds like somebody in Trump’s circle is about to be indicted.
https://twitter.com/keithboykin/status/1063051227842404353/photo/1
// Trump’s a.m. tweets

NYT: Mueller Team Has ‘Gone Absolutely Nuts,’ Trump Says, Resuming Attacks on Russia Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2OJ9nBv
// By Maggie Haberman, Michael S. Schmidt and Eileen Sullivan

President Trump on Thursday blasted the special counsel team, calling it a “disgrace” to the country in an early Twitter post and renewed previous attacks on the investigation, calling it, “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!

The fresh barrage comes after Mr. Trump spent the last three days meeting with his personal legal team, crafting answers to written questions from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

⭕ 14 Nov 2018

Axios, Zachary Basu: The case against Mueller target Roger Stone http://bit.ly/2Th0SRO

DailyCaller: Full Transcript Of Trump’s Oval Office Interview With The Daily Caller http://bit.ly/2OHAn4s uh …

🐣 RT @StandUpRepublic Thank you @JeffFlake, @ChrisCoons, @ChuckGrassley, @SenatorCollins, @LindseyGrahamSC, and @SenThomTillis.
⋙ AP: Flake vows to oppose judges unless Mueller bill gets a vote http://bit.ly/2zUrBul

Slate, Walter Shaub: This Is the Saturday Night Massacre http://bit.ly/2DGHCs6
// It’s just happening in slow motion.

Slate, Jeremy Stahl: How Mueller Could Continue Investigating Trump Even if He Is Fired http://bit.ly/2OJKG80

CBC, Jonathon Gatehouse [CA]: After chummy summit in Helsinki, Putin and Trump appear headed for bickering in Buenos Aires http://bit.ly/2Foex6E (…?)

RFE/RL: Russia Says U.S. ‘Unpredictability’ Causing ‘Global Concern’ http://bit.ly/2B7NBUk

BusinessInsider: Trump attacked the legitimacy of the midterms the same way his own officials warned Russia would http://read.bi/2qMfRpG

CNN: Russia jammed GPS during major NATO military exercise with US troops http://cnn.it/2OJL5re

Reuters, Lincoln Mitchell: Opinion: Why Mueller’s Russia findings won’t matter http://reut.rs/2Q4pHSk “Trump has succeeded in making the Mueller investigation so partisan an issue that whatever Mueller has found … will have little effect other than reinforcing existing views”
// “among voters and lawmakers.”

Politico: Mueller delays sentencing for ex-Trump aide Gates over ongoing cooperation http://politi.co/2DnCUi1
// The delay stands in contrast to two other high-profile former Trump officials who are moving toward sentencing in the Mueller investigation.

WIRED, Garrett Graff: The Mueller Investigation May Be Safe Despite Matt Whitaker http://bit.ly/2qLGKKB

1. The investigation is quite far along.
2. It’s not like any of this took Mueller off guard.
3. There are lots of pieces of the case scattered across the US government.
4. The Justice Department runs on norms.
5. Congress has leverage.

🐣 RT @rgoodlaw In this episode, @matthewamiller says none of witnesses who’ve spoken to special counsel about obstruction have gone before grand jury. ¤ That supports @marty_lederman view that obstruction isn’t being investigated as crime but goes into Mueller report (e.g., as “abuse of power”).
⋙ 🐣 RT @SkullduggeryPod #ICYMI: Here’s a clip from last week’s @SkullduggeryPod where @Isikoff @dklaidman & Justice & Security Analyst @matthewamiller discuss the #MuellerProbe & the potential for the White House Administration to invoke #ExecutivePrivilege http://bit.ly/2B75yCE

VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “Insanity,” “Furious,” “On His Own”: Trump’s Post-Midterms Blues Are Vexing His Staff and Roiling the White House http://bit.ly/2zWkhOU
// He’s lashing out at aides and press and foreign leaders, and threatening to roll West Wing heads—but at least he didn’t get his hair wet at the Belleau Wood memorial.

Esquire: An Exhaustive Timeline of Our New Acting Attorney General’s Astoundingly Crooked Career http://bit.ly/2RP84mo
// Year by year, the onetime Iowa tight end descended into grifting and scamming. He’s a perfect match for his new boss.

NBC: Text messages show Roger Stone and friend discussing WikiLeaks plans http://nbcnews.to/2Q1csl4
// “Big news Wednesday … Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” Randy Credico appears to have texted Stone six days before WikiLeaks email dump.

The text messages obtained by NBC News appear to show that Stone and Credico exchanged messages about Assange having damaging information about Clinton at least as early as Aug. 27, 2016. The texts show that at 6:07 p.m. that day, Credico wrote to Stone, “Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”

NYT: Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis http://nyti.ms/2DFfRAn
// By Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg and Jack Nicas

WaPo, Max Boot: America will need years to clean up the toxins Trump has released http://wapo.st/2zTylZH

🐣 RT @PhilMattingly Flake: “I have informed the Majority Leader that I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee, or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting a confirmation vote on the floor, until S. 2644 is brought to the full Senate for a vote.”
// To protect Mueller

WSJ: Mueller Probes Possible Witness Intimidation by Roger Stone http://on.wsj.com/2PWwpcQ
// Former Trump adviser angry that radio personality Randy Credico denies being WikiLeaks conduit

ActiveMeasuresDoc: Retired member of US intelligence community told us he heard in December 2015 from more than one foreign intelligence service that when @realDonaldTrump was in Moscow in 2013 he approached the Russians to intervene in 2016 election. His pitch: “We can help each other out.”

Politico: Morning Update http://politi.co/2qKXRvT

THE LIST OF THINGS ANGERING TRUMP — An incomplete tally: Markets are a mess; Growth appears to be slowing; Democrats now control the House and can investigate him; More House races continue to get called for Democrats and the GOP Senate performance looks less and less impressive; Rumors continue to swirl of potential Mueller indictments; Trump’s Paris trip was widely panned as a disaster; His replacement Attorney General is mired in controversy; CNN is suing over the ouster of its reporter and looks likely to win. Are we missing anything?

≣ WarOnTheRocks, Brian Katz: Intelligence and You: A Guide for Policymakers http://bit.ly/2Dj5YaB

📋 🐣 RT @FranTownsend @FBI reports 17% rise in hate crimes 2017 over 2016 as overall violent crime dropped by .2% 7175 hate crimes in 2017 3 of 5 hate crimes targeted race/ethnicity, 1 of 5 targeted religion. More than 4000 targeted people, more than 3000 targeted property

🐣 RT @chkbal We are a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers standing up for the rule of law. Our mission statement is here: http://bit.ly/2K1emwA 
https://twitter.com/chkbal/status/1062659994963853313/photo/1
↥ ↧
NYT: Conservative Lawyers Say Trump Has Undermined the Rule of Law http://nyti.ms/2Fns7Hh The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and the husband of President Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1062681602340413442/photo/1
⋙ 🐣 Presented to meeting of The Federalist Society

The new group also includes Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and secretary of homeland security in the Bush administration; Peter D. Keisler, a former acting attorney general in the Bush administration; two prominent conservative law professors, Jonathan H. Adler and Orin S. Kerr; and Lori S. Meyer, a lawyer who is married to Eugene B. Meyer, the president of the Federalist Society.

“We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse,” the group said in a statement. “We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power.”

WaPo: U.S. military edge has eroded to ‘a dangerous degree,’ study for Congress finds http://wapo.st/2K4pDMK “The U.S. has lost its military edge to a dangerous degree and could potentially lose a war against China or Russia, according to a report … by a bipartisan commission”

WaPo: U.S. military edge has eroded to ‘a dangerous degree,’ study for Congress finds http://wapo.st/2K4pDMK “The U.S. has lost its military edge to a dangerous degree and could potentially lose a war against China or Russia, according to a report … by a bipartisan commission”

⭕ 13 Nov 2018

NYMag, Eric Levitz: Don’t Get Donald Trump Started About France http://nym.ag/2zRaaes

AJC: Mueller investigation: Who is Roger Stone, what links him to Trump? http://on-ajc.com/2Prbe33 good backgrounder

ABCNews: Even if we did hack the DNC, they can’t sue us: Russia http://abcn.ws/2PtKVcs

Bloomberg: Congress Likely to Shelve New Russia Sanctions as Clock Runs Out http://bloom.bg/2K3C8bl
● Little evidence of broad Russian effort to disrupt midterms
● Any new interference by Kremlin could trigger lawmakers to act

Newsweek: Robert Mueller Wants Info on Donald Trump’s British Ally, Far-right Politician Nigel Farage, Says Russia Probe Target http://bit.ly/2OJ4jwX

TheHill: Russia pushes for court to throw out DNC lawsuit http://bit.ly/2OJ444W

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The many scandals of Trump’s new acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, explained http://bit.ly/2qKMzrv
// His Mueller probe comments, his advisory role at a scam company, the dispute over his appointment’s legality, and more.

Politico: How Trump’s move to put a loyalist over Mueller is already backfiring http://politi.co/2RYXd9V
// Bipartisan criticism and legal maneuvering may limit Matthew Whitaker’s options as acting attorney general.

NBC: Trump could submit answers to Mueller’s questions on Russia this week http://nbcnews.to/2RQf4Q7
// President Donald Trump’s legal team is nearing completion of written answers to questions posed by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russia.

TheGuardian, Jon Swaine and Stephanie Kirchgaessner: Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says http://bit.ly/2PZm5Rl

VOA, Jeff Seldin: Ex-Intel Officials Worry Trump Still Doing Russia’s Dirty Work http://bit.ly/2zR5JA8 (cited: Larry Pfeiffer, Dan Coats, Kirstjen Nielsen, Hal Bidlack, John Bolton, Steve Bucci, Mark Kelton, Graham Brookie, Daniel Hoffman, Dmitry Peskov, John Sipher, Hamilton68)

LATimes, Eli Stokols: Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties http://lat.ms/2DlplzS

WaPo, Josh Dawsey and Phil Rucker: Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval http://wapo.st/2FoIGTj

Vox, Matt Yglesias: Democrats’ blue wave was much larger than early takes suggested http://bit.ly/2QEL75j
// With all votes counted, it’s a larger landslide than 1994 or 2010.

Spectator: Mr Cohen comes to Washington http://bit.ly/2TaV9g8 “There are rumors, too, of Trump mistresses paid to have abortions and kept quiet with non-disclosure agreements”
// Michael Cohen has given 80 hours of testimony to prosecutors, not 50, as hitherto reported. Clearly, Trump’s former lawyer has a lot to get off his chest

WaPo: The Cybersecurity 202: The U.S. was notably absent from a global cybersecurity pact. But American companies signed on. http://wapo.st/2RQeRMY

🐣 RT @lathamstaples -@FoxNews, no tweets in 4 days.
-@wikileaks, no tweets in 4 days.
-@jaredkushner deleted all tweets.
-@DRUDGE deleted all tweets.
-@RudyGiuliani, no tweets in 4 days.
-@NatEnquirer, no tweets in 3 days.
-@realDonaldTrump is in hiding, “rain”.

⭕ 12 Nov 2018

💽 NYT: Opinion | Operation Infektion: A three-part video series on Russian disinformation http://nyti.ms/2OHqSSV

WaPo, Adam Schiff: Matthew Whitaker, we’re watching you http://wapo.st/2JZk3LG

🐣 RT @PhillipeReines For those who don’t recognize the name Jerome Corsi, he was one of the rotten souls behind the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” smear against @JohnKerry in 2004. ¤ For that alone he deserves rot in jail. But if he takes Roger Stone down with him, which is imminent, all the better.
⋙ 🐣 RT @ KenDilanianNBC BREAKING: Roger Stone pal Jerome Corsi tells my colleague @annaschecter that Mueller’s investigators informed Corsi about a week ago he will be indicted for perjury. “When they have your emails and phone records…they’re very good at the perjury trap,” he says.

🔄🐣💙💙 RT @conspirator0 For the benefit of any and all wishing to better use Twitter’s search feature for your own investigative purposes, here is a Twitter search cheat sheet.
https://twitter.com/conspirator0/status/1062152485819674624/photo/1

WaPo, Neal Katyal: The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation http://wapo.st/2PXCg1q
// I wrote the special counsel regulations. We never would have imagined a situation like this.

📋 Axios: Democrats load “subpoena cannon” with 85+ Trump targets http://bit.ly/2zPJ9ry
⋙ Axios, Zachary Basu: Democratic hit list: At least 85 Trump investigation targets http://bit.ly/2PTGpUa

FranceDiplomatie [FR]: Cybersecurity: Paris Call of 12 November 2018 for Trust and Security in Cyberspace http://bit.ly/2PqPx3l

⭕ 11 Nov 2018 🇺🇸 Veterans Day

MSNBC: How Russia is responding to Democrats taking control of the House http://on.msnbc.com/2JZAWWv
// Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, MSNBC international analyst, says Russian media have an interesting take on Democrats winning back the House. ‘Our agent in the White House has failed us’

WSJ: Russia Demotes Dollar’s Role at Home, Taking a Swipe at U.S. http://on.wsj.com/2JWP82s
// To ease sanctions pressure, Moscow promotes use of ruble and other currencies in trade deals

⭕ 11 Nov 2018

Politico: Democrats vow to tighten the screws on Whitaker http://politi.co/2qFcCQS
// One leading House Democrat calls him a ‘hatchet man’ set on derailing the Russia investigation.

TheGuardian: Trump Whitaker pick may provoke constitutional crisis, Democrats say http://bit.ly/2z4nigo

WaPo: Hurricane Michael is looking even more violent on closer scrutiny http://wapo.st/2ROqrYF

TheAtlantic, Bob Bauer: An Open-and-Shut Violation of Campaign-Finance Law http://bit.ly/2PQe0hW
// The relevant law is favorable to candidates. But it appears Trump still managed to violate it.

Reuters: Democrats urge acting attorney general to step aside from Russia probe http://reut.rs/2Pm1tn0

NBC: Top Democrats say Matt Whitaker must offer ‘immediate recusal’ from Mueller probe http://nbcnews.to/2PmSh1y
// Democrats say Whitaker’s past comments “indicate a clear bias against the investigation that would cause a reasonable person to question his impartiality.”

Salon: Morning Joe says Sessions firing gives Mueller everything he needs to nail Trump for obstruction http://bit.ly/2OD8ni9
// Trump believes he is above the law, but Joe Scarborough wants to see Trump penalized for obstructing justice

WSJ: Congress Gears for Final-Stretch Fight Over Border Wall, Mueller Probe http://on.wsj.com/2FhzNeg
// Wild card is whether Trump will take a hard line and demand funding for a wall

ABCNews: ‘We could subpoena Mueller’ if the administration restricts Russia investigation: Incoming House Judiciary chairman http://abcn.ws/2PR4DOL Rep Jerrold Nadler

CNN: Schumer: Democrats could tie Mueller protection measure to must-pass legislation http://cnn.it/2qF3knZ

TheAtlantic, Edward-Isaac Dovere: Nancy Pelosi: Mueller Doesn’t Have to Indict Trump for Congress to Impeach Him http://bit.ly/2qHzjDS
// But the congresswoman says she isn’t planning to go down that road—yet.

⭕ 10 Nov 2018

TheHill, Jonathan Turley: How Trump can pull off ultimate trick to make Mueller disappear http://bit.ly/2DzvObk

Politico, Jack Shafer: Week 77: Mueller Gets a New Master http://politi.co/2T4SioY
// But Jeff Sessions’ temporary replacement will have his hands full trying to restrain the special counsel who has girded for this moment.

Patribotics (Louise Mensch): The Trump Russia Indictments: What To Expect http://bit.ly/2DfaZkv Chart by Clint Watts
● Trump rel w Russia: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1061526847924719617/photo/1
//➔ may be speculative, but I love the idea that Nancy Pelosi could become Acting President 😇
// Chart: Types of collaborators, agents, assets: What is Trump’s Relationship w Russia?
Natural Ally (Low), “Useful Idiot (High),” Compromised (Medium), Manchurian Candidate (Low)

TheObserver, John Schindler: Team Mueller is Holding ‘Dozens of Sealed Indictments,’ According to Intel Source http://bit.ly/2OCxxOe

⭕ 9 Nov 2018

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: Trump campaigned to protect himself, not help Republicans http://wapo.st/2zLuHB1

HillReporter, Stassi Reid (11/9): Mueller ‘Ready to Indict’ Multiple individuals According to Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi http://bit.ly/2T4QA72

TheGuardian: Konstantin Kilimnik: elusive Russian with ties to Manafort faces fresh Mueller scrutiny http://bit.ly/2z1xu9K
// New details emerge about 48-year-old said to have ties to Russian intelligence, including the use of a private jet owned by an oligarch close to Putin

TheAtlantic, Benjamin Wittes: It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller http://bit.ly/2FgL0vC
// The prospects for interference are dimmer than many imagine.

NYT: Matthew Whitaker: An Attack Dog With Ambition Beyond Protecting Trump http://nyti.ms/2DeaNSn

President Trump first noticed Matthew G. Whitaker on CNN in the summer of 2017 and liked what he saw — a partisan defender who insisted there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. So that July, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, interviewed Mr. Whitaker about joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

At that point, the White House passed, leaving Mr. Whitaker, 49, to continue his media tour, writing on CNN’s website that Mr. Mueller’s investigation — which he had once called “crazy” — had gone too far.

Fifteen months later, the attack dog is in charge. With little ceremony on Wednesday, Mr. Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and put Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, in charge of the Justice Department — and Mr. Mueller’s Russia investigation.

People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.

White House aides and other people close to Mr. Trump anticipate that Mr. Whitaker will rein in any report summarizing Mr. Mueller’s investigation and will not allow the president to be subpoenaed. …

Judging by Mr. Trump’s public comments, the closed-door charm offensive was working. In an October interview on “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump said: “I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”

(On Friday, after reports surfaced that Mr. Whitaker had called courts “the inferior branch” of government and had been on the advisory board of a company that a federal judge shut down and fined nearly $26 million for cheating customers, Mr. Trump made a bizarre comment to reporters that he was not familiar with Mr. Whitaker. “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Mr. Trump said as he left for first leg of a weekend trip to Paris.)

By October of last year, Mr. Whitaker was telling people that he was working as a political commentator on CNN in order to get the attention of Mr. Trump, said John Q. Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law who met Mr. Whitaker during a television appearance last June.

His plan worked. Mr. Whitaker returned to the Justice Department in October 2017, having once again earned the support of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers inside the West Wing.

Colleagues described him as affable and said he quickly ingratiated himself with the staff in Mr. Sessions’s office and those elsewhere in the building. But that reputation shifted over time as some people began to view him as the eyes and ears of the White House, current and former Justice Department officials said.

CNN: Sessions realized too late that Whitaker was auditioning for his job http://cnn.it/2z3yt9o

WaPo: Trump distances himself from Whitaker amid scrutiny over past comments and business ties http://wapo.st/2OAQh0r

WaPo: ‘What a stupid question’: Trump demeans three black female reporters in three days http://wapo.st/2Qy3KYJ

WaPo Editorial: There is no way this man should be running the Justice Department http://wapo.st/2Ffw1lJ

First, there are Mr. Whitaker’s statements criticizing the Russia probe of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. At the least, they require him to consult Justice Department ethics counsel about whether he can oversee the inquiry with a plausible appearance of evenhandedness. He will do immediate and lasting harm to the Justice Department’s reputation, and to the nation, if he assumes the role of president’s personal henchman and impedes the Mueller probe.

Finally, and fundamentally most damning, is Mr. Whitaker’s expressed hostility to Marbury v. Madison, a central case — the central case — in the American constitutional system. It established an indispensable principle: The courts decide what is and is not constitutional. Without Marbury, there would be no effective judicial check on the political branches, no matter how egregious their actions.

WSJ: Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal http://on.wsj.com/2AZ69X1
// Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws

🐣 Neal Katyal on @Morning_Joe: “This IS a Constitutional Crisis” re: Whitaker

🐣 RT @amyklobuchar “AG” Whitaker’s 2014 words when asked about worse SCOTUS cases: “There are so many..I would start with the idea of Marbury v. Madison..and the Supreme Court as the final arbiter..We’ll move forward from there—All New Deal cases that were expansive of the federal government…”

⭕ 8 Nov 2018

Politico: Mueller’s new boss immediately draws enemies http://politi.co2T4KhQT/
// Critics say Matthew Whitaker might intervene to protect the president, while newly emboldened Democrats pledge vigilance.

NYT, Neal Katyal and George Conway: Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional http://nyti.ms/2PmwAP5
// The president is evading the requirement to seek the Senate’s advice and consent for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and the person who will oversee the Mueller investigation.

AP: Indictments? Final report? White House braces for Mueller http://bit.ly/2AWk9R6

VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “The President Is Very Depressed”: With Don Jr. Facing Possible Indictment, and Endless House Investigations Forthcoming, No Wonder Trump Is in a Bad Mood http://bit.ly/2JQkK9Y

AlJazeera, Shafik Mandhai: Thousands demand Mueller protection after Trump fires Sessions http://bit.ly/2SWhVby
// Critics fear the US president is paving way to disrupt probe into Russian interference in 2016 presidential election.

LawfareBlog, Benjamin Wittes et al: Jeff Sessions’s Firing, Matthew Whitaker’s Rise and the Attorney General’s Role In the Mueller Investigation http://bit.ly/2T2KBzQ

Bloomberg, Chris Strohm and Steven T. Dennis: Mueller Gets a New Boss Who’s Blasted His Russia Investigation http://bloom.bg/2SVHEkp

● Acting Attorney General Whitaker could fire him or limit probe
● Whitaker would decide whether findings can be made public

TheAtlantic, Paul Rosenzweig: It Wouldn’t Be Easy for Whitaker to Shut Down the Trump Investigations http://bit.ly/2AThcB0
// The new acting attorney general is likely, at least initially, to move slowly.

GQ, Mattathias Schwartz: Robert Mueller, the Master Of Silence http://bit.ly/2SYPp97

NewYorker, John Cassidy: Trump’s Effort to Hobble the Mueller Investigation Must Be Stopped http://bit.ly/2RHlDV9

CNBC, Kevin Breuniger: Acting Attorney General Whitaker’s views on Mueller probe prompt calls for recusal from Democrats and legal experts http://cnb.cx/2Oyb0C3

● Newly appointed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s past critiques of the Russia probe, which resurfaced in the wake of his appointment Wednesday, spurred immediate calls for his recusal.
● The Trump administration’s shake-up, which saw Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation less than a day after Democrats won the House in the midterms, is also raising concerns about whether Whitaker’s appointment constitutes a potential obstruction of justice.
● But Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff et al: Matthew Whitaker, Mueller’s New Boss, Said There Was ‘No Collusion’ With Russia http://thebea.st/2RHMlNi
// Betsy Woodruff, Maxwell Tani, Will Sommer; The new attorney general spent a few years in right-wing media repeatedly making that claim.

TheHill: Flake to try to force vote on bill protecting Mueller http://bit.ly/2ATMYxD

WaPo: McConnell says there isn’t ‘any chance’ Trump will stop Mueller probe http://wapo.st/2z2YuW6

Politico: Mueller power questioned in first post-Sessions court hearing http://politi.co/2AUi1tn
// Legal experts have serious doubts the case will shut down Mueller’s probe.

🐣 RT @SenFenstein The president has made abundantly clear that he’ll take any action he can to undermine the Mueller investigation. No one who lacks Senate confirmation should be placed in charge of this investigation, especially Matthew Whitaker who publicly criticized Mueller’s work last year.
FullStatement: https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1060293210273185793/photo/1

CNN: Trump reviewing his answers to Mueller as he changes who oversees the Russia investigation http://cnn.it/2ATkN1O

📔 Brookings, Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen (Aug): Presidential obstruction of justice: The case of Donald J. Trump, 2nd edition http://brook.gs/2D9DqAe
⋙ Brookings, Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen (Aug): Report: Presidential obstruction of justice: The case of Donald J. Trump, 2nd edition [pdf] http://brook.gs/2D9P2TO 177p
// 8/22/2018

WaPo: Trump’s acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, has no intention of recusing from Russia probe, associates say http://wapo.st/2JPtfSE

WaPo: Trump’s acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, has no intention of recusing from Russia probe, associates say http://wapo.st/2JPtfSE

JustSecurity, Marty Lederman: Quick Primer on the Legality of Appointing Matthew Whitaker as “Acting” Attorney General, and Whitaker’s Power to Influence the Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2FaCb6l

⭕ 7 Nov 2018

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Trump Has Found His Roy Cohn in Matt Whitaker http://nym.ag/2T2JJv1

WaPo: Sessions’s ouster throws future of special counsel probe into question http://wapo.st/2qBMCFS

WaPo: In Matthew Whitaker, Trump has a loyalist at the helm of the Justice Department http://wapo.st/2yWKEos

NYT, Charlie Savage: How Sessions’s Firing Could Affect the Russia Investigation http://nyti.ms/2D9ZhaE

NYT: With Sessions Firing, Trump Quickly Tests Democratic Resolve http://nyti.ms/2F9FFGn

NYT: How the House Fell: Republican Chaos and Democratic Focus http://nyti.ms/

🐣 RT @MittRomney I want to thank Jeff Sessions for his service to our country as Attorney General. Under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, it is imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded.
⋙ 🐣 Never thought I’d say this, @MittRomney, but I’m glad you’re going to be in the Senate. The GOP is in desperate need of a conscience.

WaPo: Washington in battle mode as Trump vows retaliation against Democratic probes http://wapo.st/2PheY7h
// Rucker Costa Dawsey

NYT: Jeff Sessions Is Forced Out as Attorney General as Trump Installs Loyalist http://nyti.ms/2DpRpCQ

🐣 RT @SenatorCollins It is imperative that the Administration not impede the Mueller investigation. I’m concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe. Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his work without interference—regardless of who is AG.

NYT: Trump Installs a Critic of the Mueller Investigation to Oversee It http://nyti.ms/2JKBwXY

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman: House Intel Democrats’ New Mission: Protect Mueller, Use Subpoena Power http://thebea.st/2QrJ58q
// Firing Jeff Sessions could spark a ‘Wednesday Afternoon Massacre,’ one Democrat on the intelligence committee says.

PoliticusUSA: Ten Times Worse Than Nixon’: Historian Michael Beschloss Sounds The Alarm After Trump Fires Sessions http://bit.ly/2Qtivfi

🐣 RT @AshaRangappa_ STEP DOWN FROM THE LEDGE (FOR NOW) THREAD. (Warning: This might be a SPOOL). OK, here are my thoughts on Whitaker taking over the Mueller investigation and why I think we need to see how things unfold before losing it. To be clear, I do NOT think this is an ideal situation. BUT:
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/AshaRangappa_/status/1060329761782857728

🐣 RT @shashj “Mr. Whitaker’s ascendance to the top of the Justice Department shows how much loyalty means to Mr. Trump. The president has long regarded Mr. Whitaker as his eyes and ears inside a department that he considers an enemy institution.”
⋙ NYT: Jeff Sessions Is Forced Out as Attorney General as Trump Installs Loyalist http://nyti.ms/2DpRpCQ

TheHill: Acting AG to take over oversight of Russia probe http://bit.ly/2PIYFzz

🐣 RT @SteveSchmidtSES Trump is saying that if the House of Representatives, the lower House of a co-equal branch of government executes its’ Article 1. Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over the Executive Branch that he will bring Govt. to a standstill and launch retributional investigations

🐣 RT @tedlieu Normally the President would elevate the Deputy AG to Acting AG until a nominee is confirmed. @realDonaldTrump is specifically bypassing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and putting supervision of the Mueller probe in the hands of Matthew Whitaker, a person biased against the probe.

🐣 RT @RepJerryNadler Read my statement on @realDonaldTrump’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions: https://twitter.com/RepJerryNadler/status/1060280428349874176/photo/1

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: What Sessions’s Resignation Means for Robert Mueller http://bit.ly/2Qt0KfZ
// His temporary replacement, Matthew Whitaker, has expressed skepticism over the scope of the Russia investigation—which he’ll now oversee.

🐣 RT @20committee We all knew the Mueller inquiry was entering its decisive phase after the midterms. Trump is just crassly moving the timetable up. Mueller anticipated all this. Data has been shared. IC has backups of their stuff. Trump can’t make it stop altogether. But he appears to be trying.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Frank Figliuzzi, ex-FBI Assistant Director for Counterintel: “I think we are watching obstruction of justice play out right in plain sight.” @MSNBC
⋙ 🐣 RT @eriqgardner Our new acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker thinks Marbury v. Madison — which established the principle of judicial review — is one of the worst decisions in the Supreme Court’s history. SERIOUSLY.
https://twitter.com/eriqgardner/status/1060276623428255754/photo/1

🐣 RT @BeschlossDC After Nixon had him fired in 1973 Saturday Night Massacre, the former Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, declared, “Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people”:
https://twitter.com/BeschlossDC/status/1060276249774489600/photo/1

🐣 RT @NancyPelosi Given his record of threats to undermine & weaken the Russia investigation, Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from any involvement in Mueller’s investigation. Congress must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and integrity of the investigation. #FollowTheFacts

🐣 RT @AltUSPressSec The President is obstructing the investigation into his own treason. ¤ Hard to imagine any moment more serious for the experiment of American self-government than the present.
⋙ 🐣 RT @PreetBharara It’s danger time

🐣 RT @NancyPelosi It is impossible to read Attorney General Sessions’ firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by @realDonaldTrump to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.

🐣 RT @chrislhayes Things can get very very bad, very quickly right now…particularly dangerous period we are entering.

🐣 RT @anneapplebaum Trump is really, really frightened of Mueller. That’s the only explanation for his behavior today.

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff President Trump just removed Jeff Sessions. He wants an Attorney General to serve his interest, not the public. ¤ Mueller’s investigation and the independence of the DOJ must be protected. Whitaker and any nominee must commit to doing both. ¤ We will protect the rule of law.

🐣 RT @brhodes In just the last few days, look at how Trump has sought to use the US military, the Senate and DoJ for his own political purposes. This is an assault on how some of the most important institutions in our democracy are supposed to function.
⋙ 🐣 RT @maggieNYT Trump now suggesting he’ll use the US senate, which is theoretically a separate branch of the government, to conduct White House-friendly investigations.

🐣 RT @MarkWarner While the President may have the authority to replace the Attorney General, this must not be the first step in an attempt to impede, obstruct or end the Mueller investigation.

🐣 RT @moscow_project He must immediately issue a written order granting Mueller full independence and outlining that Mueller can update Congress and the public as he sees fit—just as acting AG Robert Bork did after Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre. (8/9)
⋙ CAP, By Ben Olinsky and Sam Berger: Ensuring the Special Counsel’s Independence if Rosenstein Is Fired http://ampr.gs/2QnAu6R

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance New legal issue for prosecutor types to debate, if firing the FBI director is obstruction of justice can firing an attorney general, to put control of that investigation into the hands of one of your allies also constitute obstruction? Asking for a country.

🐣 RT @ericgeller DOJ still hasn’t notified staffers about Sessions. Employee tells me that they found out when their supervisor sent their office a link to Trump’s tweet. ¤ “There is no communication from leadership. … We are apparently expected to monitor Trump’s Twitter feed for his fiats.”

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Chuck Schumer: “Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: Matt Whitaker Can’t Prevent Mueller from Unsealing Any Sealed Indictments http://bit.ly/2SPi8gC

TheNewRepublic, MarcyWheeler (10/30): If Trump Fires Mueller: How a Democratic-controlled House can salvage the Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2z0nRbb

🐣 RT @EricHolder Anyone who attempts to interfere with or obstruct the Mueller inquiry must be held accountable. This is a red line. We are a nation of laws and norms not subject to the self interested actions of one man.

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom Sessions firing is an immediate reset to undermine Mueller investigation and distract from GOP loss of the House. There’s a 2 month window from now until next Congress is seated. Rapid chess match coming between White House and Mueller investigation.

🐣 RT @matthewamiller The president should not be allowed to pick the person who oversees the investigation into himself. Both for that principle, and because Whitaker has written a blueprint for shutting the Mueller probe down, he should recuse himself.

🐣 RT @danpfeiffer Trump is ending the Mueller investigation right before our eyes and if you expect the Republicans to do anything about it you have been sleepwalking through the last two years

🐣 RT @EvanMcMullin President Trump is doing what every aspiring despot must do: purge law enforcement of independent officials and investigations. This is a dangerous moment for the republic. Americans committed to our shared freedom must set partisan differences aside to confront this menace now.

🐣 RT @brianklaas Here’s Trump’s handpicked Acting Attorney General suggesting an article that calls the Mueller investigation a “lynch mob.”
CNN, Matthew Whittaker (8/6/2017): Mueller’s investigation of Trump is going too far http://cnn.it/2STz8m3 //➔ author has just put in as temp replacement for Jeff Sessions
// 8/6/2017

🐣 RT @danpfeiffer If Trump asked for Sessions’ resignation that means he fired his Attorney General

🐣 🔆 This❗️⋙ RT @tribelaw Sessions was just forced out. His chief of staff will take over right now as acting AG. That displaces Rosenstein as Mueller’s supervisor. Matt Whitaker will supervise. He’ll likely be Trump’s puppet. A clever Wednesday afternoon massacre by Trump.

Adam Carter defense re: Computer Weekly article http://d3f.uk/duncan-campbell.html
http://bit.ly/2QpZIBC
// @with_integrity
⋙ ComputerWeekly (7/31): Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links http://bit.ly/2NZnQcw
// 7/31/2018, A British IT manager and former hacker from Darlington ran a disinformation campaign that duped former US intelligence agents and provided Donald Trump with manufactured “evidence” to deny that Russia interfered with the US election

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Donald Trump Jr. Expecting to Be Indicted by Mueller Soon http://nym.ag/2PJjURJ

WaPo, Max Boot: The battle with Trumpism is just beginning http://wapo.st/2OxPmxM

CNN, Mary Ilyushina and Angela Dewan: Russia gloomy on US relations after Democrats take House in midterms http://cnn.it/2OtGPvT

CNBC, Kevin Breuninger: Adam Schiff, one of Trump’s biggest critics on the Russia probe, is poised to take over a crucial House committee http://cnb.cx/2zxuXUb
● Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, emerged on the national stage as the politically polarized group grappled over its probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
● Democrats were projected to take over the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections, likely elevating Schiff to the chairman spot in the intelligence panel.

Vox, Andrew Prokop: Trump’s free ride from Congress just ended http://bit.ly/2PIUCDh
// Investigations, legislative fights, impeachment? What Democrats’ House takeover could mean for Trump.

NewYorker, Adam Davidson: The Investigations Trump Will Face Now That Democrats Control the House http://bit.ly/2RESbyX

CNN: Democrats to use House majority to launch Trump investigations http://cnn.it/2OuvN9J (real ones)

🐣 ♫ Subpoena ~ The sweetest sound I’ve ever heard ♫
♫ Subpoena! I’ve just heard a word named Subpoena ♫
♫ And suddenly I’ve found ♫
♫ How wonderful a sound Can Beeeee! ♫
♫ Subpoena! Subpoena! Subpoena! Subpoena! Subpoenah! ♫
@RepCummings @RepAdamSchiff @RepJerryNadler

WaPo Editorial: A great day for democracy http://wapo.st/2F6fwYY

NYT, Frank Bruni: For Democrats — and America — a Sigh of Relief http://nyti.ms/2yYkcL4
// The party didn’t get everything it wanted. But it got what it and the country need.


 
⭕ 6 Nov 2018 #ElectionDay 🇺🇸

ForeignPolicy, Michael Hirsh: Victorious House Democrats Pledge to Probe Trump’s Foreign Policy http://bit.ly/2JNgpEv
// U.S. allies can expect extended hearings on Iran, Yemen, and many other key issues.

DailyBeast: Russian Oligarch Who Bought Trump Mansion Detained by Monaco Police http://thebea.st/2PFDkaj Dmitry Rybolovlev

Slate, John Reed: How Democrats Will Protect the Mueller Investigation if They Win the House http://bit.ly/2Ds6mEz

TheHill: Russian oligarch who bought mansion from Trump detained and questioned on corruption charges: report http://bit.ly/2PMuJT7

TheHill: Trump administration tells Congress Moscow has triggered new sanctions http://bit.ly/2yVLhhQ

⭕ 5 Nov 2018

CNN (11pm): Russian fighter jet intercepts US Navy plane http://cnn.it/2zy6zBw

WaPo, Karoun Demirjian: Contentious probe of FBI, Justice Dept. hangs in the balance as GOP weighs new leadership posts http://wapo.st/2Qn4f7Z

NYT: Trump’s Expected Meeting With Putin to Be Delayed http://nyti.ms/2AOjYYh

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: What the Watergate Road Map Might Say about a Mueller Road Map http://bit.ly/2qDlruJ

WashingtonMonthly, Nancy LeTourneau: The Mueller Race Will Resume After All the Votes Are Counted http://bit.ly/2OqHuht

WaPo, Randall Eliason: Buckle up. The Mueller investigation may once again take center stage. http://wapo.st/2OmwP7z

VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “I’m Very Worried About Don Jr.”: Forget the Midterms—West Wing Insiders Brace for the Mueller Storm http://bit.ly/2DoQF0X
// In the run-up to the election, Rudy Giuliani was made to shut up. But now, with Trump making excuses for possibly losing the House, officials are bracing for a legal assault.

⭕ 4 Nov 2018

Forbes: Trump’s Billionaire Buddy Victor Pinchuk Among Ukrainians Sanctioned By Russia http://bit.ly/2AMiuxO

NYT: Two Capitals, One Russian Oligarch: How Oleg Deripaska Is Trying to Escape U.S. Sanctions http://nyti.ms/2Pejnb1

Newsweek: Roger Stone, Under Reported Scrutiny from Robert Mueller, Changes Story on 2016 Election Again http://bit.ly/2SMkM6H

NYMag, Cristian Farias: Mueller’s Gone Quiet, But Expect Some Post-Midterms Surprises http://nym.ag/2D4zf8D

CNN: Mueller could soon roar back into the news http://cnn.it/2DlNDdI

CNN, Mary Ilyushina and Eliza Mackintosh: Kremlin: “Long and thorough meeting” expected between Trump, Putin at G20 http://cnn.it/2Qe8SRn

TheGuardian, Charles Kaiser: The Apprentice review: Trump, Putin and the subversion of US democracy http://bit.ly/2RC3ubn
// Greg Miller of the Washington Post proves one urgent thing: the Democrats must take the House on Tuesday

NYT/AP: Why It’s Still in Russia’s Interest to Mess With US Politics http://nyti.ms/2D0QY0I

⭕ 3 Nov 2018

ThinkProgress, Frank Dale: Trump signed secret waiver that could have major impact on the Mueller investigation http://bit.ly/2Op7727
// Noel Francisco’s former employer represents Trump’s campaign in the Russia probe. He’s still next in line to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller.

Politico Mag, Jack Shafer: Week 76: Is Mueller About to Roll Out the Barrels? http://politi.co/2qs9t6X
// Now that the special prosecutor’s quiet period is nearly over, many Russia-scandal observers expect dramatic news from the long-silent investigation.

⭕ 2 Nov 2018

CcommonDreams, Daniel Goldman: Robert Mueller Is on the Ballot This Year, Too http://bit.ly/2AKA4Cg
// The midterms are about control of Congress — it will determine the future of the special counsel’s investigation, especially who will run it after Sessions and Rosenstein

NYMag, Brian Feldman: Jacob Wohl Demonstrates the Limits of the Right-Wing Misinformation System http://nym.ag/2qAmn2Z

BusinessInsider, Grace Panetta and Sonam Sheth: Mueller’s use of ‘speaking indictments’ could be a hugely damaging signal for Trump http://read.bi/2OmKE5P

ForeignPolicy, Elias Groll: How House Democrats Plan to Investigate Trump’s Russia Ties http://bit.ly/2RzBjcN
// Gains in the congressional election next week would give Democrats crucial subpoena power.

Politico: Next-in-line Mueller supervisor got White House ethics waiver in April http://politi.co/2AHp7B9
// Solicitor General Noel Francisco has been dogged by conflict of interest concerns related his potential role overseeing the the Mueller probe.

CREW: CREW Discovers Previously Undisclosed Ethics Waiver for Solicitor General Noel Francisco http://bit.ly/2OoVOHc re: @maddow
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @waltshaub DOJ is saying Noel Francisco would take over the investigation. DOJ is wrong unless the White House has secretly issued a waiver of Executive Order 13770, which bars Francisco from participating in the Mueller investigation due to Jones Day’s representation of the Tump campaign.
// 9/26/2018

WaPo, Ishaan Tharoor: Trump deploys the fascist playbook for the midterms http://wapo.st/2P4LUzX

⭕ 1 Nov 2018

WaPo, Carl Lozada: The eruption http://wapo.st/2zrKyo1
// Trump didn’t invent American bigotry. But new books argue that he released it – and he has no incentive to extinguish it.

And it wasn’t just the domestic political campaigns. The Russian cyberattack against the U.S. electoral system demonstrated Moscow’s keen understanding of America’s cultural and racial fault lines. In “Cyberwar,” her account of Russia’s impact on the 2016 contest, Jamieson emphasizes “the mutually reinforcing nature” of the Trump campaign’s themes and efforts by Russian trolls to heighten America’s social tensions. “With a focus on constituencies whom Donald Trump needed to mobilize,” Jamieson writes, “Russian messages stoked fears of the multicultural, multiracial, ecumenical culture that Clinton Democrats championed.”

The debate over whether the Russians tilted the election is not settled in these books: Jamieson offers a detailed and compelling case that they could have done so, particularly through the magnified impact of the hacked materials, while Sides, Tesler and Vavreck counter that the effect of online ads tends to be limited, and that the Russians simply added misleading and polarizing content into a political system that was already suffused with it. Less controversial should be the realization that the Russians exploited some of the best of America — its respect for free markets and free speech, its tradition of an open and competitive press, its communications technologies — to bring out some of its worst. And that their tactics were consistent with those of the Trump campaign.

For some Trump opponents, the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller serves as a device in a Samuel Beckett-style drama: They wait and wait for Mueller’s report to appear, believing that it will justify their sacrifices, restore their hope, set everything right. But we already know what the response will be: “I don’t think there’s anything to it,” a Trump Woman tells Bradlee. “If they find something, they will have made it up.”

In “Cyberwar,” Jamieson concludes her dissection of Russia’s electoral attack by listing all the enablers who unwittingly helped make it happen. It’s basically everyone: the breathless news media, the credulous citizenry, the polarizing — and pusillanimous — elected officials in Washington. Bradlee ends “The Forgotten” warning that Trump is pushing us back to “the old separate-but-equal ethos.” He urges the Democratic Party to “develop more of a heartland sensibility” and nominate someone with “blue-collar cred.”

But the authors of “Identity Crisis” see no incentives for such a move. They argue that Democrats are likelier to win by advocating for racial and ethnic minorities than by trying to woo back white Obama supporters who flipped to Trump, while Republicans have had more success rallying their base over immigration and the national anthem rather than tax cuts or health care. The “centrality of identity,” they write, has become the defining feature of American life.

MSNBC, Rachel Maddow: Nixon documents could help Mueller see legal precedent for Trump [Video] http://on.msnbc.com/2JvMX5H
// Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney and FBI official, talks with Rachel Maddow about newly published legal documents could offer some guiding precedent for Robert Mueller’s next steps once his Trump Russia investigation is concluded.

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Roger Stone’s story just changed on Russia — again http://wapo.st/2PzoX79

≣ NYT: Read the Emails: The Trump Campaign and Roger Stone http://nyti.ms/2JB10qY
// Newly revealed messages show how the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. sold himself to Trump campaign advisers as a potential conduit to WikiLeaks, which published thousands of emails in 2016 damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

NYT: Roger Stone Sold Himself to Trump’s Campaign as a WikiLeaks Pipeline. Was He? http://nyti.ms/2SBl0xv

When the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, appeared on a video link from Europe a month before the 2016 presidential election and vaguely promised to release a flood of purloined documents related to the race, the head of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, Stephen K. Bannon, was interested.

He emailed the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr., who had been trying to reach him for days about what Mr. Assange might have in store. “What was that this morning???” Mr. Bannon asked on Oct. 4.

“A load every week going forward,” Mr. Stone replied, echoing Mr. Assange’s public vow to publish documents on a weekly basis until the Nov. 8 election.

The email exchange, not previously reported, underscores how Mr. Stone presented himself to Trump campaign officials: as a conduit of inside information from WikiLeaks, Russia’s chosen repository for documents hacked from Democratic computers.

Mr. Bannon and two other former senior campaign officials have detailed to prosecutors for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, how Mr. Stone created that impression, according to people familiar with their accounts. One of them told investigators that Mr. Stone not only seemed to predict WikiLeaks’s actions, but that he also took credit afterward for the timing of its disclosures that damaged Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

But at the same time, the top tier of Mr. Trump’s campaign was deeply skeptical of Mr. Stone, who has made a career of merging fact and fiction and seems to prize attention over credibility.

Whether Mr. Stone was, in fact, a trusted intermediary to WikiLeaks — or simply a master of puffery that made him appear so — remains a paramount question for Mr. Mueller’s investigators, who are examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race and whether any Trump associates conspired with Moscow’s effort.

Mr. Stone has repeatedly said that he had access only to Mr. Assange’s public statements and to secondhand information from journalists or other sources. If he implied that he had more direct sources, he has said, he was simply engaging in political hyperbole.

But some of his previous statements have proved false. Mr. Stone told The Washington Post this week that he never discussed WikiLeaks with Trump campaign officials. “There are no such communications and if Bannon says there are he would be dissembling,” he said.

Still, Mr. Bannon’s October 2016 email correspondence shows that the perception that Mr. Stone knew what WikiLeaks had in store for Mrs. Clinton spread to the highest levels of the Trump campaign. No evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump or his advisers alerted the authorities.

As the month began, Mr. Stone peppered Twitter with predictions of an October surprise from Mr. Assange, whipping up speculation in the American news media and beyond. Mr. Assange, too, had been hinting at coming bombshells.

Unable to reach Mr. Bannon, Mr. Stone communicated with Matthew Boyle, the Washington political editor of the far-right Breitbart News, which Mr. Bannon ran before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign.

“Assange — what’s he got?” Mr. Boyle asked Mr. Stone on Oct. 3. “Hope it’s good.”

“It is,” Mr. Stone replied.

A half-hour later, Mr. Boyle emailed Mr. Bannon, urging him to call Mr. Stone. Mr. Bannon replied, “I’ve got important stuff to worry about.”

Mr. Boyle continued to press: “Clearly he knows what Assange has.”

A Breitbart spokesman said in a statement, “Matt Boyle acted in his role as a journalist to attempt to uncover the story behind Roger Stone’s public claims.”

The next day, after Mr. Assange’s news conference via video link, Mr. Bannon followed up with his email to Mr. Stone. According to one person familiar with Mr. Bannon’s account to prosecutors, the exchange ended with Mr. Stone’s reply, in which he essentially repeated what Mr. Assange or his allies had already said publicly.

Three days later, on Oct. 7, Mr. Stone’s prediction of an October surprise came true when WikiLeaks unleashed a trove of emails hacked from the computer of John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman. The disclosure came just a half-hour after the publication of a recording in which Mr. Trump boasted of grabbing women’s genitals and was an apparent attempt to divert attention from that explosive story, which threatened to derail Mr. Trump’s chances of capturing the White House. […]

🎃 31 Oct 2018

CNN: Trump shocks with racist new ad days before midterms http://cnn.it/2OjohhM

Stars&Stripes: Pentagon deploying troops from 39 units to US-Mexico border http://bit.ly/2CTZqPq “‘We don’t do stunts in this department,’ Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.” Maybe not, but it looks like they’ll be filming something:
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1057957399749894144/photo/1

Newsweek: Watergate Scandal: Grand Jury Was Ready to Hit Richard Nixon With 4 Criminal Charges, Newly Released Documents Reveal http://bit.ly/2Jxzlab

The charges, including bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and obstruction of a criminal investigation, would have been for Nixon and his administration’s attempt to cover up the break-in and wiretapping of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at The Watergate Hotel in D.C.

The draft of the indictment from a Washington grand jury stated that “from on or about March 21, 1973…Richard M. Nixon unlawfully, willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate and agree together and with co-conspirators…to commit bribery…obstruct justice…and obstruct a criminal investigation.”

It further added that Nixon met with John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, and Harry [Bob] Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, on or about March 21, 1973, in the White House and “instructed” them to pay approximately $120,000 to E. Howard Hunt Jr., a former CIA agent and organizer of the Watergate break-in. Hunt Jr. had made the initial demand for $120,000 for his role in the break-in of the DNC headquarters, according to the draft indictment.

That same day, March 21, 1973, Hunt Jr. received approximately $75,000 in cash from Nixon messengers to influence his testimony to criminal investigators, according to the draft indictment. The following day, Nixon aides told the president that Hunt Jr.’s “money problem had been taken care of.”

Facing three articles of impeachment in the House, Nixon announced his resignation during a live TV and radio broadcast from the Oval Office on the evening of August 8, 1974.

NBC, Barbara McQuade and Joyce Vance: New attacks on Mueller, coupled with rumors about Sessions and Rosenstein, highlight need for congressional protection http://nbcnews.to/2EWx4Xm
// Congress cannot leave something as important as the special counsel’s investigation unprotected.

ABCNews: Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi becomes key figure as Mueller builds case http://abcn.ws/2Q5lUAB

📔 LawfareBlog: The Watergate Road Map Unsealed http://bit.ly/2CU3MWP

The National Archives has released the famed—and long mysterious—Watergate “Road Map,” which Special Prosecutor sent to Congress in 1974. For background on the Road Map, and our litigation to get it released, see here and here. This only just happened, and I have not read the document yet. I’m sure that I will have things to say about it once I have had a chance to digest it, as, I suspect, will Stephen Bates and Jack Goldsmith. For now, the document itself is below; redactions, on initial inspection, seem relatively minor. And here is a trove of related material also available from the National Archive.

WaPo, Paul Waldman: After the midterms, it’ll be Mueller Time http://wapo.st/2EWgo2q

USAToday: Trump denies receiving subpoena as part of special counsel’s probe into Russia interference http://usat.ly/2RnlO7M

TASS [RU]: Lavrov confirms Putin, Trump set to discuss INF Treaty at Paris meeting http://bit.ly/2yI1lUa

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: How Roger Stone Could Implicate Trump for Colluding With Russia http://nym.ag/2EV4nKw

RollCall, Griffin Connolly: Beneath the Politics, House GOP Quietly Touts Legitimate Oversight of FBI, DOJ http://bit.ly/2Q8VkH2
// Judiciary and Oversight Committees’ probe of potential bias at DOJ, FBI has turned into political firestorm

Haaretz, Daniel Shapiro [IL]: Will Trump’s Two Years of Incomplete Middle East Progress Turn Into an Explosive Failure? It All Depends on the Midterms http://bit.ly/2Sy0ca6
//. Trump’s two year Mideast policy scorecard is a mixed picture: Partial success stories that each face deep challenges. Will the election results constrain the administration’s wilder policy instincts that could inflame the Mideast?

MarketWatch, Caroline Baum: Trump has teased his post-election blame game http://on.mktw.net/2OfB84B

Pravda [RU]: Putin and Trump will be looking for Xi Jinping in Paris http://bit.ly/2SAvjlF

It is worthy of note that the United States has not had a dialogue with China on nuclear weapons since 2008. China and the United States created a confidence-building mechanism in 2014 to exchange information about hostilities. In 2016, the United States proposed to expand the mechanism and include exchange of information about ballistic missile launches. However, China refused. If the dialogue in the direction of the tripartite INF Treaty takes place, it will be a breakthrough in the history of globalisation.

WSJ: Russian Internet Trolls Obsessed Over Trump—and a Canceled Comedy Show http://on.wsj.com/2yHEdFk
// Trolls tweeted about politics, but their other favorite subject was Comedy Central’s now-defunct @midnight

Politico Mag, Nelson Cunningham: Has Mueller Subpoenaed the President? http://politi.co/2EUfd3x
// A careful reading of court filings suggests the special counsel hasn’t been quiet. Far from it.

CNN: Exclusive: Trump blamed ex-counsel McGahn for Mueller investigation http://cnn.it/2zrUk9Z

TheHill: Trump faces Election Day deadline on Russia http://bit.ly/2yIE4Sh
// The Trump administration is facing an Election Day deadline to decide whether to impose a fresh round of sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain earlier this year.

🐣 ‘Incels (a portmanteau of involuntary celibates) are members of an online subculture who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one…. The SPLC describes the subculture as “part of the online male supremacist ecosystem”’ – Wikipedia

DailyBeast, Kevin Poulsen: Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data http://thebea.st/2Ohxk2F
// A Daily Beast analysis of Twitter data shows the Kremlin troll farm’s English-language propaganda is nine times more effective than its disinformation in Russian.

🐣 RT @pmakela1 #Russia is using the old #USSR tactics once again. Resettle ethnic Russians to take over recently acquired areas permanently. ¤ #Baltic states received this treatment from 1939 till 1990 and still suffer greatly from it. ¤ #Crimea #Ukraine #crimeaisukraine
⋙ UNIAN: Kremlin resettles to Crimea 108,000 Russian nationals to change demographics – Yelchenko http://bit.ly/2JwnZDy

🔊ProPublica: Rudy Giuliani’s Mystery Trips to Russia, Armenia and Ukraine — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast http://bit.ly/2AEsGs5
// We spent weeks investigating his work and clients in the former Soviet Union. We have so many questions.

⭕ 30 Oct 2018

DailyBeast, Asawin Suebsaeng et al: Trump Has Remade the World in Steve King’s Image http://thebea.st/2PvWDCM
// by Asawin Suebsaeng, Gideon Resnick, Jackie Kucinich, Sam Stein; That King is setting foot in the White House, let alone getting a 75-minute window with the president, is almost unfathomable to those who have followed his career.

CNN: Steve Bannon interviewed by Mueller’s team for at least the third time http://cnn.it/2SxGlYJ

FoxNews: Trump dramatically expands US espionage spending amid threats from Russia, China and North Korea http://fxn.ws/2PCLLDm

The numbers underscored President Trump’s aggressive approach to information warfare, which has seen the Pentagon unveil a new cybersecurity strategy and the Justice Department launch a Cyber-Digital Task Force while pursuing a comprehensive crackdown on leakers.

DailyBeast, Lachlan Markay and Will Sommer: Inside the Crazy Cabal Trying to Smear Robert Mueller http://thebea.st/2RtANxb
// A Seth Rich conspiracy pusher and fringe online figures appear to be working behind the scenes

HillReporter: Special Counsel Alerts FBI Of Scheme To Pay Women To Accuse Mueller Of Sexual Assault http://bit.ly/2DeQ2a3
// tic toc

MarketWatch: Fox News’ Shep Smith debunks Trump’s migrant-caravan rhetoric: ‘There is no invasion’ http://mktw.net/2zi4Al3
● Map: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1057567054239277056/photo/1
// ⇈ map source link: MarketWatch (10/29): This map shows how far the migrant caravan is from the U.S. border http://mktw.net/2yHo4je

WSJ: NATO Exercise Sends Warning to Russia, Message to Members http://on.wsj.com/2CSdE3e
// Largest show of force since Cold War shows clout to Moscow, cost of security to 29 bloc members

💙💙 NYT: The Internet Will Be the Death of Us http://nyti.ms/2AADPd9
// It casts rogue grievances as legitimate obsessions and gives prejudices the shimmer of ideals.

🐣 RT @SethAbramson (MEGA-THREAD) A *major* mystery in the Trump-Russia investigation—what type of illegal election assistance Israeli intel-affiliated entities offered the Trump campaign after Trump Jr. accepted their help in August 2016—may have just been solved. I hope you’ll read on and retweet.
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1057454270788890625

🐣 RT @TheBeatWithAri Bombshell: Tape shows Roger Stone claiming he was “in touch” with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange before hacked emails were published:
💽 https://twitter.com/TheBeatWithAri/status/1057396299144855552/photo/1

NYT: Plot to Smear Mueller Unravels as F.B.I. Is Asked to Investigate http://nyti.ms/2yFFHjp

TheGuardian: FBI asked to investigate suspected double hoax against Mueller http://bit.ly/2DcyQlD
// FBI to investigate whether a hoaxer offered women money to make false allegations about special counsel investigating Russian election meddling

ABCNews: As special counsel closes in, Roger Stone suits up for legal battle http://abcn.ws/2DbViLz

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Mueller Wants the FBI to Look at a Scheme to Discredit Him http://bit.ly/2Ogzhw8
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1057344149375119360/photo/1
// The special counsel says a woman was offered money to fabricate sexual harassment claims.

The special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging  that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a GOP activist named Jack Burkman “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” The woman told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974, but that she “didn’t see” him much. “When I did see him, he was always very polite to me, and was never inappropriate,” the woman wrote. The firm has not returned a request for comment about whether the woman actually worked there.

Burkman, a conservative radio host, is known for spreading conspiracy theories. He launched his own private investigation into the murder of the DNC staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistle-blowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election. He also promoted legislation that he authored—despite not being a member of Congress—that would ban gays from playing in the National Football League, and has hosted two fundraisers for Rick Gates—the former Trump campaign official who was indicted by Mueller late last year.

Axios, Joe Uchill: Study clarifies goals of Russia’s 2016 social media campaign http://bit.ly/2PsHbrc

The study, now under review for publication, was conducted by Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren of Clemson University, Brandon Boatwright of University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Will Grant of Australia National University.

Forbes, Baker Institute: Trump’s Sanctions On Iran Just Handed A Big Victory To Russia http://bit.ly/2zaugQc

Newsweek: Trump Calls Mueller’s Russia Probe an ‘Illegal Investigation Totally’ but Says He’ll ‘Probably’ Answer Questions http://bit.ly/2Q33wIU

WSJ: Mueller Investigators Probe Roger Stone Conference Calls http://on.wsj.com/2OfKRHY
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1057239680201175041/photo/1
// Longtime Trump adviser spoke of WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails ahead of 2016 election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators are examining comments by Roger Stone—a longtime adviser to Donald Trump—about WikiLeaks during a series of conference calls he hosted in 2016, according to a witness in the probe and another person familiar with the matter.

In at least two August conference calls advertised online to the public and promoting himself as “the ultimate political insider,” Mr. Stone told callers about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that he said would affect the 2016 presidential campaign before the election, according to people who listened to the sessions and recordings of one of the calls published online and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

⭕ 29 Oct 2018

ForeignPolicy, Ryan Costello and Sina Toossi: Mohammed bin Salman Is the Next Saddam Hussein http://bit.ly/2P1FyBo
// In the 1980s, the United States embraced a brutal Middle Eastern tyrant simply because he opposed Iran. Washington should not repeat the same mistake today.

CFR, Alex Grigsby: Unpacking The Competing Russian and U.S. Cyberspace Resolutions at the United Nations http://on.cfr.org/2AEdAmp

UNIAN: Kremlin calls upcoming Putin-Trump meeting “synchronization of positions” http://bit.ly/2JqDFrJ
// The presidents of the United States and Russia have a lot of issues that require exchanging views, Peskov said.

DefenseOne, Jeremy Bash and Simon Simakovsky: Four Perfectly Trump Reasons Why He Wants Out of the INF Treaty http://bit.ly/2SvbPyS

NYT: Meet the Would-Be House Committee Leaders Who Could Torment Trump http://nyti.ms/2OYXUD0 Expect subpoenas, must-see hearings and lots of investigations.
// If Democrats win control of the House, they will gain control of powerful committees that could put a check on Mr. Trump’s agenda. Expect subpoenas, must-see hearings and lots of investigations.

TheObserver, John Schindler: The Mystery of Donald Trump’s Secret Kremlin Ties Just Got a Lot Deeper http://bit.ly/2zdWSs4

🐣 RT @PaulKrugman It’s long past time to stop using the term “populist” for people like Bolsonaro or Trump. There’s nothing in their policies for the working class except racism and misogyny. White nationalist — or neo-fascist — is the right term
⋙ NYT: Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s Far-Right President-Elect, Turns Crisis Into Opportunity http://nyti.ms/2CMC0vk

🐣 RT @juliaioffe I have to say, I feel less safe as a journalist in America these days than I ever did in Russia. A lot less safe.

AP: Russian held as agent studied US groups’ cyberdefenses http://bit.ly/2EMReTy Maria Butina

BusinessInsider/Reuters: Mattis is trying to keep allies calm after Trump promised to ditch a landmark Cold War missile treaty http://read.bi/2qiU5K5

EUvsDisinfo: Commanding the Trolls http://bit.ly/2yzuH7i

Thanks to a series of journalistic investigations, many of which have been carried out by Russian reporters, it is already well known that employees at the so-called “troll factory” in St. Petersburg receive instructions about which messages they should push in social media and online debates.

Examples of such instructions have now been published in written form in the indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice, which charges a named employee at the “troll factory” with attempted meddling in the upcoming U.S. midterms elections.

The new documentation confirms and fleshes out the instruction system and the fact that the “troll factory” is still active. The evidence also showcases the “troll factory’s” activities as a strategic communications campaign with emphasis on target group awareness.

⭕ 28 Oct 2018

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind I implore members of our media to cover Trump as an authoritarian and stop amplifying his narratives. HIs goal is to undermine you, and expose you to danger. You must change the way you are covering him and not follow his shiny coins!

WaPo: Russian disinformation on Facebook targeted Ukraine well before the 2016 U.S. election http://wapo.st/2qi2PjA

Politico, Darren Samuelson: How a Democratic majority could undermine the Mueller probe http://politi.co/2SoEgyp “If history is any guide, an aggressive Congress and the Justice Department don’t always get along, especially when there’s an independent counsel involved”
// If Democrats retake the House, they want to aggressively open probes into issues the special counsel is also investigating.

If Democrats retake the House in the midterm elections, they’re prepared to use their newfound subpoena power to aggressively open probes into President Donald Trump’s finances and connections to Russia. But doing so — just as Mueller appears to be entering the final laps of his own probe — would create tensions between the special counsel and a newly crowned majority party replenished by scores of freshman lawmakers who rode into Capitol Hill on an anti-Trump wave.

TASS [RU]: Russia hopes US won’t disavow dialogues on cyber security, anti-terror fight – Lavrov http://bit.ly/2JnvtZ8 “US National Security Adviser Bolton confirmed that US leader Donald Trump wants to implement these agreements, Russia’s top diplomat said” [‼️]

⭕ 27 Oct 2018

BusinessInsider: Russia has allegedly been spreading far-right propaganda on Facebook to try and influence the US midterms — here it is http://read.bi/2D9Ig18

WaPo: Mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc made numerous references on Facebook to Russian associates and echoed pro-Kremlin views http://wapo.st/2yCN2Aj

TheIndependent [UK]: How CNN became Trumpworld’s most-hated TV network http://bit.ly/2EPbHaB
// President once enjoyed a cosy relationship with the network and praised their polls, but this rapidly deteriorated after they ran a story on the Trump-Russia dossier

⭕ 26 Oct 2018

FresnoBee/McClatchy: Judge denies Nunes access to secret depositions on Steele dossier http://bit.ly/2F0TSoQ
// and Grassley, per MSW

NYMag, Heather Hurlburt: Russia Violated an Arms Treaty. Trump Ditched It, Making the Nuclear Threat Even Worse. http://nym.ag/2zebIyS

WaPo, Dmitry Gorenburg: Here’s what the Russians think about the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty http://wapo.st/2SukMYS

JustSecurity, Marty Lederman: The Constitutional Challenge to Special Counsel Mueller (Post No. 2): Is Mueller Even an Officer Subject to the Appointments Clause? http://bit.ly/2Pot6e3

Politico: Papadopoulos threatens to pull out of Mueller plea agreement http://politi.co/2PnBSJy

⭕ 25 Oct 2018

Vox, Alex Finley (10/25): How Russian money and influence slipped through cracks in the US legal system http://bit.ly/2P221Ov
// The 2010 Citizens United decision helped open the door to foreign influence in US elections.

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: Maria Butina’s Legal Team Embraces Disinformation (with Help from Russia http://bit.ly/2yD9M3p

💽 MSNBC, Maddow Show: Sealed court documents suggest battle over Mueller’s authority [Video] http://on.msnbc.com/2JhZJ7S
// Josh Gerstein, reporter for Politico, talks with Rachel Maddow about hints in court records that someone is challenging the validity of a subpoena from Robert Mueller.

TheWeek: Mueller reportedly has evidence Roger Stone ally knew WikiLeaks had Clinton emails http://bit.ly/2yCXE2f

Salon, Bob Brigham: Ex-FBI Agent warns Robert Mueller could be indicting Trump associates http://bit.ly/2CHZT7a
// Former FBI Special Agent warns of indictments as President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Vladimir Putin

Slate, John Reed: Mueller’s Probe Into Roger Stone’s WikiLeaks Ties Gets to the Heart of the “Collusion” Question http://bit.ly/2OV31nx

ForeignAffairs, Olga Oliker: Moscow’s Nuclear Enigma http://fam.ag/2OMFghz
// Nov-Dec issue; What Is Russia’s Arsenal Really For?

NYT, Mikhail Gorbachev: A New Nuclear Arms Race Has Begun http://nyti.ms/2Sl8y58
// President Trump says he plans to withdraw from a nonproliferation treaty that I signed with Ronald Reagan. It’s just the latest victim in the militarization of world affairs.

NBCChicago: Mueller Has Evidence Suggesting Stone Associate Knew Clinton Emails Would Be Leaked: Source http://bit.ly/2RfUisL
// Mueller’s investigators have reviewed messages to members of the Trump team in which Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi seem to take credit for the release of Democratic emails, said a person with direct knowledge of the emails

MotherJones, Dan Friedman: Text Messages Show Roger Stone Was Working to Get a Pardon for Julian Assange http://bit.ly/2yHOFwX
// Robert Mueller’s investigators have examined Stone’s efforts to neutralize possible criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: Mueller Had Learned by February 22 that Roger Stone Was Pushing an Assange Pardon in January http://bit.ly/2RiCH3D

CtrAmProg: A Mueller Investigation Refresher With Joyce Vance [podcast] http://ampr.gs/2CC4ckB
// Daniella Gibbs Leger, Ed Chung, Kyle Epstein, and Rachel Rosen

DailyBeast, Betsey Woodruff and Erin Banco: Saudi Spy Met With Team Trump About Taking Down Iran http://thebea.st/2JfxTsU
// Mueller’s investigators examined a series of meetings between an Israeli social media strategist, the general blamed for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and Trump adviser Michael Flynn.

HillReporter, Ed Krassenstein: Mueller Reportedly Has Evidence Showing Roger Stone Took Credit For Leaked, Hacked Emails http://bit.ly/2yzufpx

BusinessInsider, Sonan Sheth: Mueller reportedly has evidence that a Roger Stone associate knew Clinton campaign emails had been stolen and given to WikiLeaks http://read.bi/2EI2kJu

JustSecurity, Marty Lederman: The Constitutional Challenge to Robert Mueller’s Appointment: Introduction http://bit.ly/2ArWmbB

TheHill: Mueller has evidence hinting Roger Stone ally knew WikiLeaks had Clinton emails: report http://bit.ly/2Pp0KQW

Law&Crime, John Banzhaf: Why Mueller Could be Forced to Indict President Trump http://bit.ly/2PQAT1b

LawFareBlog, Stephen Bates: What To Expect When You’re Expecting a Mueller Report http://bit.ly/2SjmTib

NBC: Mueller has evidence suggesting Stone associate knew Clinton emails would be leaked http://nbcnews.to/2RfhwiL
// Mueller’s team is investigating whether Jerome Corsi knew stolen emails would be leaked and passed information about them to Trump associate Roger Stone.

BBC: Facebook fined £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica scandal http://bbc.in/2OOhjGI
● photo Zuckerberg: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1055370596874444800/photo/1

⭕ 24 Oct 2018

🐣 RT @TimOBrien That time that President Trump kept a copy of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside — and other things that make his embrace of “nationalism” so dangerous and troubling. My column today:
⋙ Bloomberg, Tim O’Brien: Trump Launches a Nationalist Salvo at the Midterms http://bloom.bg/2CEv43h
// The president’s brand of allegiance to country is steeped in uncomfortable, racially charged echoes.

Speaking at a political rally in Houston on Monday night, President Donald Trump revisited some of his familiar “America First” themes. “We’re taking care of ourselves, for a change,” he advised an enthusiastic crowd, before slamming “corrupt, power-hungry globalists.” Then he pushed ahead, putting a label on that thing that ails him: “They have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned, it’s called a nationalist. And I say, ‘Really, we’re not supposed to use that word.’ You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word.”

With that, the president — who rarely offers unvarnished, accurate descriptions of what motivates him when he’s out on the hustings — provided a candid, calculated and honest self-assessment. Hold on to that moment, because authenticity is a scarce commodity in the Oval Office. Ponder that moment, too, because it represents Trump pandering to his political base by lobbing racially charged grenades into the midterm-election frenzy — and reveling in it.

… “Notes on Nationalism” by George Orwell: “By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions and tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”

The term “nationalism” also evokes the Nazis and Aryan supremacy, of course, something some Trump’s supporters dismissed as an unreasonable interpretation of what the president meant when he described himself as a member of the nationalist club. The Nazis’ “nationalism was about racial purity, it was about blood and soil,” said Steve Cortes, a commentator and Trump backer, on CNN. “American nationalism — which by the way defeated Nazism — American nationalism is about shared ideals. It’s about a Constitution.”

His first wife, Ivana, told her lawyer during their divorce that Trump kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s collected speeches by his bedside in their Trump Tower triplex. When a reporter questioned Trump about the book in 1990, he balked and then said it was a gift. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them,” Trump also told the reporter. (Trump doesn’t read books, or much of anything else, so he may have been telling the truth when he said he didn’t read the Hitler collection.)

Trump routinely speaks of himself and family members as having superior intellect and success in life because they have “good genes,” a worldview he may have inherited from his father. His decision to take on the mantle of being a nationalist can only be understood in the broader context of electioneering and race-baiting. Trump and his administration have described the migrant caravan winding its way through Central America in the most sensational and fabricated of ways, saying that it’s essentially an army of misfits populated by terrorists and Middle Easterners.

For a nationalist hoping to shore up his base before the midterm elections, demonizing and lying about unwanted outsiders is a card to play, even if it’s a morally bankrupt move. For others around the country, having become better acquainted with the president and perhaps less shocked by him, it’s time to discover how well they know themselves — and whether they’re ready to counter the nationalism Trump will continue rolling out.

Politico: Mueller link seen in mystery grand jury appeal http://politi.co/2qbvN4v
// The special counsel appears to be locked in a dispute with a mystery grand jury witness, but much of the case is sealed.

Snopes/AP: Trump Adviser Bolton Says No Clarity on Further Sanctions on Russia http://bit.ly/2CDxTBI
// The U.S. imposed the latest Russian sanctions earlier this year in reaction to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

DefenseNews: Democrats demand answers about Trump plans to drop nuke treaty with Russia http://bit.ly/2O2MKrz

Reuters: Congress postpones questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Trump, Russia probe http://reut.rs/2PVEWt9

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: George Papadopoulos Hopes to Fuel Republicans’ Suspicions About the Russia Probe http://bit.ly/2qhNiAt
// The former Trump campaign aide who has pleaded guilty will say in House testimony Thursday that the FBI and British intelligence worked to deter President Trump’s election effort.

NYT: When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn http://nyti.ms/2SgCDm7

WaPo, Yochai Benkler: The Russians didn’t swing the 2016 election to Trump. But Fox News might have. http://wapo.st/2JcO8a5 “the fundamental driver of disinformation in American politics of the past three years has not been Russia, but Fox News”
// Blaming foreign influence is a cop-out. The most influential propaganda is homegrown.

NYT: Alexander Soros: The Hate That Is Consuming Us http://nyti.ms/2SfVqOn
// Bombs sent to my father, George Soros, and to former President Obama and Hillary Clinton are a result of our politics of demonizing opponents.

⭕ 23 Oct 2018

ViceNews, Greg Walters: How an ex-marijuana farmer became conservatives’ latest hope to take down Robert Mueller http://bit.ly/2PgD94Y

Andrew Miller was growing pot in California just a few months ago. Next year, he hopes to take down special counsel Robert Mueller in the Supreme Court.

In August, Miller, a former aide to Republican provocateur Roger Stone, refused to answer a subpoena from Mueller, who’s leading the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That decision has put the 34-year-old Miller in contempt of court, but it’s also opened a pathway to attack the constitutionality of Mueller’s entire investigation.

Now, with the backing of a powerful Washington conservative legal group with a track record of targeting Democrats, Miller has positioned himself as the real-life avatar of a favored conservative argument: the special counsel never should’ve been appointed at all. And he’s hoping the high court’s rightward alignment, with the help of Brett Kavanaugh, will override the lower courts that have already dismissed the idea.

TPM, Kate Riga: Stone Inquiry Shows Mueller’s Suspicion That He Was Tied To Trump Campaign http://bit.ly/2JeEEv4

HuffPo: Former White House Lawyer Ty Cobb Says Mueller Probe Isn’t ‘A Witch Hunt’ http://bit.ly/2q98BUI
// That assessment pits Cobb against his former boss, President Donald Trump.

TheHill: FBI unable to find photos of Comey, Mueller ‘hugging and kissing’ as Trump claimed http://bit.ly/2AoO701

⭕ 22 Oct 2018

Salon, Keith Spencer: Team Mueller investigating GOP strategist Roger Stone: report http://bit.ly/2EFJkeP
// The strange relationship between Stone, Wikileaks, Assange and Russian hackers has Mueller’s eye

ABCNews: Targeted by Mueller, what did Trump confidante Roger Stone actually do? http://abcn.ws/2EHaMc0

Law&Crime: Mueller Reportedly Has Recordings of Roger Stone in His Possession http://bit.ly/2PYin76

Reuters: Trump lawyer: Manafort said nothing damaging in Mueller interviews http://reut.rs/2yWPL77

TheWeek, Matthew Walther: How the Mueller fairy tale ends http://bit.ly/2JdIV1R

CNN: Mueller drills down on Roger Stone’s WikiLeaks contacts http://cnn.it/2q5l5fU

🐣 Dear @jzikah, I posted your three amazing drawings on my blog. Let me know if this is not okay. Here’s the link: https://wp.me/PDKwi-6Kc The post is of resources on #TrumpRussia. The blog itself is about the tv series #TheBlacklist. I keep a number of fact-based backgrounders.

💽 MSNBC, Rachel Maddow Show: Trump team fails again to confront Russia on election intrusion http://on.msnbc.com/2q9eJME Interview w Rep. Adam Schiff
// Rep. Adam Schiff talks with Rachel Maddow about the recent indictment of another Russian for being part of an active campaign to interfere in the 2018 election, and the Trump administration’s failure to confront Russia when given the chance.

BuzzFeedNews: Meet The Woman Who Is Proudly Russia’s Troll-In-Chief http://bit.ly/2PNUm2K
// Maria Zakharova has revolutionized what it means to be a Russian diplomat — in real life and online. “She’s like Marmite: Some people love her and some people hate her.”

⭕ 21 Oct 2018

WaPo: Special counsel examines conflicting accounts as scrutiny of Roger Stone and WikiLeaks deepens http://wapo.st/2q4ngk1

⭕ 20 Oct 2018

🐣 RT @Comey The United States should be a shining light for the world, modeling a democracy that values truth, respects free press, protects human rights, and stands against murderers, oppression, and bigotry. Trump and the Republican Party are dimming that light.

LATimes, Virginia Heffernan: Something is desperately wrong when America is accused of covering up the killing of a dissident http://lat.ms/2CtaX8d //➔ on the courage of dissidents in authoritarian regimes: Kara-Murza, Nemtsov, Solzhenitsyn, Khashoggi

On Thursday, the twice-poisoned Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza looked in fine health as he accepted the Train Foundation Prize for Civil Courage in New York. The award honors “steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk.”

Kara-Murza, a 37-year-old journalist and filmmaker, admitted he’d been physically weakened by attempts on his life in 2015 and 2017. He’s well aware that dissent can also be fatal. After all, in 2015, just before Kara-Murza was poisoned the first time, his mentor and fellow foe of Vladimir Putin, Boris Nemtsov, was shot and killed on a bridge just outside the Kremlin.

Great personal risk, indeed.

The Civil Courage Prize was inspired by another Russian dissident: Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Like Kara-Murza and Nemtsov, Solzhenitsyn, a novelist and historian, criticized the Russian — then Soviet — government. In 1945, he was condemned to eight years in a work camp for poking fun at Stalin in a personal letter.

When the collected works of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi are published, I hope my parents and other patriotic Americans will buy those books too.

Khashoggi, like Nemtsov, was evidently killed in cold blood by a distinctly un-American government willing to desecrate the canon of human rights to shore up a fragile tyranny.

NYT, Nicholas Kristof: Desperately Seeking Principled Republicans http://nyti.ms/2AkhPTW
// The party has lost its way, and it’s time to start over.

⭕ 19 Oct 2018

TPM, Tierney Sneed: Politico: Secret Grand Jury Legal Fight Appears Mueller Related http://bit.ly/2yxkuZe

WIRED, Garrett Graff (10/19): Russian Trolls Are Still Playing Both Sides—Even With the Mueller Probe http://bit.ly/2Aqg0Vx

TPM, Allegra Kirkland: Mueller Expected To Deliver Reports On Obstruction, Collusion After Midterms http://bit.ly/2Ao7ia9

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Did Michael Flynn Have a Back Channel to Email Hackers During the Campaign? http://nym.ag/2CwQdMD

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: A Defector From Conservatism With a Clear Vision of Trump’s Rise http://nym.ag/2Cu6eD6
// Max Boot, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Call CNN fake news? Check. Cast Paul Ryan as weak? Check. Call Mueller a Democrat conducting an unfair probe? Check. Allege widespread voter fraud? Check. The new criminal complaint lays out how the Russians’ messaging has copied Trump’s almost verbatim:
⋙ TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: DOJ Says Russian Trolls Are Interfering Online With the Midterms http://bit.ly/2yQ7Pjm  
// A criminal complaint filed Friday charges a Russian national, employed by a firm linked to Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence, with helping direct interference in the 2018 midterm elections.  

NYT: U.S. to Tell Russia It Is Leaving Landmark I.N.F. Treaty http://nyti.ms/2Pd4KnB I.N.F. = the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The Trump administration is preparing to tell Russian leaders next week that it is planning to exit the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, in part to enable the United States to counter a Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific, according to American officials and foreign diplomats.

President Trump has been moving toward scrapping the three-decade-old treaty, which grew out of President Ronald Reagan’s historic meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986. While the treaty was seen as effective for years, Russia has been violating it at least since 2014 in an effort to menace other nations.

But the pact has also constrained the United States from deploying new weapons to respond to China’s efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and to keep American naval forces at bay. Because China was not a signatory to the treaty, it has faced no limits on developing intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which can travel thousands of miles.

The White House said that no official decision had been made to leave the treaty, known as I.N.F., which at the time of its signing was considered a critical step in defusing Cold War tensions. But in the coming weeks, Mr. Trump is expected to sign off on the decision, which would mark the first time he has scrapped an arms control treaty, the American officials said.

Now that the treaty is largely in tatters, the question is whether the decision to leave it will accelerate the increasingly Cold War-like behavior among the three superpowers: the United States, Russia and China.

🐣 RT @ScotMStedman BREAKING: Russian media is reporting that all of Agalarov’s bank accounts in the US have been closed at the request of Mueller.
Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/ScottMStedman/status/1053452467197771776
⋙ rbc.ru: В США закрыли банковские счета Crocus Group Араза Агаларова http://bit.ly/2PH6bYo

Lawfare: Russian Electoral Interference: 2018 Midterms Edition http://bit.ly/2Pg71P6
// by “Russian Electoral Interference: 2018 Midterms Edition,” the latest from Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn and Benjamin Wittes

DailyBeast, Adam Rawnsley: The Feds Have the Russian Troll Farm Receipts http://thebea.st/2Evygkw
// New indictment sheds light on Russian election meddlers secretive “Project Lakhta.”

TPM, Tierney Sneed: New Complaint Offers Details On How Russian Internet Trolls Were Financed http://bit.ly/2PNwM6p

TPM, Tierney Sneed: The Russian Trolls Mueller Indicted Pushed Social Posts Bashing Mueller http://bit.ly/2P9rqVH

WSJ: Mueller Probes WikiLeaks’ Contacts With Conservative Activists http://on.wsj.com/2R0CK3L
// Ties between the website and Roger Stone, Peter W. Smith get a closer look

Medium, Ryan Casey (2017: Mueller’s Art of War http://bit.ly/2P93odz
// 6/21/2017, “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.” –– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

NBC: Russian woman charged with attempted meddling in upcoming U.S. midterms http://nbcnews.to/2NR6rCC
// Elena Khusyaynova works for a company owned by a Putin pal who has already been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

MotherJones: New Justice Department Case Shows Russia Is Now Attacking the Midterm Elections http://bit.ly/2PcNIpF
// Putin’s assault on America didn’t stop after the 2016 election—and it still favors Trump.

Politico, Darren Samuelson: Mueller report PSA: Prepare for disappointment http://politi.co/2CsC17u
// And be forewarned that the special counsel’s findings may never be made public.
⋙ 🐣 Seems inconsistent with Rosenstein’s statement in his WSJ interview that “at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence.”

🐣 If Bill Clinton said ‘It’s better to be strong and wrong that weak and right,’ HE is wrong. This election has female virtues on one side running against Reckless Testosterone on the other. Let the Women Lead. Especially you, @MorningMika Jesus. @Morning_Joe

🐣 Dems are running a campaign of Persuasion. The GOP is running a campaign of Fear. Dems are the anti-Lunacy Party. If this looks “weak” to you, you’re missing the point & falling into the Trump mindset that Strength is the only virtue & what is needed is a Strongman @Morning_Joe

WaPo, Tom Toles: After not colluding with Russia, Trump is now not colluding with Saudi Arabia http://wapo.st/2Ai6vro

⭕ 18 Oct 2018

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Three big ideas to bolster democracy http://wapo.st/2CT17xm

TheHill: Mueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe http://bit.ly/2PgYviM

Salon: Historian Christopher Browning on the Trump regime: We’re “close to the point of no return” http://bit.ly/2CRhZET
// Scholar of the Nazi period explains why fake news may be a more powerful authoritarian tool than secret police

⭕ 17 Oct 2018

VanityFair, Abigail Tracy (10/17): It Looks Like Mueller May Have a November Surprise http://bit.ly/2PRvO91

BusinessInsider: Rosenstein is said to be pressuring Mueller to wrap up the Russia probe, but Mueller looks nowhere near finished http://read.bi/2ytQ0ab

Wonkette, Evan Hurst: Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson Is Through With Republicans’ Bullsh*t http://bit.ly/2CoXzly

WSJ: In Interview, Rod Rosenstein Defends Mueller Probe as ‘Appropriate and Independent’ http://on.wsj.com/2QSpsX0 //➔ first explicit statement I’ve seen that findings will be made public
Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1052819193639460864/photo/1
// In interview, deputy attorney general says investigation has revealed widespread Russian effort to meddle in 2016 election

In an expansive interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Mr. Rosenstein offered a forceful defense of the inquiry, saying the public would have faith in its findings.

“People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that,” he said, in a nod to attacks on the probe from some conservatives and Republicans. “But at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources.”
– – – – – –
“I try very hard to ignore media speculation about what we’re doing and focus instead on what we’re actually doing,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “We sit down every day and we work toward the goals of the department and try to ignore the inevitable attention in the media.”

Mr. Rosenstein declined to comment on a timetable for completion of the Mueller probe, but the special counsel’s office has taken some actions suggesting it could wrap up within several months, including holding negotiations with the White House about whether Mr. Trump would submit to questioning.

✅ AP FACT CHECK: Trump distorts migrant policy, Russia probe http://bit.ly/2RZ4tTE

Politico: Massive Twitter data release sheds light on Russia’s Trump strategy http://politi.co/2QXo5GC

Vox, Andrew Prokop: Will Mueller show his cards soon after the election? Here are 3 scenarios. http://bit.ly/2QZw5ah
// Many in the political world think that may be the time.

WaPo: Senior Treasury employee charged with leaking documents related to Russia probe http://wapo.st/2pX3HKn

Prosecutors charged Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards with the unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports and conspiracy. The charges were filed in federal court in New York but she is scheduled to make her first court appearance in Northern Virginia, officials said.

Edwards, 40, works as a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, often referred to as “FinCEN.”

⭕ 16 Oct 2018

MSNBC, Steve Benen (TRMS): Trump tries to move the goalposts on Russia scandal (again) http://on.msnbc.com/2OtFom3

CNN: Trump campaign spending doubles amid midterms, Russia inquiry http://cnn.it/2AfQXo1

WaPo: House Russia-probe witness invokes Fifth Amendment as Trump urges firing of DOJ official connected to dossier http://wapo.st/2pXTIVb

TheWeek: Robert Mueller will reportedly issue reports on Trump and Russian collusion, obstruction after midterms http://bit.ly/2EqXErt

⭕ 15 Oct 2018

Lawfare, by Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittes (10/15): Jaworski Road Map to be Mostly Unsealed http://bit.ly/2Q8n7XX

⭕ 14 Oct 2018

WaPo: 60 Minutes: Putin is ‘probably’ involved in assassinations, but ‘it’s not in our country,’ Trump says http://wapo.st/2yhYhOm Trump declined to say that he will not end the Russia investigation, although he said he does not intend to do so

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: This is why so many journalists are at risk today http://wapo.st/2Cfw51r Universal access to what they write makes journalists a threat to those in power

… In Russia, the authorities use a different tactic: They seek to drown accurate information in a flood of state-sponsored garbage, producing reams of contradictory stories designed to undermine the very notion of “truth.” …

🐣 RT @ActiveMeasuresDoc Sounds like Putin doesn’t think the dossier is a hoax.
⋙ TheSun, Patrick Knox [UK]: PUTIN’S ‘PLOT’ Vladimir Putin ‘ordered Salisbury novichok hitman to assassinate Brit spy behind Trump sex dossier’ http://bit.ly/2RPjBmv
// Alexander Mishkin, 39, was allegedly behind the failed hit on the double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Wiltshire… but it is now claimed he was linked to another mission to kill former MI6 officer Christopher Steele 

⭕ 13 Oct 2018

WIRED, Emily Dreyfuss: Robert Mueller Has Already Told You Everything You Need To Know http://bit.ly/2pQrtrg “I think that what people miss is that Robert Mueller has been writing the Mueller Report in public through all of these court filings.”

NYT, Peter Baker: Is Trump on a Collision Course With Impeachment? http://nyti.ms/2QQ8Krb
// Democrats are largely ducking the topic on the campaign trail, but few people in Washington doubt that it will be on the table if they win the House.

⭕ 11 Oct 2018

Politico: Trump lawyers working on answers to Mueller’s Russia conspiracy questions http://politi.co/2A6lftp

USAToday: Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump: ‘You asked Russia to hack me’ http://bit.ly/2IS1jgs

HuffPo: There’s More Evidence The Times Flubbed A Major Trump-Russia Story http://bit.ly/2yzaGgi (featuring @maddow coverage of NewYorker piece by Dexter Filkins)
// featuring Maddow coverage; A report in The New Yorker offers a chilling look at how things went so wrong.
[ ⋙ NYT (10/31/2016): Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia http://nyti.ms/2CcPjoz
// 10/31/2016, By Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers ]
⋙ NewYorker, Dexter Filkins: Was There a Connection Between a Russian Bank and the Trump Campaign? |http://bit.ly/2E7Hm6F
// 10/15/2018 issue [also under 10/8]
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYer Russian Bank Trump 10-15-2018 [dup]

CNN: GOP Senator Burr says there’s still ‘a lot of investigation left’ on Russia despite Trump comment to the contrary http://cnn.it/2NEeD99

RFE/RL: Top Corruption Investigator Shot Dead In Moscow Region http://bit.ly/2OSaenr She had a name. It was Yevgenia Shishkina. She was shot in the neck leaving her apartment building in the town of Arkhangelskoye, near the capital.

Politico: Trump: Nunes should get Medal of Freedom for Russia pushback http://politi.co/2CELGc6

Politico: Judge Ellis questions ‘highly unusual’ Manafort plea deal with Mueller http://politi.co/2Egorqx

Salon: Investigative reporter Craig Unger: “Trump has had contacts with the Russian mafia for 35 years” http://bit.ly/2OQrslk
// Author of “House of Trump, House of Putin” on the president’s long history with Russian oligarchs and murky money

⭕ 10 Oct 2018

WSJ: A Trio of Wealthy Russians Made an Enemy of Putin. Now They’re All Dead. http://on.wsj.com/2ydSERA
// Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was preparing to testify that Aeroflot was a corrupt instrument of Russian intelligence

WaPo: Trump talked with Jeff Sessions’s own chief of staff about replacing him as attorney general http://wapo.st/2IPW9BF Matthew Whitaker

Bloomberg: Ukraine Is Dangerously Close to a Religious War http://bloom.bg/2IP1Kbg
// To avoid bloodshed, all sides will have to act wisely.

WSJ: Late GOP Activist Peter W. Smith Met With Former Trump Adviser Michael Flynn in 2015, Sources Say http://on.wsj.com/2QJggUY (earned a 💥 from @benjaminwittes)
// New email and interviews indicate the Republican operative who sought to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails had established a relationship with Mr. Flynn http://on.wsj.com/

Lawfare, Andrew Kent: Faithful Execution of the Office and Laws: New Research on the Original Meaning of Article II http://bit.ly/2yvy5PS

Newsweek: Trump-Russia Dossier Author Breaks Silence, Slams President’s ‘Distorted’ and ‘One-Sided’ Administration http://bit.ly/2E9RdbZ

SkyNews [UK]: Ex-MI6 spy takes veiled swipe at Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2yeGHuL

Sky News has seen the text of an email written by Mr Steele to the editor of Vanity Fair after he was chosen to feature on its list of the 100 most influential people in the media, politics, entertainment and finance.

The 54-year-old wrote: “In these strange and troubling times, it is hard to speak unpalatable truths to power, but I believe we all still have a duty to do so.

“I salute those on your list, and otherwise, who have had the courage to speak out over the last year, often at great personal cost.

“At a time when governance is so distorted and one-sided, as I believe it currently is in the United States, the media has a key role to play in holding it accountable.”

Mr Steele enters the at-times lighthearted list at number 38. He is the only named British national on the American-dominated countdown.

Topping the chart is Robert Mueller, a former FBI director who is leading a special inquiry into Russia.

Former first lady Michelle Obama is at number six, while singer Beyonce is at number eight.

Mr Trump did not make the list.

⭕ 9 Oct 2018

WaPo, Robert Kagan: Welcome to the jungle http://wapo.st/2yaQ1jq “welcome to the breakdown of the liberal world order the United States once upheld. You’re seeing just the beginning.”

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The past 48 hours in Mueller investigation news, explained http://bit.ly/2QHqPaP
// We’ve gotten news on Alfa Bank, Psy-Group, and Peter W. Smith — three long-simmering subplots of the Russia investigation.

CNBC: Trump campaign aide Rick Gates reportedly asked Israeli intel firm in 2016 to draft plans for social media influence campaign http://cnb.cx/2Pp07Um
One proposal from Psy-Group included using fake profiles to attack Senator Ted Cruz, a main opponent of Trump’s during the Republican primary, and influence 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Robert Mueller and his team of investigators have obtained these proposals and have questioned Psy-Group employees, according to The New York Times.
There is no evidence that the Trump campaign accepted and acted on the proposals, nor is there evidence that this is connected to Russia’s interference.

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: While Mueller Stays Quiet, Suspicious Trump–Russia Clues Keep Popping Up http://nym.ag/2REK2LY

TheAtlantic, Franklin Foer: Suspended Animation in the Age of Trump http://bit.ly/2IJuUZo
// Before Donald Trump was elected, I reported on strange activity linking a Trump-campaign computer server to Moscow. A new report shows how much has changed since 2016—and how many questions still remain.

NYT: The Mueller Investigation Is Bigger Than Rod Rosenstein http://nyti.ms/2pKIWl6
// Even if he got fired, a replacement dead set on shutting down the investigation would find it nearly impossible to pull off.

.@jzikah sums up Active Measures https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1049682969932259329/photo/1
// drawing

⭕ 8 Oct 2018

NYT, David Farendhold: After selling off his father’s properties, Trump embraced unorthodox strategies to expand his empire http://nyti.ms/2PmZeeT

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: While Mueller Stays Quiet, Suspicious Trump–Russia Clues Keep Popping Up http://nym.ag/2REK2LY

TheAtlantic, Franklin Foer: Suspended Animation in the Age of Trump http://bit.ly/2IJuUZo
// Before Donald Trump was elected, I reported on strange activity linking a Trump-campaign computer server to Moscow. A new report shows how much has changed since 2016—and how many questions still remain.

📊 CNN Poll: Kavanaugh nomination has lowest public support since Bork http://cnn.it/2pH9Sly //➔ he’s also the only judge listed with a Net Unforvable rating
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1049598481936146433/photo/1

DailyBeast, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman: Researchers: No Evidence That Russia Is Messing With Campaign 2018—Yet http://thebea.st/2OJS5se
// By the first week of October 2016, Russia’s pawprints were all over the presidential race. Not this year, researchers say.

Politico, Darren Samuelson: Trump team’s contact with Mueller targets could taint findings http://politi.co/2C4HS2F
// Legal experts say the president’s lawyers may be pushing ethical boundaries by communicating with people involved in the Mueller probe.

🐣 RT @MaxBoot The GOP must suffer devastating defeats starting in Nov. It must pay a heavy price for its embrace of white nationalism & know-nothingism. Only if GOP is burned to the ground will there be a chance to build a reasonable center-right party out of ashes. Me:
⋙ WaPo: The dark side of American conservatism has taken over http://wapo.st/2zYTaUC
● Text Block: /photo/1 https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1049421199439212550

Ryan’s retirement signals the final repudiation of an optimistic, inclusive brand of Reaganesque conservatism focused on enhancing economic opportunity at home and promoting democracy and free trade abroad. The Republican Party will now be defined by Trump’s dark, divisive vision, with his depiction of Democrats as America-hating, criminal-coddling traitors, his vilification of the press as the “enemy of the people,” and his ugly invective against Mexicans and Muslims. The extremism that many Republicans of goodwill had been trying to push to the fringe of their party is now its governing ideology.

That’s why I can no longer be a Republican, and in fact wish ill fortune on my former party. I am now convinced that the Republican Party must suffer repeated and devastating defeats beginning in November. It must pay a heavy price for its embrace of white nationalism and know-nothingism. Only if the GOP as it is currently constituted is burned to the ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable center-right party out of the ashes. But that will require undoing the work of decades, not just of the past two years.

Metro [UK]: Two bullets ‘found in body of pilot’ flying Putin prosecutor linked to Trump http://bit.ly/2zYxoAk
// Two bullets have been found in the body of a helicopter pilot who was carrying one of Vladimir Putin’s top prosecutors, it has been alleged.

NewYorker, Dexter Filkins: Was There a Connection Between a Russian Bank and the Trump Campaign? http://bit.ly/2E7Hm6F
// 10/15/2018 Issue, A team of computer scientists sifted through records of unusual Web traffic in search of answers.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYer Russian Bank Trump 10-15-2018

⭕ 7 Oct 2018

Politico.eu, Michał Broniatowski: Euro Council President Donald Tusk makes scathing attack on Russian influence http://politi.co/2zW87qu
// Council president says Russia will do ‘whatever it can’ to undermine European unity.

WSJ: GOP Operative Peter W Smith Secretly Raised at Least $100,000 in Search for Clinton Emails http://on.wsj.com/2E38BiP
// Opposition researcher’s efforts are of intense interest to investigators probing Russian election interference

⭕ 6 Oct 2018

WaPo, Deanna Paul: With Kavanaugh confirmed, impeachment could follow. Here’s how. http://wapo.st/2E1nBhe

Axios, Lauren Meier: U.S. trails behind Russia, China in organizing militarily in space http://bit.ly/2y4XYXs

Salon, Andrew O’Hehir: Interview: Pulitzer-winning reporter Greg Miller on Trump and Russia: We’ve all seen the smoking gun http://bit.ly/2QzuSGh on Greg Miller’s new book “The Apprentice”
// Washington Post reporter on Trump’s “subservience” to Vladimir Putin and the “subversion of American democracy”

WIRED, Brian Barrett: Don’t Buy the Trump Administration’s China Misdirection http://bit.ly/2zUCAoR

⭕ 5 Oct 2018

FresnoBee, Eric SwalWell: Nunes buried evidence on Russian meddling to protect Trump. I know because I’m on the committee http://bit.ly/2QAdNMt

ABCNews: Is Russia playing a double game in Mueller court battle? http://abcn.ws/2IGRfXy

DefenseNews, Willis Krumholz: The president must say no to ‘Fort Trump’ in Poland http://bit.ly/2pFYcQ5

FrezboBee, Eric Swalwell: Nunes buried evidence on Russian meddling to protect Trump. I know because I’m on the committee http://bit.ly/2QD9cJB

WaPo: Mike Pence and the Trump administration’s complicity in downplaying Russian election interference http://wapo.st/2QyX24h

CNBC: Justice Department charges 7 Russian hackers with targeting doping agencies, nuclear energy company http://cnb.cx/2BZAwgO
The Justice Department on Thursday said it has charged seven Russian intelligence officials with hacking doping agencies and other organizations.
The charges did not appear to be directly related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russia’s interference and potential coordination with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s probe has lodged charges against dozens of Russian nationals and Russian companies for violating U.S. laws in their alleged efforts to meddle in the election that put Trump in the White House.

⭕ 4 Oct 2018

🐣 RT @BillBrowder There are now two dead Russians who blew the whistle on Russian money laundering that was ultimately connected to Danske Bank: Sergei Magnitsky and Alexander Perepilichnyy. This money laundering was NOT a victimless crime.
⋙ 🐣 RT @BillBrowder The Danske Bank money laundering scandal deepens. New information shows that they conducted ‘mirror trades’ to launder money for clients of a Russian company owned by Alexander Perepilichnyy, who died suddenly in Surrey in 2012
⋙⋙ FinancialTimes: Danske Bank memo shows how Russians moved money http://on.ft.com/2CsuPZM
// ‘Highly profitable’ mirror trades were used by clients to get money out of country
↥ ↧
DailyBeast, Nico Hines: Russian Official Linked to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Trump Tower Lawyer, Is Dead http://thebea.st/2y1WPzD
// Russia’s Deputy Attorney General Saak Karapetyan was exposed this year for running a foreign recruitment operation with Natalia Veselnitskaya.

NYRB, Christopher R. Browning: The Suffocation of Democracy http://bit.ly/2O8INWU
// 10/25/2018 issue
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYRB Suffoc Democracy 10-25-2018

🐣 RT @anneapplebaum the @nytimes expose of the Trump family’s tax fraud leads me back to the question: Why weren’t they caught? Because, as I wrote before, rule of law has failed in America already. Trump’s presidency is not the cause, it is the result.
⋙ WaPo, Anne Appelnaum (Aug): Are you still sure there’s no need to worry? http://wapo.st/2O6QNIc
// 8/10/2010

Supposedly, “rule of law” is an important principle to any Western society, perhaps the most important principle. Belief in the judicial system is what makes contracts work and commerce possible; even-handed enforcement of the law is what separates rule-based democracy from whimsical autocracy. Listen closely as Manafort’s trial unfolds: Long before Trump got to Washington, and long before Manafort helped him get there, judicial and law enforcement institutions failed to stop them. Are you still sure that there is no need to worry?

🐣💙 RT @BillBrowder BREAKING: Saak Karapetyan, Deputy General Prosecutor of Russia, just died in a helicopter crash in Kostroma, Russia. He was official who signed documents prepared by Natalia Veselnitskaya sent to US DOJ to try exonerate Prevezon in US money laundering case

⭕ 3 Oct 2018

🔄💙💙 NYT: The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh ~ Signed, 1,000✛ Law Professors (and Counting) http://nyti.ms/2xZX26r //➔ up from 650✛ Wednesday afternoon @SenatorCollins @JeffFlake @lisamurkowski @SenSasse Why? #JudicialTemperament ¤ #Partisanship ¤ #Perjury ¤ #MeToo

CenterAmerProgress (CAP), James Lamond: The Origins of Russia’s Broad Political Assault on the United States http://ampr.gs/2O4TslF

CNBC: Putin says Trump should blame himself for high oil prices http://cnb.cx/2Nj50MZ

PBS: Putin says election meddling ‘nonsense’ risks poisoning U.S.-Russia relations http://to.pbs.org/2xYsmm9

BuzzFeedNews: This Ohio Woman’s Run-In With The FBI Gives Us A Window Into Robert Mueller’s Trump–Russia Probe http://bit.ly/2DUUYSH
// In 2016, Cassandra Ford renamed a Twitter account for the persona leaking hacked Democratic emails. That earned the FBI’s interest and a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller.

Reuters: Global energy bosses send Trump a message: world needs Russian gas http://reut.rs/2QnsJgS

Haaretz: Russia Blasts ‘Dangerous’ U.S. Threat on Missiles as Trump NATO Envoy Walks Back Comments http://bit.ly/2QrIF1K
// The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison clarified in a tweet that she was not talking about a preemptive strike against Russia

WaPo: Trump allies, offering no specifics, say former FBI official gives ‘explosive’ testimony in Russia probe http://wapo.st/2xWHTmw

TheMoscowProject: The Trump Corruption Story Is Also a Russia Story http://bit.ly/2ybZupU

⭕ 2 Oct 2018

DworkinReport: We just released a new report revealing Lindsey Graham’s Russia-linked donations http://bit.ly/2NtxGCT
// Len Blavatnik, Born Russia, US citizen, linked to Vekselberg

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Erik Prince’s Russian Connection Trawled Trumpland for ‘Boss’ Putin http://thebea.st/2yaC2Jy
// In the days after the 2016 election, a well-connected Moscow executive started pitching Trump associates on a bold plan for renewed U.S.-Russian cooperation. http://thebea.st/

WaPo, Philip Bump: The cover-up uncovered: How Team Trump tried to bury or confuse the Stormy Daniels story http://wapo.st/2OtYAyX with timeline

WaPo, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa: ‘The trauma for a man’: Male fury and fear rises in GOP in defense of Kavanaugh http://wapo.st/2OvQSo4 “This eruption of male resentment now seems likely to play a defining role in the midterm elections just five weeks away, contrasting with a burst of enthusiasm among women”

🐣 RT @marceldirsus This is noteworthy: “Russia must halt its covert development of a banned cruise missile system or the United States will seek to destroy it before it becomes operational, Washington’s envoy to NATO said on Tuesday.”
⋙ Reuters: U.S. would destroy banned Russian warheads if necessary: NATO envoy http://reut.rs/2DNUFJt

⭕ 1 Oct 2018

Politico: Roger Stone associate Randy Credico to plead 5th before Senate panel http://politi.co/2NgekkL Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, has said Credico was his intermediary to Assange and WikiLeaks.

🐣 RT @NorahODonnell What is Mueller zeroing in on? -@NorahODonnell ¤ “The many indictments that we’ve seen so far give us a lot of clues. Obviously he’s very very focused on the obstruction front. And his interest in these figures around Trump..are ways to get at that question” -@gregpmiller
💽 /https://twitter.com/NorahODonnell/status/1046736708782510080photo/1

⭕ 30 Sep 2018

NBC, Glenn Kirschner: As Kavanaugh accusations dominate the news cycle, Mueller’s investigation quietly builds momentum http://nbcnews.to/2RdVn5a
// Manafort’s cooperation should be an invaluable tool for Mueller as he continues to probe possible Russian interference — and American collusion.

TheHill: The Mueller investigation: Where it stands at the midterms http://bit.ly/2OtmhaE

⭕ 29 Sep 2018

TheGuardian, David Smith: Interview: Rob Goldstone on Trump: ‘I think he likes Russia because Russia liked him’ http://bit.ly/2OgtY47
// The pop publicist was catapulted into the spotlight by his email setting up the infamous Trump Tower meeting: ‘It’s a lot for a boy from Manchester’

⭕ 28 Sep 2018

WashingtonExaminer: House Intel votes to release Russia inquiry transcripts for Lynch, Yates, Cohen, Trump Jr., and others http://washex.am/2R9YFXi

Politico: Mueller defends authority, hearkens back to Garfield administration http://politi.co/2DDZLHX

Reuters: Lavrov notes Trump blamed China, not Russia, for U.S. election meddling http://reut.rs/2QfzFMQ

TheGuardian: Russian-US tycoon boasted of ‘active’ involvement in Trump election campaign http://bit.ly/2NPwhf7
// Exclusive: Simon Kukes was in contact with senior Kremlin official in 2016 while donating to Trump-supporting committee

🐣 RT @MaxBergman Want to know where Mueller is going? Read this story. Campaigns need money and this w/d be one way to get money to the Trump campaign… “To me this reads like an email exchange between a source and a handler, or a source and headquarters,” said Lindsay Moran, a fmr CIA officer.
⋙ NBC, Richard Engel et al: Big donor to Trump campaign made overture to top Russian official, boasting of connections http://nbcnews.to/2zC6NZL
// The businessman, who donated $273,000 in 2016, wanted a face-to-face meeting with a Russian official.

⭕ 27 Sep 2018

TheGuardian, Michael Lewis: ‘This guy doesn’t know anything’: the inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team http://bit.ly/2xU6xE6 by the author of Moneyball and The Big Short
// Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Big Short, reveals how Trump’s bungled presidential transition set the template for his time in the White House

Bloomberg: Russia Sanctions Unlikely to Pass Congress Before November http://bloom.bg/2QeryjB
● House is likely to go on recess through the mid-term elections
● Lawmakers urge Trump to hold Russia accountable for meddling

QuadCityTimes, David Ignatius: ‘Russia collusion’ claim doesn’t add up http://bit.ly/2DA2qmb

NYMag, Eric Levitz: White House Eyes Wingnut Critic of Russia Probe As Rosenstein’s Replacement http://nym.ag/2Qe1wNo

LATimes, Harry Litman: With or without Rod Rosenstein, the Russia probe will survive http://lat.ms/2ObwLeX

SLPostDispatch/WaPo, Kai Bird: Apprentice’ helps make Russian inquiry (somewhat) coherent http://bit.ly/2zzVQbh

MSN: Trump accusing China (not Russia) of election meddling http://bit.ly/2OWbkeG if GOP gets “a shellacking” in midterms, he can blame the Chinese

USAToday, Gabriel Schoenfeld: If Donald Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, how bad would that be for American democracy? http://usat.ly/2zAf5RW

CNN: US runs into opposition from Russia, China on North Korea sanctions http://cnn.it/2OoURmB

Politico: Mueller cooperator fears retribution from Russia http://politi.co/2In78SY Richard Pinedo

Politico: House Intel Committee tees up release of Russia probe transcripts http://politi.co/2Il0XyN

⭕ 26 Sep 2018

USAToday, Chris Truax: Protect Mueller and Rosenstein. It’s a ‘Profiles in Courage’ moment in American history. http://usat.ly/2IquoQ0

AP: China urges US to stop slander after Trump’s meddling claim http://bit.ly/2xH50kY

CNN: The Trump lawyers you don’t see are the ones driving dealings with Robert Mueller http://cnn.it/2NLTAXb

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff, Erin Banco: Revealed: What Erik Prince and Moscow’s Money Man Discussed in That Infamous Seychelles Meeting http://thebea.st/2Odv3K0
// Mueller’s team and Congressional investigators have looked into a meeting in the Seychelles between allies of Trump and Putin. Now we have the Russian read-out of what was said.

⭕ 25 Sep 2018

Politico (9/25): Ken Starr: Trump’s Defense Team Should Be ‘Very Concerned’ http://politi.co/2NUKWFF
// The former Whitewater prosecutor says that he understands Trump’s reluctance to cooperate with Mueller, but believes that the president has an obligation to do so.

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Trump’s notable ‘obstruction’ concession http://wapo.st/2N8Qnf1

“There was no collusion, there was no obstruction,” he said. “I mean, unless you call ‘obstruction’ the fact that I fight back. I do fight back. I really fight back. I mean, if you call that obstruction, that’s fine. But there’s no obstruction, there’s no collusion.”

WaPo, David Ignatius: A GOP spin on the Russia probe reads like a noir thriller — but doesn’t add up http://wapo.st/2IfWFIR

NYRB, Murray Waas: Mike Pence, Star Witness http://bit.ly/2NFiWGa

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: A Supreme Court Case Could Liberate Trump to Pardon His Associates http://bit.ly/2OQE74x
// Gamble v. United States isn’t related to the Russia investigation. But the outcome—which one senior Republican senator has tried to influence—could still have consequences for the probe.  

WaPo: ‘People actually laughed at a president’: At U.N. speech, Trump suffers the fate he always feared http://wapo.st/2DuTTAJ

Axios: EU, Russia and China reach payments deal to counter Trump’s Iran move http://bit.ly/2OQCmnX establishes a special payments system to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran

The U.K., Germany, France, Russia and China have agreed to establish a special payments system to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran stemming from President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Financial Times reports.

The big picture: The payments channel would be an alternative to SWIFT, the backbone of the global financial system that allows Iran to get paid for oil, pay for its imports and finance its activities abroad. The five countries involved in the agreement remain committed to doing business with Iran, which the International Atomic Energy Agency says is still complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. President Trump, meanwhile, has threatened that anyone doing business with Iran will not be able to do business with the U.S.

WaPo: Trump accused Germany of becoming ‘totally dependent’ on Russian energy at the U.N. The Germans just smirked. http://wapo.st/2NHIVfW

Yahoo: Fiona Hill, Trump’s top expert on Russia, is quietly shaping a tougher U.S. policy http://yhoo.it/2xBmGy2

⭕ 24 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Gabe Sherman reports that the Rosenstein leak appears to have been a “smoke bomb” to knock Kavanaugh out of the news. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” said a source familiar with Trump’s thinking.
⋙ VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “The Strategy Was to Try and Do Something Really Big”: Trump Wanted to Nuke Rosenstein to Save Kavanaugh’s Bacon http://bit.ly/2MX4zYs
// But Trump allies are privately imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose to save Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms.

🐣 RT @craigunger If Solicitor Gen. #NoelFrancisco replaces #Rosenstein, you think he has no conflicts? Think again. #Francisco’s firm is #JonesDay, and, as per #HouseofTrump, House of Putin, JonesDay “represents at least ten major corporations and orgs close to #Putin’s heart.”
https://twitter.com/craigunger/status/1044263114823356416/photo/1

CNBC, Jacob Pramuk: Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe worries Rosenstein exit would put Russia probe ‘at risk’ http://cnb.cx/2OVy7qY
● Former FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s potential departure could jeopardize the Russia investigation.
● McCabe denies providing the information that fueled an explosive New York Times report about Rosenstein last week.
● Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Politico, Kyle Cheney: Mueller pushed to discuss Trump dossier author http://politi.co/2pzF32j
// Prosecutors were responding to an indicted Russian company’s complaint that the special counsel ‘selectively’ targeted the firm while giving Steele a pass.

✅ FactCheck.org: Kavanaugh File: Executive Privilege http://bit.ly/2NqCQDC a review of his record

🐣 RT @BillKristol In light of the real threat to Rob Rosenstein and therefore to Robert Mueller, Republicans for the Rule of Law has a new ad up. We urge the Senate (that’s you, @SenateMajLdr) to pass the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (S. 2644), voted out of committee 14-7, ASAP.
💽 https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/1044351473092624385/photo/1

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Sources tell Vanity Fair that Trump blamed Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley for agreeing to delay Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony until Thursday. “He thinks they look weak,” a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said.
VanityFair: “The Strategy Was to Try and Do Something Really Big”: Trump Wanted to Nuke Rosenstein to Save Kavanaugh’s Bacon http://bit.ly/2QQe8eO
// But Trump allies are privately imploring him to cut Kavanaugh loose to save Republicans’ electoral chances in the midterms.

🐣 RT @MSchwarz3 Statement from Andrew McCabe re: Rosenstein rumors:
https://twitter.com/MSchwartz3/status/1044249097824169984/photo/1

🐣 RT @davidfrum Nothing is true and everything is possible, as they say of Putin’s Russia

🐣 RT @JohnJHarwood WH @PressSec Sanders: “At request of Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss recent news stories. Because President is at UN General Assembly and has full schedule w/world leaders, they’ll meet Thursday when President returns to Washington”

DailyBeast, Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng: Trump Lawyers Demand Mueller Probe ‘Time Out’ if Rosenstein is Ousted http://thebea.st/2Iavxer 🐣 RT @NateSilver538 p.s. the correct esoteric physics metaphor to use with Rosenstein is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, not Schrödinger’s cat, insofar as the the reporting of the story has possibly affected the outcome.

“If in fact Rod Rosenstein does end up resigning today,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said on his radio program on Monday, “I think it clearly becomes necessary and appropriate…that there be a step back taken here, and a review, a review that has to be thorough and complete…and basically a time out on this inquiry.”

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand One big q if Rosenstein does leave is whether his firing/forced resignation would constitute obstruction. Trump has wanted to shut down the Mueller probe, but the Times story gave him a cover for firing Rosenstein that, on its face, is unrelated to Russia.
TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: What Rosenstein’s Exit Would Mean for Mueller’s Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2xzAXeU
// The deputy attorney general is reportedly on his way out at the Justice Department, though the exact circumstances are unclear.

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind If the NYT had retracted their story over the weekend, after reporting based on a source INSIDE the room by WAPO and NBC News indicated Rosenstein was being sarcastic, Trump wouldn’t have a pretext to fire Rosenstein. Instead, NYT doubled-down.
🐾
🐣 RT @tedlieu If Rosenstein departs, Noel Francisco should not oversee the Special Counsel investigation. His previous firm Jones Day represents the @realDonaldTrump campaign in the Special Counsel investigation. This is a huge conflict of interest.
⋙ 🐣 RT @WalterShaub Michael, you quote a conservative watchdog group as stating that Noel Francisco would take over the investigation. However, Francisco could not do that without a waiver. He has a two-year recusal obligation from any particular matter in which Jones Day is representing a party.
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @shearm BREAKING — Rod Rosenstein expected to leave his job as second in command at the Justice Department – and person in charge of Russia probe — after the NY Times revealed his discussions about taping the president and the use of 25th amendment to oust him.
⋙⋙⋙ NYT: Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, Is Considering Resigning http://nyti.ms/2I9IdSC

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff Under no circumstances should Rod Rosenstein resign. This would place the Mueller investigation in even greater jeopardy. Rosenstein should continue to do his job, protect the independence of the DOJ, and if the President intends to obstruct justice, force Trump to fire him.

🐣 RT @SethAbramson I first tweeted on Trump’s eventual firing of Rosenstein in June ’17. My position since then: Rosenstein *will* be fired, it’s only a matter of when. Now it *may* be happening, and just before the election—a surprise. It means Trump thinks the Russia probe is at DEFCON 2 for him.

🚫🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind No way to sugarcoat the serious danger we and our democracy are in at this moment. The only foreseeable way to check a train full steam ahead to authoritarian rule is by installing a check on Trump in the midterms. He will next take down the Mueller probe – the parts he can.
// incendiary, poss premature

🐣 RT @RonaldKlain I’m trying to decide if the Trump WH is bungling the handling of the Kavanaugh nomination to distract us from the Rosenstein firing, or if it is firing Rod to distract from the disaster of the Kavanaugh nomination.
// me, too

🐣 RT @ActiveMeasuresDoc As of today we can no longer rely on the Mueller investigation as the full and final word on the Russia Scandal. It is more important than ever that every American know what Trump and Putin did. All hands on deck. There is no time to wait. #ActiveMeasures

🐣 RT @RVAWonk Just a thought… but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the talk about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offering his resignation was a well placed WH leak designed to lay the groundwork for Trump firing him without it looking like obstruction.

💥 JustSecurity: BREAKING: “Rod Rosenstein has verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge.” via @axios

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom Attempted Collusion = Collusion, Failed Collusion = Collusion
⋙ 🐣 RT @juliaioffe “[Goldstone] acknowledged that the candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr., came into the room anticipating — and very happy to accept — “opposition research” he believed was coming from the Russian government.”
⋙⋙ NBC: Rob Goldstone wishes he’d never set up that Trump Tower meeting with the Russians http://nbcnews.to/2xMEEgA
// Goldstone, who arranged the Trump Tower meeting at the request of a pop star, says Mueller’s team wanted to know about links between Trump and Russia.

JustSecurity, Norman Eisen and Ryan Goodman: We Have Nothing to Fear But FEAR Itself http://bit.ly/2Dox4i8
// Woodard’s book should not be relied on by those seeking to understand Mueller’s work

🐣 RT @NewYorker 80,000 votes in 3 states put Trump in the White House. Now a meticulous analysis of online activity during the campaign makes a powerful case that cyberattacks by Russian hackers and trolls were decisive: http://nyer.cm/KjFUQYp 

NewYorker, Jane Mayer: How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump http://nyer.cm/KjFUQYp 
// 10/1/2018 issue, A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive.

TheHill: House panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms http://bit.ly/2OMlQ8u

USAToday, Norman Eisen and Asha Rangappa: Robert Mueller is playing a long game on the Russia investigation, and it’s paying off http://usat.ly/2pzOxu5
// Mueller’s careful strategy is increasing the likelihood his report will see the light, and Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions will keep their jobs.

⭕ 23 Sep 2018

ABCNews: Roger Stone sought contact with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, email suggests http://abcn.ws/2ONOEgT

🐣 RT @kelly2277 💥BOOM💥 Artem Klyushin is also involved w the IRA Russian bots ‼️
⋙ 🐣 RT @kelly2277 Artem Klyushin is the key to the bot nets and their use is a[]trump sub domains 🔥 @mikefarb1
https://twitter.com/kelly2277/status/951346596087812097/photo/1

🐣 Trump may be a bull in a china shop, but Bannon wants to blow the place up.

⭕ 22 Sep 2018

Bloomberg: Deripaska’s Team Sees Major Progress in Talks to Lift Sanctions http://bloom.bg/2znEmif //➔ Say what?
● A new plan is under discussion with Treasury, people say
● But it’s still unclear if a formal agreement will be reached

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Rod Rosenstein Talk of Taping Trump Was Considered Serious By Lisa Page http://thebea.st/2O21LOo
// Two sources told The Daily Beast that FBI lawyer Lisa Page was present for Rod Rosenstein’s comments on secret recordings and did not believe he was joking or being sarcastic.

WaPo: Trump holds his fire as advisers urge him not to dismiss Rosenstein http://wapo.st/2OJIOwY “According to aides, Trump is likely to fire Sessions after the election anyway and removing Rosenstein now would only serve to hurt Republicans facing voters in a few weeks”

TheAtlantic, Dick Polman: Donald Trump Might Be the ‘Client From Hell’ http://bit.ly/2IckK3v “You’re dealing with someone who has no regard for the truth. He has never built a trustworthy relationship with a lawyer. You just don’t get a lot of the essential information.”
// The president doesn’t seem to understand what lawyers do—including the ones trying to defend the presidency.

TheGuardian: ‘Lingering stench’: Trump promises more firings at Justice and FBI http://bit.ly/2NzxTcI

💙💙 WaPo: How a British music publicist ended up in the middle of the Russia storm http://wapo.st/2MTWVOv (Rob Goldstone)

Politico: Trumpworld divided on Rosenstein — not whether to fire him, but when http://politi.co/2QSxFeQ
// The disagreement between his advisers in the West Wing and those on Fox News aren’t about whether he should, but about timing and stated justification.

YahooNews, Michael Isakoff: Publicist Rob Goldstone wonders if he was ‘patsy’ in Trump Tower meeting http://yhoo.it/2xLTUtU

WaPo: Former top White House official revises statement to special counsel about Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador http://wapo.st/2zn3i9B K.T. McFarland

⭕ 21 Sep 2018

Vox, Alex Ward: Rosenstein is the only person between Trump and Mueller. He may soon be gone. http://bit.ly/2zp71DD
// Rosenstein’s ouster may now be imminent. That’s really bad news for Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe.

🐣 RT @jdawsey1 NEW tonight: White House pushed DOJ to issue a more forceful statement tonight. Trump has begun polling advisers if he should fire Rosenstein and saying he doesn’t trust him. W/@DevlinBarrett & @mattzap:
⋙ WaPo: McCabe memos say Rosenstein considered secretly recording Trump http://wapo.st/2MRaSg4

🐣 RT @EricBoehlert GOP’s plan for next week: fire Rosenstein to try to stop Mueller, while ramming thru an accused sexual attacker to Supreme Court. ¤ i’ve said this over and over folks, there’s nothing written anywhere that guarantees the U.S. gets a happy ending.

🐣 RT @juliehdavis Trump in apparent reference to Rosenstein story today: Just look at what is now being exposed in the Dept of Justice and the FBI. …You see what happened at the FBI — they’re all gone — but there’s a lingering stench, and we’re going to get rid of that too.”

🐣 RT @Rep!attGoetz Surprisingly measured statement by @RepMattGaetz
Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1043284189037125632/photo/1
↥ ↧ reformatted
🐣 RT @jonathanswan A strikingly reserved statement on Rosenstein by @RepMattGaetz, who is one of Trump’s favorite members of Congress. A signal worth paying attention to.
https://twitter.com/jonathanvswan/status/1043279458202005504/photo/1

🐣 RT @JackieSchechner I’m not conspiratorial, but it’s awfully suspicious Rosenstein hit piece emerges on same day Trump’s forced to backtrack on FISA declassification order. Almost like when plan A to discredit DOJ failed, Trump allies moved to plan B, feeding convenient narrative to NYT.

🐣 RT @martylederman 1. A few thoughts on the Rosenstein story:
First, the Times headline and lede are surprisingly, and regrettably, far too credulous and unequivocal, asserting that RR in fact made serious suggestions about wearing a wire and moving toward use of the 25th. @adamgoldmanNYT @nytmike
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/marty_lederman/status/1043256080971776001
… 4. Whether he meant the comments seriously or was speaking facetiously doesn’t really matter now, however, because the leak has already served both of its evident purposes: (i) to further discredit anything Mueller/DOJ/FBI does in the eyes of the Trump base; and …
… 5. … to give Trump a facially plausible pretext to remove RR. And what happens if Trump does fire RR? Unless & until the Senate confirms a new DAG, *most* of RR’s duties/functions would be performed by PADAG Ed O’Callaghan. But *not* oversight of the Russia/SDNY investigations.

🐣 RT @ShimonPro Two different sources close to the WH are indicating the Rosenstein allegations could serve as a pretext to put the president back in a mood to fire the Deputy Attorney General. @Acosta
⋙ 🐣 RT @Susan_Hennessey Firing Rosenstein is as good as firing Sessions or Mueller for the president’s purposes. Even if there would be a legitimate reason to fire him, it woul

🐣 RT @GlastnostGone Nothing to see here. Just 65 Russian tanks, 102 armoured vehicles, 41 pieces of artillery & 4 anti-aircraft systems seen by #OSCE in #Ukraine https://www.osce.org/special-monitoring-mission-to-ukraine/397055 …. All locations listed in my vid showing 1,000 pieces of Russian Hardware https://youtu.be/xuozzUWa5Gc  #Donbas #Donbass
https://twitter.com/GlasnostGone/status/1043246962999525378/photo/1

🐣 RT @HunterDK So the ppl with direct knowledge discount the story completely, the ppl with indirect knowledge have a different interpretation, and NYT goes with the second rather than the first. ¤ Bold and curious choice there.
⋙ 🐣 RT @KyleCheney Person in the room when Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire said: “I remember this meeting and remember the wire comment. The statement was sarcastic and was never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president.”
… UPDATE: DOJ source says there are NO plans for Rosenstein to change anything about his supervision of the Mueller probe based on the NYT revelations.

🐣 RT @ezlusztig The stupidest and also most appropriate thing would be for a constitutional crisis to be precipitated by right-wing authoritarians running with an anonymously sourced NYT hit piece so just assume that’s what will happen.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 The same day Trump Jr. emailed “if it’s what you say I love it,” $3,300,000 began moving between two of the men who orchestrated the Trump Tower meeting: Aras Agalarov and Ike Kaveladze. Mueller is examining the transaction, BuzzFeed reports.
BuzzFeedNews: The Planners Of The Trump Tower Meeting Moved Millions, And Mueller Is Now Investigating http://bit.ly/2OIJ7bk
// Documents show suspicious transfers began six days before the controversial meeting.

NYT: In Reversal, Trump No Longer Demands Declassification of Russia Documents http://nyti.ms/2xGeZ9h

💙💙 NYT: Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment http://nyti.ms/2zlKuaE

WaPo: Trump walks back his plan to declassify Russia probe documents http://wapo.st/2QSrtUb

🐣 RT @AFP #UPDATE Moscow and Beijing lash out Friday at Washington’s new anti-Russian sanctions that also target China for the first time, Beijing warning the US could ‘bear the consequences’
⋙ YahooNews: China, Russia warn US of consequences over sanctions http://yh2xHYUzK

‼️ 🐣 RT @TodayShow Rob Goldstone, the man behind the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, speaks out exclusively Monday on TODAY:
“I don’t know who wanted this meeting.” -Goldstone
“But it was a dirty offer.” – @CynthiaMcFadden
“Yes.” -Goldstone

TheWeek, William Falk: Closer to the truth http://bit.ly/2O5gjfU This is the editor’s letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

🐣 .@ScottShaneNYT @MarkMazzettiNYT I really liked your article in the @NYTimes: The Plot to Subvert an Election ~ Unraveling the Russia Story http://nyti.ms/2NpLymt ⋙ The only factual issue I had was your referring to @ggreenwald as a “leftist.” He is truly in a class by himself.
Ygg
⭕ 20 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @20Committee OK, except Woodward is exculpatory on Trump’s Kremlin collusion only in a highly narrow and technical way, which makes perfect sense if you know Bob’s longstanding MO, which he’s been chugging at in DC for 45 years and counting. ¤ I shall elaborate….
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/20committee/status/1041427138208051201

ABCNews: Michael Cohen spoke to Mueller team for hours; asked about Russia, possible collusion, pardon: Sources http://abcn.ws/2xsSTrw

ABCNews/AP, Chad Day: AP Explains: Mueller’s legal actions not overlooked by Trump http://abcn.ws/2NtCRHG

NYDailyNews Editorial: Rage against the machine: Trump’s latest offensive in his war on the Russia investigation http://nydn.us/2QK3J4p

WashingtonMonthly, Nancy LeTourneau: Trump Should Be More Worried About the Brennan Dossier http://bit.ly/2popwlx

ThinkProgress: Trump admits Fox News hosts influenced his decision to declassify key Russia documents http://bit.ly/2PSvF4G //➔ Who at @FoxNews is setting our national security policy? It was Ailes. Who is it now? Shouldn’t they have to pass a background check?
// “The great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanie Pirro.”

TheTimes [UK]: President Trump ‘was afraid of angering Russia’ http://bit.ly/2xpDM2a “Trump rejected Theresa May’s plea for US retaliation over the poisoning of the Skripals although she was “95 per cent certain” of Russian involvement, according to a new book“

Bloomberg, Chris Strohm: The FBI Is Quietly Asserting Its Independence From Trump http://bloom.bg/2Dfap83
● Bureau to push redactions in Trump’s declassification order
● White House would have to order FBI probe of Kavanaugh claims

NBC, Elena Holodny: Russia, China embrace uneasily, aim for ‘desirable world order’ http://nbcnews.to/2PNLlpU
// Moscow-Beijing relations are “showing dynamic growth,” according to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He also described Vladimir Putin as a “close friend.”

Politico, Kyle Cheney: Democrats fear Trump ‘October Surprise’ document dump http://politi.co/2prmuNI they ‘fear a plan to taint special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, while simultaneously motivating Trump’s political base’
// Democrats worry that Trump and his allies are teeing up a series of document releases meant to gin up GOP voters before the midterms.

TIME: How Putin’s Oligarchs Got Inside the Trump Team http://ti.me/2QNEaiJ

USAToday, Cindy Otis: Ex-CIA analyst: Trump order on Russia documents abuses power, risks national security http://usat.ly/2xsF7Fh

NYT, Scott Shane and Mark Mazetti: The Plot to Subvert an Election ~ Unraveling the Russia Story So Far http://nyti.ms/2NpLymt #TrumpRussia
// For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016 attack: hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies — and President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Times explores what we know and what it means.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYT Shane Subvert Election 9-20-2018
⇈ ⇊
NYT: A Timeline Showing the Full Scale of Russia’s Unprecedented Interference in the 2016 Election, and Its Aftermath http://nyti.ms/2MR2Vay See also article: NYT: The Plot to Subvert an Election ~ Unraveling the Russia Story So Far http://nyti.ms/2NpLymt #TrumpRussia

⭕ 19 Sep 2018

ABCNews/AP, Chad Day: AP Explains: Mueller’s legal actions not overlooked by Trump http://abcn.ws/2NtCRHG

TheHill: Comey: Mueller may be in ‘fourth quarter’ of Russia probe http://bit.ly/2OBxWkM

🐣 RT @krassenstein: BREAKING: ABC News is reporting that the Steele Dossier sat in a New York FBI field office for several months in late 2016. ¤ Meanwhile FBI agents in D.C. had already been investigating Trump Campaign/Russian connections for months prior. ¤ “Deep State Hoax” Narrative DEAD!
⋙ ABCNews: Trump ‘dossier’ stuck in New York, didn’t trigger Russia investigation, sources say http://abcn.ws/2xnMgH2

Newsweek: Vladimir Putin Whispered to Donald Trump About Deep State Conspiracies Ruining Their Friendship: Book http://bit.ly/2MOAxpy in “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy” by Greg Miller

AP: Trump: Declassified Russia probe papers expose ‘bad things http://bit.ly/2NTw3CO

Bloomberg: FBI, DOJ Plan Redactions Despite Trump’s Document Order http://bloom.bg/2NpPzHF

RCP/MSNBC: Hillary Clinton: Trump May Be A Witting Russian Tool; He Plays Checkers, Putin Playing Three-Dimensional Chess http://bit.ly/2pnyIa8

⭕ 18 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand .@RepAdamSchiff says on @CNN that it was FBI Director Wray and Deputy AG Rosenstein who told him that the release of the Russia documents Trump wants declassified would be considered “a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.”

NPR: Justice, Spy World Veterans Warn Of Consequences If Trump Releases Secret Docs http://n.pr/2OAv7An

🐣 RT @Susan_Hennessey Regarding Trump’s declassification order (or whatever it is), Democrats in the Gang of Eight are requesting an immediate briefing from DOJ, DNI, and FBI on the actual planned declassification process, proposed redactions, and Privacy Act compliance.
Text block: https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/1042224513101062145/photo/1
⋙ DemLeader: [ Letter ] http://bit.ly/2pjmD5z

VOA: Trump Hints of More Declassifications in Russia Probe http://bit.ly/2PPmrqa “If I were a Russian with information useful to the US, Trump’s order would make me more nervous than before about my identity being kept secret, and thus less likely to share what I have … ”

TheRickWilson: So I’ve had a couple conversations this morning with some former and current IC people. ¤ The line crossed on this declassification-as-obstruction is redder than you can imagine.

NYT: Trump’s Growing Legal Team Has a Problem: It’s Operating Partly in the Dark http://nyti.ms/2xyqDTq

Politico: Trump-proof aspects of Manafort deal rankle lawyers http://politi.co/2MMypyV
// Robert Mueller seems to have built in safeguards to discourage the president from pardoning Manafort.

NYMag, Margaret Hartmann: Trump Declassifies Russia Probe Documents in Latest Attempt to Undermine Mueller http://nym.ag/2DiyuLg

The materials won’t immediately be made public. In a classic Trumpian move, the administration made the announcement before giving the Justice Department specific instructions about what it’s supposed to release, according to the Washington Post. The department responded with a statement saying it will review the information to ensure it doesn’t release anything that would put “national security interests” at risk.

“When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” the statement said. “The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order.”

For months Trump’s allies in Congress have worked to supply documentation to back up the president’s insistence that the Russia probe is a “witch hunt,” while the Justice Department has fought to withhold information that might damage the ongoing probe. Representative Matt Gaetz, one of the leaders in this fight, offered a peek at the narrative Republicans will push.

“These documents will reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias that took place at the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI, including using the tools of our intelligence community for par­tisan political ends,” said Gaetz.

NBC: Are intel officials trying to slow Trump order to declassify Russia probe documents? http://nbcnews.to/2xnd4Hh
// Officials hope the declassification review will happen, but express private outrage Trump and allies want to spill secrets for apparent political purposes.

Esquire, Charles Pierce: The President* Just Declassified Intelligence Materials to Please the Fox News Crowd http://bit.ly/2ML3McP “This probably won’t end well for America”

Make no mistake. The material being released is cherry-picked in order to keep the rubes riled and to throw sand in the gears of the ongoing investigations. (The release also may be timed to take some of the heat off Brett Kavanaugh, but I think that’s a minor consideration. This is about the president*’s chestnuts being in the fire.) It is a release tailored to fit the specifications of the increasingly febrile presidential base. I’m surprised they didn’t have Sean Hannity or Alex Jones do the vetting.

WaPo: ‘Really bad things were happening’: Trump suggests that his declassifying Russia documents will expose FBI wrongdoing http://wapo.st/2QGqGFC

NYT: Trump Orders Russia Investigation Documents Be Declassified http://nyti.ms/2NRvklt

RollingStone, Ryan Bort: Trump Made His Most Desperate Move Yet to Discredit the Russia Investigation http://rol.st/2Dbf0Ib
// The president has ordered the release of a trove of top-secret material related to the long-running probe

💙 TheHill, Mark Penn: Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2xlbxBw  //➔ To keep an open mind, I’ve been trying to see “the other side” of #TrumpRussia that didn’t sound hysterical or conspiratorial; Mark Penn does pretty good here. An interesting read.

Reuters: Anti-Kremlin activist was probably poisoned: Berlin MD http://reut.rs/2Oy0V8V “Pyotr Verzilov, publisher of a Russian online news outlet and affiliated with the anti-Kremlin band Pussy Riot … was probably poisoned with a substance that has affected his nervous system”

⭕ 17 Sep 2018

LawFare, Suzanne Spaulding and Harvey Rishikof: How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System http://bit.ly/2prHzaM

TheAtlantic: Key Senate Republicans Express Support for Mueller Probe http://bit.ly/2NQHjzT 
// Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana said on the Sunday shows that Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation, as did Ken Starr and Chris Christie.

NBC: In stunning move, Trump declassifies documents related to Russia probe http://nbcnews.to/2QEOrh9
// The move covers about 20 pages of the warrant obtained to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and FBI interviews.

🐣 RT @ChrisGeidner It’s declassification o’clock, per the president —> https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/1041801231709229056/photo/1

🐣 RT @Countercheklist WikiLeaks is a GRU operation. Hostkey.ru is owned by P. Chayanov, who’s a RU hacker. He has access to the site’s SSL
https://twitter.com/counterchekist/status/858862125976047616/photo/1

🐣 RT @LincolnsBible
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/LincolnsBible/status/1021746621313212417

SkyNews [UK]: Leak reveals Julian Assange plan to escape Britain and flee to Russia http://bit.ly/2QCIaT8 //➔ he’s a Russian tool; has been for years
// Leak shows plans for the WikiLeaks founder to escape Britian and gain a visa to travel to Russia in 2010.

AP showed the documents to former WikiLeaks associates and verified non-public details such as bank accounts, telephone numbers or airline tickets to check the authenticity of the files.

Assange’s relationship with Russia is of interest to America, with the FBI claiming Russia’s military intelligence agency directly gave WikiLeaks stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and other Democratic figures ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

⭕ 16 Sep 2018

TheAtlantic, Hillary Clinton: American Democracy Is in Crisis http://bit.ly/2NPdfVg
// Our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back.

LondonTimes: I was a fool to think we could reset relations with Russia, says Johnson http://bit.ly/2OlCECN //➔ did he try a red button?

⭕ 15 Sep 2018

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: Paul Manafort’s Modus Operandi: Accuse the Female Politician of Crimes She Didn’t Commit, Then Dodge Sanctions http://bit.ly/2MADAlk

NYT, Helene Cooper: Fraying Ties With Trump Put Jim Mattis’s Fate in Doubt http://nyti.ms/2xdBfaU

Reuters: Manafort cooperation could energize Mueller probe: legal experts http://reut.rs/2xdswWm Randall Eliason, Jed Shugerman

TheGuardian, Tim McCarthy: Trump and ‘collusion’: what we know so far about Mueller’s Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2xaFZy8
// The special counsel has secured multiple indictments, and an agreement with Paul Manafort that could pose a threat to Trump

CNN, Kara Scannell and Marshall Cohen: Here’s how Paul Manafort might be helpful to the Russia investigation http://cnn.it/2xlpf7F

TheAtlantic, John Sipher: Trump’s Soviet Approach to Intelligence http://bit.ly/2D27SxT
// Stalin ignored his spies when their findings contradicted his assumptions. Now the president is making the same mistake.

WaPo: ‘Robert Mueller’s real quest here is for the truth’: How Paul Manafort’s plea brings the special counsel probe closer to its end game http://wapo.st/2CX6vjQ

NYT, Andrew Kramer: How a Ukrainian Hairdresser Became a Front for Paul Manafort http://nyti.ms/2OuAmBK NYT: Fraying Ties With Trump Put Mattis’s Fate in Doubt http://nyti.ms/2xdBfaU

🐣 RT @TheAtlantic: “Arthur Schlesinger Jr. asked in 1973: ‘If the Nixon White House escapes the legal consequences of its illegal behavior, why will future Presidents and their associates not suppose themselves entitled to do what the Nixon White House has done?’”
⋙ TheAtlantic, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr (Nov 1973): Dealing With an Out-of-Control President, in 1973 http://bit.ly/2p715ZT
// 11/1/1973, In the midst of the Watergate scandal, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. considered how Richard Nixon had abused the powers of the presidency—and how constitutional order could be restored.

⭕ 14 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @kenvogel NEW: People who worked with MANAFORT in Ukraine think his real value to MUELLER may be flipping on the oligarchs, the pols they funded & the Western firms/operatives who assisted them, including ones he recruited, like TONY PODESTA, MERCURY & @SKADDENARPS.
⋙ NYT, Kenneth Vogel: Manafort Plea Deal Casts New Scrutiny on Lobbyists He Recruited http://nyti.ms/2CZ1Qhx

LawfareBlog, by Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittes (9/14): The Watergate ‘Road Map’ and the Coming Mueller Report http://bit.ly/2zsp3nl

📒 Manafort Superceding Criminal Information [pdf] http://on.wsj.com/2NhgtRR 76p
// more legible than ↧
⇈ ⇊
Lawfare: Document: Superseding Criminal Information Against Paul Manafort http://bit.ly/2p7qe6R
// plus plea deal (17p) and Statement of Offenses (24p)

Lawfare: The Manafort Guilty Plea, the Mueller Investigation, and the President http://bit.ly/2NhgZPN
// By Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, Matthew Kahn, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes

WaPo: Manafort’s guilty plea exposes hardball tactics he used to thrive in Washington swamp http://wapo.st/2xaJmW0

NYT, Jill Lepore: The Hacking of America [multimedia] http://nyti.ms/2p8kBFt
// Political and technological disruption have fed off each other since the nation’s founding. Now they are dangerously out of whack.

NYT Editorial: Welcome to the President’s Rat Pack, Paul Manafort http://nyti.ms/2QCMty2
// The demand for justice once again outweighs the president’s demand for loyalty.

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Mueller Just Called Bullshit on Lobbying Powerhouse Mercury LLC http://thebea.st/2NecUfi
// The special counsel’s latest files says that employees of the firm knew that they were working for a foreign government, and not disclosing it.

MMFA: Sean Hannity reacts to Manafort plea deal by attacking the “cancer” growing in “every single intelligence agency” http://bit.ly/2OnbCLx
// Hannity: “These once great instituitions tonight are hanging in the balance”

🐣 RT @MarkWarner Today’s admission of criminal guilt by Paul Manafort clearly demonstrates that the President’s 2016 campaign manager conducted illegal activity in conspiracy with Russian-backed entities and was beholden to Kremlin-linked officials.

WaPo: ‘Bada bing bada boom’: Paul Manafort’s attempt to smear a jailed Ukrainian politician http://wapo.st/2Mwficd

Politico, Darren Samuelson: Manafort’s surrender shows Mueller probe’s overwhelming force http://politi.co/2NMGs3c
// A surprise guilty plea from Trump’s former campaign chairman shows that Mueller’s high-powered probe has been nearly impossible to resist.

🐣 RT @tribelaw Here’s the text of the plea deal that spells bad news for Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and, last but not least, Junior’s dad and his BFF Vlad. And it’s good news for beleaguered US taxpayers, for our national security, and for justice:
⋙ RawStory: Paul Manafort’s entire plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller http://bit.ly/2NPsKfI

🐣 RT @craigunger In charging doc, note #Manafort’s use of #Lucicle as shell company for laundering $. Lucicle was in name of #IvanFursin, a key operative for Semion #Mogilevich who is the brains behind the RU Mafia, and whose operatives worked w Trump for more than 30 yrs. …

WaPo: Manafort’s guilty plea exposes hardball tactics he used to thrive in Washington swamp http://wapo.st/2xl4B6q

DailyBeast, Spencer Ackerman: Speed Read: ‘Obama Jews’ and Other Shocking Highlights From New Manafort Docs http://thebea.st/2NLOZ6l
// Special counsel Robert Mueller dropped fresh revelations about Paul Manafort ahead of the ex-Trump aide’s guilty plea in federal court Friday.

NewYorker, Adam Davidson: Parsing Paul Manafort’s Plea Agreement for How Much Dirt He Has on Trump http://bit.ly/2OnsIZK
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Parsing Manafort 9-14-2018

Mueller gets another guilty plea and avoids a potential loss at trial, which serves to undercut Trump’s repeated argument that the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.” Even if Mueller already knows everything that Manafort has to offer, it would be helpful to have another voice confirming details at some future criminal trial for some other defendant.

At a minimum, Manafort should be able to provide more information about the Trump Tower meeting, in June, 2016, in which Donald Trump, Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner sat down with the Kremlin-associated lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and several others from the former Soviet Union. It is one of the more explicit moments in which senior members of the Trump campaign met with people close to the Kremlin to discuss working together to help elect Trump. Among the Trump team, Manafort would be, by far, the most experienced in dealing with emissaries from Russia and its allies, and the one most likely to understand the various agendas of those present. He surely knows what he told Trump, Jr., Trump himself, Kushner, and others, about the significance of the meeting. And, since Manafort has deep ties to many business and political associates of Vladimir Putin, he could well know about other possible connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

🐣💙💙 RT @jennycohn1 In Sept. 2017, senator Bob Corker announced his surprise retirement. The next month, Jeff Flake followed suit, & Lindsey Graham warmed to Trump after a round of golf. All 3 were vocal Trump critics & all 3 had used Smartech—hacked by Russia—for emails. http://bit.ly/2Ou2k04
📌 Thread on SmartTech: https://mobile.twitter.com/jennycohn1/status/1040366239623786496

🐣 RT @kenolin1 We’ve become so accustomed to the bombastic nonsense from Trump & Sons, that sometimes we need to take a moment… breathe… and take stock of the situation: Robert Mueller is taking down the most despicable and corrupt group of individuals ever to occupy the White House.

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin If Manafort cooperates with investigators as he’s reportedly agreed to do, he’ll not only be a valuable source on potential Trump campaign conspiracy with Moscow, but also on the other criminal activities of Putin’s oligarchs in Europe and the US. That should worry Putin greatly.

TheHill: Mueller threat to Trump grows with Manafort deal http://bit.ly/2CX0e7H

🐣 RT @SecPompeo .@POTUS’ Executive Order made clear the U.S. won’t tolerate foreign interference in our democratic processes. Preserving the integrity of our elections is a matter of protecting sovereignty and national security. Any interference will be met with swift and painful consequences.
⋙ 🐣 Then why is Rick Perry in Moscow saying (on Russian TV) ‘the U.S. does not want to impose the #sanctions’ and ‘indicates they are not imminent’? per @JulieDavisNews.

WaPo, Greg Sargent: What can Paul Manafort tell Mueller? Adam Schiff offers some suggestions. http://wapo.st/2NNcUSQ

NYT, Noah Bookbinder, Barry Berke and Norm Eisen: Manafort Folds. Now What? http://nyti.ms/2Omc9NH
// His cooperation agreement with Robert Mueller is the start of a new chapter in the special counsel’s investigation.

🐣 RT @MuellerSheWrote One of the YUGE parts of Manafort’s cooperation agreement is that he won’t be brought up on any future charges. That means if he cooperates fully, he avoids superseding indictments for crimes of collusion. That’s tremendously big and tremendously wet. #ManafortPlea

DailyBeast, BetsyWoodruff: Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Special Counsel Mueller http://thebea.st/2MvCCqx
// As part of the deal, he must forfeit tens of millions in assets, including his apartment in Trump Tower.

NYT: Paul Manafort Agrees to Cooperate With Special Counsel; Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges http://nyti.ms/2xbVZzO

WaPo, Philip Bump: Robert Mueller may have just eliminated one of Trump’s biggest complaints http://wapo.st/2MwEK17
// Trump likes to complain about the cost of the Mueller probe. It might just have paid for itself.

VanityFair, Emily Jane Fox: Michael Cohen Is the Latest Former Trump Ally to Talk to Mueller http://bit.ly/2OpPTml
// In the wake of Manafort’s plea deal, sources confirm that it is now common knowledge among Cohen’s inner circle that Trump’s former lawyer has been in contact with the special counsel’s office.

🐣 RT @NormEisen Friends, other than talking to @JRubinBlogger for this incisive analysis of today’s bombshell, I have been crashing down on my own in-depth Manafort plea assessment which will be coming in a bit. Bottom line:this is the worst news yet for Trump & he’s had a lot of bad news lately
⋙ 🐣 RT @JRubinBlogger That’s the news Trump never wanted to hear. The prospect of just such a deal is why his lawyers reportedly dangled the promise of a pardon in front of Manafort’s lawyers
⋙⋙ WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Trump can start panicking now: Manafort will cooperate with the special counsel http://wapo.st/2OnVsBo

🐣 RT @bradheath NEW: Manafort’s agreement with DOJ requires him to “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly,” including participating in debriefings, providing all relevant documents, and testifying if the government asks him to.
Text block: https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/1040662081450782720/photo/1

≣ Justice.gov: Manafort Plea Agreement [pdf] http://bit.ly/2CZiVb7 17p

TheAtlantic, Franklin Foer: What Paul Manafort Knows http://bit.ly/2xb9cJk
// Paul Manafort’s decision to cooperate with Robert Mueller could clarify several of the biggest mysteries of the Russia investigation.

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff Manafort’s cooperation agreement is broad and requires him to provide complete and truthful information “in any and all matters” which the government deems relevant. He would be wise to do so, as Mueller’s team has already shown that it will not tolerate obstruction of justice.

EmptyWheel, Marcy Wheeler: Checkmate: The Manafort Cooperation Is Pardon Proof http://bit.ly/2NKpeDl
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1040677807528001536/photo/1

Here’s why this deal is pardon proof:
1. Mueller spent the hour and a half delay in arraignment doing … something. It’s possible Manafort even presented the key parts of testimony Mueller needs from him to the grand jury this morning.
2. The forfeiture in this plea is both criminal and civil, meaning DOJ will be able to get Manafort’s $46 million even with a pardon.
3. Some of the dismissed charges are financial ones that can be charged in various states.

Newsweek, Cristina Maza: Trump-Russia Investigation: Paul Manafort Guilty Plea Reveals Details of Foreign Influence on Campaign Chairman http://bit.ly/2CZmNJf

🐣 RT @JedShug Thread: A Pardon Won’t Save Manafort
Manafort is pleading guilty to only 2 charges (conspiracy against U.S. & witness tampering), but the criminal information today lists other crimes.
Mueller is preserving state prosecutions.
Last year, I wrote this:
⋙ Slate, Jed Shugerman (Nov 2017): Robert Mueller’s Brilliant Strategy for Outmaneuvering Trump Pardons http://bit.ly/2OlLmkB
// 11/23/2017, The president cannot save Paul Manafort.

🐣 RT @KenDilanian Alan Dershowitz on @MSNBC: Manafort cooperation is a “big win” for Mueller because “it opens doors that haven’t been opened before.” And it’s worrisome, he acknowledged, for @realDonaldTrump

🐣 RT @RVAwonk Paul Manafort was not a coffee boy.
He was not a low-level aide.
He was not some hanger-on.
He was the CHAIRMAN OF TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN.
… and he just pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States.
Take a moment to consider how profound and unprecedented this is.

🐣 RT @20Committee AHEM ===> “The possibility that Paul Manafort wound up at the heart of the Trump campaign not despite his deep Kremlin connections, rather because of them … may hold the key to the entire mystery about the president’s secret relationship with Russia.”
⋙ Observer, John Schindler (8/23): Now More Than Ever, Manafort Looks Like a Kremlin Agent http://bit.ly/2Mw6iDU
// 8/23/2018

WaPo, Paul Rosenzweig and Justin Florence: Trump cannot use a pardon to stop Manafort’s cooperation http://wapo.st/2Mxzv10

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Trump and Manafort have spent months sharing information about the Russia investigation. Now, Manafort has decided to help the government. Here’s a snapshot of what they could discuss (in addition to the Trump Tower meeting):
Text block: https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1040637305508294657/photo/1
TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Paul Manafort’s Cooperation With Mueller Is the Biggest Blow Yet to Trump http://bit.ly/2x8iqWI
// The president and his former campaign chairman have spent months sharing information about the Russia investigation. Now Manafort has decided to help the government.

WaPo: Manafort will cooperate with Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says http://wapo.st/2x9LVro

🐣 RT @jimsciutto This is big:
Cooperation agmt includes:
– interviews & briefings with the special counsel
– turning over documents
– testifying in other proceedings
Also, Manafort has waived right to have lawyers representing him present at any interviews.

🐣 RT @KatiePhang ‼️ NEW: Here is the superseding information just filed this morning against #PaulManafort He will be in court at 11 am ET. ¤ The yet-unanswered question is will he be cooperating with the #MuellerInvestigation or not?…
⋙ ≣ Lawfare: Document: Superseding Criminal Information Against Paul Manafort http://bit.ly/2p7qe6R

⭕ 13 Sep 2018

WaPo, Patrick Leahy: Brett Kavanaugh misled the Senate under oath. I cannot support his nomination. http://wapo.st/2NiwabK

WaPo: Russia is advancing on Ukraine again — and Ukraine isn’t going quietly http://wapo.st/2p7780p
// President Petro Poroshenko tells the Post how he wants the war to end.

TheAtlantic, David Frum: America’s Slide Toward Autocracy http://bit.ly/2xg93Uh
// Oct issue; Democracy has taken a beating under President Trump. Will the midterms make a difference?

NYT: U.S. Spies Rush to Protect Defectors After Skripal Poisoning http://nyti.ms/2Qti4C8

🐣 RT @MarshallCohen NEWS. Manafort and Mueller are close to a deal, my colleagues @evanperez and @kpolantz are reporting tonight. The deal would include charges in both DC and VA, where there was a mistrial on 10 counts. Unclear at this time if cooperation is on the table.
⋙ CNN: Paul Manafort and special counsel close to deal for guilty plea http://cnn.it/2OkoK49

JuliaDavisNews: Meanwhile in #Russia: ¤ Rick Perry says the U.S. does not want to impose the #sanctions and indicates they are not imminent. ¤ Perry: “Russian Energy Minister] Alexander Novak and I both agree that getting to that point where sanctions would be engaged is not where we want to go.”

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The big question about Manafort’s reported plea deal with Mueller: will he cooperate? http://bit.ly/2OlRSrw
// That is, will he flip on President Trump?

Politico, Josh Meyer: Alleged Russian spy Butina tried to score Trump meeting a year before government claimed http://politi.co/2NJHxIS in July 2015
// The early outreach illustrates Mariia Butina’s intent to cultivate Trump months before most were taking him seriously.

ABCNews: BREAKING: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that is expected to head off his upcoming trial, sources familiar with the negotiations tell @ABC News. https://abcn.ws/2Nc3VeG 

NYT, Michael Avenatti: The Case for Indicting the President http://nyti.ms/2Qyh7sm
// Justice Department lawyers have said a sitting president cannot be indicted. It’s time to test that proposition by bringing an indictment that can be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

DailyBeast, Kelly Weill: Michael Flynn To Appear At Far-Right Conference With Pizzagaters, Racist YouTube Stars http://thebea.st/2NaOVO4
// President Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser will be picking up an award from conspiracy-mongering outlet The Gateway Pundit.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: How Trump and Manafort Are Helping Each Other in the Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2xflgsl
// The two have a joint-defense agreement, which allows their legal teams to share information—and could help the president’s former campaign chairman angle for a pardon.

TheHill: Secretive Russian GRU tests Trump with brazen tactics http://bit.ly/2x9ZJlE

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Not even Republicans trust Trump on Russia http://wapo.st/2Okvyyq

DailyBeast, Anna Nemtsova: Russia Shows Us What Happens to ‘Enemies of the People’: Bloodied Heads, Murdered Reporters, Poisoned Dissidents http://thebea.st/2QrqwBK
// Under Putin, dozens of journalists have been murdered because of their work. He may not have ordered the killings, but he created the deadly atmosphere. Trump’s doing the same.

⭕ 12 Sep 2018

ForeignPolicy, Tarah Wheeler: In Cyberwar, There are No Rules http://bit.ly/2x8GU1V
// Why the world desperately needs digital Geneva Conventions.

AtlanticCouncil: Trump’s Election Meddling Sanctions Will Not Deter Russia http://bit.ly/2NdJhdU

AP: Russia: Pussy Riot activist treated for possible poisoning http://bit.ly/2N7Gi74

TheAtlantic, Thomas Wright: The Return to Great-Power Rivalry Was Inevitable http://bit.ly/2NbYnkc
// With neo-authoritarianism on the rise, the old assumptions undergirding a common set of Western values just won’t do.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand “The harshest sanctions outlined in the order would be up to the president’s discretion…the order appears to be an effort to stave off bipartisan legislation that would mandate tough federal action.”
⋙ WaPo: Trump issues new order authorizing additional sanctions for interfering in upcoming U.S. elections http://wapo.st/2x73jNb

Newsweek: Fox News Host Sean Hannity Says Donald Trump Will Fire Robert Mueller After Hurricane Florence http://bit.ly/2MrRTIO

🐣 RT @ActiveMeasuresDoc As we have been saying things will likely get weirder and worse before they get better and normal. Hold on. #ActiveMeasures …

ABCNews: Manafort seeking plea deal with special counsel that would avoid cooperation ahead of second trial: Sources http://abcn.ws/2MpAGQf //➔ because of course he does

TheAtlantic, Anne Applebaum: A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come http://bit.ly/2NJIFwp
// Poland; Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: Atlntc Applebaum Worst to Come Oct 2018

Vox: Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades http://bit.ly/2x7GVmf
// Journalist Craig Unger talks Russia, Trump, and “one of the greatest intelligence operations in history.”

🐣 RT @CabreraAngel In case you missed it, here is a link to the extraordinary panel on “Secrets, Presidents and Dissent” at the @ScharSchool @mvhaydencenter moderated by @NicolleDWallace http://ow.ly/Cm5830lMzdj via @cspan

🐣 RT @RVAwonk Buzzfeed has uncovered a “complex web of financial transactions among some of the [Trump Tower meeting] planners and participants who moved money from Russia and Switzerland to the British Virgin Islands, Bangkok, and a small office park in New Jersey.”
BuzzFeedNews, Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold: A Series Of Suspicious Money Transfers Followed The Trump Tower Meeting http://bit.ly/2p2UorW
// Investigators are focused on two bursts of banking activity — one shortly after the June 2016 meeting, the other immediately after the presidential election.

Eleven days later [after the Trump Tower meeting] — on June 20, the day Trump fired campaign chief Corey Lewandowski and put Manafort in charge — Aras Agalarov used a company called Silver Valley Consulting to move millions that bankers flagged as suspicious.

Silver Valley’s only address is a post office box in the capital of the British Virgin Islands, a country seen as a haven for money laundering and tax evasion. On June 20, Silver Valley sent through its Zurich-based account at Societe Generale Suisse a wire transfer for a little more than $19.5 million to Agalarov’s account at Morgan Stanley in the US.

That same day, another entity controlled by Agalarov — ZAO Crocus International, an arm of his business empire — sent a wire transfer through Societe Generale Suisse for about $43,000 to the same Morgan Stanley account.

Swiss employees of the bank told their American colleagues that the account was closed in May 2017, but that “due to Swiss confidentiality laws the requested information cannot be provided.”

After Trump won, as people scrambled for jobs, influence, and riches, a chain reaction of bank transfers started among the Agalarovs and their associates.

Beginning 13 days after the election, the Agalarovs’ bank account in Russia made 19 separate wire transfers to a New Jersey personal checking account belonging to Emin Agalarov and two friends from high school. That checking account, held at TD Bank, had been opened in 2012. Bank examiners thought it was unusual that the account had never before received a Russian wire transfer and that its only deposit since the summer of 2015 was for $200, in January 2016.

The postelection transfers to the checking account were in large, round-dollar amounts ranging from $15,000 to $175,000. Between November 2016 and July 2017, the sum topped $1.2 million.

But what triggered alarms wasn’t just that activity in the account had jumped since Trump’s election. It was also how the checking account handled the money. While some of it went toward credit card bills, mortgage installments, and other run-of-the-mill payments, TD Bank officials also saw the checking account quickly pass funds to an account controlled by another participant in the Trump Tower meeting.

On Nov. 21, 2016, Emin Agalarov’s checking account received $165,000 from an account based in Russia belonging to his family. The following day, the account sent $107,000 to Corsy International, a company run by Kaveladze, the longtime Agalarov associate who attended the Trump Tower meeting.

Bankers noted that Kaveladze — who after the election pushed for an additional get-together with the Trumps and some of the original Tower meeting participants — had previously been investigated for money laundering.

⭕ 11 Sep 2018

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff 7/11): Inside Mueller’s New Army http://thebea.st/2QE6za7
// As the special counsel zeroes in on Russia’s onarsonists, he’s brought in a new crew of cyberspy fighters—and a straight-up street crime prosecutor, too.

VanityFair, Emily Jane Fox: “The Man Has to Take Responsibility”: Awaiting Sentencing, Cohen Grapples with Trump’s Good Luck http://bit.ly/2xoIMUs

CIR (Comm to Investigate Russia): Is Russian Money Behind Graham’s Growing Defense of Trump? http://bit.ly/2O9H6Vg

🐣 RT @IlvesToomas From Bob Woodward’s book: “Russia had privately warned Mattis that if there was a war in the Baltics, Russia would not hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons against NATO”
⋙ StockSector: Five key takeaways from Bob Woodward’s book on Trump’s White House http://bit.ly/2x5ziNT

🐣 RT @KenDilanianNBC The former NSA chief said he gave Trump detailed briefings on Russian hacking efforts, though Trump would tell him, “Mike, you know I’m in a different place.” Rogers added that he would reply, “Sir, this isn’t about politics, it isn’t about party…”
DailyBeast: Ex-NSA Boss Mike Rogers: I Wish Trump Had Pressed Putin on Election Meddling in Helsinki http://thebea.st/2NC37in

🐣 RT @realBobWoodward “I am convinced that people need to wake up and not kind of pretend this is just politics or this is partisan. … We are at a pivot point in history.” @nprfreshair

🐣 RT @AudreyLeigh86 Admiral Rodgers states that our #institutions are under attack and that the real treats to our democracy is from #distrust of institutions. #haydensecrets @ScharSchool @mvhaydencenter @GeorgeMasonU – at GMU – Founder’s Hall

🐣 Today’s @LincolnsBible thread on Trump’s mafia ties – and 9/11. I learn so much from his threads. If you liked @ActiveMeasures, know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 📌 https://twitter.com/LincolnsBible/status/1039503481411760128

DailyBeast: Team Trump Warns Russia of ‘Total Economic Isolation’ Over Possible Syria Bloodbath http://thebea.st/2N74h6b
// The Russians are playing tough, but on this issue the Trump administration may play tougher.

🐣 RT @LauraAJarrett Statement from Strzok’s atty: “The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media. The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American People.”
⋙ 🐣 RT @real New Strzok-Page texts reveal “Media Leak Strategy.” @FoxNews So terrible, and NOTHING is being done at DOJ or FBI – but the world is watching, and they get it completely.

🐣 RT @ProudResister The FBI is not in “tatters.” ¤ The Media is not the “enemy.” ¤ The Probe is not a “witch hunt.” ¤ The President is just a paranoid criminal who is lashing out at the world b/c after getting away with breaking the law for his entire adult life, he now finds himself in legal jeopardy.

🐣 RT @BradMossEsq If Manafort simply pleads guilty alone, it could just be that he is running out of money and is banking on a pardon in 6-9 months. ¤ If his plea includes a cooperation agreement, though, all hell could break loose.

🐣 RT @jedshug @maddow is quoting from Woodward’s book, confirming @emptywheel: Trump knew directly about Flynn’s contacts with Russia about sanctions in Dec 2016. And Flynn lied to FBI about those contacts. @emptywheel suggests Mueller already has hard evidence, and it’s worse than Logan Act.

🔆 New ⋙ WaPo: Manafort in talks with prosecutors about possible plea, according to people familiar with the discussions http://wapo.st/2x6nJFv

FoxNews: Strzok-Page texts on ‘media leak strategy’ fuel Trump fury at DOJ: ‘NOTHING is being done’ http://fxn.ws/2oWYH82 //➔ newest brewing at Fox; for context, see: PolitiFact: [Today] The FBI, the Steele dossier and wiretapping, explained http://bit.ly/2oYc0oL

VICENews: Trump has to get tougher on Russia thanks to this obscure ’90s law http://bit.ly/2QhBdHb

NYMag, Cristian Farias: Why the Mueller Probe’s Papadopoulos Bombshell Fizzled http://nym.ag/2oWY0vs

USAToday: Donald Trump Jr. says he’s not afraid of going to jail in Russia investigation http://usat.ly/2oYLHyv

Alternet: Former CIA Head John Brennan Says Information In Trump-Russia Dossier ‘Was In Line With’ the Agency’s ‘Own Sources’: Bob Woodward http://bit.ly/2O8qFbK
// The Trump critic gave even more credence to the infamous dossier.

WaPo: On Sept. 11 anniversary, Trump launches fresh attacks on FBI and Justice Department with dubious allegation http://wapo.st/2CNEXgI

🐣 RT @DWNews With over 300,000 soldiers and 36,000 vehicles on the ground, Russia is staging its biggest military exercises since the end of the Cold War.
💽 https://twitter.com/dwnews/status/1039606001178095616/photo/1

🐣 RT @MollyMcKew Think we understand Mueller portfolio? First, go back to this from of last year, re fundamentalist Mormons connected to Turkish businessmen who hired Flynn (and who also have significant financial ties to Russian interests): /1
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/MollyMcKew/status/1039658759205920768
⋙ ProPublica, Isaac Arnsdorf: Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who Hired Michael Flynn as a Lobbyist http://bit.ly/2p1pTlO
// 9/29/2017, The special counsel wanted to question a Turkish businessman with interests in Turkey, Russia and the U.S. — and ties to people with criminal records.
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @MollyMcKew Then, check this out from @natecarlisle of @sltrib: /2
⋙ SLTrib, Nate Carlisle: The strange and winding fraud case against two Kingston brothers turns up ties to polygamy, Turkey, even the Mueller investigation http://bit.ly/2MlbPNB
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @MollyMcKew Corruption begets corruption, and attracts the corrupt. A lot of stuff is going to spin out of the Russia investigation that will expose how much worse global corruption networks are than we think. /3

WSJ: Trump to Issue Order Allowing Sanctions on Foreigners Meddling in U.S. Elections http://on.wsj.com/2p1lyz2
● Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1039652607042744320/photo/1
// Executive order could come as soon as Wednesday

✅ PolitiFact: [New] The FBI, the Steele dossier and wiretapping, explained http://bit.ly/2oYc0oL background on Trump’s and Mark Meadows’ attacks on Bruce and Nellie Ohr and their connections to Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier

🐣 RT @RNicholasBurns Seventeen years ago, our #NATO allies invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to defend us after the 9/11 attacks. They are still with us in Afghanistan today. As U.S. Ambassador to NATO that day, I felt the power of our alliance and will be forever grateful.

🐣 RT @craigunger Even today–9/11–@realDonaldTrump can’t stop going after someone who was on the frontlines fighting #SemionMogilevich–in this case, #LisaPage, former member of #Mueller’s team who had been a DOJ atty w FBI’s Budapest Task Force against #RussianMafia.
⋙🐣 RT @real New Strzok-Page texts reveal “Media Leak Strategy.” @FoxNews So terrible, and NOTHING is being done at DOJ or FBI – but the world is watching, and they get it completely.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Woodward P. 68 Trump told intel leaders, “I don’t believe in human sources.” ¤ “These are people who sold their souls and sold out their country.” ¤ John Brennan, CIA chief at the time, said he wouldn’t tell that to his employees, whose work relies almost entirely on human sources.
⋙ 🐣 Iow, for Trump it’s all about loyalty, not the sources’ credibility or our national security. Hmmm.

🐣 RT @McFaul Mr. President, please present evidence “showing collusion between the FBI & DOJ, the Hillary campaign, foreign spies & Russians…” Otherwise, for just one day, stop spreading disinformation about people serving out country at FBI & DOJ & allow Americans to unite. Just one day.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real “We have found nothing to show collusion between President Trump & Russia, absolutely zero, but every day we get more documentation showing collusion between the FBI & DOJ, the Hillary campaign, foreign spies & Russians, incredible.” @SaraCarterDC @LouDobbs

CNN: Declassification of Russia investigation materials poses a risky gambit for GOP http://cnn.it/2Nwkr8J

NBC: U.S. officials suspect Russia in mystery ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Cuba, China http://nbcnews.to/2O6T95F
// The strong suspicion that Russia was behind the alleged attacks is backed by signals intelligence, meaning intercepted communications, say U.S. officials.

🐣 From “Fear”:
Mueller was not buying.
Dowd and Sekulow left the building.
“What do you think?” Sekulow asked.
“He ain’t testifying,” Dowd said. It had been a complete fantasy to think that Mueller would decline prosecution.

⭕ 10 Sep 2018

MSNBC, MaddowShow: Trump and allies aim to ruin career of key Russia investigator http://on.msnbc.com/2x24Nrg
// Rachel Maddow points out that Donald Trump and his Republican and media allies, in their effort to undermine the Trump Russia investigation are set to embark on blowing up another DoJ official’s career, this time targeting Bruce Ohr, an expert investigator of Russian organized crime.

NYT: Sessions’s Lawyer Defends His Account of Trump Campaign Meeting http://nyti.ms/2oXKLKS

TheIntellectualist: Lindsey Graham Received Campaign Donations From Firm Tied To Russian Oligarch http://bit.ly/2MjL2RK //➔ Story links to DallasNews article
⋙ DallasNews, Ruth May (5/8/2018): How Putin’s oligarchs funneled millions into GOP campaigns http://bit.ly/2QmdaXF
// 5/8/2018, Editor’s note: This column originally published December 15, 2017 [sic]. New allegations about $500k in payments from a Russian oligarch made to Trump attorney Michael Cohen have placed it back in the news.

In 2015-16, everything changed. Blavatnik’s political contributions soared and made a hard right turn as he pumped $6.35 million into GOP political action committees, with millions of dollars going to top Republican leaders including Sens. Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.

Tags: Viktor Vekselberg Oleg Deripaska Blavatnik Paul Manafort
↥ ↧
⋙ ⋙ DallasNews, Ruth May (Jul 2017): GOP campaigns took $7.35 million from oligarch linked to Russia http://bit.ly/2vAMStx (original article published in 2017; updated 5/8/2018 to include payments to Michael Cohen
// July 2017, original article

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson: Documents Reveal Maria Butina Has Offered to Betray Her Lover (a GOP Operative) http://rol.st/
// In a new court filing, prosecutors say alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is willing to divulge new information on Paul Erickson’s “illegal activities”

RollingStone, Tessa Stuart (11/2/2016): A Timeline of the 23 October Surprises of the 2016 Election http://rol.st/2MivL3r //➔ a taste what’s to come?
// 11/2/2016, Rather than one October surprise, we got nearly two dozen this year

🐣 RT @McFaul I reviewed her book in 2006. Check out my take: WaPo: Vladimir the Terrible http://wapo.st/2Oa7rlZ
// 2/14/2006, review of PUTIN’S RUSSIA ~ Life in a Failing Democracy
⋙ 🐣 RT @titoinchito Thought on “Putin’s Russia” by the late Anna Politkovkaya?

🐣 RT @OlgaNYC1211 An agent in the Russian embassy in Rome who had a role of obtaining NATO classified info was recruited by MI6. He decided to cooperate bec he believes that Putin is determined to get into a conflict w the West ¤ The threat from Putin needs to be addressed
⋙ TheExpress [UK]: Novichok Attack: Apollo… the agent groomed by MI6 http://bit.ly/2x3tvs7
// 9/9/2018

🐣 RT @craigunger Other reasons to be suspicious: 1300 Trump branded condos sold to shell companies; multiple mobsters(#Bogatin, #Ivankov) tied to #Mogilevich ran ops out of Trump bldgs, #Bayrock’s partnership w Trump; punishment of #LisaPage, #BruceOhr & others who investigated Mogi.@DLeonhardt
⋙ 🐣 RT @DLeonhardt Sons who brag about Russian money. A history of shady Russian deals. Paranoia about scrutiny of his businesses. And a harassment campaign against the government’s top experts in Russian crime. ¤ There really are a lot of reasons to worry about laundering.

⭕ 9 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @JMPSimor Our PM and Home Secretary have stated that Putin ordered the murder of people in Britain and that he wants to destroy the EU & the rules based international order. If they believe this then they must halt Brexit. A Government’s first responsibility is the security of its people.

NYT, David Leonhardt: The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering http://nyti.ms/2MYribo
// How Bruce Ohr, President Trump’s latest Twitter target, fits a suspicious pattern of behavior on Russia.

[Trump] could make his life easier if only he treated Vladimir Putin the way he treats most people who cause problems — and cast Putin aside. Yet Trump can’t bring himself to do so.

This odd refusal is arguably the biggest reason to believe that Putin really does have leverage over Trump. Maybe it’s something shocking, like a sex tape or evidence of campaign collusion by Trump himself. Or maybe it’s the scandal that’s been staring us in the face all along: Illicit financial dealings — money laundering — between Trump’s business and Russia.

The latest reason to be suspicious is Trump’s attacks on a formerly obscure Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Ohr and called for him to be fired. Ohr’s sin is that he appears to have been marginally involved in inquiries into Trump’s Russian links. But Ohr fits a larger pattern. In his highly respected three-decade career in law enforcement, he has specialized in going after Russian organized crime.

It just so happens that most of the once-obscure bureaucrats whom Trump has tried to discredit also are experts in some combination of Russia, organized crime and money laundering.

It’s true of Andrew McCabe (the former deputy F.B.I. director whose firing Trump successfully lobbied for), Andrew Weissmann (the only official working for Robert Mueller whom Trump singles out publicly) and others. They are all Trump bogeymen — and all among “the Kremlin’s biggest adversaries in the U.S. government,” as Natasha Bertrand wrote in The Atlantic. Trump, she explained, seems to be trying to rid the government of experts in Russian organized crime.

Consider: The financially rickety Trump Organization, shunned by most mainstream banks, long relied on less scrupulous Russian investors. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said a decade ago. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia,” Eric Trump reportedly said in 2013. And what was the rare major bank to work with Trump? Deutsche Bank, which has a history of illegal Russian money laundering.

Trump also had a habit of selling real estate to Russians in all-cash deals. Money launderers like such deals, because they can turn illegally earned cash into a legitimate asset, usually at an inflated price that rewards the seller for the risk. One especially dubious deal was Trump’s $95 million sale of a Palm Beach house to a Russian magnate in 2008 — during the housing bust, only four years after Trump had bought the house for $41 million.

For months, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has been trying to get Congress to pay attention to the possibility of money laundering. He points out that Mueller’s mandate does not necessarily include a full investigation of Trump’s businesses. But those businesses could still have behaved in ways that give Putin, a hostile foreign leader, leverage over the president of the United States.

🔄◕ ECFR , Mark Galeotti [EU] (2016): Introduction: Putin’s hydra: Inside Russia’s intelligence services http://bit.ly/2NZWN1h
● People flowchart: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1038670500577402880/photo/1
// 5/11/2016, European Council on Foreign Relations
⋙ 📒 ECFR, Mark Galeotti [EU] (2016): Report: Putin’s Hydra: Inside Russia’s Intelligence Services [pdf] http://bit.ly/2NYjG5b 20p
● Overlaps: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1038671057698390016/photo/1
// May 2016, Full report

Far from being an all-powerful “spookocracy” that controls the Kremlin, Russia’s intelligence services are internally divided, distracted by bureaucratic turf wars, and often produce poor quality intelligence – ultimately threatening the interests of Vladimir Putin himself.

The agencies often replicate each others’ work, engaging in bloody competition rather than sharing intelligence. The need to please the Kremlin and deliver quick results leads to shoddy information gathering and analysis. Intelligence chiefs must shape and sugarcoat the facts to suit the president – or risk their jobs.

🔄 NYT: Russian Hacking and Influence in the U.S. Election http://nyti.ms/2NqFXeY
// compilation of Trump Russia stories #TrumpRussia

⭕ 8 Sep 2018

AlJazeera, James Reinl: Trump’s scandals: An unprecedented president http://bit.ly/2MVfHdb
// US president has faced multiple scandals since taking office, with the Mueller probe of chief concern.

⭕ 7 Sep 2018

Bloomberg: Former Nixon Aide Warns Kavanaugh Would Shield the White House http://bloom.bg/2CJuX8d

● Former White House counsel John Dean testifies before Senate committee
● He says Kavanaugh would weaken check on presidential power

VanityFair, Abigail Tracy: “Bob Is Not Afraid of Anything”: Inside the Mueller-Giuliani Chess Match http://bit.ly/2CHTGK4

💙💙 WaPo, John McLaughlin: Why so many former intelligence officers are speaking out http://wapo.st/2wUVwlw

Failure to warn is the ultimate sin in the intelligence world. It feels equally sinful in the world of citizenship.

[W]e would all love to be back in right-side-up world, where it would be unimaginable for a president to advocate jailing an election opponent, assail the Justice Department and the FBI, call a free press “the enemy of the people,” insult allies, and, most important, refuse to combat a well-documented covert foreign attack on U.S. elections — in the process weakening efforts by others to do so and encouraging Russia to keep it up.

All of us in intelligence have been shaped by careers assessing societies where free speech, democratic institutions and rule of law don’t exist or are under attack — places such as Russia and China. We have also seen how fragile democracy can be and how it can be eroded almost imperceptibly — consider Turkey and parts of Central Europe. So our senses are finely tuned to the classic warning signs: attacks on institutions, neutralization of opponents, cowed legislatures, publics numbed by repeated falsehoods.

All those are now visible here to various degrees. While others may say our democracy can’t erode that way, we know we’ve heard that before, somewhere else. The stakes are too high for complacency here.

NYT: Dmitry Rybolovlev, The Billionaire Who Bought Trump’s Mansion Faces Scrutiny in Monaco http://nyti.ms/2CBfpTV

🐣 RT @TrickFreee I’m calling it now. Dmitry Klyuev likely personally ordered the hits on ¤ Litvinkenko, Skripal, Magnitsky, Perepilichnyy, and Gorokhov. And possibly even Bereskovsky. Dmitry Klyuev is under the protection of the Kremlin.

🐣 RT @RadioFreeTom Your Friday Tweetstorm (rebooted).
Trumpers are mounting a lot of desperate defenses of the week’s bad news, with lots of shouting at the Never Trumpers (because we don’t matter) and anxiety about who wil be left on “the day after.”
This is because they know we’re right. /1
● There’s no more question about “who will be proved right.” The Never Trumpers were right, and our worst fears are playing out right now. Yes, the GOP got its judges. And no, the economy hasn’t collapsed. (yet). The rest is happening as we speak. /2
● By this I mean continuing attacks on our constitutional norms by the WH itself; a war on our IC and LE communities; the attempt to politicize the DoJ; even the shredding of the AG. (Karmic payback for Sessions, but wow.) /3
● Executive depts are functioning by default, aides are managing up (to put it gently) as they try to whack each other out; policies diverge between sensible stuff the bureaucrats can do, and exec orders that vary from stupid to cruel, and meant mostly as theater for the rubes. /4
● In foreign policy, the Russians are rightfully laughing at us; the Chinese and North Koreans have a free pass; we’re in a tariff war with our own allies; NATO has been dangerously undermined, Canada is bewildered and angry. Immense damage to US strength. /5
● The GOP as a party, meanwhile, is now a cult of personality, bereft of conservative ideals, except for one: That “conservatism” must be carried forward by unelected judges, which is totally not a conservative ideal. Veteran GOPers see what’s coming – and have wisely retired. /6
● All that’s left to see is just how badly the Trumpers got it wrong. It’s no longer a matter, for example, of *whether* collusion with Russia happened, it’s *how far it went and who knew*. Even if there were no more revelations, this alone is shocking. But there will be more. /7
● Elsewhere, POTUS is implicated in two felonies (at least two, for now) involving payouts to a porn star – forcing every GOPer who ever blathered about “character” and “integrity” and “you can’t trust a man if his wife can’t” to eat those words and swallow them dry, forever. /8
● It was unwise for Trump loyalists to double, triple, quadruple, and quintuple down on all this. They were warned: there is no better Trump. It will actually get *worse* from here, which most of them have assured themselves is impossible. And yet it will. And this scares them. /9
● In the end, it’s a false question about “who will be proved right.” Even with a honeymoon grace period, that debate should have ended after Helsinki. But it’s over now as we enter this time of national crisis. They know this. It’s why they’ll yell louder: It’s panic time. /10x

NBC: John Dean: If Kavanaugh’s confirmed, a president who shoots someone on Fifth Avenue can’t be prosecuted in office http://nbcnews.to/2M9obba
// The former Nixon White House counsel was among the witnesses called by Democrats to testify at the fourth and final day of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings this week.

Bloomberg: DNC Lawyers Raise Prospect That Papadopoulos’s U.K. Contact May Be Dead http://bloom.bg/2wTnvS1

🐣 RT @DHSgov Breaking news from the @SecretService today regarding Russian hacking. https://go.usa.gov/xPa9n 
// Andrei Tyurin bank hacking

Vox: Nixon White House counsel: Trump doesn’t respect the rule of law http://bit.ly/2MW28KH
// John Dean says that’s the difference between the sitting president and Richard Nixon.

Bloomberg: Manafort Weighing Plea Deal to Avoid New Criminal Trial, Source Says http://bloom.bg/2MaLiSL

● Talks said to center on possible admissions, sentencing length
● Ex-Trump campaign chief was convicted in Virginia last month

🐣 RT @JuliaDavisNews Pro-Trump commentator Scottie Nell Hughes has landed a full-time position as an anchor on the Russian propaganda network RT. Her multiyear deal was described as “lucrative.””It’s an honor and privilege to anchor RT America’s weeknight newscasts,” she said.
⋙ 🐣 To be fair, Larry King landed there and so did Ed Schulz.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Republicans Balk At Democrats’ Pledge to Snub Hackers http://bit.ly/2wSrMoy
// So far, only House Democrats have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable for how they plan to handle any stolen documents that come their way.

Newsweek: John Dean: Under Brett Kavanaugh’s Recommendation, Trump Could Shoot Someone Dead and Not Be Prosecuted in Office http://bit.ly/2MVih30

🐣 RT @alfranken Everybody on the Republican side of the dais knows Kavanaugh’s nomination is purely to further the Republican agenda. Everybody’s in on it. It is maddening. So I wrote about it for USA Today.
⋙ USAToday: Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings showcase Republican partisanship, hypocrisy: Al Franken http://usat.ly/2oQoQ8A

🐣 RT @SenFeinstein Brett Kavanaugh has said a president can’t be investigated or indicted and that a president can fire a special counsel at will. These views are especially troubling given Trump has been implicated in felonies.
⋙ JustSecurity (Jul): Setting the Record Straight: Brett Kavanaugh’s Views on Criminal Investigation of the President http://bit.ly/2oPRVkf
// 7/12/2018

CNN: “I don’t want to be set up with a perjury trap”: President Trump said he is concerned he could open himself up to perjury if he sits down with special counsel Robert Mueller for questioning, echoing the worries of his personal attorneys https://cnn.it/2Cua6px 

USAToday: Donald Trump says he will testify before Bob Mueller ‘under certain circumstances’ http://usat.ly/2wUZFVE

ApNews: The Latest: Trump aide Papadopoulos gets 14 days in prison http://bit.ly/2NUYRHW

⭕ 6 Sep 2018

NYT: Frustration and Finger-Pointing as G.O.P. Pulls Out of Deal Talks on Hacked Materials http://nyti.ms/2wSXCTa

House Republicans withdrew on Thursday from negotiations with Democrats over a pact that would have effectively barred both parties from using hacked or stolen material on the campaign trail this fall.

Leaders of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, and their counterparts at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had labored for much of the summer over rules that would have governed the way the congressionally run committees and their candidates treated material like the thousands of pages of damaging Democratic documents stolen and leaked by Russian hackers in 2016.

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind This has a feel of a smoking gun – and Kamala is on it! ¤ Get that under oath. Nothing these people say is credible unless under oath (and even then, not always).
⋙ 🐣 RT @CaroleLenning Update:
– Kavanaugh acknowledges close friendship with Kasowitz atty Ed McNally
– White House and Kasowitz firm say McNally neither helped prep Kavaugh nor discussed Mueller probe with him

🐣 RT @secdef19 The nuclear football travels with the POTUS at all times, usually as close as the next room. In order to initiate a launch order, the order must be authenticated using the nuclear “biscuit” carried by POTUS and is then sent out through NMCC. This order can not be countermanded.

🐣 RT @MichaelAvenatti I sincerely hope (1) those four docs that were released this morning by Mr. Booker really were still confidential, so he can prove the GOP is lying and (2) that Ms. Harris discloses the evidence of the communications she suggested last night exists and then eviscerates Kavanaugh.

🐣 RT @matthewamiller If he won’t even answer in writing, it’s not because they’re worried he would lie in the room, the excuse they’ve been giving. It’s because they know truthful answers are incriminating.
⋙ 🐣 RT @jonlamire NEW: President Trump will not answer questions, in person or in writing, about obstruction of justice. ¤ That declaration from Rudy Giuliani tonight is the most definitive rejection yet of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts to interview the president
⋙⋙ AP: Giuliani to AP: Trump will not answer obstruction questions http://bit.ly/2QaFeNm

✅ factcheckdotorg Some Democrats have expressed concern that Kavanaugh was hand-picked by Trump to protect the president from Mueller’s criminal investigation. We look at the judge’s record on executive privilege.
⋙ FactCheck: Kavanaugh File: Executive Privilege http://bit.ly/2NqCQDC

NBC: Kavanaugh questioned on forcing Trump to answer in Russia probe http://nbcnews.to/2MWhnTA
// Brett Kavanaugh declined to answer if a sitting president could be forced to answer a subpoena or pardon himself, but praised the Supreme Court’s 1974 ruling requiring President Nixon to abide by a subpoena during Watergate.

WaPo: Conservative GOP members ask Trump to declassify documents related to Russia probe http://wapo.st/2wOCgVY

🐣 RT @gelles BREAKING: Russia has warned the US military twice in the last week that its forces, along with Syrian regime units, are prepared to attack in an area where dozens of US troops are located, according to several US defense officials. @barbarastarrcnn reports

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Putin’s ‘Friend’ Had Early Access to Trump’s Infamous Pro-Russia Speech http://thebea.st/2wMjWNU

⭕ 5 Sep 2018

NBC (9/5): Mueller subpoenas Jerome Corsi, birther and ex-Alex Jones associate http://nbcnews.to/2O9uWea
// 9/5/2018, A lawyer for the conspiracy theorist says he believes Corsi will be asked about his contacts with former Trump aide Roger Stone.

Slate, Jamelle Bouie: The Incapacitated President http://bit.ly/2MUNjrN
// Trump’s own aides don’t trust him to lead the country. Meanwhile, the only people who can stop this crisis pretend it doesn’t exist.

@cspan .@senkamalaharris asks if Judge Kavanaugh has discussed Mueller Investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm.
#Kavanaugh: “I would like to know the person you’re thinking of.”
Sen. Harris: “I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us.”
💽 https://twitter.com/cspan/status/1037514830490607617/photo/1

🐣 RT @TimOBrien Team Trump was so concerned abt Trump’s fitness that they pondered the 25th Amendment, but opted to avoid a “constitutional crisis.” Now these same unknowns and unelecteds run the country sans oversight. Isn’t that, by definition, a constitutional crisis?
🐣 RT @McFaul: Putin has banned me from traveling to Russia. His prosecutor general has suggested that they want to arrest me for crimes I allegedly committed while working at the White House. & people still ask, why are you a Russiaphobe? & btw, Im not a Russiaphobe. Im a Putin-phobe.

NYT, Anonymous (❗): I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration http://nyti.ms/2NQFL5z
// I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

Politico Mag, Molly McKew: Trump Is Russia’s Weapon—Not Its End State http://politi.co/2wN0q43 //➔ 9 Big Ideas That Explain Politics In 2018
// Sep-Oct 2018, The president is a useful disruption in a broader campaign by the Kremlin that we need to worry about.

🐣 RT @GlostnostGone Salisbury #Novichok poisoning: 2 Russians have been named as suspects by #UK police. Today in Parliament, Prime Minister May said suspects using names – Alexander Petrov & Ruslan Boshirov are officers of Russia’s Military Intelligence (GRU). https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45421445 … #Skripal
⋙ BBC: Salisbury Novichok poisoning: Two Russian nationals named as suspects http://bbc.in/2Q78F2X

🐣 [To Avenatti and others] Okay. Here is the Email I sent to @MoveOn. I can’t think of another way to rally people very quickly any other way, though I’m sure others can think of some. @womensmarch @AMarch4OurLives #Resistance @Dems @DNC
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1037296418166325249/photo/1

The true inflection point for the future of the Mueller investigation (and much more) is likely going to be the Kavanaugh confirmation. If we wait to protest until after he is confirmed, it could be too late.

MoveOn is the only organization I know ready to seize the moment. You have hundreds of groups ready to protest if Mueller is fired. I’m suggesting that you use them pre-emptively to rally against Kavanaugh since Kavanaugh is all about giving the President unprecedented powers to not only fire Mueller (and others) but to endow himself with powers and impunity worthy of a tyrant.

I encourage you to think about it.

⭕ 4 Sep 2018

ForeignPolicy, Edward Joseph: How to Restart War in the Balkans http://bit.ly/2N73PVn
// The Trump administration will regret looking for simple solutions to Eastern Europe’s territorial disputes.

🐣 RT @StevenBeschloss Bob Woodward is no Omarosa. If Trump were not a sick and dangerous mess, he’d keep his flap shut. But he can’t. Because he is.
⋙ 🐣 RT @davidmaraniss I’ve watched close-hand how Bob Woodward works and have learned from him for 41years. He is a singularly meticulous gatherer of facts and documents and I would bet my life on his reliability. He is an American treasure

💙💙 NewYorker, Adam Davidson: Where Will the Trump Investigations Go Next? http://bit.ly/2Q3SIKN
See under Entire Articles: NYkr Trump Invstg 9-4-2018
Names Key People:
Ivanka
Don Jr
Allen Weisselberg – Accountant
Rhona Graff – Administrative Assistant
George Sorial – Executive VP
Michael Cohen – Personal Lawyer (“Fixer”)
Roy Cohn – Former Lawyer
Jason Greenblatt – Lead Lawyer
⋙ Fat Tony Salerno (Genovese)
⋙ Mammadov family
Keith Schiller – Bodyguard
Matthew Calamari – Bodyguard

NewYorker, Adam Davidson: Where Will the Trump Investigations Go Next? http://bit.ly/2Q3SIKN
See under Entire Articles: NYkr Trump Invstg 9-4-2018

🐣 RT @CindyOtis_ [Former CIA Agent on feelings of despair among the #Resistance, Left and Center]
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/CindyOtis_/status/1036981354486018048

Kavanaugh’s hearing started. As a political scientist/former intel officer, it’s hard to believe we’re here after all the evidence of corruption under this a[d]min. Cue the replies telling me this is how it is now in the US. And that’s actually what I want tweet about this AM. (1/)

There’s a serious danger to simply accepting what’s happening as the new normal. I can’t overstate it. To be honest, I think it gives some a feeling of intellectual superiority. THEY see what we’ve really turned into whereas the rest of us are naive for being outraged. (2/)

Not even two years in, and I’d wager a significant portion of the Left and Center are at this point mentally. And, as someone who covered authoritarian regimes for a time, that is terrifying. Authoritarian regimes don’t come to power on their own. (3/)

Sure, these regimes need their supporters. But they also need a large portion of their society to feel demoralized, like there’s nothing that can be done. And they need those voices who think they’re intellectually superior saying, “This is just the way it is now.” (4/)

In case I’m not being clear enough, those voices of acceptance ARE how authoritarian regimes come to power & stay. People who think this is over once Trump is out of office are wrong. This administration has broken norms and precedents that will have lasting consequences. (5/)

I know people are exhausted. Truly, I get it. I also understand why people think it will be easier in the short-term to just accept what’s happening & wait for a brighter day. But there will come a point where it gets MUCH harder to fix what’s been broken. (6/)

We’re not there yet, but we will be if the prevailing opinion is this is just the way things are. That’s how authoritarianism works. We’re not the first country to go through this. It’s an odd thing to take comfort in, I suppose, but use it as a guide. (7/)

Stay angry. Stay outraged. Take action. It’s not naive. It’s how we fix this. To be anything else simply enables authoritarianism. Shame on us for treating civic engagement as an option and politics as an impolite topic. We’re seeing the result. Let’s never go back. (8/8)

🐣 RT @MaddowBlog Republicans could have picked from a lot of conservative judges, but only Kavanaugh has taken a particular position on the prosecution of a sitting president…
💽 https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1037151487934255104/photo/1

WaPo, David Ignatius: Working with Russia on cybercrime is like hiring a burglar to protect the family jewels http://wapo.st/2wKoJPZ

Euromaidan: What the UK, Sweden & Baltics did to be “full-scale defenders” against Kremlin subversion http://bit.ly/2PAD7Bq

Reuters: Kremlin dismisses Trump warning on Syria’s Idlib http://reut.rs/2NQz9V3

⭕ 3 Sep 2018

NYT: Democrats, Eyeing a Majority, Prepare an Investigative Onslaught http://nyti.ms/2Q0eUW9
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1036819043003629573/photo/1

● House Oversight and Govt Reform: Elijah Cummings (MD)
● Intelligence: Adam B. Schiff (CA)
● Judiciary: Jerrold Nadler (NY)
● Financial Services: Maxine Waters (CA)
● Foreign Affairs: Eliot Engel (NY)
● Armed Services: Adam Smith (WA)
● Homeland Security: Bennie Thompson (MS)
● Veterans Affairs: Tim Walz – retiring (MN)
● Ways and Means: Richard Neal (MA)
● Budget: John Yarmouth (KY)
● Appropriations: Nita Lowey (NY)
● Small Business: Nydia Velázquez (NY)
● Education and the Workforce: Bobby Scott (VA)
● Energy and Commerce: Frank Pallone (NJ)
● Science, Space and Technology: Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)
● Agriculture: Collin Peterson (MN)
● Natural Resources: Raúl Grijalva (AZ)
● Transportarion and Infrastructure: Peter DeFasio (OR)
● Ethics: Ted Deutch (FL)

🐣 RT @RBReich If Trump blocks Mueller from releasing his final report, Trump is guilty of 2 more impeachable offenses: obstruction of justice, and failure to faithfully execute the laws.
⋙ TheHill: Giuliani: Trump legal team may try to block Mueller from releasing final report http://bit.ly/2NcMVnv

Documentary: ACTIVE MEASURES https://www.activemeasures.com
// Release Date: 8/31/2018

Chronicles the most successful espionage operation in Russian history, the American presidential election of 2016. Filmmaker Jack Bryan exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladmir Putin to disrupt, and ultimately control world events. In the process, the filmmakers follow a trail of money, real estate, mob connections, and on the record confessions to expose an insidious plot that leads directly back to The White House. With democracy hanging in the balance, ACTIVE MEASURES is essential viewing. Unraveling the true depth and scope of “the Russia story” as we have come to know it, this film a jarring reminder that some conspiracies hide in plain sight.

Original Interviews With:

Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2008–2013)
Toomás Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia (2006–2016)
Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia (2004 – 2013)
Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senate Judiciary Committee
Congressman Eric Swalwell, House Intelligence Committee
Steven Hall, CIA Chief of Russia Operations (1985–2013)
Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012–2014)
Nina Burleigh, Journalist and Newsweek Correspondent
Craig Unger, Journalist and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor
James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence (1993–1995)
John Mattes, Bernie Sanders Organizer, Investigative Journalist
Richard Fontaine, President, Center for New American Security
Michael Isikoff, Author, Russian Roulette
John Dean, White House Counsel to President Nixon (1970–1973)
Dr. Herb Lin, Director Cyber Policy and Security, Stanford University
Clint Watts, Former FBI Special Agent on Joint Terrorism Task Force
Evan McMullin, U.S. 2016 Presidential Candidate, CIA Operative (1999–2010)
Dr. Alina Polyakova, Brookings Institution, Foreign Policy Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe
John Podesta, Chair, Hillary for America, Founder, Center for American Progress
Jonathan Winer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement (1994–1999)
Jeremy Bash, CIA Chief of Staff (2009–2011), Pentagon Chief of Staff (2011–2013)
Ambassador Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (2005–2009)
Scott Horton, International Law and Human Rights Attorney, Columbia Law School
Heather Conley, “Kremlin Playbook” Author, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Steven Pifer, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (1997–2000), U.S. Department of State (1978–2004)
Asha Rangappa, FBI Special Agent on Counterintelligence (2002 – 2005), Associate Dean of Yale Law
Molly McKew, Information Warfare Expert
Alexandra Chalupa, DNC Consultant

⭕ 2 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @RichardHaass One additional thought RE the memorial service for John McCain: it was an important foreign policy statement to the world, that the America they had long known and admired still exists. Acting in ways others respect and want to associate with is soft power at its most potent.

Brookings, Alina Polyakova and Spencer Phipps Boyer (Mar): The future of political warfare: Russia, the West, and the coming age of global digital competition http://brook.gs/2wDbL5W
⋙ Report [pdf] http://brook.gs/2ouzOQK 24p
// Mar 2018

ReportingProject: Dossier: Semion Mogilevich http://bit.ly/2wBG9OF

🔄📒≣ ReportingProject: Dossiers http://bit.ly/2wBG9OF

AZDailyStar: Star Opinion: Don’t replace McCain with a Trump supporter http://bit.ly/2NbcsO7 “It would dishonor McCain, and do an extreme disservice to the voters who elected him in 2016, to install a Trump supporter in McCain’s Senate seat.” @dougduce

Motherboard, Kim Zetter (Jul): Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States http://bit.ly/2LqL8HD
// 7/17/2018, Remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.’

⭕ 1 Sep 2018

🐣 RT @mitchellreports [To @real] FISA courts don’t hold hearings. They are secret courts – by degrees motion. Established by Congress.

TheIndependent [UK]: Belgian steel executive working for Russia’s richest man falls to his death from Moscow balcony http://ind.pn/2MFOFGy
// Police sources are ruling out foul play, but suspicions remain

A Belgian steel executive who worked for Russia’s richest man has been found dead on the pavement beneath his central Moscow home. 

According to police sources, Bruno Charles de Cooman, 61, an employee of Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK), returned to his ninth-floor apartment shortly before plunging to his death at approximately 3.50pm local time on Wednesday. He had left friends by the building entrance. They reportedly saw him fall out of a window. …

During the year-long period Mr De Cooman worked for the company,  Novolipetsk Steel recorded record earnings, helping to make its owner, Vladimir Lisin, Russia’s richest man. That title completed a remarkable journey for the oligarch, who started out as an electrical fitter in a Siberian coal mine in the 1970s. In addition to controlling one of the world’s largest steel companies, Mr Lisin, 62, also heads the country’s largest freight rail operator. 

Before his appointment as vice-president in 2017, Mr De Cooman worked as an academic, specialising in materials science and engineering. Novolipetsk Steel had created a new position for him, placing him in charge of research and development.

According to Mash, a Telegram media channel understood to work closely with Russian law enforcement, Mr De Cooman’s death is not being treated as suspicious. No one was with the executive at the time of his death, the publication claims. 

At the same time, it adds, the Belgian was sober and had not talked of suicide in the time leading up to the incident. 

AIST: Leading steel researcher and noted AIST member Dr. Bruno Charles De Cooman died Wednesday after he reportedly fell from a window in his Moscow apartment building. http://bit.ly/2N8Ed9P //➔ people fall out windows a lot in Russia

🐣 RT @schnee Alfa Bank in context
https://twitter.com/schnee/status/1035941703985897473/photo/1

🐣 RT @john_sipher Watch closely. Right out of the Kremlin playbook. Create a problem. Stoke it. Express outrage at those defending themselves, make accusations, pretend to be a victim, and then double down.
⋙ NYT: Ukrainian Separatist Leader Is Killed in Restaurant Bombing http://nyti.ms/

NYT: A Complex Web: The F.B.I., Russian Oligarchs, Bruce Ohr and the Trump Campaign http://nyti.ms/2LM1dXI “Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant”
// Kenneth Vogel and Matthew Rosenberg

In the estimation of American officials, Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, has faced credible accusations of extortion, bribery and even murder.

They also thought he might make a good source.

Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant. They signaled that they might provide help with his trouble in getting visas for the United States or even explore other steps to address his legal problems. In exchange, they were hoping for information on Russian organized crime and, later, on possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to current and former officials and associates of Mr. Deripaska.

In one dramatic encounter, F.B.I. agents appeared unannounced and uninvited at a home Mr. Deripaska maintains in New York and pressed him on whether Paul Manafort, a former business partner of his who went on to become chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, had served as a link between the campaign and the Kremlin.

The attempt to flip Mr. Deripaska was part of a broader, clandestine American effort to gauge the possibility of gaining cooperation from roughly a half-dozen of Russia’s richest men, nearly all of whom, like Mr. Deripaska, depend on President Vladimir V. Putin to maintain their wealth, the officials said.

Two of the players in the effort were Bruce G. Ohr, the Justice Department official who has recently become a target of attacks by Mr. Trump, and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a dossier of purported links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The systematic effort to win the cooperation of the oligarchs, which has not previously been revealed, does not appear to have scored any successes. And in Mr. Deripaska’s case, he told the American investigators that he disagreed with their theories about Russian organized crime and Kremlin collusion in the campaign, a person familiar with the exchanges said. The person added that Mr. Deripaska even notified the Kremlin about the American efforts to cultivate him.

Mr. Deripaska was the subject of many of the contacts between the two men between 2014 and 2016.

The outreach to Mr. Deripaska, who is so close to the Russian president that he has been called “Putin’s oligarch,” was not as much of a long shot as it might have appeared.

He had worked with the United States government in the past, including on a thwarted effort to rescue an F.B.I. agent captured in Iran, on which he reportedly spent as much as $25 million of his own money. And he had incentive to cooperate again in the run-up to the 2016 election, as he tried to win permission to travel more easily to the United States, where he has long sought more freedom to do business and greater acceptance as a global power broker.

[F]irst date on which the two [Ohr and Steele] discussed cultivating Mr. Deripaska: a meeting in Washington on Nov. 21, 2014, roughly seven months before Mr. Trump announced that he was running for president.

[The sources] also said they did not want Mr. Trump and his allies to use the program’s secrecy as a screen with which they could cherry-pick facts and present them, sheared of context, to undermine the special counsel’s investigation. That, too, they said they feared, would damage American security.

It was not only the F.B.I. that was concerned about Russian interference in the final months of the campaign. American spy agencies were sounding an alarm after months of intelligence reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russians, and Moscow’s hacking of Democratic Party emails. (American intelligence agencies would later conclude that the interefence was real and that Russia had acted to boost Mr. Trump’s candidacy.)

Mr. Deripaska, though, told the F.B.I. agents that while he had no love for Mr. Manafort, with whom he was in a bitter business dispute, he found their theories about his role on the campaign “preposterous.” He also disputed that there were any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to the person familiar with the exchange.

This past April, the Treasury Department imposed potentially crippling sanctions against Mr. Deripaska and his mammoth aluminum company, saying he had profited from the “malign activities” of Russia around the world. In announcing the sanctions, the Trump administration cited accusations that Mr. Deripaska had been accused of extortion, racketeering, bribery, links to organized crime and even ordering the murder of a businessman.

Mr. Deripaska has denied the allegations, and his allies contend that the sanctions are punishment for refusing to play ball with the Americans.

Yet just as it was becoming clear that Mr. Deripaska would provide little help to the Americans, Mr. Steele was talking to Mr. Ohr about an entirely new issue: the dossier.

Over a breakfast in Washington, Mr. Steele said he believed that Russian intelligence had Mr. Trump “over a barrel,” according to a person familiar with the discussion. But the person said that it was more of a friendly heads-up, and that Mr. Steele had separately been in touch with an F.B.I. agent in a bid to get his work to investigators.

The research by that point was being funded by the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, and Mr. Steele believed that what he had found was damning enough that he needed to get it to American law enforcement.

F.B.I. agents would later meet with Mr. Steele to discuss his work. But former senior officials from the bureau and the Justice Department have said that the investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia was well underway by the time they got the dossier.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump and his allies have seized on the fact that Mr. Ohr and Mr. Steele were in touch about elements of the dossier to attack the investigation into Russian election interference as a “rigged witch hunt.”

Mr. Trump and his allies have cast Mr. Steele’s research — and the serious consideration it was given by Mr. Ohr and the F.B.I. — as part of a plot by rogue officials and Mrs. Clinton’s allies to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign and his presidency.

Among the documents produced to Congress by the Justice Department is an undated — and previously unreported — handwritten note jotted down by Mr. Ohr indicating that Mr. Deripaska and one of his London-based lawyers, Paul Hauser, were “almost ready to talk” to American government officials regarding the money that “Manafort stole.”

Last year, Mr. Ohr asked someone who communicated with Mr. Deripaska to urge the oligarch to “give up Manafort,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

And Mr. Deripaska sought to engage with Congress.

The oligarch took out newspaper advertisements in the United States last year volunteering to testify in any congressional hearings examining his work with Mr. Manafort. The ads were in response to an Associated Press report that Mr. Manafort had secretly worked for Mr. Deripaska on a plan to “greatly benefit the Putin government” in the mid-2000s.

Mr. Deripaska deplored that assertion as “malicious” and a “lie,” and subsequently sued The A.P. for libel, though he later dropped the lawsuit without receiving a settlement or payment.

WaPo, Vladimir Kara-Murza: John McCain saw through Vladimir Putin better than anyone http://wapo.st/2oBm9Yp
// 8/27/2018

🔄≣💙 DocumentCloud: Papadopoulos Sentencing Memo http://bit.ly/2C66AkK

🐣 RT @DeptOfDefense “Senator John McCain, a man whose name alone provides a better description of a patriot than all the words in a dictionary’s definition – everything I love about America is resident in this man.” – #SecDef Mattis
https://twitter.com/DeptofDefense/status/1035889107900219392/photo/1

🐣 RT @naretevduorp As an American Hero is laid to rest, an American Traitor lies in protest.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real “You have a Fake Dossier, gathered by Steele, paid by the Clinton team to get information on Trump. The Dossier is Fake, nothing in it has been verified. It then filters into our American court system in order to spy on Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s political opponent……

Lawfare, Barbara McQuade: How President Trump’s Comments on ‘Flipping’ Witnesses Undermine Law Enforcement http://bit.ly/2wz8ftZ

⭕ 31 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @agenthades1 Fun! ¤ Lanny Wiles was the one who provided the seat to Vesilnitskaya at the McFaul hearing.
https://twitter.com/Agenthades1/status/1035705867243405312/photo/1
https://twitter.com/Agenthades1/status/1035705867243405312/photo/2

🐣 RT @ninaandtito I call MAJOR WTF on this @politico story. Susan Wiles, who is quoted, is married to Lanny Wiles.
⋙ Politico: ‘Something was weird’: Inside the Russian effort to bamboozle Florida http://politi.co/2PXn1TF
// 2/16/2018, The operation in the nation’s largest swing state was in a class by itself.
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/ninaandtito/status/964703637778780160

🐣 RT @leahmcelrath This assassination comes as Russia reportedly has been moving armaments from Siberia to near the Ukraine border. 💥💥
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/leahmcelrath/status/1035568389127856128

🐣 RT @MaddowBlog Rachel Maddow on the finances around the Donald Trump inauguration: ‘It’s all so freaking shady!’
💽 https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1035707620001308678/photo/1
↥ ↧
NYT (Feb): Trump’s Inaugural Committee Paid $26 Million to Firm of First Lady’s Adviser http://nyti.ms/2wAhmK6
// 2/15/2018

KyivPost (1/21/2017): Taras Kuzio: Incompetence in Ukraine’s foreign policy represents threat to national security http://bit.ly/2N7Yw7l

… Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.” (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446). …
// can’t find this ⇈

NYT: She Gambled on Her Claim to Link Russians and Trump. She Is Losing http://nyti.ms/2oqL9Bp

🐣 RT @imthemadridista Deripaska has not only employed Manafort & Gates but also, Foreigner A, Konstantin Kilimink, Sam Patten’s business partner. ¤ Deripaska has hired other DC lobbying firms, including Endeavor Group, Haley Barbour/BGR Group & guess who? Yup, Robert “Bob” Dole.
⋙ RFE/RL (2017): White House Shrugs Off Report That Former Trump Aide Manafort Proposed Plan To Benefit Putin http://bit.ly/2C4ADt4
// 3/22/2018
https://twitter.com/imthemadridista/status/1035606543549509639/photo/1

WaPo: American political consultant admits foreign money was funneled to Trump inaugural http://wapo.st/2LNZz7M

Politico.eu, Toomas Hendrik Ilves: John McCain’s European example http://politi.co/2wuKzXR
// The American was the greatest transatlanticist of the post-Cold-War era.

DailyBeast, Julia Davis: The Real Reason Russia Is Rooting for Republicans in the Midterms http://thebea.st/2LL4XJ4
//. State-controlled media joke about abetting Trump and believe his tough talk on sanctions is just a ploy. If the Republicans win the midterms, they say, he’ll come around.

🔄 📋 Investigators List: @kelly2277 @LuluLemew @WZRichard @ninaandtito @truthteller8889 @JamesFourM @BGHeaven @Redrum_of_Crows @patrickLSimpson @funder @grantstern @JuddLegum @RanttMedia @PoliticusSarah @ushadrons @LouiseMensch @TeaPainUSA @SethAbramson @pwnallthethings @benjaminwittes

🐣 RT @PaulaChertok In addition to funneling illegal money to Trump inauguration, Patten helped Yanuk aide Lovochkin get meetings to lobby Congress and helped him author op-ed arguing “Ukraine will be fine under President Trump” & should get along w/ its neighbors 😒 ie lobbying for Russian interests.
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1035637737943064577/photo/1
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1035637737943064577/photo/2

🐣 RT @AltCyberCommand Let Biden’s words echo throughout the halls of Washington: “[We] cannot stand the abuse of power… in whatever form. [We] love basic values: honesty, respect, giving hate no harbor, leaving no one behind and understanding we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.”

🐣 RT @PaulaChertok In addition to funneling illegal money to Trump inauguration, Patten helped Yanuk aide Lovochkin get meetings to lobby Congress and helped him author op-ed arguing “Ukraine will be fine under President Trump” & should get along w/ its neighbors 😒 ie lobbying for Russian interests.
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1035637737943064577/photo/1
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1035637737943064577/photo/2

WaPo, Greg Sargent: Trump’s latest rally rant is much more alarming and dangerous than usual http://wapo.st/2wsLyaQ “Trump … lashed out at the FBI and the Justice Department, claiming that ‘people are angry’ and threatening to personally ‘get involved.’”

Today’s Democrat Party is held hostage by left-wing haters, angry mobs, deep-state radicals, establishment cronies and their fake-news allies,” Trump railed. “Our biggest obstacle and their greatest ally actually is the media.”

In case there is any doubt about what Trump meant by the “deep state” that is supposedly allied with the news media, Trump also lashed out at the FBI and the Justice Department, claiming that “people are angry” and threatening to personally “get involved.”

TheHill: NATO considers naming headquarters after McCain http://bit.ly/2osbDCF

🐣 RT @MSNBC In plea deal, Manafort-linked lobbyist admits he made a $50,000 donation through a straw donor to President Trump’s Inauguration Cmte. for a Russian and a Ukrainian, documents show, though they do not suggest the cmte. was aware of the straw purchase.
⋙ NBC, Ken Dilanian et al: Manafort-linked lobbyist W. Samuel Patten admits using straw donor to buy Trump inaugural tickets for Russian, Ukrainian http://nbcnews.to/2wxxzAt
// The operative pleaded guilty in court Friday and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.

🐣 RT @gelles Samuel Patten, a DC lobbyist who worked with an alleged Russian intelligence agent, has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. He’s admitted to funneling foreign money to purchase tickets to the Trump inauguration. Mueller is probing the record $106.8 million raised.

🐣 Vox, Andrew Prokop (7/5): Why Trump’s inauguration money is a major part of Mueller’s Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2NqCeLw
// 7/5/2018, Russia-tied donations and oligarch connections have drawn Mueller’s interest.

TPM, Tierney Sneed: GOP Operative Who Pleaded Guilty To Foreign Lobbying Charge Also Aided Illegal Inauguration Ticket Purchase http://bit.ly/2NCxulG

The GOP operative who pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register his Ukrainian lobbying work in the U.S. also lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee, deleted documents that would have revealed those false statements and aided with an illegal straw purchase of tickets to President Trump’s inauguration for a Ukrainian oligarch, according to court documents.

Lobbyist Sam Patten is not being charged for that conduct, according to the statement of offense filed with his guilty plea to the foreign lobbying charge. The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorneys Office in D.C.; however, Patten’s plea agreement calls for cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller and members of Mueller’s team were present at his plea hearing in D.C.’s federal courthouse.

🐣 RT @ShimonPro Significance of today: ¤ With Samuel Patten’s guilty plea we now have direct confirmation that foreign money was used to buy tickets to Donald Trump’s inauguration. Paid by foreigners through straw purchasers ¤ His cooperation with Mueller crucial now in that larger investigation

DailyBeast, Lachlan Markay: Republican Lobbyist Steered Foreign Money to Trump’s Inaugural Committee http://thebea.st/2N3NoZb
// Republican lobbyist Sam Patten, who previously worked with the Trump campaign’s data firm, is the latest to be nabbed in the Mueller probe.

WaPo: Washington consultant for Ukraine party pleads guilty to violating lobbyist disclosure law http://wapo.st/2Poi4lE

TheGuardian: Paul Manafort associate who worked with Cambridge Analytica charged http://bit.ly/2LJD4kB
Sam Patten charged under Foreign Agents Registration Act
Republican once worked with controversial consultancy

A Republican political consultant linked to Paul Manafort, who also once worked for Cambridge Analytica, has been charged with operating illegally in the US as an agent for pro-Russia politicians from Ukraine.

Sam Patten is accused of “willfully” acting as an agent for the Ukrainian political party Opposition Bloc between 2014 and this year, according to a filing to federal court in Washington DC on Friday.

Patten, 47, was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) by failing to register with the US government as an agent for a foreign country.

The charge was brought by the US attorney’s office in the capital. The case was referred to that office by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, links between Trump aides and Moscow and potential obstruction of justice by the president.

US prosecutors said Patten’s company was paid $1m for advising Opposition Bloc and lobbying US politicians on its behalf. The funds were allegedly paid via an offshore account in Cyprus from a “prominent Ukraine oligarch” who is an Opposition Bloc member.

A page on Patten’s website that has since been removed said he “worked with one of London’s most innovative strategic communications companies to introduce new technologies and methodologies” during the 2014 US election.

During an interview last year with a British academic researcher, Patten said: “I’ve worked in Ukraine, Iraq, I’ve worked in deeply corrupt countries, and [the American] system isn’t very different.”

🐣 RT @ShimonPro !!!! Prosecutors say Samuel Patten sought tickets to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on behalf of a prominent Ukrainian oligarch. Patten acted as a “straw purchaser,” funneling the Ukrainian’s money secretly to the inauguration committee through a Cypriot bank account.

CNN: Ohr says Steele told him Russian intel believed they had Trump ‘over a barrel’ http://cnn.it/2wwK7Zb

≣ DocumentCloud: New filing in United States v. Patten: Information – Felony http://bit.ly/2Pm3lYs

This thread by @aliasvaughn really helped me understand why the @AP article yesterday about Bruce Ohr was so important https://twitter.com/aliasvaughn/status/1035562083503484930
↥ ↧
📌 Thread: 🐣 RT @aliasvaughn https://twitter.com/aliasvaughn/status/1035574743284572162
… 30.
20. This excellent AP story goes on asking an essential question: “Why does Trump risk so much politically by even threatening to pull the security clearances of an active DoJ official without any of the ordinary procedures for doing so?”
19. And guess who Firtash partnered with? PAUL MANAFORT and Semion Mogilevich. This is where the connection is essential… there’s HIGH likelihood that Gates and other Manafort witnesses KNOW what Firtash did with Manafort. You can rest damn well assured Mueller KNOWS all this.
18. AP correctly notes: “little attention was paid to what may well be the most interesting item on Page’s resume — her considerable experience prosecuting money laundering cases involving Russian organized crime.” Page worked with FBI task force in Budapest vs? DMITRY FIRTASH.
17. Based on the above and on the fact Ohr is a Mogilevich specialist who went after him BIG time, I’m sure you can see why Trump has PLENTY of reasons to want to discredit Ohr. Guess who ELSE Trump went after who worked with FBI task force on RU money laundering? LISA PAGE.
16. “Over the years, no fewer than 1,300 Trump-branded condos were sold in all cash purchases to anonymous shell companies—the two criteria that set off alarm bells among anti-money laundering authorities.” You don’t say? The only thing Trump is capable of actually loving? MONEY
15. “If one tracks Trump’s ties to Russia, the name Mogilevich pops up more than any single name, beginning in 1984 when alleged Mogilevich operative David Bogatin bought five condos in Trump Tower for $6 mln in cash.” And we know how Trump loves his laundered money.
14. AP truth: ” If the FBI’s investigations turn toward Trump’s ties to Russian organized crime, which is entirely foreseeable, Trump may be interested in trying to delegitimize those efforts as he has attempted with other aspects of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.”
13. Ohr being an expert in international organized crime, like Steele, is the cherry on the cake. Trump is deeply involved with Russian mafia (see: Semion Mogilevich, whom Ohr faced off against). Mogilevich operatives have used Trump properties to launder millions of $$$.
12. All of the above literally DESTROYS Trump and the Trump lackey wagon conspiracy theory about the FBI being biased, or the Steele dossier being the reason why the Russia investigation started. And THIS is why Trump detests Ohr and knows he’s his sworn enemy.
11. Kindly note: once his Steele ties were brought to light, Ohr was REASSIGNED. So the FBI promptly acted even when, quite frankly, it wasn’t necessary. but, transparency and objectivity above all, so he was reassigned. And he provided Congress with new details re: reassignment.
10. Ohr told Congress he couldn’t vouch for the accuracy of Steele’s information (bc duh, he wasn’t there) BUT said he considers him a reliable FBI informant who delivered “credible and actionable intelligence, including his probe into corruption at FIFA”.
9. “The breakfast took place amid ongoing FBI concerns about Russian election interference and possible communication with Trump associates. By then RU hackers had penetrated Dem email accounts including Podesta’s and Papadopoulos had said Russians had “dirt” on HRC via emails.”
8. Ohr also told Congress that Steele said Carter Page had met with more senior Russian’ officials than he had acknowledged meeting with. (meantime, Page has been forced to acknowledge meeting with at least a couple of them.)
7. Naturally, Ohr can also testify that the FBI investigation was already WELL under way by the time FBI received Steele’s dossier. Ohr can also testify that despite being friends with Steele, he was NOT the original source of information from it. So Trump is freaking out.
6. Attacking them publicly is meant to discredit them as witnesses. It doesn’t matter that it won’t work as they will testify against him anyway, it’s witness tampering at a minimum. This influences public perception, on top of the previous point I made about obstruction.
5. Trump’s tactic is to intimidate witnesses and to eliminate anyone at DoJ (see: McCabe) who is a witness against him, so that fewer people with deep knowledge of the Russian investigation and of obstruction of justice remain there. In so doing, he is obstructing justice
4. An unnamed former Ru intelligence official said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel”, that’s the quote that was reported. Steele and Ohr have known each other for over a decade. They shared interest in international organized crime.
3. So if Trump so much as THINKS of touching Bruce Ohr, that is direct obstruction of justice, and his tweets already constitute witness tampering. AND everyone in Congress who was present at the interview KNOWS that. Just so you know who to hold accountable.
2. These details pertain to a breakfast that happened on July 30, 2016. Ohr described the breakfast to CONGRESS this week in a private interview. And that’s how the GOP Trump lackeys went to tell Trump, he found out and decided he can’t have a witness at DoJ.
1. Bruce Ohr is the Justice Department lawyer who was told by Christopher Steele that Russian intelligence believed it had Trump “over a barrel”. Start seeing why Trump is going after him?
⋙ 🐣 RT @jjouvenal Sources say Justice Department lawyer was told Russian intelligence had “Trump over a barrel”
⋙⋙ AP sources: Lawyer was told Russia had ‘Trump over a barrel’ http://bit.ly/2wxzy7U

🐣 RT @leahmcelrath This assassination comes as Russia reportedly has been moving armaments from Siberia to near the Ukraine border.
⋙@NBCNewsWorld BREAKING: Explosion at cafe has killed Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, separatist and Russian news agencies report.

Vox: A Paul Manafort and Cambridge Analytica associate just struck a plea deal http://bit.ly/2NC3u9D
// Mueller handed off the investigation into Sam Patten — but seems to still be interested in what he has to say.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand (Apr): A Suspected Russian Spy, With Curious Ties to Washington http://bit.ly/2NBrfP6
// 4/6/2018, A longtime Republican operative has been in contact with a suspected Russian intelligence agent for nearly two decades. What does it mean for Robert Mueller’s investigation?

🐣 Unreal: Both McCain and Aretha Franklin services, Ohr testimony leaks, Mueller plea deal drops, Pro-Russian head of Unkraine insurgency assassinated and Canadian trade deal falls through when CA finds out Trump insulted them … Next?
// Both Sessions and Rosenstein are at McCain service
↥ ↧
💥💥💥Things Exploding 💥💥💥 (Little things)

🐣 RT @anders_aslund The leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko has been killed in an explosion in a cafe in the region’s capital, Interfax

Bloomberg: Manafort Ally Agrees to Cooperate With U.S. After Guilty Plea http://bloom.bg/2wyAubC

🐣 RT @ChadSDay DOJ official confirms case of DC lobbyist Sam Patten was a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team
⋙ AP: DC lobbyist charged with failing to file as foreign agent http://bit.ly/2MHcyh6

AP, Jeff Horwitz and Maria Danilova (Jul): Russian charged with Trump’s ex-campaign chief is key figure http://bit.ly/2NBSRDL
// 7/2/2018

Medium, Nafeez Ahmed (2017): Inside the secret Trump lobby that wants to profit from the break-up of Iraq http://bit.ly/2PofaNB via @chrisinsilico
// A network tied to Cambridge Analytica, Islamist insurgents, ExxonMobil and Koch convinced Trump to let go of Iraqi unity
// 3/21/2017

🔆 This❗️⋙ AP sources: DOJ Lawyer Bruce Ohr was told Russia had ‘Trump over a barrel’ http://bit.ly/2wxzy7U
⋙ See under Entire Articles: AP Trump over Barrel 8-31-2018

🐣 RT @brianklaas If a ‘blue wave’ happens, Democrats should start working to transform broken norms into unbreakable laws. Protect special counsels. Require tax returns. Stronger anti-nepotism laws. And making clear that the president is not above the law. My column:
⋙ WaPo, Brian Klaas: http://wapo.st/

🐣 RT @TopRopeTravis JUST IN: Approval ratings of Trump among Republicans drops below 80% for the first time. ¤ Disapproval of Trump jumps to 60% among all voters. ¤ 63% approve of Mueller’s investigation, up 11%. ¤ And for the first time, more favor impeachment proceedings than disapprove.
https://twitter.com/TopRopeTravis/status/1035495274423177217/photo/1
// chart: Approval, Support to Mueller, Impeachment
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @EricBoehlert Trump has a 3% approval rating among black voters.
🐣 RT @ABCPolitics 60% disapprove of Pres. Trump, numerically the highest of his presidency; 53% disapprove strongly, the first time more than half have said so in an @ABC News/WaPo poll.
⋙ ABCNews: Trouble for Trump: Disapproval at a high, 63% back Mueller, half favor impeachment http://abcn.ws/2C6bDls
↥ ↧
📊 WaPo/ABC Poll: 60 percent disapprove of Trump, while clear majorities back Mueller and Sessions http://wapo.st/2PTYe2M Only 36% approve, 24%strongly; 53% STRONGLY disapprove
● Trend in Approval: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035508618291040256/photo/1
● Trump approval sinks to record lows, views on economy slip and many see admin as corrupt
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035516193078239233/photo/1
● 63% support Mueller investigation. 53% believe Trump has tried to interfere with it (obstruction) https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035517156270780416/photo/1
● Two-thirds think case for trying Manafort was justified. Only 18% think he should be pardoned https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035518249331507200/photo/1
● Only 23% side with Trump is his battle with AG Sessions; 62% stand with Sessions https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035522208997601280/photo/1
● 61% say if Trump directed Cohen to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, it would be a crime https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035522624225460224/photo/1
● Almost half (49%) think Congress should begin impeachment hearings. 25% of those polled identified as Republican; in this poll, only 78% of them approve of Trump’s performance https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035524589307215872/photo/1
⇈ ⇊
Note: The WaPo/ABC Poll that came out today (http://wapo.st/2PTYe2M) is rated A+ by FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings http://53eig.ht/2MDDZYU Of major polls, only Monmouth also scores an A+, although several smaller polling operations do.

🐣 RT @McFaul Last week, many asked me about my take on oligarchs, privatization, etc in Yeltsin era. So I tracked down this PDF of a piece I wrote back in the 1995 on privatization in Russia. Tragically, holds up pretty well:
⋙ CambridgeUnivPress (World Politics), Michael McFaul (Jan 1995): State Power, Institutional Change and the Politics of Privatization in Russia [pdf] http://bit.ly/2LK4Bm1 35p
// Jan 1995

🐣 RT @lovetogive2 🤔#McGahn’s former law firm #JonesDay not only rep’d Russian companies like #Gazprom, they also rep’d #Diebold —#IndictedForWorldwideFraud, makers of known-to-be-#hackable #VotingMachines?
⋙ 🐣 RT @sprzyslp Yes McGahn is Koch lawyer[.] Jones Day’s biggest client is Diebold. Diebold is now ES&S easily hacked voting machines used by GOP to rig elections since early 90s. Then of course Diebold makes ATM software for Alfa Bank. Follow money law firms banks and oil.
// 7/2/2018

🐣 RT @Yascha_Mounk Need a reminder of the human cost of dictatorship? All these are journalists who criticized Putin–and died under mysterious circumstances
https://twitter.com/Yascha_Mounk/status/886276943888429056/photo/1
// 7/15/2017, trail of dead Russians; bio: Lecturer @Harvard, Senior Fellow @NewAmerica, Columnist @Slate, Host of The Good Fight podcast. Defending liberal democracy against the illiberal international.

⭕ 30 Aug 2018

ForeignPolicy, Stephen Walt (8/30): Planning for the Post-Trump Wreckage http://bit.ly/2OkTL7R
// When the president eventually exits the White House, the rest of us will quickly have to make sense of the world he’s left behind.

Slate, Oona Hathaway: Bruce Ohr Is One of the DOJ’s Top Russia Crime Fighters Is that why the president wants him fired? http://bit.ly/2NDNUKG

Politico: Anticipation builds around Mueller as 60-day election window nears http://politi.co/2PNlLlT
// The cutoff is not a hard and fast rule, but some former prosecutors expect Mueller to bend over backward to avoid taking steps that might be construed as improper before the midterms.

WaPo, Michael Gerson: This is the new GOP: Angry and afraid http://wapo.st/2LIXgml “Republicans must pick their own point of principled resistance to a corrosive populism, if they have one at all.”
// authoritarianism

But Republican leaders need to prepare themselves. This compromise is likely to be temporary. Trump is not only making a challenge to the Republican establishment; he is also increasingly impatient with structures of democratic accountability. As Edward Luce argues in “The Retreat of Western Liberalism,” “the true populist loses patience with the rules of the democratic game.” He comes to view himself as the embodied voice of the people, and opponents as (in Trump’s words) “un-American” and “treasonous.”

… If the GOP narrowly retains control of the House, Trump and others will take it as the vindication of his whole approach to politics. The president will doubtlessly go further in targeting his enemies for investigation and other harm. He will doubtlessly attack the independence of the FBI and attempt to make it an instrument of his will. He will doubtlessly continue his vendetta against responsible journalism and increase his pressure on media companies that don’t please him. On a broad front, Trump’s lunacy will become operational.

The separation of powers does not work automatically, like a washing machine. Republicans must pick their own point of principled resistance to a corrosive populism, if they have one at all.

Republican leaders may dread it, but they will eventually be forced to identify that final area where they keep themselves — or find there is no one there.

WaPo, Ashley Parker: ‘Totally dishonest’: Trump asserts only he can be trusted over opponents and ‘fake news’ http://wapo.st/2wr94VG
// authoritarianism

“This is Trump at war — war with the elites; war with the permanent political class; war with the opposition party media, tech oligarchs, the Antifa anarchists,” Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former White House chief strategist, wrote in a text message. “This is the reason Trump is president — to take on the vested interests in this country for hard working Americans.”

At a rally later Thursday in Indiana, Trump took aim at the news media, describing them as “dishonest, terrible people” and telling the crowd, “When you get good ratings, you can say anything.”

“The widening circle of the parties that he’s accusing is predictable because I see Donald Trump as an authoritarian in the making or an authoritarian wannabe, and there’s always a transition process of this sort of leader asserting himself above all the authorities,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University who studies authoritarianism. “Every authoritarian leader eventually asserts himself as the only arbiter of truth.”

The spate of frenetic tweets also underscores both “a confidence and desperation” on the part of the president,” said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief who is now the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. 

“Confidence that he is, in fact, the only reliable source,” Sesno said, “and desperation in that he is losing control of the narrative and needs to reassert his version of the truth.”

DailyBeast: Rudy Giuliani Is Putting Together a ‘Counter-Report’ to Question Robert Mueller’s ‘Legitimacy’ http://thebea.st/2N0xJKk
// It’s being done with the explicit blessing of Trump who is ‘happy’ that this is part of his legal team’s ‘strategy,’ the president’s lawyer says.

According to Giuliani, the bulk of the report will be divided into two sections. One section will seek to question the legitimacy of the Mueller probe generally by alleging “possible conflicts” of interest by federal law enforcement authorities. The other section will respond to more substantive allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russian government agents to sway the 2016 election, and obstruction of justice allegations stemming from, among other things, the president’s firing of former FBI director James Comey.

WaPo: Former Nixon counsel John Dean to be witness opposed to Kavanaugh nomination to Supreme Court http://wapo.st/2LHb8h2

Democrats seeking to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh have recruited former Nixon White House counsel John Dean to testify during next week’s hearing on Capitol Hill, focusing on concerns about Kavanaugh’s views on presidential power and executive privilege.

In a telephone interview, Dean said he would focus on Kavanaugh’s views on executive power and his statements about the case, U.S. v. Nixon, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over secretly recorded White House tapes.

Kavanaugh’s view on the case is murky. He said in a 1999 panel discussion that “maybe Nixon was wrongly decided — heresy though it is to say so. Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch . . . that was a huge step with implications to this day that most people do no fully appreciate.”

Dean also said he would focus on Kavanaugh’s 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, in which the federal appeals court judge wrote that a president is too busy to be distracted by civil suits and criminal investigation while in office. Kavanaugh’s view has come under scrutiny because he played the lead role in laying out the grounds for impeaching President Bill Clinton when he helped write a report to Congress for independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Dean, who has said Trump is “more dangerous” than Nixon, said it is a “correct presumption” that he is opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination. The hearings are slated to begin Tuesday, and Dean is scheduled to testify on Friday.

FBI.gov: The FBI Launches a Combating Foreign Influence Webpage http://bit.ly/2Pmm2Lv

NYT, Alex Whiting and Ryan Goodman: Will Trump Pardon Manafort? http://nyti.ms/2N5mKzd
// By speculating about it, the president and his surrogates have already acted improperly.

🐣 Semion Mogilevich bio https://twitter.com/Redrum_of_Crows/status/1035403015618850816/photo/1

💙💙 TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Trump’s Top Targets in the Russia Probe Are Experts in Organized Crime http://bit.ly/2LGGSTm
// Some of President Trump’s favorite targets in the Russia probe have spent their careers in the Justice Department and FBI investigating organized crime and money laundering, particularly as they pertain to Russia.

Bruce Ohr. Lisa Page. Andrew Weissmann. Andrew McCabe. President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked these FBI and Justice Department officials as dishonest “Democrats” engaged in a partisan “witch hunt” led by the special counsel determined to tie his campaign to Russia. But Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia.

As Trump praised and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin along the campaign trail, financial analysts and money-laundering experts questioned whether the real-estate mogul had any financial incentives—including business ties or outstanding debt—to seek better relations with Moscow. Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed in May 2017 to investigate a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, assembled a team with revealing expertise in fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and other financial crimes.

Trump’s fixation with seeing Ohr ousted from the Justice Department … could also be interpreted as an attack on someone with deep knowledge of the shady characters Trump and his cohort have been linked to, including Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mob boss, and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate close to Putin who did business with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Incidentally, another Manafort associate, the Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash, admitted that he only managed to be in business because Mogilevich allowed him to be, according to a leaked 2008 State Department cable.) Ohr was involved in banning Deripaska from the U.S. in 2006, due to his alleged ties to organized crime and fear that he would try to launder money into American real estate.

And then there’s Andy McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI who spent more than a decade investigating Russian organized crime and served as a supervisory special agent of a task force that scrutinized Eurasian crime syndicates.

One member of Mueller’s team, meanwhile, has provoked more ire from the president’s allies than others: Andrew Weissmann, a seasoned prosecutor who oversaw cases against high-ranking organized criminals on Wall Street in the early 1990s and, later, against 30 people implicated in the Enron fraud scandal. Trump has also villainized the former Mueller team member Lisa Page, a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s organized-crime section whose cases centered on international organized crime and money laundering.

Mueller’s probe is first and foremost a counterintelligence investigation, and Trump famously declared last year that any examination of his personal finances would cross a “red line.” But Russia’s criminal syndicates have become increasingly intertwined with its intelligence services, blurring the line between Mafia dons and spies.

[Trump’s] links to Russian oligarchs and mobsters from the former Soviet Union have been documented: Millions of dollars from the former Soviet Union flowed into Trump’s developments and casinos throughout the 1990s, as the journalist Craig Unger has chronicled, as oligarchs looked for a place to hide their money in the West. The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was once known as a hot spot for Brooklyn mobsters associated with the Russian Mafia, and quickly became the “favorite East Coast destination” of the top Russian mob boss Vyacheslav Ivankov …

By the early 2000s, a third of the buyers of Trump Tower’s most expensive condos were Russia-linked shell companies or individuals from the former Soviet Union—including Eduard Nektalov, a mob-connected diamond dealer from Uzbekistan, and David Bogatin, a Russian-émigré mobster who specialized in bootlegging gasoline. Bogatin’s brother was involved in an elaborate stock fraud with the top Russian mob boss Mogilevich, who himself is allied with Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov—another Russian mob leader who ran an entire gambling and money-laundering network out of Unit 63A in Trump Tower, just three floors below Trump’s own residence. (Tokhtakhounov was a VIP attendee at Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow just seven months after the gambling ring was busted by the FBI.) Trump’s own sons have boasted of the Trump Organization’s dependence on Russian money. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008. “We don’t rely on American banks,” Eric Trump reportedly told a golfing buddy in 2014. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen—who pleaded guilty last week to tax fraud and campaign-finance violations, in which he implicated the president—once bragged that he was part of the Russian mob, according to The Wall Street Journal. Cohen’s uncle, with whom he was close, owned a Brooklyn catering hall called El Caribe, in which Cohen had a stake—a hall that “for decades was the scene of mob weddings and Christmas parties,” the Times reported, and housed the offices of “two of New York’s most notorious Russian mobsters.”

It is ironic, then, that Trump’s attacks have shone a bright light on the experts inside and outside the government who have been investigating him—individuals who share a deep expertise in organized crime, money laundering, fraud, and racketeering. Even Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, spent years as an investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal digging into Russian organized crime. In a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee last year, Simpson explained that “real-estate deals” were a common Russian method of hiding and moving money. Asked whether Fusion had found “evidence” of corruption and illicit finance related to the purchase of Trump properties, Simpson replied that his firm had seen “patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money laundering,” including “fast-turnover deals and deals where there seemed to have been efforts to disguise the identity of the buyer.”

It’s not just Trump Tower or Trump Taj Mahal. NBC News reported in November that Trump’s Panama hotel had organized-crime ties, and a Russian state-owned bank under U.S. sanctions, whose CEO met with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in December 2016, helped finance the construction of the president’s 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto.

“The Russian Mafia is essentially under the dominion of the Russian government and Russian intelligence services,” Simpson said in his congressional testimony. But Trump, continuing on the curious theme of defending Moscow while throwing U.S. intelligence officials under the bus, has, conveniently for Putin, persisted in making a spectacle of some of the Kremlin’s biggest adversaries in the U.S. government.

📊 Suffolk Univ/USAToday Poll (8/23-28) http://bit.ly/2Pjz8Ji
Trump approval/disapproval ⋙ 40/58%
Trust Mueller probe ⋙ 55%
Don’t trust Trump denial of collusion ⋙ 59%
Cohen plea raises ?s about Trump ⋙ 61%❗
Believe Russia meddled ⋙ 69%
Corruption worse under Trump ⋙ 57%

Fifty-eight percent of likely voters said they hold an unfavorable view of the president, compared to 52 percent in June, while his favorable rate has held steady at 40 percent since the early-summer poll. Trump’s job approval numbers tell a similar story, with 56 percent of voters either disapproving or strongly disapproving of his job performance, and 40 percent of voters saying they approve or strongly approve.

“Voters’ negative views of Trump have fluctuated over time, but his current troubles likely relate to the recent conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

Bloomberg: Trump Interview Highlights: WTO, Sessions, Capital Gains Taxes http://bloom.bg/2N96GMK

● On pulling out of the World Trade Organization: “If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO.”
● On the EU’s proposal to eliminate auto tariffs: “It’s not good enough.”
● On social media companies: “I mean, look the conservatives have been treated very unfairly.”
● On Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe: “I view it as an illegal investigation. I’m not saying anything, I’m just telling you this: You read the great scholars, the great legal- there should have never been a special counsel.”

Bloomberg: Sessions Is Safe at Least Until November Elections, Trump Says http://bloom.bg/2PWxDlE Mueller probe is ‘an illegal investigation,’ president says

● The attorney general has resisted Trump’s pressure to resign
● Mueller probe is ‘an illegal investigation,’ president says

“I view it differently. I view it as an illegal investigation” because “great scholars” have said that “there never should have been a special counsel,” the president said.

Trump has ridiculed Sessions, a former Republican senator and an early supporter of his presidential candidacy, as “weak” for failing to aggressively pursue Republican allegations of anti-Trump bias in the Justice Department and FBI. Trump has tried to no avail to pressure Sessions to quit, which would open the way to appointing a successor who could oust Mueller or rein in his inquiry.

Sessions’s inability to “control” his department was “a regrettable thing,” Trump said in an interview last week with Fox News, adding that the Justice Department seems “to go after a lot of Republicans.”

Sessions responded then in a defiant statement, saying, “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

NYT, Ken Jaworowski: Review: ‘Active Measures’ Looks at Links Between Trump and Russia http://nyti.ms/2MCyOZf Directed by Jack Bryan
Text block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035289265817772032/photo/1

Eager to make you uncomfortable, “Active Measures” piles on the ire as it outlines Russian efforts to manipulate world events, particularly the 2016 American presidential election.

This formidable film is sometimes zealous to a fault: The credits cite more than 200 sources of archival material, from The Washington Post to YouTube channels. It’s a lot to take in, as names and numbers zip by, yet missing some of its points may be healthy. To explore every moment is to risk overdosing on outrage.

“Is This the Documentary That Can Take Down Trump?” asks the headline of a recent article on the film in Vanity Fair. The answer: probably not. Much of what’s asserted here has already been reported elsewhere. Yet if, by the end, you’re angry about what you’ve seen — and you’re likely to be — Mr. Bryan will probably be pleased.

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The Michael Cohen, CNN, and Trump-Russia controversy, explained http://bit.ly/2PivMGD

Reuters: Trump seeks to backtrack on 2017 comments on Comey firing http://reut.rs/2wASOk2

DailyBeast, Lachlan Markay: Rudy Giuliani Is Putting Together a ‘Counter-Report’ to Question Robert Mueller’s ‘Legitimacy’ http://thebea.st/2N0xJKk
// It’s being done with the explicit blessing of Trump who is ‘happy’ that this is part of his legal team’s ‘strategy,’ the president’s lawyer says.

🐣 RT @matttglesias Really worth emphasizing that there’s a good (~25%) chance Republicans hold the House, gain a senate seat or two, replace McCain/Flake/Corker with Trump loyalists, Mueller gets fired, Manafort gets pardoned, and then that’s game over — the coverup worked.

CFR, Jonathan Masters (2017): U.S. Foreign Policy Powers: Congress and the President ~ Backgrounder http://on.cfr.org/2N4fYtu
// 3/2/2018, The separation of powers has spawned a great deal of debate over the roles of the president and Congress in foreign affairs, as well as over the limits on their respective authorities, explains this Backgrounder.

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom [ClintWatts] Here it comes, Trump suggesting to his followers anything negative toward him “may have been altered”. Fake audio, fake video will soon be a cover for getting away with anything.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real [fudged data … ]

🐣 RT @Acosta Imagine what life would be like if the only “trusted” news source is the government, mandating what’s reported and controlling what appears in internet search engine results. I’ve visited places like that. They are not the United States of America.

NBC, Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice: Trump’s claim that campaign finance violations ‘are not a crime’ is an attack on the laws that protect democracy http://nbcnews.to/2Ny1OOo
// The president is undermining the safeguards that are designed specifically to prevent candidates from rigging elections.

🐣 RT @real Wow, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr’s wife, is a Russia expert who is fluent in Russian. She worked for Fusion GPS where she was paid a lot. Collusion! Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!
⋙ 🐣 Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Oh yeah ~ Didn’t he have something to do with
Semion Mogilevich?

🐣 RT @tribelaw Nearly 16 months after Trump confessed to Lester Holt that he’d fired Comey over “the Russia thing,” he suddenly claims that NBC had “fudged” the tape of Holt’s national interview❗This obvious lie is itself a confession that Trump now realizes the import of what he admitted.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!

🐣 RT @NormOrnstein Who are you gonna believe, a legendary investigative reporter or a serial liar? How to decide, how to decide?
⋙ 🐣 RT @carlbernstein .@realdonaIdtrump- I have spent my life as a journalist bringing the truth to light, through administrations of both parties. No taunt will diminish my commitment to that mission, which is the essential role of a free press. @CNN stands by its story, and I stand by my reporting.

JustSecurity, Oona Hathaway: The President’s Personal Assault on Bruce Ohr—and its dangerous effects http://bit.ly/2wy2z2I

Ohr had a number of connections to Fusion GPS.  First and foremost, his wife, Nellie Ohr, is a Russian linguist who worked for Fusion GPS and, it appears, worked on the opposition research on Trump. But that was not Ohr’s only connection to Fusion GPS.  He knew both Simpson and Steele because they had traveled in similar professional circles—and had met at conferences on fighting organized crime over the years. Steele and Ohr had also worked together busting Russian corruption in FIFA (Steele reportedly used some of the same sources in compiling his dossier on Trump).  In his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Simpson testified that Steele had suggested that Simpson speak directly to Ohr about the information Fusion GPS had unearthed about Trump.

… House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif) publicly released a memo from “HPSCI Majority Staff” to the “HPSCI Majority Members” claiming that the Steele dossier was a key source for the FISA application to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Nunes memo claimed, moreover, that the FISA application relied on the dossier without acknowledging its possible bias and inaccuracies. That claim, however, was later decisively proven wrong when, in an extraordinary turn of events, the application was released (in redacted form)—the first ever such release. That application made clear that the FBI put the political origins of the dossier in context in the application. What’s more, the dossier was one of many sources used by the FBI to support the application. Carter Page, moreover, was already subject to an earlier FISA warrant — which was very likely a strong basis for the 2016 warrant.

What we have, then, is an all out personal assault on an almost three-decade civil servant by the President of the United States and significant members of the Republican leadership. For years, Ohr has made major contributions to U.S. government efforts to fight Russian organized crime. In 2006, he was one of several government officials who played a role in revoking the visa of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and aluminum magnate, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, and who has been tied to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.  Craig Unger, who has published a book on Trump’s ties to Russian organized crime, also recently claimed in a tweet on August 28 that Trump is punishing Ohr because he investigated Semion Mogilevich and “wld know abt RU Mafia laundering $$ thru Trump condos, RU Mafia ties w Kremlin, & Mafia operations run from Trump Tower.”

TheHill: Trump rips CNN boss: ‘His ratings suck & AT&T should fire him’ http://bit.ly/2PgDpgL “When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!” he added. //➔ say whut?! #Unhinged

🐣 RT @MelissaRyan Per @mikeallen the GOP plans to derail next week’s Senate Intel hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media platforms with this conservative bias nonsense.
⋙ Axios: 1 big thing … Trump’s new fake news: fake social http://bit.ly/2C2zdzz

🐣 RT @chucktodd I miss the days when people muttered nutty conspiracy theories to themselves while meandering down a sidewalk. Now they share it on Twitter w/millions of followers and for some reason some folks amplify it. Treat these tweets the way you’d treat the sidewalk mumbler, look away
⋙ 🐣 “He is a loathesome, offensive brute. Yet I can’t look away.” – Seinfeld https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1035132925363281921/photo/1

⭕ 29 Aug 2018

VoxUkraine, Andreas Umland: Whom Does Crimea Belong to? http://bit.ly/2NagV3K
// Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula and the question of historical justice

🐣 RT @AdamRamsay Netanyahu is terrifying.
⋙ 🐣 RT @IsraelPM The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.
⋙ ⋙ 🐣 Good lord. He sounds like a nazi.

WaPo, Max Boot: The West may be sleepwalking into another catastrophe http://wapo.st/2C9jvSW

🐣 RT @CNNCommunications Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie. We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake. Sloppy @carlbernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News

Snopes/AP: CNN Stands by Story About Whether Trump Knew of Russian Meeting http://bit.ly/2MFfta4 Carl Bernstein and CNN breathe new life into the claim that Trump had prior knowledge of Trump Tower meeting //➔ no wonder Trump is furious
// CNN is sticking by a story casting doubt on President Donald Trump’s claim that he did not have prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Despite a key source backing off his assertion, CNN is sticking by a story casting doubt on President Donald Trump’s claim that he did not have prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

CNN said it had more than one source for its story, co-authored by Jim Sciutto and Watergate legend Carl Bernstein.

CNN’s story, written on July 27, said that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was willing to say that he heard Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tell his father about the Russians’ offer to share material about Clinton, his Democratic rival for the presidency. It also said that Trump gave the go-ahead to take the meeting at Trump Tower. If true, that would contradict what Trump and representatives have long said, that he didn’t know about the meeting until long after it happened.

Such information would be of great interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 American presidential campaign.

Yet, if Davis was actually an anonymous source for CNN, the story should not also say that Cohen’s lawyer declined to comment. You can’t have it both ways. That’s a big no-no in journalism.

If real doubt can be raised about CNN’s reporting on an important, damaging story regarding Trump and the Russia investigation, it gives Trump and his supporters major ammunition in its ongoing effort to make CNN seem like an unreliable news source.

Politico: Mueller wants to review emails between Manafort, former lawyer http://politi.co/2MCV6dj
// Manafort’s emails are a special case, Mueller’s team argued in a court motion Wednesday. Attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply when the client enlists a lawyer’s help to commit a crime — and that’s what Mueller’s team is arguing that Manafort did.

DemWritePress, Kseniya Kirillova: Why Russian “Soft Power” is Much More Dangerous Than Western “Soft Power” http://bit.ly/2PR7tR1 in Democracy, Political Corruption

MilitaryTimes: Trump makes it clear: No military exercises with South Korea http://bit.ly/2ww1KaI //➔ Trump appears to override Mattis, tauts ‘very good and warm’ relationship w Kim

CrimeRussia: Senior executive of steel plant in Russia, Bruno Charles de Kooman, falls out of window in Moscow http://bit.ly/2wrPCYZ
⋙ 🐣 RT @guitr25 List of Russians who have fallen from windows: Maxim Borodin, 32, reporter; Ivan Safranov, 2007; Olga Kotovskya, 2009; Victor Aphanesenko, 2012; Mikhail Lesin, 2015, Wash, DC fall in room; Nikolai Gorokhov, 2017 (moving bath tub (?) fell from 4th floor, survived) …

CNBC/Reuters: Trump presses Supreme Court chief justice for action on Russia dossier http://cnb.cx/2LGdigT

● The U.S. Supreme Court chief justice should order the judge in charge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to question FBI and Justice Department officials about their use of a so-called Russia dossier, the president tweeted on Wednesday.
● Rosemary Collyer is the presiding judge for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees electronic surveillance requests and search warrants sought by federal authorities.
● U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to help Trump win the 2016 election but the Kremlin denies meddling. Trump denies any collusion and has said Steele’s Russia dossier is “bogus.”

Bloomberg, Mark Gongloff: Russia’s Putin Trap http://bloom.bg/2LGITzj
// Without the rule of law, economic rebirth is impossible.

WaPo: Trump suggests Bruce Ohr, Justice official linked to Russia dossier, should be fired http://wapo.st/2MDHXkn

VanityFair, Abigail Tracy: Don McGahn’s Exit Signals an Explosive New Phase in the Russia Probe http://bit.ly/2MC1Ybd
// With the White House counsel on his way out—and Jeff Sessions likely to follow—Trump is setting in motion a series of changes that could fundamentally alter the balance of power between the Justice Department and the president.

Reuters: Trump presses Supreme Court chief justice for action on Russia dossier http://reut.rs/2MDGg6v

NYT: Trump Attacks CNN After Source Raises Doubts About Report on Russia Meeting http://nyti.ms/2om1vLv

WaPo: ‘Winter is coming’: Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm http://wapo.st/2PPCKnq

TheAtlantic: Russia Is Co-opting Angry Young Men http://bit.ly/2LCo7R7
// Fight clubs, neo-Nazi soccer hooligans, and motorcycle gangs serve as conduits for the Kremlin’s influence operations in Western countries.

🐣 RT @MaggieNYT McGahn believes Kushner and Ivanka helped push out news about him to force his hand, ppl close to him say. Ivanka Trump complained bitterly to her father about Times story on McGahn intvu w Mueller a few weeks back, per people briefed
⋙ NYT: Don McGahn to Leave White House Counsel Job This Fall, Trump Says http://nyti.ms/2MD7muv

BuzzFeedNews, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier: “Suspicious” Transactions At Russian Embassy Sparked Deeper Bank Probe Than Previously Known http://bit.ly/2Nvsmjj
// The former Russian ambassador received a salary payment twice as large as past years, and bankers blocked a $150,000 withdrawal.

ForeignAffairs,James Goldgeier and Elizabeth N. Saunders: The Unconstrained Presidency http://fam.ag/2MB1amJ
// Checks and Balances Eroded Long Before Trump

CNN: Don McGahn to leave job as White House counsel, Trump says http://cnn.it/2BYXRAX

◕🐣💙💙 @jzikah’s awesome hand-drawn chart of #TrumpRussia
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1034829014907736065/photo/1
// Semion Mogilevich: Smart Don; Trump: Dumb Don

New media have always been disruptive: Printing Press: Reformation; Pamphlets: French & American Revolutions, Radio: Hitler (&Roosevelt), TV: McCarthy, Age of Spectacle, Reality TV. The Internet is the Mother-of-All-Media. Of COURSE it’s disruptive!

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Maria Butina: Private Messages Reveal Accused Russian Spy’s True Ties to D.C. Wise Man http://thebea.st/2wp8EPL
// The head of the Center for the National Interest said his interaction with Butina was limited, but emails and direct messages show it was closer than previously understood.

When federal prosecutors charged Maria Butina with covertly infiltrating the conservative movement on behalf of the Kremlin, questions began to swirl around a Washington think tank that had published her pro-GOP writing—and hosted then-candidate Donald Trump’s Russia-friendly first foreign policy speech.

But previously unreported emails and direct messages between Butina and officials at the Center show her relationship with the think tank’s president—former Richard Nixon adviser Dimitri Simes—was closer than previously understood. The two didn’t just make plans to have dinner together. According to emails and Twitter DMs reviewed by The Daily Beast, Simes looked to use his connections with Butina and her associate, Russian Central Bank official Alexandr Torshin, to advance the business interests of one of the Center’s most generous donors.

An attorney for the donor—Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the one-time CEO of insurance and financial services giant AIG—said he did nothing inappropriate

The meeting never happened. But if anyone could have pulled it off, it might have been the Moscow-born [Dmitri] Simes. A fixture of the D.C. foreign policy establishment, he worked at some of Washington’s most prestigious institutions—including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies—before being selected by Richard Nixon to lead the Center for National Interest. Simes is widely viewed as one of the Washingtonians with the closest Kremlin connections. And his think tank argues for foreign policy realism, including warmer relations between Washington and Moscow.

In other words, Butina and Simes exchanged multiple emails discussing the logistics of what could have been high-level Moscow meetings between an American billionaire and a powerful Kremlin official whom The Wall Street Journal characterizes as a Putin ally.

🐣 RT @ForeignPolicy He revealed a list of secret payments made by a Ukrainian pro-Russia party to Paul Manafort and others. We sat down with Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, to discuss Manafort’s recent conviction.
⋙ ForeignPolicy, Elias Groll: The Ukrainian Who Sunk Paul Manafort http://bit.ly/2MAQDbp
// 8/27/2018, The politician and former journalist Serhiy Leshchenko says Ukraine needs its own Robert Mueller.

🐣 RT @real [11:11pm] Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone!
⋙ 🚫 [Disinfo] DailyCaller: SOURCES: China Hacked Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server | The Daily Caller http://bit.ly/2wDAVl1
// mentioned: Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Comey, Sally Yates, James Comey (of course)

● A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
● The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
● The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

🐣 RT @anders_aslund Thanks, as I have argued for years, Gazprom is not a commercial company but an organized crime syndicate focused on corrupt rent seeking of Putin cronies & geopolitics. How can Germany allow an organized crime syndicate dominate its gas supplies?! Stop NS2!
⋙ 🐣 RT @bneeditor all change in Russian stocks. Novatek overtakes Gazprom to become 2nd most valuable stock behind Rosneft. ¤ Gazprom is now worth less than own oil subsid Gazprom Neft. ¤ & Rosneft’s charm offensive to be nice to investors seems to be working as its shares up 28% YTD vs flat RTS

🐣 RT @MaxBoot Reagan said: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally–not a 20 percent traitor.” Republicans now disagree. Someone like McCain who agreed with them 87 percent of the time is, it seems, a traitor after all. Me:
🐣 RT @MaxBoot The GOP’s embrace of Trump and rejection of McCain is emblematic of the atavistic tribalism, ideological extremism, and authoritarian cultism that the senator spent his entire life combating. Me in @PostOpinions:
⋙ WaPo, MaxBoot: Republicans rejected McCain and embraced Trump. What does that say about them? http://wapo.st/2NsuRmk

🐣 RT @anders_aslund The connections between the #Trump gang & #Mogilevich are well known. It is indicative that Trump attacks the US experts on Mogilevich. This looks like half a confession from Trump. Mueller probably knows the truth.

🐣 RT @TrickFreee What if the “Budapest Bridge” was a metaphor for the bridge between the FSB/KGB and the Mogilevich Organization? Mogilevich ran the organization from Moscow, but it was based in Budapest. Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr spent a lot of time on those Budapest TOC investigations…
⋙ 🐣 RT @craigunger Nance is right. Ex-KGB Gen. Oleg Kalugin told me precisely that. Which makes it deeply disturbing that so many Russian mobsters laundered $ thru, lived in, and ran operations in the home of the man who is now president. #Mogilevich compromised @realDonaldTrump many times over.
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @MalcolmNance Russian mafia is just an extension of Russian Intelligence. They’re not taking chances.
⋙⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @Tom_Winter NBC News: Banker who played key role in Paul Manafort investigation has apartment broken into. Briefcase and other items stolen.
Latest from @jonathan4ny
⋙⋙⋙⋙ NBCNewYork: One-Time Paul Manafort Banker Robbed of iPad, Briefcase in Mysterious Overnight Break-in at His NYC Penthouse: Sources http://bit.ly/2PPnVS7
// David Fallarino was one of three so-called key figures not called by Robert Mueller’s office to testify at the trial of Paul Manafort

⭕ 28 Aug 2018

📒 StratComCOE (Spring 2018): Gatis Krūmiņš: Soviet Economic Gaslighting of Latvia and the Baltic States. http://bit.ly/2NwvZ8u
// Spring 2018, NATO Strategic Command

🐣 RT @StacyJannis Oh and don’t forget how the Bank of New York case was litigated. Dershowitz represented the Kremlin.
⋙ NBC/AP (2008): Russia uses RICO statute to sue Bank of N.Y. http://nbcnews.to/2BXKMbb
// 7/27/2008
↥ ↧
LATimes (1999): Russian Money Trail Leading to More Banks : Scandal: U.S. is investigating international institutions’ reports of ‘suspicious activity’ that might be linked to possible laundering through a New York bank. http://lat.ms/2MAIyDA
// 8/31/1999, DeutscheBank, Bank of New York

Deutsche Bank and other international financial institutions have reported to U.S. authorities on suspicious account activity that could be linked to possible money laundering by Russian organized crime figures through Bank of New York Co., sources said Monday. …

But the case has emphasized the murky nature of international finance in the post-Soviet era. Money has been draining out of Russia at an alarming rate–some estimate $150 billion since 1991–as businesses and the political elite seek to protect their assets from economic collapse and Russia’s tax system.

Investigators now are trying to determine how much–if any–of the money flowing through the bank came from fraud related to Russian government contracts, commodities sales or securities.

But much of the capital flight from Russia is legal. Since Russian banks are notoriously unsafe, legal businesses find ways to convert their earnings to dollars, francs or deutsche marks and transfer them to banks in Switzerland, London or New York.

Still, U.S. officials have reported that Russia’s banks have contributed to the problem by assisting fraudulent schemes that allow profits to be concealed in offshore tax havens.

Investigators also have seen a rise in the use of forged securities by organized crime groups in financial transactions and in the emerging Russian stock market. One person allegedly linked to a similar scheme in the U.S. is Semyon Mogilevich, a reputed mobster who is believed to control YBM Magnex International, a Pennsylvania firm that pleaded guilty in June to securities fraud in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Benex recently vouched for several Mogilevich associates who were seeking visas to enter the U.S., according to people familiar with the case. Russian authorities believed them to be mob associates and blocked the visas, the sources said.

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin Like any other wannabe tyrant, Trump wants us to believe that true information is false and false information is true so that he won’t suffer the consequences of his corruption. He knows that even threatening the use of regulatory action against media will hinder their work.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. […]

WaPo (Feb): Justice Dept. official who helped oversee Clinton, Russia probes steps down http://wapo.st/2PLqtAs chief of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section @maddow
// 2/7/2018, David Laufman

A Justice Department official who helped oversee the controversial probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and Russian interference in the 2016 election stepped down this week.

David Laufman, an experienced federal prosecutor who in 2014 became chief of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, said farewell to colleagues Wednesday. He cited personal reasons.

His departure from the high-pressure job comes as President Trump and his Republican allies have stepped up attacks on the Justice Department, the FBI and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III for their handling of the Russia probe.

Politico, Josh Meyer: McCain’s choice of Russian dissident as pallbearer is final dig at Putin, Trump http://politi.co/2LBG3v4

RollingStone, Seth Hettena: Michael Cohen, Lanny Davis and the Russian Mafia http://rol.st/2LyfCXi
// President Trump’s former fixer may not be the most notorious client of power lawyer Lanny Davis at this moment

WaPo: Trump privately revived the idea of firing Sessions this month, according to people familiar with the discussions http://wapo.st/2wwQGtT //➔ (why is this “Breaking”?)

NYMag, Benjamin Hart: Lanny Davis Says He Was Source for CNN Trump Tower Story http://nym.ag/2MDU8O3 //➔ @NickAckerman just said on @AriMelber’s show he thinks Cohen is cooperating w Mueller who made Lanny Davis recant his statements about what Cohen knew when re tower mtg

Politico, Kyle Cheney: GOP lawmakers grill DOJ official Ohr over Trump dossier http://politi.co/2NuXZJE

Ohr, who appeared for a closed-door interview in a Capitol office building, has become the Trump allies’ latest focus in their efforts to raise questions about the investigators who ran the probe into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. As a senior Justice Department staffer, Ohr passed along Steele’s information to the FBI, even after the bureau terminated its formal relationship with Steele over media leaks.

At least seven GOP lawmakers — members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees — attended as well: Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy, John Ratcliffe, Darrell Issa, Matt Gaetz and Andy Biggs. No Democratic lawmakers were on hand, but staffers of both parties attended.

Gaetz, emerging from the interview after nearly two hours, said Ohr appeared to be answering questions forthrightly but that his testimony about the timing of his contacts with Fusion appeared to conflict with answers given to lawmakers by Fusion GPS cofounder Glenn Simpson and former FBI attorney Lisa Page.

Gaetz, Meadows and Issa told reporters that Ohr’s testimony revealed that the FBI had more significant doubts about the credibility of the Steele dossier than the bureau revealed when it applied for a court-ordered surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, in October 2016.

BuzzFeedNews, Craig Silverman: Revealed: Notorious Pro-Trump Misinformation Site True Pundit Is Run By An Ex-Journalist With A Grudge Against The FBI http://bit.ly/2ohqD68
// How award-winning former journalist Michael D. Moore came to run a site filled with false reports and conspiracies.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Devin Nunes’s Curious Trip to London http://bit.ly/2MWcpFF
// The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee flew to London to gather intel on Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier alleging Trump-campaign ties with Russia. But MI5, MI6, and GCHQ didn’t seem interested.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Lindsey Graham is on @foxandfriends, where he says that if any other American did what Clinton did with her emails “they’d be in jail” and that Russia did interfere in the election…using the Steele dossier. Topic then moved on to John McCain.

💙💙 Medium, Jay McKenzie: Trump, Putin and the mob. Research collection. Part 1: Trump campaign connections. http://bit.ly/2wqY4XJ
// 8/21/2017, Six parts

🐣 RT @craigunger Now we’re getting there. Why was Bruce Ohr punished by Trump? He was going after Mogilevich, the RU Mafia’s financial genius whose operatives were living in and laundering $ thru Trump Tower for decades. For everything you wanted to know abt Mogi: http://bit.ly/TrumpPutinBook 

🐣 RT @LincolnsBible Will Mueller go after SM?
⋙ 🐣 Miller? I doubt it. I wish he could, but it don’t think SM’s been involved in any criminal activity. Unless The Hague charges him w Crimes against Humanity or the Congress grows a conscience. He is the most odious jerk in the WH, imho.

⭕ 27 Aug 2018

Law&Crime: Alleged Russian Troll Farm Vows to Challenge Robert Mueller’s Authority — Again http://bit.ly/2PL63aK

🐣 RT @wgeary The U.S. and Russia are the world’s largest weapons dealers. I mapped the flows of arms exports leaving the U.S. and USSR/Russia from 1950 to 2017. Full video (with audio) available here: https://vimeo.com/286751571
💽 https://twitter.com/wgeary/status/1034077099026526208/photo/1
// arms sales video graphic

💙 NYT, Paul Krugman: Why It Can Happen Here http://nyti.ms/2PcLq6d
// We’re very close to becoming another Poland or Hungary.

🐣 RT @BillBrowder @vkaramurza and I pay tribute to John McCain on @AliVelshi @MSNBC. Sen. John McCain stood up for the victims of Putin’s dictatorship including Sergei Magnitsky and we got some measure of justice with the passage of the Magnitsky Act. RIP hero John McCain
⋙ 💽 MSNBC: Russian dissident on McCain: He was never an enemy to Russia or its people http://on.msnbc.com/2C2f1xM
// Bill Browder and Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza remember John McCain’s tireless efforts to expose the perils of Russia’s influence on foreign governments and reflect on how much McCain “hated injustice, and found a tool to address this injustice” through the Magnitsky Act.

🐣 RT @TrickFreee Federal prosecutors specifically reserved the right to make additional prosecutions related to Cohen with the explicit mention of 18 USC 1961, better known as the RICO Act.
⋙ 🐣 RT @MaddowBlog Federal prosecutors are reserving the right to charge something here as an organized criminal entity under the RICO statutes. And that relates to Michael Cohen.
💽 https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1034251542155735040/photo/1

🐣 RT @SteveKornacki
Mueller investigation (Fox News poll, August 2018)
Approve 59%
Disapprove 37%

Starr investigation (Fox News poll, August 1998)
Approve 36%
Disapprove 44%

Bloomberg (Mar): Czechs Extradite Russian Hacker Suspect to U.S., Snubbing Moscow http://bloom.bg/2LutjGB
// Yevgeniy Nikulin

🚫🐣 RT @maxbergmann Stone knew in August that Podesta had been hacked – weeks before Podesta knew himself. If Stone knew, Trump knew. ¤ We also know the Trump campaign knew the Russians had “thousands of emails” from Papadopoulos’ meeting w/ the Maltese prof. ¤ This is what a conspiracy looks like.
⋙ 🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Roger Stone says in an Instagram video that a story is coming in The New Yorker which says Stone explicitly told Trump in October 2016 that WikiLeaks had/was going to dump the Podesta emails.
● Photo: https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1034186365792079872/photo/1
[Note: 🚫 means I find interesting but not confident enough to RT]

WSJ: Manafort Sought Deal in Next Trial, but Talks Broke Down http://on.wsj.com/2wlVT8p
// Negotiations stalled after Mueller raised issues

VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “Trump Is Nuts. This Time Really Feels Different”: Trump Rejects “War Council” Intervention, Goes It Alone http://bit.ly/2P8QuZt
// With his closest allies defecting, the president increasingly trusts only his instincts. He “got joy” from stripping former C.I.A. director John Brennan’s security clearance. And after betrayals by Allen Weisselberg and David Pecker, a former White House official says, Trump “spent the weekend calling people and screaming.”
⇈ ⇊
🐣 RT @AntiTrumpReport VanityFair: “Trump is nuts” [Thread] http://bit.ly/2Pc5nKr
VanityFair: (THREAD) Senior officials talked about inviting Giuliani and a group of Trump’s NY real-estate friends including Tom Barrack, Richard LeFrak, & Howard Lorber to the WH to stage an “intervention” last week. “It was supposed to be a war council.”

“Trump is nuts,” said one former West Wing official. “This time really feels different.” Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine has privately expressed concern, a source said, telling a friend that Trump’s emotional state is “very tender.”

Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are unsettled that Trump is so gleefully acting on his most self-destructive impulses as his legal peril grows. According to a source,

Jared and Ivanka told Trump that stripping security clearances from former intelligence officials would backfire, but Trump ignored them. Kushner later told a friend Trump “got joy” out of taking away John Brennan’s clearance.

Cohen’s plea and Paul Manafort’s conviction, which were followed by revelations that Trump Org C.F.O. Allen Weisselberg and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker are cooperating with federal prosecutors, have rattled Trump like few other turns in the investigation have.

Flying on Air Force One to his West Virginia rally last week, Trump seemed “bummed” and “down and out,” a person briefed on the matter said. “He was acting like, ‘I know the news is bad, but I don’t know what to do about it,’” the source said.

By the weekend, though, his anger had returned. “He spent the weekend calling people and screaming,” one former White House official said. According to sources, the president feels cornered with no clear way out.

His months-long campaign to get Sessions to resign—so that Trump could appoint a new AG to shut down the Russia probe—not only failed to get Sessions to step down, but it’s caused him to dig in, as evidenced by Sessions’s rare statement asserting the independence of the DOJ.

“Trump knows at least through the midterms he won’t get another A.G.,” a former White House official said.

After Cohen effectively named Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in campaign-finance crimes with the payments to Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, Trump’s public posture was that the payments weren’t crimes.

Privately, according to two sources, Trump attorneys suggested that a strategy for dealing with the issue could be for Trump to admit to having affairs with women and paying hush money to them for years.

That way, he could assert that the payments to Daniels and McDougal were normal business—not campaign donations meant to influence the 2016 election. Trump, according to the sources, rejected this advice. “It was because of Melania,” one source said.

Inside the West Wing, a sense of numbness and dread has set in among senior advisers as they gird for what Trump will do next. “It’s a return to the abyss,” said one former official who’s in frequent contact with the White House.

“This is back to being a one-man show, and everyone is on the outside looking in.”

Two sources said that Trump continues to raise the possibility of a pardon for Manafort. Trump has been clashing with WH counsel Don McGahn, who is strongly against granting Manafort a pardon.

Trump has told people he’s considering bringing in a new lawyer to draft a Manafort pardon, if McGahn won’t. “He really at this point does not care,” a former official said. “He would rather fight the battle. He doesn’t want to do anything that would cede executive authority.”

🐣 RT @brianklaas Roger Stone says (in an Instagram video posted 2 hours ago) that the New Yorker is about to drop a story about someone claiming they overheard Stone telling Trump about a Wikileaks dump in Oct. 2016 and giving a preview of it. Stone denies it in the video. H/t @NatashaBertrand

💙💙 NYT: Bruce Ohr Fought Russian Organized Crime. Now He’s a Target of Trump. http://nyti.ms/2BREuK0
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYT Ohr 8-27-2018

As President Trump has threatened to take away the security clearance of Bruce G. Ohr, a career Justice Department official, he has described him as a “creep,” accused him of profiting off “disgraced” information and wondered aloud why he still works in the executive branch.

But Mr. Ohr is far from corrupt, friends and former colleagues said. An experienced law enforcement official who spent years battling Russian organized crime, he developed a deep understanding of that dangerous underworld, they said, including raising concerns about at least one oligarch whose name has resurfaced amid the scrutiny of contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

As part of this work, Mr. Ohr, 56, met a British spy who specialized in Russia, Christopher Steele, and the two men developed a bond based on their shared expertise. Mr. Steele went on to investigate ties between Mr. Trump and Russia for the same research firm, Fusion GPS, where Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked as a contractor.

Those connections have upended Mr. Ohr’s once relatively anonymous life, dragging him into the maelstrom of the Russia investigation. His meetings with Mr. Steele, who compiled a dossier of salacious, unverified material about Mr. Trump and was an F.B.I. informant, have prompted the president and his allies, armed with little evidence, to cast Mr. Ohr and his wife as villains, part of a pro-Clinton cabal out to destroy the president.

More consequently, Justice Department officials transferred Mr. Ohr, an associate deputy attorney general, to a less powerful post last year after learning about his contacts with Mr. Steele and the scope of his wife’s work. If he loses his security clearance, which is under review along with those of former senior national security officials viewed by Mr. Trump as political enemies, he would probably be forced to leave federal law enforcement after nearly three decades.

Mr. Ohr’s section supported the 2000 prosecution of Pavlo Lazarenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, who was convicted of money laundering, wire fraud and extortion in a case brought by the office of the United States attorney in San Francisco at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, who is now the special counsel.

Also under Mr. Ohr’s oversight, a Russian crime boss, Semion Mogilevich, was indicted in 2003 on charges of defrauding a company outside of Philadelphia out of $150 million. The case made headlines and laid the groundwork for Justice Department efforts to combat Russian organized crime overseas.

In 2006, Mr. Ohr was part of a group of government officials who revoked the visa of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and aluminum magnate.

Mr. Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, has been tied to the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort … In April, the United States imposed sanctions on Mr. Deripaska.

In 2007, Mr. Ohr met Mr. Steele, who was still with MI-6, the British spy service …

For the F.B.I., their relationship would come in handy. A longtime informant who provided valuable tips on corruption, Mr. Steele violated his confidentiality agreement with the F.B.I. when he disclosed to a reporter in the months before the 2016 election that he had been working with the bureau. He had expressed frustration that his information about Mr. Trump, gathered for Fusion GPS, the research firm that hired him on behalf of Democrats to research the candidate, had gone seemingly nowhere in the F.B.I.

In early November 2016, the agent handling Mr. Steele told him not to obtain intelligence “on behalf of the F.B.I.”

That did not stop F.B.I. agents from collecting coveted information from Mr. Steele. While the F.B.I. could no longer considered him a confidential informant, former officials said, agents eager to assess the dossier as part of their counterintelligence investigation into links between Trump associates and Russia’s election interference could still document what he was telling a third party — Mr. Ohr.

Mr. Ohr met with Mr. Steele almost a dozen times beginning in late 2016 through May 2017, according to congressional officials. F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Ohr after the meetings and documented the information.

Republicans have seized on the meetings. …

Conservatives have also targeted Ms. Ohr, whose contract work at Fusion GPS involved monitoring Russian news media and compiling connections between Mr. Trump and Russia from public documents. She did not work on the dossier, according to a person familiar with her work for GPS.

Mr. Ohr still has a job at the Justice Department, though he is functionally no longer a manager. It is unclear how long that will last. Mr. Trump has called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mr. Ohr.

“It seems that Bruce had two sins: He met with Chris Steele and his wife worked for Fusion GPS. None of that seems wrong to me,” Mr. Lowrie said. “Bruce is a straight arrow. He was totally nonpartisan, as we all were expected” to be.

🐣 RT @KKurzNHL Here’s something I didn’t know…Robert Mueller is a hockey player
https://twitter.com/KKurzNHL/status/1033456223528468480/photo/1
⋙ 🐣 Swift, powerful and accurate.

🐣 RT @RusEmbassyUSA Washington’s hostile sanctions will have no effect on our determination to follow our own course in international relations. #US public has to know that sanctions against @Russia are futile. They meet the interests of neither Russian, nor American people http://bit.ly/2MTb9TW

WaPo: Too big to sanction? U.S. struggles with punishing large Russian businesses. http://wapo.st/2wpDwQf
// Oleg Deripaska

TheAtlantic, Franklin Foer: John McCain’s Epiphany About Paul Manafort http://bit.ly/2wk6Nvn
// Manafort saw managing the 2008 Republican Convention as almost a birthright. But McCain denied him the job. He couldn’t abide Manafort’s pro-Russian clients—and told him so.  

🐣 RT @AP: BREAKING: French President Macron announces new push for European defense project, says continent’s security shouldn’t rely on U.S.

Politico, Josh Gerstein: ‘Sleeper’ case could torpedo Mueller report http://politi.co/2LtQNfh
// It might even keep the special counsel from sending a report to Congress, shaking Democrats’ hopes that such a document could provide the impetus for impeachment proceedings.

⭕ 26 Aug 2018

TheAtlantic: Trump’s Contempt for the Law Will Be His Downfall http://bit.ly/2BTZJuM
// The president can keep crying “witch hunt,” but it won’t stop the evidence against him from mounting.

◕💙💙 Dkos: After Cohen/Manafort, we’re (still) only at the beginning of #TrumpRussia http://bit.ly/2wm9Mmi
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1033767818968420352/photo/1
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1033769409297489920/photo/1

◕🐣💙💙 RT @rigel2020 Here are the 3 examples SIZE wise of how trump touched / was aided by Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross dealings / see all the shell companies and connections to Russia.. https://bit.ly/FraudMapV3 
https://twitter.com/rigel2020/status/1020852691142971393/photo/1
https://twitter.com/rigel2020/status/1020852691142971393/photo/2
// 7/21/2018; awesome interactive graphics charts

🐣 RT @MeetThePress FULL INTERVIEW: @RepJerryNadler joins #MTP and says Congress’ role is not to protect the president and that the House Judiciary Committee should be conducting investigations. https://nbcnews.to/2PCvc7v 
// Ranking member

🐣 RT @AltUSPressSec “Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power.” ¤
“Putin wants to restore the Russian empire. That’s his ambition; he’s stated it many times.”
—Sen. John S. McCain III #WeHaveTheWatch

🐣 RT @FranklinFoer When John McCain realized that Paul Manafort was trying to exploit his campaign in 2007, he banished him and wanted nothing to do with him.

🐣 RT @TrickFreee “One of Manafort’s biggest clients was the dubious pro-Russian Ukrainian billionaire Dmytri Firtash. By his own admission, Firtash maintains strong ties with a recurrent figure on this scene, the reputed Ukrainian/Russian mob boss Semion Mogilevich.”
⋙ TheAmericanInterest, James Henry (2016): The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections http://bit.ly/2NgeIQP ¤ #TrumpRussia ¤ #LongRead ¤ #HighlyRec
// 12/19/2016
See under Entire Articles: AmInt Curious Connect 12-19-2016

⭕ 25 Aug 2018

NYT, Peter Wehner: The Full-Spectrum Corruption of Donald Trump http://nyti.ms/2LsVR3l
// Everyone and everything he touches rots.

It is a stunning turnabout. A party that once spoke with urgency and apparent conviction about the importance of ethical leadership — fidelity, honesty, honor, decency, good manners, setting a good example — has hitched its wagon to the most thoroughly and comprehensively corrupt individual who has ever been elected president. Some of the men who have been elected president have been unscrupulous in certain areas — infidelity, lying, dirty tricks, financial misdeeds — but we’ve never before had the full-spectrum corruption we see in the life of Donald Trump.

A warning to my Republican friends: The worst is yet to come. Thanks to the work of Robert Mueller — a distinguished public servant, not the leader of a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs” — we are going to discover deeper and deeper layers to Mr. Trump’s corruption. When we do, I expect Mr. Trump will unravel further as he feels more cornered, more desperate, more enraged; his behavior will become ever more erratic, disordered and crazed.

Most Republicans, having thrown their MAGA hats over the Trump wall, will stay with him until the end. Was a tax cut, deregulation and court appointments really worth all this?

WaPo: ‘He can’t get rid of any of this’: Trump’s wall of secrecy erodes amid growing legal challenges http://wapo.st/2No5eDq

DailyBeast: Ex-CIA Director John Brennan to Bill Maher: Trump Is ‘A Real Threat to Our National Security’ http://thebea.st/2wfTYSW
// The former CIA director under President Obama—and the architect of the bin Laden raid—sat down with Bill Maher on ‘Real Time’ to discuss Trump revoking his security clearance.

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan [7/16] Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

“There are two principal reasons why I used that term,” Brennan explained to Maher of the “treasonous” comment. “One, I think I exhausted all the other adjectives in the English language to describe Donald Trump’s failures to fulfill his responsibilities as president of the United States. And two, I saw him on that stage in Helsinki failing to be able to say to the world and to Vladimir Putin that Russia tried to interfere in our election, that it never should have happened and it never should happen again, and if it does Russia is going to pay some very severe consequences as a result, but he didn’t do that.”

He went on to describe how unique the revocation was. “I didn’t ask to keep my security clearances—former directors don’t do that. We keep those clearances because sometimes, those in government want to avail themselves of our experience, our expertise, our knowledge about certain issues,” Brennan said. “This is the first time in 38 years that I haven’t had a security clearance, and the basis for the revocation is bogus. Mr. Trump and the administration didn’t adhere even to the process that they reaffirmed last year, and the politicization of security clearances, either the granting or the revocation, is a real threat to our national security.”

Later on, Maher claimed that Trump’s presidency is “the third great crisis in American history” behind the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, before asking Brennan if he agreed with that ranking.

“I would,” said Brennan. “And I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better, because don’t forget: Donald Trump has the authority of the president of the United States in his hands, in terms of what he can do domestically here and as well as what he can do internationally to try to distract attention, whether or not he’s going to try to pursue some type of foreign adventure, military or otherwise. But fundamentally though, what he’s doing to this country: he’s dividing us.”

🐣 RT @BillKristol History will record that @LindseyGrahamSC went out of his way to court favor with Donald Trump at precisely the moment when Trump and his enablers needed to hear a message of resistance to his evident desire to act to subvert the rule of law.

⭕ 24 Aug 2018

TheAtlantic, James Fallows: The Greatest Disappointment of the Trump Presidency http://bit.ly/2LoCWXj
// The institutional fabric of the United States has proven more tenacious and resilient in responding than many feared. The Republican Congress has not.

WaPo, James Hohmann: Fox fallout shows why Trump’s lawyers don’t want Mueller to get an interview http://wapo.st/2MMZtC4

🐣 RT @AC360 Manafort juror, who supports Trump, says she wishes Manafort was convicted on all counts, add POTUS ought not to extend a pardon: ¤ “I feel it would be a grave mistake for Pres. Trump to pardon Manafort. Justice was done. The evidence was there, and that’s where it should stop.”
💽 https://twitter.com/AC360/status/1033153444322758656/photo/1

🐣 RT @tribelaw Trump warns of economic collapse, Giuliani of civil unrest, Stone of blood in the streets. Whoa! Bringing down a president, even one as vile and disgusting as DJT, is a grave matter. But it needn’t be the apocalypse, and leaving such an ogre in power is no small matter either.

WaPo, Kathleen Parker: The juror who could save America http://wapo.st/2BS3oZQ
// Juror No. 0302 may not have sought fame, but Paula Duncan will long be remembered in connection with Paul Manafort, whom she and 11 others convicted on eight counts of financial crime.

WaPo, Philip Bump: The three illegal acts that may have helped Trump win the presidency http://wapo.st/2MvQOVp

NYT, Roger Cohen: How Far America Has Fallen http://nyti.ms/2MuL8uG
// The thing with every shocking revelation about Trump is that it’s already baked into his image. I’ve never met a Trump supporter who did not know exactly who he is.

There’s a deeper question, which comes back to the extraordinary Western landscape and the high American idea enshrined in it. Americans elected Trump. Nobody else did. They came down to his level. White Christian males losing their place in the social order decided they’d do anything to save themselves, and to heck with morality. They made a bargain with the devil in full knowledge. So the real question is: What does it mean to be an American today? Who are we, goddamit? What have we become?

Trump was a symptom, not a cause. The problem is way deeper than him.

NYT: Allen Weisselberg, Top Trump Organization Official, Was Granted Immunity for Testimony http://nyti.ms/2wpBTB9
// “but the deal was narrow in scope” (front page tag line only)

Politico Mag, Michael Kruse: Trump on Weisselberg: ‘He Did Whatever Was Necessary’ http://politi.co/2o8Z9Q1
// Perhaps the most important person in the Trump Organization has had the lowest profile. Until he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

CNN: Exclusive: Ex-Trump World Tower doorman releases ‘catch-and-kill’ contract about alleged Trump affair http://cnn.it/2P29jxi “I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump, which produced a child.”

NYPost, Rich Lowry: Trump’s best bet to survive: Come clean about the payoffs http://nyp.st/2Ngw2Fu

FiveThirtyEight (2017): The 4 Types Of Constitutional Crises http://53eig.ht/2MNcCLw
// 2/9/2017, And which ones are most likely to come up during Trump’s presidency.

🐣 RT @RogueSNRadvisor Increasingly, the smart move for Trump is resignation & I think even he’s starting to understand that. As the reality of Nov grows closer & the feds keep getting closer there’s going to be a tipping point – we’re almost there, but not yet.

Msnbc: The biggest domino to fall, so far, in Trump’s New York ‘empire’ http://on.msnbc.com/2MVBbGd
// NBC’s Ken Dilanian, former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance, former federal prosecutor Paul Butler, and Rev. Al Sharpton on the immunity deal granted to Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg, the latest in Trump’s inner circle to cooperate with federal prosecutors on the heels of Michael Cohen’s plea deal

🐣 Tony Schwartz was the ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal.” He knows Trump well.
⋙ 🐣 RT @TonySchwartz Trump will be at his most dangerous and unstable in the weeks and months ahead. Drowning, he will want to take as many of us down with him as he can. He should never have had access to the nuclear codes but especially not now.

Bloomberg, Kartikay Mehrotra: Jailed Russian of Interest in U.S. Election Probe, Official Says http://bloom.bg/2LmCXLn “Prosecutors are as eager to find out what, if anything, Nikulin knows about election meddling as they are to get to the bottom of the LinkedIn and Dropbox hacks”
● Lawyers say Russian embassy keen on visiting accused hacker
● Judge questions pychiatrist chosen to examine Yevgeniy Nikulin

NYT: Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterms http://nyti.ms/2BLOcxH

🐣 RT @JuliaDavisNews Admin official said the White House puts out readouts for every call Trump has with Putin, knowing that it “would’ve been a disaster if news leaked of a secret call.” The Russian state media may be threatening Trump with the possibility of such a leak.©
⋙ JuliaDavisNews: Russian state media touts the secret hotline between the White House and Moscow http://bit.ly/2P6qG05

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand It only took slightly more than a year for two of the president’s longest-serving employees, considered by many to be the last who would ever turn on him, to cooperate with federal investigators—and, in Cohen’s case, directly implicate Trump in a crime.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Lanny Davis admits he anonymously confirmed CNN’s reporting on Cohen/Trump Tower when he didn’t actually know if was right. Yikes.

🐣 RT @ArmandOnAir Holy moly. I just learned that Weisselberg wasn’t just granted “use immunity” but rather “complete immunity from prosecution” – which my legal pal @KatiePhang will surely confirm only happens when you’ve got ALL the goods #FollowTheMoney

🐣 RT @BillKristol Trump, Giuliani, Sekulow, Sanders, Shine, Conway….They’re all liars. Shameless liars.
⋙ 🐣 RT @Delavegalaw You don’t get to “walk back” a detail-rich assertion that Trump talked with you “a few weeks ago,” during the Manafort trial, explicitly about a pardon for Manafort, and simply now say it was a generic conversation in June. One of these statements is a lie. We all know which one.
⋙ ⋙ 🐣 RT @JDiamond1 .@RudyGiuliani walks back his comment earlier today suggesting Trump wanted to pardon Manafort & he/attorneys convinced him to hold off until after the Mueller investigation. Giuliani now says he & Trump talked about pardons once — back in June — and it wasn’t Manafort-specific
Statement: https://twitter.com/JDiamond1/status/1032785778068336640/photo/1

🐣 RT @RusEmbUSA #Zakharova: We have to once again draw attention to the loose interpretation of the content of contacts between the high-ranking Russian and #US representatives by the American side. @statedeptspox remarks contradict the reality
⋙ FB link: http://bit.ly/2PvO5ca

💙💙 TheAtlantic, Eliot Cohen: How This Will End http://bit.ly/2MueclS
// Sooner or later, tyrants are always abandoned by their followers.

Michael Gerson, one of the most eloquent and principled critics of Donald Trump, insists that we are at June 1973, the moment when John Dean’s testimony broke the dam that a year later swept Richard Nixon off into disgrace. Others agree: This is an inflection point. And yet an equally well-informed friend insists, “I no longer believe in political inflection points and neither should you.” Who knows? But even if we do not recognize the turning points in the moment, we can anticipate what the end will feel like when it does arrive.

To be sure, Trump could hang on until the 2020 election. It is even possible, if considerably less likely, that he could be re-elected and march off into a glitzy retirement at Trump properties in Florida and New Jersey, his retreat from public life punctuated only by bursts of increasingly senile bombast. But it does seem more likely than once it was that he will go down in disgrace.

But to really get the feel for the Trump administration’s end, we must turn to the finest political psychologist of them all, William Shakespeare. The text is in the final act of what superstitious actors only refer to as “the Scottish play.” One of the nobles who has turned on their murderous usurper king describes Macbeth’s predicament:

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

And so it will be for Trump. To be clear, these are very different people. Macbeth is an utterly absorbing, troubling, tragic, and compelling figure. Unlike America’s germaphobic president, who copped five draft deferments and has yet to visit the thousands of American soldiers on front lines in Afghanistan or Iraq, he is physically brave. In fact, the first thing we hear about him is that in the heat of battle with a rebel against King Duncan (who he later murders) Macbeth unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops. He is apparently faithful to wife, has a conscience (that he overcomes), knows guilt and remorse, and has self-knowledge. He also has a pretty good command of the English language. In all these respects he is as unlike Trump as one can be.

But in the moment of losing power, the two will be alike. A tyrant is unloved, and although the laws and institutions of the United States have proven a brake on Trump, his spirit remains tyrannical—that is, utterly self-absorbed and self-concerned, indifferent to the suffering of others, knowing no moral restraint. He expects fealty and gives none. Such people can exert power for a long time, by playing on the fear and cupidity, the gullibility and the hatreds of those around them. Ideological fervor can substitute for personal affection and attachment for a time, and so too can blind terror and sheer stupidity, but in the end these fall away as well.

And thus their courtiers abandon even monumental tyrants like Mussolini—who at least had his mistress, Claretta Petacci, with him at his ignominious end. (Melania’s affections are considerably less certain.) The normal course of events is sudden, epic desertion, in which an all-powerful political figure who loomed over everything is suddenly left shrunken and pitiful, a wretched little figure in gaudy robes absurdly too big for him, a figure of ridicule as much as, and even more than, hatred.

For the moment, the Republicans will not turn on Trump. They fear a peasant revolt, many of them; they still crave favors; they may think his castle impregnable, although less so if they believe what the polls tell them about some of its tottering walls. But if they suffer a medieval-style slaughter on Election Day, the remnants of the knights of the GOP will know a greater fear than that of being primaried. And at the moment when they no longer fear being swept away in 2020, when the economy may be in recession and the Mueller probe is complete with revelations whose ghastliness would delight the three witches of the Scottish play, they will suddenly turn on Trump. Act V of this play will also have a non-linear finish.

And what of Trump himself? In this respect he will be like Macbeth. Where Nixon, who was a statesman, saw the inevitable and resigned, this president is more likely to go down spitting defiance. As for the rest of us, Macduff says to the cornered king just before their final death grapple:

This is going to happen to Trump at some point. Of the Republicans in Congress it may be said of most of them: Those he commands move only in command, nothing in love. For now, admittedly, there are those who still court his favor—Senator Lindsey Graham, for example, once the trusty vassal of Senator John McCain, the bravest of warriors and noblest of dukes, seems to have switched his allegiance from his dying lord to the swaggering upstart aged prince. But that is about ambition, not affection.

live to be the show and gaze o’ th’ time.
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit
‘Here may you see the tyrant’

And so it will likely be, as Americans gaze back and wonder how on earth this rare monster, now deposed, ended up as their president.

WaPo: Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, who allegedly helped arrange hush-money reimbursement to Cohen, granted immunity http://wapo.st/2NfJt8F

CNBC: Longtime Trump Organization CFO Weisselberg granted immunity in Cohen probe http://cnb.cx/2P4D0Ot
● Allen Weisselberg, longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of their investigation into President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
● Weisselberg’s ties to the president go back decades: He has overseen the Trump Organization’s finances, been involved in the Trump Foundation, the president’s charity, and has managed Trump’s private trust alongside his eldest sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
● Weisselberg was subpoenaed by prosecutors earlier this year to testify before a grand jury as part of that probe.

🐣 RT @tonyschwartz [Trump biographer] The other shoe has dropped — the smoking gun equivalent to Nixon’s tapes. Alan Weisselberg knows everything. Trump will resign as I always assumed. Only matter of time now.
🐣 RT @maggieNYT Huge []
🐣 RT @Lawrence HUGE: Trump’s life of (tax) crime is passing before his eyes. []
↥ ↧
🔥💥🔥 WSJ: Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Is Granted Immunity in Cohen Probe http://on.wsj.com/2BHW8Qh
// Weisselberg earlier this year was subpoenaed to testify before grand jury

🐣 RT @RWPUSA He said during the campaign that he would use DOJ to jail his political opponents. His fanatical base screamed “lock her up.” ¤ He is now urging his AG to do just that. ¤ This alone is a violation of his oath of office. ¤ Congress must impeach, convict and remove him NOW.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real “Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr……

◕🐣 RT @rachaelmyrow Pretty but troubling infographic of the US political landscape on @twitter shows echo chambers and intertwined network of elected officials, press, and policy professionals. There are extremes, but they are mediated through a robust middle. https://buff.ly/2OXgaYV via @techreview
https://twitter.com/rachaelmyrow/status/1033007786429480960/photo/1
// internet graphic

🌎◕🐣 How did June 2018 compare to the previous 50 years? #climate
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1033012672055402497/photo/1
// global warming climate change

🐣 RT @BillKrisrol Trump’s last tweet last night: 12:21 am. First tweet this morning: 5:57 am. ¤ Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! ¤ David Pecker does murder sleep.”
⋙ MacBeth quotations abound lately. Makes sense ~ the downfall of a man who stole an election, err, kingdom.

WEF: This team of #Saudi women won a hackathon with their app to make the Hajj safer https://wef.ch/2KY5JSv  #technology
Hajj At-A-Glance https://twitter.com/wef/status/1032968277104963585/photo/1

🐣 RT @electionland The White House argued the bill was redundant to DHS’s existing powers and flew in the face of federalism
⋙ YahooNews: White House blocks bill that would protect elections http://yhoo.it/2N8AhTo
// Sponsors: Lankford Harris Kobuchar Graham Collins; Secure Elections Act

🌎◕ 🐣 RT @taxfoundation What’s the real value of $100 in your state? ¤ Adjusting incomes for price level can substantially change our perceptions of which states are truly rich or poor. ¤ #PurchasingPower ¤ http://bit.ly/2MJpJNv @ericadyork #CostofLiving
https://twitter.com/taxfoundation/status/1032979600501075971/photo/1
// cost of living by state

◕ WEF: Over 2000 years of economic #history, in one chart https://wef.ch/2HXOwrg  #economics https://twitter.com/wef/status/1032979613016903680/photo/1
// fave chart; GDP by country over time

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand “Dangling a pardon—essentially saying, ‘A pardon will be available for you at some point down the line,’ is tantamount to obstruction of justice and witness tampering,” says @sethwaxman
⋙ TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Paul Manafort and Trump’s Pardon Pattern http://bit.ly/2Py2Lrj
// As he has with Manafort, President Trump has decried the government’s “unfair” treatment of all three men he has pardoned to date. But will the pattern hold with his former campaign manager?

⭕ 23 Aug 2018

DailyBeast, Dean Obeiallah: This Idea That a President Can’t Be Indicted Is a Myth http://thebea.st/2MROYgG
// There’s no law saying a president can’t be indicted. Just a couple of Justice Department memos. And they can be rewritten.

Politico Mag, Michael Kruse: Trump’s Long War with Justice http://politi.co/2wbbCaj
// He fought the law—and won. Could he do it again?

🐣 RT @RVAwonk Those of you who have followed me for a while likely already know this, but this is how I ended up studying/writing about Russian information warfare. I was studying vaccine- and outbreak-related misinformation on social media, and a ton of it traced back to… Russia.
⋙ 🐣 @RVAwonk RT A new AJPH study looked at how Russian bots & trolls amplify disinformation surrounding vaccines. –> “Whereas bots…disseminated anti-vaccine messages, Russian trolls promoted divisions,” which ultimately “erod[ed] public consensus on vaccination.”
⋙⋙ AJPH, David Broniatowski et al: Weaponized Health Communication: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate http://bit.ly/2PC9G2X

WaPo, David Ignatius: Last chance, Republicans http://wapo.st/2o4Nd1N

Here’s how his lawyer, Lanny Davis, described the implication of Cohen’s plea that he facilitated payments to an adult-film star and Playboy Playmate: “Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election.”

The Cohen case, so far, has nothing to do with the two central allegations at the heart of the Mueller probe: obstruction of justice and election collusion with Russia. But interestingly, Russia does figure in Cohen’s motivations, according to Davis: After watching Trump support Russian President Vladimir Putin against U.S. intelligence agencies at the news conference following the Helsinki summit, Cohen “worried about the future of the country with somebody who was aligning himself with Mr. Putin,” Davis told NBC on Wednesday.

But this week, it seems more likely that America is heading toward a gradual recovery from the trauma of the Trump presidency. For Republicans, there is a last chance over these next two months to finally show some guts and principle by separating themselves from Trump.

Then come the November elections, and it seems a reasonable bet, after Tuesday, to trust in the good sense of the American public

WaPo, Michael Gerson: A cancer on the presidency http://wapo.st/2waMgcx

In the course of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea this week, a lawyer close to the president has admitted his part in a high-level cover-up, including the use of hush money, designed to influence the 2016 election. And he accused President Trump of directing this violation.

This is different from our daily dose of the president’s outrageous tweets and attacks. It is an inflection point in the Trump presidency. He has been credibly accused, not of violating civic norms, but of personal involvement in criminal law-breaking. If Trump were not the president, he might well be indicted, convicted and face jail time.

His violation of civic norms, by the way, is not a minor matter. The payment to Stormy Daniels was made 12 days before the election. This timing indicates not the prevention of personal mortification, but an attempt to deny voters relevant information. As a result, the 2016 presidential election will always have an asterisk — “outcome may have been influenced by Russian hacking and campaign fraud.”

Every time we gain a peek into the inner workings of Trump world, we see a leader with the ethics of an Atlantic City casino owner who surrounds himself with people chosen for their willingness to lie and cheat at his bidding. A world in which Paul Manafort is “a very good person.” A world in which payoffs and election tampering are all in a day’s work.

Left to his investigation, Mueller will expose this world to the light. And the choice for Congress is likely to be clear: Impeach, or tolerate massive corruption.

WaPo: Critics fear Trump’s attacks are doing lasting damage to the justice system http://wapo.st/2o8p2j0

💽 Msnbc: Republicans warn Trump against pardoning Manafort http://on.msnbc.com/2MLmg14
// Rudy Giuliani told the Washington Post that Trump discussed the possibility of pardoning Manafort with his lawyers “several weeks ago.”

💙💙 ForeignAffairs, Philip Gordon: The Worst Deals Ever http://fam.ag/2o8kYzg
// excellent: #highlyrec; What Trump Misses About the Art of Foreign Policy Negotiation

In fact, Trump is an ineffective negotiator not only because he is poorly versed in basic facts, inconsistent in his bottom lines, and susceptible to flattery but also because his entire approach is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of dealmaking. He wrongly views international relations as a zero-sum game and confuses punishing others with enhancing his own country’s long-term prosperity, security, and well-being.

Trump seems to believe that the United States’ trade deficits mean that the country is “losing” to other countries who are “stealing our wealth.” This misguided view overlooks the fact that when the United States runs a bilateral trade deficit its consumers and producers are not just sending money abroad; they are receiving the goods and services they want at the best prices available. Tariffs and other protectionist measures could theoretically reduce a trade deficit with one particular country, such as China. But this will simply lead to a trade deficit with a different country so long as the United States remains near full employment and is running foreign-financed budget deficits, which drive up the value of the dollar and make U.S. goods less competitive. 

Beijing has retaliated with higher tariffs of its own, particularly on U.S. agricultural exports such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. The damage to the U.S. farming sector has been significant. July saw the biggest drop in U.S. farm export prices in more than six years, and prices are likely to fall much further if the standoff continues and Chinese importers turn to other countries, such as Brazil, for new and more reliable suppliers. Already, the situation is dire enough that Trump has had to offer $12 billion in emergency subsidies to U.S. farmers to compensate them for the consequences of his own trade policy—at taxpayers’ expense. ¤ [D]espite Trump’s claim that tariffs are “leading us to great new trade deals,” he has yet to negotiate a single one. 

Newsweek: Donald Trump Says if He Got Impeached ‘Everybody Would Be Very Poor’ http://bit.ly/2BJvI0w

Politico: Republicans: Sessions gone after midterms http://politi.co/2wqp2hW
// As the president renewed his attacks on his attorney general, two Senate Republicans indicated they’d be open to replacing him — sparking a quick smackdown from GOP leaders.

🚫🐣 RT @timinhonolulu Giuliani’s threat of a revolt if Congress seeks to engage in Constitutional duty to review fitness of the President to remain in office is a clear act of incitement and @RudyGiuliani should be taken into custody and held without bail for violating 18 U.S. Code § 2383. @FBIWFO

🐣 RT @ForeignAffairs Many populists miss that the Bretton Woods system worked as well as it did and for as long as it did thanks only to the United States’ exceptional dominance of the global economy.
⋙ ForeignAffairs: Brand New Left, Same Old Problems http://fam.ag/2P2bNvH
// What Populism Can and Can’t Achieve

NewYorker, Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow: The Conspiracy Memo About Obama Aides That Circulated in the Trump White House http://bit.ly/2wpqOjg
// 8/23/2018, The 2017 document, titled “The Echo Chamber,” accused former Obama officials of undermining the incoming Administration.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Farrow Conspiracy 8-23-2018

✅ Snopes: Election Law Violations Compared: Obama 2008 vs Trump 2016 http://bit.ly/2P2iqhE
// FactCheck, Federal Election Commission violations are a civil matter, while Michael Cohen is guilty of multiple felonies.

✅ Snopes (2017): Is James Comey ‘Best Friends’ with Robert Mueller, And Is That Friendship a Conflict of Interest? http://bit.ly/2MrPZNb
// 6/16/2017, FactCheck, Comey’s attorney said that the two men know each other from working together but are hardly “best friends”, and experts told us the relationship doesn’t meet conflict of interest legal criteria.

🐣 RT @jonathanswan Doesn’t get less subtle. Trump – on record – calls Manafort “brave” for not flipping, then Rudy goes on record to float pardon.
⋙ 🐣 RT @JDiamond1 The President, via his attorney, is essentially telegraphing that he’ll likely pardon Manafort after the Mueller investigation has wrapped. Meaning Manafort just has to stick it out, not offer damaging information about Trump & he’ll be home free

AP: National Enquirer hid damaging Trump stories in a safe http://bit.ly/2MK4A5U

“When it comes to the pickle Mr Pecker has put the president in…” – @maddow. Yeah, that’s 😆

NYT: Manhattan D.A. Eyes Criminal Charges Against Trump Organization http://nyti.ms/2NgboFk

🐣 RT @ChuckTodd After days of playing extra coy about whether they’d offer pardons, Giuliani is less coy now, signaling that pardons are on the table, just not until AFTER Mueller finishes. That’s quite the enticement to keep folks from flipping.
⋙ 🐣 RT @HallieJackson NEW / Rudy Giuliani tells @NBCNews the president agreed earlier this summer with his lawyers advice that he “shouldn’t do pardons” during the special counsel investigation: “We talked about pardons in general in June & he agreed he shouldn’t do pardons during investigation.”

🐣 RT @HeathaT An amazing photo spread shows how the National Enquirer covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign. From @jackshafer last year on Trump’s “mouthpiece”
NatEnq covers: https://twitter.com/HeathaT/status/1032701233205837829/photo/1
⋙ Politico Mag (2017): Pravda on the Checkout Line http://politi.co/2PzkHSA
// Jan-Feb 2017 issue, First Donald Trump got an endorsement from the tabloids. Now he’s getting a mouthpiece.

🐣 RT @maninthehoodie David Pecker used the National Enquirer to buy negative stories about Trump and kill them. He just got immunity and all those stories just rose from the dead. Mueller is the good witch.

🐣 RT @CatherineRampell ‘It should be illegal to testify against co-conspirators’ is definitely an argument innocent people make

🐣 RT @RenatoMariotti “One source close to Cohen told me Cohen wants to tell Mueller that Trump discussed the release of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mails during the weekend when the Access Hollywood ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ tape dominated the news cycle.”
⋙ VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “Holy Shit, I Thought Pecker Would Be the Last One to Turn”: Trump’s National Enquirer Allies Are the Latest to Defect http://bit.ly/2o6NBwM
// David Pecker and Dylan Howard corroborated Michael Cohen’s account implicating the president in a federal crime. And Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, says there are more revelations to come.

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance David Pecker, Trump friend, National Enquirer, “catch & kill” guy who kept stories that were bad for candidate Trump out of public view, is cooperating with federal prosecutors. This goes a long way to explaining why Trump is upset about “flipping.”
⋙ WSJ: David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer Publisher, Granted Immunity in Michael Cohen Case http://on.wsj.com/2LmBpBd
// Publishing executive met with prosecutors to describe involvement of Cohen, Trump in hush-money deals to women ahead of 2016 election

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood Trump to Fox: “flipping almost ought to be illegal. 30-40 years I’ve been watching flippers” ¤ 32 years ago, crime boss Tony Salerno, who supplied Trump Plaza concrete, was convicted of racketeering. His top deputy flipped to help FBI ¤ lawyer for both Salerno and Trump: Roy Cohn

YahooNews: White House blocks bill that would protect elections http://yhoo.it/2N8AhTo

The Secure Elections Act, introduced by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., in December 2017, had co-sponsorship from two of the Senate’s most prominent liberals, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as well as from conservative stalwart Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and consummate centrist Susan Collins, R-Me.

As it currently stands, the legislation would grant every state’s top election official security clearance to receive threat information. It would also formalize the practice of information-sharing between the federal government—in particular, the Department of Homeland Security—and states regarding threats to electoral infrastructure. A technical advisory board would establish best practices related to election cybersecurity. Perhaps most significantly, the law would mandate that every state conduct a statistically significant audit following a federal election. It would also incentivize the purchase of voting machines that leave a paper record of votes cast, as opposed to some all-electronic models that do not. This would signify a marked shift away from all-electronic voting, which was encouraged with the passage of the Help Americans Vote Act in 2002.

NYT: Jeff Sessions Rejects Trump’s Latest Attack, Says Justice Dept. Will Not Be Influenced by Politics http://nyti.ms/2P1CPmY

WSJ: David Pecker Granted Immunity in Cohen Case http://on.wsj.com/2Ln7Ejw
// Publishing executive met with prosecutors to describe involvement of Cohen, Trump in hush-money deals to women ahead of 2016 election

Bloomberg: Key Republicans Signal Trump May Fire Sessions After Election http://bloom.bg/2MsCddl

NYT: Manafort Jury Holdout Blocked Guilty Verdicts on 10 of 18 Charges, Juror Says http://nyti.ms/2BFsqLV

That juror, Paula Duncan, who described herself as a supporter of President Trump, said on Fox News that the rest of the jury believed that Mr. Manafort was guilty on all charges, but the holdout would agree to only eight.

Despite four days of deliberations and pleas from the other 11 jurors, the 12th one, whom Ms. Duncan only described as a female, did not budge in her belief that prosecutors had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Manafort was guilty.

“We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail,” Ms. Duncan said in an interview on “Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream.” “We laid it out in front of her again and again. She still said she had reasonable doubt. That’s the way the jury worked.”

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan I take no delight in seeing the steady collapse of a U.S. Presidency, but I do take strong comfort in knowing that the rule of law & our great government institutions are prevailing. Things ultimately will get better, and we will heal as a Nation.

Fortune: ‘He Makes a Better Deal When He Uses Me.’ Trump Accuses Michael Cohen of ‘Flipping’ http://for.tn/2wjqbrC

🐣 RT @tribelaw Trump tells FOX, pointing at his own head, “I can’t be impeached. You would be poor without me.” Recall when he said “I alone can fix it”? He really meant it — and really thinks he’s beyond the reach of law because of his imagined genius at doing stuff.

🐣 RT @StevenBeschloss Trump’s “friends” are abandoning him. They’re talking to prosecutors while Mueller methodically prepares his case. Trump can try to spin another fantasy and imagine he’ll escape punishment again. But it may be dawning on him this time it won’t work. ¤ No wonder he’s unraveling.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Trump hammers Jeff Sessions: “He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself’ I said, ‘what kind of a man is this?’ And by the way, he was on the campaign. The only reason I gave him the job I felt loyalty.” (via Fox)
💽 F&F: https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1032592040058605568/photo/1
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @JenniferJJacobs “I guess it says something like high crimes and all. I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job. I’ll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash,” Trump said in Fox News interview.
💽 https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/1032589350930923520/photo/1

BBC: Trump insists hush money payments by Cohen were legal http://bbc.in/2MsciSJ

FoxNews: Manafort juror reveals lone holdout prevented Mueller team from winning conviction on all counts http://fxn.ws/2widoWA

🐣 12:10 am. Up past his bedtime.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real NO COLLUSION – RIGGED WITCH HUNT!

⭕ 22 Aug 2018

ForeignAffairs, Nigel Gould-Davies: Sanctions on Russia Are Working http://fam.ag/2LBsn3u
// Why It’s Important to Keep Up the Pressure

NewYorker, Susan Glasser: “The Worst Hour of His Entire Life”: Cohen, Manafort, and the Twin Courtroom Dramas That Changed Trump’s Presidency http://bit.ly/2BU3Xm2
// 8/22/2018, Is this finally the President’s accountability moment?
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Glasser Worst Hr 8-22-2018

WSJ: Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty—And Implicate the President http://on.wsj.com/2wiYSO9
// Prosecutors had reams of evidence and a long list of counts, which also could have included the lawyer’s wife

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Trump Tries to Deny His Crime With Cohen, Confesses by Mistake http://nym.ag/2LmETnm

Trump’s own defense, offered on Fox & Friends, is even more confused. Trump insisted he is in the clear because the payments “weren’t taken out of campaign finance … They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.” That is not a defense. That is why it’s a crime. If the money came from the campaign, it would have been legal.

💙💙 NYMag, Benjamin Wittes: The Most Damaging Thing That’s Happened to Trump http://nym.ag/2LoHTzE
// It wasn’t what Michael Cohen alleged in court, or the conviction of his campaign chair.

NYT: Anatomy of a Crime: Sex, Hush Money and a Trump Fixer’s Guilty Plea http://nyti.ms/2BGWsio

The federal campaign finance and tax evasion case that is embroiling the White House began in the unlikeliest of places: the world of supermarket tabloids.

It is populated by porn stars and Playboy models, shadowy “story brokers” and the ultra rich and powerful, who can buy back their secrets on an underground exchange run by gossip scribes who set the rules, the prices and, frequently, the reputational toll.

That world has now come to life on the stark pages of federal court documents that detail violations of campaign finance and tax laws, implicating President Trump and reprising Watergate-era talk of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and possible impeachment.

The filings revealed the involvement of executives at The Trump Organization, who routed reimbursements to Mr. Cohen through a Trump trust using “sham invoices.”

For the first time, prosecutors said that the tabloid publisher American Media Inc. had been involved in deals to buy the silence of both Ms. Clifford and Ms. McDougal. And as early as August 2015, prosecutors revealed, Mr. Cohen communicated with the chairman of American Media, David J. Pecker, who agreed to turn the organization’s tip line into a trip wire that could detect potential trouble for Mr. Trump. Mr. Pecker agreed to “help deal with negative stories,” about Mr. Trump’s “relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

Prosecutors and Mr. Cohen said that he undertook his work with A.M.I. at Mr. Trump’s direction — an assertion the president denied, telling Fox News on Wednesday that he learned of the payments only later.

[McDougal] has said that she decided to sell her story in 2016 when another former Playboy model hinted at it on Twitter, causing her to worry that it would become public whether she liked it or not. After a friend convinced her that she might as well make money from it, she decided to approach the tabloids and hired a Los Angeles lawyer, Keith M. Davidson, to help her do it.

According to prosecutors, when Ms. McDougal and Mr. Davidson approached American Media, Mr. Pecker, along with his top editorial executive, Dylan Howard, immediately informed Mr. Cohen. More important, the prosecutors allege, Mr. Cohen then urged A.M.I. to buy her story in order to suppress it, “so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

But a media company makes an illegal corporate contribution if it acts outside its “legitimate press function” in coordinating with a campaign to spend money to influence an election. Such activity “is not like the action of a media company deciding what to cover and exercising editorial judgment,” [Trevor] Potter said.

Ms. Clifford met Mr. Trump in July 2006, at the American Century Championship golf tournament, where Mr. Trump also had an assignation with Ms. McDougal.

She had starred in pornographic movies including “Space Nuts” and “Love Potion 69”; Mr. Trump was on a top television show, “The Apprentice.” The idea that he would be president and she would pose a later legal threat would have seemed improbable as they spent one of their dates watching “Shark Week.” (Ms. Clifford has said they had sex only once; Mr. Trump denies the affair.)

But it was Ms. Clifford who helped blow open the case earlier this year, along with her aggressive, media-ready lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who could match Mr. Trump tweet for tweet, quip for quip — so much so that he says he is now considering a run for the presidency himself. Mr. Avenatti has been representing Ms. Clifford in a lawsuit to nullify her deal.

In the fall of 2016, Ms. Clifford was discussing selling her story at an inopportune time for Mr. Trump, just after a recording leaked of raw “Access Hollywood” footage in which he boasted about groping women.

Once again, the American Media trip wire alerted Mr. Cohen of trouble for Mr. Trump. Prosecutors reported Tuesday that an agent approached Mr. Howard, the A.M.I. editor, to tell him that Ms. Clifford was preparing to talk about her encounters with Mr. Trump. In fact, the prosecutors said, Mr. Howard and Mr. Pecker connected Mr. Cohen with Mr. Davidson, the lawyer who represented Ms. Clifford then.

According to prosecutors, executives at the company signed off on paying Mr. Cohen $420,000, which included a $60,000 bonus, money to cover any taxes on the payment to Mr. Cohen and a reimbursement for undefined “tech services.” As prosecutors noted, Mr. Cohen would be paid in $35,000 installments. Mr. Cohen submitted invoices that falsely identified the payments as part of a “retainer agreement.”

Upon receiving the first two invoices, a company executive whom prosecutors identified as “Executive-1” forwarded the invoice to “another executive of the company (‘Executive -2’),” and the fraudulent invoice was approved, according to the prosecutors. Several people familiar with the investigation said one of those executives was Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer. It is unclear who the other executive was.

Testifying under oath on Tuesday, Mr. Cohen said he arranged the payment “for the principal purpose of influencing the election,” and told the judge he knew at the time that he was doing so in violation of campaign finance laws.

TheAtlantic, Ben Judah: Washington Is Turning Into Moscow http://bit.ly/2LlAwJ9
// What upsets the Putin regime isn’t research into its military strength, but anything exploring its illicit finances. Something similar might now be said of the White House.
Dark skies over White House: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032635762909560839/photo/1

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff Those “non-crimes” are punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine. Each.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!

🐣 RT @ReSwalwell And there you have it. The #Manafort trial hung 11-1 on the other counts. Not uncommon. But shows how powerful the case was. In perspective: 96-0 was the cumulative vote count for guiltys on the eight convicted counts. 110-10 on the hung counts. I see a re-trial as likely.

HillReporter, Brian Krassenstein: Michael Cohen Subpoenaed in New York State Probe of The Trump Foundation http://bit.ly/2Li3Pw1

Slate, Jeremy Stahl: Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Is a Massive Victory for Robert Mueller’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy http://bit.ly/2NcqQCk

🐣 RT @jwpetersNYT Just talked one of Trump’s earliest supporters & true believers – very rattled – who’s been talking to big GOP donors. They want to support Trump. They tried hard to ignore all the noise. They can’t anymore. “They’re over it. This is not how a president comports himself.”

🐣 RT @DavidJollyFL This interview is damning, and will be cited for its historical significance. ¤ Wherein Trump directly confesses to being a co-conspirator with Michael Cohen during an exclusive interview with, wait for it, Fox News. ¤ Each of his actual lawyers just gasped, again.
💽 F&F: EXCLUSIVE: President @realDonaldTrump on if he knew about the Cohen payments./photo/1

🐣 RT @tribelaw Too bad election law crimes seem so technical. If Trump had paid to have his accusers, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, physically gagged on the eve of the election so he could win, nobody would doubt the enormity of his crime. What Trump did was no better. It’s huge.

🐣 RT @nickconfessore Obama’s campaign, not Obama personally, paid a fine for what was essentially late or accidentally erroneous paperwork on a large number of small contributions. ¤ Cohen and the president personally engaged in a deliberate scheme to hide a payoff and lie about it.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!

🐣 RT @NormEisen BREAKING: In running away from Cohen’s claims today, Trump bumbled right into admitting that he lied on his financial disclosures & violated 18 USC 1001. This was already the subject of a @CREWcrew criminal complaint that led to an OGE referral to DOJ–Trump just proved our case!

🐣 RT @jaketapper Jury convicts his campaign chair on 8 felony counts; president pooh-poohs the charges, derides the process, praises the felon, compliments the felon for not flipping, and seems to be setting the stage for a pardon.

WSJ: Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty—And Implicate the President http://on.wsj.com/2wiYSO9
// Prosecutors had reams of evidence and a long list of counts, which also could have included the lawyer’s wife

WaPo: ‘How do you spin a fact?’ White House grapples with response to Cohen, Manafort convictions. http://wapo.st/2nZG3Ma

NYT, Bret Stephens: Donald Trump’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors http://nyti.ms/2Lgp81a
// The principled case for impeachment is clear. What’s missing is the courage.

… The Constitution’s standard for impeachment is “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The standard is now met.

Trump’s longtime fixer acknowledged in court on Tuesday that he violated campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” That means Trump. That means that, as a candidate, Trump is credibly alleged to have purposefully conspired with Cohen to commit criminal acts. That means the duo did so “for purposes of influencing [an] election for Federal office,” which is the legal definition of a campaign contribution.

It also means that, as president, Trump allegedly sought to conceal the arrangement by failing to note in his 2017 financial disclosure forms his reimbursements to Cohen. The president most likely continues to lie to the American people about the nature and purpose of those payments.

As for the Edwards standard, the case failed because prosecutors could not prove that the former North Carolina senator received campaign donations from benefactors to influence an election, rather than simply cover up an embarrassing affair. In Trump’s case, there is little doubt about the purpose of the payment to Stormy Daniels: To prevent disclosure of their alleged liaison, less than a month before the election and barely two weeks after the Access Hollywood tape came to light.

To suggest that this doesn’t amount to a felonious act also doesn’t pass the smell test. The president is now, in effect, an unindicted co-conspirator on charges already prosecuted by the government as a criminal matter against Cohen. Why should a lighter standard apply to Trump, since he’s the one at whose direction Cohen claims to have carried out the payments?

Pragmatists will rejoin that there’s no sense in advocating impeachment when the G.O.P. controls Congress. I’m sorry that so many congressional Republicans have lost their sense of moral principle and institutional self-respect, but that’s a reason to seek Democratic victories in the fall. The Constitution matters more than a tax cut. What the Constitution demands is the impeachment and removal from office of this lawless president.

NYT Editorial: Congress, Do Your Job http://nyti.ms/2w3V1FA
// After President Trump’s Terrible Tuesday, Republican lawmakers need to stop pretending that there are any red lines that he won’t cross.

… If Mr. Trump arranged secret payments to hush up his affairs, then he conspired to deny voters information he feared would harm his electoral chances. His efforts to hide the money trail suggest he knew his behavior wasn’t kosher. And while the initial payments to the women were made before Mr. Trump won the election, he didn’t begin compensating Mr. Cohen until February of 2017 — thus any conspiracy was carried straight into the Oval Office.

Congress, unfortunately, remains crouched and trembling in a dark corner, hoping this is all a bad dream. It’s not. Republican lawmakers need to buck up, remind themselves of their constitutional responsibilities and erect some basic guardrails to ensure that — in a fit of rage, panic or mere pique — this president does not wake up one morning and decide to drive American democracy off a cliff.

NYT, Sahil Chinoy et al: Trump’s Growing Obsession With the ‘Witch Hunt’ http://nyti.ms/2MKtxhr

NYT: Republicans Urge Embattled Incumbents to Speak Out on Trump http://nyti.ms/2PsmoB0 “Where there’s smoke, and there’s a lot of smoke, there may well be fire.”

Senior Republican Party leaders began urging their most imperiled incumbents on Wednesday to speak out about the wrongdoing surrounding President Trump, with Representative Tom Cole, a former House Republican campaign chairman, warning, “Where there’s smoke, and there’s a lot of smoke, there may well be fire.”

Democrats face their own pressure to shed their cautious midterm strategy and hammer the opposition for fostering what Democratic leaders are labeling “a culture of corruption” that starts at Mr. Trump and cascades through two indicted House Republicans to a series of smaller scandals breaking out in the party’s backbenches.

🐣 RT @TheDailyEdge That moment when POTUS admits that he personally paid hush money to the porn star he slept with without a condom while his 3rd wife was home nursing their only child. His lawyer, his lawyer’s lawyers and a federal judge confirmed yesterday this was a crime
[F&F interview:] 💽 https://twitter.com/TheDailyEdge/status/1032327915889934336/photo/1

💙💙 TheHill: Cohen’s lawyer on Trump Tower meeting: Cohen was ‘present at a discussion with’ Trump and Trump Jr. http://bit.ly/2OVXBEv
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @joshtpm “at this juncture I can only say that he was present during a discussion with junior and dad” about the Trump Tower meeting. [CNN Situation Room:]
💽 https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1032395729099214848/photo/1

WaPo FactChecker: Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie. http://wapo.st/2LlYCDt Payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal
// timeline

📊 FoxNews Poll: Democrats maintain lead in race for House http://fxn.ws/2nZaW3s
Support for Mueller Probe: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032522745706409987/photo/1
Impeachable Offense: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032523192542420993/photo/1
Vote in Midterms (Party): https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032523524483760128/photo/1

🐣 RT @PreetBharara Practice note: Trump has no effective way to shut down any investigation being conducted by SDNY. That office is more insulated, enduring and “sovereign” than the Special Counsel’s Office. You can fire Mueller. You can fire the US Attorney. You can’t fire the SDNY.

🐣 RT @amandacarpenter Worth reminding folks, Michael Cohen also served as Deputy Finance Chairman for the RNC. And, he’s about to plead guilty to campaign finance crimes.

NYT: Democratic Party Says It Thwarted Attempted Hack of Voter Database http://nyti.ms/2LkXfVw

🐣 RT @rgoodlaw “Mr Cohen has direct knowledge … that suggests, I’m not sure it proves, that Mr Trump was aware of Russian government agents hacking illegally, committing computer crimes, to the detriment of the candidate he was running against, Hillary Clinton.” -Michael Cohen’s lawyer on PBS

🐣 RT @joshtpm Davis: ” I don’t know if it’s a smoking gun or how decisive it is. What I’m suggesting is that Mr. Cohen was an observer and was a witness to Mr. Trump’s awareness of those e-mails before they were dropped, and it would pertain to the hacking of the e-mail accounts.”
💽 https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1032393228652371973/photo/1

RollingStone, Andrew Cohen: The Only Thing Keeping Trump Out of Jail http://rol.st/2Pw0tJa
// After Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort went down, Trump’s world suddenly became smaller and more dangerous

🐣 RT @AP BREAKING: Dem official: Hackers attempted to break into DNC voter file with phishing campaign.

CNBC, John Harwood: The reckoning is here for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, and it will only get worse for them http://cnb.cx/2whtpfq

● The reckoning has arrived for Donald Trump. The trouble for him and fellow Republicans will only get worse from here.
● Trump and his allies sought comfort asserting that none of Tuesday’s legal proceedings involved collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That is true.
● But all the president’s men under prosecutorial scrutiny have important Russian connections that are problematic for Trump.

TheGuardian: Paul Manafort went to Kyrgyzstan to ‘strengthen Russia’s position’ http://bit.ly/2PrmatU
// Investigation claims former Trump campaign chair promoted Russian interests

🐣 RT @kremlintrolls Trump on the hush money payments: “They didn’t come out of the campaign. They came from me.” ¤ Appears that Trump is implicating himself. Oops. ¤ @kylegriffin1 m/t
💽 https://twitter.com/KremlinTrolls/status/1032369707465076736/photo/1

🐣 Some of the best and brightest voices now on @msnbc are the conservatives who have broken with Trumpism, especially those on @DeadlineWH hosted by @NicolleDWallace, incl @SteveSchmidtSES @JRubinBlogger @BillKristol etc. They make me believe someday we will come through this.

🐣 RT @SteveSchmidtSES This means Trump’s Presidency is not only illegitimate but criminal. It means a Presidential election was compromised by the most insidious criminal conspiracy in American History. It means Trump is a traitor and Putin determined the outcome. The impeachment bar has been reached

WaPo,Max Boot: Trump is an illegitimate president whose election is tainted by fraud http://wapo.st/2MMeUui

The Manafort charges of tax and bank fraud do not directly implicate the president, but they do vindicate the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, showing that his inquiry is no “Rigged Witch Hunt” but a serious investigation that has produced 35 indictments, six guilty pleas and one conviction. No special counsel has done more, faster. If Manafort had been found not guilty, it would have been a massive blow to Mueller. Because he was found guilty, it is a blow to Trump.

But not nearly as a big a blow as Cohen’s admission under oath that he violated federal campaign laws by arranging illicit payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” For the first time since Watergate, the president is now an alleged co-conspirator in the commission of a federal crime. As Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said, his client “testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

And Cohen may only have begun implicating the president. Davis said on MSNBC that Cohen would be happy to share other incriminating information with the special counsel, including “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.” This would seem to vindicate an earlier leak that Cohen may be able provide the “smoking gun” evidence showing that Trump himself gave the go-ahead to collusion with the Kremlin.

In short, there is growing evidence that the president is, to use the word favored by Richard Nixon, “a crook.” Even buying the silence of his reputed playmates could by itself have been enough to swing an exceedingly close election decided by fewer than 80,000 votes in three states. Trump certainly would not have authorized the payments unless he thought it was politically imperative to do so. There is also considerable evidence, as I previously argued, that Russia’s intervention on Trump’s behalf affected the outcome. Even more than Nixon, Trump is now an illegitimate president whose election is tainted by fraud.

… A responsible Congress would have by now already convened an impeachment inquiry. But that is not the Congress we have. We have a Congress dominated by political hacks and moral invertebrates who are determined to act as the president’s enablers and legitimizers at all costs.

Terrible Tuesday also included the indictment of one of his earliest congressional supporters, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), and his wife, on charges of misusing campaign funds to pay personal expenses. This comes shortly after another of Trump’s early endorsers, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), decided not to seek reelection after being indicted on insider-trading charges.

… They involve violating their oaths of office by failing to hold the president accountable for misusing his office. Some, such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), have gone much further by actively attempting to impede the Justice Department investigation into Trump’s alleged misconduct. They have become, in a moral if not legal sense, accessories to obstruction of justice.

And they have gotten away with it because the congressional leadership has allowed them to do so.

The voters of the United States must now say to this Congress what Oliver Cromwell said to the Rump Parliament in 1653: “Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. . . . Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. . . . Go, get you out! Make haste! . . . In the name of God, go!”

🐣 RT @costareports “No day during President Trump’s 19 months in office could prove as dangerous or debilitating as Tuesday.” @danbalz
⋙ WaPo, Dan Balz: After two convictions, pressure mounts on Trump http://wapo.st/2OT7nXV

TheHill: Cohen’s lawyer: Mueller a ‘great man’ http://bit.ly/2MHaLrl Cohen’s lawyer: Mueller is a “great man” operating like a silent submarine

🐣 RT @ChrisAlbertoLaw Rudy Giuliani publicly stated Trump directed Cohen to make the hush money payments; thus, Trump directed a crime & he was part of the cover-up. Now Cohen’s lawyer says Michael Cohen will tell Mueller of a “Conspiracy to Collude” With Russia. It’s not Witch Hunt, it’s Which Hunt!
https://twitter.com/ChrisAlbertoLaw/status/1032265880367972353/photo/1

RT @tribelaw From pg.60: “While creating the Constitution, [the Framers] repeatedly described corrupt acquisition of the presidency as a paradigm case for impeachment.” //➔ Wouldn’t Pence be equally illegitimate, having ascended to his position by the same act of corruption?

🐣 RT @blakehounshell This might be Trump’s best tweet.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!

🐣 RT @real I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!

🐣 RT @ChuckGrassley will somebody at the WH ask @POTUS to read Gerald Seib’s WSJ article on pg4 2day? good advice to strengthen his presidency
⋙ 🐣 I think it’s time you guys look for a lifeboat.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032253631221952513/photo/1
// Titanic named Trump

🐣 RT @yamiche Just got off the phone with Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen’s lawyer, who told me: “I have an impression that Mr. Cohen could address topics of interest to Mr. Mueller relating to whether Mr. Trump had advanced knowledge of the hacking of emails for political purposes.”

🐣 RT @tribelaw In addition to being impeachable, Trump’s election law offenses were FEDERAL CRIMES committed when he was a private citizen in Trump Tower. If Mueller decides he shouldn’t indict @POTUS in DC, the US Attorney for SDNY might give thought to doing so in NY. He has the evidence now.
⋙ 🐣 RT @tribelaw From pg.60: “While creating the Constitution, [the Framers] repeatedly described corrupt acquisition of the presidency as a paradigm case for impeachment.” The guilty plea by Trump’s private counsel Michael Cohen in SDNY on August 21 makes that case.
⋙⋙ 🐣 In that case, wouldn’t Pence be equally illegitimate, in that he would have ascended to the position he’s in by the same act of corruption?

🐣 RT @anbayanyay Russia always was a kleptocracy, still is. They’re just flying a different pirate banner now. The Soviet Union faked its own death, or today’s Russia is the zombie of the USSR, your pick, same diff.
⋙ 🐣 I read an article recently that made that point. I need to learn a lot more. It was such a mystery when I was growing up, then it kind of ‘disappeared’ from the radar after 1990 when we turned to the Middle East. It’s sure back with a vengeance!

CommonDreams, Jake Johnson: In a Functional Democracy, This Would Be a No-Brainer’: Warren Unveils Bold Anti-Corruption Legislation http://bit.ly/2w4lHFV
// “These reforms have one simple aim: to take power in Washington away from the wealthy, the powerful, and the well-connected who have corrupted our government and put power back in the hands of the American people.”

NBC: In case of Mueller firing, break glass: Democrats prep an emergency plan http://nbcnews.to/2wq8IxZ
// Congressional action and protest rallies are among the contingencies being planned if Trump tries to shut down the Russia probe.

🐣 MichaelCohenTruthFund.com (GoFundMe)

🐣 RT @PreetBharara Trump is the greatest magnet for corruption the swamp has ever seen. His endorsers, his fixers, his lawyers, his campaign managers, his cabinet members. It is never-ending corruption. And many are being locked up, as the chant goes.

🐣 The entire Republican Party crawled into bed with Donald Trump and now they’re going to get screwed.

TheAtlantic, Conor Friedersdorf: Trump Robbed Voters of What They Deserved to Know http://bit.ly/2w40rAa
// The 2016 election was won amid a coverup of illegal conduct designed to keep the truth from the electorate.

🔆 This❗️⋙ WaPo: Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis suggests his client has knowledge implicating Trump in ‘criminal conspiracy’ to hack Democratic emails http://wapo.st/2w0K1c2
Text block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1032196068044357633/photo/1
// on The Rachel Maddow Show @maddow TRMS

[Lanny] Davis told The Washington Post that Cohen’s knowledge reached beyond “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude” and included also the question of Trump’s participation in a “criminal conspiracy” to hack into the emails of Democratic officials during the 2016 election.

On “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Davis, who is a veteran of the Clinton White House, said his client had “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.”

⭕ 21 Aug 2018

WaPo: Trump’s company approved $420,000 in payments to Cohen, relying on ‘sham’ invoices, prosecutors say http://wapo.st/2BGCioE

Globe&Mail, Sarah Kendzior: For Paul Manafort, justice is finally served – but is it too late for America? http://tgam.ca/2PvCfil

🐣 RT @ezraklein A Trump rally thunderously chanting “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton on the very day Trump’s campaign manager and personal lawyer face jail time really tells you all you need to know about GOP politics right now.
⋙ Vox: Trump rally crowd chants “lock her up” as Trump ignores Manafort and Cohen: That’s 2018 in a nutshell. http://bit.ly/2Pwd52T

🐣 RT @AmandaCarpenter Any other Republicans concerned that our National Security Advisor John Bolton was caught doing favors for known Russian spy Maria Butina? Anyone?

💙 WaPo Editorial: Twin convictions are a stunning rebuke of Trump http://wapo.st/2MGxvb6

🐣 RT @MichaelAvenatti The developments of today will permit us to have the stay lifted in the civil case & should also permit us to proceed with an expedited deposition of Trump under oath about what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it. We will disclose it all to the public.

Slate, Isaac Chotiner: Interview: Jeffrey Toobin on What the Craziest News Day of the Year Means for Trump http://bit.ly/2N6JfAB

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance This is cynical and it’s wrong. It’s not who we are as a country. We need to guard against people who inexplicably trivialize our history & experience in order to prop up the current occupant of the White House.
⋙ FoxNews: .@AlanDersh: “Every candidate violates the election laws when they run for president…here they’re trying to elevate this into an impeachable offense or a felony against the president.” #Tucker
💽 https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/1032071989433966598/photo/1

🐣 RT @dlippman “The verdict in the Manafort trial isn’t nearly as worrisome to me as the Cohen agreement and the Cohen statement,” said former Trump adviser Michael Caputo. “It’s probably the worst thing so far in this whole investigation stage of the presidency.”
⋙ Politico, Christopher Cadelago, Andrew Restuccia, Nancy Cook and Daniel Lippman: ‘It’s the only excuse they’ll need’: Legal blows fuel impeachment fears http://politi.co/2wi6Dns
// (great photo) The conviction of Trump’s former campaign chairman, guilty plea of his former personal lawyer and indictment of a leading congressional supporter raise Trump’s risks.

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Michael Cohen: Trump’s greatest fear comes true http://wapo.st/2MpydtO

WaPo, Karen Tumulty: Nope, not a witch hunt http://wapo.st/2BB3zJ4

🐣 RT @nowthisnews This parody song about Michael Cohen and Trump’s other leaking ex-staffers will add some much-needed levity to your night http://bit.ly/2LeatmZ
https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1032113380348362752/photo/1 😂 ;-D

NYT: 6 Takeaways From Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea http://nyti.ms/2OVeXRE

💙 NYT, Noah Bookbinder, Barry Berke and Norman Eisen: What the Manafort Verdict Means http://nyti.ms/2nWF2o9
// It’s Robert Mueller’s biggest victory yet, in one of the most successful special counsel investigations in history.

💙 NYT Editorial: All the President’s Crooks http://nyti.ms/2whvJ5T
// One of them, Mr. Trump’s own lawyer, has now implicated him in a crime.

🐣 RT @brianstelter An admitted felon is “saying that his co-conspirator and/or his aider and abetter was the president of the United States. That is something that I think is basically without precedent in American history” —@JeffreyToobin

🐣 RT @brianstelter Trump mocking the press: “Where is the collusion? You know they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion.”

CNN, Brian Stelter: Stranger than fiction: Journalists marvel at a day almost hard to believe http://cnn.mon.ie/2Pv7vOD

🐣 RT @brianstelter Page One headline of Wednesday’s @washingtonpost: “Convictions tighten squeeze on Trump” https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/1032089204224864256/photo/1

🐣 RT @brianstelter NYT page one: “PLEADING GUILTY, COHEN IMPLICATES PRESIDENT” https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/1032098147181453313/photo/1

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood Lanny Davis, on Rachel Maddow, suggests strongly that his client Michael Cohen has information for Mueller on Trump campaign collusion with Russia and Trump’s knowledge of plans for Russian hacking before the hacking occurred

‼️NYT: Paul Manafort Guilty of 8 Charges in Fraud Trial http://nyti.ms/2Lh1npw

‼️NYT: COHEN PLEADS GUILTY, IMPLICATING PRESIDENT http://nyti.ms/2nZGKFm Michael Cohen Says He Arranged Payments to Women at Trump’s Direction

🐣 RT @SethAbramson In June ’16, Felix Sater wrote Michael Cohen and said if Cohen accepted an invitation to Moscow for before the GOP convention, he’d meet Putin. Cohen declined—then went to Italy for a “vacation” where his alibi on where he went has fallen apart. The dossier wasn’t wrong on Cohen.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Michael Cohen’s lawyer says that Cohen has been having frequent chats with John Dean, ex-White House counsel who turned on Nixon.

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC If Bill Clinton’s actions deserved impeachment, then certainly Trump’s should warrant a congressional investigation.

🐣 RT @SteveSchmidtSES Seems like a good day to quote Kenny Rogers. “You can’t outrun the long arm of the law”. Dedicated to Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter and the Trump crime family.

🐣 RT @davidaxelrod This Cohen plea is as bad as it could be for @POTUS and maybe as bad as he feared.

🐣 RT @tribelaw 🐣 RT @tribelaw Whether or not *called* an unindicted co-conspirator, that’s what the sitting president IS as of close of business today, August 21, 2018, a day that will live in legal infamy. That’s the import of two of Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas.

🐣 RT @JimAcosta Source close to WH says WH had hoped for favorable verdict in Manafort case as they had plans to attack the Mueller investigation in the event of mistrial or not guilty verdict. The plan was to attack the Mueller investigation if the Manafort case had gone their way, source said.

🐣 RT @DanPfeiffer Amidst all the noise, the pleas, the convictions, the split screens, etc, here’s what matters — Michael Cohen stood in court and said that the President of the United States directed him to commit a crime

🐣 RT @MichaelAvenatti We. Are. Coming. We are going to end this dumpster fire of a presidency one way or another.
💽 Msnbc: https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti/status/1032023697891176448/photo/1

🐣 RT @EricHolder In spite of spurious, unjustified and unprecedented attacks, people in federal law enforcement did their jobs and, as usual, did them well. Guilty plea. Guilty verdict. Criminal acts. This is not a witch hunt.

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood President Trump’s campaign chairman, national security adviser and personal lawyer are now all convicted or admitted felons

🐣 RT @bradheath DOJ says Cohen billed “the Company” $180,035 for the payment to Stormy Daniels and what he called “tech services.” (He also wanted to be reimbursed the $35 wire fee.) Executives “grossed up” the payment to $360,000, then threw in a $60,000 bonus.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Christopher Steele’s Victory in a D.C. Court http://bit.ly/2LgQlAH
// A D.C. judge has dismissed a defamation suit filed by Russia’s Alfa Bank against the former British intelligence officer and author of the dossier alleging ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

🐣 RT @LannyDavis Michael Cohen took this step today so that his family can move on to the next chapter. This is Michael fulfilling his promise made on July 2nd to put his family and country first and tell the truth about Donald Trump.
🐣 RT @LannyDavis Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?
// Lanny Davis is Cohen’s Lawyer

🐣 It’s a  Good Day  in America. It’s a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in Trumpmerica. #MAGA-Not!

💥 WaPo: Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election http://wapo.st/2OSVIZi

💥 WaPo: Manafort convicted on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 others http://wapo.st/2Bxf8kz

JustSecurity, John Sipher (Jan 2018): The Steele Dossier in 2018: Everyone’s Favorite Weapon http://bit.ly/2nVJxPK

JustSecurity, John Sipher (Sep 2017): A Second Look at the Steele Dossier: Knowing What We Know Now http://bit.ly/2wHK6BO
// 9/26/2017

Editor: In this special Just Security article, highly respected former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher examines the Steele dossier using methods that an intelligence officer would to try to validate such information

Although the reports were produced episodically, almost erratically, over a five-month period, they present a coherent narrative of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. …Orbis was not saying that everything that it reported was accurate, but that it had made a good-faith effort to pass along faithfully what its identified insiders said was accurate.

The dossier of FSB-collected information on Hillary Clinton was managed by Kremlin chief spokesman Dimitry Peskov.

They allege that Paul Manafort managed the conspiracy to exploit political information on Hillary Clinton in return for information on Russian oligarchs outside Russia, and an agreement to “sideline” Ukraine as a campaign issue.

Carter Page is also said to have played a role in shuttling information to Moscow … Michael Cohen, reportedly took over efforts after Manafort left the campaign, personally providing cash payments for Russian hackers. In one account, Putin and his aides expressed concern over kick-backs of cash to Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which they feared might be discoverable by U.S. authorities. 

In late fall 2016, the Orbis team reported that a Russian-supported company had been “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.”  Hackers recruited by the FSB under duress were involved in the operations.  According to the report, Michael Cohen insisted that payments be made quickly and discreetly, and that cyber operators should go to ground and cover their tracks.

While in London [Steele] worked as the personal handler of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko.

Well before any public knowledge of these events, the Orbis report identified multiple elements of the Russian operation including a cyber campaign, leaked documents related to Hillary Clinton, and meetings with Paul Manafort and other Trump affiliates to discuss the receipt of stolen documents.  Mr. Steele could not have known that the Russians stole information on Hillary Clinton, or that they were considering means to weaponize them in the U.S. election, all of which turned out to be stunningly accurate.

We learned that when Carter Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016, he met with close Putin ally and Chairman of the Russian state oil company, Igor Sechin.  A later Steele report also claimed that he met with Parliamentary Secretary Igor Divyekin while in Moscow.  Renowned investigative journalist Michael Isikoff reported in September 2016 that U.S. intelligence sources confirmed that Page met with both Sechin and Divyekin during his July trip to Russia. What’s more, the Justice Department obtained a wiretap in summer 2016 on Page after satisfying a court that there was sufficient evidence to show Page was operating as a Russian agent.

… In late December 2016, Sechin’s chief of staff, Oleg Erovinkin “who may have been a source for ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s Trump dossier,” according to multiple reports, was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow.

While the Orbis team had no way to know it, subsequent reports from U.S. officials confirmed that Washington-based diplomat Mikhail Kalugin was an undercover intelligence officer and was pulled out of the Embassy and sent home in summer 2016.

Xollowing the inauguration, Cohen was involved, again with Felix Sater, to engage in back-channel negotiations seeking a means to lift sanctions via a semi-developed Russian-Ukrainian plan (which also included the hand delivery of derogatory information on Ukrainian leaders) also fits with Orbis reporting related to Cohen.

Of the hundreds of Republican positions and proposals, they altered only the single sentence that called for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia,

The important factor to consider is that Trump did not engage with the prostitutes himself, but instead allegedly sought to denigrate Obama.  If there is anything consistent in what we have learned about President Trump, it seems that his policies are almost exclusively about overturning and eradicating anything related to President Obama’s tenure.

While it is not worth serious exploration, the notion that Trump might be involved with beautiful young women as alleged in the reports doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch. [Written before Stormy Daniels story broke]

Suffice it to say that Trumps obsequiousness toward Putin, his continued cover-ups, and his irrational acquiescence to Russian interests, often in direct opposition to his own Administration and Party, keep the issue on the table. [Again, this is Sep 2017]

[T]he hesitancy to be honest about contacts with Russia is consistent with allegations of a conspiracy.

DailyBeast: Russian Journalists Murdered in Africa May Have Been Set Up http://thebea.st/2OUvzcp
// The three thought they knew the risks, but the Central African Republic is a new military and mining playground for Putin and his greedy friends. Journalists aren’t welcome.

🐣 RT @brianklaas Trump’s cowardly remarks during his press conference in Helsinki make him effectively complicit in these ongoing Kremlin-directed cyber attacks against the US. He all but invited Putin to continue these attacks by again acting as Putin’s chief apologist.
RT @RVAwonk BREAKING: Microsoft has detected & seized websites created by Russian govt hackers targeting conservative US think tanks that have broken with Trump & are pushing for continued sanctions against Moscow, exposing oligarchs, or pressing for human rights.
⋙ NYT: New Russian Hacking of Republican Groups that have Broken with Trump, Microsoft Says http://nyti.ms/2BulCAt

⭕ 20 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @GenHayden And the special ops admiral who had tactical control of the bin Laden raid
⋙ 🐣 RT @NedPrice Trump is assailing the Marine who led the FBI in the years after 9/11 and the career CIA official who ended up coordinating the Bin Laden raid. That says a lot more about him than them.

DeadlineWH: Don McGahn…. has seen everything, knows everything and [he] is going to tell the truth. That is why the President had a meltdown. He figured out this weekend that the White House counsel is not your lawyer and he didn’t lie for you”- @SteveSchmidtSES w/ @NicolleDWallace 💽 https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1031671114504855552/photo/1

🐣 RT @stuartstevens Keep pointing out that Gore 2000 campaign received stolen Bush debate book, which would have helped tremendously in prep. (I had one of few copies; it was well done.) They turned it over to FBI. That stolen info came from Austin, not Russia. What Rudy is saying is so absurd.
⋙ 🐣 RT @jonallendc Stunned by the number of people, including Rudy Giuliani, who confess the belief that anyone in politics would take stolen information from an adversarial foreign government to win an election. In this view, there are no means to victory that are not justified by victory.

FastCompany, Sarah Kendzior: Donald Trump Will Do Anything To Avoid Prosecution–And John Bolton Will Help http://bit.ly/2nViyUy

🐣 Reuters: Exclusive: FBI probing cyber attack on congressional campaign in California – sources http://reut.rs/2nUim8a

🐣💙💙 RT @BillKristol Trump tweets that Robert Mueller is “disgraced and discredited” and has working with him a “whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs.” The truth:
💽 https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/1031525995885547520/photo/1

WaPo, Paul Waldman: The most intense and dangerous period of the Trump presidency is about to begin http://wapo.st/2N767jC

🐣 RT @JillWineBanks 45 said don’t believe what you see or hear and Giuliani ssid “truth isn’t truth”, but the evidence is clear whether it’s about getting help from Russia, Trump Tower meeting, firing Comey, revoking security clearances as punishment for speaking against 45, and more.

🐣 RT @antontroian Putin quote for ages: “As for who to believe, who you can’t believe, can you believe at all — you can’t believe anyone.”

🐣 Chuck Todd gave Giuliani several chances to ‘take back the stupid.’ Don’t forget that a couple days earlier, he denied that Trump ever even talked to Comey about Flynn, then lied when a confronted w taped evidence. (Also, I seriously doubt that he wrote that recantation tweet.)

WaPo, Paul Waldman: The most intense and dangerous period of the Trump presidency is about to begin http://wapo.st/2Ppz5g0

WaPo: Brennan says he’s willing to take Trump to court over security clearances http://wapo.st/2N2FvQs

🐣 RT @MichaelAvenatti Contrary to Trump, Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s con men, Truth IS Truth. We need to end this con job.
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”-John Adams

🐣 To: @real Obstruction of Justice is like a “Chinese Finger Trap.” The harder you try to “FIGHT BACK” the harder it is to get free. In fact, if you “FIGHT BACK” by bullying, bribing, or coordinating with witnesses, you can get nailed for Witness Tampering.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031531380818280448/photo/1
🐣 To: @real Obstruction of Justice is a crime. So are witness tampering, bribery, bank fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. So is perjury. Abuse of power, though not crime, is an impeachable offense, as Nixon found out.
🐣 To: @real Conspiracy to defraud the United States is the crime.

🐣 .@MerriamWebster has its Word of the Year: Councel.

🔥⋙ FoxNews: “John Bolton on Sunday suggested that former CIA Dir John Brennan might have misused classified information, and that the ‘unprecedented leaks’ from the admin may prompt broader changes in how security clearances are handled.” http://fxn.ws/2BodKAs  @Morning_Joe

🐣 RT @jonallendc Stunned by the number of people, including Rudy Giuliani, who confess the belief that anyone in politics would take stolen information from an adversarial foreign government to win an election. In this view, there are no means to victory that are not justified by victory.

🐣 Wow! About 250 intel officials have now signed on to the letter rebuking Trump for politicizing security clearances, per @JoeNBC on @Morning_Joe @MSNBC

⭕ 19 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @BFriedmanDC Let’s talk about national security and what it means to be a patriot. This is the Situation Room during the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden. These are the people responsible for it. And this is what Donald Trump has to say about each of them. ¤ I know whose side I’m on.
https://twitter.com/BFriedmanDC/status/1031253617301446658/photo/1
// photo annotated w Tweets

🐣 RT @AaronBlake … And the coup de grace: “Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and *The Russian government attorney* who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.” http://wapo.st/2MA16CW
⋙ “All they knew that a woman with a Russian name was going to meet with them, they didn’t know she represented the Russian government,” @RudyGiuliani says on the Trump tower meeting. #MTP

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood it’s the most important fact in the entire Trump/Russia scandal
⋙ 🐣 RT @armandodkos It’s amazing that this basic fact has not sunk in with parts of the Media- Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner took a meeting in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 expecting to meet and conspire with officials of the Russian government to help Trump get elected.

🐣 RT @bjaninemorison Why is it that “FAKE NEWS” only became a phrase only after we had a “FAKE PRESIDENT” elected with the help of Russian hacking and collusion.
https://twitter.com/bjaninemorison/status/1031451559958212609/photo/1
// “You tell people a lie 3 times, they will believe anything …” ~ Art of the Deal

🐣 RT @CarlosLozadaWP
*When @seanspicer said inaugural crowd was the biggest, he wanted us to believe a specific untruth.
*When @KellyannePolls invoked “alternative truths,” it meant we could choose any truth.
*When Giuliani says “truth isn’t truth,” he means there is no truth but Trump’s.
#StepByStep

WaPo, EJ Dionne: America is slouching toward autocracy http://wapo.st/2OS6zTf

🐣 RT @djrothkopf To those of you who are too young to remember Watergate, rest assured, this is worse. Trump is a much less competent, much more dangerous, vastly more corrupt president than Nixon. And this time his co-conspirators are the entire GOP leadership of the Congress.

🐣 RT @MichaelBeschloss Soviet tanks roll into Prague to crush liberalization, 50 years ago today: https://twitter.com/BeschlossDC/status/1031402022078173184/photo/1
// newspaper

🐣 RT @justinhendrix Giuliani: “Truth isn’t truth.”
Trump: “Remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Orwell: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031408861402550272/photo/1
// 1984, stark white on black ⇈

🐣 RT @AaronBlake By far the most notable thing here is that Trump considers a guy who exposed a major presidential scandal to be a “RAT.”
⋙ 🐣 RT @real The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……

🐣 RT @NormEisen With @JohnBrennan raising possibility of legal action, give a listen to this from @BrookingsInst in which I explain his valid Constitutional claim (tho getting a court to order relief on that claim is a steep hill to climb)
⋙ @NormEisen explains in five minutes why Trump’s action to revoke @JohnBrennan’s security clearance may violate the First Amendment

🐣 RT @walterdellinger Hugo Black, for whom I earlier clerked, wrote these words at age 85 in his own shaky but firm handwriting. He believed these words passionately
// free press; “The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people”

🔄🐣 Can’t wait for the next episode of @MuellerSheWrote! It’s gonna be a doozy! https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031390547380977664/photo/1

🐣 RT @brianklaas THIS IS A LIE. The e-mail proposing the meeting to Don Jr. specifically said: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Don Jr. replied “I love it” and eagerly set-up the meeting.
⋙ 🐣 RT @MeetThePress “All they knew that a woman with a Russian name was going to meet with them, they didn’t know she represented the Russian government,” @RudyGiuliani says on the Trump tower meeting. #MTP

🐣 RT @AriMelber No, truth *is* truth *in court* — which is why witnesses are under oath, and courts rule on lies like perjury. ¤ Giuliani knows that as a prosecutor; and Trump knows that as the most litigious person to ever become President.

🐣 RT @DanRather Truth isn’t Truth” – It is as if Rudy Giuliani revels in writing the book titles for the historians of the future who will have to try to make sense of this President and all that is transpiring under his Administration.

🐣 RT @Kasparov63 Destroying the concept of objective truth is both a general principle for autocrats and a legal defense strategy. Trump needs both. [re: RG]

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood Slate’s Slow Burn podcast reminds us how long Nixon allies stuck w/him, refusing to accept who he was and what he had done. called it “witch hunt,” blamed partisan Dems/biased media, said public didn’t care, let the president do his job etc. But truth came out, and won out. 1/2
🐣 RT @JohnHarwood [I]t was political tribalism before the term came into common usage. Nixon allies found affirmation in him because he picked the right enemies 2/2

🐣 RT @EricBoehlert reminder as Mueller’s team works in 100% anonymity, Ken Starr’s team used to leak to the press ALL THE TEAM. ¤ his prosecutors practically set up conference calls w/ reporters to leak **while they were investigating POTUS**

NYT: Cohen, Trump’s Ex-Lawyer, Investigated for Bank Fraud in Excess of $20 Million http://nyti.ms/2PrHakq

🐣 RT @PaulaChertok 🔥🎯 Historian @jmeacham says not only did @JohnBrennan have a right to call Trump treasonous, he had a duty as a statesman to say it if he felt it appropriate. Treason is defined in our constitution as giving aid & comfort to an enemy. This isn’t a time to dance around words.
💽 (msnbc clip)https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1031342883981340672

🐣 Lol @maggieNYT and @nytmike get to take a victory lap, describing the 🔥💥🔥 when the White House realized what their earlier article (http://nyti.ms/2N0qwqo) was saying ⋙
⋙ NYT: Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team http://nyti.ms/2Mo1iG8
// Yeah, they probably finally read the article closely, and realized Mueller was not a source but McGahn most likely was (“a person familiar”). It implies McGahn felt he might be pressed out by new legal team; now they can’t do much. Nor can they box him out or keep him from meeting with Mueller without raising suspicions. Oh, the wicked web …
🐣 Love how @maggienyt and @nytmike make sure they get both exiled Bannon and Christie to rub Trump’s face in it, as well as allowing Dowd to cover his a**. The Schadenfreude is palpable as the #FakenewsNYT shows what it’s made of.

President Trump’s lawyers do not know just how much the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, told the special counsel’s investigators during months of interviews, a lapse that has contributed to a growing recognition that an early strategy of full cooperation with the inquiry was a potentially damaging mistake.

The president’s lawyers said on Sunday that they were confident that Mr. McGahn had said nothing injurious to the president during the 30 hours of interviews. But Mr. McGahn’s lawyer has offered only a limited accounting of what Mr. McGahn told the investigators, according to two people close to the president.

That has prompted concern among Mr. Trump’s advisers that Mr. McGahn’s statements could help serve as a key component for a damning report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which the Justice Department could send to Congress, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers realized on Saturday that they had not been provided a full accounting after The New York Times published an article describing Mr. McGahn’s extensive cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s office. After Mr. McGahn was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, Mr. Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said, according to a person close to the president.

Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, gave the president’s lawyers a short overview of the interview but few details, and he did not inform them of what Mr. McGahn said in subsequent interactions with the investigators, according to a person close to Mr. Trump.

But Mr. McGahn, who as White House counsel is not the president’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly made clear to the president that his role is as a protector of the presidency, not of Mr. Trump personally.

Legal experts and former White House counsels said the president’s lawyers had been careless in not asking Mr. McGahn what he had planned to tell Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors.

The report by The Times also reignited a debate about whether Mr. Trump had been given bad advice by his former lawyers Mr. Dowd and Ty Cobb to allow full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s team, including by waiving attorney-client privilege. Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb believed that the cooperation would help prove that the president had done nothing wrong and bring a swifter end to the investigation.

But the strategy “put Don McGahn in an impossible situation, because once you waive that privilege and you turn over all those documents, Don McGahn has no choice then but to go in and answer everything, every question they could ask him,” Chris Christie, a former United States attorney and a close ally of Mr. Trump, said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“It’s bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is a result of it,” Mr. Christie added.

Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, who had argued last summer against cooperating with Mr. Mueller, said, “This was a reckless and dangerously naïve strategy, and I’ve vocally said that since the time I left the White House, and I’ve said it to the president.”

In an email to members of Mr. Trump’s legal team and other associates, which was obtained by The Times, Mr. Dowd said he had made the right choice in urging cooperation.

“We protected President by not asserting attorney-client privilege,” Mr. Dowd wrote. He added that, had the lawyers forced the Mueller team to subpoena witnesses, they would have lost the ability to exert privilege over witnesses and documents.

Last fall, Mr. McGahn believed that he was being set up to be blamed for any wrongdoing by the president in part because of an article published in The Times in September, which described a conversation that a reporter had overheard between Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb.

In the conversation — which occurred over lunch at a table on the sidewalk outside the Washington steakhouse B.L.T. — Mr. Cobb discussed the White House’s production of documents to Mr. Mueller’s office. Mr. Cobb talked about how Mr. McGahn was opposed to cooperation and had documents locked in his safe.

After the account of the lunch conversation was published, Mr. McGahn became convinced that Mr. Cobb believed that he was hiding documents. Concerned that he would be blamed, he decided to try to demonstrate to Mr. Mueller that he and other White House lawyers had done nothing wrong.

As Mr. Trump’s lawyers have shifted to a more antagonistic approach toward Mr. Mueller, it has seemed increasingly unlikely that Mr. Trump will sit for a voluntary interview. On “Meet the Press,” Mr. Giuliani repeated his fear of a “perjury trap.”

“It’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth,” Mr. Giuliani said of any statements by the president in such an interview.

“Truth is truth,” the show’s host, Chuck Todd, answered.

“No, it isn’t truth,” Mr. Giuliani replied. “Truth isn’t truth.”

🐣 RT @ReliableSources As a a former Russia analyst .. I am convinced that the President of the United States is in thrall to Vladimir Putin,” says Lt. Col. Ralph Peters
💽 https://twitter.com/ReliableSources/status/1031200171542163460/photo/1
// accused former colleagues at Fox of being “prostitutes” in same interview

🐣 Giuliani said no one knew the meeting had to do “with the Russian government”
TheGuardian (7/11/2017): Full text of the emails between Donald Trump Jr and Rob Goldstone http://bit.ly/2L8Riej
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031232459357278208/photo/1

🐣 .@secupp ~ @Ocasio2018 has NOT dominated news coverage on MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, WSJ or anything I watch/read. Trump’s meltdowns, his foreign policy debacles and separated families have. You must still watch @FoxNews @CNNsotu

DailyBeast: Ex-Fox News Analyst Ralph Peters Calls Former Colleagues Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson ‘Prostitutes’ http://thebea.st/2wdZuok
// ‘The polite word is prostitutes, so we’ll just leave it that,’ Ralph Peters said when he was asked about Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

VanityFair: How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn’s Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America http://bit.ly/2Bnk63l
// 6/28/2017, In 1973, a brash young would-be developer from Queens met one of New York’s premier power brokers: Roy Cohn, whose name is still synonymous with the rise of McCarthyism and its dark political arts. With the ruthless attorney as a guide, Trump propelled himself into the city’s power circles and learned many of the tactics that would inexplicably lead him to the White House years later.

🐣 RT @renati_marriotti “Truth isn’t truth.” – Rudy Giuliani
This is their mantra. They overload the media with falsehoods because they know the falsehoods will be repeated and public opinion will shift accordingly. The Administration’s falsehoods should not be reported without proper context.
⋙ 🐣 RT @MeetThePress ..@RudyGiuliani on Trump testifying with Mueller: “I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury… it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.”
@chucktodd: “Truth is truth”
GIULIANI: “No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth.” #MTP

🐣 RT @JakeTapper “Tough as he was, Roy (Cohn, McCarthy’s protege) always had a lot of friends, and I’m not embarrassed to say I was one. He was a truly loyal guy…a great guy to have on your side…” ¤ – Donald Trump. “The Art of the Deal”
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!

🐣 RT @ McCarthy’s chief counsel, Roy Cohn, was Trump’s lawyer and mentor in the 70s and ’80s. Trump still idolizes Cohn, even though Cohn used him as an easy mark who’d buy up tons and tons of concrete from Cohn’s other clients of the day…the Gambino and Genovese crime families.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!

🐣 Enjoy! 1984 http://amzn.to/2L5UYO8 1hr 50mins
McCarthy Hearings.: “Point of Order” https://youtu.be/wJHsur3HqcI 1hr 35mins

🐣 RT @GOPLeader Another day, another example of conservatives being censored on social media. @jack easy fix: explain to Congress what is going on. #StopTheBias cc @IngrahamAngle https://twitter.com/GOPLeader/status/1030501196879089670/photo/1
🐣 She controls that account setting.

Zakaria: 10% of companies ~ 80% of corporate profits. Productivity gains due to technology; intellectual property.

🐣 Between @RudyGiuliani and @AmbJohnBolton we’re definitely in Newspeak territory. #1984

🐣 RT @rgoodlaw The cruel irony of John Bolton’s justifying security clearance revocations will not be lost on many.
Bolton: “[@JohnBrennan] and others in the Obama administration were politicizing intelligence. I think that’s a very dangerous thing to do.”
💽 On @ThisWeekABC https://twitter.com/rgoodlaw/status/1031179538670206978/photo/1

🐣 RT @EdKrassen No Joke!
@RudyGiuliani really just said “Truth isn’t Truth” ¤
Truth has always been the truth.
Truth is based on facts.
Truth is what really happened.
Something is either True or it is False! ¤
I can’t believe people actually support this crap!
WAKE UP!
💽 ⋙ 🐣 RT @MeetThePress https://twitter.com/EdKrassen/status/1031176014276304896/photo/1

🐣 RT @Rschooley I smell a convention theme. https://twitter.com/Rschooley/status/1031197902322843648/photo/1
🐣 RT @Rschooley Counterpoint: This will be a very good meme. https://twitter.com/Rschooley/status/1031193402983870464/photo/1
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @NBCNewsPR –> “Truth isn’t truth.”
Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Trump, just told @MeetThePress’ @ChuckTodd. #MTP
⋙ 🐣 Right up there with what the meaning of the word “is” is.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand What??? The email to Don Jr. said the meeting was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
⋙ 🐣 RT @MeetThePress “All they knew that a woman with a Russian name was going to meet with them, they didn’t know she represented the Russian government,” @RudyGiuliani says on the Trump tower meeting. #MTP

🐣 RT @jk_rowling I do’nt care what Kids at School call me because they are all Disgusting Fake Losers and my Real Friends go to a diffrent Scool you haven’t heard of and they think Im the Coolest and Smartest and we go to parties and I don’t have to tell you there Names for this to be True.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Some members of the media are very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times. They actually called to complain and apologize – a big step forward. From the day I announced, the Times has been Fake News, and with their disgusting new Board Member, it will only get worse!

🐣 RT @emptywheel One does not need a secret source (or 12 of them!) at WH to show that Don McGahn’s in the thick of Roger Stone’s 2016 rat-fuckery. He’s on court filings for them. And public record shows that’s a focus of Mueller’s investigation.

🐣 [Why Hillary lost] I made a list the day after the election which is still on the refrigerator. 60+ reasons. And it didn’t even include Russia.

🐣 Rudy Giuliani: “Truth isn’t truth.” Srsly. It’s just someone’s version of the truth. To @chucktodd on @MeetThePress

🐣 RT @JoeNBC Anyone who has known Trump for years, and doesn’t have a stake in his political career or the GOP, says the same. He is unwell and has been getting progressively worse over the past 18 months.
⋙ 🐣 RT @PeterWehner Mr. Trump was emotionally/psychologically unwell when he became president. His condition is clearly worsening. He’s becoming more volatile, erratic and unstable. At some point he’s going to blow apart. When he does it’ll create a crisis. This won’t end well. Pray for our country.

🐣 RT @CNN: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: “The common denominator among all of us that have been speaking up though is genuine concern about the jeopardy or threats of our institutions and values” #CNNSOT
💽 https://twitter.com/CNNPolitics/status/1031167201317986304/photo/1
// Chryon: Clapper: I didn’t mean Trump committed treason

🐣 Wow. @JohnBrennan does not deny @chucktodd’s challenge that he is accusing Trump of treason. @MeetThePress

🐣 RT @real Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!
⋙ Psssst: You’re McCarthy. Mueller is Welch: “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

🐣 RT @PalmerReport WHAT THE HELL IS A COUNCEL?
⋙ 🐣 He used to refer the Special Counsel a “Council.” My guess is someone tried to correct him and he went half-way to “Councel.” He’s been using “Councel” for a while now.

⭕ 18 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @JohnDean Nixon, generally very competent, bungled and botched his handling of Watergate. Trump, a total incompetent, is bungling and botching his handling of Russiagate. Fate is never kind to bunglers and/or botchers! Unlike Nixon, however, Trump won’t leave willingly or graciously.

ABCNews: The conservative DC legal group behind a challenge to Mueller probe http://abcn.ws/2vUnai4 //➔ behind the refusal of Roger Sone’s associate, Andrew Miller, to appear before a grand jury is a plan “to mount a broad legal challenge to the legitimacy of the special counsel probe”

The National Legal and Policy Center is backing a subpoena fight launched by Andrew Miller, a former associate of Trump confidant and political provocateur Roger Stone, who has refused a demand from prosecutors to appear before a grand jury. He is objecting, the lawyers said, in order to mount a broad legal challenge to the legitimacy of the special counsel probe.

Slate, Isaac Chotiner: What John Dean Has to Say About the NYT’s Blockbuster Don McGahn Story http://bit.ly/2vWsFwV

🐣 RT @Frank_Schaefer Republicans have a habit of rejecting awkward facts and attributing them to conspiracies. It’s not a big jump from claiming that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the scientific community to asserting that Trump is the blameless target of a vast deep state conspiracy.

💽≣💙💙 MSNBC/TRMS, Steve Benen: Rachel Maddow interviews John Brennan: Read the full transcript http://on.msnbc.com/2BqJTaV
// with video

“I know what the Russians did in interfering in the election. I have 100% confidence in what they did. For Mr. Trump to stand on that stage in Helsinki with all the world’s eyes upon him and he doesn’t understand why would the Russians interfere in the elections. He’s given them a pass time after time after time and keeps referring to it as a witch-hunt and bogus and, to me, this was an attack against the foundational principle of our republic the right of all Americans to choose their elected leaders.” – Ex-CIA Director John Brennan

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: The Michael Cohen Bribery Scandal Is Now a Trump Bribery Scandal http://nym.ag/2OLjru8
// 5/16/2018

🐣 RT @GenMhayden Interesting theme. Since the Brennan thing started, the meme in the intel community is “I am Spartacus”
// context: The quote “I am Spartacus” is dervied from the 1960 movie “Spartacus” directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas as the titular role. Near the end of the film, a Roman general announces to a group of former slaves that unsuccesfully fought againsts their rulers that unless Spartacus is turned over to them, all of the slaves will be crucified. Spartacus is then willing to turn himself in to protect his friends by standing up and proclaiming “I am Spartacus!”, but then the rest of the slaves show their loyalty to him by also proclaming that himself is Spartacus in great numbers. Since the general still doesn’t know who the real Spartacus is, all of the slaves are led to crucifixion.

🐣 RT @SenJeffMerkley Elie Wiesel said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

NYT, Paul Krugman: The Slippery Slope of Complicity http://nyti.ms/2vX1dii

At this point, you have to be a truly fanatical practitioner of bothsidesism not to see that Trump is every bit as terrible a human being, and every bit as much a menace to the republic, as some of us warned when all the cool kids were busy snarking about Clinton’s emails.

The real news of the past few weeks isn’t that Trump is a wannabe Mussolini who can’t even make the trains run on time. It’s the absence of any meaningful pushback from Congressional Republicans.

Make no mistake: if Republicans hold both houses of Congress this November, Trump will go full authoritarian, abusing institutions like the I.R.S., trying to jail opponents and journalists on, er, trumped-up charges, and more — and he’ll do it with full support from his party.

But my guess is that most Republican politicians are spineless rather than sinister — or, more accurately, sinister in their spinelessness. They’re not really ideologues so much as careerists, whose instinct is always to go along with the party line. And this instinct has drawn them ever deeper into complicity.

To some extent this is just human weakness in action. But there are some special aspects of the modern GOP that make it especially vulnerable to this kind of slide into leader-worship. The party has long been in the habit of rejecting awkward facts and attributing them to conspiracies: it’s not a big jump from claiming that climate change is a giant hoax perpetrated by the entire scientific community to asserting that Trump is the blameless target of a vast deep state conspiracy.

And modern Republican politicians are, with few exceptions, apparatchiks: they are creatures of a monolithic movement that doesn’t allow dissent but protects the loyal from risk.

Even now, I don’t think most political commentators have grasped how deep the rot goes. I don’t think they understand, or at any rate admit to themselves, that democracy really could die just a few months from now.

And if it doesn’t, if Republicans lose Congress and Trump leaves office on or before January 2021, the same people who kept declaring that Trump just became president will try to go back to pretending that Republican politicians are serious, honorable people who care about policy. But they aren’t.

🐣 RT @tribelaw Brennan’s security revocation, as part of an orgy of revocations and threats overtly designed to punish and gag Trump’s critics and cripple those investigating him, is an unconstitutional and impeachable abuse of power endangering our national security.

🔄◕💙 NYT, Linda Qiu: Truth-Testing Trump’s 250-Plus Attacks on the Russia Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2MY609E
Attacks accelerating: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031092360728530945/photo/1
// We assessed President Trump’s claims about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the ensuing federal investigation of his campaign.

💙💙 NYT: McGahn, White House Counsel, Has Cooperated Extensively in Mueller Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2PmqQ4m
// by Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman

In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s fury toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it. He provided the investigators examining whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice a clear view of the president’s most intimate moments with his lawyer.

Among them were Mr. Trump’s comments and actions during the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and Mr. Trump’s obsession with putting a loyalist in charge of the inquiry, including his repeated urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of it. Mr. McGahn was also centrally involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which investigators might not have discovered without him.

Mr. McGahn’s cooperation began in part as a result of a decision by Mr. Trump’s first team of criminal lawyers to collaborate fully with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. McGahn and his lawyer, William A. Burck, could not understand why Mr. Trump was so willing to allow Mr. McGahn to speak freely to the special counsel and feared Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction, according to people close to him. So he and Mr. Burck devised their own strategy to do as much as possible to cooperate with Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn did nothing wrong.

It is not clear that Mr. Trump appreciates the extent to which Mr. McGahn has cooperated with the special counsel. The president wrongly believed that Mr. McGahn would act as a personal lawyer would for clients and solely defend his interests to investigators, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking.

But the two rarely speak one on one — the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and other advisers are usually present for their meetings — and Mr. Trump has questioned Mr. McGahn’s loyalty. In turn, Mr. Trump’s behavior has so exasperated Mr. McGahn that he has called the president “King Kong” behind his back, to connote his volcanic anger, people close to Mr. McGahn said.

As White House counsel, not a personal lawyer, he viewed his role as protector of the presidency, not of Mr. Trump.

Mr. McGahn’s decision to cooperate with the special counsel grew out of Mr. Dowd’s and Mr. Cobb’s game plan, now seen as misguided by some close to the president.

Mr. McGahn was stunned, as was Mr. Burck, whom he had recently hired out of concern that he needed help to stay out of legal jeopardy, according to people close to Mr. McGahn. Mr. Burck has explained to others that he told White House advisers that they did not appreciate the president’s legal exposure and that it was “insane” that Mr. Trump did not fight a McGahn interview in court.

Even if the president did nothing wrong, Mr. Burck told White House lawyers, the White House has to understand that a client like Mr. Trump probably made politically damaging statements to Mr. McGahn as he weighed whether to intervene in the Russia investigation.

Worried that Mr. Trump would ultimately blame him in the inquiry, Mr. McGahn told people he was determined to avoid the fate of the White House counsel for President Richard M. Nixon, John W. Dean, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Watergate scandal.

Mr. McGahn decided to fully cooperate with Mr. Mueller. It was, he believed, the only choice he had to protect himself.

“This sure has echoes of Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, John Dean, who in 1973 feared that Nixon was setting him up as a fall guy for Watergate and secretly gave investigators crucial help while still in his job,” said the historian Michael Beschloss.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers still had a chance to keep Mr. McGahn’s insider knowledge from the special counsel. By exerting attorney-client privilege, which allows the president to legally withhold information, they would have gained the right to learn what Mr. McGahn planned to tell investigators and what he might reveal that could damage the president. But the president’s lawyers never went through that process …

Mr. Mueller has told the president’s lawyers that he will follow Justice Department guidance that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. Rather than charge Mr. Trump if he finds evidence of wrongdoing, he is more likely to write a report that can be sent to Congress for lawmakers to consider impeachment proceedings.

Unencumbered, Mr. Burck and Mr. McGahn met the special counsel team in November for the first time and shared all that Mr. McGahn knew.

To investigators, Mr. McGahn was a fruitful witness, people familiar with the investigation said. He had been directly involved in nearly every episode they are scrutinizing to determine whether the president obstructed justice. To make an obstruction case, prosecutors who lack a piece of slam-dunk evidence generally point to a range of actions that prove that the suspect tried to interfere with the inquiry.

Mr. McGahn gave to Mr. Mueller’s investigators, the people said, a sense of the president’s mind-set in the days leading to the firing of Mr. Comey; how the White House handled the firing of the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn; and how Mr. Trump repeatedly berated Mr. Sessions, tried to get him to assert control over the investigation and threatened to fire him.

Mr. Mueller, armed with Mr. McGahn’s account, is still trying to interview witnesses close to the president. But the White House has a new lawyer for the investigation, Emmet T. Flood, who has strong views on privilege issues. When the special counsel asked to interview Mr. Kelly, Mr. Flood contested the request, rather than fully cooperate.

🐣 RT @ForeignAffairs The term “multiculturalism” at first was about large cultural groups, such as French-speaking Canadians, or Muslim immigrants, or African Americans. But soon it became a vision of a society fragmented into many small groups with distinct experiences.
⋙ 💙💙 ForeignAffairs, Francis Fukuyama: Against Identity Politics ~ The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy http://fam.ag/2wbOJmd
// Sep-Oct 2018 issue

⭕ 17 Aug 2018

ForeignAffairs, Alina Polyakova and Benjamin Haddad: Europe in the New Era of Great Power Competition http://fam.ag/2OQbcwP //➔ Europe begins to slip away
Text (End): https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031414066361847808/photo/1
// How the EU Can Stand Up to Trump and China

🐣 RT @MalcolmNance WARNING: What happened to Austrian Intelligence (BVT) by the Russian backed Far Right Freedom Party government (founded by WW2 Nazis) is what Trump wants to do to the CIA … gut it for personal reasons.
⋙ WaPo: Austria’s far-right ordered a raid on its own intelligence service. Now allies are freezing the country out. http://wapo.st/2wcVLqT

NYT: Mueller Asks for Jail Time for Papadopoulos, Saying He Repeatedly Lied http://nyti.ms/2Bk1cdz

The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has told a judge that a former adviser to the Trump campaign repeatedly lied about his contacts with Russian operatives and “caused damage” to the government’s inquiry.

In a document filed Friday evening, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, misled investigators about the “timing, extent and nature” of the meetings. During one of them, Mr. Papadopoulos was told that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

“The defendant lied in order to conceal his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign,” the memo said. It happened early in the investigation “when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made.”

In particular, the document said that during a January 2017 interview with the F.B.I., Mr. Papadopoulos misled agents about his conversations with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor who investigators believe reached out to Mr. Papadopoulos on behalf of the Russian government.

“The defendant’s lies undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States,” the memo said. “The government understands that the professor left the United States on Feb. 11, 2017, and he has not returned to the United States since then.”

During a meeting in spring 2016, shortly after he was named as an adviser to the Trump campaign, Mr. Papadopoulos was told by Professor Mifsud that the Russians had thousands of incriminating emails about Mrs. Clinton. It has long been a mystery whether Mr. Papadopoulos told anyone inside the Trump campaign about the Russian dirt, and the document filed Friday does not answer the question.

Mr. Papadopoulos did, however, make reference to the Russian dirt during a conversation he had in a London bar in May 2016 with the senior Australian diplomat in Britain. The Australians passed the information to the United States and, in July 2016, the F.B.I. opened its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Mr. Mueller’s memo said Mr. Papadopoulos did not provide “substantial assistance” to the investigation, and that “much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas.”

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 John Brennan: “I think he’s out of control. He has the steering wheel of the American vehicle in his hands and he’s veering wildly right now. He’s trying to preserve and protect himself. And so what more demonstration do you want? When things get really, really bad?” @maddow

🐣 RT @GovHowardDean Let’s not forget through all this that Trump is nothing but a cheap crook in his soul. He happens to be President so he can avoid his ultimate fate for a time. But eventually he will go down because has never been anything but a cheap crook.

🐣 RT @NBC Sixty former CIA officials sign letter responding to the removal of former CIA Director Brennan’s security clearance: ¤ “The country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”
Letter & Sigs: https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1030624090703503365/photo/1
Rest of Sigs: https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1030624090703503365/photo/2

🐣 RT @JoshTPM 3/ fled the US after speaking to the FBI.
🐣 RT @JoshTPM 2/ Special Counsels office locates Mifsud a couple weeks after talking to Papadopoulos. But GP had lied to them. So their information about his activities was limited and they couldn’t question him effectively or detail him. The dates suggest that he more or less immediately …
🐣 RT @JoshTPM As far as I know, this is the first time we’ve heard that Jospeh Mifsud was in the United States. If I’m reading the document correctly he was in the US soon after President Trump’s inauguration. Why? The other point I take from the sentencing recommendation is that …

🐣 RT @MSNBC WATCH: Segment 3: Brennan raises the prospect to @maddow that President Trump could also revoke the security clearances of Mueller team investigators, effectively disabling their ability to carry out the investigation: “How desperate is he going to get?”
⋙ MSNBC: Brennan: Russian intrusion did not end with Trump inauguration http://on.msnbc.com/2L4g1ka
// John Brennan, former CIA director, talks with Rachel Maddow about Russia’s continued efforts to impose itself on American politics to ensure its interests are being served.

🐣 RT @MSNBC Trump claimed he has no ties to Russia, but reporting in a new book by Craig Unger describes Russian mafia-linked money laundering involving Trump properties that goes back to the 1980s.
⋙ MSNBC: Craig Unger: Trump is a Russian asset in the White House http://on.msnbc.com/2M
// Unger tells Ari Melber that he found “at least 1300 times” over the past “20 or 30 years” where Russian money helped “Trump get rich again”.

🐣 RT @SethAbramson Based on all we know, the chances the “other country besides Russia” Papadopoulos got money from was *Israel* is extremely high, and there is a reasonable chance the money came from someone associated with WikiStrat, whose CEO met with Nader, Prince, and Trump Jr. in August 2016.

🐣 RT @bradheath Mueller’s office has noticed the comments Papadopoulos’ wife has been making to the press professing his innocence, and has a detailed footnote about why they’re false. https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/1030641962758692864/photo/1

WaPo: White House drafts more clearance cancellations demanded by Trump http://wapo.st/2KZOtw1 “… Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Bill Shine, the newly named deputy chief of staff, have discussed the optimum times to release them as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles.”

🐣 RT @BillKristol Trump on a career DOJ attorney’s security clearance: “I suspect I’ll be taking it away very quickly.” But it’s not clear Trump can legally do this. The president has broad authority but he’s not unfettered by laws, rules and procedures. The rule of law constrains the president.

Observer, John Schindler: ‘Idiocracy’ Come True: Even Pentagon Says Morons Are Inheriting the Earth http://bit.ly/2wcDWsb

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand JUST IN: Mueller says “a sentence of incarceration” for Papadopoulos of between 0-6 months would be “appropriate and warranted.”
Court doc: https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1030613454217007104/photo/1

≣ Statement by 60 ex-CIA officials condemning Trump’s revocation of John Brennan’s security clearance. “The country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1030631298707152897/photo/1

🐣 RT @KyleGriffin1 “As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.”
⋙ WaPo: GOP fundraiser Broidy under investigation for alleged effort to sell government influence, people familiar with probe say http://wapo.st/2waA7nq

The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand This is false. The alleged message said, “afraid they will be exposed.” Says nothing about an “anti trump Russia probe.” And “they” in this context meant the sensitive dossier sources.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real “Fox News has learned that Bruce Ohr wrote Christopher Steele following the firing of James Comey saying that he was afraid the anti-Trump Russia probe will be exposed.” Charles Payne @FoxBusiness How much more does Mueller have to see? They have blinders on – RIGGED!

🐣 RT @BillKristol Trump’s claim that he can personally choose to remove individuals’ clearances without consulting the agencies at which they work or used to work, without going through any of the normal procedures, with no documented showing of cause, etc., is another blow to the rule of law.

NYT, Tim Weiner: Trump Is Not a King http://nyti.ms/2nO2eEQ
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1031015213917773824/photo/1
// Mr. Weiner is the author of histories of the F.B.I. and C.I.A.; A group of top former intelligence and military leaders are sending a message to the nation’s troops and spies: think twice before following the president’s orders in a crisis.

In times of crisis, the leaders of the military and intelligence communities try to put aside their differences, often many and sundry, and work together for the good of the country. That’s what’s happening today with a remarkable group of retired generals, admirals and spymasters who have signed up for the resistance, telling the president of the United States, in so many words, that he is not a king.

The president aims to rid the government and the airwaves of his real and imagined enemies, especially anyone connected with the Russia investigation.

It’s clear that Mr. Brennan’s fierce political and personal attacks rattled the china in the Oval Office. The president essentially has accused Mr. Brennan of lèse majesté — the crime of criticizing the monarch, tantamount to treason.

It’s not a crime in the United States. That’s why we fought a revolution against a mad king.

You don’t need a secret decoder ring to see what’s happening here. John Brennan, who knows whereof he speaks, believes that the president is a threat to the security of the United States — a counterintelligence threat, no less, in thrall to President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The president attacks him, severing Mr. Brennan’s access to classified information. The deans of national security rise up to defend him — and, by implication, intelligence officers and federal investigators who are closing in on the White House.

They are sending a message to active-duty generals and admirals, soldiers and spies. Remember your oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Think twice before following this man’s orders in a crisis. You might first consider throwing down your stars.

NYT, Jeffrey Smith: Was It Illegal for Trump to Revoke Brennan’s Security Clearance? http://nyti.ms/2BiOSdG //➔ Mr. Smith is a former general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency
// The president not only violated the former C.I.A. director’s First Amendment rights but also made it harder for the government to draw on his expertise.

WaPo: White House drafts more clearance cancellations demanded by Trump http://wapo.st/2PjVWt8

CNN: Brian Klaas: Trump is inflicting long-term damage on ‘political culture’ http://cnnmon.ie/2OJXTxZ

🐣 RT @TrickFreee Donald Trump is afraid of the big bad former Director of the Organized Crime division for the U.S. Attorney Generals Office and member of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Bruce Ohr.
// 8/11/2018

NYT: Embracing Conspiracy Theory, Trump Escalates Attack on Bruce Ohr http://nyti.ms/2BmwBfu

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Why the FBI Fired an Agent Who Wrote Anti-Trump Texts http://bit.ly/2Mzdh2X “Bowdich made a decision to have Strzok summarily dismissed … because he broke the cardinal rule that every agent is taught: Never embarrass the bureau.”
// The FBI’s disciplinary office had recommended Peter Strzok be suspended for two months but was overruled by the bureau’s deputy director.

The paperwork was signed. The former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who had become a lightning rod for efforts to undermine the Russia investigation, was set to receive a two-month suspension and a demotion as punishment for his alleged misconduct during the 2016 election. Then the FBI’s deputy director, David Bowdich, stepped in and fired him, saying he had undermined “the credibility of the FBI.”

James Gagliano, a retired FBI supervisory special agent who worked at the bureau for 25 years, acknowledged that Bowdich’s decision to overrule OPR was unusual. But “this was an unprecedented offense,” he argued. “OPR came up with what they thought was the most appropriate punishment, but Bowdich made a decision to have Strzok summarily dismissed instead, because he broke the cardinal rule that every agent is taught: Never embarrass the bureau.”

Bowdich told Strzok in a letter that he had no basis to appeal his dismissal, since it was made at a level above OPR, and it is still unclear whether Strzok plans to take legal action against the bureau for wrongful termination. “We’re considering our options,” his lawyer, Aitan Goelman, told me. For now, Strzok is fielding calls from book publishers and media outlets eager for a tell-all, according to a person familiar with his situation. But it’s a far cry from where he had hoped to be at this point. “He wanted to stay at the bureau,” this person said. “Obviously, now that’s no longer in the cards.”

💙💙 PoliticusUSA, Leo Vidal: Russian Oligarch Tweets Threat to Trump Over ‘Russiaphobia’ http://bit.ly/2Pg3UUh //➔ friend of Putin tweeted on 7/24 that Trump should stop access to secrets for Brennan, Hayden, Comey, McCabe, Clapper & Rice. Two days later, Trump wrote the order. 🔥

Klyushin is the Putin friend and oligarch who once claimed that it was because of him that Trump was elected president. Since he believes he is the one who put him in the White house, he now thinks it is up to him to control his behavior to make the U.S. more “Russia friendly.”

In his tweet, the powerful Russian businessman sent a warning to Trump that he needs to immediately stop encouraging a culture of fake news that spreads what he called “Russophobia.”

“Democrats and Republicans in the United States compete in the one who no longer loves Russia and who will come up with crueler sanctions. They stuff political points on this, and the people of Russia suffer. If Donald Trump does not extinguish the fire kindling FAKE NEWS Russophobia – it will be his last term,” Klyushin wrote according to Microsoft and Google translation applications. [sic]

Klyushin has also sent warnings to some Trump critics who the president has targeted for revocation of security clearances. In that tweet he wrote:

“Ex-CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, ex-FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-director of the National Intelligence Service James Clapper, ex-national security adviser Susan Rice say goodbye to access to classified materials. Welcome to the real world!”

That tweet was sent out BEFORE Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance.

It almost seems like Russian oligarchs now believe the United States is under their control the same way Russia is.

President Trump has often attacked the news media for presenting “fake news” instead of his version of the truth. Because of Trump’s attacks on the press, the United States Senate introduced a new resolution standing up for journalists against the president’s attacks.

“We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment,” Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a Democrat and an sponsor of the resolution told Reuters. “Today, every senator upheld that oath by sending a message that we support the First Amendment, and we support the freedom of the press in the face of these attacks.”

So now Donald Trump is really in a difficult situation. On one hand he is being threatened by Russians. On the other hand, he is being attacked in the press. It seems that these competing interests cannot be reconciled. Either he will give up on attacking the press for “fake news” or he will continue fighting them and seeking to control the media the way his friend Putin does in Russia.

Based on what he has done so far, it is likely that Donald Trump will try to please Putin and his oligarch friends rather than the American people. Expect the attacks on freedom of the press to continue.

💙 WaPo: Trump gears up to strip more clearances from officials tied to Russia investigation http://wapo.st/2vRNQjH

NYT Editorial: Donald Trump, the Payback President http://nyti.ms/2L0ECpO
// What fun is it being president if you can’t use the tools of government to punish your critics?

… Mr. Brennan’s spanking is just the latest display of what has become standard operating procedure for this president: using the official levers of government to punish critics and to encourage other detractors to sit down and shut up.

Mr. Trump’s act of spite against Mr. Brennan is less ambitious and, frankly, less imaginative, than some of the other avenues of retribution he has explored[:] Aggrieved over what he considers insufficiently obsequious coverage by The Washington Post, Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to punish the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, by raising the postal rates paid by the online retail giant Amazon, of which Mr. Bezos is the founder and chief executive. Similarly, in the midst of his snit over the protests by National Football League players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, Mr. Trump instructed aides to brainstorm ideas for going after the league in last year’s tax-reform package.

Then there was the president’s failed attempt to block the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, which pretty much everyone recognized as part of his long-simmering animus toward the news media in general and CNN in particular. (The network is owned by Time Warner.)

At other times, Mr. Trump is vastly more forthright, as when explaining in an interview later Wednesday that he took away Mr. Brennan’s security clearance in part because of the latter’s early role in the Russia inquiry. Raging about how “these people” had led the “rigged witch hunt,” Mr. Trump reasoned, “So I think it’s something that had to be done.” The revelation was a remarkable echo of the president’s admission to NBC’s Lester Holt last year that he had fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey, in part over “this Russia thing” rather than the ludicrous official line that he had done so because of Mr. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

At this point, one might ask why the White House even bothers to invent cover stories that the president himself will inevitably contradict. Mr. Trump obviously cherishes — and actively cultivates — his reputation as someone who will work to crush those who dare defy him.

Following the Group of 7 summit in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada held a news conference in which he said that his country would respond in kind to any steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States and he promised that Canadians “will not be pushed around.” Outraged, Mr. Trump vowed to make Mr. Trudeau and his entire country pay for such impudence. “That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada,” said Mr. Trump. “He learned. You can’t do that. You can’t do that.”

Politically palatable excuses aside, the president wants everyone to know that this is how he operates. It fuels his image as a tough guy. Where is the fun in punishing your enemies if you can’t rub their noses in it?

There’s a word for an approach to leadership that features treating the tax code, postal rates, antitrust laws and the First Amendment as weapons to settle one’s personal grudges. And that word is not “democratic.”

🐣 EUvsDisinformation (Jun): The Burrito Theft Theory http://bit.ly/2MQHk2T 11 different ways Russian disinformation works to not tell the truth, using the example of ~ a burrito

Yesterday should be forever known as “Trump 👋Smackdown👋 Day.” Smacked down by the American Legion over military parade, by the Senate for calling the press “the enemy of the people” and by ex-Intel Chiefs for revoking Brennan’s security clearance. Oh, and Omarosa.

🐣 Statement by Former Heads of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies on President Trump’s revoking of Former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance – Aug 16, 2018 (orig posted by @GenHayden and @JakeTapper)
Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1030348128011124736/photo/1
// reformatted pdf to landscape, still small errors in text; they are clearly trying to stave off Trump moving forward with additional revocations; hoping Brennan gets his day in court
⋙ List from @mitchellreports includes Webster, Tenet, Hayden, Panetta, Petraeus, Goss, Clapper, Kappes, McLaughlin, Morell, Haines, Cohen

Slate, Fred Kaplan: Spy Vs. President http://slate.me/2Pe8Skl
// The nation’s top former intelligence officials come together to issue a stunning rebuke to Trump

⭕ 16 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Elijah Cummings has sent a letter to John Kelly demanding a briefing and documents on the decision to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance. https://bit.ly/2MSjXGp https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1030164824095895552/photo/1

🐣 RT @tribelaw I’ve reluctantly concluded Mueller should proceed w/out subpoenaing Trump and gambling on how Justice Kavanaugh would vote only to have Trump take the 5th. The evidence already available almost certainly supports a report finding conspiracy with Russia and obstruction of justice

🐣 RT @mitchellreports List of former CIA and other agency officials supporting @JohnBrennan and criticizing Trump decision includes Webster, Tenet, Hayden, Panetta, Petraeus, Goss, Clapper, Kappes, McLaughlin, Morell, Haines, Cohen – bipartisan, military and civilian

RollingStone, Anna Merlan: A Deep Dive Into the Deep State: Unpacking the Summer of Trump Conspiracy Theories http://rol.st/
// Three of the year’s best-selling books claim shadowy forces in the U.S. government — and Hillary Clinton — are to blame for the ongoing Russia investigation

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: A crucial point made by John Brennan http://wapo.st/2PhGn5x
// what Don Jr did privately by email, DJT did publicly, before a group of reporters

NYT: Revoking Clearance, Trump Aims Presidential Power at Russia Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2vQvjEa

DailyBeast: Former CIA Chiefs Blast Trump’s ‘Outrageous’ Move on Brennan http://thebea.st/2MRCIJS
// ‘We’re better than this,’ said former CIA director John Brennan, after the White House revoked his security clearance. ‘We have to be better than this.’

🐣 So why was the Russian who offered prostitutes to Trump http://bit.ly/2MqpLtL tweeting out the names of intel professionals on Trump’s hit list two days before date on Trump’s original order to strip Brennan of his clearance? https://twitter.com/ARTEM_KLYUSHIN/status/1021714949473808387
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1030289169011154944/photo/1
⇈ ⇊
@ARTEM_KLYUSHIN [Москва, Россия 7/24/2018] Экс-директоры ЦРУ Джон Бреннан и Майкл Хэйден, экс-директор ФБР Джеймс Коми и его заместитель Эндрю МакКейб, экс-директор Национальной разведслужбы Джеймс Клаппер, экс-советник по нацбезопасности Сьюзан Райс прощаются с доступами к секретным материалам. Welcome to the real world!
Auto-Translated: Former CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, former FBI director James Komi and his deputy Andrew McCabe, former director of the National Intelligence James Clapper, ex-adviser on Homeland Susan Rice are forgiven for access to classified materials. Welcome to the real world!

🐣 RT @AmicaAli “He (#Trump) is not after his critics, he’s after the witnesses.” -#RachelMaddow https://twitter.com/AmicaAli/status/1030269614738038791 /photo/1
// List: Brenner, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Rice, Yates, Hayden, Page, Ohr
⇈ ⇊
MaddowBlog: These people with unique and important perspectives on the Trump campaign’s relationship to Russia, what would revoking their security clearance do to their ability to prepare testimony and to testify? 💽 https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1030269072871747584/photo/1

🐣 RT @TrickFreee
$13.5 million – Robert Mercer
$10 million – Sheldon Adelson
$6 million – Linda McMahon
$7 million – Bernard Marcus
$2+ million – Geoffrey Palmer
$2 million – Ronald M Cameron
$1.25 million – Peter Thiel
$1 million – Walter Buckley Jr,
$1 million – Cherna Moskowitz…
⋙ @Parscale Latest tape from Omarosa shows how much Trump family cares about pocketbooks of our donors when @LaraLeaTrump warns about all campaign $$ coming from average Americans. Lara says the right thing protecting our donors and helping people understand we are powered by the people!

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Trump has now fired or threatened most senior officials related to the Russia investigation http://wapo.st/2MQSkgB A tally

🐣 Rachel Maddow: Trump “isn’t after his critics. He’s after the witnesses.” – The Rachel Maddow Show @MSNBC @maddow

DefenseOne, Evelyn Farkas: We Regret to Inform You That Russia Is (Probably) At It Again http://bit.ly/2wcfhUn

🐣 RT @PaulaChertok Russia accuses US of “discrimination, psychological pressure and humiliation” of accused Russian agent Maria Butina. Embassy diplomats say the 29yo was apparently strip-searched in jail and denied medical attention for arthritis.
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1030246207744954369/photo/1
https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1030246207744954369/photo/2

NYT: Meet the Special Counsel Team: So Careful They Won’t Even Disclose Their Shake Shack Order http://nyti.ms/2KYPkgG

NYMag, Margaret Hartmann: Trump Admits Revoking Brennan’s Security Clearance Was About the Mueller Probe http://nym.ag/2nJrdt3

HuffPo, Veronica Stracqualursi: Trump connects revoking Brennan’s security clearance to Russia investigation http://cnn.it/2MRbtPC

🐣 RT @WillDonnelly Bill McRaven, retired US Navy admiral who oversaw operation that killed Osama bin Laden, says he would “consider it an honor” for President Trump to also revoke his security clearance in solidarity with former CIA Director John Brennan
⋙ 🐣 RT @NBCNews McRaven: “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation. If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken”
↥ ↧
WaPo, William McRaven: Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President http://wapo.st/2OLgie7
// Entire:

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

🐣 RT @davidaxelrod I wonder how morale is today within the Intel Community, now that some of their most decorated and respected leaders have been placed on an enemies list by the @POTUS?

RawStory: Here’s how the Russian mob used cash from a multi-billion dollar gas scam to get their hooks into Trump http://bit.ly/2OHedzw

President Donald Trump got his start laundering money for the Russian mob more than 30 years ago as part of one of the biggest scams in U.S. history, according to a new book.

Investigative reporter Craig Unger has described Trump Tower as a “cathedral to money laundering,” and his new book — “House of Trump, House of Putin” — examines the depth of the president’s relationship with the Russian mafia, which he says has no meaningful distinction from the country’s intelligence agencies.

“After seven years in New York, Bogatin had stashed away enough money to buy real estate anywhere he wanted,” Unger wrote. “For roughly a decade, thousands of Russian Jews like him had been pouring into Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. But Bogatin had his eyes on something more prestigious.”

Bogatin became fixated on a “garish” 58-story building that had opened a year before — Trump Tower — and he paid $6 million in cash from his fuel tax scheme for five apartments there.

Unger tracked more than 1,300 similar cash transactions at Trump Tower over the next three decades involving mobsters that ensnared the future president in the closely tied web of Russian spies and mobsters.

“Russian Mafia and Russian intelligence operatives successfully targeted, compromised, and implanted either a willfully ignorant or an inexplicably unaware Russian asset in the White House as the most powerful man on earth,” Unger concludes.

“In doing so, without firing a shot, the Russians helped put in power a man who would immediately begin to undermine the Western Alliance,” he added, “which has been the foundation of American national security for more than 70 years; who would start massive trade wars with America’s longtime allies; fuel right‐wing anti‐immigrant populism; and assault the rule of law in the United States.”

TheAtlantic, Julia Ioffe (2017): Russian Money in Silicon Valley http://bit.ly/2wdtctq
// 11/9/2017, The Paradise Papers tell a story about the Kremlin’s evolving methods of manipulating the internet—and how it exported them.

🐣 RT @aliasvaughn So Russians tweeting a list of those whose clearances should be revoked on July 24. (I have already RTd this but doing so again as some don’t see the tweet). Note: the Trump order came JULY 26 per date on huckabee Sanders’s doc. They waited until they needed a distraction.
// Artem Klyushin, a friend of Rykov, is a key character in the article below. Klyushin is supposedly the man who offered Trump prostitutes. He was the guy who tweeted this ⇊ this on July 24, two days before the Presidential Order rescinding Brennan’s security clearance was originally dated:
⇊ ⇊
@ARTEM_KLYUSHIN [Москва, Россия 7/24/2018] Экс-директоры ЦРУ Джон Бреннан и Майкл Хэйден, экс-директор ФБР Джеймс Коми и его заместитель Эндрю МакКейб, экс-директор Национальной разведслужбы Джеймс Клаппер, экс-советник по нацбезопасности Сьюзан Райс прощаются с доступами к секретным материалам. Welcome to the real world!

Auto-Translated: Former CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, former FBI director James Komi and his deputy Andrew McCabe, former director of the National Intelligence James Clapper, ex-adviser on Homeland Susan Rice are forgiven [forbidden] for access to classified materials. Welcome to the real world!

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand No, the Manafort trial did not disappoint. It painted a portrait of an operative who blithely defrauded his own government while working for pro-Russian entities—a striking microcosm of the question at the heart of the sprawling Russia investigation.
⋙ TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: The Government’s Revealing Case Against Paul Manafort http://bit.ly/2vLlsQe
// The trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman offered a striking microcosm of the questions at the heart of the Russia probe.
‼️ ⋙⋙ National Compass, Tony Wyman (May): Konstantin Rykov – The Pimp Who Taught Vladimir Putin How To Troll The Internet http://bit.ly/2MqpLtL
// 5/21/2018
⋙ See under Entire Articles Rykov & Klyushin 5/21/2018

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Trump blurts out another Lester Holt moment http://wapo.st/2PfPSSq

💙💙 NYT, John Brennan: President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash http://nyti.ms/2KTamNH
// That’s why the president revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.

⭕ 15 Aug 2018

🐣 RT @BillBrowder Here is my TED Talk: “How I figured out the Achilles heel of Vladimir Putin”. Tells the whole story in 15 minutes. https://twitter.com/Billbrowder/status/1029722389758631943/photo/1

WSJ: Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance http://on.wsj.com/2BhgAHC
// The president ties the move to the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election

President Trump drew a direct connection between the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and review the clearances of several other former officials.

In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited Mr. Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation, which also is looking into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Russia has denied interfering.

Mr. Brennan was director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Democratic administration of former President Obama and one of those who presented evidence to Mr. Trump shortly before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.

“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”

He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

Mr. Brennan—who since leaving office has become a frequent critic of the Republican president—in a tweet called the revocation of his clearance “part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.” He wrote it “should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.”

The president also drew attention to other investigators related to the Russia probe and the 2016 investigation of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, including former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Mr. Strzok worked on the early days of the Russia investigation until special counsel Robert Mueller removed him after the discovery of anti-Trump text messages Mr. Strzok had sent. He was fired from the FBI earlier this week.

“You look at any of them and you see the things they’ve done,” Mr. Trump said. “In some cases, they’ve lied before Congress. The Hillary Clinton whole investigation was a total sham.”

Earlier in the day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the administration was also reviewing the clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, and former National Security Agency and CIA chief Michael Hayden.

“I don’t trust many of those people on that list,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “I think that they’re very duplicitous. I think they’re not good people.”…

🐣 RT @davidaxelrod Just for the record, @JohnBrennan is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Strong, honorable and thoroughly committed to his country.

BBC: Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US http://bbc.in/2vONk5N

PopularMechanics: Is Russia’s Mysterious New Satellite a Space Weapon? http://bit.ly/2MQ15ru
// The U.S. is calling Moscow out over a satellite’s unusual behavior.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Steve Schmidt: “It’s an abuse of power. It’s retribution against a political opponent … When you look at an administration where Omarosa or Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump have security clearances and John Brennan does not, then you know something is askew.” @TheLastWord

🐣 RT @EricHolder Trump move against John Brennan is unjustified- won’t silence him. Nor will his threats silence the others on his enemies list. All of this is designed to obscure facts/sow confusion in anticipation of a damaging report from Special Counsel. Look at everything through that lense

🐣 RT @nicolenavega Brennan is the man that killed Osama bin Laden at the order of President Obama by integrating CIA assets, producing intelligence, passing that on to our special mission war fighters & executing that mission. He has unique knowledge which must be shared w successors @MalcolmNance
💽 MSNBC, Steve Schmidt: https://twitter.com/nicolenavega/status/1029916551393304576/photo/1

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.

WaPo: Trump’s lawyers prepare to fight subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court http://wapo.st/2KWuIWn

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Trump Staffer Tried to Recruit Lobbyists for Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich http://thebea.st/2Mz3ee2
// Once he worked to get Donald Trump into the White House. Then he started doing favors on behalf of someone else—one of Russia’s richest men.

A little-known former Trump campaign staffer named Daniel Gelbinovich reached out to a number of Washington lobbyists since the election with an eyebrow-raising ask: to shield well-heeled Russians from U.S. sanctions.

Gelbinovich confirmed the approach but initially declined to disclose the name of the firm. He later disclosed that it was GCap Holdings, located in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a booming Russian population, and GCap also confirmed it had retained Gelbinovich “to explore potential lobbying initiatives” on behalf of unnamed clients based in Russia.

[Trump’s] commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, invested in a shipping firm linked to Putin’s judo partner, who is under U.S. sanctions, according to The New York Times. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a six-figure payment from a firm with ties to sanctioned Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg; and Trump himself teamed up with oligarch Aras Agalarov to put on the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Evelyn Farkas, an Atlantic Council senior fellow, said the Gelbinovich effort highlights the growing consternation in Moscow about U.S. sanctions.

“That just tells you how much nervousness there is in Russia about being put on the sanctions list,” said Farkas, who worked on Russia matters at the Pentagon during the Obama administration.

Gelbinovich was a low-level staffer on the Trump campaign, according to campaign sources, frequently booking travel for senior staff. He was on the campaign in its very early days.

When the Daily Beast first asked Gelbinovich about outreach, he said in a written statement that he understood he was approaching lobbyists on behalf Roman Abramovich, one of Russia’s wealthiest men.

“The firm claimed that this outreach was on behalf of the individual you mentioned,” Gelbinovich said in an email. “I do not have a direct connection to Mr. Abramovich myself.”

The lobbyists who spoke to the Daily Beast said Gelbinovich also told them he was looking for someone to help Abramovich in the sanctions arena.

But two days after the initial publication of this article, Gelbinovich backtracked and said his statement was inaccurate and “probably should have been clearer that Abramovich was NOT a client (but rather was among a group of well-known Russians that they might later seek to target for work).’’

“At no time has Mr. Abramovich, or anyone authorized to act on his behalf, engaged any individual or company to lobby on his behalf in the United States,” he said in an email to The Daily Beast. “We have instructed our attorneys to draft a cease-and-desist letter regarding the representations reportedly made by Mr. Gelbinovich, whom we had never heard of before today.”

… The BBC pointed to exacerbated diplomatic tensions between the U.K. and Russia over the chemical weapon attack on retired Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia as a possible explanation for Abramovich’s visa troubles. Abramovich then took up Israeli citizenship, according to the Guardian.

… In April of this year, Treasury announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian entities and oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, the Putin ally who put millions into the pocket of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The sanctions list hasn’t just survived the Trump administration; it’s grown. And it’s generated plenty of potential leads for Trump allies like Gelbinovich looking to cash in on their influence in Washington.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 General Michael Hayden on CNN: “The W.H. just messaged the entire American Intelligence Community: if you stand up and say things that upset the president … he will punish you. And that is a horrible message to be sending to folks who are there to tell you objective truth.”

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Trump now explicitly says that he’s targeting Brennan and others for their roles in the Russia investigation. ¤ “I call it the rigged witch hunt,” Trump told the WSJ. “And these people led it!” He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
⋙ WSJ: Trump Revokes Ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance http://on.wsj.com/2BhgAHC interview
// The president ties the move to the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election

PoliticusUSA: Rachel Maddow Just Nailed Trump For Committing Another Impeachable Offense http://bit.ly/2MNSdSZ

As Maddow noted on Wednesday, Nixon’s corruption didn’t happen so brazenly in the light of day. Much of Trump’s, on the other hand, has been in public view – from his Twitter feed to his public statements.

In this case, as the MSNBC host pointed out, it could add more fuel to the impeachment fire. Trump hasn’t just obstructed justice in plain sight, but as was the case with Nixon, he is using the power of the presidency to hurt his political enemies.

Checking off the names on his Nixonian enemies list might make him feel strong, but it’s an abuse of power.

WaPo: Not even Republicans buy the Trump team’s ‘collusion isn’t a crime’ defense http://wapo.st/2MP24Ie

Esquire, Charles We tried to leave: Of Course Trump Stapled Something Putin Would Love to the Defense Spending Bill http://bit.ly/2MtzIXa
// We must respect Russia’s land grab in Ukraine. President’s orders!

💙 TheHill: Trump attacks Russia provisions in signed defense bill http://bit.ly/2w8DTxA //➔ President Trump said in a signing statement that he reserves the right to ignore a recently signed defense authorization law’s ban on recognizing Russian sovereignty of Crimea.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1029891378560598017/photo/1

In the signing statement issued Monday, the president objected to four of the eight provisions related to Russia. Included in the four is provision 1241, which states that none of the defense bill’s funds “may be obligated or expended to implement any activity that recognizes the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea.”

Trump also argued the bill would unjustly limit his presidential authority by restricting military-to-military cooperation with Russia and mandating he report to Congress if Russia violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or if he discusses a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement slamming the president’s statements on the Russia provisions, particularly that regarding Crimea.

“This signing statement is troubling because, yet again, the President is showing the world he cannot be trusted when it comes to standing by U.S. commitments and promoting our interests over his own. … Last month, I welcomed a statement from the Administration saying it would not do so. Now, again we have to call on the President to unequivocally stand strong for the United States and our allies and against Kremlin aggression,” he said.

The White House’s criticism of the bill extended beyond Russia-related provisions.

The signing statement argues that provisions limiting U.S. support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen, the transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees and the number of troops in South Korea, as well as a provision mandating the president report on North Korea’s nuclear activities, among others, would limit Trump’s presidential powers.

◕📋 KremlinWatch.eu: Report: 2018 Ranking of Countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin’s Subversive Operations [pdf] http://bit.ly/2PaPfK1 99p
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1029886214197919744/photo/1
// 6/13/2018, map also

TheConversation (7/26): With hacking of US utilities, Russia could move from cyberespionage toward cyberwar http://bit.ly/2KWLAvW
// 7/26/2018

🐣 RT @PhilipRucker John Brennan’s public service:
-CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia
-CIA chief of staff
-Director of Terrorist Threat Integration Center
-Director of National Counter terrorism Center
-White House Homeland Security Adviser
-CIA director
-Briefed three presidents

🐣 RT @NancyPelosi Revoking the security clearance of an honorable patriot is a stunning abuse of power & a pathetic attempt to silence critics. This is yet another disturbing attempt by @realdonaldtrump to distract & divert attention from his Admin’s #cultureofcorruption, cronyism & incompetence.

WaPo: Trump revokes security clearance of former CIA director Brennan, a critic of the president http://wapo.st/2nFayGX

⭕ 14 Aug 2018

WaPo, Greg Sargent: As Trump keeps raging at Mueller, another poll shows his lies are failing http://wapo.st/2wl8hVv

Fortune: Select Former Trump Aides Receive Monthly Salaries of $15,000, Reports Say http://bit.ly/2MDuwQw

Those receiving payments—either directly or through firms they manage—include former director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller, former personal assistant to the president John McEntee, former digital media director of the Trump campaign Brad Parscale, and former director of advertising for the Trump campaign Gary Coby, ABC reports. The salaries are listed for “security services,” “payroll,” “digital consulting [and] management consulting,” and “media services [and] consulting,” respectively.

Alternet: Putin Wants Trump to Hand Over Three DHS Agents Who Are Investigating a Company Linked to the Don Jr Meeting http://bit.ly/2Mj1x5h
// He had a whole list of Americans he wanted to be turned over.

MSNBC, TheLastWord: Brennan: Trump is ‘dangerous to our nation’ http://on.msnbc.com/2PdqUmW
// Fmr. CIA Director John Brennan says Trump “will never understand what it means to be president” and tells Lawrence why Donald Trump is “the most divisive president we have ever had in the Oval Office.”

DailyBeast, Michael Weiss: This Is Why Putin Is Targeting Three DHS Agents http://thebea.st/2nGyb28
// Russia’s president is obsessed with the U.S. investigation into hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains that have benefited his cronies—and very possibly him as well.

NewYorker, Joshua Yaffa: How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man http://bit.ly/2Ozmzcq
// Jul-Aug issue, The hedge-fund manager has offered a fable for why the West should confront Putin.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Yaffa Browder Jul 2018

Politico: ‘People are terrified’: Trump staffers live in fear of Omarosa’s next tape http://politi.co/2Pbb2RU
// Trump aides are suffering from the same type of psychological warfare that gripped Clinton’s campaign during the WikiLeaks dumps.

🐣 RT @petestrzok “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” -MLK

🐣 RT @MattAsherS The moral of the story is that Russia is going to continue to attack us by creating & amplifying content that serves to create division & muddy the waters around the very serious & professional #TrumpRussia investigation. ¤ The Russians are helping Trump in plain sight. Blatant.
⋙ 🐣 RT @RVAwonk Unsurprisingly, Russian-linked influence networks have seized on the firing of Peter Strzok (feeds a narrative of undermining credibility of US intel agencies). It’s currently occupying 6-8 of top 10 trending topics; 2 of top 10 trending hashtags; 2 of top 10 topics overall.
https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1029224657428332544/photo/1
https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1029224657428332544/photo/2

🐣 RT @BradMossEsq: Does anyone want to inform @RudyGiuliani of the fourth and final prong of the misprision of felony provision? I think he may be rusty, as he appears to have forgotten that to have violated it Comey also would have had to take steps to conceal his knowledge of Trump’s crime.
⋙ 🐣 RT @CNN, CuomoPrimeTime: Rudy Giuliani: Former FBI Director James Comey is a “crazy liar,” alleged discussion between Trump and Comey about Michael Flynn did not happen https://cnn.it/2KVqf6d 

PoliticusUSA: Jared Kushner is Now Part of the Manafort Trial Record http://bit.ly/2MpFf18

MSNBC, RachelMaddowShow: Banker loaned millions to Manafort, sought Trump admin ‘rolls’ http://on.msnbc.com/2MMW6HX
// Rachel Maddow shares an exhibit from the trial of Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in which banker Stephen Calk, who gave Manafort $16 million in loans, lists in a poorly spelled e-mail “perspective rolls” he would like to have in the Trump administration.
↥ ↧
💙 CNN: Manafort emailed Kushner with recommendations for senior administration posts http://cnn.it/2PbEZRZ
// “Perspective Rolls” in the Trump Administration (lol)
↥ ↧
BuzzFeed: Senate Intel Wants To Follow The Money In The Russia Probe. But Treasury Isn’t Making That Easy. http://bit.ly/2Ozfx7O
// Last year, staff inside Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network questioned whether the department was deliberately trying to stymie the Senate’s investigation.

MSNBC, Steve Benen: Russia is likely to approve of Trump’s latest signing statement http://on.msnbc.com/2w2U6Em

🐣 RT @MSNBC A new poll released today shows that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, think the president’s public statements about the Russia probe are “mostly or completely false.” https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1029518106962612224/photo/1
// Trump’s statements about Russia 56% All or Mostly False, 37% All or Mostly True
⋙ 📊 MSNBC: Poll: 56% find Trump’s statements about Russia are false http://on.msnbc.com/2Mkm7l9
// A new CNN poll released today shows that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, say the President’s public statements about the Russia probe are “mostly or completely false.”

WaPo, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett: ‘You stepped in it here’: How anti-Trump texts ruined the career of the FBI’s go-to agent http://wapo.st/2MKKmpm

🐣 RT @MSNBC President Trump’s approval number is at 39 percent, according to the latest @Gallup poll. https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1029412914489372672/photo/1

🐣 RT @MSNBC JUST IN: Omarosa asserts to @KatyTurNBC that President Trump knew about the forthcoming leak of Clinton emails before they were leaked.
💽 https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1029431749388976128/photo/1

🐣 RT @perlmutations Of course the FBI had to fire Peter Strzok. The FBI cannot afford to even seem to enable partisanship. And yet by doing so they damage the very integrity they think they are protecting. Because Peter Strzok was right; that dirty son of a bitch is unfit for the most important job.

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation. [To @real]

Politico: Handler of alleged spy Butina tied to suspicious U.S.-Russia exchange program http://politi.co/2vIr4dQ
// Russian politician Alexander Torshin’s meetings with American students, coupled with his role managing alleged covert Russian agent Mariia Butina, suggest he may be a more important Kremlin operative than previously known.

🐣 RT @20Committee [John Schindler] As someone who was also cut loose from USG after decades of loyal service, by political enemies who seized upon personal foibles but they really hated that I outed Kremlin spies, I say: support @petestrzok here. ¤ Screw Putin and his American bitches.
📌 Thread: https://mobile.twitter.com/20committee/status/1029164670312169477

🐣 RT @Redrum_of_Crows [Raven le Maven] Additional sites already determined to be ‘bad’ are on my #TrumpRussiaMatrix – and these sites written about by journalists can be found on my matrix – and fit into my logical, methodology which is behind the creation of this matrix. https://twitter.com/Hwy61Blues/status/1029283134980980737/photo/1
Orig: https://twitter.com/Redrum_of_Crows/status/1029278016185094145/photo/1
// locked account so I copied and re-posted: #TrumpRussiaMatrix Linked Domains
⋙ 🐣 RT @Redrum_of_Crows As further examples to validate my submission, note ‘PsyGroup’, ‘Black-Cube’, ‘DCLeaks’, ‘WikiLeaks’, ‘Project ALamo’, et al. ¤ Others include banks mentioned in indictments and news reports, are already included, as well. ¤ The remainder WILL be FUTURE news, if followed up.

⭕ 13 Aug 2018

NewYorker, John Cassidy: The FBI Needs to Explain It’s Reasons for Firing Peter Strzok http://bit.ly/2MNAqeP

… But, despite all the noise and fury, there is now a basic question that needs an answer: Why was Strzok fired? Before the Clinton and Trump investigations, Strzok had racked up twenty years of distinguished service in the Bureau, rising to the position of deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division.

Since his communications with Page have become public, Strzok has insisted that his personal views about Trump didn’t affect his actions while overseeing the Clinton and Russia investigations. During his testimony on Capitol Hill, he insisted that when, in the course of discussing Trump’s Presidential bid with Page, he wrote to her that “we will stop it” he was referring to the American public at large.

Some people, particularly Trump supporters, find that explanation hard to believe. So far, though, no convincing evidence has been unearthed that contradicts Strzok’s assertions. The inspector general’s report, which was confined to the Bureau’s handling of the Clinton investigation, stated, “Our review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the investigative decisions we reviewed.” Elsewhere, the report said, “We further found evidence that in some instances Strzok and Page advocated for more aggressive investigative measures than did others.”

The inspector general did express some concerns about the slow pace with which Strzok reacted, in September, 2016, to the discovery of thousands of Clinton’s e-mails on a laptop owned by Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a close aide to Clinton. By that point, Strzok was also overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation, which was expanding. In light of the contents of Strzok’s text messages, the inspector general’s report said, “We did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.” But here, too, the report did not provide any actual evidence to support the theory that any of Strzok’s professional actions were politically motivated.

On Monday, Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, claimed that his client’s firing had been ordered, late last week, by David Bowdich, the deputy director of the F.B.I., despite the fact that the Bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which normally handles disciplinary matters, had recommended a lesser punishment: a demotion and a sixty-day suspension. “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” Goelman told the Times. “A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work.” …

If there is such information, the F.B.I. needs to make this clear immediately. At the very least, it needs to explain the basis of the decision to dismiss Strzok, pointing out which internal rules he violated, and why these violations amounted to a firing offense. As things stand, it looks like the Bureau’s leaders buckled to Trump and his political and media outriders, dispensing with departmental norms and setting a highly disturbing precedent.

In a tweet that he posted just after noon on Monday, Trump crowed about what had happened. “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally,” he wrote. “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!”

In his larger quest to end the Mueller investigation, Trump clearly sees Strzok’s dismissal as a victory, albeit a relatively small one. That should be sufficient cause for alarm. Encouraged by what happened here, Trump will surely expand his attacks on Mueller and his colleagues. The leaders of the F.B.I. need to start talking.

🐣 RT @SarahKendzior Spare me talk of how the Mueller probe is moving fast. It’s not. The probe long predates Mueller. Its prior failures are not Mueller’s fault, but he has choices now. Institutions, already very weak before Trump, are in free fall. Act now or likely lose the option to act at all.

ABC: Strzok’s attorney calls his firing a “departure from typical Bureau practice.” http://abcn.ws/2KNXYOU “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans.”
Statement: https://twitter.com/ABC/status/1029027822537465857/photo/1

WaPo, Brian Klaas: The firing of Peter Strzok sends an ominous signal about the rule of law http://wapo.st/2w10Oe2

Unfortunately, Strzok’s firing is a much bigger deal than text messages or one FBI agent’s career. This is the latest warning sign that President Trump is politicizing the U.S. rule of law beyond repair.

The politicization of rule of law is, therefore, a serious threat to democracy. I’ve interviewed authoritarian heads of state in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and in Southeast Asia. Off the record, they’ll admit that they deliberately politicized rule of law in order to crush dissent and remove constraints on their power. To achieve that goal, they usually launch two parallel campaigns. First, create the public perception that rule of law is already highly politicized against the leader in power. Second, use that pretext to much more aggressively politicize rule of law against the leader’s political opponents.

Building public trust in the rule of law as an impartial and apolitical institution can take decades, or even centuries. But that precious public trust can be torn to shreds in a matter of months. And once that happens, depoliticizing the rule of law is nearly impossible.

Thankfully, the United States is not Turkey. But the country is starting down Turkey’s perilous path. Trump is deliberately and falsely creating the perception among his supporters that he (and they) are the victims of a justice system that exists to target the president and his political allies. And, like Erdogan, he’s using that perception as a pretext to lash out at institutions and individuals who underpin the rule of law in the United States.

Since becoming president, Trump has attacked the FBI, the nation’s top law enforcement agency, 88 separate times on Twitter. Twenty-one of those tweets specifically attacked Peter Strzok, calling him a “sick loser” who was “incompetent and corrupt.” Trump also went after Strzok countless times during campaign rallies and in public remarks.

We will likely never know whether Strzok was fired because of political calculations or pressure from the White House. It is plausible, though. But we already have clear evidence — from his calls for jailing of his opponents to his use of pardons for political allies — that Trump sees the rule of law through a purely political lens and that he is trying to bend it to his will. Whether he succeeds or not, his ongoing efforts to politicize the rule of law have already injected a dangerous toxin into America’s political bloodstream. I fear any eventual antidote will take years or decades to expel the venom.

TheGuardian (Jan): The boss, the boyfriend and the FBI: the Italian woman in the eye of the Trump-Russia inquiry http://bit.ly/2vKnWhu
// 1/18/2018, Simona Mangiante, the girlfriend of ex-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, also worked for a mysterious Russia-linked Maltese professor. No wonder Robert Mueller’s investigation came knocking

🐣 RT @jaffaesque “Russia’s Most Wanted”—my story for this week’s @NewYorker on Bill Browder and the many twists and turns in the legacy of the Magnitsky Act, from Trump Tower to Helsinki:
NewYorker, Joshua Jaffa: How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man | The New Yorker http://bit.ly/2Ozmzcq
// 8/20/2018 issue; The hedge-fund manager has offered a fable for why the West should confront Putin.

CNN: Roger Stone ally: Mueller has ‘concern’ about Stone’s 2016 predictions http://cnn.it/2B8KHkf “Asked if she got the sense that investigators were coming for Stone, Davis said, ‘I did’.”

🐣 RT @StevenBeschloss So Rachel @maddow laid out the corroborating witnesses for Comey, all of whom have been fired or driven from the FBI, save one. ¤ If there’s ever a day when you imagine Trump is just reckless & mad, remember this infuriating list, a systematic attempt to obstruct justice.
TRMS slide: https://twitter.com/StevenBeschloss/status/1029188531439132672/photo/1

💙 TPM, Josh Marshall: The Archeology of Trumpism http://bit.ly/2KMww48 “Trump is a cretin and a racist and a buffoon. But we fool ourselves if we don’t recognize that he is a sort of savant”

🐣 RT @MarkSZaidEsq My comments to @washingtonpost via @jdawsey1 re: @POTUS WH NDAs. I view it unconstitutional beyond protecting classified information. Having viewed one NDA version it was clearly mocked up version of Trump Org NDA & still included NY choice of law provision which Feds never would
⋙ 🐣 RT @jdawsey1 In Situation Room firing meeting, Omarosa Manigault Newman told officials she didn’t consent to be recorded and asked them if they were — even as she clandestinely recorded herself. Latest w/@AshleyRParker:
⋙⋙ WaPo: ‘Everyone signed one’: Trump is aggressive in his use of nondisclosure agreements, even in government http://wapo.st/2MhuAWK

🐣 RT @MrFilmkritik Just a reminder that Peter Strzok ran the FBI division that caught the Russian “illegals” (the spy ring that was the basis of the show The Americans). ¤ Pretty sure Putin is happy to see him go.

🐣 RT @TCleveland4Real Davis on CNN:
Says Stone didn’t think/know Guccifer was Ru.
Emphasizes that were were many people running Stone’s twitter acount.
Says Mueller prosecutor has a rapport with jurors and was asking leading questions.
Says jury could be a “mixed bag” with respect to education level.
📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/TCleveland4Real/status/1029173715723014145

🐣 RT @Moscow_Project: Donald Trump’s campaign was run by unrepentant crooks whose entire business model was trading political favors to shady clients with little regard for ethics or the law—and yet some people somehow still find the idea of collusion far-fetched.
⋙ 🐣 RT @awprokop Steve Calk, the bank chairman who pushed for $16M in shady loans to Manafort, also sent him a list of Trump Admin jobs he wanted “in rank order.”
≣ Tweet link w atts: https://twitter.com/awprokop/status/1029156358329905153

TheAtlantic, John Sipher: Convergence Is Worse Than Collusion http://bit.ly/2MkzOAm
// Trump and Putin share many more goals than just Trump’s election.

WaPo/AP: The Latest: Trump asks if firing means end to Russia probe http://wapo.st/2OzNzc0

Bloomberg, Caleb Melby, David Kocieniewski, and Gerry Smith: Kushner’s Ties to Russia-Linked Group Began With Kissinger Lunch http://bloom.bg/2P08oyl
● Trump son-in-law met Center for National Interest in March ’16
● Alleged Russian agent Butina used center to set up meetings

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The FBI just fired Peter Strzok http://bit.ly/2MH1a0l
// Robert Mueller had removed Strzok from the Trump-Russia investigation last year.

Bloomberg Editorial: Russia Sanctions Won’t Work If Trump Doesn’t Back Them Up http://bloom.bg/2nHHezX
// The president’s refusal to condemn Putin undermines any economic penalties.

Politico: Trump-appointed judge upholds Mueller’s legitimacy http://politi.co/2MjbhMd

CNBC, Kevin Brueninger: Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and former top advisor Mike Flynn share ties to both Mueller’s probe and tensions over a US pastor detained by Turkey http://cnb.cx/2MhqVII

● One of Trump’s lawyers in the Russia probe, Jay Sekulow, also serves as chief counsel at a conservative legal organization representing Brunson.
● The Wall Street Journal reported that one of Trump’s former advisors, Mike Flynn, has caught Mueller’s eye for his alleged involvement in a plan to deliver exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey.
● Turkey accuses Brunson of being connected to Gulen.

PBS: AP fact check: Trump’s claims on ‘record’ GDP, jobs and the Russia investigation http://to.pbs.org/2McuzDu

NBC: The Trumps’ changing story on the Russia meeting http://nbcnews.to/2KMD7LL
// President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. have had a Russian evolution.

CNN: Kremlin “pleased” with Helsinki summit, US and Western intelligence assesses http://cnn.it/2vIUzfv

🐣 RT @Msnbc “In his decades of service, Special Agent Strzok proved himself to be one of the country’s top counterintelligence officers. ” — Aitan Goelman, Attorney for Peter Strzok ¤ @NicolleDWallace and her panel discuss the termination of the now former FBI agent
⋙ 💽 DeadlineWH: Despite pressure from Trump, was the FBI right to fire Peter Strzok? http://on.msnbc.com/2B5
// Former US attorney Harry Litman, former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi, Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff, and The Root’s Jason Johnson on the bureau’s decision to fire the longtime agent whose anti-Trump texts prompted a political firestorm

HollywoodReporter (2016): Barry Diller: “Total Bullshit” That MGM Can’t Release ‘Apprentice’ Tapes http://bit.ly/2nAr8Yz
// 10/12/2016

Politico, Bradley Moss: Trump’s Purge of the FBI Is Complete http://politi.co/2vG3Yog
// With the odd firing of Peter Strzok, the president has cleansed the bureau of the men who started the Russia investigation. This is not normal.

🐣 .@petestrzok Please write a book, not just about #TrumpRussia but about all your great work for the US in the FBI. Secure film rights, also! You have a lot of support in this country. ♡

🐣 RT @renato_mariotti I agree with @ThePlumLineGS: Trump’s latest statement that “to the best of my knowledge” nothing happened after the Trump Tower meeting was clearly written by an attorney and suggests that there is some evidence that something followed from that meeting.
⋙ WaPo: There’s a big tell in Trump’s latest defense of Donald Jr. http://wapo.st/2Ow1UpW

🐣 RT @mkraju Dem congressman @CongressmanRaja writes to Wray to ask if the WH/Trump or Sessions played any role in the firing of Strzok https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1029151194265133056/photo/1

🐣 RT @DefenseOne Nationwide router reboot was related to a massive Russian attack still infecting global systems, warns NSA’s top hacker, writes @DefTechPat | https://buff.ly/2w6GUhB 
⋙ DefenseOne: Russian Military Spy Software is on Hundreds of Thousands of Home Routers http://bit.ly/2OzITD0
// In May, the Justice Department told Americans to reboot their routers. But there’s more to do — and NSA says it’s up to device makers and the public.

🐣 RT @JohnWDean This is the behavior of a good son. Having once been a staff atty for
this committee, I can confirm that Chairman Goodlatte has taken it to new lows, disgracing himself, the Committee, the Congress and the USA in the process. Protecting Putin is the wrong side of history!
⋙ 🐣 RT @rsg [Bobby Goodlatte, son of House Intel Chair] I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress. ¤ Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot.

🐣 RT @PuestoLoco “Trump blasted his oldest son as a ‘fuck up’ after learning he had released emails about a controversial Trump Tower meeting attended by a Kremlin-connected lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton” NOTICE: Not for the meeting, but for releasing the e-mails about it.

🐣 RT @petestrzok Deeply saddened by this decision. It has been an honor to serve my country and work with the fine men and women of the FBI. https://www.gofundme.com/peterstrzok https://twitter.com/petestrzok/status/1029035185218699264/photo/1

🐣 RT @michaeldweiss A tremendous profile of Andrey Pavlov, the consigliere of the Klyuev Group, by @jamesrbuk:
⋙ DailyBeast, James Ball: Exclusive: Hacked Emails Take Us Inside the Billionaires’ Club Around Vladimir Putin http://thebea.st/2vGga8z
// How a little-known lawyer is at the center of a complex nexus of connections between Western fixers, Russian oligarchs, Vladimir Putin—and even Donald Trump
⋙ See under Entire Articles: DailyBeast:Billionaires Putin 8-12-2018

EmptyWheel: The Dossier as Disinformation: Why It Would Matter http://bit.ly/2vGwlT5

🐣 Cool. Peter Strzok gets to write a book!

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Full statement from Peter Strzok’s lawyer, who says the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension—but was overruled by the FBI’s deputy director.
https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1029027396081483776/photo/1

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Trump has released a *new* statement about the Trump Tower meeting, claiming “to the best of my knowledge, nothing happened after the meeting concluded.” ¤ “This statement was clearly lawyered,” Bob Bauer, ex-White House counsel under Obama says.
⋙ WaPo, GregSargent: There’s a big tell in Trump’s latest defense of Donald Jr. http://wapo.st/2OxDrAl

🐣 RT @ActiveMeasuresDoc FBI agents getting fired for private text messages in the era of Trump tweets is bizarre, disturbing, and just another day for this administration. ¤ “This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said. ¤ The FBI declined to comment.”
‼️ ⋙ WaPo: FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump texts http://wapo.st/2KPHoht

⭕ 12 Aug 2018

◕📋💙💙 FPRI, Clint Watts (2017): Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions http://bit.ly/2B5HB0D https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1028883609086844928/photo/1
// 10/31/2017, Chart title: “Russia’s Social Media Influence Operations”; Foreign Policy Research Institute, Alliance for Securing Democracy, Center for Cyber and Homeland Security
⇈ ⇊
💽 FPRI Robert A. Fox Fellow Clint Watts’ Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on October 31, 2017. Watch the hearing here: http://cs.pn/2MdTGFZ  (page down) //➔ for text: http://bit.ly/2B5HB0D

🐣 RT @LincolnsBible It’s time to stop thinking of the mafia as a Coppola film. That era is over. Done. Finito. We’re in transnational organized crime territory now – with trillions of dollars/deutsche marks/yens/cryptos. Bob Mueller warned us of this. We should have listened.
⋙ FBI, Robert S. Mueller, III (2011): The Evolving Organized Crime Threat http://bit.ly/2w2GBo1
// 1/27/2011, archives.fbi.gov via Citizens Crime Commission of New York; almost complete:

… This morning, I want to focus on one such evolving threat–that of organized crime. 

Some believe that organized crime is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Traditional criminal syndicates still con, extort, and intimidate American citizens. 

But the playing field has changed. We have seen a shift from regional families with a clear structure, to flat, fluid networks with global reach. These international enterprises are more anonymous and more sophisticated. Rather than running discrete operations, on their own turf, they are running multi-national, multi-billion dollar schemes from start to finish.

We are investigating groups in Asia, Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East. And we are seeing cross-pollination between groups that historically have not worked together. Criminals who may never meet, but who share one thing in common: greed.  

They may be former members of nation-state governments, security services, or the military. These individuals know who and what to target, and how best to do it. They are capitalists and entrepreneurs. But they are also master criminals who move easily between the licit and illicit worlds. And in some cases, these organizations are as forward-leaning as Fortune 500 companies.

This is not “The Sopranos,” with six guys sitting in a diner, shaking down a local business owner for $50 dollars a week. These criminal enterprises are making billions of dollars from human trafficking, health care fraud, computer intrusions, and copyright infringement. They are cornering the market on natural gas, oil, and precious metals, and selling to the highest bidder. 

These crimes are not easily categorized. Nor can the damage, the dollar loss, or the ripple effects be easily calculated. It is much like a Venn diagram, where one crime intersects with another, in different jurisdictions, and with different groups. …

Yet we are concerned with more than just the financial impact. These groups may infiltrate our businesses. They may provide logistical support to hostile foreign powers. They may try to manipulate those at the highest levels of government. Indeed, these so-called “iron triangles” of organized criminals, corrupt government officials, and business leaders pose a significant national security threat.

Let us turn for a moment to the link between transnational organized crime and terrorism. If a terrorist cannot obtain a passport, for example, he will find someone who can. Terrorists may turn to street crime—and, by extension, organized crime—to raise money, as did the 2004 Madrid bombers.

Organized criminals have become “service providers.” Could a Mexican group move a terrorist across the border? Could an Eastern European enterprise sell a Weapon of Mass Destruction to a terrorist cell? Likely, yes. Criminal enterprises are motivated by money, not ideology. But they have no scruples about helping those who are, for the right price.

Intelligence and partnerships are key to our success in countering these threats.   

In the past nine years, we in the FBI have shifted from a law enforcement agency to a national security service that is threat-driven and intelligence-led. 

With organized crime, we are using intelligence to expand upon what we already know, from phone, travel, and financial records to extensive biographies of key players. And we are sharing this information with our partners around the world.

But we are also building a long-term strategy for dismantling these enterprises. Last year, we set up two units, called Threat Focus Cells, to target Eurasian organized crime. The first focuses on the Semion Mogilevich Organization; the second on the Brother’s Circle enterprise. 

For those of you not familiar with either group, their memberships are large, their reach is global, and their scope of operations is broad, from weapons and drug trafficking to high-stakes fraud and global prostitution. If left unchecked, the resulting impact to our economy and our security will be significant. Indeed, Semion Mogilevich is on the FBI Top Ten Most Wanted List, and he will remain so until he is captured. 

These Threat Focus Cells include FBI personnel from the Criminal, Cyber, Counterintelligence, and International Operations divisions. They also include our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities, both at home and abroad. 

We have also built a solid network of support with our international partners. We have more than 60 Legal Attaché offices overseas, where agents and analysts work closely with their foreign counterparts, sharing intelligence and investigating cases together.

In Budapest, FBI agents have worked side-by-side with the Hungarian National Police for more than 10 years, targeting Eurasian organized crime. Together, we have identified and arrested criminals from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Russia, among others. 

Through these partnerships—these friendships—we are on a first-name basis with thousands of officers around the world, all of whom share the same goal—keeping their citizens safe from every threat, every day.

Nearly three weeks have passed since the tragic attack in Tucson. We still feel the impact of that attack—and the idea that one individual could inflict such damage.

Yet we also confront terrorists who seek to inflict the greatest damage possible. Gang members who cultivate crime and violence. Computer hackers who target our financial networks. And organized criminals who will stop at nothing to make money. 

Congresswoman Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, is an astronaut. His twin brother, Scott, is the current commander of the International Space Station.    

Two days after the attack, from space, Commander Kelly led NASA in a moment of silence. Speaking by radio, he said, “We have a unique vantage point [up] here. …I see a very beautiful planet that seems inviting and peaceful.  Unfortunately, it is not. …[But] we are better than this. We must do better.”

As we all know, a world that is often inviting and peaceful can become violent, even deadly, in the blink of an eye. We may not see the shift, but we certainly feel the impact. 

But we are better than the criminals and terrorists we face. Together, we can and we must do better. Together, we must do more, for the American people deserve no less.

Thank you for having me here this morning and for your support over the years. It has been my honor to work with you.

🐣 RT @pwnallthethings The $15k/pm was to be paid for by Donald J. Trump for President Inc, i.e. by political donations of Trump supporters. https://twitter.com/pwnallthethings/status/1028854048613576704/photo/1
// Omarosa’s non-disclosure $15K/mo contract (page w $ amt)

Reuters: Russia’s Lavrov says Putin-Trump meeting possible to improve relations: RIA http://reut.rs/2MfG0KQ

TheGuardian: Woodward and Bernstein: Watergate echoes loud in Donald Trump era http://bit.ly/2P4iqhN
// Veteran journalists may have thought their biggest story was behind them, then Trump came along. ‘This is worse than Watergate’, says Bernstein

TheGuardian: Giuliani now says Trump never discussed Michael Flynn with Comey http://bit.ly/2B4Uo39
// Trump will deny having ever discussed Flynn with James Comey if he’s questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller, says Giuliani

NYT: Amid Kremlin Victories, Putin Fails to Persuade West on Russian Sanctions http://nyti.ms/2MGuhkL

WIRED: Machine Learning Can Identify the Authors of Anonymous Code http://bit.ly/2B7IRjO
// Even Anonymous Coders Leave Fingerprints

WaPo, Joe Scarborough: History will wonder why these men defended Trump but not their country http://wapo.st/2OwHsF8

◕ Gallup Poll: During Nixon’s last year in office, his approval among Republicans never fell below 50%. Still, that was down from 90% at the beginning of his second term. Chart posted by @PollsAndVotes Thread: http://bit.ly/2Maykt6 📌 https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1028801668589264897/photo/1
Gallup Poll: Nixon Job Approval in 1973 and 1974 as it responded to Watergate events. Chart posted by @PollsAndVotes More at Thread: http://bit.ly/2Maykt6 /photo/1
// Nixon job approval 1969-1974
http://bit.ly/2Maykt6

InsideHigherEd, Matt Grossman and David Hopkins: How Information Became Ideological http://bit.ly/2vCftNo
// 10/11/2016

Vox, Amanda Taub: The rise of American authoritarianism http://bit.ly/2tlDN28
// 3/1/2016, A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what’s driving Donald Trump’s ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016.

⭕ 11 Aug 2018

WaPo Editorial: Don’t fall for Trump’s latest whataboutism http://wapo.st/2Mc1SGL

[T]he claim that Ms. Clinton’s 2016 opposition-research activities were on the same moral or legal plane with the Trump team’s direct interactions with Russians represents a preposterous effort to confuse and distract.

Here is what the Trump team did: Senior campaign officials, including then-chairman Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, met in June 2016 with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected lawyer. They were told the lawyer could give them “very high level and sensitive information” on Ms. Clinton, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Here is what the Clinton campaign did: It employed a U.S. law firm that hired a U.S. research outfit that brought in Christopher Steele, a British ex-spy, to gather information on Mr. Trump from his network of sources. That network included Russians.

For all of Mr. Trump’s efforts to muddy the waters, the two cases are decidedly different. There is no evidence of any direct meetings or even tenuous connections between Ms. Clinton’s senior staff and Russian operatives. When the information he was gathering on Mr. Trump seemed alarming, Mr. Steele informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his concerns. When the Russian government offered dirt on Mr. Trump’s opponent, his campaign didn’t alert authorities about this sketchy behavior. It eagerly took the meeting.

Mr. Trump’s whataboutism obscures the fundamental difference between engaging in opposition research that includes contacting foreign sources and lapping up information peddled by a foreign government. Mr. Steele, a well-regarded ex-spy, was acting as a compensated researcher with a specialty in Russia, not as a Kremlin cutout. He worked his network to deliver information to his client.

By contrast, Mr. Trump’s team opened itself to legal exposure when it took the unsolicited meeting with Ms. Veselnitskaya. It is illegal for foreign governments to contribute — in a broad sense of the word — to U.S. political campaigns. “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics,” Mr. Trump tweeted the other day. The efforts the president and others made to cover up the purpose of the meeting suggest otherwise. And the fact that the damaging information was not forthcoming, at least at that meeting, does not excuse the sordid fact of the meeting in the first instance.

One of Mr. Trump’s go-to defenses is insisting that others have done the things he is accused of, only worse. No matter how many times he tweets about Ms. Clinton’s supposed collusion, that doesn’t make it true, nor does it diminish legitimate concerns about his own campaign’s behavior. And that is even assuming there is nothing more to learn.

NYT: Trump Escalates Attack on Jeff Sessions, Calling Him ‘Scared Stiff’ http://nyti.ms/2B2Rf3V

“I have never seen anything so Rigged in my life,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to reports about meetings between a Justice Department official and a former British spy who helped compile a dossier that contained unverified but potentially damaging allegations about Mr. Trump. “Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action.”

The reports, featured mostly in conservative news outlets, suggest that even after the Justice Department stopped using the former spy, Christopher Steele, as an informant, he continued to meet with a top official at the agency, Bruce Ohr.

For months, Republicans have attacked Mr. Ohr because his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked as a contractor for FusionGPS, the opposition research firm that hired Mr. Steele. The two men had known each other before Mr. Steele began working for Fusion.

But Mr. Ohr worked on counternarcotics at the Justice Department, not counterintelligence, and he is not known to have played any role in the Russia investigation.

The president has repeatedly insisted that the investigation began with the dossier, paid for in part by Hillary Clinton’s allies, but the inquiry was prompted in part by a diplomat’s tip about a former Trump campaign adviser.

He has also continued to criticize Mr. Sessions, accusing his attorney general of taking a “weak” position over prosecuting Mrs. Clinton for issues that have long been considered settled by the Justice Department.

Politico: Donald Trump’s complicated relationship with technology http://politi.co/2Mi72Aj
// 12/30/2016, The incoming president has mastered Twitter, but he doesn’t do email and rarely uses a computer //➔ he has someone print out his emails, annotates with a black marker, has the responses scanned and sent as a pdf; doesn’t browse the web; prefers phone calls

🐣 RT @BenSasse One of the giant costs of the Trump-centric framing of the Mueller investigation (by cable news chyrons & by the President himself) is that few Americans understand Putin’s agents are now picking at the scabs of every cultural skirmish we have–from race to guns to media tribes.
⋙ 🐣 RT @joshrogin Republican @RepTomGarrett says he was told in a closed briefing that Russian meddling contributed to last year’s conflict and violence in Charlottesville. Wow. @CNN

Observer, John Schindler (2017): The 9 Russian Words That Explain KremlinGate http://bit.ly/2vEZSwq //➔ spycraft
// 3/28/2017, It’s International Talk Like a Chekist Day—here’s a quick primer on kombinatsiya, konspiratsiya and more

TheGuardian, Jonathan Freedland: We like to mock Trump, but Britain’s Russia stance is even worse http://bit.ly/2OtXQGp
// When it comes to evidence of Russian intervention in the 2016 referendum, Theresa May is unaccountably relaxed

When it comes to Russia, the US has become the Jekyll and Hyde superpower. Just three weeks ago, Trump stood next to Putin in Helsinki, unable to utter so much as a word of criticism of the Russian dictator who, a vast body of evidence shows, acted to subvert the American democratic process in 2016. And yet on Wednesday the US announced new sanctions on Moscow as punishment for the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury with a lethal nerve agent.

On Friday it emerged that the president’s own national security adviser, John Bolton, plotted with European diplomats to rush through a new Nato strategy document when Trump wasn’t looking – in order to deny him the chance to wreck it and, especially, to soften its tough stance on Russia.

Isn’t the UK guilty of a similar contradiction, in fact one that’s even worse?

That Russia was ready to do its bit to make Brexit happen is already well-established. We have had for nearly a year the documented proof …

Where, though, is the outrage from the British government?

In a way, the UK situation is worse. The US is at least conducting an inquiry into Moscow’s campaign to sway the ballot two years ago …

For Trump, the motive for opposing Mueller is obvious: he fears that to admit Russian subversion would be to cast doubt on his own electoral legitimacy. For May, the calculation is not dissimilar: hers is now a Brexit government, and she dares do nothing that might undermine the so-called “will of the people”.

… May’s silence in the face of an attack on this country’s democracy – indeed, on its sovereignty – is no more defensible than Trump’s. The Americans are conducting a full-scale inquiry. Where is ours?

🐣 RT @BillKristol The claim that Mueller is a greater threat to the republic than Putin is so over the top one’s inclined to ignore it. But Levin said it soon after dinner with Trump and Pirro repeated it. Is Trump intensifying the assault on Mueller in case Trump wants to move against him soon?

🐣 RT @real Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text massages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities. FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people……
⋙ 🐣 When Stormy went at you with that Forbes magazine, was that a “text massage”?
🐣 RT @real …..Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!

⭕ 10 Aug 2018

KyivPost, Josh Kovensky: Dirty Money: Manafort trial exposes seedy realities of Ukrainian politics http://bit.ly/2Pb5oz3
⋙ See under Entire Articles: Kyiv Dirty Money 8-10-2018

💙💙 DailyBeast: The Real Reason Roger Stone Crony Andrew Miller Ducked Robert Mueller’s Subpoena? To Challenge the Special Counsel’s Legitimacy. http://thebea.st/2nDZJ8a
// A longtime associate of the infamous Republican trickster is having his defense funded in part by a group that wants to challenge the constitutionality of the Russia probe.

ForeignPolicy: How to Kill a Presidential Scandal http://bit.ly/2KNaDBT
// Republicans smothered the Iran-Contra affair. The same might happen with Trump and Russia.

WaPo, David Von Drehle: Trump’s résumé is rife with mob connections http://wapo.st/2MDRX9p

NorwoodPost: Ex-Spy Bob Baer shares scoop on Trump and Russia http://bit.ly/2KNlTxY
// nothing new; Ex-spy reveals what he’s discovered about President Trump and Putin: recruited in 1991, there is a tape
⋙ See under Entire Articles: Bob Baer Ex-Spy

NYT, Roger Cohen: Trump’s Nemesis in the Age of Pinocchio http://nyti.ms/ //➔ Interview with Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s Factchecker
Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1028250653901119488/photo/1
// Glenn Kessler’s database of presidential untruths will become a reference, a talisman.

It’s easy to experience an “unbearable lightness of being,” in Milan Kundera’s phrase, when the anchor of truth disappears. What was Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader? Theater? Farce? Should we run away? Should we care? Should we scream? Who would hear us? Is journalism remotely adequate to describe the moral decay and mind-bending corruption, material and spiritual, of the Trump administration?

I sought out Kessler because I believe he’s doing the critical work that might save the country. Trump, he says, is “in another realm completely.”

Are you going to go on doing this?” I ask.
“Yeah.”
“Indefinitely?”
“Yeah, I have the best job in journalism.”
“The best?”
“I write what I want, and I piss people off.”

Czeslaw Milosz, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, addressing a totalitarian leader “who wronged a simple man,” wrote this:

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the deed, the date.

Kessler is doing the poet’s work. Honor him. The database he compiles with his colleagues Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, listing every one of Trump’s untruths, will become a reference, a talisman.

Washingtonians know it. When Kessler went to the hospital last Sunday to get stitches in his hand after the run-in with the wine glass, the physician assistant recognized the Fact Checker and said: “Oh, we have to make sure you’re able to type!”
↥ ↧
🐣 .@NYTimesCohen Thank you for your beautiful tribute to @GlennKesslerWP. It is the Poet’s Work indeed. I’ve been fact-checking all my life, going back to when it was scribbled notes on slips of paper. Facts are stubborn things, not easy to unearth. 🥂to the Truth Tellers!

NYT Editorial: The Administration Gets Tough on Russia — Despite Trump http://nyti.ms/2M8BvBD
// The president holds chummy meetings with Vladimir Putin, while his administration imposes new sanctions.

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: Are you still sure there’s no need to worry? http://wapo.st/2MzZ9mN

🐣 RT @ProcessServiceC DNC Lawsuit https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com
@wikileaks By Court order, you are being served with the following legal documents: https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Summons-WikiLeaks.pdf …,
https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DNC-COMPLAINT-STAMPED.pdf …,
https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Electronic-Case-Filing-Rules-Instructions-SDNY.pdf …,
https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Individual-Practices-of-Judge-John-G.-Koeltl.pdf ….
All of these documents may be found here: https://www.cohenmilsteinprocessserver.com/ .

🐣 RT @benjaminwittes Ok, here’s a little primer on the perjury trap: What it is, what it isn’t, and whether Bob Mueller’s seeking an interview with Trump in which Trump might lie is one or not. [📌 Thread:] https://mobile.twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/982978272945459200?s=21
// 4/8/20/18

TheIndependent, Sean O’Grady [UK]: Trump’s silence on the Russia sanctions hints at his fear of being compromised by Putin http://ind.pn/2OmRbha
// What is it that the Russians have on the president? Why doesn’t he give a flying trump about the murder of British citizens?

DailyBeast, Elie Honig: Trump Will Fold if Mueller Calls His Bluff. Giuliani Is the Tell. http://thebea.st/2AWx2wN
// The president’s lawyer puts more preconditions on an interview that the special counsel will never agree to meet. It’s meant to make the eventual cave-in look magnanimous.

BuzzFeedNews, Kevin Collier and Jason Leopold: Massive Attack On Swedish News Sites Was The Work Of Russia, US Told Its Ambassadors http://bit.ly/2MCoQ6e
// According to a newly released State Department cable, the attack was part of a Russian campaign to sow disinformation about NATO. It came as Russia allegedly was stealing Democrats’ emails.

LawfareBlog: Peter Smith’s Search for Hillary Clinton’s Emails: The Subplot Thickens http://bit.ly/2nzflKl (by Victoria Clark, Matthew Kahn, Mikhaila R. Fogel, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes)

DailyBeast, Anna Nemtsova (2017): Russia’s Alt-Right Rasputin Says He’s Steve Bannon’s Ideological Soul Mate http://thebea.st/2vUaOpq
// 4/24/2017, Alexander Dugin says Trump’s ‘unforgivable’ attack on Syria makes him a traitor to the alt-right, and Putin’s a big disappointment. But Dugin still digs Bannon.

WaPo: Russia chastises U.S. after sanctions over chemical attack in Britain http://wapo.st/2Ose177 Medvedev: “If a kind of prohibition of bank activities or using this or that currency followed, this can be called, absolutely directly, this is a declaration of economic war.”

🐣 RT @LincolnsBible Lincoln Forecast: We’re gonna start seeing bodies on yachts.
⋙ 🐣 RT @ericgardland Decent forecast from 2017, but I guess he meant “at my building where there are Russian mobsters running sports betting,” and 18 U.S. Code § 2381.
⋙⋙ Politico.eu: Donald Trump says ‘people will die’ as a result of focus on Russia allegations http://politi.co/2MBZRzW
// 11/11/2017, ‘Every time he sees me he says, “I didn’t do that,” and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it,’ Trump says after meeting Putin at Vietnam summit.

🐣 RT @MaxBoot This is what Republican donors are paying to support: payoffs to ex-Trump staffers to keep them quiet.
⋙ 🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Huh. 15k per month is what Trump’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller has been getting from the RNC.
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @meungminkim Oh boy — Omarosa was offered $15K per month to stay silent after her firing from the Trump campaign, via @jdawsey1
⋙⋙⋙ WaPo: Omarosa Manigault Newman says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist http://wapo.st/2P0BbT9

🐣 RT @JasonLeopold SCOOP by @a_cormier_ & me ¤ We’re following the money ¤ GOP Operative Made ‘Suspicious’ Cash Withdrawals During Pursuit Of Clinton Emails ¤ Peter W. Smith withdrew $4,900 in cash the day after he finalized a plan to work with “dark web” hackers.
BuzzFeedNews: GOP Operative Made “Suspicious” Cash Withdrawals During Pursuit Of Clinton Emails http://bit.ly/2npUwR8
// Peter W. Smith withdrew $4,900 in cash the day after he finalized a plan to work with “dark web” hackers.

NYPost: Bethenny Frankel’s on-and-off boyfriend found dead in Trump Tower http://nyp.st/2MC8zya
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @truefactsstated So remember that time when @MichaelCohen212 texted some guy to warn him to get of Trump Tower when the fire happened? And the “art dealer” was killed? Well, the guy who Cohen texted was found dead today. In Trump Tower. #Goodfellas
// 📌 Thread: https://twitter.com/TrueFactsStated/status/1028008815587995648
↥ ↧
⋙ 🐣 RT @ContraryMary197 And so it begins, Putin’s wet work.

HillReporter, Ed Krassenstein: Former Top KGB General Says Trump is a Russian Asset and He Likely Knows It http://bit.ly/2Mg6Q4E “[A] new book by Craig Unger … claims that President Trump is and has been a Russian asset since 1987”; release date 8/14/2018
Cover: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1028031738021376000/photo/1

[A] new book by Craig Unger, entitled ‘House of Trump, House of Putin; the Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia‘, claims that President Trump is and has been a Russian asset since 1987.

In 1987 Donald Trump travelled to Moscow, and Unger says that the former head of counterintelligence for the KGB, Oleg Kalugin, insists that Trump would have very likely been filmed with prostitutes at that time, saying that Trump had ‘many young ladies at his disposal’ and that Russian spies would have jumped at the opportunity.

Kalugin also claims that Trump is an easy ‘Russian asset’ considering how greedy he has been over the years.  He goes as far as saying that Trump is most likely aware of the existence of blackmail material often referred to as ‘kompromat’.

If Russia was likely willing to gather ‘kompromat’ on Trump 31 years ago, it would seem to give further credence to the Steele Dossier which claims that Russia had gathered ‘kompromat’ on Trump back in 2013 as well.  It’s worth noting that no proof of this blackmail material was provided to Unger by Kalugin — only his opinion on what most likely would have taken place at the time of Trump’s visit to Moscow.

WaPo, Harry Litman: Time for Mueller to bring out the big guns http://wapo.st/2Mb9x8j “Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president.”

So if Mueller can prove the legitimacy of his case, and if Giuliani and Trump conclude it’s objective, and if they receive sufficient information about the probe’s origins, then they might consider answering some questions in writing.

Trump’s intransigence raises the prospect that Mueller will need to submit his report to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein with no input from the president. This is simply an unacceptable resolution for a probe of this gravity. Mueller’s mission is not just to investigate and charge crimes. It is also to determine what happened. Indeed, he is the country’s only hope for some clear picture of the facts. As the recently released tapes of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) makes clear, congressional Republicans are determined to avoid any serious investigation, and the media can probe only so far.

It is true, of course, that Trump could respond to a subpoena by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He is not legally required to fill in Mueller’s case for him. But that act would speak volumes to the country, while subjecting the president to historical ignominy. And there is no constitutional reason it shouldn’t: We are not an impaneled jury, but a citizenry entitled to know whether the president committed crimes and conspired with a hostile foreign power to try to swing the election.

It is also conceivable that the Supreme Court could agree with the president to quash the subpoena, but it is highly unlikely. Precedents in the cases of presidents Nixon and Clinton strongly indicate the subpoena would be enforceable. And it is in the interest of the country to get a definite resolution of the question from the Supreme Court in any event.

🐣 RT @JuliaDavisNews #Russia’s state TV: Vitaly Tretyakov, dean of Moscow State University’s School of Television, argues that Russia should act decisively in response to the new sanctions. “Let’s turn this into a headache for Trump. If you want us to support you in the elections, do what we say.”
https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1027910487554576384/photo/1

🐣 RT @mkraju The special counsel has subpoenaed Randy Credico – the intermediary between Julian Assange and Roger Stone – to testify before a grand jury on Sept. 7, @SaraMurray reports. It’s the latest sign the Mueller probe isn’t finishing by September as Rudy has predicted

WaPo: Judge holds Roger Stone associate in contempt for refusing to testify in Russia investigation http://wapo.st/2P09FVR //➔ “U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury.”

🐣 RT @McFaul I support better relations with Russia. If Putin left Crimea, ended his war against Ukraine, stopped backing murderous regime in Syria, ended intervention in US elections & retracted his call for arresting USG officials , I’d support lifting sanctions & normalizing relations.

🐣💙💙 RT @The_UnSilent_ “All my new FBI agents visit the Holocaust Museum to better understand what happens when law enforcement becomes a tool of oppression, or worse.”
~ Robert Mueller, April, 2013
💽 Video: https://twitter.com/The_UnSilent_/status/1027708210633998336/photo/1

⭕ 9 Aug 2018

CNN, Frida Ghitis: Under Trump, the US has two separate foreign policies http://cnn.it/2McZeAE

The policies are a tangled mess, and Pompeo did his best to try to make sense of them without sounding disloyal to the President. But it’s no easy feat. In fact, Trump’s rambunctious style has spawned a pattern: The President speaks, meets, declares, and then foreign policy figures rush to clean up, often finding excuses for Trump’s statements.

TheIndependent, Sean O’Grady [UK]: Trump’s silence on the Russia sanctions hints at his fear of being compromised by Putin http://ind.pn/2OmRbha
// What is it that the Russians have on the president? Why doesn’t he give a flying trump about the murder of British citizens?

TheObserver, John Schindler: Donald Trump’s Nightmare Isn’t Robert Mueller http://bit.ly/2vZtTq2 “President Trump has more than mere kompromat to worry about here. Under Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence has embarked on a global assassination spree of a kind not seen in the Kremlin since Stalin’s time.”

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff and Allison Quinn: Exclusive: This Is Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina’s Secret Money Man in Moscow, Sources Say http://thebea.st/2OVAKtr
// When the accused infiltrator of the NRA needed cash, she turned to Igor Pisarsky, two sources familiar with her activities tell The Daily Beast.

… But what the prosecutors didn’t say was that when Butina needed money from the oligarch, Konstantin Nikolaev, she went to a Kremlin-linked public relations power player named Igor Pisarsky for the cash. That’s according to two sources familiar with her activities, speaking to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity.

Pisarsky was Butina’s point of contact for the Nikolaev money, according to these sources—the face of the financing. According to one of the sources, he essentially acted like he was distributing grant money.

This information, previously unreported, highlights the breadth of Butina’s support network; she had friends in a wide variety of high places. In Paul Erickson, she had a longtime Republican insider with close ties to the right’s most powerful groups. In Alexander Torshin, she had a Kremlin ally who was deeply involved in Russia’s banking sector. In Konstantin Nikolaev, she had an oligarch willing to help bankroll her undertakings. And now, in Igor Pisarsky, she had a worldly, sophisticated public relations professional whose firm boasts having worked for a host of Kremlin entities, as well as Vladimir Putin’s political party. Pisarsky’s firm also has worked for two banks whose CEOs have faced U.S. sanctions, according to its website and reports

🐣 RT @BillKristol Lest we lose sight of the forest for the trees: It seems to me likely Mueller will find there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives; that Trump knew about it; and that Trump sought to cover it up and obstruct its investigation. ¤ What then? ¤ Good question.

NYT: U.S. Officials Scrambled Behind the Scenes to Shield NATO Deal From Trump http://nyti.ms/2M5zRkr

Senior American national security officials, seeking to prevent President Trump from upending a formal policy agreement at last month’s NATO meeting, pushed the military alliance’s ambassadors to complete it before the forum even began.

The work to preserve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreement, which is usually subject to intense 11th-hour negotiations, came just weeks after Mr. Trump refused to sign off on a communiqué from the June meeting of the Group of 7 in Canada.

The rushed machinations to get the policy done, as demanded by John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, have not been previously reported. Described by European diplomats and American officials, the efforts are a sign of the lengths to which the president’s top advisers will go to protect a key and longstanding international alliance from Mr. Trump’s unpredictable antipathy.

In June, weeks before the meeting, Mr. Bolton sent his demand to Brussels through Kay Bailey Hutchison, the American ambassador to NATO. He wanted the NATO communiqué to be completed early, before the president left for Europe, according to five senior American and European officials familiar with the discussions who described them on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the White House.

NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, reinforced Mr. Bolton’s directive during a gathering of the ambassadors on July 4. The usual infighting over the summit agreement, he said, had to be dropped. He asked the delegations to finish their work by July 6 at 10 p.m. Brussels time.

Fearful of a repeat of the G-7 disaster — in which Mr. Trump refused to sign off on the joint communiqué, escalated a trade war and publicly derided Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada — the emissaries from the NATO countries all agreed.

Two senior European officials said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis were also keen to avoid another confrontation similar to the G-7, and the NATO declaration was completed days before leaders set foot in Brussels.

It achieved several goals critical to NATO officials.

Against Russian objections, the military alliance would formally invite Macedonia to join. It would establish an Atlantic Command post, hosted by the United States in Norfolk, Va., to coordinate a swift alliance response in the event of, for instance, a war in Europe between Russia and NATO allies.

And, most important, allies pledged to build up their militaries and provide 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels, all ready to use in 30 days or less, by 2020 — a force to quickly respond to any attack on an alliance member.

Jamie Shea, a NATO deputy assistant secretary general, called the declaration “the most substantive” agreement that the alliance had put out in years. But its success, according to the American and European officials, lies in the feverish work before the summit meeting to keep it away from Mr. Trump.

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Devin Nunes, Trump’s political stooge, is at it again http://wapo.st/2AWuXkf

💙💙 Msnbc, TRMS: Exclusive: Devin Nunes speaks candidly at fundraiser http://on.msnbc.com/2M2PaKB video clips and excerpts

The Rachel Maddow Show has obtained exclusive, secret audio of Rep. Devin Nunes speaking candidly to donors at a private fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. NBC News: Secret recording shows GOP’s Nunes saying Rosenstein impeachment would delay Supreme Court pick Below are the transcripts of the portions aired on the August 8, 2018 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show:

Clip 1: REP. NUNES (R-CA): “So therein lies, so it’s like your classic Catch-22 situation where we were at a – this puts us in such a tough spot. If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones. Which is really the danger. That’s why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, I mean we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.

Clip 2: REP. NUNES (R-CA): “They know it’s ridiculous to go after the president for obstruction of justice. But if they tell a lie often enough and they put it out there and they say, ‘Oh, we’re looking at the tweets,’ cause you know you’ve got a mixed bag on the tweets, right? Like sometimes you love the president’s tweets, sometimes we cringe on the president’s tweets. But they’re trying to make a political, this is all political as to why that story ran in the New York Times on the tweets.”

Clip 3: REP. NUNES (R-CA): “Now if somebody thinks that my campaign or Cathy’s campaign is colluding with the Chinese, or you name the country, hey, could happen, it would be a very bad thing if Cathy was getting secrets from the Portuguese, let’s say, just because I’m Portuguese, my family was. So Cathy was getting secret information from the Portuguese. You know, may or may not be unusual. But ultimately let’s say the Portuguese came and brought her some stolen emails. And she decided to release those. Okay, now we have a problem, right? Because somebody stole the emails, gave ‘em to Cathy, Cathy released ‘em. Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”

Clip 4: AUDIENCE MEMBER: “But also, on things that came up in the House on Rosenstein impeachment thing. And it appears from an outsider that the Republicans were not supported.”

REP. NUNES (R-CA): “Yeah, well, so it’s a bit complicated, right? And I say that because you have to, so we only have so many months left, right? So if we actually vote to impeach, okay, what that does is that triggers the Senate then has to take it up. Well, and you have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time. Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice, the new Supreme Court justice? So that’s part of why, I don’t think you have, you’re not getting from, and I’ve said publicly Rosenstein deserves to be impeached. I mean, so, I don’t think you’re gonna get any argument from most of our colleagues. The question is the timing of it right before the election.”

REP. MCMORRIS RODGERS (R-WA): “Also, the Senate has to start –”

REP. NUNES (R-CA): “The Senate would have to start, the Senate would have to drop everything they’re doing and start to, and start with impeachment on Rosenstein. And then take the risk of not getting Kavanaugh confirmed. So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing.”

WaPo, Isaac Stanley-Becker: Devin Nunes, in secretly recorded tape, tells donors GOP majority is necessary to protect Trump: ‘We’re the only ones’ http://wapo.st/2vWIAKA

◕💙 FiveThirtyEight (5/17/2018): How Mueller’s First Year Compares To Watergate, Iran-Contra And Whitewater http://53eig.ht/2Myi4hG And what those past investigations tell us about where the Russia investigation might go next.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1027628438121861121/photo/1
// 5/17/2018, fave chart scandals indictments

◕💙 IR.net, Brian Frydenborg (Mar): Think You Know How Deep Trump-Russia Goes? Think Again: This Chart/Info Will Blow Your Mind http://bit.ly/2M5UxbS
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1027622332846821381/photo/1
// 3/15/2018 Trump Russia flowchart and narrative fave chart

WaPo: Devin Nunes, in secretly recorded tape, tells donors GOP majority is necessary to protect Trump: ‘We’re the only ones’ http://wapo.st/2OX6KgP //➔ on tape made by Fuse Washington and obtained by The Rachel Maddow Show

⭕ 8 Aug 2018

DailyBeast, Amy Knight: This Russian Spy Agency Is in the Middle of Everything http://thebea.st/2AZS11O
// Only a few years ago, the GRU looked like it might be dissolved. But Putin found new uses for it: covert war in Ukraine and ‘active measures’ that helped Trump get elected.

Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU‍, is getting blamed for all sorts of things these days. Robert Mueller indicted 12 GRU officers for hacking into computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The GRU allegedly was behind the recent poisonings of four people in Britain, including former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, who survived, and a woman accidentally exposed to the powerful nerve agent used, who died.

The 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine has been laid at the door of the GRU. And recently there were reports that GRU hackers are directing their efforts at the U.S. power grid. Russian mercenaries serving in Syria and in Africa are largely drawn from GRU ranks. Three Russian journalists investigating their activities were murdered last month.

Igor Korobov, the head of the GRU, was singled out personally for U.S. Treasury sanctions in March, along with his organization, even though he had already been sanctioned by the Obama administration in late 2016 for interference in our elections.

Maybe Trump’s people felt they had to make the point after Korobov was invited, along with chiefs of other Russian secret services, to Washington, D.C., in late January—just weeks before the new sanctions were announced. The visit was supposed to be a secret, but the Russians leaked it. The others in attendance were Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Aleksandr Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Steven Hall, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, told Radio Free Europe it is always considered a “big political win” when a Russian spy chief meets one-on-one with his U.S. counterpart, because it puts them on equal footing.

The intelligence chiefs reportedly discussed with the Americans their mutual struggle against global terrorism, but it would be remarkable if the talks were limited to that subject. As a veteran of the FSB explained to a TV audience in Russia, “Many questions cannot be discussed by phone. It was necessary to look each other in the eye and talk about issues that threaten us and the Americans.”

Hall had a different take: “Given the political conditions in the United States now, it’s flabbergasting, to be honest. I can’t imagine who would have signed off on that.”

At home in Russia meanwhile, Korobov is riding high. In 2017, conceivably for his work helping to get Trump elected, Korobov was promoted to colonel-general, and Putin bestowed on him the highest state honor—Hero of the Russian Federation. …

By one estimate, of the 7,000 GRU officers working in the Soviet era, only 2,000 remained. This included a 40-percent reduction among GRU staff at foreign embassies. The GRU’s famed special combat brigades, the so-called Spetsnaz units, supposedly were going to be transferred to the regular army.
… TBC

WaPo, EJ Dionne: The path to autocracy is all too familiar http://wapo.st/2AWJvAy

🐣 RT @RichardHine The Devin Nunes tape:
– What Trump is accused of is definitely a crime
– That’s why we must impeach Rosenstein to shut the investigation down
– But first we have to confirm Kavanaugh and keep the House so we can be totally sure our treachery succeeds
https://twitter.com/richardhine/status/1027369631680475136/photo/1
NBC: Rep. Nunes: “If Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones — which is really the danger. That’s why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, I mean, we have to keep all these seats.” https://nbcnews.to/2KDxsrw 
https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1027402614743490560/photo/1

NBC: Rep. Nunes: “If Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones — which is really the danger. That’s why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, I mean, we have to keep all these seats.” https://nbcnews.to/2KDxsrw 
https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/1027402614743490560/photo/1

🐣 RT @AriMelber Wow the @Maddow scoop on this new secret tape of Devin Nunes reveals:
1) Nunes secretly wants another Rosenstein impeachment push — just after SCOTUS hearing
2) Nunes admits foreign *collusion* on stolen email *is a crime*
(A legal fact, but at odds with Trump legal team)

◕ FiveThirtyEight, Oliver Roeder: What You Found In 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets http://53eig.ht/2OoK0p4
By Type: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1027330420512313344/photo/1

WaPo: Like father, like son: Trump Jr. defiant about Russia probe http://wapo.st/2KzvDvH

WaPo: Trump lawyers reject interview terms sought by special counsel in Russia probe http://wapo.st/2AQHFB2

RussianReality: Kommersant: A set of measures to curb Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2Mrxa8H

At the disposal of “Kommersant” was the bill on new sanctions against Russia, prepared by Republican Lindsey Graham and three of his colleagues. A significant part of the provisions of the document is not so much Russia, but U.S. President Donald trump. He is required to bring into a system already entered earlier sanctions against Russia — from CAATSA to the “Magnitsky act”, to create in the US government “sanctions coordination office” for the agreements with the EU to support sanctions block dollar payments of Russian banks, prohibit the operation to US residents with a new Russian public debt, to create a national center to combat Russian threat, to search the world for the assets of Vladimir Putin and even to solve the issue of the recognition of Russia as “state sponsor of terrorism.” The document contains a mechanism designed to prevent Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from NATO. Basically, it looks like the American political project in which Russia for its authors more or less secondary in comparison with the US President who is too soft toward Russia.

⭕ 7 Aug 2018

TheHill, John Solomon: Opinion: How a senior DOJ official helped Dem researchers on Trump-Russia case http://bit.ly/2P0Bo97 //➔ builds on the Nunes/Jordan allegations that Steele had improper contacts w FBI, etc iow hatchet job

Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.

They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.

FBI officials now admit they continued to receive information from Steele through Ohr, identifying more than a half-dozen times its agents interviewed Ohr in late 2016 and 2017, to learn what Steele was saying.

That continued reliance on Steele after his termination is certain to raise interest in Congress about whether the FBI broke its own rules. //➔ rap their knuckles, Sister!

But the memos also raise questions about Ohr’s and the Justice Department’s roles in the origins of building a counterintelligence case against the Republican presidential nominee, based heavily on opposition research funded by his rival’s campaign, the DNC and the DNC’s main law firm, Perkins Coie. //➔ doesn’t mean the info is wrong

“There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele wrote Ohr on July 1, 2016, in an apparent reference to Trump. //➔ Steele and Ohr were old friends

That overture came just four days before Steele walked into the FBI office in Rome with still-unproven allegations that Trump had an improper relationship with Russia, including possible efforts to hijack the presidential election. //➔ many corroborated, none yet disproven

Ohr scheduled a call with Steele over Skype a few days later. But then the two men met in Washington on July 30, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel.

Ohr brought his wife, Nellie, who was working at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia research project. //➔ omg, omg, 😮 like so what?

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly after their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.” //➔ country first!

That meeting occurred exactly one day before FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok formally opened an investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Moscow to steal the election.

At the time, the case was based mostly on an Australian diplomat’s tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos appeared to know in advance that the Russians possessed information involving Hillary Clinton before hacked documents were released on WikiLeaks.

Soon, the case expanded to include allegations that another Trump adviser, Carter Page, might have ties to Russia — an uncorroborated allegation from Fusion GPS’s research now known as the “Steele dossier.” //➔ multiply sourced, enough for probable cause

Calendar notations and handwritten notes indicate Ohr followed up on Steele’s offer and met with Simpson on Aug. 22, 2016. Ohr’s notes indicate Simpson identified several “possible intermediaries” between the Trump campaign and Russia. //➔ as there appear to be

One was identified as a “longtime associate of Trump” who “put together several real estate deals for Russian investigators to purchase Trump properties.” Another was a Russian apparently tied to Carter Page, Ohr’s note of his Simpson contact indicated. //➔ Cohen? Page met with Russian officials; Mifsud?

Steele offered Ohr many other theories over their contacts, including a now widely discredited one that the Russian Alfa Bank had a computer server “as a link” to the Trump campaign, Ohr’s notes show. //➔ discredited? No links in this “opinion” piece …

Though much of Steele’s information remained uncorroborated, the FBI nonetheless took the extraordinary step in October 2016 of seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page during the final days of the election, based mostly on Steele’s dossier. The warrant was renewed at least three times, but Carter Page was never charged. //➔ again, treating dossier a phoney, FISAs as unwarranted; Page May yet be charged …

Ohr’s connections to Steele are significant because at least one of the FISA warrants was approved by Ohr’s boss, Yates. //➔ omg!

By early November 2016, Steele was terminated for unauthorized media contacts — and the FBI was turning to Ohr as a back channel to Steele. //➔ knuckles

Ohr’s notes suggest he met Nov. 21, 2016, with FBI officials that included (lover boy!) Strzok, then-FBI attorney (lovely!) Lisa Page and another agent. Strzok and Lisa Page have become the poster children for Republicans who believe the FBI abused its authority by investigating Trump on flimsy evidence. FBI records confirm an interview with Ohr around that time. //➔ “if neither the facts or the law are on your side … ”

Ohr’s notes from that meeting indicate that FBI officials told him they “may go back to Chris” — an apparent reference to Steele — just 20 days after dismissing him. //➔ knuckles

In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history. //➔ only 60? I’ve got a list of 80!

Most importantly, the new memos make clear that Ohr, a man whose name was barely uttered during the first 18 months of the scandal, may have played a critical role in stitching together a Democratic opposition research project and the top echelons of the FBI and DOJ. //➔ “The Truth has a well-known liberal bias”

WaPo, Michael Morrell: Putin is afraid of one thing. Make him think it could happen. http://wapo.st/2ARfl1H

🐣 RT @MitchellReports .@FranklinFoer: Manafort worked the system on behalf of Trump at convention and helped develop strategy for general election. He was key figure on campaign. He saw&knew a lot. He was in a lot of meetings incl that Trump Tower meeting. Thats why hes such great interest to Mueller.

🐣 RT @JohnHarwood 4/26/16: Mifsud tells Papadopoulos that Russians have email dirt
4/27: Papadopoulos tells Trump colleague
5/11: Trump aide Scavino tweets Russia has 20K stolen HRC emails
6/8: Manafort, Kushner, Jr meet w/Russians at Trump Tower
7/25: Wikileaks releases 20K stolen Dem emails
⋙ 🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Trump campaign was hoping to get these emails at the Trump Tower meeting. ¤ This from the campaign’s social media director in May 2016, one month before the meeting:
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @DanScavino [5/11/2016] Kremlin has Hillary’s emails. Russia has 20,000 emails stolen from her secret home server. @IngrahamAngle #Trump2016
⋙⋙⋙ Lifezette (5/11/2016): Kremlin Has Hillary’s Emails http://bit.ly/2OLSO9g
// 5/11/2016, Russia has 20,000 emails stolen from her secret home server

🐣 RT @seanhannity [8/19/2016] .@newtgingrich: “Nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this [Trump] campaign to where it is right now.”
// Tweet link: https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/766819052656340993

⭕ 6 Aug 2018

CNN: President urged to stop tweeting on Trump Tower meeting http://cnn.it/2MndsuM

🐣 RT @tribelaw 52 USC 30121(a)(2) outlaws what POTUS has tweeted Don Jr did in soliciting campaign help from Russian nationals. 18 USC 371 makes all who agreed to this unlawful act guilty of a felony punishable by 5 years in prison if any conspirator did anything overt to further the plot. QED.

⭕ 5 Aug 2018

Reuters: China state media attacks Trump on trade in unusually harsh terms http://reut.rs/2nhb12a

Axios: Inside Russia’s invasion of the U.S. electric grid http://bit.ly/2ALq39P

WaPo: The Washington Post to publish book examining Russian interference in 2016 election http://wapo.st/2KwgUBA

TheHill: Schiff: There’s ‘plenty of evidence’ of collusion ‘in plain sight’ http://bit.ly/2LSNDqd

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Trump tweeted what?!? http://wapo.st/2OIsvRg

[It’s] worse than acknowledging to NBC’s Lester Holt that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey. It’s worse than his nonstop attempts to obstruct the prosecutors — who are investigating an obstruction-of-justice case. (You cannot make this stuff up.)

… Trump confirmed that the meeting with Russians was designed to obtain something valuable — previously undisclosed dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Trump fails to understand that the very meeting he is acknowledging is collusion — or conspiracy, if you will — to break campaign-finance laws. Insisting that it is legal to get dirt from a foreign national is politically and morally offensive (Trump was picked by the Kremlin) and contradicts his claim the Russians didn’t want him to win (another lie in the coverup). He knows they did — they had a meeting to help his campaign.

The email also suggests that Trump Jr. (allegedly with drafting help from his father) tried to conceal the true purpose of the meeting with a false cover story (it was all about adoption, you see.)

Trump’s insistence that the meeting was perfectly legal and perfectly normal is wrong on both counts. No presidential campaign has gone to a hostile foreign power for help in winning an election. It’s a invitation for a foreign power to help pick our elected leaders, a constitutional abomination and a repudiation of the very concept of democracy (i.e., we pick our own leaders).

Will the rest of the GOP go along with the position that it was perfectly fine for Russia to help Trump? That would sure be a change from “No collusion” (to “Collusion, so what?!”)

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Trump just made 2 problematic admissions about the Trump Tower meeting http://wapo.st/2M6uKiQ

Sunday’s tweet appears to acknowledge more explicitly than before that the meeting was indeed predicated on opposition research: “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent.” The initial denial — which, again, Trump himself dictated — is pretty irreconcilable with that.

[H]ere’s the thing: This is a tweet about how the Trump Tower meeting was totally fine — nothing illegal to see here. If you’ve got no real concern about legal exposure from the meeting, why distance yourself from it? Trump seems to be arguing against his own point by assuring us that he had nothing to do with this meeting, which — oh, by the way — was totally on the up-and-up.

🐣 So, if Trump goes down AND Pence goes down, we get … President Gym Jordan? Or President @NancyPelosi?
// re: John Harwood

🐣 I knew a woman when I worked in a psych half way house in college who had a poster of the film The Candidate in her room. Trouble is she really thought Redford was running for President. There are people out there who will take Trump just as literally.

🐣 RT @dtchimp An analysis of the sentiment of Trump’s Twitter feed over time corroborates that claim. Here’s a chart of daily counts of anger words in his tweets over the past several years, as of yesterday, with a line summarizing the trend over time (i.e., the smoothed conditional mean).
🐣 Tweets: https://twitter.com/dtchimp/status/1026119158747021314/photo/1
⋙🐣 Looks like it’s almost up to eleven

🐣 RT @ TheRickGates Shout out to my grandfather.
⋙ AtomicHeritage: August 6, 1945, 8:16:02 AM #Hiroshima time: Little Boy atomic bomb explodes over Hiroshima. Dr Michihiko Hachiya, survivor: “Nothing remained except a few buildings of reinforced concrete. For acres and acres the city was like a desert…” http://ow.ly/ikpm30lfSsL @BulletinAtomic
⋙⋙🐣 My mother’s first husband died on D-Day. She was 19. My father was on a Navy ship heading to Japan when the bomb was dropped, cutting the war short. My own existence is inextricably caught up with these two catastrophes. I honor these dates. @ManchuCandidate

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson It is, as they say, a distinction and a difference.
⋙ 💙💙 Steven_Strauss Steele was/is a private citizen of a NATO member who was contracted to provide info which he acquired legally. Hypothetical Russian help came from gov of hostile authoritarian kleptocracy, illegally obtained and delivered as part of illicit quid pro quo.
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @sarahcpr Need some help here – what is the difference between Trump getting dirt on Hillary from Russia and Hillary getting dirt on Trump from the UK/Steele Dossier?
⋙⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @NYT It’s illegal for a campaign to get such help from a foreign power. http://nyti.ms/2OI8LNE

WaPo: Trump acknowledges, defends 2016 meeting between son, Kremlin-aligned lawyer http://wapo.st/2Ktbpnn

NYT: President Admits Focus of Trump Tower Meeting Was Getting Dirt on Clinton http://nyti.ms/2ndvHrC

💙💙 NewYorker, Adam Davidson: The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia http://bit.ly/2nfeLRq
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Davidson Trump Admits 8-5-2018

The tweet contains several crucial pieces of information. First, it is a clear admission that Donald Trump, Jr.,’s original statement about the case was inaccurate enough to be considered a lie. He had said the meeting was with an unknown person who “might have information helpful to the campaign,” and that this person “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” This false statement was, according to his legal team, dictated by the President himself. There was good reason to mislead the American people about that meeting. Based on reporting—at the time and now—of the President’s admission, it was a conscious effort by the President’s son and two of his closest advisers to work with affiliates of the Russian government to obtain information that might sway the U.S. election in Trump’s favor. In short, it was, at minimum, a case of attempted collusion. The tweet indicates that Trump’s defense will continue to be that this attempt at collusion failed—“it went nowhere”—and that, even if it had succeeded, it would have been “totally legal and done all the time.”

It is unclear why, if the meeting was entirely proper, it was important for the President to declare “I did not know about it!” or to tell the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”

The President’s Sunday-morning tweet should be seen as a turning point. It doesn’t teach us anything new—most students of the case already understand what Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner knew about that Trump Tower meeting. But it ends any possibility of an alternative explanation. We can all move forward understanding that there is a clear fact pattern about which there is no dispute:

The President’s son and top advisers knowingly met with individuals connected to the Russian government, hoping to obtain dirt on their political opponent.
Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Clinton campaign were later used in an overt effort to sway the election.
When the Trump Tower meeting was uncovered, the President instructed his son and staff to lie about the meeting, and told them precisely which lies to use.
The President is attempting to end the investigation into this meeting and other instances of attempted collusion between his campaign staff and representatives of the Russian government.

It was possible, just days ago, to believe—with an abundance of generosity toward the President and his team—that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the Administration’s enemies. No longer.

The open questions are now far more narrow:

● Was this a case of successful or only attempted collusion?
● Is attempted collusion a crime?
● What legal and moral responsibilities did the President and his team have when they realized that the proposed collusion was underway when the D.N.C. e-mails were leaked and published?
● And, crucially, what did the President know before the election, after it, and when he instructed his son to lie?

Earlier on Sunday, Trump wrote another tweet, one that repeated a common refrain: journalists are the enemy of the people. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People,” it read. In a way, he did provide a great service. He allowed us to move away from a no-longer-relevant debate about whether or not he and his campaign had done anything wrong. Our nation can now focus on another question: What do we do when a President has openly admitted to attempted collusion, lying, and a coverup?

🐣 RT @brianklaas This tweet may turn out to be a major legal mistake; Trump helped dictate a false statement about this meeting—a lie claiming the meeting was supposed to be about adoptions. This tweet is further evidence that speaks to the question of whether he tried to deliberately cover it up
⋙ @real …

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin Your son, staff and possibly you solicited valuable campaign assistance from a hostile foreign power, something other campaigns of either party would never do, not only because it’s illegal but because it’s an obvious betrayal of the American people and our sovereignty.
⋙ @real …

🐣 RT @krassenstein Trump admitted that the Trump Tower meeting was a political meeting to get dirt on an opponent. ¤ In other words, it was a violation of 52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510 – Contributions and donations by foreign nationals. ¤ Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Don Jr. are all guilty!

WaPo: Trump acknowledges, defends 2016 meeting between son, Kremlin-aligned lawyer http://wapo.st/2MlQnZw

🔥TheHill: Trump confirms Trump Tower meeting was to seek dirt on Hillary Clinton http://hill.cm/sYoehSE 
Trump’s tweet: https://twitter.com/thehill/status/1026125955805405189/photo/1

⭕ 4 Aug 2018

WaPo Editorial: Trump isn’t taking the Russia threat seriously. But lawmakers can show they are. http://wapo.st/2Kz2EIl

🐣 RT @sethabramson Yesterday’s breaking news on J.D Gordon’s ties to Russian spy Maria Butina has been grievously *undersold* by the media—largely because it failed to do the preparatory work of making sure Americans knew how key Gordon was to the Trump campaign. This was and is a *big* news story.
↥ ↧
Wikipedia:
Jeffrey D. “J.D.” Gordon is an American communications and foreign policy advisor, who served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005–2009. Gordon is a retired United States Navy officer who has served as a senior advisor to Republican political figures and at conservative Washington, DC-based think tanks. Gordon is also a contributing columnist to Fox News, The Daily Caller, The Hill, The Washington Times and other media outlets. Gordon founded Protect America Today, a national security-themed Super PAC in February 2012.

Previously, he served as a spokesman for the Navy and Department of Defense, retiring as a Commander.[1][2] He managed communications and press relations in a wide variety of locations over a 20-year career, including posts in Europe, Latin America and Asia. His final assignment in the military was at the Pentagon, serving under Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates. In March 2016, he joined the Trump campaign as the Director of National Security, managing the National Security Advisory Committee under its chairman, Senator Jeff Sessions (R. – Ala.). …

In July 2016, Gordon successfully advocated with elected delegates to defeat a proposed amendment to the Republican National Committee’s policy platform just prior to its 2016 Convention in Cleveland, softening one 82-year old delegate’s position on Russian aggression in Ukraine. The proposed amendment to the draft GOP Platform had originally included advocacy for providing “lethal defensive weapons” to the government of Ukraine. [18]

After the election, media outlets reported that Gordon had encountered Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, the week after the platform amendment controversy while serving as a guest speaker to over 50 Ambassadors to the United States during the GOP National Convention as part of the U.S. State Dept’s Global Partners in Diplomacy Program (GPD). Previously, the campaign had denied any contacts with Russian diplomats. Gordon later said of his advice to soften the delegate’s proposed amendment on Ukraine that “this was the language Donald Trump himself wanted,” though he denied that Trump had been aware of the “details.”[18][19]. In August 2018 the Washington Post reported that Gordon had socialized with Mariia Butina in the weeks before the 2016 Presidential Election. In July 2018, Butina was arrested and charged for failing to register with the Dept. of Justice for her pro-Russia activities, presenting herself for years as a Russian gun rights advocate and graduate student at American University.[20]

Politico: Judge’s ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to ‘dark money’ groups http://politi.co/2OG6d2N

ForeignAffairs, Bob Knake (7/19): The Next Cyber Battleground http://fam.ag/2NwoApx
Text: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1025790440702918657/photo/1
// 7/19/2018, Defending the U.S. Power Grid From Russian Hackers

We know what Russia is capable of because we can see what it’s done elsewhere. A staff report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found evidence that ahead of 2016, Russia had attempted to manipulate elections in 18 other countries. Now intelligence agencies and security companies have connected Russian hackers to the shutdown of a German steel mill, the cutting off of phone and Internet service to some 900,000 Germans, and most ominously, two disruptions of the power grid in Ukraine. The right takeaway from Russian interference in 2016 is not just that Washington needs to protect American elections; it’s also that what Russia does in cyberspace in its near abroad should be a warning about what can be done in the United States.

⭕ 3 Aug 2018

━━━━━━━▼ NRA Russia Maria Butina

RollingStone,Tim Dickinson (8/3): The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’ http://rol.st/2vgeSAO
// 8/3/2028, A new legal filing by the powerful gun group against the state of New York paints a grim picture

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (7/25): Making Sense of Maria Butina’s Curious Blog Posts About the NRA http://rol.st/2vzFI6m
// 7/25/2018, The accused Russian agent criticized the group’s lack of diversity and organizational structure in 2014, and also mused about the American tradition of brunch

RollingStone, Jamil Smith (7/20): The NRA Is Awfully Quiet About Maria Butina http://rol.st/2n6MKvA
// 7/20/2018, Why won’t the NRA comment on the arrest of the gun rights activist and accused Russian agent?

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (7/18): An Accused Russian Agent With NRA Ties Is Hit With Salacious New Court Filings http://rol.st/2OHkwUM
// 7/18/2018, The documents claim that NRA infiltrator Maria Butina allegedly communicated with Russian intelligence and was in a “personal relationship” with a GOP operative

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (7/16): Central Figure in the NRA-Russia Scandal Arrested for Acting as a Foreign Agent http://rol.st/2O4kFjK
// 7/16/2018, Maria Butina has been charged with conspiracy to infiltrate the gun rights group to further Russian interests

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (5/18): The NRA’s Russia Connection Is Now Under a Congressional Microscope http://rol.st/2n94nL6
// 5/16/2018, A new report from the Senate Judiciary Committee points to a number of red flags

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (4/27): Was Jeff Sessions Aware of a Proposed Trump-Putin Back Channel? http://rol.st/2naypOP
// 4/27/2018 New details from the House Intelligence Committee suggest the attorney general was privy to a critical episode of the NRA-Russia scandal

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (4/6): A Key Russian Figure with Connections to Trump and the NRA Faces Sanctions http://rol.st/2OJ2qS3
// 4/6/2018, Alexander Torshin is also reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (4/2): Inside the Decade-Long Russian Campaign to Infiltrate the NRA and Help Elect Trump http://rol.st/2LqWkEa
// Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia worked the National Rifle Association

RollingStone, Tim Dickinson (1/18/2018): The Trump-Russia-NRA Connection: Here’s What You Need to Know http://rol.st/2LRjI1B
// 1/18 2018, Did the Kremlin funnel payments to help Trump’s campaign through the National Rifle Association?
━━━━━━━▲

🐣 RT @JillWineBanks There is one reason to get 45 on the record under oath: so that #Mueller’s #Russiagate report can rebut his “defense” in the report rather than in rebuttal after it is released and attacked by Trump and his sychophants in Congress.

Politico: ‘Be brave’: Russian firm urges judge to nix Mueller indictment http://politi.co/2vC3Yoa

Bloomberg: Trump Fury Over Mueller ‘Conflicts’ Goes Back to Oval Office Meeting http://bloom.bg/2ve0Xvd

MotherJones, David Corn (Oct 2016): A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2natNIe
// 10/31/2016, Has the bureau investigated this material?

🐣 RT @brianklaas Every time that democracies erode and lurch toward authoritarianism, the politicization of rule of law is an essential precursor to it. Wannabe despots understand that, as rule of law constrains them. Politicization has already happened in Trump’s America (via Pew Research).
◕ Views of FBI: https://twitter.com/brianklaas/status/1025505566972682240/photo/1

Vox, David Roberts: Donald Trump and the rise of tribal epistemology http://bit.ly/2LSDUQE
// 5/19/2017, Journalism cannot be neutral toward a threat to the conditions that make it possible.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: Vox Roberts Tribal Epist 5-19-2017

TheGuardian: ‘Enemy of the people’: Trump’s phrase and its echoes of totalitarianism http://bit.ly/2OKr98S
// The phrase the president has repeatedly said in his attacks on the media was used by dictators including Stalin and Mao

TheNewRepublic, Craig Unger: Trump’s Russian Laundromat http://bit.ly/2vHEEvA
// 7/13/2018, How to use Trump Tower and other luxury high-rises to clean dirty money, run an international crime syndicate, and propel a failed real estate developer into the White House.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: TNR Unger Trump Laundromat 7-13-2018

🐣 RT @Hell_HasCome 4-Star General Barry McCaffrey: “The president is starting to wobble in his emotional stability & this is not going to end well. Trump’s judgment is fundamentally flawed…& the more isolated he becomes, his ability to do harm is going to increase”

🐣 RT @JoshRogin Oh look, Putin is violating UN sanctions on North Korea, undermining Trump’s diplomatic effort. http://on.wsj.com/2O8Kf7f

🐣 RT @tribelaw At his two latest rallies, Trump has been even more incoherent, unhinged, self-absorbed, rambling, demagogic & demented than usual. That’s saying a lot. And, given the power he wields — and fails to wield against the cyberwar Putin is waging against us — this is really dangerous

🐣 RT @profcarroll Excellent summary. I would add one thing. Jurisdictions must cooperate to plug loopholes about where data gets processed for electioneering. Campaigns shouldn’t be able to evade privacy and campaign laws while complicating accountability by processing voter data internationally.
⋙ 🐣 RT @justinhendrix Two years after Brexit and the US election, lawmakers in Britain and the United States are heading toward similar conclusions on what to do about the problems at the intersection of technology, media and democracy- my latest for @just_security
⋙ ⋙ JustSecurity: Lawmakers in UK and US Propose Sweeping Changes to Tech Policies to Combat Misinformation http://bit.ly/2Mgfqx2
// US Senator’s white paper and UK Parliamentary interim report point toward an emerging consensus

🐣 RT @DeadlineWH “This afternoon in the White House briefing room an extraordinary sight… a five person janitorial crew carrying their mops and brooms trying to clean up the lingering toxic spill that was Donald Trump’s disastrous news conference in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin” – @jheil
💽 https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1025112136962514944/photo/1

Bloomberg: Trump Fury Over Mueller ‘Conflicts’ Dates to Oval Office Meeting http://bloom.bg/2ve0Xvd //➔ But his golf fees!

AP: Trump trashes media as ‘fake, fake disgusting news’ at rally http://bit.ly/2LOWx8g
// by Jonathan Lemire

NewYorker, Susan Glasser: It’s True: Trump Is Lying More, and He’s Doing It on Purpose. http://bit.ly/2ADnmHj
⋙ See under Entire Articles: Nykr Glasser Trump Lies 8–3-2018

Buzzfeed: What Did We Learn From That White House Briefing On Election Security? That No One’s In Charge. http://bit.ly/2AK34w2
// The heads of all the government agencies with election security responsibilities appeared at a White House briefing Thursday, but no one said they were in charge
⋙ 🐣 We learned that the intel community is banding together, in defiance of Trump, and doing its duty to defend America from foreign election interference. Leadership would be nice, but this is the next best thing. At the same time, Senators intro’d tough new sanctions bill.

⭕ 2 Aug 2018

LawfareBlog, Bob Bauer: Trump’s Preposterous ‘Collusion is Not a Crime’ Defense http://bit.ly/2MeQcyV
// What Real Lawyers—If Asked—Would Have Advised His Campaign About the Trump Tower Meeting

NBC: Hours after White House warns of new election meddling, Trump again points to ‘Russian hoax’ http://nbcnews.to/2LOGkQk
// Earlier Thursday, several of Trump’s top lieutenants took to the White House briefing room to warn of the latest threat.

ThinkProgress, Casey Mitchel: Russian journalist explains the role of the Panama Papers in Russia’s interference operations http://bit.ly/2O8yduy
// Andrei Soldatov takes ThinkProgress through the role the financial leak played in propelling Russian interference efforts.

Writing in a new edition of The Red Web: The Kremlin’s Wars on The Internet, which he co-authored with Irina Borogan, Soldatov took readers through the Kremlin’s reactions to the 2016 Panama Papers revelations, which unveiled the international clients who looked to the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca firm to coordinate a series of offshore companies.

Soldatov: “In my view, the Panama Papers provoked the Kremlin to think that Hillary was striking his personal friends, and now he needed to strike her back, and they should do that very visibly.

“So I think it was this very triggering moment — that ‘We should teach them a lesson.’ Nobody actually believed in the idea that you can elect Trump. That wasn’t in the cards, and nobody actually predicted that. What they wanted to do was, very visibly, to show that they could make the next American president very weak. …

“[I]f you’re a journalist in Moscow writing about the Kremlin, that if you touch Putin’s immediate family — his daughters, for instance — that’s crossing the line. If you touch his very personal friends, not just associates, that’s also crossing the line, and you can see some consequences. And that’s what happened with the Panama Papers.”

🐣 RT @BillKristol This ad from @ForTheRuleOfLaw will air on @foxandfriends in D.C. Friday morning. We trust the president will learn from it.
💽 https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/1025190523458543616/photo/1

🐣 RT @tribelaw The good news — as @selectedwisdom says — is that these US institutions are at long last circumventing the Commander in Chief. The bad news is that they have to move around the White House if they’re to protect our republic from its most dangerous foreign adversaries.
⋙ 🐣 RT @selectedwisdom FBI Director Wray demonstrates today that US institutions, with regards to Russia election interference, have moved around the White House to fulfill their obligations to the American people. President Trump has weakened defenses against foreign interference via neglect.

ABAJournal: Deputy Attorney General Rod #Rosenstein receives a rock-star welcome with multiple standing ovations from a standing room-only crowd during the opening forum at the #ABAAnnual Meeting in #Chicago. http://ow.ly/dbXd30lfkq3  via @ABAJournal.

🐣 RT @TheOnion Giuliani Insists Breaking The Law Not A Crime https://trib.al/6vMNHHC
https://twitter.com/TheOnion/status/1024030741917851648/photo/1
// 7/30/2018, satire

DefenseOne, Patrick Tucker (7/24/2016): How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President http://bit.ly//2vfpHmF //➔ Check the date; these people were not fooled

Fortune: Edward Snowden Is Not Down With WikiLeaks’ Methods http://for.tn/2mBXjId
// 7/29/2016

ABCNews (2016): The 4 Most Damaging Emails From the DNC WikiLeaks Dump http://abcn.ws/2LWcadj //➔ 20,000 emails(!) and all they could find were things like Bernie wasn’t a Dem and his campaign was “disorganized”
// 7/25/2016, and “disorganized” item was squashed; also: let ppl know Bernie Jewish and some tussling

🐣 Wikileaks planted Seth Rich conspiracy and offered a reward for information, knowing full well the real source was Russia:
⋙ 🐣 RT @Wikileaks Our original and only statement on the murder of US Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. #DNCLeak
https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/763565863861616640/photo/1
// 8/10/2016

VanityFair, Gabriel Sherman: “The Manafort Trial Is Spinning Him into a Frenzy”: Inside the White House, Trump Is Going Crazy—Threatening to Fire Rosenstein and Talking About a Timeline to End the Mueller Probe http://bit.ly/2v9DHhW

In the Trump West Wing, new external pressure inevitably brings the buildup of internal heat, followed by its release, often most visibly in a series of tweets. The start of Paul Manafort’s federal trial this week has triggered Trump’s hottest blast yet, and has renewed the possibility that Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Donald Trump tweeted yesterday. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

Whether it’s confidence, bluster, or delusion, Trump is venting to advisers both inside and outside the White House that the Manafort trial proves Mueller has nothing on him and his family, because Manafort’s trial doesn’t involve Russia or the 2016 campaign. “The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

RawStory, Chris Sosa: ‘He spoke gibberish’: Omarosa reveals Trump’s ‘mental decline’ was so obvious it ‘could not be denied’ http://bit.ly/2O3Rc9K

Press Release: Senators Graham, Menendez, Gardner, Cardin, McCain & Shaheen Introduce Hard-Hitting Russia Sanctions Package http://bit.ly/2O5LFPQ //➔ THIS looks like a foreign policy. Well-stated. The Trump admin doesn’t do policy. It does propaganda.
// the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018, comprehensive legislation that would increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Vladimir Putin’s continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression across Eastern Europe, and other destabilizing activities.
⋙ 🐣 .@LindseyGrahamSC @SenatorMenendez @SenCoryGardner @SenatorCardin @SenJohnMcCain @SenatorShaheen The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018 is powerful statement of policy that will reassure Americans and our allies. http://bit.ly/2O5LFPQ
Key elements of the legislation include:
● A strong statement of support for NATO and a requirement for two-thirds of the United States Senate to vote to leave NATO
● Provisions expediting the transfer of excess defense articles to NATO countries to reduce some NATO countries’ dependence on Russian military equipment.
● The establishment of an Office of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the Department of State. This office will lead diplomatic efforts relating to international cybersecurity, Internet access, Internet freedom, the digital economy, cybercrime, deterrence and responses to cyber threats.
● Provisions aimed to pressure the Russian government to halt its obstruction of international efforts to investigate chemical weapons attacks as well as punish the Russian government for chemical weapons production and use.
● Making interfering in our elections a ground of inadmissibility under immigration law
● The International Cybercrime Prevention Act which would give prosecutors the ability to shut down botnets and other digital infrastructure that can be used for a wide range of illegal activity; create a new criminal violation for individuals who have knowingly targeted critical infrastructure, including dams, power plants, hospitals, and election infrastructure; and prohibit cybercriminals from selling access to botnets to carry out cyber-attacks
● The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act which would allow the Department of Justice to pursue federal charges for the hacking of any voting system that is used in a federal election
● New sanctions on political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin
● Sanction on transactions related to investment in energy projects supported by Russia state-owned or parastatal entities
● A prohibition on and sanctions with respect to transactions relating to new sovereign debt of the Russian Federation
● Sectoral sanctions on any person in the Russian Federation that has the capacity or ability to support or facilitate malicious cyber activities
● A requirement for the Secretary of State to submit a determination of whether the Russian Federation meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
● A prohibition on licenses for United States persons to engage in activities relating to certain projects to produce oil in the Russian Federation
● A requirement for domestic title insurance companies to report information on the beneficial owners of entities that purchase residential real estate in high-value transactions
● An extension on the cap of Russian uranium imports
Reinforcement for the State Department Office of Sanctions Coordination
● A report on the net worth and assets of Vladimir Putin
● The creation of a National Fusion Center to Respond to Hybrid Threats. The aim of this center is to better prepare and respond to Russian disinformation and other emerging threats emanating from the Russian Federation.
● A reauthorization of the Countering Russia Influence Fund

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom FBI Director Wray demonstrates today that US institutions, with regards to Russia election interference, have moved around the White House to fulfill their obligations to the American people. President Trump has weakened defenses against foreign interference via neglect.

🐣 RT @PhilipRucker As FBI, DNI, DHS & Pentagon announce that Russia is attempting to interfere in US midterm elections, as long warned, recall 2.5 weeks ago Trump stood next to Putin, refused to confront him and called his denial of 2016 interference strong and powerful.

NYRB, Michael Weiss: What Russia Understands about Trump http://bit.ly/2n6rg1Z

TheHill: Mueller wants to interview Russian pop star who helped set up Trump Tower meeting: report http://bit.ly/2vtZAaR //➔ he should just watch the music video! Got Me Good (Official Video) https://youtu.be/8cs4tKdiiI4 

🐣 Sarah Huckabee Sanders refuses to say the press is not “enemy of the people,” adding that the president has made his thoughts clear.

NYT: The Russian Threat ‘Is Real,’ Trump Officials Say, Vowing to Protect U.S. Elections http://nyti.ms/2O7jL6d

CNBC/Reuters (30 mins ago): U.S. senators introduce bill with new Russia sanctions http://cnb.cx/2O5tycO ⋙ Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez

CNN: Senators: Trump ‘not paying attention’ to Russian threats in 2018 http://cnn.it/2Me3OdZ

🐣 Where is Congress? #electionsecurity

🐣 It does make me feel better to see Wray and Coates speaking like leaders. We need a few. Nielsen will need to fix the family separation problem before I will have a positive thing to say about her.

🐣 My guess: The IC pretty much insisted the prez let them go forward on cyber-security. The fact he left mtg after only 30mins last Friday and his reluctance to call out Russia show Trump could care less – or worse.

◕ WaPo, Christopher Ingraham: The Trump administration: What’s normal, what’s not and what matters http://wapo.st/2OEWzxd by Bright Line Watch, a group of political scientists who “monitor democratic practices, their resilience and potential threats” in the Trump era.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1025064565669879808/photo/1

TheAtlantic, David Frum: Collusion Is Worse Than a Crime http://bit.ly/2ve2a5z
// To debate whether Trump acted criminally is to miss the greater point: He’s a national-security threat.

PolitiFact: Fact-checking Fox News analyst’s pro-Trump book ‘The Russia Hoax’ http://bit.ly/2O5q2zb Claims checked: False, False, Half-True, False

“Active Measures” Documentary https://activemeasures.com
// In Theaters and On Digital Platforms August 31, 2018

⭕ 1 Aug 2018

WaPo, Max Boot: The president is flouting the law in plain sight http://wapo.st/2AEjqpG

NYT, Seth Hettena: Another Gift for a Putin Buddy http://nyti.ms/2Ox3ngt

This week, the Trump administration further eased its pressure on Rusal, Russia’s largest aluminum company, less than four months after sanctions on it and its notorious leader were imposed. Even as the White House seems willing to inflict pain on American farmers and consumers with its trade wars, Russian aluminum workers are apparently worthy of special protection.

Rusal is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, a member of Mr. Putin’s inner circle. As the Treasury Department acknowledges, he has been investigated for money laundering and accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official and taking part in extortion and racketeering. There are also allegations, made public by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, that Mr. Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman and had links to a Russian organized crime group. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, then Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, tried to offer Mr. Deripaska private briefings about the campaign. On Tuesday, Mr. Manafort went on trial on charges of bank and tax fraud not directly related to the campaign.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he is considering lifting the sanctions altogether because they are punishing the “hardworking people of Rusal.” But Mr. Mnuchin has it backward. If he was truly concerned about Rusal’s 61,000 employees, he would not relent until the company fully washed its hands of Mr. Deripaska and the corrupt regime the aluminum giant serves.

Behind Mr. Deripaska’s estimated fortune of as much as $5.3 billion, there stands a great crime. During the “aluminum wars” of the 1990s, when that economic sector was consolidating in the chaotic privatization that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the young metals trader was suspected of ties to gangsters as he seized control of huge Siberian smelters. According to testimony by a gang member in Stuttgart, Germany, part of Mr. Deripaska’s value to the group were his links to Russia’s security services. While his rivals were killed off or fled Russia, Mr. Deripaska somehow emerged as the director general of Rusal, a company that reported revenues last year of nearly $10 billion. But suspicions that the oligarch has had links to organized crime have denied him a visa to enter the United States.

Mr. Deripaska is little more than a trustee for his aluminum concern. In Russia, oligarchs like him owe their wealth and status to the Kremlin. In return, they must do its bidding, which in Mr. Deripaska’s case meant spending more than $1 billion, through his holding company, on new infrastructure for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Mr. Deripaska has embraced his role, stating that he does not separate himself from the Russian state. In line with that conceit, a memo obtained by The Associated Press showed that Mr. Manafort tried to pitch him a plan for an influence campaign to “greatly benefit the Putin government.”

Almost immediately, however, the Treasury Department eased the pressure on Rusal. Deadlines were extended more than once. In May, Lord Gregory Barker of Battle, the chairman of Mr. Deripaska’s holding company, hired a $108,500-a-month lobbyist to continue to negotiate with the Treasury Department. The firm he chose, Mercury Public Affairs, is the firm Mr. Manafort paid $1.1 million to lobby members of Congress on behalf of Ukraine and its then-president, Viktor Yanukovych before 2014.

The specter of a fellow traveler with gangsters dictating terms to the United States government is yet another sign of the Trump administration’s inexplicable capitulation to Russia. And the timing of this latest surrender follows the July 16 summit in Helsinki, at which President Trump and President Putin met privately for more than two hours.

NYT Editorial: Russia Attacks America’s Election System. Trump Shrugs. http://nyti.ms/2v88Im2
// The midterms are approaching, and the president has yet to get serious about protecting the nation’s electoral system from cyberinvasion.

WaPo, EJ Dionne: Trump is working with the trolls http://wapo.st/2vvvRyt

WaPo: Trump calls Manafort prosecution ‘a hoax,’ says Sessions should stop Mueller investigation ‘right now’ http://wapo.st/2Azlwaf

WaPo: As midterm elections approach, a growing concern that the nation is not protected from Russian interference http://wapo.st/2n5f5Cz

WaPo, Ruth Marcus: Future generations will feel only contempt http://wapo.st/2McKYEb

🐣 RT @EricHolder Adherence to the rule of law and accepted norms are principal reasons why this nation is exceptional. Trump telling Sessions to end an inquiry where he is, at least, a “subject” challenges all of that. Be warned: We cannot assume that, without defense, our system will endure.

🐣 RT @SenatorBurr Foreign influence ops using social media -& our own rights & freedoms- to weaken us from within represents an intolerable assault on the democratic foundation this republic was built on. We cannot afford ineffective half-measures, let alone doing nothing. http://bit.ly/2NXGnpy

ABCNews: Special counsel Mueller wants to ask Trump about obstruction of justice: Sources http://abcn.ws/2OBHqwx

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom [Clint Watts] SSCI social media hearing: There are more than Internet Research Agency (IRA) social media accounts – some Russia accounts are influence oriented (IRA), some are intelligence oriented (GRU) – they pursue different objectives in pursuit of shared goals in a defined strategy

TPM, Josh Marshall: Something Big Is Happening in The Background http://bit.ly/2KjgJK1 “I think we should be prepared for the President to fire Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein”

NYT: Trump Tells Sessions to ‘Stop This Rigged Witch Hunt Right Now’ http://nyti.ms/2AuzZVd

TheProgressive, Bill Lueders: ‘Not Good for a Democracy’ ~ Interview with James Clapper http://bit.ly/2M98FND
// Interview: James Clapper, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under George H. W. Bush and Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama speaks out against the current President.

🐣 Can el presidente declare war by tweet? Asking for a country.
⋙ 🐣 RT @chrisgeidner This conflicts with the Justice Department’s position on Trump’s tweets, as well as Trump’s position on Trump’s tweets.
⋙ ⋙ 🐣 RT @CarolLoennig NEW: Trump lawyers tell me his tweets this morning are simply “his opinions” and not evidence of an ongoing effort to obstruct the Russia probe. @RudyGiuliani and @JaySekulow call in to explain @realDonaldTrump well-established practice

WaPo Factchecker (Feb): Did Hillary Clinton collude with the Russians to get ‘dirt’ on Trump to feed it to the FBI? http://wapo.st/2LO122f FOUR👺👺👺👺PINOCCHIOS
// 2/9/2018

WSJ: Trump Presses Sessions to End Russia Investigation http://on.wsj.com/2LIDCfs
// President renews public pressure to halt probe; ‘stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now’

🐣 RT @SecyNielsen #ICYMI my quote from yesterday’s first ever #DHSCyberSummit:
“Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right. It was the Russians. We know that, they know that. It was directed from the highest levels. And we cannot and will not allow it to happen again.
⋙ 🐣 Is this what the meeting on cyber-security with Trump last Friday was about? – the meeting he left after 30mins? To indicate that you, the VP and others were going to go ahead against Russian interference? If so, good for you; better late than never (I guess).

DCExaminer: McCain, Cardin seek to shield Magnitsky sanctions from Trump http://washex.am/2OAzmwk

🐣 RT @angryWHstaffer The dam is breaking. The biggest political scandal in American history is about to reach a boiling point. Trump is working himself and his base into a frenzy, but he can’t stop the news that’s coming. It’s going to get ugly, folks.

SenateIntelCommittee, Laura Rosenberger: Foreign Influence Operations and their use of Social Media Platforms http://bit.ly/2MbOCOj
// witness to Committee from German Marshall Fund

Today, nearly two years after the alarm bells first began sounding about this activity, imagination is no longer required to understand this threat. Thanks in part to the bipartisan work of this Committee, we now know that social media and online information platforms have provided a powerful means for the Russian government to interfere in our democracy. But despite acknowledging and discussing this issue, meaningful efforts to close off these vulnerabilities by both government and the private sector remain woefully lacking. And I worry that even as we focus on the past, we are missing what still is happening at this very moment, and what will certainly happen again. What may have once been a failure to imagine is now a failure to act with the urgency and measures required to meet this threat to our democracy.

⭕ 31 Jul 2018

ComputerWeekly (7/31): Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links http://bit.ly/2NZnQcw
// A British IT manager and former hacker from Darlington ran a disinformation campaign that duped former US intelligence agents and provided Donald Trump with manufactured “evidence” to deny that Russia interfered with the US election
🐣 ComputerWeekly (7/31): Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links http://bit.ly/2NZnQcw  //➔ VERY technical (and long) but describes how Seth Rich was framed by the GRU and a British hacker
⋙ See under Entire Articles: CW UK Hacked Seth Rich 7-31-2018
⇈ ⇊
To: Walter, Max, Greg, Fred

This article is 18! pages long and highly technical.

ComputerWeekly (7/31): Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links http://bit.ly/2NZnQcw
// 7/31/2018, A British IT manager and former hacker from Darlington ran a disinformation campaign that duped former US intelligence agents and provided Donald Trump with manufactured “evidence” to deny that Russia interfered with the US election

Here’s the salient section:

The GRU team had three weeks to decide what to say and do in London, after getting the conference invite. They played up a theory which had started to circulate in obscure conspiracy-focused chat-rooms on 4chan and Reddit, placing blame on Seth Rich, a then recently murdered DNC employee, for the DNC leaks.

Two bullets in the back had taken the life of 27-year-old DNC researcher Rich, as he walked home from work late at night in Washington. The date, significant to how his death was later exploited, was 10 July 2016. Six weeks later, in a private message exchange with Guccifer 2.0 published by a US actress, the pretend hacker referred to Rich’s death and claimed, “His name is Seth, he was my whistleblower”.

Rich’s bereaved parents have repeatedly pleaded for the torrent of conspiracy claims about their dead son to come to an end. “Anyone who claims to have such evidence is either concealing it from us or lying,” his father Joel said, adding: “They have a transparent political agenda or are a sociopath.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also planted a public pointer to Rich, after Guccifer 2.0 claimed to have provided the stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks – a claim also shown to be accurate, according to evidence described in the latest US indictment. On 9 August 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted a $20,000 reward offer for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer. WikiLeaks had previously offered rewards for leaks, but never, before or since, used the tactic to point to a possible confidential source. WikiLeaks attempted to backtrack the next day.
Forensic analysis of the files prepared for the conference suggests that the GRU team then hoped to exploit the London conference opportunity by framing Rich.

[⇈ At this time, Assange knew perfectly well the hacked data came from the Russians – Pat]

By early September 2016, Guccifer 2.0’s operators had 2,280 stolen DNC files ready to publish at the conference. None of the files concerned Rich or his work. File internal data analysis shows that they were all stale, deadwood information, and of no relevance in 2016. All had been completed and closed before the previous presidential election in 2012.

Using a combination of copying and compression techniques, the “last modified” timestamps of all but 12 of the aged files was changed to 5 July 2016, just five days before Rich was killed and 17 days before WikiLeaks published its first share of the DNC hacks. While this was done, the computer in use for copying had its clock set to Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), the zone covering Washington DC and the eastern US seaboard.

‼️ PoliticalWire, Taegan Goddard: Mueller Has Evidence Trump Obstructed Justice http://bit.ly/2v6Curx //➔ this is from an articles from NYBooks http://bit.ly/2KbFFTn, but they have a paywall ~ so here is main quote:
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1024467078177320960/photo/1

Murray Waas: “Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides — provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice.”

“Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work, would then decide on turning over that report to Congress for the House of Representatives to consider whether to instigate impeachment proceedings.”

“I have learned that a confidential White House memorandum, which is in the special counsel’s possession, explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides—his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn—that Flynn was under criminal investigation.”

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Told American CEO: Send Cash to Moscow http://thebea.st/2M4LJ1L
// ‘It’s more evidence that she had a broader agenda, she was doing other work for the Kremlin,’ one observer tells The Daily Beast.

Spectator: Has mom been tested for STDs?’ The Manaforts’ home life and why it matters http://bit.ly/2OzuEyW
// “Tolstoy wrote one of literature’s most famous opening lines, in Anna Karenina: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’.” Forced group sex, murder in Ukraine, “blood money”; Hacked text messages containing several damaging stories about the former campaign manager can now be viewed by anyone with an Internet connection.

There are different versions of how and when Manafort and Trump first met, but it is a matter of record that Manafort went into business with Trump’s adviser Roger Stone in 1980. Stone, Trump, and Trump’s lawyer Roy Cohn were then fixtures on the bacchanalian Manhattan party scene. Trump spoke about a visit to the notorious nightclub Studio 54. “I would watch well-known supermodels getting screwed on a bench in the middle of the room. There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy.”  Stone would later be fired from a job working on Bob Dole’s presidential campaign after he – Stone – advertised in a magazine called Local Swing Fever for “exceptional, muscular single men” to have sex with his wife. This foreshadowed Manafort’s own troubles and the stories, none proven, of Trump presiding over strange orgies at Mar-a-Lago or in a Moscow hotel room.

This is why some intelligence sources believe that Manafort was deliberately put into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin (taking an unpaid post).  It is no coincidence, the sources say, that in a later indictment drawn up by Mueller Manafort is jointly charged with his former translator and business partner in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik was once an officer in Russia’s military intelligence service, known as the GRU. Trump’s former business partner, Felix Sater, told a Congressional committee: “No such thing as a former Russian spy.”

The texts may be testimony to the banal truth that everyone saves their worst behaviour for those closest to them. As Hegel once said of Napoleon: “No man is a hero to his valet” – or to his daughters after forcing their mother into deviant sex games. If Manafort had never run Trump’s campaign, perhaps his daughter’s iPhone would never have been hacked. Perhaps the FBI would not have tried to take his fortune away. He must wish he had never met Donald Trump.

WaPo: Pence condemns Russian meddling, an issue that has vexed Trump http://wapo.st/2n0WuYk “vexed?”

🐣 RT @DeadlineWH “When Paul Manafort came to the Trump campaign, he was broke and scrambling for cash to fund his lavish lifestyle and deeply in debt to some Russian oligarchs. That makes him a ripe target for Russian intelligence recruitment.” – @KenDilanianNBC w/ @NicolleDWallace
💽 https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1024425480378888192/photo/1

Reuters, David Eckels Wade: Commentary: Manafort’s trial is about Putin, not tax evasion http://reut.rs/2KgJRRX

🐣 RT @MalcolmNance WARNING: Ignore nay sayers. The #facebook plot was likely basic ground work on a broad campaign to sew racial division in the minds of Trump voters by creating fake violent “left” extremist movements -a Viral Vector that will poison the system of not confronted. #SaveDemocracy

◕ TheHill: Poll: Some Republicans find Russian help in midterms ‘appropriate’ http://bit.ly/2LHcugQ 11% “appropriate”; 29% “inappropriate but wouldn’t be a big deal”

CNN: Exclusive: Mueller refers foreign agent inquiries to New York prosecutors http://cnn.it/2n0Ek96

BusinessInsider: 3 Russian journalists shooting a documentary on Russian mercenaries were reportedly just killed in the Central African Republic http://read.bi/2LCJsyR

JustSecurity, Katherine Cheasty Kornman: The Trial of Paul Manafort: What to Expect http://bit.ly/2M6PYtT
// “Trials are designed to resolve factual disputes”

🐣 RT @ForeignPolicy In @realDonaldTrump, we could be witnessing a tectonic shift in international relations, with the U.S. voluntarily relinquishing its role as the custodian of world order and a return to 19th-century-style nationalism and competition.
⋙ ForeignPolicy: Trump Wants to Destroy the World Order. So What? http://bit.ly/2mYr0lt
// 7/26/2018, Whatever the U.S. president’s intentions, his efforts to rock the foundation of international politics are hopeless.

🐣 RT @matthewamiller Ton of news on the obstruction probe in this story, including a look at WH documents showing Trump knew both that Flynn was under investigation when he asked Comey to back off and that he had lied to the FBI. Both contradict what Trump lawyers have said.
⋙ NYRB, Murray Waas: Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump Knew and When He Knew It http://bit.ly/2KbFFTn

I have learned that a confidential White House memorandum, which is in the special counsel’s possession, explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides—his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn—that Flynn was under criminal investigation. This memo, the existence of which I first disclosed in December in Foreign Policy, was, as one source described it to me, “a timeline of events [in the White House] leading up to Flynn’s resignation.” It was dated February 15, 2017, and was prepared by McGahn two days after Flynn’s forced resignation and one day after Trump’s meeting with Comey.

The memo’s own statement that Trump was indeed told that Flynn was under FBI investigation was, in turn, based in part on contemporaneous notes written by Reince Priebus after discussing the matter with the president, as well as McGahn’s recollections to his staff about what he personally had told Trump, according to other records I was able to review. Moreover, people familiar with the matter have told me that both Priebus and McGahn have confirmed in separate interviews with the special counsel that they had told Trump that Flynn was under investigation by the FBI before he met with Comey. …

Two days later [[on Jan 26, after Flynn talked to the FBI]], Acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with White House counsel Don McGahn. One of the things they discussed was the FBI’s interview of Flynn. The McGahn timeline memorialized what McGahn says Yates told him about Flynn’s FBI interview thus:

Yates… indicated [that] on January 24, 2017, FBI agents had questioned Flynn about his contacts with Kislyak. Yates claimed that Flynn’s statements to the FBI were similar to those she understood he had [already] made to… the Vice President.  

Later that same day, McGahn briefed the president about what he had learned from Yates, according to confidential White House records and interviews. McGahn apparently made no contemporaneous notes of what he told the president. Reince Priebus was also present for this briefing, according to the same records. The McGahn timeline demonstrates that President Trump was clearly informed during that meeting that Flynn was under criminal investigation by the FBI.

… McGahn also relayed to President Trump that Flynn had told the FBI the same false story he’d earlier told Pence (that Flynn had never spoken to Kislyak about sanctions). Because Trump and McGahn knew of Flynn’s misstatements to the FBI, they would have understood the legal jeopardy Flynn was in: it is a felony to lie to the FBI—precisely the federal criminal charge Flynn would later plead guilty to. 

The next day, on January 27, McGahn summoned Yates back to the White House to follow up. According to the testimony Yates gave to the Senate Judiciary committee in May 2017, Yates said that McGahn “was concerned that taking action [against Flynn] might interfere with the FBI investigation.” Yates responded by telling McGahn that “it wouldn’t really be fair of us to tell you this and then expect you to sit on your hands,” in reference to Flynn’s misleading Pence about Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak.

Trump’s knowledge of the criminal investigation of Flynn is central to the special counsel’s obstruction case because of what Trump’s action later that same day, January 27, might reveal about his intent and motivation. It was then that the president called Director Comey and invited him to dinner that evening at the White House. Comey has testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he did not understand until he arrived that he and the president would be dining alone. At this dinner, Trump suggested to Comey that his job might not be secure, leading Comey to believe that Trump was attempting to “create some sort of patronage relationship,” something that was very troubling to Comey “given the FBI’s traditionally independent status.” Comey testified that:

A few moments later the president said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.

On February 13, faced with the prospect of being fired by Trump, Flynn resigned as national security adviser. The next morning, after an Oval Office meeting with the vice president, the attorney general, the deputy CIA director, and other national security and law enforcement officials, the president asked FBI Director Comey to remain behind. Once they were alone, Trump allegedly pressured Comey to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. Comey has testified that Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy.” The president then repeated: “I hope that you can let this go.”

The next day, McGahn, Eisenberg, and Burnham completed work on their timeline memo of the events leading up to Michael Flynn’s forced resignation. The memo said nothing about the president’s conversation the day before with Comey. The three White House lawyers would later tell the special counsel that Donald Trump had not consulted with them first.

In arguing that the president did nothing wrong, Trump defense attorneys John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, in both informal conversations and later in formal correspondence with the special counsel, relied on the false statements of Flynn to Priebus, McGahn, and Eisenberg that the FBI had closed out their investigation of him. In the attorneys’ reasoning, if Trump had no reason to think that Flynn was under criminal investigation when he allegedly pressured Comey to go easy on Flynn, the president did not obstruct justice. …

The February 15 memo, combined with accounts given to the special counsel by Priebus and McGahn, constitutes the most compelling evidence we yet know of that Donald Trump may have obstructed justice. In an effort to persuade the American people that the president has done nothing wrong, Trump and his supporters have blamed those they identify as their political adversaries—from President Barack Obama to Jim Comey, and including entire institutions such as the FBI and CIA, and an ill-defined “Deep State.” But the most compelling evidence that the president may have obstructed justice appears to come from his own most senior and loyal aides. The greatest threat to his presidency is not from his enemies, real or perceived, but from his allies within the White House.

WaPo: Facebook says it has uncovered a coordinated disinformation operation ahead of the 2018 midterm elections http://wapo.st/2LIzNa0

Facebook said Tuesday that it had discovered a sophisticated coordinated disinformation operation on its platform involving 32 false pages and profiles engaging in divisive messaging ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

The social media company that it couldn’t tie the activity to Russia, which interfered on its platform around the 2016 presidential election. But Facebook said the profiles shared a pattern of behavior with the previous Russian disinformation campaign, which was led by a group with Kremlin ties called the Internet Research Agency

DailyBeast, Asawin Suebsaeng: Rudy Giuliani on His Odd Cable News Blitz: I Was Trying to Kill a New York Times Story http://thebea.st/2OrTqRr
// It is not even clear if the Times story, as laid out by President Trump’s attorney, even exists.

CREW: The Smear Campaign Against Mueller: Debunking the Nunes Memo and the Other Attacks on the Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2wlXnCa
⋙ Report: [PDF] http://bit.ly/2LRMfmQ 45p
// 1/31/2018

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Giuliani outlives his usefulness to Trump http://wapo.st/2NXCYHm

⭕ 30 Jul 2018

NBC: Fact check: What Trump got wrong in his attacks on Mueller http://nbcnews.to/2v0mS91
// The president’s tweetstorm on Sunday contained a number of factual inaccuracies and misstatements.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: How Russia Persecutes Its Dissidents Using U.S. Courts http://bit.ly/2Kftu83
// Russia’s requests to Interpol for Red Notices—the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant—against Kremlin opponents are being met with increasing deference by the Department of Homeland Security.

WaPo, Max Boot: Michael Cohen may have the smoking gun http://wapo.st/2LLYn9d

Reality check: It is not okay for the president and his minions to work with a foreign power to influence a U.S. election. It is shocking that this argument even has to be made. If the allegations of collusion are true, then the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to violate numerous statutes. As laid out by law professor Ryan Goodman during Senate testimony, these include “conspiracy to defraud the United States” by interfering with the lawful functioning of federal elections; anti-hacking laws that prohibit unauthorized access to computers and transmission of information gained thereby; and campaign-finance rules that prohibit candidates from soliciting or receiving anything of value from foreign nationals. Above all, there is obstruction of justice: If Trump knew about the offer of Russian help, that greatly strengthened his motive to fire FBI Director James B. Comey to stop the inquiry into the “Russia thing.”

DailyBeast, Elie Honig: Giuliani Knows ‘Collusion’ Isn’t a Crime—But Conspiracy Is and Trump Looks Guiltier Today http://thebea.st/2LIsbEA
// The president can’t be charged with a crime that doesn’t exist, so no wonder Rudy keeps saying this. The crimes he can be charged with are very real though.

DailyBeast: Mystery Sting Targets U.S. Senator for Dirt on Russia Sanctions http://thebea.st/2LMVxAJ
// Democrat Jeanne Shaheen is known for her vocal opposition to Vladimir Putin. Maybe that’s why someone tried to get her to give up inside information about anti-Russia sanctions.

TheHill: Activist publishes 11,000 Wikileaks Twitter direct messages http://bit.ly/2M6smp1 Best said in an exchange with the website Motorboard that she released the messages because she wanted to show how Wikileaks was working with other online entities to shape public discussions. 
The messages show that Wikileaks wanted the GOP to defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections.

USAToday: Rudy Giuliani says Donald Trump team preparing report to counter Robert Mueller http://usat.ly/2mV17ms

Giuliani cited the counter-report as he and the president questioned the legal basis for two aspects of Mueller’s investigation: possible collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.

“I have been sitting here looking in the federal code, trying to find collusion as a crime,” Trump told “Fox & Friends”on Monday. “Collusion is not a crime.”

Giuliani said that, as a legal matter, there is no obstruction of justice claim. Mueller’s team is looking into whether Trump sought to undermine the Russia investigation by firing FBI Director James Comey and attacking Justice Department officials such as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, and Trump had many reasons for taking such action with Comey. He said Trump has done nothing to impede the investigation.

According to Giuliani, presidents have the unfettered right to remove FBI directors.

🐣 MT @JamesFransham Trump’s attacks on the media are backfiring… (Trust in mainstream American newspapers has grown, even among conservatives) Economist: https://econ.st/2v0W6gM https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1024027888255942656/photo/1

TheHill: MSNBC legal expert Jonathan Turley: Cohen flipping puts Trump ‘one witness away’ from catastrophe http://bit.ly/2vh8sAF

◕ FocusEconomics: The World’s Top 10 Largest Economies Do Not Include Russia http://bit.ly/2NRm1OI https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1024003307063439361/photo/1

💽 WaPo, Max Boot: Here’s why Trump wouldn’t have won without Russia http://wapo.st/2uWIX8r [3:17]
// Columnist Max Boot walks through the evidence he says shows Russian meddling pushed President Trump over the finish line in 2016.

TPM, Josh Marshall: Rudy’s Big Admission? http://bit.ly/2vj7aVT

Now let’s get to what Giuliani said this morning. In a back and forth with CNN’s Alisyn Carmerota, he appears to say that two days before the meeting with the Russian lawyer there was a planning meeting to prepare for that meeting. This prep meeting would have been on June 7th, 2016. Giuliani says that meeting included Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates and others.

I don’t think I’d ever heard of this planning meeting. If nothing else, it suggests that the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date. And then there’s Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy. As we know, Gates is now a cooperating witness. Big problem for the Trump Team, if he was at such a planning meeting.

Giuliani’s key aim throughout is to insist that Trump was not in that meeting. He seems to allow that Cohen was in the meeting, just that Cohen’s lying about Trump’s presence. But that point (Cohen’s presence) is less clear to me. Again, watch the video.

The other point is the date: June 7th. That’s the date when Trump made that primary election night victory speech where he teased his upcoming anti-Hillary speech where he’d reveal a bunch of new dirt on Hillary, a speech that ended up never happening.

What Giuliani appears to be saying is that earlier that day the top people in Trump’s campaign had a planning meeting to prep for the dirt meeting with the Russians two days later. This is hardly surprising. But it lines up perfectly with what many have long suspected: that Trump was so excited about the dirt his campaign was going to receive from Russia two days later that he couldn’t help but brag about it in public that night.

WaPo, Greg Sargent: Trump’s latest rage-tweets about Mueller and border wall reveal GOP weakness http://wapo.st/2M4tXfk

[From NYT article:] Cohn’s central finding is that the House map is turning out to be a lot broader than we expected. The districts that are in play aren’t merely suburban ones in which Hillary Clinton did well in 2016; they also include many working-class and rural districts that voted for Trump. Cohn analyzed the 60 GOP-held House seats that are rated competitively (Lean Republican, Toss Up, and Lean/Likely Democratic) by the Cook Political Report. Here are the key conclusions about the aggregate electorate in those districts:

The electorate in those 60 districts is 78 percent white, whereas the United States is 70 percent white overall.
The electorate in those 60 districts is 65 percent suburban, whereas the United States overall is 55 percent suburban.
The electorate in those 60 districts boasts about 31 percent college graduates, whereas the United States overall is 28 percent college graduates.
Forty-nine percent of the electorate in those 60 districts voted for Trump in 2016, while 46 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. (Nationally, of course, Clinton actually won the popular vote by over two points.)

The bottom line: The fact that this electorate shows Democrats with so many pickup opportunities suggests, as Cohn says, both that Democrats have recruited strong candidates in tough areas and that the national political environment may be “more favorable to Democrats than the generic ballot polls imply.” What’s more, Cohn notes that in special elections, Democratic candidates have already been running further ahead of Clinton in Trump districts than in Clinton-friendly ones.

But Republican incumbents are campaigning much less than expected on the tax cut, and the broader map may help explain why: Working-class whites (and, of course, minorities) are not the tax cut’s beneficiaries. Indeed, a new Politico analysis finds that some of the “biggest winners” from the tax cut are “corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares,” even as it is producing “less clear long-term benefits for workers.” Not exactly a potent message in fabled Trump country.

From WSJ: 66% of Democratic women have so far won their races, or 70 out of 106 contests, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. By contrast, only 38% of GOP women have won open primaries this year, or 11 out of 29 races.

Also, female lawmakers already make up a third of House Dems, while white men constitute almost 87 percent of the House GOP. Thanks to Trump, these trends are only likely to grow more marked.

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Rudy Giuliani just obliterated the goal posts on Trump-Russia collusion http://wapo.st/2mPvrim //➔ ‘These aren’t the maladroits you’re looking for’
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1023936817236770817/photo/1
// chart: that was then …

“I don’t even know if that’s a crime — colluding with Russians,” Giuliani said on CNN. “Hacking is the crime. The president didn’t hack. He didn’t pay for the hacking.”

In case you forgot, Trump himself has been arguing for more than a year not that collusion wasn’t a crime, but that there simply was “no collusion.” Just like Trump’s legal team has taken to arguing that a president can’t legally be guilty of obstructing justice, it’s now arguing that the other side of the investigation that has to do with Trump — the collusion side — is also a bogus standard. Or at least that seems to be where this is headed.

Giuliani also, at one point, seemed to offer a very narrow denial of what happened with the Trump Tower meeting. While discussing Michael Cohen’s allegation that Trump knew about the meeting, Giuliani focused his defense on arguing not necessarily that Trump didn’t know about it — but that he wasn’t physically at the meeting. And he did it on both shows.

“I’m happy to tell Mueller that Trump wasn’t at the Trump Tower meeting,” Giuliani said. Asked how he can say that, he said: “Because Cohen is a liar, and Don Jr. says he wasn’t there.”

“He did not participate in any meeting about the Russia transaction,” Giuliani said. “And the other people at the meeting that he claims he had without the president about it say he was never there.”

The president’s former lawyer [Cohen] says there are other people who can vouch for the fact that Trump knew about the meeting in real time. With that potentially damning revelation emerging, Giuliani seems to be guarding against the idea that Trump actually did know about the meeting — but arguing that he wasn’t in the room and even that working with the Russians wouldn’t be criminal.

⭕ 29 Jul 2018

CNN: Trump rails against Mueller in Sunday tweetstorm http://cnn.it/2AmjWZl

🐣 RT @tonyschwartz [biographer] Trump on tweeting rampage is just what I expect: desperate attempt to destroy credibility of Mueller, news media, and anyone who criticizes him. Fear that he will finally be caught is prompting him to lash out and say anything to survive.
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @real [MELTDOWN] (3pm or so)
1) When the media – driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome – reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic! Freedom of the press also comes with a responsibility to report the news…
2) …accurately. 90% of media coverage of my Administration is negative, despite the tremendously positive results we are achieving, it’s no surprise that confidence in the media is at an all time low! I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the…
3) …dying newspaper industry. No matter how much they try to distract and cover it up, our country is making great progress under my leadership and I will never stop fighting for the American people! As an example, the failing New York Times…
4)…and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements – and they will never change!
5) There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!

6) Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..
7) …Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama….And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier.?

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: House Republicans cannot be allowed to obstruct justice http://wapo.st/2OrW5us

Former U.S. district judge John S. Martin, writing in The Post to debunk the baseless proposal by House Freedom Caucus members to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, observes:

The actions of the Freedom Caucus members are not only baseless, they are also shameful. While they call for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Rosenstein, it may be more appropriate to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate an attempt to corruptly obstruct justice by members of Congress who so obviously use their office to intimidate the deputy attorney general and to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

[ List ]

Some of these aren’t legally actionable. It’s no crime to be a rotten committee chairman, although it’s a very good reason to vote Nunes and others out of office. If being a jerk to a witness at a hearing were a crime, most of Congress would be locked up. However, an accounting of how the oversight process went badly awry and how to fix it will be needed. That perhaps can be undertaken in the context of an ethics proceeding, a subsequent Congress’s intelligence committee or an independent commission. In short, we cannot have another House Intelligence Committee that behaves like this one; preventing that is the job of responsible lawmakers. Representatives who behaved dishonestly can be sanctioned by the House.

Norman Eisen, Laurence Tribe and Caroline Frederickson wrote in February: “Endeavoring to stop an investigation, if done with corrupt intent, may constitute obstruction of justice. Plotting to assist such action may be conspiracy to obstruct justice. Normally, what is called ‘speech or debate immunity would provide a strong bulwark against any such liability for Mr. Nunes or his staff.” However, they argued, “Mr. Nunes and company may have ranged so far afield that those protections no longer apply. Under the clause, mere peripheral connection to legislative acts cannot serve as a fig leaf to shield criminal conduct.” They argued that if “a member or staff employee of the House Intelligence Committee engaged with the White House to stifle the special counsel inquiry, it would be difficult to see how such collaboration would be” protected by the speech or debate clause.

⭕ 28 Jul 2018

CNN: GOP Reps.’ attack on Rosenstein is an attempt to undermine Mueller investigation http://cnn.it/2mT7FCc

Bloomberg: Trump and Son at Legal Risk If Found Lying About Russia Meeting http://bloom.bg/2LGijdB

“If Trump knew in advance that the Russians had stolen information, and understood its importance, that puts him at risk, in legal jeopardy, of being part of the conspiracy that the Russians have been charged with to defraud the U.S.,” [former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah] said.

There may be an obstruction charge as well, said Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor now at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. If Cohen’s reported version is correct, “it would make it very hard for Trump to say there was no collusion,’ he said. “There would also be a potential obstruction charge, because he tried to prevent prosecutors from knowing what happened.”

While the most serious potential criminal charges relate to conspiracy and obstruction of justice, there are lesser offenses too. It’s illegal to knowingly solicit political contributions from foreign nationals, and providing stolen emails could be viewed as an “in-kind” contribution. Enforcement of a violation depends on which agency would pursue it.

If it’s the Federal Election Commission, it’s a civil matter, with the biggest penalty being a fine. The Justice Department can bring criminal charges for willful violations of federal election law, though its track record of winning convictions has been mixed. The maximum sentence for violating election laws is five years’ imprisonment, depending on the offense.

Salon: Writer Greg Olear on “Dirty Rubles”: Trump is “gravest existential threat” to America in 150 years http://bit.ly/2AiGWZ9
// Greg Olear decided only a fiction writer could tell the story of a president who’s “been mobbed up for decades”

⭕ 27 Jul 2018

ForeignAffairs: Pakistan’s Sham Election ~ How the Army Chose Imran Khan http://fam.ag/2NSaw9O

WaPo, Michael McFaul: Putin wanted to interrogate me. Trump called it ‘an incredible offer.’ Why? http://wapo.st/2LVmWgx
// When foreign affairs are, literally, personal.

… Putin made his American counterpart an offer: He would permit U.S. law enforcement officials to witness the Russian interrogation of 12 Russian spies accused by the United States of interfering in the 2016 campaign, if his own agents could observe the interrogation of a similar number of American intelligence officers who, Russia alleges, committed crimes on Russian soil. In the fantasy Putin spun during the joint news conference, U.S. intelligence officers had helped American-born British citizen Bill Browder launder money out of Russia, which Browder then gave to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It was a ludicrously false equivalency that linked the documented efforts of Russian hackers to tilt the election to Trump with a host of completely imagined offenses by U.S. government officials. Amazingly, Trump called Putin’s crazy proposal “an incredible offer.”

🚫 WSJ, Kimberly Strassel: Devin Nunes, Washington’s Public Enemy No. 1 http://on.wsj.com/2vlIrAn
// See Communications for comment; What did the FBI do in the 2016 campaign? The head of the House inquiry on what he has found—and questions still unanswered.

WaPo, John S Martin: The baseless, shameful campaign to discredit Rod Rosenstein http://wapo.st/2mQvBWW

Applications for warrants for either electronic surveillance or a physical search usually rely on information provided by informants who have some motive other than a concern for the general good. In a typical case, the informant is a criminal who is hoping for either a monetary reward or some help with a pending criminal case. What is important to the judge is not whether the informant has a motive, but whether there is reason to believe that the information is reliable. Usually, the judge accepts the informant information as reliable because the affiant swears that the informant has provided reliable information in the past.

This is exactly what happened in the Carter Page application. The first time the affidavit mentions information from “Source #1” — understood to be Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who authored the infamous Trump dossier — there is a footnote stating that he had been a source in the past. The affidavit goes on to state: “Source #1’s reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings and the FBI assesses Source #1 to be reliable.”

The court was also advised by the FBI that the source had been compensated. The affidavit states that Source #1 had an intelligence gathering business and that he had been hired by a “U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia.” The affidavit also states: “The FBI speculates that the unidentified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.” Although the affidavit does not identify Trump by name as Candidate #1, the totality of the information in the affidavit makes that clear.

The actions of the Freedom Caucus members are not only baseless, they are also shameful. While they call for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Rosenstein, it may be more appropriate to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate an attempt to corruptly obstruct justice by members of Congress who so obviously use their office to intimidate the deputy attorney general and to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

NYRB, Michael Tomasky: Hail to the Chief http://bit.ly/2Op52Vl
// Summer issue, 7/19/2018

Soon, according to a June report in The Washington Post, the moment of truth will arrive. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the president, his administration, and his campaign, will deliver his verdict on whether Donald Trump obstructed justice.

On the larger and more complicated question of his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, Mueller may take longer to issue a second report. But it is widely expected in Washington—which has been wrong about such matters before—that a first report, on obstruction, will drop before Labor Day.

It seems inconceivable that Mueller will absolve the president in that first report. Trump has obstructed justice right in front of our noses, and more than once, either because he doesn’t know what obstruction of justice is or because he knows and doesn’t care. … [Lester] Holt asked Trump about the reasons stated in the letter, and eventually Trump acknowledged that they hadn’t a thing to do with it:

I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

That is obviously Trump saying, as directly as Trump can say anything, that he fired Comey because of the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s possible Russia ties. But it’s hardly the only example we know of. … Arguably every single tweet the president writes about the investigation, attacking Mueller’s “13 Angry Democrats” and denouncing it as an invariably upper-cased Witch Hunt, is an attempt to obstruct justice; if you don’t think so, get yourself placed under federal investigation and try mimicking Trump’s Twitter habits and see what happens to you.

If that happens, what comes next? Three days before Trump’s inauguration, the neoconservative Bush administration official Eliot A. Cohen wrote that “this will be a slogging match until the end.” He felt confident, however, that “the institutions will contain him and the laws will restrain him if enough people care about both, and do not yield to fear of him and whatever leverage he tries to exert from his mighty office.”

Of those forty-five words of Cohen’s, the most important is “if.” When Cohen wrote his piece, there may have been reason for optimists to hope that the Republicans who control Congress and the conservative jurists who constitute the majority on the Supreme Court, as well as rank-and-file Republicans, would tire of this vulgar burlesque and would find ways to check Trump, to communicate to him that even a president can’t just do whatever he wants.

… The Supreme Court, which will presumably soon have two Trump appointees, is far more political and less independent than the Supreme Court that in 1974 ordered Richard Nixon to hand over his tapes. Trump’s base, as long as he is deporting asylum-seekers and inveighing against knee-taking football players and fake news journalists, grows more and more besotted. And undergirding it all is the Fox News Channel, now a pure propaganda network, from which Republicans take their cues and get their talking points. What will they do when Mueller’s first allegations appear?

It’s worth stepping back here to review quickly the steps by which the Republican Party became this stewpot of sycophants, courtesans, and obscurantists. …

This is the remarkable thing we have witnessed: the Republican Party has essentially ceased to be a political party in our normal understanding of the term and has instead become an instrument of one man’s will. …

All that was bad enough for the country—it led us to a war waged under false pretenses against an “enemy” that hadn’t attacked us and a campaign to dismantle a social compact carved out over the course of a century. But at least through all those phases, the Republican Party remained committed to the basic idea of democratic allocation of power. …

No one had come along to suggest that power should be unlimited. But now someone has, and we have learned something very interesting, and alarming, about these “conservatives,” both the rank and file and holders of high office: their overwhelming commitment is not to democratic allocation of power, but to their ideological goals—the annihilation of liberalism, the restoration of a white ethno-nationalist hegemony.

It has often been written, and I’ve written it myself, that the Republicans have been weak in the face of Trumpism. But I’ve come to think that’s wrong. They’re not weak at all. Most of them are perfectly happy to have become Trump’s vassals. They were waiting for just such a man.

[Peter] Strzok did what too few people do—he stood up to his questioners and embarrassed them:

I think it’s important when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made and the things that were going on across America. In terms of…“We will stop it”…it was in response to a series of events that included then candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero. And my presumption, based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.

I’m not sure what the Republicans can do to Strzok from here, but it seems unlikely that he will be permitted to serve out his career in peace (he was transferred to human resources).

… Mueller made public the names and identities of seventeen lawyers he had hired, and researchers found that thirteen were registered Democrats. Five had made donations to Clinton (two large, three small). It’s a complaint that in fairness one could imagine either party lodging. At the same time, it’s worth noting that it’s a violation of Justice Department rules, under which a special counsel operates, for Mueller to ask the political affiliations of people he hires. And Mueller is himself a Republican, but that is dismissed now, because in the Fox version of events he has capitulated to the deep-staters.

Barring a bolt of unexpected lightning, Kavanaugh will win confirmation. Eventually, the question of whether this president (or any president) can face legal punishment while in office will make its way to the Court. We will see then whether the tumor that afflicts the legislative branch has also consumed the judicial. In 1974 no one had to worry seriously that the Supreme Court would issue a “political” decision on such a matter, and indeed the Court ruled 8–0 that Richard Nixon was not above the law (Nixon appointee William Rehnquist recused himself because he had worked in the administration, but Lewis Powell, Nixon’s other appointee, ruled with the majority). We can permit ourselves no such sanguinity now. The conservative movement is a few Supreme Court decisions away from having unlimited power, and one sees no Cincinnatus among them.

FoxNews: Steve Bannon on 2018 midterms: “This is President @realDonaldTrump’s first re-elect. This is gonna be an up or down vote. It’s a referendum on the Trump presidency.” #Hannity 💽 https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/1023089419312492544/photo/1

NYT: Russian Hackers Appear to Shift Focus to U.S. Power Grid http://nyti.ms/2LWeMoj

Newsweek: Jeff Stein: How Vladimir Putin Will Take Down Donald Trump When He’s No Longer Useful http://bit.ly/2LrstiR

Following the controversial Helsinki summit between the Russian and American presidents, Moscow’s media commentators greeted Trump’s deference toward Putin with a mix of concern, pity and ridicule, none of which could have been uttered without the Kremlin’s approval, says Ukrainian-born Julia Davis, an expert on Russian propaganda.

“They usually get a printout of some kind, about which topics they’re supposed to discuss and what their position is supposed to be,” said Davis, a featured expert at the Atlantic Council’s Disinfo Portal. The state-controlled commentary “is very closely monitored, and they would not take a chance on stepping outside of the line,” she told Newsweek.

The Kremlin, she continued, is “growing very frustrated because there’s so many controls that are being placed on” Trump by Congress, starting with Russian sanctions, upgrades to the U.S. nuclear arsenal and beefed-up military aid to Ukraine, which is under assault by Moscow-backed forces in its eastern Donbas region. And then there are the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections by special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee, independent actions that would be unthinkable in Putin’s Russia.

🐣 RT @KenDelanianNBC In a statement, the White House says it put in motion a “whole of government strategy” to fight foreign election intervention when Trump took office. I can’t find anyone who has seen it–but I can find lots of folks who say it doesn’t exist.

“They like to talk about him as weak and incompetent and just pretty much a clown,” Davis said of the Moscow analysts before the Cohen disclosure. “They still think he might prove himself to do what he promised him to do. But if he goes down, I expect they would not skip a beat. They would jump in to help finish him off.”

Measures at Putin’s disposal include leaking a mix of real and fabricated details on Trump’s suspected debts to Russian bankers and oligarchs, said Milton Bearden, a legendary former CIA officer who worked against the Soviet target and later co-authored a book, The Main Enemy, with the cooperation of several former KGB officials.

[L]ast year a Russian opposition politician, Vladimir Milov, alleged in an interview with a Russian exile journalist that Moscow’s secret services had been “closely ‘following’ Trump for over 30 years and the dossier they have on him certainly comprises many, many volumes.”

[D]avis said, that he’s “laying the groundwork” for dumping Trump by less murderous means if he’s mortally weakened by Congress or indictments.

“When Trump goes,” she said,  “Putin certainly doesn’t want to be seen as someone who’s on his team.”

CNN: Sanctions on Russia’s Rusal could be lifted, Mnuchin says http://cnn.it/2mPjBF9

The Trump administration is looking into lifting sanctions against a major Russian aluminum company founded by one of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies.

The Treasury Department is considering relieving Rusal of penalties even though its former owner, oligarch Oleg Deripaska, was sanctioned this year by the US in an attempt to punish the Kremlin for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.

By targeting Deripaska and six other prominent Russian oligarchs the Treasury specifically hit members of Putin’s inner circle.

The law passed by Congress last year gives Treasury new powers to go after Russian oligarchs. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, which was passed with a veto-proof majority, despite criticizing the legislation and previously questioning the effectiveness of US sanctions against Russia.

While seeking sanctions relief, Rusal has taken steps to water down Deripaska’s involvement in the company. Deripaska has previously agreed to reduce his stake to below 50% and resign from the firm’s board in order to give Rusal a shot at getting off the sanctions list. Seven other members of the board, nominated by a Deripaska-owned company, also resigned in May.

Deripaska also has financial ties to Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016 and is now awaiting trial on a slew of financial crimes related to his work for the Russia-friendly government of Ukraine. Manafort was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and related matters.

The Treasury said Deripaska had been accused of bribery, extortion, racketeering, ordering the murder of a rival businessman and having links to organized crime. Deripaska has denied “the alleged basis” of US sanctions, according to statements he provided to London’s High Court, the Telegraph reported in May.

WaPo (7/17): NSA and Cyber Command to coordinate actions to counter Russian election interference in 2018 amid absence of White House guidance http://wapo.st/2Anj1rs
// 7/17/2018

💙💙 TheGuardian: Democracy at risk due to fake news and data misuse, MPs conclude http://bit.ly/2Ol2Z4p
// Parliamentary inquiry to demand urgent action to combat ‘relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views’ 📒 The Cambridge Analytica Files: read the Observer’s full investigation

💙💙 Politico: How Silicon Valley Became a Den of Spies http://politi.co/2NRC7Ii
// The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back.

TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Just Got a Little Stronger http://bit.ly/2uT7lI8
// If proven true, the president’s alleged role in the Trump Tower meeting could help prosecutors make judgments about his “character, truthfulness, and culpability.”

NYT: How Trump’s Public and Private Acts Line Up in a Possible Obstruction Case http://nyti.ms/2NSbm6n

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff and Asawin Suebsaeng: ‘Dead to Each Other’: Team Trump Prepares to ‘Bury’ Michael Cohen, ‘Weakling’ and ‘Traitor’ http://thebea.st/2mOIsIW
// This could get ugly.

Esquire, Charles Pierce: If Cohen Is Telling the Truth, That Ought to Be Ballgame http://bit.ly/2K1UdoH
// We now stand at a yes-or-no moment in this country’s history.

NBC: What did corporate America do with that tax break? Buy record amounts of its own stock http://nbcnews.to/2K3qOKH
// The White House promised ’70 percent’ of the tax cut would go to workers. It didn’t.

NYRB, Tim Weiner: The ‘Witch Hunters’ http://bit.ly/2Luv9MM //➔ review of Clapper, Comey, and Hayden’s books
// Summer issue

To Donald Trump it seems as though the “Deep State” has arisen from the depths of the dismal swamp of Washington to torment him. He sees a cabal of his political enemies—foremost the men who have led the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency—as a cryptocracy operating under the cover of the constitutionally established government, an immense conspiracy, a dark force seeking to destroy him.

The Deep State, to Trump, is a secret brotherhood of military and intelligence officers secretly manipulating the body politic, and is still run by the leaders of the American intelligence organizations under President Obama, along with unnamed sinister forces still resilient within the Justice Department. These are the same people who revealed a brazen covert operation by Vladimir Putin and his spy services to help elect Trump in 2016. To the president, they are not defending the republic but running a slow-rolling coup d’état.

[Hayden] takes umbrage at the idea that he and his old cohorts are working in secret to undermine Trump: “There is no ‘deep state’ in the American Republic. There is only ‘the state,’ or, as I characterize it, career professionals doing their best within the rule of law. Not that they always play nice….”

I believe that whoever backhanded the information on the intelligence intercepts to the Times and the Post was more savior than saboteur; there are more virtuous leaks than vicious ones. Goldsmith, a formidable voice in national security affairs and a staunch conservative critic of Trump, thinks that the Deep State is real and that it did dirty work here. I think not. Yet the fear of a Deep State has a long history.

James Comey first encountered Donald Trump in the gilded palace of Trump Tower on January 6, 2017. He (along with Clapper and Brennan) were to deliver their unanimous assessment of the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election … ¤ Everything about Trump’s presidency turns on this moment … ¤ This gave the conspiracy-minded president-elect cause to fear the leaders of American intelligence, and especially Comey. It gave them greater reason to fear his presidency.

The confrontations memorialized here [in Comey’s book], especially when Trump says he wants the FBI to drop its criminal investigation of the disgraced Mike Flynn and “lift the cloud” of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election—and then fires Comey for refusing to put the fix in—are as gripping as any chapter of presidential history has ever been. It’s better than Watergate’s smoking gun tape: the president of the United States was trying to suborn the FBI director in an obstruction of justice. Comey testified about much of this last year, but the added atmospherics in the book are powerful. The image of the president as mob boss is indelible. The stench of criminality hangs in the air of the West Wing like cordite.

If we see another season when high crimes are charged against a president, the likeliest count will again be obstruction of justice, again regarding a break-in at Democratic headquarters, again with the FBI working—this time with Mueller as chief investigator and Comey as his star witness—to bring the president to justice. The power of secret information gathered by American intelligence and made public in Congress or a court of law may be his downfall. We may then see proof that what afflicts us is not a deep state but a shallow and corrupted government.

Politico Mag, Bandy Lee and Tony Schwartz: Inside the Mind of Donald Trump http://politi.co/2LObyqh
// He’s grandiose, deceitful and paranoid—but don’t let him drive you crazy.

WaPo, Paul Waldman: The fantastical tale Trump wants you to believe about collusion http://wapo.st/2v8BVg5

If you want to believe Donald Trump is innocent when it comes to Russia, you’re going to have to do some work. It’s not just that new information keeps coming out, and you’ll have to figure out whether it should be disbelieved (It’s not true!) or explained away (Even if it’s true, it’s perfectly fine!). You’ll also have to keep abreast of the president’s shifting stories and justifications so you can be up to date on what you’re supposed to say. And you’ll have to believe some things that are frankly unbelievable.

Now that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer, has publicly said that he was in the room when Trump was told beforehand of the infamous Trump Tower meeting Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman had with a group of Russians they believed would provide dirt on Hillary Clinton, and Trump gave the go-ahead for the meeting, Trump advocates are being called upon yet again for a new round of denials. So we should step back and remind ourselves of exactly what it is they’re asking us all to accept. …

🐣 RT @nedprice Putin is essentially turning down a White House visit and, instead, summoning Trump to Moscow. ¤ This is what he paid for.
⋙ NBCNews: JUST IN: 2 days after US pushes date for a second Trump-Putin summit, President Putin says he is ready for another meeting with President Trump, as phone conversations are not sufficient, and has extended an invite for President Trump to visit Moscow – (corrects: 2 days, not 1)

🐣 RT @jimsciutto Breaking: Russian President Putin says he is ready to go to Washington and has invited President Trump to Moscow under “necessary conditions.”

MotherJones, Kevin Drum: Cohen: Trump Knew Everything http://bit.ly/2uTOigG

🐣 RT @stevebenen Trump said Russians aren’t interfering in our elections anymore. He also said Russia might intervene to help Dems. The McCaskill story discredits both contradictory claims

MotherJones: Bombshell Report: Michael Cohen Claims Trump Knew About Infamous Trump Tower Meeting http://bit.ly/2LsJZmQ
// According to CNN, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney is willing to refute the president’s denials.

WaPo: Trump maintains not knowing in advance about meeting with Russians, disputing Cohen claim http://wapo.st/2LFncDE

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: What Michael Cohen’s bombshell means http://wapo.st/2LUDO7d

Prosecutors will need to interview Cohen, get those phone records, interview all other people possibly aware of Trump’s decision to authorize the meeting and track down other corroborating evidence to make out a compelling case. Cohen’s testimony, if credible, would make for a compelling case, possibly entailing conspiracy; perpetrating a fraud on the United States; soliciting illegal, foreign help in a campaign; and obstruction. Anyone who denied Trump’s role or otherwise intentionally misled prosecutors and/or Congress will have to worry about his own liability for perjury, obstruction and other related crimes.

Max Bergmann, who heads the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress, tells me, “This revelation reveals what has been staring us in the face: Trump was part of the collusion. He wasn’t some innocent bystander on his campaign.” He argues, “Trump ran the Trump campaign. We know this because everybody — from embedded reporters, to Trump campaign staff, to Trump himself — told us that he was fully in charge. So when it came to the most important decision of his campaign — whether or not to collude with Russia — of course he was involved.” He adds, “This is now a national security crisis. We have a President of the United States that almost certainly aided and abetted an attack on American democracy.”

Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court litigator Laurence Tribe tweeted, “If Cohen credibly testifies Trump knew in advance of the 6/9/16 meeting that Donald Jr, Jared, etc, had with Viselnitskaya & other Russians in Trump Tower to get dirt against Clinton in June 2016, that’s direct evidence of Trump/Putin collusion. Huge.”

Second, if Trump’s direct approval of cooperation with Russians can be proved, it will be the biggest political scandal in American history. His presidency for all intents and purposes would be delegitimized. We are talking about a presidential candidate who sought and received help from a hostile foreign power, covered it up and “repaid” the favor by public obsequiousness to that power’s leader. Again, this has yet to be proved.

Third, Republicans who have enabled Trump by smearing law enforcement, creating bogus scandals, defending Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department and rationalizing support for his presidency (“But Gorsuch!”) risk public humiliation and ruin. Nothing Trump has done or could possibly do would make up for participation in a conspiracy and obstruction, not to mention betrayal of his country. (Members of Congress who may have actively conspired with the White House themselves could have legal exposure.)

Fourth, the potential discrediting of a presidency and the delegitimization of an elected commander in chief  is gravely serious and should be resolved before Trump picks a Supreme Court justice (who potentially could determine Trump’s fate). Finally, members of the administration should be very, very careful before throwing around Trump’s favorite phrases (“witch hunt!”) and trying to discredit the investigation. In fact, before this gets even messier, now might be a good time for staffers to exit and get far away from this unfolding legal disaster.

🐣 RT @barbarastarrcnn Mattis on stopping Russian elex interference: “I am not at liberty to explain what we are doing in that regard. Just rest assured there are actions underway to protect our elections or to expose any external by anybody, external efforts to influence the American public”

⭕ 26 Jul 2018

NYT Editorial: Impeach Rosenstein? C’mon, Man http://nyti.ms/2LGQzoX
// In its latest and futile gesture, the House Freedom Caucus sets its sights on ousting the man overseeing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Ms. Yates is right to be concerned. It’s not that the Freedom Caucus members don’t recognize the damage they’re doing — or even that they don’t care. It is that delegitimizing government is at the heart of their movement. These backbench bomb-throwers came to power on an explicit promise to stop President Barack Obama from achieving his goals and, as a bonus, to punish any Republican lawmaker showing even the slightest inclination to cooperate with the opposition. Conflict and obstructionism have always been their purpose, fueled by their relentless message that government is always the problem, that all experts are idiots, that cultural and coastal elites hate Real Americans and that all of Washington is corrupt and broken beyond repair. Except themselves, of course.

🐣 RT @20committee “Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.”
Don will die in jail. Don Jr, we’ll see.
⋙ CNN: Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting http://cnn.it/2vadsqu

NYT Editorial: When Trump Talks, the World Listens. Should It? http://nyti.ms/2Ag1odg
// Secretary of State Pompeo leaves unclear whether the president’s foreign policy pronouncements are actual policy.

TheHill: GOP lawmakers abandon effort to impeach Rosenstein after less than a day http://hill.cm/65yW57O 

🐣 I honestly don’t care about return of dead from a war 70 years ago. I DO! care about the dismantling of a system for peace and prosperity forged 70 years ago. “Let the dead bury the dead.” (Matthew 8:22)

🐣 RT @TheLastWord .@DavidCornDC tells @Lawrence: If it’s true that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians ahead of time “this is collusion!” #lastword #msnbc
💽 https://twitter.com/TheLastWord/status/1022682759112876033/photo/1

🐣 RT @Alt_FedEmployee Guys, guys… so what the president lied about knowing Don Jr, Kushner, & already guilty campaign manager Manafort colluded with foreign agents to gain information on a political opponent???
It could be much worse. He could have eaten fancy mustard in a tan suit.

🐣 RT @mattyglesias I think it’s important to understand that even if incontrovertible proof of collusion and lawbreaking emerges, 97% of the folks who are still with Trump today will keep supporting him after the pivot to an explicit “collusion is good because it helped us win” message.

🐣 RT @SethAbramson REMEMBER, the illegal campaign contribution Trump wanted to get from our gravest geopolitical enemy comprised *stolen materials* he’d every reason to believe were illegally procured. So it’s a traitorous *computer crimes* conspiracy atop a traitorous *election-crime* conspiracy.

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC If Cohen’s account is accurate, Trump conspired with a foreign power to attack and skew a US presidential election for his benefit. How is this not the biggest political scandal in US history?

🐣 RT @joshtpm You’re leaving out the reasonable amount of circumstantial evidence that Putin helped him concoct the cover story when they had their secret, no witnesses, meeting the night before in Hamburg.

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff If Trump knew about the June 9 meeting, this is the chronology:
The Russians offered Trump help
Trump approved getting Russian help
The Russians delivered help
Trump dictated a false statement about the true purpose of the meeting
Trump covered up his own role

🐣 RT @20committee It’s simple. As you know if you’ve read my @observer columns in recent years, Trump ran for the WH in 2016 as a longtime Kremlin agent of influence who had Putin’s clandestine backing. This was a weird one-off, uncharted waters for all sides, but Trump knew what he was doing.

🐣 As of tonight, Trump is a Lame Duck president. NO SCOTUS noms!

🐣 If Trump was elected “under false premises,” as @JRubinBlogger says, then so was Pence. Or not?

🐣 “This is collusion.” – @JRubinBlogger on @TheLastWord

🐣 RT @JamesGleick Remember, it’s already known that Trump dictated a false statement issued by his son about this meeting with an agent of the Kremlin, and then they both lied about that. Game over, really. If we weren’t living in bizarro world.
⋙ 🐣 Big “if.”

TPM, Josh Marshall: Putting Tonight’s Revelation Into Perspective http://bit.ly/2LrsFyJ

Then there’s what happened in the aftermath of the Times stories breaking the news about the Trump Tower meeting that were published just over a year ago. Mueller’s investigators have focused closely on the fact that President Trump dictated a statement which was released in the name of his son Don Jr. about the meeting. It was a false cover story which quickly fell apart. He claimed it was about adoptions. How did he know about it? Well, it seems that he knew about it in advance. But there’s another thread to the story.

Trump dictated that false statement, with the cover story about adoptions only hours after he had a one on one meeting with Vladimir Putin (with no other US persons involved) which was apparently also about adoptions. As I explain here, if you put all this information together, there’s a pretty strong case to be made that not only did President Trump know about the Trump Tower meeting in advance but that he concocted his false cover story with the assistance of Vladimir Putin. See the details here

🐣 RT @tribelaw Neither Cohen nor Mueller benefits from the public revelation of what Cohen says he’s prepared to tell Mueller or a grand jury. So Trump is the likely source. But he can’t really think it’ll help him by taking away the surprise factor. So what explains this leak?

🐣 RT @SamanthaJPower 2 yrs ago Trump called on Russia to hack HRC emails. Since, he’s said many times he believes Putin, Russians didn’t interfere. He squandered 1 1/2 years when we should’ve been hardening our defenses. Now, only bc/ of Helsinki debacle, he’ll chair a meeting
⋙ Politico: Trump to chair National Security Council meeting on election security http://politi.co/2LpM5nw

🐣 Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen’s lawyer, says they did not leak info about Trump knowing about Trump Tower meeting. Suggests Trump’s people leaked it. Why? Who knows? Maybe they’re trying to devalue potential of Cohen cooperating?

🔆 This❗️⋙ CNN: Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting http://cnn.it/2vadsqu

Buzzfeed: Bernie Sanders Adviser Tad Devine Is Assisting Special Counsel Investigation In Manafort Case http://bit.ly/2K0wbKJ
// Tad Devine, a top adviser to Sanders’ 2016 campaign, previously worked with Manafort in Ukraine.

‼️ DailyBeast, Andrew Desiderio and Kevin Poulsen: Russian Hackers’ New Target: a Vulnerable DEMOCRATIC Senator http://thebea.st/2LWq7F2 //➔ Take THAT, Donald!
//. Sen. Claire McCaskill is a top target for Republicans looking to grow their slim Senate majority in 2018. Turns out, Russia’s “Fancy Bear” hackers are going after her staff, too.

🐣 RT @NathanHRubin What we’re living through is much darker than Watergate.
During the Nixon years, the @GOP was in the dark. Once they learned of his crimes, they turned on him.
Now, Paul Ryan, McConnell & Nunes have all seen the intelligence & are STILL obstructing for him. Not good.

🐣 RT @sruhle This could be yuuuuuuuuge.
Weisselberg worked for Fred Trump & Donald. No one is more deeply entrenched in the inner working of their businesses than he is.
He’s been in the mix for decades
⋙ 🐣 RT @TimOBrien Trump’s longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, called to testify before a grand jury in the Cohen probe.
⋙ ⋙ 🐣 RT @yashar NEW: Loyal Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg has been summoned to testify before a grand jury in the Michael Cohen probe
⋙ ⋙ ⋙ WSJ: Trump Organization Finance Chief Called to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury http://on.wsj.com/2mIfEBU
// Longtime Trump executive Allen Weisselberg has been subpoenaed in Michael Cohen probe

MMFA: Conservative media want you to believe Trump has been “tough” on Russia. They’re not telling the full story. http://bit.ly/2NMWO88
// Secretary of State Pompeo echoed right-wing media talking points on Trump’s toughness. In reality, Trump has undercut a number of actions Congress and his administration have tried to take against Russia.

Quartz: Robert Mueller is investigating Trump’s Twitter. These 22 tweets might raise an eyebrow http://bit.ly/2mKeqGn

TheAtlantic, Uri Friedman: Secretary of a State of Confusion http://bit.ly/2Ae8hvt
// “We really need a clear understanding as to what is going on, what our president is agreeing to, and what our strategy is on a number of issues.”

TheHill: Nunes: House Intel probing whether informants gathered data on Trump, Russia prior to authorized probe http://bit.ly/2LrL3HK

HuffPo, Kurt Bardella: House Republicans Aren’t Ignoring Trump And Russia, They’re Actively Blocking The Truth http://bit.ly/2Aa70pr

DailyBeast, Asawin Suebsaeng et al: Henry Kissinger Pushed Trump to Work With Russia to Box In China http://thebea.st/2LAahD5

Vox: John Bolton’s complete reversal on Russia, in one tweet http://bit.ly/2OiN1b3
// Bolton before Trump: Russia’s election interference is “an act of war.” Bolton with Trump: Mueller’s Russia probe is a “witch hunt.”

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: After Trump’s Russia Summit, Freaked-out Republicans Are Supporting Mueller Probe http://nym.ag/2mKcxcD

NBC: Foreign Affairs chair says Trump is ignoring sanctions on Russia for former spy poisoning http://nbcnews.to/2NJPnyD
// Rep. Ed Royce is asking the president for new sanctions on Russia for attack in Britain.

TheHill: Meadows backs off impeaching Rosenstein after leadership talks http://bit.ly/2OiMHZT

🐣 RT @Hardball “There’s no Twitter-client privilege in the law, so that’s not going to save him.” @RepSwalwell on Mueller looking at Trump’s tweets going after Sessions, Comey. #Hardball

AP: Emails: Lawyer who met Trump Jr. tied to Russian officials http://bit.ly/2v7loZS

The Moscow lawyer said to have promised Donald Trump’s presidential campaign dirt on his Democratic opponent worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously let on, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Scores of emails, transcripts and legal documents paint a portrait of Natalia Veselnitskaya as a well-connected attorney who served as a ghostwriter for top Russian government lawyers and received assistance from senior Interior Ministry personnel in a case involving a key client.

The data was obtained through Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s London-based investigative unit, the Dossier Center, that is compiling profiles of Russians it accuses of benefiting from corruption. The data was later shared with journalists at the AP, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Greek news website Inside Story and others.

🐣 RT @DeadlineWH “A tweet is just a tweet…Except when it isn’t. That’s Donald Trump’s new reality today. New reporting in the NY Times reveals Robert Mueller is examining Trump’s tweets and public attacks on witnesses in the obstruction of justice investigation.” – @NicolleDWallace
💽 https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1022574969698570241/photo/1

🐣 RT @McFaul So help me understand this, the Russian government considers it a crime to be involved in the creation of the Magnitsky Act? So they will indict @BarackObama too, since he signed it into law? Surely, even Putin’s regime is not that crazy. Can Russian speakers help clarify?
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @BillBrowder BREAKING: Russian government announces opening of a new criminal case against me and various US officials involved in the creation of the Magnitsky Act and the investigation into Russian organized money laundering in US connected to Magnitsky case http://bit.ly/2Oi76hI

NYT: Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry http://nyti.ms/2mKhZwj

🐣 RT @LauraAJarrett Sessions asked about Rosenstein impeachment threat during news conference in Boston: “My deputy Rod Rosenstein is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him,” says lawmakers should focus their time on changing immigration laws.

💽 CSIS: The Kremlin Playbook Spotlight is new series that offers a visual and contextual snapshot of the workings of Russian malign influence in Europe. http://cs.is/2L9ULhu 

USAToday, Cindy Otis: Ex-CIA analyst: If Trump were a foreign leader, I’d raise possibility of blackmail http://usat.ly/2LSOt2a
// Donald Trump’s appeasement of Russia is unprecedented for a US president. His behavior is consistent with that of an asset being blackmailed.

⭕ 25 Jul 2018

NYT, Linda Qiu: Pompeo Oversells Trump’s Enthusiasm for Sanctions on Russia http://nyti.ms/2uUX4uM
// Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, played up the administration’s sanctions against Russia during a Senate hearing. But they were issued under a law that the president criticized and tried to water down.

CNN: Pompeo defiant in clash over Trump-Putin summit http://cnn.it/2v7hHDv

NYMag, Heather Hurlburt: Five Takeaways and One Surprise from Mike Pompeo’s Congressional Testimony http://nym.ag/2mJmPty

NYT: Pompeo Defends Trump With ‘Proof’ of Administration’s Actions vs. Russia http://nyti.ms/2v5r4Dv

WaPo, Max Boot: The evidence doesn’t prove collusion. But it sure suggests it. http://wapo.st/2Oh4aSk

While this was going on, the Moscow Project of the Center for American Progress reports, there were 82 known “contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives.” “None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities,” according to the project. Team Trump tried to conceal all of them. 

Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers who ransacked Democratic Party servers notes that the Russians first tried to hack into Clinton’s email on July 27, 2016, hours after Trump asked them to do just that (“Russia, if you’re listening”).

Finally, as Anne Applebaum noted , the indictment also reveals that the Russians stole not just emails but also the data analytics Democrats used to run their campaign. This happened in September 2016. A few weeks later, the Trump campaign shifted its “datadriven” strategy to focus on the states that would provide the margin of victory, raising the question of whether it benefited from stolen Democratic data.

[Carter Page FISA warrant:] It also says that Putin aide Igor Diveykin “had met secretly with Page and that their agenda for the meeting included Diveykin raising a dossier or ‘kompromat’ that the Kremlin possessed on Candidate #2 [Clinton] and the possibility of it being released to Candidate #1’s campaign.” (Page admits to being an “informal adviser” to the Kremlin but denies serving as a Russian agent. He also denies meeting Diveykin but admits to meeting deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich.) 

Former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. , among others, suspects that Putin has “something” on Trump — perhaps evidence of financial wrongdoing. But, by now, any such “kompromat” could well include the help that Russia provided in 2016.

🐣 RT @RichardHaass Today is ending considerably better than it started what with 1) postponement of Putin visit; 2) possible US-EU trade truce; 3) @SecPompeo declaring US does not/will not recognize Russian annexation of Crimea; and 4) US District judge ruling to allow emoluments case to proceed.

◕ NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll: Americans Don’t Think Trump Is Tough Enough On Russia http://n.pr/2uPWzCb
Tough on Russia: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1022332962828890112/photo/1
Interference: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1022329769608798208/photo/1
Confidence in:
Military/SCOTUS: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1022331965293375488/photo/1
FBI/Presidency: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1022332289093722112/photo/1

WaPo, EJ Dionne: Trump lies. And lies. And lies. http://wapo.st/2uODrVn

WaPo: Conservative lawmakers introduce resolution calling for impeachment of Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel probe on Russia http://wapo.st/2NNk2v9

NBC Poll: Trump approval sags in trio of Midwest states http://nbcnews.to/2LPI0Fk
// Trump fav: MI 36/54; WI 36/52; MN 38/51; Democrats also enjoy an advantage on congressional preference in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Coda: Dissecting the Trump-Russia Dossier http://bit.ly/2OhZ7RD

About: Coda Story puts a team of journalists on one crisis at a time and stays with it, providing unique depth, continuity and understanding to events that shape our world. Coda is for those who believe that understanding a crisis is essential to addressing it and those who want to know what happens after the spotlight moves on. In music a Coda is a distinctive passage, usually towards the end, which defines the entire composition. In journalism, Coda is a stand-out voice that helps to define a crisis.

💙💙 NYT, Sylvie Kauffman: Trump Reveals Himself as the Bully of His Allies http://nyti.ms/2LSZlgM Sylvie Kauffman is editorial director of Le Monde
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYT Le Monde Trump Bullies

LATimes: In his own words: Trump on Russian interference and Vladimir Putin http://lat.ms/2mGfhYB

CNN: 1 Trump Russia tweet, translated http://cnn.it/2NKxD6p //➔ Chris Cillizza decomposes Trump’s ‘From Russia to Dems with 💙’ tweet

Politico: McFaul to meet with U.S. officials about possible indictment from Russia http://bit.ly/2NJCZ1C

Politico: Senate eyes hitting Russia in slap to Trump http://bit.ly/2uQ6CY6
// A bipartisan push to impose new sanctions is gaining ground after Donald Trump’s widely criticized press conference with Vladimir Putin.

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Trump’s Russia problem is getting worse and worse http://wapo.st/2OgrTCc //➔ The latest Quinnipiac poll:

American voters believe 51 – 35 percent “that the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump.” … The Helsinki summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a failure for the U.S., voters say 52 – 27 percent. The summit was a success for Russia, voters say 73 – 8 percent. Trump was not acting in the best interest of the U.S., voters say 54 – 41 percent. … A total of 68 percent of American voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about President Trump’s relationship with Russia, while 32 percent are “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.” [ much more! ]

The good news here is that by large majorities the American people haven’t been snookered by Trump’s pro-Putin propaganda. The bad news is that Republicans have — raising the question as to whether the country should trust them with government oversight, national security and/or foreign policy. Voters who want a president who is strong on Russia, defends American interests and sticks by allies will have to look elsewhere in 2020.

🐣 RT @MollyMcKew As comparatives, here are Vox, Kremlin, and WH transcripts.
Vox is unaltered. Kremlin omits whole exchange. WH omits question.
To be clear: “Did you want Trump to win elex & did you direct your officials to help him?”
“Yes I did. Yes I did.”
// 3 atts: link https://twitter.com/MollyMcKew/status/1022092682041155586

⭕ 24 Jul 2018

Brookings, Elaine Kamarck: Putin’s Russia becomes Trump’s America http://brook.gs/2K2qRqa

Vox: Trump says he’s worried about Russian meddling … to elect Democrats http://bit.ly/2OiBcBB
// Trump now believes in Russian election interference. To help his political opponents.

NYT: Spotting CNN on a TV Aboard Air Force One, Trump Rages Against Reality http://nyti.ms/2NKtUFU

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Mo.

And then: “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

On Tuesday, the president effectively said black was white when he claimed without evidence that Russians would be helping Democrats — but not him — in the coming midterm elections. In January 2017, American intelligence agencies assessed that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to help Mr. Trump.

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

WaPo, Max Boot: Without the Russians, Trump wouldn’t have won http://wapo.st/2NIrgjH

The second tranche of stolen documents was released on Oct. 7, just 29 minutes after The Post reported on the “Access Hollywood” videotape in which Trump is heard boasting about grabbing women by the genitals. These emails, stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, distracted voter attention by revealing the transcripts of lucrative speeches Clinton had given to Goldman Sachs, a populist boogeyman.

🐣💙💙🔥 RT @MSNBC Rachel Maddow shows how the White House transcript and video of the Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki has been edited to remove the question asking Putin if he wanted Trump to win the election.
💽 https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1021975897249906688/photo/1

💙💙 WaPo, Elizabeth Bruenig: America’s heart of darkness http://wapo.st/2JTVNbZ

Before he ventures into the depths of the Belgian-colonized Congo in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” the novel’s narrator, English sailor Charles Marlow, visits a doctor who is only meant to declare him fit for travel. But the doctor has other interests — namely insanity. “Ever any madness in your family?” he asks Marlow, suggesting it may set in “out there.” As, indeed, it does, deep in the jungle where European officers and ivory traders have wrought vast and senseless savagery in the supposed service of Western civilization. …

Those emails the Russians loosed upon the electorate were damning precisely because they revealed a similar scheme operating in miniature during the Democratic primary campaign: The supposedly neutral DNC functioned as more or less a Clinton campaign organ …

The gravity and legality of the two exercises in meddling differ, certainly. But they both operate to wound our faith in democratic legitimacy. It has gone this way before. It took several incidents, from Vietnam to Watergate to scattered episodes of civil unrest, to permanently damage American trust in government; but as distinct as each event was, they all fractured the same essential faith. We haven’t returned to consistent levels of pre-’70s levels of trust in 40 years, and I doubt this current civic unease will fade much sooner.

This particular horror — Trump and his failures, whatever ridiculous thing he has said or done today, whatever international incident he causes on Twitter tomorrow, however authentic the next panic is — will pass. What will last is the frank revelation of a point that, while ugly and dark, is at least true: You really don’t have the choices you ought to in American democracy, because of decisions made without your consent by people of wealth and power behind closed doors. It’s possible to continue to participate in a democracy after that. But not with a quiet mind.

CNN: Russia slams US general, says he ‘discredited’ Trump http://cnn.it/2mE4Btk

The Russian Ministry of Defense slammed US Gen. Joseph Votel Tuesday, accusing America’s top military commander in the Middle East of discrediting President Donald Trump’s position after Votel expressed hesitancy about working with Russia in Syria.

“With his statements, General Votel not only discredited the official position of his supreme commander-in-chief, but also exacerbated the illegality under international law and US law of the military presence of American servicemen in Syria,” the Russian Ministry said in a statement published on social media in response to an interview Votel gave to ABC News.

“I would want to make sure that this isn’t something that we stepped into lightly,” Votel, the commander of US Central Command, said when asked about the idea of the US and Russia working together to facilitate the return of refugees.

“I am not recommending that. And that would be a pretty big step at this point,” Votel added.

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the issue of refugee return had been discussed during last week’s meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin but did not say that any agreements had been reached. …

Votel told reporters at the Pentagon that he had received no new direction following the Trump-Putin meeting and Trump has also appeared to suggest that while many issues related to the region had been discussed, the implementation of any agreements would not take place until a second meeting between Trump and Putin.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis also confirmed that the US was not cooperating with Russia in Syria while speaking with Pompeo in Palo Alto, California, alongside their Australian counterparts.

“In regard to Syria, what we do with the Russian Federation is we de-conflict our operations, we do not coordinate them,” Mattis said.

“We will not be doing anything additional until the secretary of state and the President have further figured out at what point we’re going to start working alongside our allies with Russia in the future, that has not happened yet and it would be premature for me to go into any more detail at this point because we’re not doing any more than this,” he added.

🐣 RT @chessninja Putin seeks moral equivalence with the free world, prestige on the international stage & legitimacy as a power broker in the Middle East and Ukraine so he can appear indispensable to his cronies in Russia. All of that has come from Trump.

🐣 RT @jaketapper “We don’t apologize for America anymore,” President Trump tells the @VFWHQ convention, 8 days after blaming poor U.S.-Russia relations entirely on the U.S.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!
// 7/16/2018

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC Kremlin shows more sense than Trump. Post-Helsinki, it realizes that a Putin-Trump meeting before the midterm elections is not likely to help Trump and the GOP.

🐣 RT @funder [Dworkin] Putin is making Trump look like a laughingstock, pretty much turning down his White House invite. The Kremlin says Putin might consider meeting at the G20. This is so embarrassing. It shows how weak Trump really is. A coward and a traitor who lets Putin call all of the shots.

DeadlineWH: “Donald Trump’s Helsinki hangover stretches into its 9th day today. The president tweeting another bizarre message designed to muddle the indelible image of servitude to Vladimir Putin over Russia’s role in the 2016 election…. ” – @NicolleDWallace
💽 https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1021849473423691777/photo/1

🐣 RT @atDavidHoffman [sic] Oh. Just. Stop. It.
Even your supporters aren’t stupid enough to believe this.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!

CNN: Burr breaks with Nunes: ‘Sound reasons’ for judges to approve FISA warrant http://cnn.it/2mLIPUV

◕ 🐣 RT @ JohnHarwood Quinnipiac Poll:
-51% say Trump has weakened US as leader of free world
-53% say he wants what’s best for himself, not the US
-55% say Mueller probe is fair
-51% say Russians have compromising info on Trump
-73% say Russia succeeded in Helsinki
-27% say US succeeded in Helsinki

🐣 RT @Green_Footballs “Coy?” Seriously, Reuters? There’s absolutely nothing “coy” going on here. Putin is showing Trump who’s the real boss. “Coy” is a weirdly inappropriate way to refer to this.
⋙ Reuters: Kremlin, coy on new summit idea, says Putin and Trump can meet at G20 https://reut.rs/2NH4Mj3 

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Who met with Maria Butina? http://wapo.st/2uLwe8w

⭕ 23 Jul 2018

WSJ: Russian Hackers Reach U.S. Utility Control Rooms, Homeland Security Officials Say http://on.wsj.com/2JQ0La1
// Blackouts could have been caused after the networks of trusted vendors were easily penetrated

The Russian hackers, who worked for a shadowy state-sponsored group previously identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, broke into supposedly secure, “air-gapped” or isolated networks owned by utilities with relative ease by first penetrating the networks of key vendors who had trusted relationships with the power companies, said officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

“They got to the point where they could have thrown switches” and disrupted power flows, said Jonathan Homer, chief of industrial-control-system analysis for DHS.

DHS has been warning utility executives with security clearances about the Russian group’s threat to critical infrastructure since 2014. But the briefing on Monday was the first time that DHS has given out information in an unclassified setting with as much detail. It continues to withhold the names of victims but now says there were hundreds of victims, not a few dozen as had been said previously.

NYT, Linda Qiu: Trump Again Falsely Claims Russia Investigation Started With Steele Dossier http://nyti.ms/2v0ti73
// The president and his press secretary repeated the false claim that the findings of a former British spy prompted the inquiry. A congressional report found it began with a diplomat’s tip about a Trump political adviser.

The New York Times has reported — and Republicans who hold the majority vote on the House Intelligence Committee have concluded — that the investigation began in July 2016 and was prompted by the actions of George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

Mr. Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that Russia had political “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate. Australian officials then alerted their American counterparts of the conversation with Mr. Papadopoulos.

The information provided by Mr. Steele did not reach F.B.I. officials who were investigating Mr. Trump’s campaign until mid-September of 2016, The Times reported in May.

Politico: How U.S. intelligence agencies can find out what Trump told Putin http://bit.ly/2uKqJ9V
// A top-secret Special Collection Service has extraordinary capabilities to hoover up intel from foreign adversaries.

“Most of the questions about what happened in Helsinki — and about the risks the president created there — are skipping over a more fundamental concern: How can intel officers effectively support policy, at any level, when only the president knows what the policy is?” asks David Priess, a former CIA officer and daily White House intelligence briefer. “If, one-on-one with Putin, the president made or changed policy, and he refuses to tell anyone exactly what happened, how can the national security bureaucracy prepare the memos and talking points for future meetings to be held about those very policies?”

🐣 RT @PeterBakerNYT Days after saying he really does accept the findings of the intelligence agencies that Russia intervened in the election, Trump walks back the walk back and says again that “it is all a big hoax.”

🚫 USAToday, James Robbins: Suspend Robert Mueller’s politically tainted investigation into Russia-Trump collusion http://usat.ly/2uFUw3s
// 12/11/2017; well laid out but TTLG

TheGuardian: Trump says Iran will ‘suffer consequences’ after speech by president Rouhani http://bit.ly/2A3T4gK
// US president issues late-night tweet in capital letters, saying Iran must ‘never, ever threaten the United States again’

TheGuardian, Simon Tisdall: Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran http://bit.ly/2Oavphn
// 7/15/2018, When will Europe realise the American president is an antagonist, not an ally?

Axios, Mike Allen: Trump’s “America First” becomes a global reality http://bit.ly/2Ltimcy

🐣 Our child-president wants his news cycle‼️ Give it to him or he’ll start throwing his toys at Iran‼️

⭕ 22 Jul 2018

Politico: Risks pile up for Trump as Manafort heads to trial http://bit.ly/2v0B2Gu
// The president’s former campaign chairman is set to be the first to go before a jury in the Mueller investigation.

CNN, Brian Stelter: Trump’s ‘hoax’ tweet means the press has even more questions to ask http://cnnmon.ie/2mC1e6t

WaPo: Trump again reverses course on Russian interference, calls it ‘all a big hoax’ http://wapo.st/2uVsUa8

🐣 RT @KremlinTrolls Ret. Lt. Colonel Peters: “I am convinced Trump is basically a slave of Vladimir Putin. I do believe, as a former Russian analyst, that the salient points in the infamous dossier, the Steele dossier, are true. I believe Trump is subject to blackmail, certainly financially.”
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/KremlinTrolls/status/1021017171126882305
// on msnbc TheBeat w @AriMelber

🐣 RT @SethAbramson BREAKING NEWS: Trump’s Fragile Psyche Finally Snaps; World Awaits Whatever the Hell Comes Next
⋙ 🐣 RT @real To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS! [sic]
Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1021234525626609666
// 10:24pm; weird

WSJ: Officials’ Stark Warnings on Russia Diverge From White House View http://on.wsj.com/2uX5st1
// Clashing assessments raise a question ahead of the next Trump-Putin summit: Can the U.S. formulate a coherent Russia policy?

NYT: How a Trump Decision Revealed a G.O.P. Memo’s Shaky Foundation http://nyti.ms/2JLZXTm

WaPo: Russian billionaire with U.S. investments backed alleged agent Maria Butina, according to a person familiar with her Senate testimony http://wapo.st/2O9lrgw
// Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire with investments in U.S. energy and technology companies, according to a person familiar with testimony she gave Senate investigators.

In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Butina’s emails and chat logs are full of references to a billionaire as the “funder” of her activities. They wrote that the billionaire is a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.”

Nikolaev’s connections to the Russian government “cannot be characterized as deep,” his spokesman said.

“Mr. Nikolaev has no connections to the Russian government other than those that are strictly required professionally,” said the spokesman, who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

HuffPo/Reuters: Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Met With 2 Senior U.S. Officials In 2015 http://bit.ly/2JGTVn2
// The meetings involved officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

🐣 RT @krassenstein What did she know, and when did she know it???
⋙ 🐣 Who did she screw and when did she screw them? #Путинсутенер #PutinPimp #FreeMariaButina

WaPo, Philip Bump: With the release of new documents, Devin Nunes’ memo on Carter Page has gotten even less credible http://wapo.st/2LzXBMw

🐣 RT @ZachsMind Were there ppl still supporting Nixon up to and past his resignation and pardon? Did they sound as crazy as Trumpsters do today?
⋙ 🐣 They did. Agnew (whose speeches were written by Pat Buchanan, the Stephen Miller of his day) was particularly good at rousing the base. Middle-aged women were especially fanatical. Then Agnew left under corruption charges. But in the end ‘Lordy there were tapes.’ Then it turned.
⋙ 🐣 What was different: There was no Fox News (though Roger Ailes worked for Nixon) and Nixon knew statecraft and, despite his MANY failings, cared about the country. Trump has no sense of honor or shame. None.

TheGuardian: ‘Trump derangement syndrome’: the week America went mad http://bit.ly/2JGfjZD
// The president kowtowed to Putin, Democrats and the media cried treason … and the Republican base stayed solid

◕ TheSternFacts, Grant Stern (2017): Trump Russia Dossier Decoded: Yes, There Really Was A Massive Oil Deal http://bit.ly/2O8U8Tx
Dossier timeline: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020955982967422976/photo/1
Rosneft privatization: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020956702718427136/photo/1
Rosneft’s privatization sale: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020956990158376960/photo/1
Trump’s American handlers: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020957352831397889/photo/1
// 3/20/2017

ABCNews [AU]: FBI documents show Trump campaign aide Carter Page was ‘collaborating’ with Russia http://ab.co/2NCATQT

⭕ 21 Jul 2018

NYT, Charles Sykes: Republicans, Don’t Just Tweet About It. Do Something. http://nyti.ms/2A0TDYv

In just a few days, President Trump undermined the global world order, weakened our alliances, cast doubt on our commitments to NATO, sided with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence agencies and suggested that the Russians be allowed to interrogate a former ambassador to their country. Despite the attempted walkbacks, clarifications and various obfuscations about dropped contractions, the damage is real. And now Mr. Trump wants Mr. Putin to come to Washington.

The danger should be obvious. That’s why mere expressions of outrage simply are no longer adequate.

… Republican members of Congress need to act like a political party with principles rather than outsourcing their consciences to a handful of critics who are willing to say out loud what many of them are saying in private.

“The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully,” tweeted Senator Corker, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But it will break only if he and his colleagues actually do something.

Although Republican voters are sticking with the president, an analysis of results from a recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found that more than half of the voters in competitive House districts prefer candidates who promise to be a check on Mr. Trump.

Congress could pass a resolution like the one co-sponsored by Senators Flake of Arizona and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, reaffirming the intelligence community’s finding of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, commending the Justice Department for its investigation and making it clear that the Russian Federation should be held accountable.

As the editors of The Weekly Standard suggested last week, Congress could pass a resolution of censure for the president’s conduct and his subsequent comments. Congress can also take steps with concrete consequences:

● Pass legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia in the event of any future attacks on our democratic process. Dare President Trump to veto it. Override him if he does.

● Hold hearings that would include in-depth testimony from the national security team on the Russian attacks, putting the case on the record (again), while putting pressure on members of the administration to correct the president’s comments. Similar hearings should focus on our commitments to NATO.

● Take up legislation that would protect the special counsel, Robert Mueller, from Mr. Trump. That bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support but has been blocked by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

● Pass legislation that would limit President Trump’s power to impose unilateral tariffs without congressional approval.
● Call off the lap dogs. Speaker Paul Ryan could back up his verbal support for the Mueller probe by signaling to his colleagues that they should stop their attempts to obstruct and undermine the investigation. Better yet, he could force the embarrassing Devin Nunes, Republican of California, out of the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

In addition, Congress could draw on the model of the post-Watergate era and adopt bipartisan legislation limiting the abuse of presidential power and strengthening public integrity and anti-corruption legislation. This would include requiring the release of the tax returns of presidential candidates, the extension of conflict-of-interest laws to the president and members of his immediate family, requiring the divestment of ongoing business investments and a ban on the acceptance of foreign emoluments.

🐣 RT @ShannomWatts Paul Erickson, boyfriend of alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, reportedly lobbied for K.T. McFarland to serve as deputy national security advisor and deputy to Michael Flynn. Both Erickson and Butina are GOP and @NRA operatives.
⋙ 💽 msnbc video https://twitter.com/shannonrwatts/status/1020726066258890756/photo/1

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance The NRA & gun rights were used by Russia as the crucible to divide & diminish our country. Now-indicted Russian agent Maria Butina wrote in a conservative publication in 2015 that the GOP Elephant had more in common with the Russian Bear than the Democratic Donkey.

TheHill: GOP to White House: End summit mystery http://bit.ly/2NxVeXM

CNN: Clinton criticizes Trump, saying ‘hardly anybody who believes in freedom gets along with’ Putin http://cnn.it/2uIslB2

Clinton said “it’s no surprise” that she and Putin “did not exactly get along,” but added, “to be fair, hardly anybody who believes in freedom gets along with him because he is always trying to dominate, intimidate and direct how people and nations behave.”

Clinton also warned that the US is still “very vulnerable” to potential future election interference from Russia.

“Several of the intelligence professionals, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have said the Russians are still at it,” Clinton said. “They are still looking for ways to steal information about voter registration, for example.”

Clinton added, “there are some tech experts in Silicon Valley with whom I have met who say that maybe what they’ll do this next time is to really disrupt the actual election — shut down the servers that you send results to, interfere with the operation of voting machines because still too many of them are linked to the internet. We are still very vulnerable and we don’t have leadership from the administration.”

WaPo, Julia Ioffe: The surreal world ~ Vladimir Putin has his own version of reality. And President Trump believes it. http://wapo.st/2uFlGYz

BusinessInsider, Natasha Bertrand (2017): Memos: CEO of Russia’s state oil company offered Trump adviser, allies a cut of huge deal if sanctions were lifted http://read.bi/2O8QwB0
// 1/27/2017

Slate, Jed Shugarman (Mar): L’Affaire Kushner http://slate.me/2Luu5HL
// 3/2/2018, A series of revelations about the White House princeling have added further credence to the key claim of the Steele dossier.

The Steele dossier alleges that Russians made a deal with Carter Page in the summer of 2016 to sell 19 percent of fossil fuel giant Rosneft, a multibillion dollar deal, and secretly transfer benefits to Trump officials. The dossier alleged that Page was a campaign intermediary to meet personally with Russians, and that Igor Sechin—the CEO of Rosneft and a close Putin ally—and Page had held a “secret meeting” to discuss “the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related western sanctions against Russia.” The dossier further alleged that Sechin offered Page the brokerage of a 19 percent stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia. Page has denied that this meeting with Sechin ever took place.

🐣 RT @conspirator0 This publicly available evidence lends credibility to the dossier, and the FISA warrant: Page was in Moscow the same time as 19.5% of Rosneft was sold to an undisclosed buyer, matching the quid pro quo described in the dossier.
↥ ↧
⋙ RT @conspirator0 Did Carter Page tell an audience in Moscow that he had recent contact with a Rosneft executive? Oh yes he did. #TrumpRussia (12/12/2016)
// 3/5/2017
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @aaronjmate totally – because Page met w/ a Rosneft exec — and Steele reported it after it came out publicly — that definitely should lead us to think that Trump acquired billions of dollars in the Russian state oil company.
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @JamesHaning The Steele Dossier stated Putin would pay Trump 19% of ROSNEFT, Russia’s state owned oil company if he became president and removed US sanctions. After the election, 19% of ROSNEFT was sold to an ‘unknown party’ via a forgivable loan from the VTB through a Cayman Island shell co.
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @s0L1dforce Carter Page met with the president of Rosneft while in Russia when he was part of Trump’s campaign. This confirms a huge part of the Steele Dossier
Carter Page sought damaging material on Clinton while in Russia from Russian intel. Direct collusion and criminal conspiracy.

NYT: Carter Page FISA Documents Are Released by Justice Department http://nyti.ms/2mETJvD

SaltLakeTrib: Ambassador Huntsman to Gehrke: Why I’m staying http://bit.ly/2LeEY1f
// Huntsman is US Ambassador to Russia

Representatives of our foreign service, civil service, military and intelligence services have neither the time nor inclination to obsess over politics, though the issues of the day are felt by all. Their focus is on the work that needs to be done to stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world, one that encompasses nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism, stopping bloodshed in Ukraine, and seeking a settlement of the seemingly intractable Syrian crisis. Their dedication to service to their country is above politics, and it inspires me to the core. It is my standard.

I have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues, whom you reference, about whether I should resign. The laughter told me everything I needed to know.

◕🐣 Russian players https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020854124747939841/photo/1
// RUSAL at center; source?

🐣 RT @conspirator0 This does not affect the fact that Page (a Trump associate) meeting with Rosneft exec around the time the deal was completed supports (doesn’t prove, but supports) the assertion in the dossier that the 19% stake was sold to Trump.

NYT: Russia Seeks Release of Maria Butina, Woman Accused of Being Covert Agent http://nyti.ms/2LdOoK5
// A trickle of leaks and hints from Moscow about the closed-door Helsinki talks gave the impression of Russian officials controlling the narrative on global affairs, from the Middle East to Ukraine.

Only on Friday did a spokesman for the National Security Council, Garrett Marquis, finally dismiss the idea. “The administration is not considering supporting a referendum in eastern Ukraine” he said.

🐣 RT @KBbrannen “The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1’s campaign.” — FBI’s application to conduct surveillance on Page in October, 2016

WaPo: Carter Page FISA Documents Are Released by Justice Department http://wapo.st/2zZ4Oky

🐣 RT @Traciemac_Bmore “While the president suggested on Saturday that Mr. Cohen’s recording may have been illegal, New York law allows one party to a conversation to tape it without the other knowing.“

TheHill: Russia urges support of alleged agent with #FreeMariaButina campaign http://bit.ly/2uEa0Fg

DailyBeast, Glenn Greenwald: Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next? http://thebea.st/2Lfuv5F

WaPo: Trump’s Putin fallout: Inside the White House’s tumultuous week of walk backs http://wapo.st/2mE9m6x

ForeignAffairs, Sven Biscop: Letting Europe Go Its Own Way ~ The Case for Strategic Autonomy http://fam.ag/2uHkp2Y
// 7/6/2018

Reuters: Lavrov tells Pompeo: free Russian woman accused in U.S. of espionage http://bit.ly/2LaoRlb

🐣 Actually, there were three things Putin listed that made sense:
1) don’t weaponize space,
2) the Paris Climate Agreement is a good thing, and
3) the Iran Agreement should remain in place.
It’s good that Trump hears these things from someone he trusts, no?

TheIntercept, James Risen: The Butina Indictment Isn’t About the Sex Life of an Accused Spy. It’s About Following Russian Money in U.S. Politics. http://bit.ly/2LmPJxN

🐣 RT @GaryKasparov Yes. It’s the “autocratic method”. As soon as it’s no longer profitable to deny a crime, boast about it. Never apologize or show regret, because for a strongman that shows weakness.
⋙ 🐣 RT @tribelaw Trump’s base is being conditioned to accept a dangerous new syllogism: It’s good for America that Trump defeated Clinton. So whoever helped Trump win — including Putin — is good. So it’s dumb to worry about whether Trump colluded with Putin to win: even if he did, that’d be fine.

⭕ 20 Jul 2018

WaPo, Vladimir Kara-Murza: What’s really behind Putin’s obsession with the Magnitsky Act http://wapo.st/2NC9Ipz

🐣 RT @krassenstein This is a Pretty big BOMBSHELL:
8 months before the 2016 election, Kremlin-Connected Alexander Torshin tweeted:
“Maria Butina is now in the United States. Writes to me that Trump (member of the NRA) is really for cooperation with Russia… This is how the map will fall.”

USAToday, Kurt Bardella: Steve Bannon is a parasite abroad in search of a new host to ruin http://usat.ly/2NwNrta

DailyBeast, Kevin Paulson: Mueller Finally Solves Mysteries About Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’ Hackers http://thebea.st/2zYWOjj
// They may be part of the Kremlin’s best-known hacker crew. But many of their most important players were unknowns—until the Special Counsel stepped in.

🐣 RT @OMGno2trump Here’s how I see things:
– Trump knows Russia helped him win
– he knows that makes him illegitimate
– so above all else he has to deny Russia helped
– Russia has the evidence of what they did
– Trump knows if Russia leaks any of it his presidency is over
– so Putin owns trump

Politico: Accused Russian agent says she was twice denied visas to travel to U.S. http://bit.ly/2uW6AwS

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: Did Putin share stolen election data with Trump? http://wapo.st/2LaXEPa

Now we need to ask a new question: Was data also at the heart of the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia? Nearly a year ago, I speculated that the Trump campaign might have shared data with the Russian Internet Research Agency, the team that created fake personas and put up fake Facebook pages with the goal of spreading false stories about Hillary Clinton. The Russians certainly seemed to know what they were doing. On the one hand, the Russian team targeted people who they thought might be moved to support Trump by anti-immigration slogans and messages; on the other hand, they targeted black voters with messages designed to discourage them from voting at all. …

The Russian hackers, in other words, are the modern equivalents of the Watergate burglars in 1972. The only difference is the technology. The Watergate burglars broke into the Democratic campaign offices to tap phones and steal documents; the Russian hackers used malware and “cloud-based accounts” to achieve the same goal.

Did they share this information with the Trump campaign? If so, the timing is interesting. In October, a few weeks after the hackers broke into the DNC servers, New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman observed a major shift in the way the Trump campaign was spending its advertising budget. Access to Democratic Party data would, of course, have been useful in redirecting that spending. At about the same time, Trump also began using a curious set of conspiratorial slogans and messages, all lifted directly from Russian state television and websites. From Barack Obama “founded ISIS” to Hillary Clinton will start “World War III,” Trump repeated them at his rallies and on his Twitter feed. It was as if he had some reason to believe they would work.

… [S]hared data could explain why Russian state media, the Russian Internet Research Agency and the Trump campaign were all doing the same kinds of things at the same time. Shared data could also explain why Trump appeared to feel so indebted to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, why he wanted to speak to him with no aides present, why he is so reluctant to acknowledge Russian interference. It could even explain why he talks so obsessively and inaccurately about the size of his great electoral victory: because he himself believes that the Russians helped him win. He fears that this would make his presidency illegitimate. Which it would.
⇈ ⇊
⋙ WaPo, Anne Applebaum (Oct 2016): Why is Trump suddenly talking about World War III? http://wapo.st/2O6Rxct
// 10/28/2016
… [W]e have a Republican presidential nominee who regularly repeats propaganda lines lifted directly from Russian state media. Donald Trump has declared that Hillary Clinton and Obama “founded ISIS,” a statement that comes directly from Russia’s Sputnik news agency. He spouted another debunked conspiracy theory — “the Google search engine is suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton” — soon after Sputnik resurrected it.

Now Trump is repeating Kiselyov’s threat, too. “You’re going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he said this week. Just like Kiselyov, he has also noted that Russia has nukes and — perhaps if Clinton is elected — will use them: “Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk.”

WaPo, David Von Drehle: Trump is reviving the policies that once darkened the world http://wapo.st/2Nz0ydo

Lately, I can’t shake the image of a young man on a battlefield in France or the South Pacific. It’s 1944. He’s dying — one more incremental death amid the worst carnage the world has ever seen. What if I told you that experts’ estimates of the death toll in World War II range from 50 million to 85  million? …

I’ve been wondering how I could explain to such a man that many of his fellow Americans — most notably the president — have already forgotten where his war came from and why he had to fight it. America in the age of Trump is undermining, if not dismantling, the international framework put in place to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.

… The isolationism that fueled the original America First movement died with the first bomb at Pearl Harbor. The Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930 had deepened the Great Depression, and that crisis fanned nationalism from Berlin to Tokyo.

So when the wasteful war finally ended, the United States led the world away from those policies and built institutions to prevent new eruptions. The United Nations was formed. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund were created. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was negotiated (and later replaced by the World Trade Organization). The seeds of the European Union were planted, and America’s commitment to stability was made concrete through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Because these were human institutions, not one of them has been perfect. By any historical measure, however, the postwar order has been a tremendous success, for the United States as well as its allies.

This U.S.-led network of international institutions has produced the longest period without a war between great powers since the days of the Roman Empire. We’re at 73 years and counting. Prior to its creation, Europe had plunged the world into two global wars in the span of just 25 years. This alone — peace among the great powers — has been worth every penny spent and every hour of haggling.

But peace is not the only benefit. There’s prosperity, too.

In 1945, the U.S. economy had its best year to that point, producing $228 billion in gross domestic product. Adjusted for inflation, that is $3.2 trillion in today’s dollars. The people working round-the-clock in America’s factories and dawn to dusk on its farms, straining to feed, clothe and arm the Allied war effort, might have imagined that no economy could ever run faster. And yet, during the ensuing decades of peace, the GDP of the United States has grown to roughly $20 trillion — more than 500 percent. We’ve accomplished that while also enabling the ruined nations of Europe and Asia, our partners in free trade, to achieve similar economic miracles.

Warts and all, this Pax Americana is the unparalleled gem of diplomatic history and the epitome of bipartisan achievement. President Barack Obama was widely seen as backing away from America’s lead role; now President Trump is reviving the very policies that once darkened the world. I can’t shake the image of that young man. He’s asking: How can you forget?

WaPo: Russia continues to shape narrative of Helsinki summit http://wapo.st/2NurCdR

Russia’s U.S. ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, said separately that Syria had been the primary topic in the Trump-Putin conversations, along with “the removal of the concerns that the United States has regarding the well-known claims about alleged interference in the elections.”

Administration officials have said repeatedly in the past that no U.S. or European reconstruction assistance will go to any part of Syria that remains under the expanding control of Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad.

[A] National Security Council spokesman said: “As President Trump stated, the two sides agreed that their national security council staffs will follow up on the presidents’ meetings, and these discussions are underway. There were no commitments to undertake any concrete action, beyond agreement that both sides should continue discussions.”

The spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the NSC and its Russian counterparts were “continuing a working-level dialogue” to review suggestions by Putin for a new “cyber-group” and “restarting a counterterrorism group.” The two leaders also discussed forming groups of businesspeople and of retired diplomatic and military officials to provide ideas for cooperation, the administration has said.

Pompeo said he was “happy” that Trump wants the Russian leader to visit Washington this fall to continue their talks. “I think it’s all to the good,” he told reporters.

Russia and Iran have enabled Assad to decimate Syrian opposition forces, once backed by the United States … Withdrawal of Iranian forces “throughout the entirety of Syria” is at the top of the administration’s Iran strategy.

The Pentagon and U.S. allies in the region have pushed back at Trump’s stated desire to withdraw the relatively small U.S. military contingent currently in Syria, where it has organized and armed local proxy forces to fight against the Islamic State. Removal of U.S. forces on the ground, currently numbering about 2,200, is seen as reducing whatever leverage the United States has to press both Russia and Iran.

U.S. intelligence does not believe the Russians will deliver. “We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decisions and influence” in Syria, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum.

On Friday, Russia’s ambassador to Iran, Levan Dzhagaryan, said that Moscow has no intention of pressing Iran to withdraw and denied any strain between them.

“Like Russia’s military presence” in Syria, [Dzhagaryan] said, Iran’s military presence there “is legal because our military presence and Iran’s is taking place at the request of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

[“Five Eyes” countries] were briefed by an NSC official who reassured them that “no agreements were made” in Helsinki and no “negotiations” took place, according to one attendee.

At the NSC briefing for allies, an NSC official did not mention what Putin said Thursday was his suggestion to Trump that a referendum be held in the separatist regions of Ukraine. On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration is “not considering supporting a referendum.”

NYT, Natan Sharansky: The Essay That Helped Bring Down the Soviet Union http://nyti.ms/2JGLgB5
// It championed an idea at grave risk today: that those of us lucky enough to live in open societies should fight for the freedom of those born into closed ones.

Fifty years ago this Sunday, this paper devoted three broadsheet pages to an essay that had been circulating secretly in the Soviet Union for weeks. The manifesto, written by Andrei Sakharov, championed an essential idea at grave risk today: that those of us lucky enough to live in open societies should fight for the freedom of those born into closed ones. This radical argument changed the course of history.

NYT: Trump Doubles Down on Russia. The Spies Shake Their Heads in Disbelief. http://nyti.ms/2JMOB1C

The Pentagon declared on Friday that it would provide $200 million in assistance to Ukraine to help fight the Russian-controlled separatists in the country’s east. “Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behavior and its illegal occupation of Ukraine,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.

And a day earlier, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, pledged to offer Mr. Trump a candid assessment of the vast risks of inviting Mr. Putin to the White House.

The disconnect between the policies aimed at curbing Russia and the president’s position has never been wider, a gap that presents serious risks, current and former American officials said.

“If you are not clear about what the policy is, you are going to have an ineffective government,” said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the C.I.A. who served in Moscow in the 1990s and later ran the agency’s Russia program for three years. “It is worse than that. Parts of the government are working at cross-purposes to each other.”

In administration strategy documents, NATO communiqués and other official orders, Russia is called a growing threat, a potential or actual adversary intent on undermining democratic institutions of the United States and its allies. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Russia’s elite, and the special counsel has indicted about two dozen Russians on charges of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

But in recent days, as Mr. Trump sustained his attacks on European allies, declared his meeting in Finland with Mr. Putin a success and signaled that he wanted a more constructive relationship with Moscow, following a policy of isolating Russia has grown more difficult, officials said.

“The combination of the president’s repeated attacks on NATO, his repeated failure to hold Putin accountable for the 2016 assault on our elections and his refusal to call Putin out regarding the current efforts to subvert the midterms all raise legitimate questions about what is going on with the president,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section.

Adding to the difficulty of deciphering American policy toward Moscow is the fact that Mr. Trump seems to have told relatively few people about what he and Mr. Putin discussed at their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki on Monday.

Mr. Coats said he did not know what went on in the summit meeting, and other national security officials said they were in the dark as well. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that he had spoken to the president about the meeting, but Mr. Trump has not shared his thoughts widely with the government. …

The disconnect between the White House and intelligence agencies could create a thorny situation if American spies collect information that might be embarrassing to Mr. Trump — such as Russian officials saying that Mr. Putin had extracted concessions from Mr. Trump during the Helsinki meeting. …

… Pentagon officials have said they will continue to oppose Moscow’s aggression in Europe, and the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies have vowed to continue to draw attention to continuing Russian attempts to interfere in American elections. …

Mr. Wray joked that he meets people who frequently say to him, “We are all praying for you.” He said that prompts him to think to himself: “I haven’t seen television in the last two hours. Is this all the other stuff, or did something new happen?”

BusinessInsider (2014): These Countries With Large Russian Populations Should Fear What Putin Might Do Next http://read.bi/2O6wsyR //➔ Russia wants the unification of all Russian-speakers. It wouldn’t end with Ukraine.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020596367385858048/photo/1
// 4/21/2014

◕💙💙💙💙 ActingMan, Peter Tenebrarum (2014): Mapping the Conflict in the Ukraine http://bit.ly/2uTZwkz //➔ lots of maps; pro-Russian; that said, persuasively argued
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020598519265144832/photo/1
// map: dates sections of Ukraine were annexed

◕ Vox (2014): This very funny map shows what Vladimir Putin really thinks of Europe http://bit.ly/2JG172R //➔ not so funny anymore, is it?
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020588849377038336/photo/1

🐣 RT @tribelaw If this is true, it’s unfathomably treacherous. But Trump can’t refute it without making the American interpreter available. So that plot is thickening by the hour.
⋙ HillReporter: Putin Says Trump Gave Up Crimea And Other Parts Of Ukraine During Private Summit http://bit.ly/2LD2QYy

🐣 The Michael Cohen hush money story is a distraction. The FEC will do nothing. All that matters is what Trump & Putin talked about during their two hours off-line. The GOP is breathing a collective sigh of relief that they no longer have to weigh in on whether Trump is a traitor.

CNN: Trump team worries: Could Helsinki disaster strengthen Mueller’s hand? http://cnn.it/2JGf2pj

Bloomberg: Putin Tells Diplomats He Made Trump a New Offer on Ukraine at Their Summit http://bloom.bg/2mw6f0b //➔ didn’t we fight a civil war over this concept?

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: Four reasons we’ve reached a tipping point on Trump http://wapo.st/2NzDUSn

💙💙 NYMag, Andrew Sullivan: Why Trump Has Such a Soft Spot for Russia http://nym.ag/2JEiXTS https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020405132104695808/photo/1
//➔ clarifying and terrifying

This is not treason as such. It is not an attack on America, but on a version of America, the liberal democratic one, supported by one of the great parties in America. It is an attack on those institutions that Trump believes hurt America — like NATO and NAFTA and the E.U. It is a championing of an illiberal America, and a partnering with autocrats in a replay of old-school Great Power zero-sum politics, in which the strong pummel and exploit the weak. Trump is simultaneously vandalizing the West, while slowly building a strongman alliance that rejects every single Western value. And Russia — authoritarian, ethnically homogeneous, internally brutal, internationally rogue — is at its center. That’s the real story of the last week, and at this point, it isn’t even faintly news.

CNN, Chris Cillizza: The week the whispers about Trump and Russia became a roar http://cnn.it/2uCXCFG

WaPo: Inside the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump deal on Syria http://wapo.st/2JFZMJa “Trump now endorses a deal on Syria that Putin struck the week before with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

💙 BigThink: 34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America http://bit.ly/2O5OvFA //➔ wow

Once demoralization is completed, the second stage of ideological brainwashing is “destabilization”. During this two-to-five-year period, asserted Bezmenov, what matters is the targeting of essential structural elements of a nation: economy, foreign relations, and defense systems. Basically, the subverter (Russia) would look to destabilize every one of those areas in the United States, considerably weakening it. 

The third stage would be “crisis”. It would take only up to six weeks to send a country into crisis, explained Bezmenov. The crisis would bring “a violent change of power, structure, and economy” and will be followed by the last stage, “normalization.” That’s when your country is basically taken over, living under a new ideology and reality.

TPM: INFOGRAPHIC: Alleged Russian Agent Mariia Butina’s Influence Operation http://bit.ly/2LzJGT6 https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020320968290467840/photo/1

🐣 RT @SRuhle Wow… John McLaughlin- former CIA Director on @11thHour “We were attacked & @realDonaldTrump has sided with the enemy”

NYT, Michelle Goldberg: Are Republicans Covering for Trump, or for Themselves? http://nyti.ms/2O55MPi
// If the N.R.A. was compromised by Russia, the whole party’s in trouble.

… Speaker Paul Ryan, a Russia hawk who is retiring in January, allowed his party to torpedo the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference in the election. Ryan, after all, knows full well who and what Donald Trump is. In a secretly recorded June 2016 conversation about Ukraine, obtained by The Washington Post, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Far from disagreeing, Ryan said, “What’s said in the family stays in the family.” If he were patriotic — or even if he just wanted to set himself up for a comeback should Trump implode — he would have stood up for the rule of law in the Russia inquiry. It’s hard to see what he got in return for choosing not to.

This week, however, a new possibility came into focus. Perhaps, rather than covering for Trump, some Republicans are covering for themselves.

If the N.R.A. as an organization turns out to be compromised, it would shake conservative politics to its foundation. And this is no longer a far-fetched possibility. “I serve on both the Intelligence Committee and the Finance Committee,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, told me. “So I have a chance to really look at this through the periscope of both committees. And what I have wondered about for some time is this whole issue of whether the N.R.A. is getting subverted as a Russian asset.”

This is not a question that Republicans are eager to answer. Before Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee abruptly closed their investigation into Russian election interference, committee Democrats wanted to interview both Butina and Erickson. Their Republican colleagues refused. “If there were efforts towards a back channel towards the N.R.A., they didn’t want to know,” Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is the ranking member on the committee, told me. “It was too hot to handle.”

According to an audit obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics, the N.R.A.’s overall spending increased by more than $100 million in 2016.

On Monday, a few hours after news broke of Butina’s arrest, the Treasury Department announced a new rule sparing some tax-exempt groups, including the N.R.A., from having to report their large donors to the I.R.S. Wyden called the move “truly grotesque,” saying it would “make it easier for Russian dark money” to flow into American politics. You might ask who benefits. The answer is: not just Trump.”

Newsweek: Donald Trump Will Never Meet With Vladimir Putin Alone Again, Says Lindsey Graham http://bit.ly/2JFeAIh

Politico, Blake Hounshell: Why I’m No Longer a Russiagate Skeptic http://bit.ly/2uHVLQ3
// Facts are piling up, and it’s getting harder to deny what’s staring us in the face.

WaPo: Dan Coats: Once the Senate’s ‘Mister Rogers,’ he’s now an outspoken voice of reason on Russian meddling http://wapo.st/2LznSXZ

🐣 RT @rosenbergerIm Very welcome news from DOJ. This from Rod Rosenstein is exactly right: “Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them. The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda.”

🐣 RT @JohnJohnmintz Of course, this head of the CIA’s so-called Alec Station–according to the superb history The Looming Tower & the TV dramatization–was an author of the genius move to prevent the FBI from knowing CIA info on the al Qaeda men in the US, pre-9-11? An ass from start to finish.
🐣 RT @ScottMStedman A former CIA officer and Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station is advocating for the murder of US citizens who he claims are organizing a “coup d’état against the legitimately elected Trump government”
// attached Tweet now unavailable

⭕ 19 Jul 2018

ForeignAffairs (Jul): The Next Cyber Battleground http://fam.ag/2NwoApx
// 7/19/2018, Defending the U.S. Power Grid From Russian Hackers

CFR, Philip Gordon and Ivo Dalder: Trump’s Biggest Gift to Putin http://on.cfr.org/2LCc5vn
// The totality of President Donald Trump’s statements and actions against NATO makes clear that the United States cannot be relied on to come to the defense of its European allies.

USAToday, Jordan Libowitz: Maria Butina is the ‘spy’ the Trump administration asked for http://usat.ly/2uXCGIC

Due to Trump’s astonishing reversals regarding government transparency, we’ve arrived at an ethical morass that must look like a neon “Open for Business” sign to those who want to influence our government. And if things don’t change, we should expect to see more cases like this one.

Politico: White House morale tanks amid Helsinki fallout http://bit.ly/2LDLgTZ
// Staffers are considering accelerating their departures in the wake of the president’s equivocations on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

TheAtlantic: The World Burns. Sarah Sanders Says This Is Fine. http://bit.ly/2uUWnRm
// The White House press secretary has set a new precedent: Partisanship over patriotism. Victory over truth.

Here was the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responding to a question from The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman about the notion that Putin had raised of a group of U.S. officials, including the former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, being interrogated by Russia: “The president is going to meet with his team, and we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that.”

Here, on the other hand, was Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson, on the same issue: “The overall assertions are absolutely absurd—the fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian government is making about those American citizens. We do not stand by those assertions.”

Politico: White House morale tanks amid Helsinki fallout http://bit.ly/2LDLgTZ
// Staffers are considering accelerating their departures in the wake of the president’s equivocations on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

TheAtlantic, McKay Coppins: A New Talking Point From the Pro-Trump Fringe http://bit.ly/2LdISHF “If Russia assists MAGA Candidates on the internet in this year’s midterms, that’s not the end of the world.”
// A new line of punditry is bubbling up among the president’s followers online: It was a positive thing that the Russians hacked the 2016 election.

TaskAndPurpose, Katherine Voyles: An Alarming Guide To The National Security Dangers Of Social Media http://bit.ly/2LztNfF

Clint Watts’s engaging new book, Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, is about forms of engagement. Watts’s experiences as an Army officer and FBI agent are important to his background. He begins the book with his interactions, through his blog and Twitter feed, with an American-born member of al-Shabaab, Omar Hammami, and then shares his observations about the Syrian Electronic Army’s insistent Twitter presence before examining Russian influence operations in the 2016 election.

WaPo: Justice Department plans to alert public to foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy http://wapo.st/2uMlpSN

🐣 RT @DeadlineWH “It’s remarkable that you see all of these senior figures in the administration, the DNI, the FBI director, who come out publicly and don’t even try to pretend that everything is okay anymore … ” – @matthewamiller w/ @NicolleDWallace
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1020079194401886208

🐣 RT @PhilipRucker Inside White House, there’s anger and frustration with Dan Coats over @mitchellreports interview. “Coats has gone rogue,” a senior official told me. Trump, who nurses grudges, is unlikely to be pleased with the headlines about his DNI’s performance.
WaPo: ‘That’s going to be special’: Tensions rise as Trump invites Putin to Washington http://wapo.st/2NvAuQa
[Also:] 🐣 RT @DanRather I have never seen such a civil war within the Executive Branch. President Trump is at war, not only with the truth, but many people in government.

🐣 Whoopi Goldberg: “Listen, I’m 62 years old. There have been a lot of people in office that I didn’t agree with. But I have never, ever seen anything like this. I have never seen anybody whip up such hate. I have never seen anybody be so dismissive.” — Whoopi Goldberg, to Jeanine Pirro re: Trump

🌀 Spinner Confusion/Collusion https://twitter.com/BFlyReport/status/1019240867117355008/photo/1

🐣 RT @TheLoyalO Sally Yates explains to @maddow why Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is so important. We agree, which is why our coalition of pro-democracy groups has set his firing as a red line that Trump can’t cross without triggering massive civic protest. 1/2 MSNBC
💽 Video: https://twitter.com/TheLoyalO/status/1020142995339870213/photo/1

🐣 RT @AspenSecurity I’m concerned about a cyber 9/11…you have to try to anticipate what are the capabilities that our adversaries now have if they wanted to use them.”—DNI Daniel Coats
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/AspenSecurity/status/1020038510978510850

🐣 RT @MalcolmNance The American 5th Column: League Of The South Reaches Out To ‘Russian Friends’ | Right Wing Watch
⋙ RightWingWatch: League Of The South Reaches Out To ‘Russian Friends’ http://bit.ly/2msRDPb

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom [Clint Watts] Another page from Kremlin info wars playbook. When in trouble, instill fear (calamitous messages) into the audience, create perception of a dangerous alternative (Like nuclear war) “go with me or there will be War, awful things will happen”
⋙ WaPo: Trump says news media wants to see a confrontation with Russia, even war http://wapo.st/2Lyh1he

🐣 RT @JoeNBC My Latest: “Are today’s Republicans so tribal as to blindly endorse a foreign policy warped by President Trump’s obvious allegiance to a former KGB chief who controls Russia through repression, bribery and political assassination?”
WaPo, Joe Scarborough: Republicans should be repulsed http://wapo.st/2mx5Evm

NewYorker, Susan Glasser: “No Way to Run a Superpower”: the Trump-Putin Summit and the Death of American Foreign Policy http://bit.ly/2zVeix5
// Days after Helsinki, the Russians claim big “agreements” were reached, and Washington is silent.
⋙ See under Entire Articles: NYkr Glasser Superpower 7-19-2018

◕ CBS News poll: Most Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of Putin summit http://cbsn.ws/2uOSkWS
CBS News poll: Trump’s Handling of Summit with Putin http://cbsn.ws/2uOSkWS https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020141413726646272/photo/1
CBS News poll: Do you believe US Intelligence Agencies on Russia interference? http://cbsn.ws/2uOSkWS https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020141615762067456/photo/1
CBS News poll: Is Trump’s approach to Russia … ? http://cbsn.ws/2uOSkWS https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020141803020996608/photo/1
CBS News poll: Concerned about Russia Interference in 2018 Elections http://cbsn.ws/2uOSkWS https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020142022810898439/photo/1

◕🐣 Economist/YouGov Poll (Mar): Russia’s impact on the election seen through partisan eyes http://bit.ly/2L7YXyl //➔ Trump’s disinformation campaign against the fact that Russia hacked the 2016 has been effective with Republicans @Lawrence
Chart: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1020136250727182336/photo/1
// Russia hacked R 26, D 83; Fake news R 29, D 82

NYT, Rep Will Hurd (R-TX): Trump Is Being Manipulated by Putin. What Should We Do? http://nyti.ms/2JFpb5J //➔ Rep Hurd is ex-CIA
// Lawmakers must keep the American people informed of the current danger, writes a Republican congressman from Texas.

NYT (2017): Top Russian Official Tried to Broker ‘Backdoor’ Meeting Between Trump and Putin http://nyti.ms/2zWBNGc
// 11/17/2017

🐣 RT @BillKristol Having spoken to mid-level government officials, career and political, here at #AspenSecurity, I’m not inclined to urge the senior national security officials to resign. They seem to be running parts of the government in responsible ways and minimizing damage from Trump. For now.

🐣 RT @US_Stratcom “Twenty years from now, if we’re not careful, somebody could catch up to us. I believe we can never let that happen, so we have to stay ahead of technology.” – #USSTRATCOM Gen Hyten #GoFast #Fusion
⋙ Airman: Speed and Fusion ~ Air Force Research Laboratory and DARPA expand the realm of possibility in developing and countering new technology http://bit.ly/2uRh6FE
// 6/15/2018
↥ ↧ 🐣 Russian media has had quite a day with war imagery #psyops
⋙ RT: The Soviet’s RDS-220 hydrogen bomb – nicknamed Tsar Bomba – is considered the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created. Its test on 30 October 1961 remains the most powerful explosive ever detonated.
💽 https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/1020111045715783681/photo/1

TheGuardian: Accused spy Maria Butina met with Russia’s former US ambassador http://bit.ly/2mwlUgc
// Photos emerge of Butina with Sergey Kislyak, whose contacts with Trump advisers have raised conserns

🐣 RT @KenDilanianNBC “Trump’s advisers were in an uproar over Coats’s interview in Aspen, Colo. They said the optics were especially damaging, noting that at moments Coats appeared to be laughing at the president, playing to his audience of the intellectual elite…”
⋙ WaPo: ‘That’s going to be special’: Tensions rise as Trump invites Putin to Washington http://wapo.st/2L7T981

🐣 RT @MuellerSheWrote Whether this is true or not isn’t the point. The problem is that by agreeing to have no US diplomats or press in the room, @realDonaldTrump will not be able to prove he DIDN’T say this. And with his track record of truth telling, who’s going to believe him? #TRE45ON
⋙🐣 RT @RVAwonk wow. Per @bpolitics, Putin told Russian diplomats he & Trump discussed the possibility of holding a referendum in Russian separatist-controlled Eastern Ukraine (which would be used to justify Russia’s illegal invasion), but Trump asked him not to disclose the plan publicly.
https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1020097009796231168/photo/1
https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1020097009796231168/photo/2

🐣 RT @MollyJongFast I’d delete this one little buddy, @torshin_ru
https://twitter.com/MollyJongFast/status/1020101912434130944/photo/1
// Aleksandr Torshin re: Maria Butina: “D. Trump – is really for cooperation with Russia”

🐣 RT @SethAbramson (UPDATE) A reader notes that the referendum Trump is considering backing wouldn’t be for Crimea, as Putin already held his sham vote there, but even MORE of Ukraine (areas where there is conflict in Eastern Ukraine). So all this is WORSE than my initial post indicated—by a *lot*.

🐣 RT @TrickFreee Three cybersecurity officials are reportedly leaving their posts at the FBI amid concerns about cyber attacks from abroad and relentless disagreements with Trump.
⋙ NYPost: 3 top FBI cybersecurity officials are reportedly retiring http://nyp.st/2NvcuN4

CNN: Rosenstein: Russian attack on 2016 election ‘one tree in a growing forest’ of cyber activity http://cnn.it/2JD3GSZ

DeadlineWhiteHouse: Watch as DNI Dan Coats learns from @mitchellreports that Putin is set to visit DC in the fall
💽 Video: https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1020046330968801288/photo/1

BusinessInsider: LARRY SUMMERS: Trump just took another step toward turning the US into a ‘banana republic’ http://read.bi/2LAIm2j

NYT: Trump to Invite Putin to Washington as Top Advisers Seek Details of Their Summit Talks http://nyti.ms/2LqtDKy

🐣 RT @McFaul 98-0. Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you all for your support.

ABCNews: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats informed on stage at Aspen Security Forum that the Trump administration has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House.”Say that again,” he responds. https://abcn.ws/2Nu7fxf 

🐣 RT @TheLoyalO NEW from Deputy AG Rosenstein: The DOJ plans to start alerting the public if it discovers foreign hacking & disinformation operations targeting U.S. democracy. “Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them.” #AspenSecurity

🐣 RT @BetsyWoodruff Standing ovation at Aspen when Rod Rosenstein comes out to give his cybersecurity speech

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Sources close to Trump tell Axios that they’re already speculating about whether Trump ends up firing DNI Dan Coats. Per a source with knowledge, Trump has never had much affection for Coats.
⋙ Axios: Dan Coats says he wishes Trump took a different approach in Helsinki http://bit.ly/2JIBRsQ

🐣 RT @RobbyMook If Trump is effectively a Russian asset, at what point do the staff who support him become accessories to Russia’s plan, too?
⋙ 🐣 RT @PressSec [✅️] In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.

🐣 RT @jimsciutto Breaking: Senate votes 98-0 to oppose Putin proposal to interrogate US officials even after POTUS reversed himself on considering the proposal.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Jeff Flake: “We saw earlier this week in Helsinki what was truly an Orwellian moment. What we saw … is what happens when you wage war on objective reality for nearly two solid years, calling real things fake and fake things real.” (via ABC) [link]

Reuters: Putin warns NATO against closer ties with Ukraine and Georgia Reuters http://reut.rs/2Loy2xD

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned NATO against cultivating closer ties with Ukraine and Georgia, saying such a policy was irresponsible and would have unspecified consequences for the alliance.

The issue has been a source of anger for Russia — which shares a border with both countries and does not want to see them join what it regards as a hostile military bloc — since 2008 when NATO leaders promised Ukraine and Georgia they would one day join the alliance.

Putin, speaking to Russian diplomats from around the world assembled in Moscow, said on Thursday there was a need to restore trust in Europe and spoke out against what he said was NATO’s attempts to deploy new bases and military infrastructure near Russia’s borders.

“We will respond appropriately to such aggressive steps, which pose a direct threat to Russia,” said Putin.

“Our colleagues, who are trying to aggravate the situation, seeking to include, among others, Ukraine and Georgia in the orbit of the alliance, should think about the possible consequences of such an irresponsible policy.”

The Russian leader said he had discussed the matter with U.S. President Donald Trump at a summit in Helsinki on Monday.

NATO leaders discussed ties with Ukraine and Georgia – both former Soviet republics once ruled from Moscow — at their summit in Brussels earlier this month.

Prominent politicians in both countries are keen to join the Western military alliance, but have seen their chances of joining hampered by Russian territorial incursions.

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts cannot join NATO.

VOA: Russia Tests New Nuclear Weapons After Summit With Trump http://bit.ly/2Lpbi0k

ForeignAffairs, Rob Knake: The Next Cyber Battleground ~ Defending the U.S. Power Grid From Russian Hackers http://fam.ag/2NwoApx

🐣 RT @mitchellreports .@jmclaughlinSAIS: You are dealing with adversaries who are very well coordinated – if you don’t know what you want, they are going to get what they want. #AMR

🐣 Interesting: Russian media seems to be featuring quite a lot of missile and bomb imagery today. Couldn’t help but notice.
⋙ Tweet link: https://twitter.com/mod_russia/status/1019911273914478592

🐣 RT @EmmaKennedy So in the past few days, @GOP have blocked a rebuke of Donald, blocked funding to safeguard elections, blocked any attempt to find out what Donald agreed with Putin. They want Putin to meddle in the midterms. Only explanation.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Kirstjen Nielsen says at #AspenSecurity that she does not think there is evidence that Russia targeted US election infrastructure in 2016 with the specific intent of helping Trump win. (Putin said the other day that he wanted Trump to win.)

WaPo: Outrage erupts over Trump-Putin ‘conversation’ about letting Russia interrogate ex-U.S. diplomat Michael McFaul http://wapo.st/2mv8pNq

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson The desperation caucus is out in force, arguing that holding Trump to account results in civil war or holding Russia to account results in nuclear war. Both of these arguments are course of risible, but also quite telling. The feel it closing in now, hard.

🐣 RT @tribelaw We know Trump burned an under-cover Israeli source in his unrecorded (by our side) Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak. We need to know whom Trump might’ve burned in his infamous 1-on-1 Helsinki meeting with Putin. @MalcolmNance

🐣 RT @AaronBlake Chris Wray on whether he has considered resigning: “I’m a low-key, understated guy, but that should not be mistaken for what my spine is made out of. I’ll just leave it at that.” (NBC)

🐣 RT @davidfrum And within 9 months of that briefing, quite a number of senior Russian officials suddenly died ⋙ CNN: Nine months, nine prominent Russians dead http://cnn.it/2L9gwyb
// 8/24/2017
⋙ 🐣 RT @eorden Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. [link]

🐣 RT @real The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!

🐣 RT @BFriedmannDC Michael Scheuer, the former senior CIA official and NYT bestselling author of Imperial Hubris, is calling for Trump supporters to kill Trump opponents
https://twitter.com/BFriedmanDC/status/1018852773448900609/photo/1
⋙ Non-Intervention.com: A republican citizenry’s greatest, last-resort duty is to kill those seeking to impose tyranny http://bit.ly/2LvAO0Y
// 7/14/2018, As this week’s end, it seems likely that it is quite near time for killing those involved in the multiple and clearly delineated attempts to stage a coup d’état against the legitimately elected Trump government and thereby kill our republic.

🐣 RT @DavMicRot Serious people need to take Republican POTUS Trump SERIOUSLY & LITERALLY. He wants US security & economic alliance with Russia. He wants to sever US security & economy alliance with Canada & Europe. This would make US much less safe and prosperous. We need to debate and address.
↥ ↧
TIME’s new cover: Trump wanted a summit with Putin. He got way more than he bargained for https://ti.me/2zRJayx 
🌀 Trump/Putin: https://twitter.com/TIME/status/1019905190370119680/photo/1

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson NatGeo Narrator voice: “Notice the behavior of the feral Trump as its pursuers close in: manic tweeting, ludicrously obvious lies, a panicked flight back to the safety of it’s den at Fox News, and finally, gorging itself on KFC. Thus is the circle of life.”
⋙ Stay. On. Target. He’s tweeting out canards, snares, and media bait to try to make the press cover his distractions, not his ever-deepening Russia crisis. The press should decline the bait, stay rigidly focused on covering the biggest political story in modern media history.

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson NatGeo Narrator voice: “Notice the behavior of the feral Trump as its pursuers close in: manic tweeting, ludicrously obvious lies, a panicked flight back to the safety of it’s den at Fox News, and finally, gorging itself on KFC. Thus is the circle of life.”

🐣 RT @real The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear……..
⋙ …proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!

FoxNews: Trump was briefed about Putin’s meddling role 2 weeks before taking office: report http://fxn.ws/2zTz0O2

🌀We know the truth https://twitter.com/NBCBlacklist/status/1019601458491207680/photo/1
// #TheBlacklist; no more lies

⭕ 18 Jul 2018

TheGuardian, Nouriel Roubini: Donald Trump may kill the global recovery http://bit.ly/2mAEgwh
// The economy is being buffeted by growing concerns over the US president’s trade war

🐣 RT @JoshMarshall At beginning of Presidency Trump received deep detail of Russian operation from intel brief, apparently including human intel very close to Putin. Who’s confident Trump didn’t share that with Putin either in Hamburg of Helsinki?

Brookings, John R Allen: Chaos from order http://brook.gs/2zQVsaB
// President, Brookings Institution

WaPo, Max Boot: The stench from Trump’s execrable performance grows ever more putrid http://wapo.st/2LsxTGe

Politico: States slow to prepare for hacking threats http://bit.ly/2mvhJBa
// Most states aren’t planning to use federal funds to make major election upgrades before November.

🐣 RT @JillWineBanks This makes it even more inexplicable why 45 continues to defend and protect Putin instead of America. It proves he’s aiding and abetting an enemy of the US and democracy and violating his oath of office. [link TheHill]

🐣 RT @tribelaw If true, this shows that Donald Trump obstructed justice throughout 2017 and 2018 as an accessory after the fact to the crimes charged in the Mueller indictment of the dozen officers of Russia’s GRU, Putin’s military intelligence arm. The “high Crimes” seem to be piling up.
⋙ 🐣 RT @tribelaw Here’s the NYT story exposing Trump as someone who tried, from 2 weeks before taking the oath of office, to deceive the entire country about how Putin personally helped him win by criminal hacking [link]

🐣 To .@ManchuCandidate, Guardian/Observer’s @CaroleCadwalladr has done yeoman’s work, exposing the #BrexitHeist almost single-handedly, including ties to #TrumpRussia. Everyone should read this and weep: NYRB, Nick Cohen: How the BBC Lost the Plot on Brexit http://bit.ly/2LmkVtP

CNBC: Mark Cuban says studying philosophy may soon be worth more than computer science—here’s why. http://cnb.cx/2Nt1zUi It has to do with A.I.

FreeBeacon: State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Wednesday that Russian requests to question former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul were “absolutely absurd.” http://bit.ly/2L7I7jm

When asked if Russian investigators would be assisted by the United States in their efforts to interview McFaul and others, Nauert said she couldn’t speak to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ earlier comments on the matter.

“Well, I can’t answer on behalf of the White House with regard to that,” Nauert said. “But what I can tell you is that the overall assertions that have come out of the Russian government are absolutely absurd. The fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian government is making about those American citizens, we do not stand by those assertions that the Russian government makes.”

🐣 “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it.” – JFK, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961 http://bit.ly/2LvrgTu
I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

President John F. Kennedy’s Speech Announcing the Quarantine Against Cuba, October 22, 1962 http://bit.ly/2ux5hFq at a time of danger, maybe worth a read

🐣🔥‼️ Trying to see the big picture, I’ve got to think that the intelligence community finally after Helsinki &, realizing the GOP will not stand up, has pulled out all the stops w the NYT 🔥bombshell🔥 http://nyti.ms/2zR1IPh They believe the country is at an “hour of maximum danger”

WaPo: Putin’s push to interrogate U.S. officials Russia accuses of crimes, explained http://wapo.st/2zROPEP

WaPo: As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity http://wapo.st/2NrOGcZ

Trump continued to praise his private meeting with Putin and an expanded lunch with aides as a “tremendous success” and tweeted a promise of “big results,” but State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration was “assessing . . . three takeaways,” which she characterized as “modest.” They were the establishment of separate working groups of business leaders and foreign policy experts, and follow-up meetings between the national security council staffs of both countries.

🐣 “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” – Robert Mueller (Actually, Mark 8:27)

🐣 The RNC was hacked, too. Page 13 at the bottom of the last Mueller indictment, if I’m not mistaken. They either did nothing with it or are holding it as Kompromat.

🐣 RT @RichardHaass It has been an awful week for the US. @realDonaldTrump did real damage to foreign relationships that have served this country well. Serious people are raising serious questions as to his motives. And too many who know better have said nothing or, worse yet, rushed to defend him.

🐣 Russia is a foreign country. Not only that, it is an adversary. It is illegal for foreign countries to meddle in US elections. There are walls other than physical ones that define sovereignty. #AmericaFirst
⋙ 🐣 Citibank can contribute to campaigns because “corporations are people” & speech is money“ acc to two recent SCOTUS decisions, Buckley v Valeo & Citizens United v FEC, both of which I hope are overturned someday; but separate from the sovereignty issue, really.

💙 Buzzfeed, Ali Watkins (2017): The Strange Case Of The Russian Diplomat Who Got His Head Smashed In On Election Day http://bit.ly/2Ns4vAr
// 2/15/2017, How did Sergei Krivov die? And why did the NYPD close the case?

🐣 RT @McFaul I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin. Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin

WaPo, Michael McFaul (May): The smear that killed the ‘reset’: Putin needed an American enemy. He picked me. http://wapo.st/2uxEokN
// 5/11/2018

🐣 Doesn’t this mean they will indict Putin? Can they try him like they did Milošević in the International Criminal Court? That would be cool.

💙💙💙💙 NYT: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered http://nyti.ms/2zR1IPh
Text: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019770370067521536/photo/1
⋙ See under Entire Articles as: NYT Trump Knew Putin Interfered 7-18-2018

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

The shifting narrative underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump regularly picks and chooses intelligence to suit his political purposes. That has never been more clear than this week.
– – – – – – – – – – –
The Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, held at Trump Tower, was a prime example. He was briefed that day by John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director; James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence; and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of United States Cyber Command.

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was also there; after the formal briefing, he privately told Mr. Trump about the “Steele dossier.” That report, by a former British intelligence officer, included uncorroborated salacious stories of Mr. Trump’s activities during a visit to Moscow, which he denied.

According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence officials described the streams of intelligence that convinced them of Mr. Putin’s role in the election interference.

They included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence services. Officers of the Russian intelligence agency formerly known as the G.R.U. had plotted with groups like WikiLeaks on how to release the email stash.

And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.

Mr. Trump and his aides were also given other reasons during the briefing to believe that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hacks. … [more at separate doc and link]

🐣 Assuming we come through this nightmare intact, I swear I will never ever again take our freedoms or our civic institutions for granted. It will take a decade to fix the wreckage of Trump but we can and must do it. 🇺🇸

🐣 It IS 🧙‍♀️Witch Hunt🧙‍♀️ ~ one that’s already indicted 26 Russian Witches. And that’s not counting the Americans. @Lawrence

🐣 🕯Vigils🕯in highly visible locations are a great idea for the hot days of summer. My heart is with you all!

🐣 RT @JohnKerry The administration needs to make it unequivocally clear that in a million years this wouldn’t be under consideration, period. Full stop. Not something that should require a half second of consultation. Dangerous.

🐣 To @SecPompeo What about Ambassador @McFaul? Please ~ issue a statement immediately. This is alarming. The implications are enormous.

🐣 So Russia involved in blocking @MittRomney from @StateDept acc to @maddow wow

🐣 RT @atrupal TRUMP on MERKEL: “She allowed millions of people to come in & when they came into Germany they passed everywhere else & they went to other countries. Obviously it’s hurt Angela, I don’t want to say who is better [between her & Putin] but she’s been very badly hurt by immigration”

BuzzFeed: The Democrats Thought In Mid 2016 That Their Computers Were Free Of Russian Hackers. They Were Wrong. http://bit.ly/2zRYHOP
// Russians hacked a Democratic Party computer in September 2016, probably looking for details on likely Clinton voters.

🐣 RT @GeneralClark As former NATO Allied Commander, I know NATO’s Article 5 exists to PREVENT war. That’s why it’s only been invoked once – after 9/11. Montenegro is still sending troops to Afghanistan, for us. Worrying to hear Trump use Russian talking points with Tucker Carlson, about Montenegro.

🐣 RT @KenDelanianNBC FBI Director Wray: The Russians are continuing to exert malign influence on the American political system. #AspenSecurity

🐣 RT @SamanthaJPower Let’s recall why Putin began making outrageous, false accusations against @McFaul: Mike stood up for human rights and against Russian oppression. That terrified Putin. The fact that @realDonaldTrump won’t stand up for an American patriot is a travesty

🐣 RT @jimsciutto That’s probably even lower on our list” says FBI Director Wray of Putin request to interview former US Ambassador @McFaul which WH says Trump is considering.
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @mitchellreports .@LesterHoltNBC asks FBI Director if he could imagine accepting Putin offer to have FBI go to Moscow says wryly it’s not high on his list of investigative techniques

💙💙 ForeignAffairs, Michael McFaul: The U.S. Needs a Russia Strategy Now More Than Ever ~ The Real Lesson From the Helsinki Summit http://fam.ag/2Ly8r1W
Text: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019731728678735874/photo/1

Most disturbing, it appears that Trump and Putin discussed the possibility of having Mueller and his investigative team interview Russian military intelligence officers indicted for conspiracy against the United States in return for Russian legal authorities having the opportunity to interview U.S. government and former government officials (including the author) regarding alleged money laundering … To add to the craziness of this story, Putin suggested that Browder used some of these alleged laundered funds to finance the Clinton campaign in 2016.

There is no equivalency whatsoever between Russian government operatives violating U.S. sovereignty during a presidential election and the completely invented Russian allegations against Browder and U.S. government officials who supposedly helped him. Putin appears to have lied to Trump about Browder and his alleged confederates as a way to silence Putin critics. Yet at the Helsinki press conference, Trump called this outrageous Putin proposal “an interesting idea.” And who knows what other “interesting ideas” were discussed behind closed doors when the two presidents met one-on-one. Already, the Russian government is affirming its commitments to implement the security agreements negotiated in Helsinki, yet Americans have yet to learn what security agreements were discussed.

🐣 RT @JohnWDean That the White House would make such a statement, and even worse that Trump is considering it, is HORRIFYING. Congress should pass legislation stating all USA ambassadors retain their diplomatic immunity for their time in service FOREVER! They’re untouchable by other governments!
⋙ 🐣 RT @JeffZeleny An extraordinary disconnect between White House and State Department: .@PressSec says @realDonaldTrump is entertaining proposal from Putin to let Russia question former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul. State calls idea “absurd.”

VanityFair, Tina Nguyen: Putin’s “Incredible Offer” to Trump Is Even Worse Than We Feared http://bit.ly/2mr85PV
// The White House is considering handing over American diplomats to Putin for questioning.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Undoing the Magnitsky Act sanctions is among Putin’s top priorities. It explains the Trump Tower meeting, the dinner where he & Trump discussed “adoptions” (sanctions) and the public remarks re: Browder. Seems like it’s all been leading up to this moment.
⋙ TheAtlantic, Natasha Bertrand: Putin’s Big Tell? http://theatln.tc/2L5WtRg
// Putin’s decision to reference William Browder at the post-summit press conference provided even more evidence that a 2016 meeting between Trump-campaign officials and a Russian lawyer was blessed by the Kremlin.
⋙ 🐣 RT @KatieTur Don’t let this question by @maggieNYT go unnoticed. Sanders says Trump will discuss allowing Russia to question American citizens:
Text: https://twitter.com/KatyTurNBC/status/1019661925850984448/photo/1

🐣 RT @waltshaub This is stunning, outrageous and very very dangerous. The thought that the president would commit to even considering turning a former US Ambassador over to Russia — in connection with his federal service, no less — is amazing even for this administration. Where is Congress?!
⋙ 🐣 RT @JohnHarwood WH press sec Sanders acknowledged that Putin talked to Trump about his interest in prosecuting financier Bill Browder and former US Michael McFaul. she declined to rule out US cooperation in that effort, saying Trump would consult his national security team

RawStory: ‘He’s going to sell out any American’: MSNBC panel rails against Trump ‘stabbing’ ambassadors ‘in the back’ http://bit.ly/2L5bz9I

💙💙 DailyBeast: U.S. Officials ‘at a Fucking Loss’ Over Latest Russia Sell Out http://thebea.st/2O1UA63
// The White House’s refusal to rule out turning over former U.S. ambassador Michael McFaul to the Russians has current and former State Department officials seeing red.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 Trump effectively walks back his walk back.

🐣 RT @GenMhayden OMG. OMG. OMG.
⋙ 🐣 RT @BradMossEsq This literally contradicts exactly what the Director of National Intelligence just said. Point blank.
⋙⋙ RT @W7VOA Asked if #Russia is still targeting the US, @POTUS shakes his head and says “no.”

‼️🐣 RT @ryanobles NEW: During WH Cabinet meeting pooler @CeciliaVega asks POTUS “Is Russia still targeting the US?” to which the President answers “No”.

MotherJones: Trump Has Dreams of a New Energy Boom That Even the Fossil Fuel Industry Thinks Is Too Extreme http://bit.ly/2LsMP7e
//. “We’re giving away leases for pennies on the dollar.”

WaPo: Trump’s intel chiefs fight Russia’s election interference — with or without him http://wapo.st/2LiRHPA

🐣 RT @SenJohnMcCain The people of #Montenegro boldly withstood pressure from #Putin’s Russia to embrace democracy. The Senate voted 97-2 supporting its accession to #NATO. By attacking Montenegro & questioning our obligations under NATO, the President is playing right into Putin’s hands.
⇈ ⇊
🐣 RT @SenJohnMcCain #Putin will do anything to shatter the transatlantic alliance. In 2016, he nearly succeeded in overthrowing #Montenegro’s democratically elected government & murdering its prime minister in order to prevent it from joining #NATO. Read more:
⋙ USAToday, John McCain (2017): McCain flashback: Russia threat is dead serious. Montenegro coup and murder plot proves it http://usat.ly/2JzBYqq
// 6/29/2017

🐣 RT @SethAbramson The Washington Post agrees with my assessment from yesterday that Erickson is likely cooperating with federal law enforcement (and is unnamed for that reason). I don’t think anyone is fully appreciating how deep in the sh*t the NRA, GOP leadership, and Trump family are right now.

◕💙💙 Project-Syndicate, Carl Bildt: The End of NATO? http://bit.ly/2NUgJmF
// US President Donald Trump escalated his war on US alliances and multilateral institutions at NATO’s summit in Brussels and then at his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. There is now little doubt that Trump’s strange affinity for Putin represents a serious threat to European security.

More fundamentally, Trump’s complaint that the US is shouldering an unfair share of the burden for NATO’s collective defense is dubious. While the US military budget equals roughly 72% of combined defense spending by all NATO member states, roughly three-quarters of US military spending is directed toward regions other than Europe. Around half of the US defense budget is spent on maintaining a presence in the Pacific, and another quarter is spent on operations in the Middle East, strategic nuclear command and control, and other areas.

[T]he US has long used Europe as a staging ground for deploying forces elsewhere. And the early-warning and surveillance facilities that the US maintains in the United Kingdom and Norway are there to defend the continental US, not Europe.

The fact is that total European defense spending is around twice what the US spends on European security, and also roughly twice what Russia spends on defense, according to estimates produced at the US National Defense University.

… Although the US Army recently rotated heavy brigades through Europe for military exercises, its permanently stationed troops are equipped only for limited interventions.

This is why NATO must continue to improve its defense capacity in Europe. At a minimum, Europe needs more military forces, and those forces need to be equipped for rapid deployment to critical areas. The new mobility command that is being established in Germany is a promising first step.

Carl Bildt was Sweden’s foreign minister from 2006 to October 2014 and Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, when he negotiated Sweden’s EU accession. A renowned international diplomat, he served as EU Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Special Envoy to the Balkans, and Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference. He is Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe.

🐣 RT @NateSilver538 It wasn’t even like he was asked about this case specifically. Asked an open-ended question about a *single* case that he thought should be overturned, Kavanaugh named the decision that upheld the constitutionality of the independent counsel.
⋙ 🐣 RT @mkraju NEWS: Kavanaugh bluntly said he wanted to overturn SCOTUS ruling upholding constitutionality of independent counsel. There’s difference bw independent counsel and special counsel (like Mueller) – but it’s bound to spark questions about how he views Mueller

VanityFair: “This Was the Nightmare Scenario”: The West Wing Revolts After Trump Embraces Putin http://bit.ly/2Lf3hLJ
// As Trump grappled with his error, Chief of Staff John Kelly went into overdrive to get Trump to walk it back.

🐣 RT @juliadavisnews Yes. Russian Intelligence.
⋙ 🐣 CNN Headline: President Trump continues to defend his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki”

💙💙 🔆 This❗️⋙ Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru: Trump’s Russia Fixation Has a Simple Explanation http://bloom.bg/2NYeJd1 “I’ve seen Trump’s tax returns myself”
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019511228044136448/photo/1
// He can’t separate the question of interference in the election from the question of his own legitimacy.

I’ve seen Trump’s tax returns myself as part of a legal action that began in 2006 when he sued me for libel for a biography I wrote, “TrumpNation.” (Trump lost the suit in 2011; a court order precludes me from discussing specifics in the returns.) As I wrote in a May 2016 column about the tax returns, I suspect that Trump is hesitant to make them public because they would reveal, among other things, sensitive information about his business activities, conflicts of interest and financial pressures that might come to bear upon him in the White House. Pressure from places like Russia, for example.

Imagine if Trump were acquiescent to Putin because financial favors were exchanged, for example, for policy reversals involving the lifting of economic sanctions on Russia or supporting Russia’s military annexation of part of Ukraine. In that context, Trump’s finances — and his tax returns — touch on national security and the public interest.

It’s time for the president to release his tax returns publicly. If he won’t, then Congress and the Republican Party — if they are truly disturbed by Trump’s Helsinki performance — should demand that he do so. 🐣 RT @AltUSPressSecy Trump is claiming he “misspoke” when he denied Russia’s cyberwar against our election systems.

Russian State Media is claiming Putin was “mistranslated” when he admitted to directing Russian officials to ensure Trump’s election.
Orwell w/o Spicer: https://twitter.com/AltUSPressSec/status/1019482869004165120/photo/1

Mediaite/Msnbc: Fmr CIA Director Panetta: The Way Trump Behaves, It’s a ‘Clear Signal That The Russians Have Something On Him’ http://bit.ly/2LrI4uM

◕ The GDP of the entire country of Russia is $1.28 trillion (World Bank). This is HALF the GDP of California (Wikipedia http://bit.ly/2uxlURb)

⭕ 17 Jul 2018

ForeignPolicy: Robert Mueller Is Fighting a War http://bit.ly/2uKgQZf
// The special prosecutor’s latest indictments prove he’s waging more than just a legal battle.

💙💙 NewYorker, David Remnick: The Unwinding of Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2O12fkJ
⇈ ⇊
🐣 RT @JohnWDean The last 48 hrs in a nutshell: “Trump’s performances in Europe, and now in Washington, clarified nothing. They only raised dark suspicions and aroused the sickening feeling that we are living in the pages of the most lurid espionage novel ever written.” Remnick, New Yorker 7/18

🐣 RT @McFaul As I discuss in detail in From Cold War to Hot Peace, Putin has been harassing me for a long time. That he now wants to arrest me, however, takes it to a new level. I expect my government to defend me and my colleagues, in public and private.

TheAtlantic, Kori Schake: There’s No Defending Trump Anymore http://theatln.tc/2L70kgE
// The spectacle in Helsinki is over. Now it’s time for Congress—and the American people—to act. http://theatln.tc/2L70kgE

CNN: US offers no details as Russia claims Trump and Putin reached military agreements http://cnn.it/2L3lvQW

RT: Russia wants to question Christopher Steele, Michael McFaul, top politicians for aiding Bill Browder http://bit.ly/2O0eNci //➔ I usually don’t post from RT, but this is for perspective on the ridiculous case Russia is making against @BillBrowder, @McFaul and Christopher Steele

Politico: What Mueller Knows About the DNC Hack—And Trump Doesn’t http://bit.ly/2L2LAQ1 The president’s bizarre obsession with “the DNC server” defies logic or even a basic understanding of what actually happened.

💙 ForeignPolicy: Robert Mueller Is Fighting a War http://bit.ly/2uKgQZf
// The special prosecutor’s latest indictments prove he’s waging more than just a legal battle.

NYT, William Webster: Let Robert Mueller Do His Job http://nyti.ms/2uwM0E6
// Mr. Webster is a former director of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.; Faith in the justice system and in our intelligence agencies cannot be collateral damage in a partisan grudge match.

WaPo, Kathleen Parker: It’s time to excise the Trump cancer http://wapo.st/2NrI7Y1

NYT, Thomas Friedman: A President With No Shame and a Party With No Spine http://nyti.ms/2Jum5l7 “There is tremendous madness to Trump’s method”
// It’s become a huge source of power for Trump and trouble for the rest of us.

NYT Editorial: Time for Republicans to Grow a Spine http://nyti.ms/2L6ZwbS 10 concrete things they can do
// Some Republicans say President Trump embarrassed himself and the country in his meeting with Vladimir Putin. Here’s what they can do about it.

💙 ForeignPolicy: Robert Mueller Is Fighting a War http://bit.ly/2uKgQZf
// The special prosecutor’s latest indictments prove he’s waging more than just a legal battle.

NYT, Thomas Friedman: A President With No Shame and a Party With No Spine http://nyti.ms/2Jum5l7 “There is tremendous madness to Trump’s method”
// It’s become a huge source of power for Trump and trouble for the rest of us.

NYT Editorial: Time for Republicans to Grow a Spine http://nyti.ms/2L6ZwbS 10 concrete things they can do
// Some Republicans say President Trump embarrassed himself and the country in his meeting with Vladimir Putin. Here’s what they can do about it.

WaPo, Michael McFaul: The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki was a historic event — in the worst possible way http://wapo.st/2L5X4Cc

CNN: Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data was accessed from Russia, MP says http://cnnmon.ie/2zKi2kQ

🐣 RT @Comey This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must … counteract ambition.” All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.

🐣 Paneta: “I’d be very disappointed if we don’t know what went on in that room” (ie Putin/Trump alone time). My hope too that our IC bugged room. Paneta is ex-CIA chief. On @11thHour. Thinks Putin “has something” on Trump.

💙 Axios, Jonathan Swan: Trump officials embarrassed by Putin show http://bit.ly/2Npfued
// reaction to Helsinki press conference

🐣 RT @DanaScottLO That’s like saying: “Scientists concluded that the earth is spherical, but it could be a square or a rhombus.” Trump can’t admit to the Russian attack because doing so would not only prove that he was not legitimately elected, it would also be strong evidence of collusion.
⋙ 🐣 RT @christinawilkie Trump: “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

🐣 RT @McFaul I hope the U.S. government that I served faithfully for five years will stand up and defend us with public outrage over these ridiculous accusations. cc: @JonHuntsman @WhiteHouse @StateDept @USEmbRu
⋙ WashingtonExaminer: Helsinki update: Russia ready ‘to charge’ US officials for financial ‘crimes’ http://washex.am/2uJXXFF

… Putin’s team wants to question McFaul and at least three National Security Agency officials in connection to a case involving Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager who has led an international effort to impose sanctions on Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses.

Browder has been a gadfly for Putin’s team for years, dating back to his tenure as a high-profile investor in state-owned companies. Those clashes continued until Russian officials barred him from the country and shut down his investment company, a series of steps that culminated in Russian officials using his then-destroyed company to apply for a $230 million tax refund. One of Browder’s attorneys, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered the fraud, only to be arrested and then to die in Russian government custody in 2009.

A year later, Russian authorities convicted Magnitsky of tax evasion in a posthumous trial, and convicted Browder in absentia. Putin revived those charges during his joint press conference with Trump.

“They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country,” Putin said in Helsinki. “So we have a solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions.”

Putin offered to allow Mueller’s team to attend a questioning, in Russia, of the Russian cyber-spies in exchange for access to those U.S. officials. President Trump seemed to look favorably on the idea.

“President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial [of election interference] today,” Trump said. “And what he did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.”

But the White House didn’t say if Trump would accept the Russian officials’ request.

“While the administration will continue to hold Russia accountable for its malign activities, this meeting is the beginning of a process between the United State and Russia to reduce tensions and advance areas of cooperation in our mutual interest,” a National Security Council spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. “We are reviewing the discussion between President Trump and President Putin, considering possible next steps, and have nothing further to announce at this time.”

The Russian government is determined to punish Browder. “We won’t let [Browder] sleep peacefully,” Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said in June.

Motherboard: Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States http://bit.ly/2LqL8HD
// Remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.’

The nation’s top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.

In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had “provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them.

‼️🐣 RT @McFaul Absurd. I hope the Trump administration will push back on this nonsense, on the record.
⋙ 🐣 RT @BillBrowder BREAKING: The Russian authorities want to question former US Ambassador @McFaul along with officers of DHS and the DOJ who were investigating the Magnitsky case as part of the Putin/Trump Helsinki quid pro quo over me and the 12 Russian GRU agents
⋙⋙ Sputnik: Russian Prosecutors Want to Question US Officials, Ex-Envoy, Over Browder Case http://bit.ly/2JxPY3Y

William Browder, founder of UK-based Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, is wanted in Russia for various offenses, including tax evasion, since 2013.

The Office of Russian Attorney General is poised to send an official request to the United States’ authorities to question a number of US officials and intelligence agents, including the former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, as part of a criminal case against Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder.

“As part of the investigation of one of the criminal cases against William Browder and his criminal group, we’re ready to send another request to the US authorities to grant us permission to question these very employees of the US intelligence agencies, as well as a number of other US government officials and businessmen, in order to charge them for the crimes committed by Browder,” Alexander Kurennoy, spokesman for the Russia’s Office of Prosecutor General, said.

According to him, the list of people sought by Moscow for questioning includes “employees of the US National Security Agency — Todd Hyman, who signed under an oath a lawsuit filed in the US court on behalf of Browder, Svetlana Engert, who took from Russia the stolen materials from the criminal case, Alexander Shvartsman, who was Browder’s handler while he was in the US.”

Kurennoy also added that the prosecutors “have questions not only for US citizens”, and would also like to have a word with certain intelligence agents from other countries.

“For example, we would like to talk with Christopher Steele, an agent of the British MI-6. For a long time, he had contacts with a group of lobbyists of the ‘Magnitsky Act’ and, interestingly, it was through this person that the very investigation of the special prosecutor [Robert] Mueller, which everyone knows as the Trump Dossier, was initiated,” he added.

The Prosecutor General’s Office also claimed that Browder’s group employed offshore schemes to withdraw over $1.5 billion from Russia, with about $400,000 of which “were transferred to the accounts of the US Democratic Party.”

READ MORE: Hermitage Capital CEO Browder Urges Interpol to Suspend Russia’s Membership

In May 2018, Browder announced on Twitter that he was arrested by the Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant.

However, several hours after being detained, Browder was released after Spanish authorities announced that the warrant was invalid.

In Russia, the UK financier has been wanted for various offenses since 2013. In the most recent case in December, a Moscow court found Browder guilty of tax evasion, sentencing him in absentia to nine years in prison and charging him and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov with $72.9 million in unpaid taxes.

In February 2017, a Moscow court ruled to arrest Browder and Cherkasov in absentia. The United Kingdom has denied requests to have them extradited to Russia.

🐣 Also, Trump meant Boris Johnson WOULDN’T be a great Prime Minister. #CorrectTrump
Orwell (square): https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019339809364611072/photo/1
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
Alice in Wonderland: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019344547279704065/photo/1

🐣 RT @jaketapper There was no actual walk-back. The president continues to question the IC conclusion it was Russia: “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could have been other people also. Lots of other people out there”

DailyBeast, Michael Tomasky: Russia’s Plan to Buy Off the GOP Began Before the Rise of Trump http://thebea.st/2LpE6Tv “The Russia infiltration plot was not dependent on Trump. … The pre-Trump Republican Party, that is to say, was already plenty corrupt for them.”
// Republicans placed an anti-patriot in the Oval Office—just as the Russians bet they would.

There is no shortage of bombshell angles to this Maria Butina matter, announced by the Justice Department on Monday just hours after Donald Trump helped make Russia great again in Helsinki.

[I]t didn’t take Trump being a candidate for the Russians to decide to work to influence American electoral politics. They decided before Trump. The pre-Trump Republican Party, that is to say, was already plenty corrupt for them.

If this doesn’t inspire some soul-searching among Republicans, I don’t know what will. …

Well, it’s a little late now, isn’t it? You have placed an anti-patriot in the Oval Office. Exactly as the Russians bet you would. Never again browbeat us with your cheap shows of patriotism. You’re the un-Americans.

🐣 RT @HansNichols JUST IN: Rod Rosenstein was summoned to the WH today, four days after he indicted 12 Russian Intelligence Officers. He was seen leaving the WH at 11:28AM. Unclear if he met with President Trump, who is still in the residence and hasn’t showed up in the West Wing this morning.

🐣 RT @kenvogel COINCIDENCE? PUTIN’s claim about @BillBrowder’s associates funneling $400M in ill-gotten $ from Russia to @HillaryClinton was laid out in the memo that NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA brought to her June 2016 TRUMP TOWER mtg with @DonaldJTrumpJr, KUSHNER & MANAFORT.
⋙ NYT: Talking Points Brought to Trump Tower Meeting Were Shared With Kremlin http://nyti.ms/2JuN0gs
// 10/27/2018

💙💙 Rollingstone, Tom Dickinson (Apr): Inside the Decade-Long Russian Campaign to Infiltrate the NRA and Help Elect Trump http://rol.st/2LqWkEa //➔ Aleksandr Torshin, Maria Butina, John Bolton and Right To Bear Arms
// 4/2/2018, Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia worked the National Rifle Association

This part of the affadavit against Mariia Butina – a series of DMs between her and her handler (likely banker Aleksandr Torshin) – seems like something out of Homeland or The Blacklist.
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019148114874241024/photo/1

🐣 RT @EmmaKennedy Maria Butina. In the Oval Office. (Towards the back red hair) Note “knowingly” in the indictments when it comes to the US citizens who aided her.
https://twitter.com/dustinhines/status/1019111118810337280/photo/1

DailyBeast: Stephen Colbert: ‘Alarming’ Trump-Putin Summit Has ‘Shaken Me to My Core’ http://thebea.st/2JtXLja
// ‘The Late Show’ host spent his entire monologue Monday night breaking down Trump’s “disturbing” summit with Vladimir Putin.

⭕ 16 Jul 2018

WIRED: What Robert Mueller Knows—and 9 Areas He’ll Pursue Next http://bit.ly/2LypFMR
⋙ See under Entire Articles: WIRED Mueller Knows 7-16-2018

🐣 RT @McCaffrey Reluctantly I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to US national security. He is refusing to protect vital US interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent that he is for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr Putin.

DailyBeast, Betsy Woodruff: Russia-NRA Arrest: This Is as Close as It Gets to Collusion http://thebea.st/2LioJPK “In a sworn affidavit, FBI agent Kevin Helson said Maria Butina worked to set up ‘back channel’ communications between Americans and the Kremlin.”
// For all the indictments, arrests, and guilty pleas in the far-flung investigation into Russian influence, none has come close to alleging collusion. Until Maria Butina was nabbed.

In a sworn affidavit, FBI agent Kevin Helson said Maria Butina worked to set up “back channel” communications between Americans and the Kremlin.

“These lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation,” Agent Helson wrote.  

Butina’s apparent supervisor, former Russian senator Alexander Torshin, also spent years building relationships in the NRA. In 2015, he was pictured at a meeting in Moscow with a high-level delegation from the NRA and sanctioned Putin deputy Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin, an ultra-nationalist hardliner, believes Russia should retake Alaska. Torshin faces money-laundering allegations from Spanish authorities.

Butina, who moved to Washington in 2016, has claimed multiple times to have been a conduit between the Trump campaign and Russia, as The Daily Beast reported last year.

[Trump:] “I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we’ll get along with Putin,” Trump replied. “I would get along very nicely with Putin, I mean, where we have the strength. I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well.”

On Oct. 4, 2016, according to the affidavit, U.S. Person 1 wrote an email copping to his role in Butina’s efforts.

“Unrelated to specific presidential campaigns, I’ve been involved in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin and key POLITICAL PARTY 1 leaders through, of all conduits, the [GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION],” he wrote.

U.S. Person 1 appears to be Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican insider who claimed to advise the Trump transition team.

RawStory: Putin tells Russian state TV Trump gave him a ‘very interesting offer’ on Ukraine and discussed getting around sanctions http://bit.ly/2Lq5joV “We heard none of it in the press conference”

“They talked about a deal in southern Syria, which would possibly be about pushing Iranian forces out,” he explained. “That this had been pre-agreed with the Israelis. That this would increase security. But in exchange [Bashar al] Assad clearly was going to re-take the country. Putin noted he already had 90 percent of the country.” //➔ NYT story

They also evidently discussed Ukraine.

“And Putin described something as ‘a very interesting offer,’” Rojansky said. “We don’t actually know of what the offer consisted, but it’s very interesting to me that they discussed Ukraine and Putin said that there is ‘an interesting offer’ there.” //➔ Artemenko plan?

He then said that the “kicker” was that they spoke about sanctions without talking about sanctions.

“So, when asked whether Putin asked for sanctions relief, Putin, of course, as a matter of Russian pride and also, I think, a negotiating tactic, knowing Trump could hand over sanctions relief, he simply says, ‘No but we talked about the interests of our two business communities in increasing economic ties and how we might do that in the current environment.’ So, that’s code for, ‘Yeah, they talked about how to get around sanctions.’ They actually had it as surprisingly substantive conversation. We heard none of it in the press conference,” Rojansky closed.

WaPo: ‘Very much counter to the plan’: Trump defies advisers in embrace of Putin http://wapo.st/2NjTlxJ

Administration officials had hoped that maybe, just maybe, Monday’s summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would end differently — without a freewheeling 46-minute news conference in which Trump attacked his own FBI on foreign soil and warmly praised archrival Russia.

Trump’s remarks were “very much counter to the plan,” the person said.

“Everyone around Trump” was urging him to take a firm stance with Putin, according to a second person familiar with the preparations. Before Monday’s meeting, the second person said, advisers covered matters from Russia’s annexation of Crimea to its interference in the U.S. elections, but Trump “made a game-time decision” to handle the summit his way. NYT: Trump, at Putin’s Side, Questions U.S. Intelligence on 2016 Election http://nyti.ms/2Lmva16
// staff reaction

WSJ Editorial: The Trump First Doctrine ~ Putin respects strength but Trump showed weakness. http://on.wsj.com/2Lqsa3N
https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1019173427477929985/photo/1

Russia. Details from the private Trump-Putin talks in Helsinki will spill out in coming days, but Monday’s joint press conference was a personal and national embarrassment. On stage with the dictator whose election meddling has done so much harm to his Presidency, Mr. Trump couldn’t even bring himself to say he believed his own intelligence advisers like Dan Coats over the Russian strongman.

“I have—I have confidence in both parties,” Mr. Trump said. “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” Denials from liars usually are strong and powerful.

🐣 RT @JohnKerry https://twitter.com/JohnKerry/status/1018962239632658433/photo/1
// long statement

WaPo, Carl Bildt: Trump just gave Putin complete free rein http://wapo.st/2Njq4TM

It was indeed a remarkable summit. In just about four hours, if we are to believe President Trump, the relationship between the United States and Russia went from the worst it’s been in a very long time to “very, very good.”

The reasons for the deterioration in the U.S.-Russia relationship are numerous: Russian aggression against Ukraine including the illegal annexation of Crimea, the Russian intervention to shore up the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus, blatant and extensive interference in the U.S. presidential election — to mention just the most obvious issues.

During the press conference, on none of these issues did Trump have anything critical to say about Russian policy and behavior, and on none of these issues did Putin in any way indicate a willingness to change course.

≣💙TIME: Read a Transcript of Trump and Putin’s Joint Press Conference http://ti.me/2NVBiiv
⋙ See extended excerpts under Entire Articles

DailyBeast, Anna Nemtsova and Christopher Dickey: Trump Just Fell for ‘a Classic KGB Trick’ http://thebea.st/2ut8m9B
// Putin, former KGB case officer that he is, certainly knew that details would bore Trump, who imagined he was engaging in big-time statecraft even as he sounded petty and defensive.

Suddenly the question of collusion between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was visible to all the world, and it was no longer a question.

Putin laid out his version of their talks. Then Trump, in a jaw-dropping moment, dissed his own intelligence services and deferred to Putin’s denials on the critical question of Russia’s ongoing cyber attacks targeting American democratic institutions.

WaPo, Dana Milbank: We are a deeply stupid country http://wapo.st/2Lby103

We brainlessly criticized Russia when it invaded Georgia and Ukraine. We idiotically protested when Russia poisoned people in Britain. Like dunces, we punished Russians for killing human rights activists. Morons that we are, we complained when Russia shot down a passenger jet. And then, revealing ourselves to be truly daft and inane, we blamed Russia for interfering in our election.

NYT Editorial: Why Won’t Donald Trump Speak for America? http://nyti.ms/2Jteh37
// The president lays himself at Vladimir Putin’s feet.

On Monday, Mr. Trump again engaged in immoral equivalence, this time during a gobsmacking news conference after his meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. A reporter referred to last week’s indictments of 12 Russian military officials for a coordinated cyberattack on the 2016 election and asked Mr. Trump if he held Russia responsible. “I hold both countries responsible,” Mr. Trump said.

Even in a presidency replete with self-defeating moments for the United States, Mr. Trump’s comments on Monday, which were broadcast live around the world, stand out.

The spectacle was hard to fathom: Mr. Trump, standing just inches from an autocratic thug who steals territory and has his adversaries murdered, undermined the unanimous conclusion of his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 election with the goal of helping Mr. Trump win.

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Mr. Trump said at one point, speaking of his director of national intelligence. “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” (In a statement on Monday afternoon, Mr. Coats reiterated that, in fact, it was.)

Mr. Trump called the special counsel’s Russia investigation “a disaster for our country” and then performed a selection of his greatest solo hits: “Zero Collusion,” “Where Is the D.N.C.’s Server?” and finally the old chestnut, “I Won the Electoral College by a Lot.”

Not to worry, Mr. Trump assured us: Mr. Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.” So he must have been telling the truth.

Mr. Putin, for his part, was happy to admit that he wanted Mr. Trump to win the election: “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” He mocked the idea that he had compromising material on President Trump — though without denying it — perhaps because Mr. Trump’s own words were compromising enough.

Mr. Putin offered to have Russian intelligence work with its American counterpart to get to the bottom of the meddling case, on the condition that Russian authorities were allowed to question American intelligence officials as well — which Mr. Trump called “an incredible offer.” Yes, incredible.

In theory, such objectives make sense. But Mr. Trump seems to be singularly naïve, or deliberately ignorant, about why his own senior national security advisers have identified Russia as one of America’s chief geostrategic adversaries, along with China.

Despite a weak economy, corruption and other domestic problems, Mr. Putin has crushed most political opposition at home and is aggressively asserting Russian power abroad. His agents — possibly those from the same military intelligence service that interfered in the American election — have used chemical weapons that poisoned four people in Britain, one of whom died.

He is working hard to sabotage America’s ties to NATO and the European Union and to weaken American influence in the Middle East. Russia poses such a cyberthreat to the United States that Mr. Coats last week said “the warning lights are blinking red again.”

It remains a mystery why the president, unlike any of his Republican or Democratic predecessors, is unwilling to call out Russian perfidy. He has no trouble throwing his weight around when he is in the company of America’s European allies, attacking them as deadbeats and the European Union as a “foe,” or when he excoriates the news media as “enemies of the people.” Put him next to Mr. Putin and other dictators, and he turns to putty.

All that’s clear is that a president who is way out of his depth is getting America into deep trouble.

🐣 RT @BillBrowder Crazy day today as Putin wants to swap 12 Russian GRU agents who hacked the US election for me in his meeting with Trump in Helsinki. Here’s my take for @TIME on why I’ve gotten Putin so rattled and what he’s really afraid of
⋙ TIME, Bill Browder: I’m Bill Browder. Here’s the Biggest Mistake Putin Made When Trying to Get Access to Me Through Trump http://ti.me/2NnMPGd

NYT: Mariia Butina, Who Sought ‘Back Channel’ Meeting for Trump and Putin, Is Charged as Russian Agent http://nyti.ms/2LeO0KM

At the behest of a senior Russian government official, the woman, Mariia Butina, made connections through the National Rifle Association, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast to try to steer the Republican Party toward more pro-Russia policies, court records show. Privately comparing herself to a Soviet Cold War propagandist, she worked to infiltrate American organizations and establish “back channel” lines of communication with American politicians.

The charges were filed under seal on Saturday, the day after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted on a charge of hacking Democratic computers during the 2016 campaign. Ms. Butina, 29, was arrested Sunday and appeared Monday in court. The records were unsealed hours after Mr. Trump stood beside Mr. Putin in Helsinki and said that he saw no reason the Russian leader would try to influence the presidential election.

The charges were filed by Justice Department national security prosecutors, not the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The investigation into Ms. Butina has been proceeding for some time and was carried out parallel to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, a former official said. F.B.I. agents raided her home in April, her lawyer said.

The Justice Department said that Ms. Butina worked at the behest of an unidentified high-level Russian government official. He has been previously identified as Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank who has been linked both to Russia’s security services and organized crime. Mr. Torshin is among the nearly two dozen Russian officials or oligarchs who were sanctioned this year for actions including trying to subvert Western democracies.

🐣 RT @GovCTW [Christie Whitman] Mr #President, you should be ashamed. To deny your own country and government in favor of a foriegn leader whose country has, for decades, tried to undermine the #UnitedStates is irrational and dangerous. Please step down, you are not fit to lead this great #nation. #TrumpPutin

🐣 RT @GovCTW [Christie Whitman] Mr #President, you should be ashamed. To deny your own country and government in favor of a foriegn leader whose country has, for decades, tried to undermine the #UnitedStates is irrational and dangerous. Please step down, you are not fit to lead this great #nation. #TrumpPutin

🐣 RT @McFaul So how many more times are we going to hear from unnamed Trump officials that they had a tough script planned for Putin, but their boss ignored them. Maybe it’s time to speak on the record — like Coats — or get out. Your country needs more from you.

≣💙💙💙💙 Maria Butina cover: Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States http://bit.ly/2uztppW 1p
Maria Butina complaint: http://bit.ly/2NmOwUs 4p
Maria Butina affadavit: http://bit.ly/2mophpp 17p

🐣 RT @TonySchwartz Just stunning to watch Fox tonight, as hosts and guests trash Trump and Putin. This could be the turning point we’ve all been waiting for these past 18 months. Trump shot his supporters on Fifth Avenue today.

🐣 RT @just_security Former senior CIA officer: “This is a time for choosing. Government officials, senior and junior alike, take an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States, not to obey any single President….”

WaPo: Freedom Caucus leaders want Rosenstein investigated for alleged threats http://wapo.st/2mmmOf5

🐣 RT @repjohnlewis I am deeply disturbed by the outcome of the Helsinki summit. The leader of this nation takes an oath before God to defend this country from all enemies both foreign and domestic, but this president is not defending the American way of life.

⚡️ Moment: “Fact Checks: Helsinki Summit”
https://twitter.com/i/moments/1019050257919938560
⇈ ⇊ (reverse chrono)
“DNC server” debunked here: Politifact: Did John Podesta deny CIA & FBI access to DNC server, as Donald Trump claims? http://bit.ly/2zCN7qC FALSE “Pakistani fraudster” debunked here: Axios: “No evidence” http://bit.ly/2KF1kbZ
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 WaPo Factchecker: The facts missing from Trump and Putin’s news conference http://wapo.st/2KXYLln
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 NYT/AP: AP Fact Check: Trump Nearly Alone in Russia Meddling Doubts http://nyti.ms/2LoBiWL
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 AP Fact Check: Trump, Putin and their Hall of Mirrors http://bit.ly/2NZUBaz
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 NYT: 8 Suspect Claims From the Trump-Putin News Conference http://nyti.ms/2uug8zM
// President Trump contradicted U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and President Vladimir V. Putin said he didn’t know that Mr. Trump was in Russia in 2013. http://nyti.ms/
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 PolitiFact: Donald Trump’s ‘missing’ server comments get all of the details wrong http://bit.ly/2uF3M7s
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 PolitiFact: Fact-checking Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin in Helsinki http://bit.ly/2NqOb2O
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 FactCheck.org: Trump’s Remarks on Putin and the Russia Investigation http://bit.ly/2JuX4Gp Including “Where is the server” and “The ‘Pakistani Gentleman’”
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 NBC: Fact check: Trump promoted conspiracy theories. Here’s the truth. http://nbcnews.to/2zGX1Yg
// At a joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump brought up the DNC and Hillary Clinton.
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 DailyBeast, Kevin Poulsen: Trump’s ‘Missing DNC Server’ Is Neither Missing Nor a Server http://thebea.st/2NRn9CS
// FactCheck; The president can spout conspiracy theories all he wants. But the DNC turned over all its key data to the FBI after it got hacked. And that info wasn’t stored on a single server.
⇈ ⇊
All the major fact-checkers plus NBC and NYT have done fackchecks on “the servers‼️” and “the Pakistani‼️” I expect there will be more. See my recent tweets. Take your pick! #HelsinkiSummit2018
━━━━━━━▲

🐣 RT @RichardHaass The purpose of foreign policy is not “to get along” w other countries. It is to shape the behavior of others in ways that are consistent w your interests and w international order. The measure of Helsinki is not whether Trump and Putin get along but how Russian behavior changes.

🐣 RT @tribelaw .@juliaioffe put her finger on it: Trump is convinced he won by virtue of his brilliant campaign, so why should he object that Putin helped him a bit — especially by releasing stuff, even if stolen, that made his opponent look as bad as he’s convinced she really was? Ego rules.

🐣 RT @paulbegala How many right-wingers who are offended when an athlete kneels before a football game are going to be outraged that Trump kneels before Putin?

🐣 RT @jbendery Sen. Tammy Duckworth says it’s “a very real possibility” that Putin has turned Trump “into a Russian asset.” All is normal.
https://twitter.com/jbendery/status/1018925510565482499/photo/1

Politico: Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor http://bit.ly/2zMWZyg
// Make no mistake: Hacking the 2016 election was an act of war. It’s time we responded accordingly.

CNN: In rebuke to Trump, senators may vote to side with US intel community http://cnn.it/2mkhMjc

🐣 RT @SenatorBurr Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it.
https://twitter.com/SenatorBurr/status/1018934437504077830/photo/1

TheHill: Fox News’s John Roberts: Consensus is Trump ‘threw the US under the bus’ http://bit.ly/2NZcZQS

NYT: Putin Says Democrats Are to Blame for ‘Manipulations’ of Their Party http://nyti.ms/2uFMjvD

WaPo, Seung Min Kim: Trump’s eagerness to get along with Putin was on display in Helsinki http://wapo.st/2LoASiX

NYT: Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad http://nyti.ms/2KZHcl1

Jill Wine-Banks on @allinwithchris “This is treason.” #inners

WaPo Editorial: Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly. http://wapo.st/2utciHb

CBSNews: Trump fist-bumped Turkish leader Erdogan, said he “does things the right way” http://cbsn.ws/2uEMveF

🐣 RT @hardball “We’ve never seen an American President do this.” @JohnKasich on the Trump/Putin summit. #Hardball

🐣