🇷🇺 Trump/Russia

This annotated bibliography started 7/26/2017

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, Leonid “Len” Blavatnik, 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, 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, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Denis Katsyv, Irakly (“Ike”) Kaveladze, Konstantin Kilimnik, Sergey Kislyak, Artem Klyushin, Konstantin Kosachev, 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 Perepilichny, 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, Viktor Yushchenko, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Joel Zamel



Wikipedia: Roman Abramovich, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, Rinat Akhmetov, Rinat Akhmetshin, Yulya Alferova (National Compass), Anatoly Antonov, Andrii Artemenko, Arron Banks, Andrey Baranov (Bloomberg), Leonid “Len” Blavatnik, 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, 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, Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), Denis Katsyv, Irakly Kaveladze, Konstantin Kilimnik, Sergey Kislyak, Artem Klyushin (National Compass), Konstantin Kosachev, 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, Viktor Yushchenko, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, 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

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ 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

⋙ 💙💙🔄≣ 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


  ⭕ 13 Sep 2018

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

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

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

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

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:
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

● 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

🐣 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

🐣 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.

🐣 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

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.

🐣 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.

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.
// 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
● 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
// 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

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
// 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
⋙ 🐣 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

◕🐣💙💙 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 
// 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
// internet graphic

🌎◕🐣 How did June 2018 compare to the previous 50 years? #climate
// 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
// 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.

⭕ 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!

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.
// 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.
🐣 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.
// 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.
// “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.

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.”
// 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

🐣 .@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!
💽 ⋙ 🐣 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?”

⋙ 🐣 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.

🐣 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
// 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
⇈ ⇊
@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.

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.

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
// 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.

🐣 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.

🐣 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

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, 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.”

🐣 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.
// 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
// 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.

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
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 

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 

🐣 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.
↥ ↧
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
// 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
// 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.

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:

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’
// 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
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.
// 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
// 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?

🐣 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.

🐣 RT @MollyJongFast I’d delete this one little buddy, @torshin_ru
// 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
⋙ 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”
// 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.

🐣 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.

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

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”
⇈ ⇊ (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.

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.

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

🐣 RT @brhodes After the sacrifices of World War II and the Cold War and the post-9/11 era, how does the United States have a President who can’t find a way to get along with NATO allies, and can’t bring himself to criticize anything about Putin? This is not who we are.

🐣 RT @NancyPelosi This is a sad day for America, and for all Western democracies that Putin continues to target. #TrumpPutin
⋙ Axios: Trump’s extraordinary press conference was not normal http://bit.ly/2Lofomv

🐣 RT @HillaryClinton Well, now we know.
⋙ 🐣 RT @HillaryClinton Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?

🐣 RT @Comey This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country. Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president.

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff Mariia Butina, a Russian national, has been charged with acting as a surreptitious Russian agent and establishing a secret back channel with the GOP through the NRA. More likely to come on this; no wonder GOP members of HPSCI refused our request to bring her and others in.

🐣 Putin gave Trump a soccer ball because Trump had no balls.

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan Why did Trump meet 1 on 1 with Putin? What might he be hiding from Bolton, Pompeo, Kelly, & the American public? How will Putin use whatever Trump could be hiding to advantage Russia & hurt America? Trump’s total lack of credibility renders spurious whatever explanation he gives.

🐣 RT @SallyQYates Our President today not only chose a tyrant over his own Intel community, he chose Russia’s interests over the country he is sworn to protect. All Americans should raise their voices. Let the world know what we stand for.

PolitiFact: Vladimir Putin said @HillaryClinton got $400 million from financier Bill Browder partners. If true, that would be 70% of her total haul. http://bit.ly/2urXLvi 

🐣 RT @JuliaDavisNews #Russia’s state TV: Tatyana Parkhalina: “Amazingly, Trump’s main slogan is ‘Make America Great Again’… He doesn’t seem to understand that by undermining the transatlantic unity, Trump is undercutting one of the very foundations that make America great.”

🐣 RT @20committee Dear GOP: Remember that the “I just chatted with some Russians, I didn’t really know who they were, exactly” defense has been tried already. Specifically by Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs.
How’d that work out for them?

CNN: Trump clashes with intelligence chief over Russian threat http://cnn.it/2KZxhMj
// Dan Coates

WaPo, Max Boot: We just watched a U.S. president acting on behalf of a hostile power http://wapo.st/2zJ1nhA

🐣 RT @MichaelJMorrell POTUS’s refusal today to stand with the men and women of the Intelligence Community with regard to Putin’s interference in the 2016 election was disgraceful. By doing so, he undermined the very people who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. They deserve better. So do we all.

NYT (2016): The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. http://nyti.ms/2uMaEjx //➔ hey, @realDonaldTrump: here’s the hacked DNC server, right next to the file cabinet the Watergate burglars broke into

“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, Ruth Marcus: If you work for Trump, quit now http://wapo.st/2JszIkL

TheHill: McConnell: Russians are not our friends http://bit.ly/2NVNkZe

🐣 I hope @SteveSchmidtSES is on @DeadlineWH today w @NicolleDWallace. He really does have “the best words.”

🐣 Reading the indictment, Mariia Butina did not just fail to register as a lobbyist. She was a serious spy. #NRARussia

🐣 To: @real Accidents aside, the danger that Russian and US nuclear weapons pose to each country, on balance, is zip ~ MAD. The danger is terrorists or crazy countries getting them. It does not provide an excuse for @realDonaldTrump’s brown-nosing. Russia is not our peer.

🐣 What could be better than an arrest and indictment that bundles together #TrumpRussia and the @NRA? @DLoesch

🐣 Putin would have knocked B.B. off already if he didn’t know it would turbo-charge the adoption of the Magnitsky Act across the world. @AliVelshi

🐣 RT @LauraRozen GOP member of House intel Hurd and ex cia officer says he never thought he would see a US President get played by KGB.
⋙ 🐣 RT @HurdOnTheHill As a former CIA officer and a Congressman on the House Intelligence Committee, I can affirmatively say there is nothing about agreeing with a thug like Putin that puts America First.

NPR: John Bolton’s Curious Appearance In A Russian Gun Rights Video http://n.pr/2Nhjv4b

NYT, Tom Friedman: Trump and Putin vs. America http://nyti.ms/2L2wiuz

Justice.gov: Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States http://bit.ly/2uztppW
// Mariia Butina

🐣 RT @POLITICO_Steve This @SenJohnMcCain statement is extraordinary for a senator to make of any president, let alone one in his own party.

🐣 RT @edokeefe INBOX: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman @SenatorBurr (R-N.C.) with strong words for Pres. Trump: https://twitter.com/edokeefe/status/1018924211065192449/photo/1

🐣 RT @EricGeller Statement from DNI Dan Coats, responding to, oh, nothing in particular: “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

WaPo: Putin again denies Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election; Trump calls probe a ‘disaster for our country’ http://wapo.st/2zKMEmv

NYT: Trump, at Putin’s Side, Questions U.S. Intelligence on 2016 Election http://nyti.ms/2Lmva16

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson Spoiler: They don’t.
⋙ 🐣 RT @NormOrnstein If Congressional Republicans had an ounce of integrity and a scintilla of patriotic duty, they would impeach and remove this president before he does further irreparable damage to our country. He meets the Constitutional definition of treason, the highest crime and misdemeanor

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin Many of us have said so for years and we will do so again: Trump is dangerously unfit for his office. He is not a loyal American and he should be relieved of his duties expeditiously.

🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Putin says Trump “mentioned the issue of the so-called interference. I had to reiterate things I said several times, including that the Russian state has never interfered.” Says they should revisit the idea of a joint working group on cyber security.

🐣 RT @kylegriffin1 John Brennan: “I’m at a loss … One can only conclude that he fears Vladimir Putin and that one-on-one discussion — who knows what was discussed there — and how Mr. Putin now is the master puppeteer of Donald Trump, the person who is in our oval office. Outrageous.” @MSNBC

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson Well, now we know the line of the day. “Putin said he didn’t attack us, and I believe him. Mueller’s witch hunt must stop.”

🐣 RT @MarkSalter55 I don’t think the U.S. has had a more contemptible president. Johnson and Buchanan look like Washington and Lincoln in comparison to this childish, ignorant, stupid, lying, self-obsessed tub of overflowing insecurities, resentments and hate.

🐣 RT @EdwardTHardy Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi: “In 25 years of working counterintel for this government, I never thought that I’d sit here and watch a US President castigate & denigrate the US intelligence community…standing alongside the leader of an adversarial country”

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson Putin is to Donald Trump as Donald Trump is to a single-celled life form. He’s played Trump like a fiddle. This is a disaster for America.

🐣 RT @jonathanvswan NEW: Statement from Speaker Ryan on the Trump-Putin press conference— https://twitter.com/jonathanvswan/status/1018910627245580288/photo/1

🐣 RT @brhodes The complete capitulation to Putin and abandonment of our values, the separation of children from their families, a reckless tax give-away to the wealthiest, and a constant assault on the truth – these are the defining events and characteristics of this catastrophic presidency.

🐣 RT @digby56 It doesn’t matter whether he colluded during the campaign at this point. He’s colluding right now. In front of our eyes.

🐣 RT @ProgressOutlook This was one of the most shameful displays of American “leadership” in history. The so-called president completely surrendered our country to a long-standing enemy who attacked our democracy. I hope each Trump voter feels deep shame and embarrassment until his or her dying day.

🐣 RT @CharlesMBlow Ok, that’s treason! Seriously. I’m not joking. I’m calling this treason. Point. Blank. Period. TREASON.

🐣 RT @JohnWDean Wow. If you aren’t horrified by Trump’s performance at the Helsinki Putin/Trump press conference you don’t love our country. Trump is disgusting, only interested in himself not the American people. RESIGN MR. TRUMP, YOU ARE NOT AMERICA FIRST, YOU ARE TRUMP AND ONLY TRUMP!

🐣 RT @davidaxelrod And whatever happened before, what we saw TODAY was a disgraceful act of collusion.

🐣 RT @MichaelSteele “My people came to me…they said they think it’s Russia. 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.” –Trump
That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler.

🐣 RT @tonyschwartz Trump refuses to rebuke Putin on election interference or even acknowledge that it happened. We are now at a wholly new level of crisis. Trump has effectively sided with our totalitarian enemy. Most Republicans are fully complicit. Democracy in America hangs in the balance.

🐣 RT @ddale8 Here’s the transcript of Trump’s answer when he was asked whether he believes Putin or U.S. intelligence.

🐣 RT @SenWarren Once again, @realDonaldTrump takes to the international stage to embarrass America, undermine our institutions, weaken our alliances, & embrace a dictator. Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded. Disgraceful.

🐣 RT @SenWarren Once again, @realDonaldTrump takes to the international stage to embarrass America, undermine our institutions, weaken our alliances, & embrace a dictator. Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded. Disgraceful.

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan 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???

🐣 RT @steven_pifer [ambassador] I have watched US-Soviet/#Russia presidential press conferences for more than 30 years, sometimes in the room. Have never seen anything as bad or embarrassing as @realDonaldTrump’s just-concluded performance.
[Steven Karl Pifer is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe as well as the Director of Brookings’ Arms Control Initiative – Wikipedia]

🐣 RT @chucktodd Wow, Trump is going out of his way to praise Russia. I guess “wow” is now an understatement, but this is truly a remarkable moment in American history, 72 hours after the DoJ accused Russia of a criminal act against the democracy, POTUS essentially forgives Russia on world stage
⋙ 🐣 The word you’re looking for is “f*ck”

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC Anyone who works for Trump is assisting a man who sides with a foreign adversary against his own country and the US government. You are enabling a treacherous puppet who cares more about his relationship with Putin than American national security interests.

🐣 Nice the very last question was about the pee tape lol #TreasonSummit

🐣 RT @TheRickWison OMG Putin is trolling the pee tape.

🐣 No, the FBI relied on a third party (Crowdstrike) to analyze DNC server; it’s a big nothingburger

🐣 Browder is “not some guy”; he’s the lynchpin Putin wants to dislodge

🐣 RT @pbump THIS WAS THE PITCH in the Trump Tower meeting.
⋙ 🐣 RT @peterbakernyt Putin just raised Bill Browder without being asked, attacking him and his associates for making money illegally and contributing it to Hillary Clinton.

🐣 RT @emptywheel Putin suggests Mueller can come to Russia and question the witnesses. “Then we would expect Americans would reciprocate, they would question officials including LE and IC, whom we believe, who have something to do w/illegal activities on territory of RU.”

🐣 RT @RFERL Trump maintains “there was no collusion” and “there was no lie” regarding alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections. “We ran a great campaign and that’s why I’m President.” Putin adds: “I trust #Trump completely.” The “collusion” in the campaign is “absurd”. #TrumpPutinSummit

🐣 RT @InvestigateRU Trump-Putin mtg=repeat of Singapore mtg w/North Koreans:
*Vague deliverables
*Mtg itself win for Putin
*Praise for Putin, harsh words for allies
*Slams democrats-politics no longer ends at waters edge
*Promises follow up mtgs for which Pompeo must create deliverable

🐣 RT @matthewamiller Three days after indictments of Russian military officers, a week after Russia murdered a British citizen on British soil, Trump says our relationship with Russia is getting stronger and criticizes Democrats and the media. Somehow even worse than expected.

🐣 RT @EvelynNFarkas If Potus makes concessions on doing business w/ Russia he risks writing a check for the GRU to cyberhack and prepare future attacks on elections and infrastructure. & any cybercooperation would just be treasonous. @craigmelvin @AriMelber @NBCNews @SangerNYT

🐣 RT @RichardEngel So Putin seems to be proposing replacing Mueller probe: says Russia /US cooperation can investigate the allegations of cyber attacks on US elections, which Putin denies

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC Putin again denies attack US. But he says he’s “ready to analyze together” any evidence. He suggests doing so in a joint cybersecurity working group. What an offer. What a guy. He’s so fine.

🐣 RT @AllMattNYT Putin, standing next to Trump says “The Russian state has never interfered, and is never going to interfere in internal American affairs, including election processes.”

🐣 RT @MichaelBirnbaum This is Putin’s long-held dream: listing off a long list of global challenges, then saying he’ll work on them one-on-one with an American president. Final restoration of Russia to the global stage.

CPI: Inside John Bolton Super PAC’s deal with Cambridge Analytica http://bit.ly/2Llnjka
// Former aide says Bolton had ‘$5 million reasons’ to work with disgraced firm

🐣 RT @NPRKelly Commotion at press conference as Secret Service enters the room, pull a credentialed journo who says he’s with The Nation out of the WH press pool, and escort him out.

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin today is an encounter between a hostile Russian autocrat and an American head of state who he sponsors and over whom he wields significant influence. This is not a relationship that serves the American interest in any way.

WIRED, Garrett Graff: What Robert Mueller Knows—and 9 Areas He’ll Pursue Next http://bit.ly/2zKvDZI
// The special counsel has collected a mountain of evidence in the Trump-Russia investigation, but so far only a tiny amount of it has been revealed in official indictments. Here are nine areas where we should expect answers as the inquiry unfolds.

WHEN THE HISTORY books are written, Rod Rosenstein might just be the most interesting figure of the Russia investigation—the beleaguered deputy attorney general whose memo in his first days on the job was used to justify the firing of James Comey.

🐣 RT @JohnBrennan Why did Trump meet 1 on 1 with Putin? What might he be hiding from Bolton, Pompeo, Kelly, & the American public? How will Putin use whatever Trump could be hiding to advantage Russia & hurt America? Trump’s total lack of credibility renders spurious whatever explanation he gives.

HillReporter, Ed Krassenstein: Gowdy: If Trump is ‘dissatisfied with Rod Rosenstein, he can fire him with a tweet’ http://bit.ly/2LjxokS

🐣 RT @mat_johnson The biggest espionage story in American history was happening while the press was focused Podesta’s risotto recipe.

🐣 To @McFaul Artemenko plan? McClatchy (6/22): Inside the Ukraine peace plan in Mueller probe: More authors, earlier drafting than believed http://bit.ly/2usQaN4

🐣 RT @MarkWarner Again, unless POTUS holds Putin accountable for:
– 2016 election interference
– Undermining European democracies
– The UK chemical attack
– Invading Crimea
– Arming Ukrainian separatists
– Supporting Assad’s war crimes
This is just another photo-op with a dictator.

🐣 RT @RichardHaass Regardless of Helsinki 1:1, Mueller indictments signal Putin that US foreign policy and US-Russian relations are not 100% controlled by @realDonaldTrump and US govt knows a great deal about what Russian govt is up to and has options for responding to what Russia has done/might do

🐣 RT @ JuliaDavisNews Trump reportedly requested alone time with Putin to prevent leaks and also because he “doesn’t want aides, who may take a harder line on Russia, undercutting or interrupting him in his conversation with Putin.”

🐣 After the downing of MH17, someone local tweeted out photos of some of the bodies of the passengers. It was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen on Twitter. And I’ve seen a lot. #NeverForget

🐣 Autocratophilia ~ if it isn’t a thing, it should be, because the current resident of the denigrated states of America has it. bigly.

🐣 RT @Kasparov63 Putin wants: legitimacy as the ruler of Russia & stature on the global stage; Russia as power broker in Ukraine, Syria, Iran; weakening US commitment to G7, NATO & EU; lowered Western defenses against his attacks; Trump’s help in all these things.

🐣 RT @dmataconis 90 minutes alone with Putin will give Trump plenty of time to lift sanctions against Russa, promise to get Russia back into the G-7, and trade Alaska for a small bag of magic beans

🐣 RT @mitchellreports Trump tells #Putin they have great opportunities to work together, that our countries have not been getting along for the past few years, says getting along with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing. Will talk about trade nuclear, missiles & China. Doesn’t mention hacking

◕ Statistica: Countries Ranked by GDP (2017) http://bit.ly/2KZ0M0A Russia ranks 12th. So, why do they belong in the G8? https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1018819233982099456/photo/1

⭕ 15 Jul 2018

🐣💙 RT @leahmcelrath (2016) Guess who said this was their goal: “the strategic control of the USA…and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.”
⋙ Alexandr Dugin is Putin’s geopolitical ideological mentor. He outlined a vision for a new Russian Empire.
// 12/11/2016 thread https://twitter.com/leahmcelrath/status/808027467617288193

🐣 RT @HowardFineman We’ve got to assume that #Putin has tons of hidden financial, political and other information on .@realDonaldTrump, ranging from the merely interesting to the explosively damaging. I’ve covered many presidents; never has one been so PERSONALLY vulnerable to another world leader.

≣ FutureToday, Jeremy Leggett: How Liberal Democracy Can Die – In Our Lifetimes http://bit.ly/2L1NNvj 30 slides

WaPo, David Ignatius: Putin must wonder what else America knows about Russia http://wapo.st/2miECrf

🐣 RT @leahmcelrath These tweets today from Trump’s account use some very specific and distinct language. (They definitely aren’t written by him.)
So…I got curious and started researching. And I’m going down a rabbit hole that is weird af. That’s all I’m going to say right now.
thread https://twitter.com/leahmcelrath/status/1018575142409179136
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @real Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia…

🐣 Um, just a small question … When Trump is meeting w his BFF Vlad, where is the “Nuclear Football”?

WarOnTheRocks, Edward Fishman and Mark Simakovsky (7/11): Playing with Fire in Helsinki: How Trump’s Summit with Putin Could Split the Transatlantic Alliance http://bit.ly/2LewBll //➔ Mueller indictments, Dan Coates speech are shot-across-the-bow to Russia not to get ideas
// 7/11/2018

🐣 NoKo nuclear tests: There were none between 2013 and 2016 //➔ then they started, a provocation to the in-coming president, to start a new Lucy-and-the-football game, which you are now in the middle of. Rinse, repeat. @realDonaldTrump

🐣 To get to the number of the US paying 80-90% of NATO, he’s mixing apples and oranges. The US ≃ 20% of shared cost of NATO (based on GDP). The 80% is the total defense budgets, something different. If he thought we spent too much on defense, why’d he push so hard to increase it?

🐣 To @McCaul The 30K emails were something specific (State Dept emails Hillary’s lawyers determined were private, so per dept policy didn’t have to be turned over*). But I doubt Trump even knew that, so I think you could be right. The Russians broke into her private office email.
// *to the Benghazi Committee

🐣 Russia is a third-rate power. ⋙ Has anyone told Trump?
Military Spending: US 36%, Russia 4.1% (SIPRI)
GDP: US 24.3%, Russia 1.8% (World Bank)

NYT: Just Sitting Down With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead http://nyti.ms/2zIxXAk

🐣 I hope the intelligence community got a FISA warrant on Trump and are busily bugging him (cuff links? MAGAt hat, shirt buttons?). He is clearly a threat to US national security.

SundayExpress [UK]: US has WORSE record than DICTATORSHIPS’ – Russian minister Sergey Lavrov claims ahead of Trump summit http://bit.ly/2uwjaCM
// THE US has killed more people than the dictators they have sought to depose and the West is built on double-standards, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

🐣 RT @DavidCornDC Trump was told during the campaign the Russian attack was underway. But he repeatedly claimed publicly this was a hoax and provided cover to Putin’s operation. That’s the big deal. That’s treachery.

CBSNews: “I think the European Union is a foe,” Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki http://cbsn.ws/2mi4hQQ

🐣 Whatever Trump claims happened during his Playdate with Vlad, Polifacf tells us that 69% of it will be “Mostly False” or worse (15% 🔥Pants On Fire🔥). http://bit.ly/28NRNHJ

🐣 RT @Serion 100+ criminal counts
35 total indictments
32 people indicted
3 companies indicted
5 guilty pleas
Paul Manafort in jail
Michael Flynn guilty
Trump told Russia to hack
Trump staff met with Russians
Trump Jr. worked w/Wikileaks
This is not a witch hunt.
It’s a criminal conspiracy.

🐣 Trump is like “Why didn’t Obama keep my campaign from colluding with Russia during his administration?”

🐣 The issue isn’t what Obama did during the Obama administration but what YOU and Vlad did during the Obama administration @realDonaldTrump

◕💙 SIPRI//RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty: Report shows Russia’s defense budget last year was lower than France’s. http://bit.ly/2uyE6ta (Data from Stockholm Intl Peace Research Institute; chart by RFE/RL)
// 2017 data

💽 Frontline: The Putin Files offer an extensive oral history of Putin’s rise to power, his motivations and his relationship with the U.S. Explore: https://to.pbs.org/2uAzulY 
// (undated)

🐣 RT @McFaul Of course, the Russian attack on American soil in 2016 was not on the scale or scope as Pearl Harbor or 9-11. But it was an attack, conducted by Russian military officers. Tomorrow, Trump must treat Putin as the person who ordered that attack. Any other approach is appeasement.

⭕ 14 Jul 2018

🐣 RT @caitlinmoran The Times has now started accompanying pieces on Donald Trump with boxes pointing out where he’s been incorrect, exaggerated, or lied. Extraordinary times to be living through.
Text: https://twitter.com/caitlinmoran/status/1018100945262206976/photo/1
// predicting Brexit, US % of NATO, Russian gas; wry; paywall for The [London] Times

🐣 RT @acscowcroft Former deputy secretary general of NATO, @ARVershbow: “There are no arrears owed to the US or NATO. President Trump is under the delusion that Allies pay the US for protection, or is feigning ignorance on how NATO works.” https://buff.ly/2LgYiXB  #NATOSummit
⋙ WaPo Factchecker: Many fact checks later, President Trump is (still) botching NATO spending http://wapo.st/2mgYKKp
// 7/13/2018

🐣 RT @ditzkoff Iceberg watcher on the Titanic gets new pair of binoculars
⋙ 🐣 RT @jimrutenberg FLASH: Twitter suspended accounts of Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks today, post indictment.

TheSundayTimes [UK]: Britain is in high-level talks with Ecuador in an attempt to remove Julian Assange from its London embassy http://bit.ly/2uyyHSU
// LondonTimes

DailyBeast, David Rothkopf: The Way Trump and the GOP Deal with Russian Attacks is ‘Textbook Treason’ http://thebea.st/2NgiVni
// This is an extraordinary moment. It is without equal not only in American history but in modern history.

[Re: Mueller indictments and Coates’ warning] It is clear that the intelligence and law enforcement communities of the United States — adhering to the principles of patriotism enumerated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday — felt that a message needed to be sent to the Russians that we were on to them.  

Typically, such a message would be delivered by the president in such a meeting but this president has proven to be the staunchest defender of Putin and the most active advocate of covering up or denying these attacks. He did it again this week even while knowing of the indictments.

Do the indictments and the Coats statement (again, both delivered by Republicans) also send a message that they do not fully trust the president to deliver that message or to press the Russians on it?  I believe they do.

This is an extraordinary moment. It is without equal not only in American history but in modern history. A hostile foreign power intervened in our election to help elect a man president who has since actively served their interests and has defended them at every turn.

Trump may deny collusion. But given that this the attack continues, denying it is collusion, distracting from it is collusion, obstructing the investigation of it is collusion — because all these things enable it to go on.

That the president is abetted in his aid for the Russians — again, in the midst of this ongoing attack — by the leadership of the Republican Party makes the situation all the more extraordinary and dangerous. As they seek to undermine the investigation, they serve Russia as directly as if they were officers of the GRU. Some now reportedly seek to impeach Rosenstein on trumped up charges. To attack one of the leaders of our national defense as we are being attacked and to do so to benefit our foreign adversary is textbook treason.

That is strong language. But consider this: If we updated our definitions of war to include cyberwar, then aiding a foreign power engaged in such a war against us would certainly meet the Constitutional definition: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

… Coats and as do the leaders of our intelligence community and as does every law enforcement and national security expert with whom I have spoken that this is, above all and most urgently, is a national security crisis for the United States.

🐣 RT @KennWhite The DNC server was forensically imaged by incident response experts, those snapshots were cryptographically signed, cataloged, and turned over to the FBI. Copies reside at Quantico, Ft Meade, and the Bureau’s DC office.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1012295859072126977

🐣 RT @RepSwalwell FDR didn’t meet w/ the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. George H.W. Bush didn’t meet w/ Saddam after Iraq invaded Kuwait. And George W. Bush didn’t meet w/ Bin Laden after 9/11. So tell me, @realDonaldTrump, what does America get out of you meeting w/ Putin after he attacked us?

NYT: Trump Opens His Arms to Russia. His Administration Closes Its Fist. http://nyti.ms/2meXTdc

Snopes/AP: Charges Undermine Assange Denials About Hacked Email Origins http://bit.ly/2zF3Sl9
Text on Assange, Seth Rich: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1018263357370052608/photo/1
// DOJ indictments suggest WikiLeaks received material from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff and even gave Russian hackers advice on how to disseminate it.

Fox News host Sean Hannity pointed straight to the purloined emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?”

“Yes,” Assange said. “We can say — we have said repeatedly — over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.”

The Justice Department’s indictment Friday of 12 Russian military intelligence officers undermines those denials. And if the criminal charges are proved, it would show that WikiLeaks (referred to as “Organization 1” in the indictment) received the material from Guccifer 2.0, a persona directly controlled by Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, also known as GRU, and even gave the Russian hackers advice on how to disseminate it. …

“If you have anything hillary related we want it in the next (two) days pref(er)able because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after,” says a message from July 6, 2016, referring to the upcoming Democratic National Convention and Clinton’s chief party rival, Bernie Sanders.

Assange’s eagerness to get his hands on the alleged material from GRU reflected in the indictment — and prevent anyone else from beating WikiLeaks to the punch — is also revealed in leaked messages to journalist Emma Best. She, like several other reporters, also was in communication with Guccifer 2.0.

In copies of Twitter messages obtained by The Associated Press and first reported by BuzzFeed, WikiLeaks demands that Best butt out.

“Please ‘leave’ their convers(a)tion with them and us,” WikiLeaks said on August 13, 2016, arguing that the impact of material would be “very substantially reduced” if Best handled the leak.

The indictment also puts to rest a conspiracy theory, carefully nurtured by Assange and his supporters, that slain DNC staffer Seth Rich was at the origin of the leaks.

It was Assange who first floated the idea into the mainstream, bringing up Rich’s case in an interview with Dutch television the following month.

Over the next few months, WikiLeaks would continue to amplify the conspiracy theory — all while stopping short of endorsing it outright. During all this time, the indictment alleges, WikiLeaks knew full well that Guccifer 2.0 was its source, cajoling the account’s operators to hand it more data and ordering rival journalists to steer clear.

The conspiracy theory has been a source of deep pain for Rich’s family, who declined to comment on the indictment.

Lisa Lynch, an associate professor of media and communications at Drew University who has written about WikiLeaks, said the indictment highlighted the cynicism of WikiLeaks’ wink-wink support for conspiracy theories.

“We can see very well-intentioned people arguing about whether those documents should be published,” Lynch said of the DNC documents. “But the whole Seth Rich thing is incredibly venal.”

🐣 RT @real The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?
⋙ 🐣 Ask Mitch McConnell

Politifact: Did John Podesta deny CIA and FBI access to DNC server, as Donald Trump claims? No http://bit.ly/2zCN7qC FALSE

💙💙 TheGuardian, Michiko Kakutani: The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump http://bit.ly/2mk182V
// From post-modernism to filter bubbles, ‘truth decay’ has been spreading for decades. How can we stop alternative facts from bringing down democracy, asks Michiko Kakutani

Two of the most monstrous regimes in human history came to power in the 20th century, and both were predicated on the violation and despoiling of truth, on the knowledge that cynicism and weariness and fear can make people susceptible to the lies and false promises of leaders bent on unconditional power. As Hannah Arendt wrote in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie the standards of thought) no longer exist.”

Nationalism, tribalism, dislocation, fear of social change and the hatred of outsiders are on the rise again as people, locked in their partisan silos and filter bubbles, are losing a sense of shared reality and the ability to communicate across social and sectarian lines.

The term “truth decay” has joined the post-truth lexicon that includes such now familiar phrases as “fake news” and “alternative facts”. And it’s not just fake news either: it’s also fake science (manufactured by climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers, who oppose vaccination), fake history (promoted by Holocaust revisionists and white supremacists), fake Americans on Facebook (created by Russian trolls), and fake followers and “likes” on social media (generated by bots).

In a speech on press freedom, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour addressed this issue in the context of media coverage of the 2016 presidential race, saying: “It appeared much of the media got itself into knots trying to differentiate between balance, objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, truth … I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences. I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalising the truth.”

The US’s founding generation spoke frequently of the “common good”. George Washington reminded citizens of their “common concerns” and “common interests” and the “common cause” they had all fought for in the revolution. And Thomas Jefferson spoke in his inaugural address of the young country uniting “in common efforts for the common good”. A common purpose and a shared sense of reality mattered because they bound the disparate states and regions together, and they remain essential for conducting a national conversation. Especially today in a country where Trump and Russian and hard-right trolls are working to incite the very factionalism Washington warned us about, trying to inflame divisions between people along racial, ethnic and religious lines.

There are no easy remedies, but it’s essential that citizens defy the cynicism and resignation that autocrats and power-hungry politicians depend on to subvert resistance. Without commonly agreed-on facts – not Republican facts and Democratic facts; not the alternative facts of today’s silo-world – there can be no rational debate over policies, no substantive means of evaluating candidates for political office, and no way to hold elected officials accountable to the people. Without truth, democracy is hobbled.

⭕ Friday 13 Jul 2018

🐣 RT @KatyTurNBC Trump and his campaign tried to claim he was kidding. He was not. At that same press conference, minutes later, I asked if it gave him “pause” to ask a foreign government to hack into the emails of any American citizen. He said no and then accused me of trying to “save” Clinton.
⋙ 🐣 RT @benjysarlin . @KenDilanianNBC notes indictment alleges Russia “on or about July 27, 2016” started trying to access Clinton’s personal emails. Which is the same day Trump gave his “Russia if you’re listening, I hope your able to find the 30,000 emails…” news conference.

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Mueller Indictment Shows Trump Colluding With Russia http://nym.ag/2upN7p1

On July 27, 2016, Donald Trump denied Russia was the likely culprit in the email hacks, but also announced, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think that you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.”

In what is possibly an astonishing coincidence, but probably not, that very night, according to the new indictments from the Department of Justice, Russian hackers “attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or about the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign.” Trump asked Russia to hack his opponent, and Russia did “[f]or the first time,” as the indictment says.

… The danger for Trump is the implication of collusion scattered throughout the indictments.

… The indictment charges that the conspirators “received a request for stolen materials from a candidate for the U.S. Congress,” and “sent the candidate stolen documents.” The Wall Street Journal reported a year ago that “Guccifer 2.0,” one of the Russian hackers, communicated with Florida-based Republican operative Aaron Nevins.

The most direct path to the Trump campaign indicated in this indictment runs through Roger Stone. The Republican dirty trickster officially left the Trump campaign in 2015, but remained in regular contact with Trump throughout the campaign.

Stone admittedly engaged in direct communication with one of the indicted Russian agents. The indictment cites Stone’s contact with Guccifer 2.0:

That certainly looks like acting as an accessory to a crime. Stone promises he will “never roll on Trump,” unlike John Dean, who fingered President Nixon for crimes during Watergate. The promise and the analogy both suggest that Stone has evidence of culpability between Trump and Russia.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani writes, “The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.” The absurdity of this defense is so palpable that it underscores the sheer desperation of Trump’s legal defense. As Giuliani surely understands, the prosecution is building its case step by step, and the absence of formal charges against an individual in any one indictment hardly indicates they are in the clear. President Trump has been all but charged with collusion in this indictment.

Politico: Mueller indictment sheds new light on Russia’s ‘nasty’ secret election hacking units http://politi.co/2KUZ14o
// The Russia special counsel described in rich new detail how Russian military intelligence officials infiltrated Democratic servers with fearsome skill.

The operatives from two units within Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency meddled in the election through an elaborate series of coordinated high-tech influence operations, and by using a global network of anonymous servers, bitcoin purchasers and other unwitting cutouts to cover the digital tracks, according to the indictment.

“These GRU units are dedicated, well-organized and well-funded, and they’re perfectly capable of causing havoc in our electric grid as well as insecure election systems,” said Joel Brenner, a top official at the National Security Agency and Directorate of National Intelligence during the Bush and Obama administrations.

One of them, Unit 26165, meticulously hacked and stole the information, while the other, 74455, set up the elaborate infrastructure around the world that was used to disseminate the material and make it look like a series of unrelated incidents.

By capturing the keystrokes and computer activities of their victims, they also captured communications about fundraising, voter outreach projects, data about the DCCC’s finances, personal banking information and even files about Clinton’s Achilles Heel, the Benghazi investigations. They also accessed third-party cloud-computing services to obtain politically valuable data about the DNC’s analytics, the indictment said.

And both units covered their tracks so meticulously through an elaborate series of countersurveillance measures that they secretly remained inside the Democrats’ systems until October 2016, the indictment said, despite the efforts of a top U.S. cybersecurity firm to flush them out that began five months earlier. … included the GRU units’ penetration of a state election board’s website, from which they stole information related to about 500,000 voters.

[Joel] Brenner, the former NSA senior official, said the investigation must have been “amazingly thorough,” for instance, to be able to identify the GRU agents operating behind the scenes, including those who engineered the custom malware used in the DNC intrusions.

JustSecurity: Six Big Takeaways from Mueller’s Indictment of Russian Intel Officers http://bit.ly/2LgFLdH
// by Andy Wright, Alex Whiting, Ryan Goodman and Kate Brannen

1. WikiLeaks Collaboration with Russian Intelligence
2. Russian State Attribution
3. Americans’ Liability
4. Media Introspection Time
5. Mueller Investigation Vitality
6. The Level of Detail

NYT: ‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says of Russian Attacks http://nyti.ms/2uyEibO

The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

Coming just days ahead of President Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Coats’s comments demonstrate the persistent divisions within the administration on Russia — and on how hard a line senior administration officials should take with Moscow on its cyberspace activities.

In his remarks on Friday, Mr. Coats did not directly address Mr. Trump’s coming meeting with Mr. Putin. But Mr. Coats did say that if he was meeting the Russian president, he would deliver a sharp message that the United States knows what the Russians are doing and that Mr. Putin’s government is responsible for the cyberattacks.

Mr. Coats also expressed frustration with cyberspace strategies that emphasize only defense, and not offense as well. Evoking President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War approach to the Soviet Union, Mr. Coats suggested that if Russia continued to try to take on the United States in the cyberarena, then the administration should “throw everything we have got into it.”

The comments by Mr. Coats reflect the view by the intelligence community that Russia’s campaign remains a grave threat.

“Russia continues to be aggressive across the board,” Mr. Jones said. “Much as the Soviets did in the Cold War, the Russian active measures are much bigger than just elections.”

Mr. Coats said Russian and other actors were exploring vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and trying to infiltrate energy, water, nuclear and manufacturing sectors.

He did not outline any details of what exactly the United States or its intelligence agencies will do to curtail the intrusions. But he did say intelligence and other government agencies will speak more publicly about the threat of cyberattacks and cyberinterference to increase public knowledge.

🔄 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

WaPo Editorial: A timely reminder that Putin is no friend of ours http://wapo.st/2mfd321

The indictment mentions communications with a U.S. congressional candidate and someone in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials [Stone]. It also notes that the Russians stepped up their hacking just as Mr. Trump was calling on them to obtain and release Hillary Clinton’s emails.

[Trump] could point to the indictments and say, “We know you did this, here are the sanctions you will suffer for it, and here are the additional sanctions we will impose if you do it again.”

The country — and all its leaders — must keep top of mind that the Russian government meddled in the nation’s democratic process and plans to do so again. The Russians should be punished and deterred. Ignoring or minimizing these overriding points is an abdication of responsibility.

Slate, April Glaser: What the Latest Mueller Indictment Reveals About Guccifer 2.0, the “Lone Hacker” Who Was Really a Group of Russian Agents http://slate.me/2mgpnz6
Text Block: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1018088263079350273/photo/1

Guccifer 2.0 communicated directly with numerous reporters, including Trump confidante Roger Stone, who posted screenshots of his private Twitter exchange with the disguised Russian hacking group in March 2017. The indictment is presumably referring to Stone when it describes a person who was “in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.”

Guccifer 2.0 didn’t hit the scene, however, until after the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, brought in to analyze the DNC’s data breach, published a report that found “two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network.” The next day, Guccifer 2.0 claimed responsibility for the hack in a WordPress blog, noting the infiltration “was easy, very easy.” The blog posted opposition research on Donald Trump stolen from the DNC. A few days later, Guccifer 2.0 started a Twitter account declaring that he wasn’t a team of Russians but rather a “lone hacker”—a claim the indictment says is false—and admitted to handing his bounty to WikiLeaks. In an interview with Motherboard, Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian, but when pressed to explain how he hacked into the DNC servers in Romanian, the person behind the account sent back only a few sentences riddled with mistakes. Still, that summer the Kremlin denied any involvement in the DNC breach.

The indictment brings previously unknown details to light about just how active Guccifer 2.0 was, including the allegation that the Kremlin hackers “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the US. Congress,” a request they fulfilled. …

WikiLeaks, which the indictment refers to as Organization 1, allegedly conspired with the fictitious Guccifer 2.0 character in order to receive a trove of more than 20,000 private emails stolen from the DNC server, which WikiLeaks eventually made public.

Organization 1 [Wikileaks]: if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.

The Russian agents: 0k … i see.

Organization I: we. think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary … so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.

[T]he emails, which contained correspondence between high-level DNC staff criticizing Sanders and discussing ways to undermine him, undoubtedly turned many of Sanders’ staunch supporters off to the idea of supporting a Clinton presidency.

≣💙💙 DOJ: Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein Delivers Remarks Announcing the Indictment of Twelve Russian Intelligence Officers for Conspiring to Interfere in the 2016 Presidential Election Through Computer Hacking and Related Offenses http://bit.ly/2KTOhTT
Video: https://twitter.com/TheJusticeDept/status/1017823027319500800/photo/1

◕🔄💙💙 FiveThirtyEight, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux: The Mueller Investigation Keeps Growing Fast http://53eig.ht/2uxfyk4
// chart comparing major federal investigations, Watergate, Whitewater, TrumpRussia etc

NYT Editorial: How Do You Say ‘Witch Hunt’ in Russian? http://nyti.ms/2LcZa2s
//. It sure is strange that Donald Trump is so angry at American justice for the indictment of 12 Russian military officers.

NYT: 12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation http://nyti.ms/2Jo8gED

🐣 RT @McFaul Those indicted Russians can now be arrested all over the world. No more trips to London or French Riviera. Their lives just changed forever.
⋙ 🐣 RT @soith_feargach I honestly don’t understand why this means anything. It’s good I suppose that he has the names, but they won’t be extradited here to stand trial, ever. This seems like a lot of noise without meaning. They need to go after the Americans who helped.

🐣 RT @krassenstein BOOM!
Apr 19, 2016 – DCLeaks domain registered by Russians
Apr 19, 2016 – Manafort Takes over as Campaign Chair
Jun 8, 2016 – DCLeaks launches
Jun 9, 2016 – Trump Tower Meeting
Jul 27, 2016 – Trump asks Russia to hack Clinton
Jul 27, 2016 – Russia Starts hacking Clinton

🐣 RT @tribelaw Even if VP’s spear-fishing into H’s emails on 7/27, hours after DJT invited just that, doesn’t lead Mueller to indict Trump, given DOJ policy, it’s likely to support an article of impeachment against T for intentionally getting a foreign adversary’s criminal help to become POTUS.

🐣 RT @tribelaw Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton’s email servers on 7/27/16. Within HOURS, Russia obliged. That’s the pair of overt acts needed to prove criminal conspiracy. All that’s missing is the express or implied agreement. That can be shown circumstantially.

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance The idea of Trump meeting with Putin alone, at this moment in time, is so out of beyonds that it cannot be interpreted in a benign light if it happens.
⋙ 🐣 RT @tedlieu In light of the charges against 12 GRU officers announced by Rod Rosenstein, @realDonaldTrump should cancel his meeting with Putin, who ordered the attack on the US. @POTUS shouldn’t meet Putin until he accepts responsibility. And Trump should definitely not meet him alone.

🐣 RT @chrislhayes Keep thinking about this line: “Given all this, it seems increasingly likely that the Russians have pulled off the most consequential covert action operation since Germany put Lenin on a train back to Petrograd in 1917.”
⋙ TheIntercept (Feb), James Risen: Is Donald Trump a Traitor? http://bit.ly/2GnyBl9
// 2/16/2018

Politico: The 327 people connected to the Russia probes http://politi.co/2FUDhz2 //➔ constantly updated

🐣 RT @juliaioffe Have been out of pocket all day and have just finished reading the indictment and I can’t believe Trump is still going to meet Putin afterwards. The message to Putin is clear: I believe you, not my own judicial system.

🐣 RT @RighteousBabe4 Best Mueller Twitter Thread https://twitter.com/RighteousBabe4/status/1017826651340713984

NewYorker, Susan Glasser: Thanks to Robert Mueller, Trump and Putin Now Have a Summit Agenda http://bit.ly/2JlFOTU

🐣 People speculate that Mueller indictments were released today to head off Trump/Putin meeting. They could also have been released to protect Rosenstein:
⋙ Politico: House conservatives prep push to impeach Rosenstein http://politi.co/2zBJTng “as soon as Monday”

ABCNews: Roger Stone says he’s the ‘US person’ mentioned in Mueller indictment http://abcn.ws/2LgSHjO

🐣 RT @juliaioffe This quote from the indictment is the highest level of special. “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tvveo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.”

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson A reader notes that since this was the GRU – Russian *Military* intelligence behind this attack that it falls under article 5 in the NATO Treaty…

Reuters: U.S. intel chief warns of devastating cyber threat to U.S. infrastructure http://reut.rs/2L7YP18 “warning lights are blinking red again”

🐣 RT @keithboykin 100+ criminal counts
35 total indictments
32 people indicted
3 companies indicted
5 guilty pleas
Paul Manafort in jail
Michael Flynn guilty
Trump told Russia to hack
Trump staff met with Russians
Trump Jr. worked w/Wikileaks

This is not a witch hunt.
It’s a criminal conspiracy.

🔆 This❗️⋙ Politico: House conservatives prep push to impeach Rosenstein http://politi.co/2zBJTng
Text:https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1017897987484340224 /photo/1

House conservatives are preparing a new push to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to three conservative Capitol Hill sources — putting the finishing touches on an impeachment filing even as Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the 2016 election.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, in fact, had the impeachment document on the floor of the House at the very moment that Rosenstein spoke to reporters and TV cameras Friday.

Conservative GOP lawmakers have been plotting to remove Rosenstein for weeks, accusing him of slow-walking their probe of FBI agents they’ve accused of bias against President Donald Trump.

Democrats contend Republicans’ fixation on Rosenstein is really an effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller, who reports to Rosenstein and has been making inroads in his investigation of the Russian election interference plot. Mueller’s probe has entangled members of Trump’s inner circle and Trump has increasingly assailed it as a politically motivated “witch hunt” as it’s presented greater danger to him and his allies.

Conservative sources say they could file the impeachment document as soon as Monday, as Meadows and Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) look to build Republican support in the House. One source cautioned, however, that the timing was still fluid.

But House GOP leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan have clearly been uncomfortable with the notion of going after Rosenstein. It’s unlikely that will change anytime soon, especially so soon after the latest indictments. Ryan’s office was not immediately available for comment.
[ But Trump could seize on it to fire him ]

Rosenstein has clashed with House Republicans for months, with Rosenstein insisting that he’s working to comply with the GOP’s intensive demands for documents — some directly relevant to Mueller’s ongoing probe.

But Ryan and other top GOP lawmakers have accused him of stonewalling and flouting Congress’ oversight authority. Trump, too, has frequently sided with lawmakers to pressure Rosenstein to turn over more documents, an effort Democrats say is really meant to arm Trump with more insight into the Russia probe.

The House, with Ryan’s blessing, adopted a measure last month accusing Rosenstein and other DOJ officials of bucking Congress and demanding access to thousands of sensitive FBI documents by July 6. It’s unclear whether Republican leaders are satisfied with DOJ’s efforts since then or if they’re preparing a renewed push for the materials. …

In his remarks Friday, Rosenstein urged the public to be wary of leaks surrounding the Mueller probe.

“We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who are actually conducting these investigations,” he said.

“We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures, and we reserve judgment,” he added. “We complete our investigations, and we evaluate all of the relevant evidence before we reach any conclusion. That is how the American people expect their Department of Justice to operate, and that is how our department is going to operate.”

But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has made clear that he doesn’t consider Rosenstein out of the woods yet.

After a daylong grilling Thursday of FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok — whom Republicans have accused of bias in the Russia probe — Goodlatte said he blamed Rosenstein for limiting Strzok’s ability to reveal details of his work.

“Rosenstein, who has oversight over the FBI and of the Mueller investigation is where the buck stops,” he said. “Congress has been blocked today from conducting its constitutional oversight duty.”

Politico: House conservatives prep push to impeach Rosenstein http://politi.co/2zBJTng

NYT: Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Clinton. Were They Listening? http://nyti.ms/2L7XwPL

WaPo, Karen Tumulty: Rod Rosenstein said just what we needed to hear http://wapo.st/2mihhWQ

WaPo, Paul Waldman: If this is a ‘witch hunt,’ it sure is finding a lot of witches http://wapo.st/2KUlIWC

WaPo: Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians with hacking Democrats in 2016 http://wapo.st/2NfrgHI

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

🐣 RT @davidfrum Mueller alleges that Gufficer 2.0 was a Russian GRU officer. And Roger Stone has acknowledged emailing with Guccifer

🐣 RT @McFaul I’m very impressed that Mueller was able to name the 12 GRU officers in the new indictment. Demonstrates the incredible capabilities of our intelligence community. Kremlin will take note.

🐣 RT @brianklaas This was breathtakingly stupid when Trump proposed this idea almost exactly a year ago. Today, it looks even worse.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..
// 7/9/2017

🐣 RT @anneapplebaum Mueller is suggesting Russians stole Clinton campaign election analytics. If they gave that to Trump campaign, then how is that different from Nixon’s Cuban burglars breaking into Democratic campaign offices?

📒 💙💙 Justice.gov: Mueller Indictment of 12 Russians in the GRU in Election Hacking [pdf] http://bit.ly/2NbphV6 29p

🐣 RT @carolecadwalladr Polite reminder. Trump & Brexit are not 2 different things. They are the same thing. Same companies. Same data. Same Facebook. Same Russians. Same Cambridge Analytica. Same Robert Mercer. Same Steve Bannon. Same Breitbart. Same Alexander Nix. Same Donald Trump. Same Nigel Farage.

TheHill: Mueller: Russian officers launched leaks website in June 2016 http://bit.ly/2LgKAnF

Russian intelligence officers allegedly launched a website in June 2016 to release emails stolen from Clinton campaign officials, special counsel Robert Mueller alleged in an indictment released Friday.

Mueller alleges that the Russian officers initially registered the domain for DCLeaks.com in April 2016, and launched the site “[o]n or about June 8, 2016.”

“Starting in or around June 2016 and continuing through the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Conspirators used DCLeaks to release emails stolen from individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign,” the indictment reads.

Mueller’s investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the election have focused on a number of other events in the spring and summer of 2016.

One of those events, held June 9, 2016, was the infamous Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and several top Trump campaign officials.

President Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after British music producer Rob Goldstone told him that Veselnitskaya had damaging information on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

🐣 RT @SethAbramson 33/ The Kremlin DIRECTLY RESPONDED to Trump’s public call to try to get Clinton’s “missing” emails WITHIN HOURS of him making the request—WITHIN HOURS. Either Trump was coordinating OR he KNEW he had sufficient pull with the Russians that his words could have this sort of effect.

💥 NYT: 12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation 💥 http://nyti.ms/2L9FyMI

🐣 RT @woodruffbets NEW INDICTMENT
-12 Russian GRU officials
-Used Bitcoin to pay for servers etc
-targeted DCCC, DNC, and HRC
-Released emails under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind Mueller is brilliant: he is setting the table by showing the American people that Russia hacked and interfered in our election. Today we know Americans were in contact with those Russians. Next shoe to drop is the role of the Trump campaign in colluding with Russia.

🐣 RT @afneil NATO facts. US does not account for 90% NATO spending (Trump). It’s 22%. NATO Europe spends $250bn/year on defence, 2nd in world after US. Contrary to Trump’s claims, NATO did not agree to his demands. Merely reaffirmed 2014 agreement to spend more.

⭕ 12 Jul 2018

USAToday, Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL): As Trump meets Putin, we’ll spotlight and resist Russian aggression http://usat.ly/2upcU0v

💙💙 NYRB, Nick Cohen: How the BBC Lost the Plot on Brexit http://bit.ly/2LmkVtP

If you only know the BBC from its slots on NPR, I doubt you will have grasped the extent of its journalistic cowardice in covering the 2016 referendum that decided to take Britain out of the European Union, and its aftermath.

Here is an incomplete list of uncomfortable truths that the British government, its supposedly left-wing opposition in the Labour party, and the 17.4 million people who voted for Britain to leave the EU do not want to hear. There is no plan, and there never was a plan. The “Leave” campaign never had the integrity to present the public with a program for withdrawal. If it had, voters might have realized that Brexit would either bring a huge dislocation as Britain tore itself out of an integrated European economy, or would turn Britain into an EU satellite state, obeying its rules but without a voice in their formulation.

Instead of honestly confronting Britain’s place in the world, the campaign offered brazen lies: Brexit would deliver £350 million ($462 million) a week to our health service; Turkey was about to join the EU and flood Britain with millions of Muslim migrants.

The chaos that has rendered Britain all but powerless as Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump tear up the international order stems from the original sin of not leveling with the public. Both the Conservative and Labour parties are being torn apart by a pressure to do the impossible: to square the promises of charlatans with the realities of Britain’s economic and strategic position. Both left and right, or at least their leaders, talk as if the European Union will allow us to retain the benefits of membership when we have left. …

“The referendum is over,” declared another Today presenter, Nick Robinson. … Real journalists should be able to see that everything is wrong with his statement. If Brexit were over, Britain would not be in a rolling crisis with no end in sight. As pertinently, journalists should never assume a subject has become off-limits, because that is what the enemies of free expression demand.

Much of contemporary politics resembles the brainwashing techniques of religious sects, which discredit sources of information that might contradict the cult’s teachings. … Their most effective technique is to take a half-truth—that all journalistic choices are ideological to some extent—and use it as a weapon to suppress the full truth.

… Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are masters of the tactic of saying that, regardless of the truth of the research or the importance of the story, the very fact of the story’s existence proves its illegitimacy. … He tells his followers that no honest person would have covered the story in the first place. Its truth and relevance are immaterial; it has no right to exist. … …

The BBC’s reporting of the scandals around the Brexit referendum is not biased or unbalanced: it barely exists. It is as though the US networks had decided the Mueller investigation was no concern of theirs. There have been three huge stories the BBC has covered with only the most perfunctory reports: the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data leak, the Brexit campaign funding scandal, and the exposure of Russian interference in British politics.

That 2018 has been the year that Western publics realized how much Facebook knew about them, and how that information could be used by hostile foreign powers and malicious plutocrats, is thanks in large part to the efforts of Carole Cadwalladr, my colleague at the London Guardian and Observer. … Cadwalladr has inspired investigations of global interest in the Brexit referendum. She did it the old-fashioned way, by banging away at the story week in, week out. The more often she appeared in the paper, the more potential whistleblowers realized they could trust and talk to her.

… No one has done more to expose how the axis of technology, demagoguery, and oligarchy operates in Britain. She is everything BBC journalists are not.

When the whistleblower Christopher Wylie brought The Observer and The New York Times details of how data Cambridge Analytica, a British company partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer (who funds numerous conservative causes), Cadwalladr and Wylie offered the BBC a share of the story. The firm was at the center of the Anglo-American alt-right. Steve Bannon was on its board. It worked for Donald Trump and, at the very least, had dealings with Leave.EU, a pro-Brexit campaign group fronted by Trump’s British ally Nigel Farage and funded with what is thought to be the largest campaign donation in British political history from one of our local oligarchs, a loudmouthed insurance tycoon named Arron Banks. When news broke that Cambridge Analytica had collected identifying personal information for some 87 million Facebook users, Facebook stock fell by $134 billion.

The BBC was given the opportunity to interview the whistleblower and have a documentary ready to go once the news was out. But like Eliot rejecting Orwell, the BBC’s investigative program Panorama backed away. There was no “smoking gun,” it said. Within days, the smoke from Facebook’s burning reputation was billowing from its Palo Alto headquarters.

Cadwalladr received copies of Arron Banks’s emails showing that he had had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador during the referendum campaign and was offered a business deal involving six Russian goldmines. … …

In the preface to Animal Farm, George Orwell provided a line that today would be apt for the walls of the BBC headquarters: “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.” No doubt, if the shift of public opinion against Brexit continues, the BBC’s silence will end and, like a weather vane, it will swing with the prevailing wind. It will receive no plaudits from me. No one should praise journalists who speak out when, and only when, they are certain that public opinion is with them. Not just journalists, but anyone engaged in political life should learn from the BBC’s abject performance. Whether you are on the left or the right, there will be times when you will be frightened of saying what you believe for fear of offending your friends, breaking a taboo or going against the ephemeral consensus of the day. Allow that fear to dominate you and you will end up like the BBC: platitudinous, frightened, and irrelevant.

WaPo, Aaron Blake: 7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing http://wapo.st/2NbYvM5

≣ Politico: Full text: FBI agent Peter Strzok’s statement before Congress http://politi.co/2zHrHsm
// transcript

In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign. This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.

That’s what FBI agents do every single day, and it’s why I am so proud of the Bureau. And I am particularly proud of the work that I, and many others, did on the Clinton email investigation. Our charge was to investigate it competently, honestly, and independently, and that is exactly what happened.

I’m also proud of our work on the Russian interference investigation. This is an investigation into a direct attack by a foreign adversary – and it is no less so simply because it was launched against our democratic process rather than against a military base. This is something that all Americans, of all political persuasions, should be alarmed by. In the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an American Presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide the United States of America. This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax. …

I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity. But the honest truth is that Russian interference in our elections constitutes a grave attack on our democracy. Most disturbingly, it has been wildly successful – sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions. I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.

As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.

💙💙 HillReporter: 4 Moments From Peter Strzok’s Testimony That You Must See http://bit.ly/2ukr2YO

HuffPo: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) uses GOP members of Congress’ own words to highlight the hypocrisy of their criticism against FBI Agent Peter Strzok.
💽 Video: https://twitter.com/HuffPostPol/status/1017555455189700608/photo/1

🐣 RT @SteveSchmidtSES That wasn’t oversight and you know it. It was harassment, conspiracy theories, wackjobbery, dishonesty and demagoguery wrapped in a blanket of venality and rot. This country needs statesmen and women. You know one well. Think about stepping it up. @NicolleDWallace @MarkSalter55
⋙ 🐣 RT @LindseyGrahamSC If Democrats and the FBI believe the bias displayed by Strzok and Page will not be subject to congressional oversight, they are kidding themselves. That’s delusional.

🐣💙💙 RT @KenDilanianNBC FBI agent Peter Stzrok: In the fall of 2016, I had info that could “derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind….This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.”

NYT: Stephen Colbert Criticizes Trump for Attacking Germany http://nyti.ms/2zxWTdR

TheHill: Fox News lands exclusive interview with Putin http://hill.cm/841KzAk 

🐣 RT @brianklaass Trump weeded out or sidelined anyone who wasn’t a feeble sycophant. The leader of the most powerful country on Earth is objectively ignorant, frequently unhinged & a serial liar — and he is also mostly unbound from the remaining advisers who have more knowledge and better traits.

Vox, Andrew Prokop: The wild Peter Strzok congressional hearing, explained http://bit.ly/2zxRALt
// The FBI agent accused of political bias defended himself in a raucous hearing.

Politico, David Herszenhorn & Jacopo Barigazzi: ‘Very stable’ Trump? European leaders beg to differ http://politi.co/2LhHlfK
// The president’s wild shifts in tone left many NATO allies concluding no hidden strategy lies behind his unpredictability.

Trump’s wildly unpredictable performance over two days in Brussels left many European leaders convinced that there is little method to the American president’s rhetorical madness, and simply no way to anticipate what he might do next.

“Nobody knows when Trump is doing international diplomacy and when he is doing election campaigning in Montana,” Danish defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said. “It is difficult to decode what policy the American president is promoting. There is a complete unpredictability in this, and one of the things you need in this alliance is predictability towards Russia.”

Trump upended the summit even before it started by unleashing a tirade against Germany during a breakfast meeting on Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and created further upheaval by hijacking a meeting Thursday morning about Ukraine and Georgia during which he again demanded that allies quickly increase their national military spending and threatened that if they failed to do so, the U.S. could break with the alliance and start conducting security policy unilaterally, by going its “own way.”

Trump also committed a cardinal sin of diplomacy by conflating issues that are typically kept in silos — like military spending and trade, or energy policy, in the case of the German gas pipeline project — to reduce the chance of rupturing negotiations.

NPR: Trump Says ‘No Problem’ In NATO, Touting Allies’ Spending Pledges http://n.pr/2Nc5B3r //➔ the pledges were established in 2014
// Macron

NYT, David Leonhardt: It Just Got Harder to Fire Mueller http://nyti.ms/2LcWsHa

NYT, William Davies: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Rise of Radical Incompetence http://nyti.ms/2JlclcH
// Like America’s president, Brexiteers resent the very idea of governing as complex and based in facts.

NYT: With May’s Government Teetering, Trump Gives It a Shove http://nyti.ms/2L5o04p

Crooks&Liars, Karoli: Trump Gives ‘Insane, Incendiary, Insulting’ Interview To British Tabloid http://bit.ly/2L2FoqB Trump’s interview with Murdoch’s Sun is crazier than anything he’s done so far

MSN: Inflation jumps 2.9 percent in largest annual gain in 6 years http://bit.ly/2mcvRPt Meanwhile payscale index is down .9 percent

🐣💙 RT @Kris_Sacrebleu You know what I enjoyed most about the #PeterStrzokHearing ?
It was pure, man.

🐣 RT @AdamSchiffCA While the President disparages our closest allies in Europe and NATO, Putin glories in new fractures in the Western alliance. All the while, autocrats all over the world are on the rise. And still, the GOP slumbers.

TheSun [UK]: TRUMP’S BREXIT BLAST I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it — the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2KU845N
// “The” interview; text: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1017634300785844224/photo/1

His comments, damaging to the Prime Minster, come as he delivers his most brutally honest verdict yet on Britain in which he also:

Accused EU leaders of destroying its culture and identity by allowing in millions of
● Tore into London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not standing up to terrorists
● Blamed Khan for spiralling crime in the capital
● Insisted former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make “a great Prime Minister”
● Denied once branding Theresa May a “bossy schoolteacher”
Maintained he would keep ties with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin despite the
Salisbury Novichok poisonings
● Demanded Britain and other Nato countries spend more on defence
● Spoke of his sadness at feeling unwelcome in the capital by anti-Trump protesters
● Claimed millions of Brits backed his policies
● Told of his pride at taking wife Melania to meet the Queen

WaPo: Trump blasts Prime Minister Theresa May in interview published during his first official visit to Britain http://wapo.st/2uBTxAT

🔆 This❗️⋙ NYT: White House Orders Broader Access to Files About F.B.I. Informant http://nyti.ms/2L9kw0G

🐣 RT @Amy_Siskind Just a reminder: the FBI helped Trump win and Hillary lose. We voted in November 2016 not knowing the Trump campaign was under investigation for colluding with Russia. That’s how far down the rabbit hole of ridiculousness we have gone.

🐣 RT @JohnWDean This House joint committee shows how Trump has taken the GOP into the gutter w/ him as they seek to use their official power to obstruct the Mueller investigation of him. Little wonder the public holds Congress in such low esteem. Strzok had shown this circus for what it is.

💙💙 RollingStone: FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s Hearing About Trump and Russia Got Ugly http://rol.st/2JjA7po
// the good quotes; From allegations of lying under oath to dragging a personal life through the mud, it was a wild day on Capitol Hill

All that was made clear on Thursday was that the president has successfully corrupted his Republican allies to the point that lawmakers consider the FBI to be conspiring against the state, while an adversary like Russia launching a cyberwar on America is an afterthought. Trump isn’t concerned, so neither are Republicans, who now use the president’s Twitter account as a North Star for where to direct their attention and, apparently, how to behave.

“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Strzok said in his opening statement. “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

NYT (7/20/2016): Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack http://nyti.ms/2uvy2kX
// 7/20/2016

WaPo, Robert Kagan: Things will not be okay http://wapo.st/2uvw7wL

WaPo Editorial: The Strzok hearing damaged our democracy http://wapo.st/2JnqGp0

Politico: Trump ‘plays Russia’s game’ with NATO attacks, former officials say http://politi.co/2mbphsB
// His threat to withdraw U.S. commitment ‘strikes at the heart’ of the alliance, says one former NATO ambassador.

WaPo: FBI agent at center of clash over Russia probe faces off with Republicans at tense hearing http://wapo.st/2mbWkN7

WaPo: Trump blasts Prime Minister Theresa May in interview published during his first official visit to Britain http://wapo.st/2NaGv4I

NYT: F.B.I. Agent Peter Strzok Defends Actions in Russia Inquiry in Contentious House Testimony http://nyti.ms/2L8R0bA

NYT: Trump Rattles Britain Hours After Unsettling NATO http://nyti.ms/2LehhC3

NYT, Susan Rice: Trump Must Not Capitulate to Putin http://nyti.ms/2uqKKSb
// There is so much to lose and so little to gain for the United States in the Trump-Putin summit next week.

💙💙 NYT, Paul Krugman: For Trump, Failure Is the Only Option http://nyti.ms/2usP2bK

WaPo: Peter Strzok just gave a hard-to-rebut defense of the objectivity of the Russia investigation’s origins http://wapo.st/2mj2YS1

TheHill: Trump says he feels ‘unwelcome’ in London due to protests http://bit.ly/2L9aDQC

🐣 Unfortunately, they ran out of Democrats. Remaining Republicans are just delivering short floor speeches pummeling Strzok, hardly even letting him speak. They planned this for primetime. They are shameless, diminishing America.

🐣 DailyBeast: Republicans Thought Peter Strzok Would Be a Punching Bag. He Just Knocked Them Out. http://thebea.st/2usFSf7
// He was supposed to be a key in the imaginary conspiracy Trump’s congressional lackeys and media fantasists have desperately tried to write as history. He was having none of it.

🐣 RT @RepAdamSchiff GOP leadership at the Strzok hearing demonstrating again that there is no water they will not carry, no character they will not assassinate, no institution they will not destroy in service of the President. Giuliani will be pleased with the additions to Trump’s legal defense team

🐣 RT @PaulBegala I didn’t see smugness from Special Agent Strzok. I saw righteous indignation over his life & career upended, and the entire FBI trashed by partisan hacks seeking to divert from the deadly serious question of whether our POTUS has been compromised by a hostile foreign power.

🐣 RT @EvanMcMullin House Republicans’ efforts today and otherwise to expose the sources of an ongoing counter-intelligence investigation of immense national importance are utterly reprehensible and dangerous. They’re abusing their authorities to protect the president at the country’s expense.

🐣 RT @MarshallCohen FBI agent Peter Strzok just testified that the Steele dossier was not the reason why the FBI opened its Trump-Russia investigation in July 2016.

Esquire: Peter Strzok’s Testimony Was a Reminder of How Dumb the ‘Deep State’ Theory Is http://bit.ly/2uv5O9Q https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1017512938708570112/photo/1
// Text block below; Which investigation did the FBI go public about again?

But the real haymaker was Strzok’s reminder that he had a ton of dirt on Trump before Election Day—potentially decisive dirt—and didn’t call a single reporter or tweet a single bit out. We didn’t see it on Wikileaks. We didn’t hear about any of it. Strzok’s grandstanding about how bias would never infect an FBI investigation doesn’t hold water, but the simple fact is that the agency had an opportunity to fire a cannonball at the U.S.S. Trump, but chose Clinton instead. That points to the bias in the FBI’s New York field office, which likely fed into Comey’s decision to go public with the Clinton probe details.

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom [Clint Watts] I’m not sure which has degraded US democratic institutions more since 2016: Russia’s Active Measures or the behavior of the House of Representatives.

🌀Time cover, White House becomes Kremlin https://twitter.com/PaladinCornelia/status/1017489651366424576/photo/1

.@RepGutierrez makes a great point. Peter Strzok knew the information that could destroy the Trump candidacy BUT DID NOT LEAK IT. Proof his personal opinions did not affect his professional activity. His texts did not lead to acts.

WaPo: At NATO, Trump claims allies make new defense spending commitments after he upends summit http://wapo.st/2ugSJSj

🐣 Harken! @RepMolester speaks!

🐣 RT @PaulaChertov Rep Connolly makes key & obscured point by the GOP campaign to taint Strzok & Mueller investigation generally: Saying negative things about Trump and not wanting him to be president was the majority view in the country—including from prominent Republicans. #Strzok was no outlier.
⋙ 🐣 “Saying negative things about Trump and not wanting him to be president was the majority view in the country”~ It still is.

🐣 RT @matthewamiller Oh Issa. He just told Strzok he is the target of a congressional investigation, which is not actually a thing.

🐣 I have known GOP surgeons and Dem surgeons. I have never known a surgeon incapable of performing surgery equally well on GOP and Dem patients. That is what a “professional” is. FBI agents are professionals. They are bound by professional ethics. @cspan #PeterStrzok

WaPo: GOP lawmakers threaten FBI agent Peter Strzok with contempt for refusing to answer question on Mueller probe http://wapo.st/2zAH2uQ

🐣 RT @DavidCicilline Republican hypocrisy is ridiculous today. GOP has until 5pm to tell me why I can’t release Peter Strzok’s closed-door transcript. If they don’t, @RepRaskin and I are going to send to DOJ to scrub for sensitive info and then release it when it’s ready.

WaPo, Max Boot: NATO is based on credibility and trust. Trump has struck a blow against both. http://wapo.st/2KQXbBv

🐣 RT @JakeTapper Strzok says re: investigation: “the information we had which was alleging a Russian offer of assistance to a member of the Trump campaign was of extraordinary significance. It was credible. It was from an extraordinarily sensitive and credible source.”

🐣 RT @tedleu This #GOP controlled hearing into the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails is stupid.
But having said that, Peter Strzok is a great witness who is obliterating conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory.

🐣 RT @matthewmiller I can’t believe how calmly and professionally Strzok is handling this. I am ready to punch a wall just from watching this travesty.

🐣 RT @selectedwisdom [ Clint Watts ] I’m not sure which has degraded US democratic institutions more since 2016: Russia’s Active Measures or the behavior of the House of Representatives.

🐣 RT @EricHolder House Republicans are irresponsibly more concerned with Strzok, Rosenstein and Clinton than they are with Putin/Russian actions. Smoke screen. Trying to delegitimize expected results of Mueller inquiry and protect people in Trump campaign and a very likely complicit President.

🐣 RT @BillKristol House Republicans are increasingly behaving like legislators from the ruling party in a banana republic. And while I remain committed to trying to save the GOP, it’s become awfully hard to make the case for saving GOP control of the House in 2018.
⋙ 🐣 RT @benjaminwittes ALERT: Rep. Goodlatte is right now threatening to hold an FBI agent in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about a pending counterintelligence investigation when the agent has been specifically instructed by the FBI not to answer such questions.

TheGuardian: Russian mining firm puts Trump’s face on its asbestos products http://bit.ly/2uhKzsZ
// As US officials decide against banning product, producer Uralasbest puts Trump ‘seal of approval’ on pallets

🐣 I love 💙 Peter Strzok 💙 my new hero. @cspan @CSPANnow

Politico: What Trump Should Have Told Germany About Russian Gas http://politi.co/2KNNJ21
// The president had a point – but as usual, he got the details wrong.

🐣 They’re trying to skewer Strzok for having been anti-Trump. Like no one else ever was. Talk about a witch hunt. @cspan3

CBS: Trump blasts Germany at NATO summit over gas pipeline deal with Russia http://cbsn.ws/2NJSgAg

🐣 Strzok hearing gets 🔥FIERY🔥 @Cspan3 now

🐣 Goodlatte is wrong. He can’t force Strzok to disclose info on on-going FBI investigation. Unbelievable.

Axios: Why Trump is mad about Russia’s new pipeline to Germany http://bit.ly/2LfGSKE

HuffPo: Colbert: My Agent ‘Doesn’t Do As Much For Me As Trump Does For Russia’ http://bit.ly/2ug3q7C
// The “Late Show” host isn’t surprised at all that Donald Trump gets along with Vladimir Putin.

CNN: Merkel responds to Trump: ‘I have witnessed’ Germany under Soviet control http://cnn.it/2zzEAF0

PBS: Trump scolded Germany for buying gas from Russia. Here’s what we know http://to.pbs.org/2zxXwE7

CNN: Democrats frustrated Nunes left mid-hearing after questions about Russia probe http://cnn.it/2N8msny

TheHill: Ex-Russia ambassador: Trump has done more damage to NATO in months than Russia has in decades http://bit.ly/2NaWxf0
// @mcfaul

WaPo, Aaron Blake: Trump creates a big, self-contradictory spectacle at NATO http://wapo.st/2Jhohfr

🔆 Hearing live now on C-Span❗️⋙ Politico: FBI agent Strzok slams hearing as ‘victory notch in Putin’s belt’ http://politi.co/2mbUJXC

🔆 Live now on C-Span❗️⋙ WaPo: Embattled FBI agent to appear before Congress http://wapo.st/2L1Vd0y

WaPo: In major abortion ruling, Kavanaugh offers clues of how he might handle divisive issue on the Supreme Court http://wapo.st/2Jmf0TK

🐣 “humiliating of a person” is poor usage; better be careful. I’m sure I’m richer than you & people like me pwn your party. Oligarchs buy your votes with red meat just so they can get their tax cuts. you’ll come crawling when they crash the economy again & use it to cut SS & Mcare.

🐣 Who would have thought that a porn star would end up having more integrity than the resident of the denigrated states of America?

🐣 Peter Strzok hearing about to begin. His story was featured on @maddow last night. Though less familiar to the left, he has been demonized on the right for having *gasp!* texted anti-Trump sentiments while working on the Clinton email and #TrumpRussia cases. @cspan3

WaPo: Trump upends NATO summit, demanding immediate spending increases or he will ‘do his own thing’ http://wapo.st/2KSspbs

Vox: Controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok’s upcoming hearing, explained http://bit.ly/2L7qfEq
// The agent who sent texts about stopping Trump is about to be grilled on the Hill.

AP: BREAKING: French President Macron denies Trump claim that NATO powers agreed to increase defense spending beyond previous targets.
// no article

WaPo: Trump upends NATO summit, demanding immediate spending increases or he will ‘do his own thing’ http://wapo.st/2upZksT

⭕ 11 Jul 2018

WarOnTheRocks, Edward Fishman and Mark Simakovsky (7/11): Playing with Fire in Helsinki: How Trump’s Summit with Putin Could Split the Transatlantic Alliance http://bit.ly/2LewBll

[T]he Trump administration’s Russia policy has demonstrated the degree to which federal agencies can shape policies in absence of consistent presidential leadership. The Helsinki summit, however, seems likely to mark the beginning of a period in which Trump puts more of a personal stamp on U.S. policy toward Russia, which carries serious risks. Trump seems intent on taking back control of the relationship with Russia, congressional obstacles and the Mueller investigation be damned.

… [T]he optics of a U.S. president shaking hands and smiling with Putin will contrast greatly with the combative images that seem likely to come out of the NATO summit days prior.

… [T]here are worrying signs that the Republican party is creeping toward Trump’s position on Russia, as evidenced by the recent congressional delegation. To mitigate the harm Trump’s summit could do, America needs lawmakers to maintain unity across the aisle in support of a clearheaded Russia policy.

Since passing the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) last summer, which legally codifies most U.S. sanctions against Russia, Congress has thwarted Trump’s efforts to shape policy toward Moscow. Partly in response to congressional pressure and to compensate for a perceived “softness” against an adversary, the Trump administration levied sanctions against Russia in April, the most damaging ones since at least 2016. As long as Mueller’s investigation marches forward, however, Trump will continue to have trouble shaping a coherent, effective approach to Russia. He will also find quickly that a Putin meeting notwithstanding, his administration will remain hamstrung in its ability to promise the Kremlin any relief from sanctions.

Trump’s own advisors may also seek to counter the president’s wishes to improve ties at all costs, as Pompeo, Mattis, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats have all expressed the threat that Russia presents and the need to counter Russian aggression with real American action. It is no coincidence that Coats himself is speaking publicly in Washington three days before the U.S.-Russia summit specifically to describe Russia’s current efforts to destabilize the 2018 mid-term elections. 

🐣 RT @RonaldKlain IMPORTANT: Tonight, Trump issued an order replacing non-partisan career Administrative Judges — who decide on benefits cases & regulations — with his own political appointees. A HUGE POWER GRAB. I warned about this in a column I wrote last November:

FinancialTimes: Tower of secrets: the Russian money behind a Donald Trump skyscraper http://on.ft.com/2maWzYJ

🐣 ‘Trump threatened to go it alone unless the Europeans IMMEDIATELY begin paying two percent of their GDP for defense.’ The existing agreement is to reach two percent by 2024.
⋙ Stern: Trump droht Nato-Partnern offenbar mit Alleingang in Verteidigungsfragen http://bit.ly/2L7kLGp

NYT: Trump vs. Merkel: Blistering Salvo Meets Quiet Rejoinder http://nyti.ms/2KZ1qun
Last ¶ below: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1017334594838949888/photo/1

Ms. Merkel has been hesitant to engage in harsh exchanges with Mr. Trump. In fact, her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, gave a much sharper response to Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks on Wednesday, writing on Twitter, “We are no captives — neither of Russia nor of the United States.

They have called the idea of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense — which Mr. Trump has not only insisted on but now says he wants to double — ludicrous and arbitrary.

That view is shared by many Germans, which led Ms. Merkel to record a video over the weekend explaining why she believed Germany must spend more on defense, as pledged. But the more Mr. Trump attacks Germany, the less its people feel like appeasing him on military spending or with trade concessions.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has been opposed by the United States for many years, including under President Barack Obama, as well as by some European countries, like Poland, that warn it will give Russia too much leverage.

The Germans argue that they have been diversifying their gas supplies, that they now get only about 9 percent of their energy from Russia — not the 70 percent that Mr. Trump claimed — and that Washington is angling to sell liquid natural gas to Germany instead.

NYT: Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers http://nyti.ms/2ma3Qbl

BBC FactCheck: How much of Germany’s gas comes from Russia? http://bbc.in/2NIyOUE Trump says Germany imports 60%–70% of its energy from Russia. Reality Check: Germany relies on Russia for most of its imports of natural gas. But gas makes up less than 20% of Germany’s energy…
// “… mix for power production”; may not include gas etc for cars

Politico: Trump sparks Republican rift on Russia http://politi.co/2zweJhg
// The GOP is increasingly divided as Trump undermines NATO and warms to Vladimir Putin.

NYT, Ivan Krastev: Sorry, NATO. Trump Doesn’t Believe in Allies. http://nyti.ms/2NJXWdK
// Europe has to understand that in the American president’s twisted worldview, there are only fans and enemies.

The logic of the post-Cold War world has been that the United States exercises its global influence by preserving and expanding its alliances. This logic no longer holds. The gravest risk the European Union faces is to be the guardian of a status quo that has ceased to exist.

🐣 RT @Lawrence Senate just had overwhelming bi-partisan vote against Trump’s illegal tariffs–88 to 11.

NYT, Nicholas Burns: What America Gets Out of NATO http://nyti.ms/2Na6PMD

Last week in Great Falls, Mont., he said that he had told Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, “I don’t know how much protection we get by protecting you.” Mr. Trump has been even tougher on the European Union, branding it “as bad as Nafta” and adding, “Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends.”

I have visited four European countries during the last two weeks, and it has been shocking to see how far from grace the United States has fallen in the eyes of its allies. European leaders point to Mr. Trump’s support for anti-democratic populists in Hungary, Poland and Italy. They view his recent Twitter attack on Ms. Merkel as a transparent attempt to push her from office.

Many fear he may now remove American sanctions against Moscow over its occupation of Crimea after his meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Finland next week. Confidence in Mr. Trump has plummeted so much that the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, recently grouped “Donald Trump’s egotistic policy of America First” along with Russia and China as global concerns.

… [T]here are compelling reasons that NATO in particular will be a distinct advantage for America’s security far into the future.

First, NATO’s formidable conventional and nuclear forces are the most effective way to protect North America and Europe — the heart of the democratic world — from attack. Threats to our collective security have not vanished in the 21st century. Mr. Putin remains a determined adversary preying on Eastern Europe and American elections. NATO is a force multiplier: The United States has allies who will stand by us, while Russia has none.

The United States has relied on NATO allies to strike back against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in the Middle East. European troops have replaced American soldiers in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and contribute the large majority in Kosovo.

A second reason for maintaining the trans-Atlantic alliance is America’s economic future. The European Union is our country’s largest trade partner, and its largest investor. The United States and the European Union are the world’s two largest economies, and can steer global trade to their advantage if they stick together. More than four million Americans work for European companies in the United States. Forty-five of the 50 states export more to Europe than to China.

Third, future American leaders will find Europe is our most capable and willing partner in tackling the biggest threats to global security: climate change; drugand cybercrime cartels; terrorism; pandemics and mass migration from Africa and the Middle East. And America’s NATO allies will continue to be indispensable in safeguarding democracy and freedom, under assault by Russia and China.

Mr. Trump may believe his blistering attacks on Europe’s trade policies and defense budgets are a good negotiating tactic before the summit. But in fact they have already done enormous damage. While he cannot outright kill NATO — the American public and Congress support it too strongly — he has eroded significant levels of trust and good will. As it became clear during my recent visits across Europe, a dangerous breach has opened in the trans-Atlantic alliance — by far the worst in seven decades.

Mr. Trump wants Americans to believe that their allies are simply taking advantage of them. On Sept. 11, 2001, I witnessed a far different reality as American ambassador to NATO. Canada and the European allies volunteered within hours of the attacks to invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which compels all members to respond to an attack on any single member, for the first time in history. They came to our defense when we most needed them. They sent troops to fight with us in Afghanistan. They are still there with us 17 years later.

Are we now going to throw off that mutual protection, and go it alone in a dangerous 21st-century world? That would be a historic mistake.

WaPo: ‘Rubbing salt in the wounds’: Trump won’t take yes for an answer at NATO http://wapo.st/2L3Tckn

After a year of haranguing by President Trump, Western leaders had agreed to his administration’s long-sought priorities on defense spending and counterterrorism — and were prepared to let him take all the credit.

But Trump had other plans.

The U.S. president began a remarkable day of transatlantic diplomacy by attacking Germany as “captive to Russia,” later called on NATO countries to double their previous commitment to defense spending and then effectively renounced the gathering altogether.

Publicly, however, Trump bristled and bickered, interrupted and impeded — making clear to the world he is impatient and annoyed with an alliance that he says takes advantage of the United States.

“This is Trump’s strategy,” said the diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly recount the private meeting. “He raises the stakes, then he calms things down.”

As Trump unspooled his case against Merkel, his aides looked stricken and stone-faced. Trump’s broadside set the tone for a summit that the Europeans feared could be contentious and perhaps even disastrous — especially after they watched him refuse to sign onto an agreement at the Group of Seven summit in Canada last month and railed against NATO at a campaign rally last week in Montana.

“The rapid erosion of trust in Donald Trump, I’ve never seen anything like it for any of our post-World War II presidents,” said Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. “They’re infuriated at these persistent attacks on NATO. . . . They all listened to the Great Falls, Montana, speech and follow him on Twitter. There’s tremendous disappointment that an American leader would be so ungrateful and so mean-spirited.”

Trump has complained that such summits are largely a waste of his time, and he prefers one-on-one meetings with counterparts in which he can negotiate deals or gatherings where he is feted, such as his visits last year to China and Saudi Arabia.

Trump arrived at NATO headquarters here Wednesday later than most leaders and did not walk down the long path on which others strode and took questions. In the closed session, he listened only to some of the statements from the 29 allied leaders and left soon after he demanded in his own remarks that NATO allies double their defense spending commitments to 4 percent of their countries’ gross domestic product.

Despite their differences, the NATO leaders all signed onto a far-reaching declaration that any other U.S. administration would have touted as an unqualified success.

“On substance, this is one of the most successful NATO summits I’ve seen,” said Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian ambassador to NATO.

He cited the alliance’s new training mission in Iraq and an initiative sought by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to get more NATO battalions, ships and planes ready for combat, a plan known as 30-30-30-30.

Derek Chollet, an Obama administration official, said the concrete progress during the meeting offered a surprising contrast to Trump’s rhetoric.

“There’s a fundamental disconnect in this administration, because many of the ideas that are being agreed to are U.S. ideas,” he said. “The 30-30-30 plan is a Mattis initiative. The Iraq training mission was a U.S.-driven decision to have a bigger NATO presence in Iraq.”

“Everyone’s saying this is good, but Trump is saying it’s going badly because fundamentally he’s a contrarian,” he said.

Just after Trump was whisked out of NATO headquarters in his motorcade, he punched out a combative tweet that again singled out Germany and even questioned the value of the overall alliance.

“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?” Trump wrote.

WaPo: The Russian pipeline to Germany that Trump is so mad about, explained http://wapo.st/2NK7k0H
Map of Nord Stream 1&2 pipeline: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1017157925192728577/photo/1

Germany is indeed Russia’s biggest export market in Europe for gas, with a dependency that may grow further once Nord Stream 2 is finished. The project would roughly double Russia’s export volume via the Baltic route that goes through the original Nord Stream pipeline.

Over the next few decades, Europe’s own gas resources — which accounted for more than a third of its supplies in 2016 — are expected to gradually disappear. (Britain, Norway and the Netherlands are Western and Northern Europe’s biggest producers, primarily relying on natural gas fields in the North Sea.)

As Europe’s own supplies are running out, the United States is hoping to gain access to a profitable market with growing demand. But U.S. economic interests only partially explain why the pipeline conflict is now emerging as a key point of contention.

Nations such as Poland and Ukraine also fear that Russia may be diversifying its gas routes into Europe to be able to exploit its grid for political reasons. In June 2014, amid the fallout over the Russian annexation of Crimea months earlier, Russia cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies for weeks in what Kiev said was an attempt to blackmail Ukraine.

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend [Former PM Gerhard] Schroeder hastily signed the deal just as he was departing the office from which he had been voted out days earlier. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.

Schroeder went on to become a board member of several consortia in which Russian government-controlled energy company Gazprom is at least the majority shareholder. Most recently, he became chairman of Rosneft, which is Russia’s largest oil company and controlled by the Kremlin.

The plans were drawn up at a time when Russia appeared eager to engage with the West — and many Germans still see Russia more positively than other countries do. The Germans’ hope on that front may also be based on their long dealings with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, when open hostility and more low-key cooperation went hand in hand.

While gas supplies are now raising concerns over the risks they may pose to international security, they were actually seen as a way to prevent conflicts during the Cold War.

In response to Trump’s accusations that Germany was captive to Russia, Merkel — who grew up in East Germany — on Wednesday cautioned the president that she may be in a better position to judge her country’s dependence. “I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom,” Merkel said.

WaPo: At NATO, Trump lashes out at allies and then asks them to double their defense spending goals http://wapo.st/2L7hZkl

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin America has allied with a growing number of other free nations for decades. Together we’ve defeated freedom’s foes and become the most prosperous peoples ever on earth. President Trump seeks to break these ties, not for our benefit, but for himself and his sponsors in Moscow.

WaPo: When Trump attacked Germany in Brussels, his aides pursed their lips and glanced away http://wapo.st/2KOgn2N

WeeklyStandard: Flake Gets His Tariff Vote https://tinyurl.com/ybdebavp

🐣 RT @SecPompeo .@NATO is the most successful alliance in history. All #NATO allies have committed to extending this success through increased defense spending, deterrence and defense, and fighting terrorism. Weakness provokes; strength and cohesion protects. This remains our bedrock belief.

🐣 RT @BillKristol Who, in this moment of abdication of American leadership by the president, will speak for America? Who will speak for American greatness?
⋙ 🐣 The Senate Resolution yesterday was a start: 97-2 – and introduced by a Democrat. A rare demonstration of bipartisanship and a stern rebuke. Just like they knew he was going to be provocative. Maybe after the mid-terms, we’ll see more such.

🐣 RT @McFaul Trump doesn’t think about “endgames” , or long term American foreign policy interests. As he told us honestly before meeting KJU, he just goes with his intuition. And so far, that approach to diplomacy has produced 0 tangible achievements for American national security.

🐣 RT @tonyschwartz Trump’s brazen gaslighting technique is not just to lie repeatedly, but also to say about others what is most true of him. He bizarrely calls Germany captive to Russia. No one is more captive to Russia and to Putin than Trump. No one.

🐣 RT @ddale8 “No YOU are” is a go-to Trump strategy. In just the past month, he’s called Democrats the real colluders and real family separators, Canada the real trade protectionist, now Germany the real Russia puppet.
⋙ 🐣 RT @davidfrum What he’s performing this AM at NATO breakfast is a repeat of his 2016 “No puppet, you’re the puppet” routine, accusing others of what is suspected of him: dependency on Russia, Putin. Does not fool anybody at the NATO table of course, but they’re not the intended audience.

🐣 This works: Sing to the melody of “Tomorrow” from “Annie”:
♫ The sun’ll go down Collusion so you got to hang on to Collusion …
Collusion, Collusion, I love ya Collusion
You’re only an indictment away! ♫
(It sorta writes itself lol)

🐣 I think he’s projecting. People say he’s controlled by Russia so he flips it and says Germany is. He also doesn’t like clean energy. Plus, oil companies back here have big plans for shipping liquified natural gas, though the tech isn’t there quite yet.

🐣 RT @KerrAvon4 My bet is: he wants to sound tough on Russia to deflect suspicion ahead of Helsinki, while using the opportunity to drive a wedge between Merkel and the rest of NATO. Trump and his team have been persecuting Merkel for months.

◕ Oil-Price.net (2017): Russian gas pipelines and hacking the elections http://bit.ly/2ztbUgT Russian gas pipelines interconnected into Europe are the crown jewel of Putin’s geopolitical arsenal. https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1016975774556057602/photo/1
// 1/17/2017, Nord Stream Pipeline ✛ Ukrainian pipelines

ForeignPolicy (6/1/2018): U.S. Close to Imposing Sanctions on European Companies in Russian Pipeline Project http://bit.ly/2up0HrR
// 6/1/2018, The decision would test already fraught relations with Germany, other allies.

CleanEnergyWire: Renewable power hits record high in Germany in 2017 http://bit.ly/2L87AVM Renewables produce record 33 percent of German electricity
// 12/20/2017

TIME: President Trump Kicks Off NATO Summit by Claiming Germany Is ‘Controlled’ by Russia http://ti.me/2NGdteg

🐣 Seven decades ago, NATO (and the EU and the U.N.) were formed to decrease the likelihood of another conflagration like WWI & WWII.
Albert Einstein: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
// chart: war deaths 1900-2000, HuffPo (7/23/2014): What the News Media Won’t Tell You About Global Violence http://bit.ly/2KNTKvG

🐣 RT @DanielBShapiro The Pentagon will not just sit there and do nothing and “The President shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided TWO THIRDS of the Senators present concur…” NATO involves Treaties.

WaPo, Ishaan Tharoor: Trump’s NATO trip shows ‘America First’ is ‘America Alone’ http://wapo.st/2m88DtZ

European observers are worried by Trump’s linkage of the two issues, a position still based on a misunderstanding of how the alliance works. “If it’s really a threat linking security to trade, that can destroy the basis of NATO,” said Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian ambassador to NATO, to my colleague Michael Birnbaum.

“The fear is not only that Mr. Trump will spoil the ‘unity’ of the summit with harangues before flying to Helsinki for a far friendlier meeting with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin,” observed The Washington Post’s editorial board. “It is that, having shrugged off the strong support for NATO among his national security team, he is bent on wrecking a multilateral organization he regards as obsolete and a means for European nations to freeload at the expense of the United States.”

Such moves have “been corrosive to relations with allies who increasingly believe that Trump — on trade, NATO and diplomacy — is undercutting the post-World War II order in pursuit of short-term, and likely illusory, wins,” my colleagues reported over the weekend.

There are also fears Trump could somehow recognize Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. “It’s such a fundamental issue,” a senior NATO diplomat told Birnbaum. “It would legitimize a whole range of actions. If you have the power, the raw conventional military power, you can do what you want.”

“Dear President Trump: America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,” Tusk said. He urged Trump to think more clearly about “who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem,” a direct nod to the coming summit with Putin.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies,” Tusk said. “After all, you don’t have that many.”

⭕ 10 Jul 2018

RawStory: Republican strategist Rick Wilson says Trump ‘eager as a schoolgirl’ to hang with Putin and destroy NATO http://bit.ly/2N6IVS4

🐣 RT @JeffFlake FINALLY, Senate will push back on the President’s abuse of Section 232 to impose tariffs. We will vote Wednesday on a “Motion to Instruct,” a first step toward reasserting Congress’s constitutional role on tariffs.

RawStory: Republican strategist Rick Wilson says Trump ‘eager as a schoolgirl’ to hang with Putin and destroy NATO http://bit.ly/2N6IVS4

CNN, By Eliot L. Engel and Anders Fogh Rasmussen: President Trump, you need NATO more than ever http://cnn.it/2uaEqii

The relative peace and stability that NATO and other postwar institutions provided the United States and Europe in the late 20th century cannot be underestimated. With American leadership, allied democracies created the conditions for unparalleled prosperity for ordinary Americans and Europeans alike — and defeated the communist threat.

Today, that world is facing renewed danger, and our common challenges are no less significant. They include the growing Russian threat, transnational terrorism, cyberwarfare, piracy on the high seas and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, among others. Just as the United States underpinned NATO’s resolve to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, an American retreat today will allow autocrats and dictators to advance.

Even with the ever-expanding list of challenges, NATO has responded. Recent and ongoing NATO missions include bolstering defenses against Russia’s aggressive posture along the alliance’s eastern border; leading the 41-country-strong stabilization operation in Afghanistan; the counter-ISIS mission in Iraq and Syria; anti-terrorist activities in the Mediterranean Sea region; anti-piracy missions to secure vital shipping routes in the Gulf of Aden off the African coast, enhancing cybersecurity measures among allies; and supporting humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, which at one time included delivery of 189 tons of relief supplies for Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

If the last 70 years of peace on the European continent show us anything, it’s that the international political willpower and the joint military resources mustered by NATO are critical to global security.

… Going it alone in the world is a gravely misguided approach that risks the lives of Americans as well as Europeans and millions of others around the world.

The United States has ensured its own security, in part, by embracing the pre-eminence of American and European shared values, including democracy, freedom, human rights, market-based economies and the rule of law around the world. No other alliance in the history of the globe has provided greater wealth, peace or freedom for its citizens. It must continue to do so.

We must remember that NATO allies’ acceptance of American global leadership is not preordained. Indeed, America has gained substantially from the world order that it built and has fought to sustain for 70 years. Trump dismantles that system at America’s peril, and that of its allies and partners around the world.

WaPo: As Trump hammers NATO allies on defense spending, military planners worry about his ‘2 percent’ obsession http://wapo.st/2NG49aw

🐣 RT @SenWhitehouse We need a DOJ Criminal Division head who is independent, experienced and free from Russian connections. @SenatorDurbin & @JudiciaryDems agree Brian #Benczkowski isn’t that person.

🐣 RT @ RBReich This is a perilous moment for our democracy. The President of the United States is about to hold private meetings with a foreign power that sought to undermine our elections. Meanwhile, his enablers are working to confirm a judge with sweeping views of presidential powers.

MilitaryTimes: US Senate votes to defend NATO as Trump attacks alliance http://bit.ly/2uaQVKB

Lawmakers in Washington worked quickly Tuesday to set legislative guardrails in support of NATO as President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly bashed the alliance, arrived in Europe for a NATO summit and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the week.

Hours after Trump landed in Brussels, the Senate passed a non-binding measure, 97-2, that expresses support for NATO, its mutual self-defense clause and calls on the administration to rush its whole-of-government strategy to counter Russia’s meddling in the U.S. and other democracies.

With the established global order on shaky footing, Trump’s weeklong trip to Europe will test already strained bonds with some of America’s closest allies, then put him face to face with the leader of the country whose electoral interference was meant to help put him in office.

“I join my colleagues this afternoon in support of the motion which sends an important message to our allies, our partners, and our adversaries that the United States is unwavering in its support of Europe free from the threat of external aggression and in support of the rules-based international order that has promoted international security for decades,” Reed said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was expected Wednesday to debate a separate measure supporting NATO. One proposed amendment to it, from panel chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would reaffirm support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and condemn “Russia’s illegal invasion and attempted annexation of Crimea.” A second proposed amendment from Sen. Robert Menendez, the panel’s ranking member, would reaffirm support for U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Trump’s wavering on NATO has led allies to question America’s trustworthiness, Menendez, D-N.J., said in a blistering floor speech.

“In the absence of U.S. presidential leadership, I want to make clear to our allies abroad, as well as our adversaries in the Kremlin, as to where members in the United States Senate stand,” said Menendez, adding that the chamber stands for the rule of law, an international order based on democratic values and with its allies.

“President Trump’s slap-dash approach to foreign policy, borne out of heated campaign rallies, instead of thoughtful Cabinet meetings, has real implications for our national security,” Menendez said. “Such reckless behavior by President Trump has weakened the United States on the global stage and created a more dangerous world for our citizens and our troops serving abroad.”

Menendez ripped Trump for saying his meeting with Putin would be the easiest of his four-country trip, as a sign Trump “would rather deal with an autocrat than negotiate with democratically elected leaders.”

“Let’s be clear: Meeting with a thug intent on undermining American democratic values should not be easy and it should not be chummy,” he said.

Menendez’s pursuit for a vote on Russia sanctions follows Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., saying — after a trip to Russia last week — the Senate may have gone too far with mandatory sanctions against a host of Russian entities, leaving Trump with too little negotiating room on other matters.

Johnson, chairs the Foreign Relations subcommittee for Europe, told the Washington Examiner, the sanctions, “don’t seem to be having a real horrible economic effect, not in Moscow anyway.”

Speaking with reporters and on Twitter from his flight, Trump repeated his call for NATO countries to fulfill their goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. The summit is expected to be marked by disagreements over trade and military spending. …

Senior administration officials said discussions of withdrawing U.S. troops from Germany will not be included in next week’s NATO summit, despite reports that Trump has considered the move.

“I think the president should listen to his security council and his secretary of defense on anything of substance dealing with the U.S. military posture,” Shelby said of the issue. “We’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to be strong. Concede nothing.”

DailyBeast: On the Eve of the NATO Summit, Trump Has Pissed Away the Pax Americana http://thebea.st/2ulPVTq //➔ not yet: Senate rebuked by a vote of 97-2 ✛ McCain issued a powerful statement
// What Trump calls a ‘free ride’ for Europe is in fact the cost of an American empire that has guaranteed peace on the bloody European continent—and for the U.S.—for 74 years.

🐣 RT @peterbakernyt Once again, Trump has this wrong. The 2% spending target is not a current commitment but a goal set for 2024, still six years away. No one is “delinquent” or owes the US any payments.
⋙ 🐣 RT @real Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?

🐣 RT @BillKristol These NATO tweets seem so insistent and aggrieved that they’re hard to interpret as, “Oh, he’s just pressuring them to increase defense spending in his Trumpian way.” One has to wonder if Trump’s laying the predicate for breaking up NATO.

🐣 RT @mikecarpenter This is awful. Facebook gave private user data to Russian internet company http://Mail.ru , which is subject to Russia’s SORM-2 data collection system. That means Russia’s intelligence services now have access to all that data, legally (in Russia).
⋙ WIRED: Facebook Gave Russian Internet Giant Special Data Extension http://bit.ly/2KK1pLn

🐣 RT @jimsciutto As Trump says of Putin meeting: “Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all.” a reminder:
-Putin annexed Crimea
-Putin invaded E. Ukraine
-Putin interfered in 2016 to aid Trump
-Putin supports Assad in Syria & targets civilians to do so
-Putin used nerve agent to murder in UK

WaPo: Trump hits combative notes as he undermines May, praises Putin ahead of NATO summit http://wapo.st/2NDp0uW
// alt headline: Trump signals he’s ready for a fight at NATO summit

CNN: NATO leaders hope to ‘avert disaster’ amid concern Trump may undermine alliance http://cnn.it/2zs8LxF

🐣 Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. – Yeats

Vox (2016), Gallup Poll: What Americans Think Foreign Trade Means for the U.S. http://bit.ly/2m9er6x https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1016860143298994176/photo/1

TheGuardian: Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh as ‘barrier’ to Russia inquiry – Schumer http://bit.ly/2NFtlh6

WaPo, Asha Rangappa: No, the Trump-Russia investigation isn’t a conflict of interest for Kavanaugh http://wapo.st/2KOoV9U

◕ Pew Poll: Almost eight-in-ten Democrats approved of NATO in 2017 – a 20-point increase from the 58% who approved in 2016. In contrast, just 47% of Republicans felt the same. https://pewrsr.ch/2MXHAwL https://twitter.com/FactTank/status/1016835730201567240/photo/1
// GOP little changed from previous years. Roughly six-in-ten independents (59%) approved as of last year.

WaPo: Donald Trump Jr. said he didn’t recall talking to Emin Agalarov. Agalarov remembers it. http://wapo.st/2NKv8Sm

🐣 RT @ NySteveo2AOLcom Alan Dershowitz just claimed even if a President is impeached, the Supreme Court can overturn it. They just spelled out the final act of this ongoing coup.

🐣 RT @Hardball “I think Putin has a grand plan and it’s playing out.” @brhodes on Trump going after NATO allies. #Hardball

TheHill: Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit http://bit.ly/2Jc82jZ
↥ ↧
🐣 RT @AliABCNews As Trump arrives in Brussels for NATO summit, the Senate just passed, 97-2, a motion to “reaffirm the ironclad US commitment under Article 5 to the collective defense of the alliance,” as @SenJackReed put it earlier today
🐣 RT @SenSchumer Today, in a 97-2 vote, the Senate sent an overwhelming message to President Trump to stand by our NATO allies and to stand against President Putin.

WaPo: Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney http://wapo.st/2L7fnTy

◕💙💙 FactCheck.org  (Dec): Trump’s Distorted NATO Funding Figure http://bit.ly/2u0QPFu  //➔ The U.S. spends a lot more on its own defense compared with other nations in the international security alliance, but its share of the commonly funded NATO budget is 22%, not 80%.
⋙ But per a 2006 agreement, NATO members are not required to outlay 2% until 2024 and most are increasing their contributions. FactCheck.org (Dec): Trump’s Distorted NATO Funding Figure http://bit.ly/2u0QPFu
⋙ No NATO members are delinquent! Per a 2006 agreement, NATO members are not required to outlay 2%‼️UNTIL 2024‼️ and most are increasing their contributions. FactCheck.org (Dec): Trump’s Distorted NATO Funding Figure http://bit.ly/2u0QPFu
⋙ The 2% goal was agreed on in 2006 to be realized BY 2024. According to the agreement, members can’t be held to that goal NOW just because Trump wants it. http://FactCheck.org  (Dec): Trump’s Distorted NATO Funding Figure

🚫 TheWeek, Matthew Walther: Liberals’ Trump-Russia fever dreams have reached parody status http://bit.ly/2JcEaE6 //➔ who has eyes, let them see

NBC: Trump’s European trip: Trade wars, Brexit chaos — and a Russia quandary http://nbcnews.to/2zrdDTS
// The president’s allegiance to allies — and his willingness to deliver a tough message to Russian President Vladimir Putin — will be put to the test.

He does so in an environment defined by his foreign policy choices to date: the rising self-created tension between the U.S. and its European partners over tit-for-tat tariffs, his increasingly laissez-faire approach toward Russia’s projection of physical and cyber power, and his explicit and implicit threats to diminish America’s role in an alliance built to protect the rest of Europe from Moscow if partner nations don’t pony up more cash.

… Trump administration officials insist that the president’s aims are to strengthen NATO by extracting more concessions from American allies, and to deliver a stern message to Putin about Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections — even as his own rhetoric and actions suggest the former claim is in question, and he doesn’t believe the latter is true.

“The major thing, the major deliverable, the major overall theme of this summit is going to be NATO’s strength and unity,” Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said. “I would say our major areas of deterrence would be Russia and the malign activities of Russia, the efforts of Russia to divide our democratic nation, [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty violations. All of those things are now being addressed by NATO in a strengthened deterrence and defense.”

One fear in Europe — and among those in Washington’s foreign-policy establishment — is that Trump might eventually follow through on his threat to withdraw U.S. forces from Germany, where more than 30,000 American troops are stationed, and diminish that deterrent to Russian aggression.

VanityFair, Bess Levin: Is This The Secret Deal Putin Will Offer Trump? http://bit.ly/2L0aAqg
// From Russia with Love; The president is being played by nearly half a dozen foreign governments.

In less than a week, Donald Trump will fly to Helsinki to sit down with Vladimir Putin for a meeting that has experts and non-experts alike very, very worried. For one thing, contrary to his own claims, Trump is and always has been a terrible negotiator. For another, Putin is a former K.G.B. officer trained in manipulating adversaries far more intelligent than Trump. For yet another, the president of the United States has said he will meet alone with the Russian dictator, suggesting not only that he might have something to hide, but that he may make concessions in order to keep said things hidden. And now we’ve got a hint about what one of those concessions might be.

According to New Yorker reporter Adam Entous, shortly before the election, leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel began to discuss a way to get Iran out of Syria. Perhaps, they mused, Russia could pressure Iran to take a hike, in exchange for the U.S. dropping its punishing economic sanctions on Moscow. Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi who initially floated the idea, knew that if Hillary Clinton won, there was an approximately zero percent change that she would essentially forgive Russia’s aggression in the Ukraine, for which the sanctions were punishment. But as luck would have it, the Queens-born real-estate developer was elected instead, and suddenly the idea didn’t seem quite so far-fetched, given how easy it is to manipulate the guy:

After Trump took office, the idea was raised again, by Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah bin Zayed, the foreign minister of the U.A.E., during a private March 2017, dinner that included several other guests. “Their message was ‘Why don’t we lift the Ukrainian sanctions on Russia in exchange for getting the Russians to push Iran out of Syria,’” an attendee recalled the foreign ministers saying. A senior U.A.E. official said that he did not recall the discussion. The dinner attendee told me, “It wasn’t a trial balloon. They were trying to socialize the idea.”

As an inducement for Putin to partner with Gulf states rather than Iran, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia started making billions of dollars in investments in Russia and convening high-level meetings in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and the Seychelles.

Incidentally, special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating, among other things, whether or not the U.A.E. helped facilitate contacts between Team Trump and Russian officials, and whether it tried to influence U.S. politics. One interaction of particular interest? The meeting that took place in the Seychelles nine days before the inauguration between Blackwater founder and Steve Bannon confidant Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund who, per The New Yorker “the Emiratis used as a go-between with Putin.” Mueller is also looking into a Trump Tower meeting that took place during the transition in which Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner reportedly discussed establishing a back channel to keep conversations between incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and Kislyak’s “generals” off the radar of intelligence agencies. (In his July 2017 testimony before Congress, Kushner said that the idea had been Kislyak’s, and that it ultimately died on the vine.)

While Trump’s favorite Middle Eastern nations have enjoyed unprecedented influence within the White House during his tenure, experts say the deal they’re trying pushing is “unworkable” not only in light of Mueller’s investigation, but based on the fact that Congress is highly unlikely to go for it. And yet, it appears Trump is making a valiant effort to do the bidding of Israel, Saudi, and the U.A.E. by currying favor with his favorite Eastern European dictator, anyway!

On June 8, Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven industrial nations. (Russia was expelled four years ago, after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.) Then, during a dinner at the G7 summit in Canada, Trump reportedly said that Crimea was Russian because the people who lived there spoke Russian. Several weeks later, when asked whether reports that he would drop Washington’s long-standing opposition to the annexation of Crimea were true, Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see.

NYT: Trump Poised to Enter NATO Meeting as Wild Card Among Allies http://nyti.ms/2L5Nhbs

TheHill: ‘Air Clinton’ and the circular flight path of the Trump-Russia dossier http://bit.ly/2JbO20Q //➔ beside point if the findings of the dossier have been verified, as many have; in addition to the fact that the dossier did not trigger the investigation ~ Papadopoulos did, as even House Intel Comm agreed

WaPo, David Kramer: Putin is about to con Trump in Helsinki. Here’s how. http://wapo.st/2KQfkzK

🐣 Robert Mueller won’t save us. No one will save us. November is too late. Just post-mortem effects. All the progress in my life is being washed away. Just. Like. That.

🐣 Right. How hard is it to say, “Yes, Vlad,” “Yes, Vlad,” “Of course you’re right, Vlad”?
⋙ CBSNews: “Frankly, [Russian President] Putin may be the easiest of them all — who would think?” President Trump says on dealing with U.K. and NATO leaders during his Europe trip. https://cbsn.ws/2L3VdwW pic.twitter.com/pM5SQhM78d

🐣 If Trump is going to achieve world peace by being BFFs w Putin, Xi and Kim, what’s all the Defense 💰 for? A war with Canada?

🐣 The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – Yeats

🐣 RT @eucopresident [Donald Tusk] Dear @realDonaldTrump. US doesn’t have and won’t have a better ally than EU. We spend on defense much more than Russia and as much as China. I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian & Chinese spending :-)

⭕ 9 Jul 2018

FactCheck.org: Trump Still Distorting NATO Spending http://bit.ly/2umbz9R

President Donald Trump continues to wrongly claim that the United States is paying as much as 90 percent of the cost of operating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In reality, the U.S. share of the commonly funded NATO budget is currently just over 22 percent, according to the most recent figures from NATO.

Trump’s complaints about NATO spending are actually based on how much the U.S. spends on its own defense compared with what other member nations spend on theirs.

Still, the U.S. share of total defense spending by all alliance members in 2017 was an estimated 67 percent, according to inflation-adjusted figures from NATO.

Trump, however, is referring to so-called indirect spending, which is the amount that the U.S. and other NATO countries willingly spend on their own defense budgets.

All together, the 29 alliance members spent an estimated $917 billion on defense in 2017, and the U.S. portion was about $618 billion.

(NATO says those figures are based on 2010 constant prices and exchange rates. In current prices and exchange rates, the U.S. share would be roughly 72 percent of total defense spending by the alliance.)

… [I]t does mean that there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare.”

In 2006, NATO members agreed to try to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense spending. In 2014, they agreed again to aim to meet that standard by 2024.

There was an estimated 4.87 percent increase in total defense spending by Canada and European allies in 2017, marking the third straight year that defense spending by those countries increased, according to NATO. That was after several years of declines in spending by those countries. ECFR, Jeremy Shapiro: Trump’s meaningless NATO spending debate http://bit.ly/2NEuTIh Europeans spending more on defence will not satisfy Donald Trump. Here’s why

As in a bad marriage, the arguments of US President Donald Trump and his European partners have descended into a sort of ritual exchange. So at this week’s NATO summit, we can be confident that Trump will complain about the lack of European defence spending and threaten to leave Europe if the NATO allies don’t stump up. The Europeans will accept the premise of his argument, point to what they have recently achieved, and pledge to do more.

Rinse and repeat.

The whole affair has the structure of an Apprentice episode. We don’t know what crazy shit Trump will say during the show, but we know how it will end.

The main difference now is that Trump has an advantage in pushing Europeans to spend more relative to past US presidents. Because he doesn’t care about the transatlantic alliance, he can more credibly threaten to withdraw the US security blanket from Europe. And because Europeans still rely on US security guarantees for their defence, they feel that they simply can’t risk it and so do their best to satisfy his demands.

… But regardless, there is no satisfying Trump’s demands about European spending.

… [H]e wants to use Europeans’ collective sense of guilt over their lack of spending, as well as the European fear of American abandonment, to gain concessions on what really matters to him: reducing the American trade deficit. Indeed, at the summit, he may explicitly link a continued American security guarantee with economic concessions from Europe.

… In the end, he doesn’t believe in the idea that America should defend Europe, so why should the United States pay anything at all? He is only interested in it if it brings in a profit.

… Rather, [Europeans] should focus on creating a truly independent defence capability. That effort probably does involve more spending, but more importantly it means creating a European military capability that can stand on its own. Such a capability will allow the Europeans to negotiate with Trump, and future American presidents, from a position of equality.

The NATO alliance does not depend on equal burdens, which it has never had; it depends on solidarity. And solidarity only comes when both sides are getting what they need and feel they are being treated fairly. Effective bullying can perhaps create some wasteful defence spending, but it cannot create a new transatlantic bargain that will preserve that essential solidarity

NewYorker, Adam Entous: Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati Officials Privately Pushed for Trump to Strike a “Grand Bargain” with Putin http://bit.ly/2L4zMsy

🐣 RT @SenatorDurbin Remember Brian Benczkowski? He represented Russia’s Alfa Bank and was a top staffer to then-Senator Sessions. Senate Republicans plan to vote next week to confirm him to head the DOJ Criminal Division.
🐣 RT @SenatorDurbin Benczkowski has no prosecutorial experience. He showed poor judgment by choosing to represent Alfa Bank while he was seeking a DOJ job despite reports that Alfa was under criminal investigation. And he won’t commit to recuse himself from Russia-related matters if confirmed.

Medium: Cambridge Analytica: the Geotargeting and Emotional Data Mining Scripts http://bit.ly/2m4tqOX
// 10/13/2017; Last year, Michael Phillips, a data science intern at Cambridge Analytica, posted the following scripts to a set of “work samples” on his personal GitHub account.

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Glenn Greenwald Tells Russians Liberals Are Blaming Them As Excuse for Clinton http://nym.ag/2N4At5V

Stars&Stripes/WaPo, Jackson Diehl: Why did Trump side with Russia on Crimea? http://bit.ly/2J8i7OX

Reuters: The issues on the table when Trump and Putin meet http://reut.rs/2L016eL

LasVegasSun, Llewellyn King: Trump sneers at Europe, winks at Russia http://bit.ly/2zql8KT

Al-Monitor, Kirill Semenov: Can Russia deliver on Trump’s hope of ousting Iran from Syria? http://bit.ly/2uiWXbu

LATimes, Noah Bierman: Trump heads to Europe amid frayed alliances, and worries about his tilt to Putin http://lat.ms/2Jb5B11

Brookings, Steven Pifer: Trump, Putin, and Crimea http://brook.gs/2KIAZJT
// When Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki on July 16, the Crimean peninsula will loom large over their summit talks. How Trump handles the issue will have implications for European security and American credibility.

Alternet/IMI, Stan Salett: Trump Is Creating a New World Order — Where China and Russia Will Be Its Leaders http://bit.ly/2zoDT15
// As Trump visits NATO and then Russia, we can’t lose sight of how the old world order has been disrupted.

ChicagoTrib, Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay: Will Trump choose Russia over NATO? http://trib.in/2Jb6oPt

WSJ, Gerald Seib: The Risks Lying Within Donald Trump’s One-on-One Meeting With Vladimir Putin http://on.wsj.com/2L3fz9X (2/2)
// GOP senator, who recently met with Russia’s leader, warns of ‘denial, hostility, blaming others’

NYT, Maxim Trudolyubov: Trump’s Retreat From the West http://nyti.ms/2NCZZA5

WaPo, Philip Bump: The market demands a broad Trump-Russia theory — but the evidence doesn’t support one http://wapo.st/2m75eLM

Politico: What Trump’s Supreme Court pick means for the Russia probe http://politi.co/2L2IOq0
// Kavanaugh could find himself weighing in on thorny legal issues related to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, including whether a sitting president can be indicted.

Politico, John McKay, Joyce Vance and Norm Eisen: Congress Should Stop Messing With Rod Rosenstein http://politi.co/2m3K15t
// Oversight? Please. The real aim of the attacks on the Department of Justice is perfectly clear.

WaPo: Trump’s combative words on NATO put Mattis in an increasingly tough spot http://wapo.st/2zmPuOd

WaPo: Boris Johnson and ‘Brexit minister’ resign, leaving Theresa May’s government in disarray http://wapo.st/2N2lOb9

TheGuardian: May’s plan ‘sticks in the throat’, says Boris Johnson as he resigns over Brexit http://bit.ly/2NDopcU
// Senior Conservative becomes third minister to walk out over ‘common rulebook’ proposal

🐣 RT @20committee [John Schindler] That Trump has some sort of unsavory clandestine relationship with the Kremlin (agent-of-influence-like) since at least 1987 is screamingly obvious to anyone versed in FCI & RIS. Nice to see the MSM now join the party. Would have been nice if they noticed a couple years earlier.

🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin It’s time to stop treating Trump as a naive actor on the world stage, though he is that too. More so, he is an ally of tyrants and tyranny who seeks to fracture the free world and weaken its strength against the corrupt, oppressive regimes that model the despotism he prefers.

Wonkette: Chris Christie, Giuliani & Dershowitz Hit Legal Stupid Trifecta http://bit.ly/2m6CXoQ

Bloomberg: Face of Brexit Boris Johnson Resigns, Plunging May Into Crisis http://bloom.bg/2KH01ZT

⭕ 8 Jul 2018

WSJ, Jens Stoltenberg: America’s NATO Allies Are Stepping Up http://on.wsj.com/ Only three members spent 2% or more of GDP on defense in 2014. This year we expect eight will.

WaPo, Margaret Sullivan: A journalist’s conscience leads her to reveal her source to the FBI. Here’s why. http://wapo.st/2KGDjRH
// Marcy Wheeler, @emptywheel

But her dealings with him [her source] have brought her around to believing something she initially questioned: that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a very real thing, and that Trump associates played a part.

What exactly did the source do to deserve outing to the FBI, in her view? Wheeler is circumspect in describing that.

Her blog post centers on a text message she says she got from the source on Nov. 9, 2016 — about 14 hours after the polls closed — predicting that Michael Flynn, who would be Trump’s appointee for national security adviser, would be meeting with “Team Al-Assad” within 48 hours. Russia has been perhaps the Assad regime’s staunchest ally.

As she noted: “The substance of the text — that the Trump team started focusing on Syria right after the election — has been corroborated and tied to their discussions with Russia at least twice since then.”

Wheeler won’t say when she went to the FBI other than that it was in 2017. In December 2017, Flynn flipped, pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian government during the presidential transition; Trump had fired him in February.

In addition to the knowledge of her source’s inside information, Wheeler said, she had reason to believe that the source was involved with efforts to compromise her website and other communications. And perhaps most important, that he was involved in cyberattacks — past and future — that had done and could do real harm to innocent people.

Wheeler, who has written blog posts about national security for almost 15 years, is clear that she wasn’t motivated to talk to the FBI because she is out to get Trump. She certainly doesn’t like him, but she is also not at all a Hillary Clinton fan.

But what motivated her recent revelation that she went to the FBI has plenty to do with politics: She is disgusted by the way House Republicans are, in her view, weaponizing their oversight responsibilities and making it all too likely that FBI informants will have their names revealed — and their safety threatened.But as a public figure, she has a measure of protection that others who have come forward don’t have.

“If something happens to me — if someone releases stolen information about me or knocks me off tomorrow — everyone will now know why and who likely did it,” she wrote.

Overly dramatic? Not really. The Russians do have a penchant for disposing of people they find threatening.

Both decisions — to talk to the FBI and to write about it — required her wrestling with three main issues; concerns about journalistic ethics, the possibility of unintended national-security consequences, and the growing certainty that her suspicions about the source were true.

And as Wheeler put it, “I believe this is one of those cases where it’s important to hold a source accountable for his actions.”

TheGuardian, Simon Tisdall: Whose side is Trump’s America on? The answer is becoming more and more obvious http://bit.ly/2KYuzFR

If Trump’s crude, nationalistic policies and uncouth persona were the only problems, the European allies might just cope. But in recent months, as he has jettisoned experienced advisers and his belief in his own infallibility has grown, Trump has moved from difficult partner to potential enemy.

The question grows ever more pressing: whose side is Trump’s America really on?

Trump’s sycophantic courting last year of the Saudi royals and China’s authoritarian president, Xi Jinping, were early indications of his preference for dictators over democrats. His recent summit with Kim Jong-un did nothing to curb North Korea’s nuclear arms buildup. But it did reveal Trump’s almost indecent love of raw power and ostentation.

As with Kim in Singapore, Trump’s big day out with Putin in Helsinki will be noisily declared, by him, to be an outstanding success contributing to global harmony. If, as is suggested, the two men agree to extend the New Start nuclear arms treaty, that will be a rare plus.

But just as likely are unilateral, Nato-busting Trump moves to ease sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, a deal to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, the “normalisation” of Putin’s regime, and other concessions undermining the post-Salisbury western consensus. WaPo, Michael Birnbaum: Ahead of NATO summit, allies wonder: Will NATO survive Trump? http://wapo.st/2KWF1xq
// European leaders worry that President Trump could set into motion NATO’s unraveling and bargain away their security in the name of better relations with the Kremlin.

[L]eaders and diplomats worry that Trump could soon go further to undermine the alliance. They are concerned he could halt U.S. participation in military exercises in eastern Europe to avoid “provoking” Russia, since he made a similar concession about joint exercises with South Korea after his meeting with Kim Jong Un. They fret he could draw down the U.S. military presence in Europe, a move that could poke holes in the U.S. security umbrella that reaches up to Russia’s border.

On paper, at least, Trump is set to condemn Russian behavior in Ukraine, endorse collective defense and sign off on a range of new plans that would expand U.S. military activity in Europe, not diminish it.

“This is a very substantive and meaty summit,” the U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, told reporters last week. “NATO is doing many of the things that the president has asked them to.”

💙💙 NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Prump/Tutin: Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? http://nym.ag/2MZUlqN
Amazing zoom in chart: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1016144626141540354/photo/1
// A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.
⋙ See under Entire Articles

NYT Editorial: Why NATO Matters http://nyti.ms/2J5oG4L
// The allies are looking with dread to this week’s summit as President Trump continues his campaign to undermine a decades-old partnership.

Mr. Trump is burning up all the credit the United States has accrued with our allies across decades by attacking the basis of this alliance, if not the very idea of any alliance — thus, deliberately or not, doing the bidding of Mr. Putin in his quest to divide the West.

“NATO can withstand four years under Trump,” one former NATO ambassador said in an interview. “I don’t think we’ll withstand eight.”

The NATO meeting is expected to approve significant new steps to contain Russia, which most of the allies, and most of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers, recognize as a threat, even if the president does not. These measures include establishing two new military commands, expanding cyberwarfare and counterterrorism efforts and approving a new plan to speed the reinforcement of troops and equipment to Poland and the Baltic States to deter Russian aggression.

Sooner rather than later, NATO is also going to have to decide what to do with Turkey and the other countries that are eroding the fabric of the alliance by repudiating democratic principles.

At this week’s gathering, the result that matters most is a firm and convincing commitment to a strong NATO, ready to contribute to stability today, and to adapt to future challenges. With no coherent vision of his own to make Americans, and democracy generally, more secure in a world without NATO, Mr. Trump would do well to make that commitment, and honor the friends we have.

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Prump/Tutin: Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? http://nym.ag/2MZUlqN
// A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

🐣 RT @DevilIsRepublicn TRUMP screwed up the North Korea deal after giving away the store. No military exercises in S Korea.. No Iran Deal. No Paris Accord. Moved the Embassy to Jerusalem. TRUMP wants out of NATO. TRUMP’S list of screw ups is endless. #DonTheCon #VoteBlue for America.

🐣 Fact Check of Trump Mega-Tweet (links: LATimes http://lat.ms/2L1yfmW, Vox http://bit.ly/2KS5BrI, WaPo http://wapo.st/2KElQsZ, The Hill http://bit.ly/2MXMutG, Polifact http://bit.ly/2dxRGmI, … (1/2) https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1015949300008935425/photo/1
🐣 Fact Check of Trump Mega-Tweet ( … Axios http://bit.ly/2KF1kbZ, Snopes http://bit.ly/2m31lrc, Politifact http://bit.ly/2KEDE7n, Snopes http://bit.ly/2NAC8Bd (2/2) https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1015949732059992064/photo/1

“The Rigged Witch Hunt”
~ 5 guilty pleas, 17 indictments (LATimes http://lat.ms/2L1yfmW)
“Originally headed by FBI lover boy Peter S (for one year) & now”
~ DOJ OIG report: Did not affect conclusions (Vox http://bit.ly/2KS5BrI)
“13 Angry Democrats”
~ Rosenstein, Cray & Mueller are Republicans, appointed by Trump; 9 of 17 donated to Dems; so did Trump (WaPo http://wapo.st/2KElQsZ)
“Should look into the missing DNC Server”
~ Analysis done by Crowdstrike used by FBI (The Hill http://bit.ly/2MXMutG)
Crooked Hillary’s illegally deleted Emails
~ “Unprovable if not flat wrong” (Polifact http://bit.ly/2dxRGmI)
The Pakistani Fraudster
~ American citizen; “No evidence” (Axios http://bit.ly/2KF1kbZ)
Uranium One
~ “False” (Snopes http://bit.ly/2m31lrc)
~ Huh? All PolitiFact statements (You won’t like #1): (http://bit.ly/2KEDE7n) Spirit Cooking? “False” (Snopes http://bit.ly/2NAC8Bd)
& so much more
~ Google them yourself!
It’s a Democrat Con Job ~ You’re the con job!

TheGuardian: Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad’ http://bit.ly/2KGg2iM

⭕ 7 Jul 2018

Observer, John Schindler: No, President Trump, the KGB Is Not ‘Fine’ http://bit.ly/2u2ZZBm

WaPo: Trump lawyers call Comey ‘Machiavellian’ in note to Mueller http://wapo.st/2KIgFby
📒 Text of memo: http://bit.ly/2KVNvoH

HuffPo, SV Date: In The World According To Trump, NATO Allies Are Bad And Putin Is Good http://bit.ly/2KG2VxV
// Everybody’s nervous as the president prepares to sit down with U.S. partners and then the Russian boss.

TheAtlantic, David Frum (Mar): How to Build an Autocracy http://theatln.tc/2jNtdPV
// March issue; The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.

📒💽💙💙 WaPo: Read the transcript of the conversation among GOP leaders obtained by The Post http://wapo.st/2MZIOaX
// Undated; Trump Russia collusion; The conversation provides a glimpse at the internal views of GOP leaders who now find themselves under mounting pressure over the conduct of President Trump. The exchange, which was obtained by The Washington Post, shows that the Republican leadership in the House privately discussed Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and Trump’s relationship to Putin, but wanted to keep their concerns secret.

🐣 RT @davidcox74 Trump: “You know President Putin is KGB… Putin is fine. He’s fine. We are all fine, we’re all people” Reporters killed by Putin: https://twitter.com/davidcox74/status/1015276732511916032/photo/1

RawStory: Devin Nunes calling for a ‘task force’ to investigate officials and activists who exposed Russian election meddling http://bit.ly/2Nz93WP

🐣 RT @MatthewAMiller First new comments to the NYT, now a leak to the AP, tomorrow Rudy showing up on two Sunday shows. What explains this sudden new assault on the Mueller probe by Trump? Seems something is coming.
⋙ 🐣 RT @etuckerAP NEW: The Trump legal team blasted Jim Comey as “Machiavellian,” dishonest and “unbounded by law and regulation” on a confidential memo last year that was addressed to Mueller and was obtained by The Associated Press. @ChadSDay

🐣 I hope they do get a FISA warrant to listen in on Trump’s private discussion w Putin. Why would he want that? Seems strange and potentially treacherous, given just what we know.

💙 WaPo: ‘A little steel in the spine’: Rod Rosenstein, facing mounting criticism from Congress, is starting to fight back http://wapo.st/2u3m6Y9

On Friday, the Justice Department formally responded to the resolution, telling top lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees that officials believed they had “substantially complied” with Congress’s requests and any leftover production of materials would be completed “expeditiously.” Just before that, some of the lawmakers most bent on holding Rosenstein responsible for the production of the documents were sounding notes of optimism about the Justice Department’s expected compliance.

So far, the strategy has paid off. The Justice Department has for months been haggling with lawmakers over requests for various materials on the Russia investigation and the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. But even as the president has raged about Rosenstein, and lawmakers have repeatedly escalated the confrontation with new subpoenas and threats, each seemingly ominous moment has passed without incident.

At least publicly, Rosenstein has not acted like a dead man walking. He was spotted at a July 4 celebration at the White House, in a VIP viewing area, according to Politico. Those who know him say Rosenstein is playing the long game. He doesn’t put too much stock in any single daily development, they say, but is mindful about what his place in history will be.

Rosenstein has opined publicly that the Justice Department cannot essentially open its files to Congress. Discussing the document spat during an event at the Newseum in May, Rosenstein said of those threatening to impeach him, “I think they should understand by now that the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.”

“There’s kind of a fatalism to it that’s good,” Trusty said. “He doesn’t overreact.”

Butler, who worked with Rosenstein when he was a Justice Department public integrity prosecutor years ago, said colleagues would jokingly refer to Rosenstein as “Opie,” a character on TV’s Andy Griffith Show, in part because of his boyish face, and in part because he was always asking questions. But Butler said Rosenstein was more shrewd and strategic than his aw-shucks mannerism leads some to believe.

Butler said that while Rosenstein has had to “make some difficult compromises,” many career prosecutors look at him “as essentially responsible for preserving the integrity of the department and by extension preserving the rule of law during the Trump administration.” On that score, Butler said, Rosenstein has had more good days than bad, and his recent congressional testimony shows he’s trying to tell Republicans: The Department of Justice is not to be played with.

“He’s already compromised that message some,” Butler said, “but there is a line with him that you can’t cross.”

⭕ 6 Jul 2018

NYT, Daniel Beer: Does Vladimir Putin Speak for the Russian People? http://nyti.ms/2NyAG2b
//➔ Review of: FROM COLD WAR TO HOT PEACE ~ An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia, by Michael McFaul

ForeignAffairs, Michael Kimmage (Jul/Aug): The People’s Authoritarian ~ How Russian Society Created Putin http://fam.ag/2lYrNlV
// Jul/Aug 2018 issue

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin. So what do we get back? http://wapo.st/2J1FJEE

WSJ, Tunku Varadarajan: If America Is Divided, So Is Europe http://on.wsj.com/2zkEsco
// A Polish philosopher-politician on NATO’s future, ‘degenerate’ liberalism, and what it’s like to be a ‘dissident’ nation in the EU.

WaPo, Bill Frist: The Senate I led put country over party. This one must do the same for Robert Mueller. http://wapo.st/

It is with some trepidation that I offer thoughts on how the good people still serving in the Senate should address a current crisis, but staying silent is no longer an option. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong. No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law.

I’m a Republican because I stand for small government and also, as a physician, for the dignity of every life. But I am also a Republican because I believe in the rule of law. Republicans must fight for that principle today — even if it means pushing back against a Republican administration. As a party, we can’t let the president or his allies erode the independence of the Justice Department or public trust in the vital work of law enforcement. That would be true even if the stakes were much lower, but it is overwhelmingly so when it comes to investigating foreign interference in our elections. Congress must ensure that Mueller is able to do his job without interference or intimidation.

It isn’t easy to tell a president of your own party that he is wrong. But the assault on Mueller’s investigation does not help the president or his party. When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide. The president must remember that only Mueller’s exoneration can lift the cloud hanging over the White House.

The special counsel’s investigation is not about Trump. It is about our national security. Every American should be rooting for Mueller’s success in determining precisely how Russia interfered in our fundamental democratic process. I had no illusions about the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and I have none about Putin now. Mueller’s most recent court filings indicate that Putin is seeking to meddle in this year’s elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray — all Trump appointees confirmed by the Republican-led Senate — have also warned of foreign interference. We should heed these warnings and empower Mueller to see his important work through to its conclusion.

… I don’t worry about Robert Mueller. He is a lifelong Republican with a career of distinguished service running the Criminal Division of the Justice Department for President Ronald Reagan and serving as President George W. Bush’s FBI director, twice unanimously confirmed by the Senate. And his investigation is getting results: By any objective standard, he has moved swiftly, obtaining 23 indictments and five guilty pleas in just more than a year.

Congress must never abandon its role as an equal branch of government. In this moment, that means protecting Mueller’s investigation. We’re at our best as senators and Republicans when we defend our institutions. But more than that, it’s our best face as Americans.

People around the world admire not just the material well-being of the United States but our values, too. The rule of law is something many die trying to secure for their countries. We can’t afford to squander it at home.

WaPo, Anne Applebaum: Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin. So what do we get back? http://wapo.st/2J1FJEE

ForeignAffairs, Michael Kimmage (Jul-Aug): The People’s Authoritarian ~ How Russian Society Created Putin http://fam.ag/2lYrNlV
// Jul/Aug 2018 issue

CSIS: The U.S. and the West are currently unprepared to meet the challenge that Russia presents. http://cs.is/2n8lBe1 A CSIS report from 2017 offers a comprehensive strategy to address Russian belligerence.
// 3/30/2017
CSIS: Report: Recalibrating U.S. Strategy Toward Russia: A New Time for Choosing [pdf] http://bit.ly/2NxVLda 212p

ForeignAffairs, Joshua Busby: Warming World ~ Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else http://fam.ag/2u30ew9
// Jul/Aug 2018 issue

WaPo, Dana Milbank: Eight Republicans pick the worst possible place to celebrate July 4 http://wapo.st/2u7R6Xl

So, what do we call these Red Square Republicans? My interlocutors on Twitter suggest “Moscow Mules.” Or, given the position they put themselves in before our masters in Moscow, perhaps they should be called the Prostrate Eight: Sens. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Hoeven (N.D.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Thune (S.D.) and Johnson, plus Rep. Kay Granger (Tex.).

Their excellent adventure included a ballet performance of “Sleeping Beauty,” and fairy-tale notions pervaded their official meetings, too. “I’m not here today to accuse Russia of this or that or so forth,” Shelby told Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. “I’m saying that we should all strive for a better relationship.

Yes, let us strive for camaraderie with a government that attacks us with cyberwarfare, meddles in our elections, denies entry to American officials who are critical of Moscow, destabilizes Europe and the Middle East, kills critics at home and abroad, occupies its neighbors’ land and shoots down the occasional passenger jet. Or, as Shelby put it, “this, that or so forth.”

The Post’s Karoun Demirjian reports that state television in Russia mocked the meek Americans. One Russian military expert said, “We need to look down at them and say: You came because you needed to, not because we did.”

Sergey Kislyak, Russian legislator and former ambassador to Washington, dismissed the Prostrate Eight’s message as “things we’d heard before,” and said “our guests heard rather clearly and distinctly” Russia’s denial that it interfered in U.S. elections.

They hardly needed to go to Moscow for that, though, because Trump himself tweeted last week: “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

This came after Trump pushed for Russia to be readmitted to the Group of Seven, and in advance of the July 16 Putin-Trump meeting in Helsinki that an Esquire writer called Trump’s “annual performance review.”

DemWritePress, Kseniya Kirillova: The Propaganda Schemes of TrumpPutinism http://bit.ly/2lWL5Il
// RUSSIAN JOURNALIST KSENIYA KIRILLOVA DRAWS DIRECT COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE BEHAVIORS AND PROPAGANDA STRATEGIES OF TRUMP AND PUTIN. This piece was originally published in Euromaiden Press, and reprinted with permission of the author.
Renown Russian opposition politician and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov recently described the typical game plan that an autocratic leader follows when he gets caught “red-handed.” This is what it looks like:
Deny, lie, slander.
Claim that it was a misunderstanding.
Boast and jeer: “And what are you going to do about it?”

DailyBeast, Spencer Ackerman: Bipartisan Senate Panel Gives Middle Finger to Devin Nunes http://thebea.st/2zgt9lk
// A bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee says intelligence agencies were right to find the Russians interfered in the election to harm Clinton and elect Trump.

NYT: Shifting Strategy, Trump’s Lawyers Set New Conditions for Mueller Interview http://nyti.ms/2KNuK6J

Vox: The most important part of the Trump-Putin summit no one is talking about http://bit.ly/2MVnByV
// START Treaty; National Security Adviser John Bolton isn’t happy about it.

StateDept, Heather Nauert (Spokesperson): Eroding Press Freedom in Russia http://bit.ly/2zgFB4z re: Russian Duma taking steps to sanction “individual persons taking part in the creation of materials for media outlets … Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA)”

The Russian government continues to stifle press freedom and media independence. We condemn the selective targeting of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) under Russia’s law on “foreign agent” media outlets. RFE/RL and VOA remain the only media outlets designated under this law, which exacerbates long-standing restrictions on their distribution in Russia. Moreover, on July 3 the State Duma took another step toward approving legislation that would extend the “foreign agent” designation from media outlets to individual persons taking part in the creation of materials for media outlets. This bill could provide the Russian government a new tool to target independent journalists and bloggers in retaliation for their work.

The United States again calls on the Russian government to uphold its commitments under the Helsinki Final Act and its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights to respect the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, in Russia. AP: Another warning shot? Trump’s ex-lawyer hires Clinton ally http://bit.ly/2KUnZwU

KyivPost/Newsweek: Former US ambassador to Russia said Putin ‘obviously’ helped Trump win http://bit.ly/2ziC31H

FactCheck.org (Dec): Trump’s Distorted NATO Funding Figure http://bit.ly/2u0QPFu //➔ The U.S. spends a lot more on its own defense compared with other nations in the international security alliance, but its share of the commonly funded NATO budget is less than one quarter.
// 12/14/2017

Trump conflates two kinds of spending by NATO countries — direct and indirect – to wrongly claim that the U.S. is “paying 80% for NATO.”

As for direct costs, the U.S. currently pays about 22 percent of NATO’s “principal budgets” that are funded by all alliance members based on a cost-sharing formula that factors in the gross national income of each country. The principal budget categories include the civil budget, the military budget and the NATO Security Investment Programme.

“Direct contributions are made to finance requirements of the Alliance that serve the interests of all 29 members — and are not the responsibility of any single member — such as NATO-wide air defence or command and control systems,” NATO says. “Costs are borne collectively, often using the principle of common funding.”

Direct spending may also include other “joint funding” projects that are arranged by participating NATO countries, but that are still overseen politically and financially by NATO.

Trump, on the other hand, is referring to so-called indirect spending — that is, the amount that the U.S. willingly spends on its defense budget compared with what other NATO countries spend on theirs. …

As NATO said in the June update: “This does not mean that the United States covers 72 per cent of the costs involved in the operational running of NATO as an organisation, including its headquarters in Brussels and its subordinate military commands, but it does mean that there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare.”

In 2006, NATO members agreed to try to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense spending. In 2014, they agreed again to aim to meet that standard by 2024.

As of now, though, only the U.S., Greece, Estonia, Britain, Romania and Poland meet the 2 percent target, which led Trump to argue that our allies are not paying their “fair share.”

But other countries have been spending more in recent years. The estimated 4.3 percent bump in 2017 was the third straight year that defense spending by Canada and European allies increased, according to NATO.

🐣 2017 NATO Chart by Axios: https://twitter.com/cvpayne/status/1015202534355537921
// posted on Twitter

💙💙 TheGuardian, Tim Adams (Apr): The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder review – chilling and unignorable http://bit.ly/2tYhqmE
// 4/15/2018, This persuasive book looks at Putin’s favourite Russian political philosopher and the template he set for fake news 🐣 RT @NormEisen I know it feels that way, but I have done the analysis, and just as I called Pruitt’s demise, the coming Cohen flip & much more, the evidence tells me that no one can survive all the civil and criminal cases now hurtling at Trump. Not sayin’ when or how–but I am sayin’

RawStory, Travis Gettys: Russian officials and state media mock ‘weak’ GOP senators after Moscow visit http://bit.ly/2KSkEy9

🐣 RT @McFaul Mr. President, you erroneously suggested in Montana last night that our NATO allies have never done anything for our security. Before you get the summit, check out these numbers of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend us: http://icasualties.org/oef/ 

TIME, Ian Bremmer: Trump and Putin Will Call Their Summit a Success. But Don’t Expect U.S.-Russia Relations to Improve http://ti.me/2zfnfRv

The post-summit glow won’t last long though. Trump, unlike Putin, has constraints on his power back home (see: media, fellow Republicans, Trump’s own bureaucracy), and the mounting Mueller investigation will only make it more difficult for Trump to defy American political gravity when it comes to all things Russia.

If it were not for the specifics surrounding Trump, a rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia would actually make plenty of geopolitical sense. China is a much bigger strategic problem for Russia than the U.S. is, and friendships have been built on much less. But unfortunately – and despite his best intentions — Trump may be the least likely President to be able to deliver one. TIME, Ian Bremmer: Trump and Putin Will Call Their Summit a Success. But Don’t Expect U.S.-Russia Relations to Improve http://ti.me/2zfnfRv

TheHill: The Senate’s grown-ups in the Trump-Russia probe follow facts, not politics http://bit.ly/2m0X1Ja

WashingtonExaminer, Byron York: What is Devin Nunes up to? House Trump-Russia probe expands as Intel chair focuses on informants http://washex.am/2KVsN55

Newsweek: Donald Trump Falsely Claims He ‘Won’ Lawsuit Over Russian Collusion http://bit.ly/2MVr3t0

🐣 RT @TheRickWilson This is Russian Intel 101, folks. Evan is spot-on.
⋙ 🐣 RT @Evan_McMullin While in Russia you accept enticements you ought not and learn it was all for a purpose. You feel angry and trapped at first until money begins to flow and opportunity seems greater than risk. Then with every compromising step, cords tighten around you until your will is theirs.
⋙⋙ 🐣 RT @dcexaminer Trump: “You know President Putin is KGB… Putin is fine. He’s fine. We are all fine, we’re all people”

🐣 RT @PuestoLoco Do you get it yet America? Putin & Trump have been working together for several years to merge U.S. & Russian oligarchies into similar fascistic governments based on the Putin model. The GOP is helping & European democracies are in the way.
⇈ ⇊
LATimes, Chris Megerian: As Trump plans meeting with Putin, Europeans fear further meddling by Moscow http://lat.ms/2KSyh0v

⭕ 5 Jul 2018

Bloomberg: Putin Is Preparing a Deal Trump Can Tout After Summit http://bloom.bg/2MV4KE4

Msnbc: “Today Trump normalized the KGB. [Putin] murders people, invades our allies, subverts American democracy & today [Trump] normalized [the] KGB just like the Nazis in Charlottesville. This is very dangerous for American democracy & 7 R’s go there shows the R’s have surrendered to Russia” @MalcolmNance

🐣 RT @brianklaas Confidence in American leadership from Obama to Trump:
-75% Germany
-71% South Korea
-70% France
-68% Spain
-61% Canada
-57% UK
-55% Australia
-54% Japan
+42% Russia
(Pew Research)

🐣 RT @McFaul Mr. President, Putin is not fine. He annexed Crimea, intervened in eastern Ukraine, propped up the most ruthless dictator of our time in Syria, violated our sovereignty in the 2016 presidential reelection, constructed autocracy in Russia, etc. Meet him; dont make excuses for him.

🐣 RT @ddale8 To recap: In rapid succession, Trump said Americans don’t benefit much from protecting Europe from Russia, said Americans are “schmucks” for paying for NATO, and said, “Putin is fine.”

USNews/AP: Trump-Putin Meeting an Accomplishment in Itself, US Envoy Jon Huntsman Says http://bit.ly/2NsO3Rm
// US ambassador to Russia [Jon Huntsman] says Trump’s upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin will be an achievement in itself.

NYT: Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court Front-Runner, Once Argued Broad Grounds for Impeachment http://nyti.ms/2KymJ6t

WaPo: Republicans on Russia trip face scorn and ridicule from critics at home http://wapo.st/2tYIlPd

RawStory: ‘Collusion by any definition’: Legal expert uncovers ‘clear pattern’ of Trump ‘criminal’ conspiracy with Russia http://bit.ly/2KM0ych
// Seth Abramson; includes entire 60-tweet Twitter thread

Seth Abramson, a professor and legal analyst, on Thursday provided what he said was “evidence of criminal collusion” between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government

In a massive Twitter thread, Abramson said that there was a “clear pattern” of actions taken by the Trump campaign before and after the election which points to a conspiracy to undermine U.S. sanctions against Russia.

🐣 RT @ AngrierWHStaff Periodic reminder: #WalkAway and #AbolishICE are both being propagated by Kremlin and right-wing trolls.

RadioFreeEurope: Huntsman: Russia’s ‘Malign Activity’ To Top Trump’s Meeting With Putin, NATO http://bit.ly/2KVkaHy

Missoulian: Daines, back from Russia, flying to Montana with Trump http://bit.ly/2KRya5t

ArcDigital, Caroline O.: Pro-Trump & Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Are Posing As Ex-Democrats In New Astroturfed Movement http://bit.ly/2tYallP (#-WalkAway)
// #WalkAway from this deceptive propaganda campaign

Re-upping ⋙ WaPo, Michael McFaul (2016): Mr. Trump, NATO is an alliance, not a protection racket http://wapo.st/2NwWxHk
// 7/25/2016

LATimes: As Trump plans meeting with Putin, Europeans fear further meddling by Moscow http://lat.ms/2KSyh0v

TheWeek: Mueller is tapping FBI agents and federal prosecutors to help with his growing Trump-Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2KJy8j1

Vox, Andrew Prokop: Why Trump’s inauguration money is a major part of Mueller’s Russia investigation http://bit.ly/2NqCeLw
// Russia-tied donations and oligarch connections have drawn Mueller’s interest.

DailyBeast: Inside the Online Campaign to Whitewash the History of Donald Trump’s Russian Business Associates http://thebea.st/2KNTc85
// Who is paying bloggers on the other side of the globe to scrub the Internet of Trump’s Russian business ties?

⭕ 4 Jul 2018

WaPo, George F Will: Trump’s summit with Kim could foretell catastrophe with Putin http://wapo.st/2u5jEzG

As the president prepares, if this time he does prepare, for his second summit, note all that went wrong at the first. If he does as badly in his July 16 meeting with Vladimir Putin in Finland as he did with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, the consequences could be catastrophic.

An exceptionally knowledgeable student of North Korea, the American Enterprise Institute’s Nicholas Eberstadt, writing in National Review (“Kim Wins in Singapore”), says the one-day meeting was for the United States “a World Series of unforced errors.” The result was that North Korea “walked away with a joint communique that read almost as if it had been drafted by the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] ministry of foreign affairs.”

Singapore was, Eberstadt believes, probably the greatest diplomatic coup for North Korea since 1950 and a milestone on “the DPRK’s road to establishing itself as a permanent nuclear power.” And the sanctions that were the Trump administration’s strategy of “maximum pressure” will be difficult to maintain now that a “defanged” — Eberstadt’s description — Trump has declared the nuclear threat banished.

… The danger is of him lashing out in wounded vanity. Meanwhile, this innocent abroad is strutting toward a meeting with the cold-eyed Russian who is continuing to dismantle one of Europe’s largest nations, Ukraine. He is probably looking ahead to ratcheting up pressure on one of three small nations, Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia, each a member of the NATO alliance that, for the first time in its 69 years, is dealing with a U.S. president who evinces no admiration for what it has accomplished or any understanding of its revived importance as the hard man in Moscow, who can sniff softness, relishes what Singapore revealed.

CNN: Two people poisoned by same nerve agent used on ex-spy, police say http://cnn.it/2zcBTJp

🐣 I thought all Presidential discussions had to be recorded in some way for archival purposes. If not, they should be. Lord knows what they’ll cook up. Heaven help us.

PasteMag, Jacob Weindling (2017): 5 Twitter Accounts to Avoid When it Comes to Donald Trump’s Russian Connections http://bit.ly/2u7uepI //➔ note: I follow all of these (at least on my Investigators Twitter list)
// 3/29/2017

🐣 RT @OlgaNYC1011 Russia’s Duma speaker Volodin who is sanctioned by both US & Europe for his role in Crimea discussed the invitation by Republicans for a Russian delegation to come speak in Senate and House in the fall Will he be part of the visit and will sanctions be lifted to let him enter US?
Thread: https://twitter.com/olgaNYC1211/status/1014644940989718529
🐣 RT @ Vyacheslav Nikonov has been in the State Duma since 2011 and its interesting that his focus of study was the history of the Republican Party
🐣 RT @ And if their staff members posted the tweets on their accounts then why no mention prior to visit? How could they meet w Nikonov a former aide to Putin who bragged last year that American spies slept while the Russians helped elect Trump and whose grandfather worked for Stalin

Mediaite: Conservative Writer Max Boot Calls GOP ‘White-Nationalist Party’, Endorses Democratic ‘Takeover’ http://bit.ly/2zaZsCb

The GOP ‘still cuts taxes and supports conservative judges,” writes Boot. “But a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.”

Like postwar Germany and Japan,” he says, “the Republican Party must first be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.”

Along with Boot, Will,and Schmidt, other conservatives and newly-former Republicans have made the same argument to varying degrees, including Tom Nichols, Matt Lewis, and Mediaite’s John Ziegler, who wrote last month that the only way to save the GOP was by first tearing it down.

“As a true conservative … my primary motivation is always based on what is in the best long-term interest of my country, and my family,” he wrote. “I can’t believe it has come to this, but I am now sure that this means actively hoping that the Republican Party gets crushed in November.”

🐣 RT @JoyceWhiteVance Because, this doesn’t look suspicious at all. A man in Trump’s position, who had any choice at all in the matter, would not do this.
⋙ 🐣 RT @NatashaBertrand Trump wants to meet with Putin alone, with no other aides present on either side, in Helsinki this month. That means no note-takers, witnesses, or official record. http://cnn.it/2MMxvCU

🐣 RT @AmoneyResists Let’s make sure to never forget the names of the GOP Congressmen who are spending Independence Day groveling at Putin’s heels:
(AL) @senshelby
(MT) @stevedaines
(ND) @SenJohnHoeven
(WI) @SenRonJohnson
(LA) @SenJohnKennedy
(KS) @JerryMoran
(SD) @SenJohnThune
(TX) @RepKayGranger

From Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration, August 1792. A letter in which Hamilton calls out those who alleged that he was working to reinstitute a monarchy in the States. http://bit.ly/2MQesYr

“The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. Tired at length of anarchy, or want of government, they may take shelter in the arms of monarchy for repose and security.

“Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy—not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”

TheWeek: 5 great non-corny songs about America http://bit.ly/2MJXf2D #1 Tie: Simon and Garfunkel, “America” (1968) / Paul Simon, “American Tune” (1973) //➔ American Tune is best

⭕ 3 Jul 2018

📒 CSIS: Counting Dollars or Measuring Value ~ Assessing NATO and Partner Burden Sharing http://bit.ly/2KNIS0H
// Report [PDF] http://bit.ly/2N6WJMp 45p

DailyBeast, David Sanger: The Brits Told Us the Russians Were Hacking Our Election http://thebea.st/2IUAEy1

WaPo: Senate report affirms intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia favored Trump over Clinton http://wapo.st/2KPuPns

🐣 RT @mitchellreports You would think GOP Senators would be embarrassed to be cozying up to FM Lavrov in Moscow the same day GOP led Senate Intel committee issues report endorsing 2017 intel assessment that Kremlin tried to tip 2016 election to Trump over Clinton. Check @Maddow take on all this.

RawStory: Peter Strzok’s lawyer nails Republicans who aren’t ‘searching for truth’ on Russia — only appeasing ‘conspiracy-minded constituents’ http://bit.ly/2u2EKi3
// on CNN

“If you have a committee that actually wants to facts, that wants to find out the truth, you might actually have an interest,” he continued. “But from our experience with the committee thus far, it is obvious that they don’t want the truth.”

Goelman went on to say that his client has listened as he’s been caricatured, disparaged “and accused by the President of treason and of being a sick loser. And on Fox News they talk about him as the center of this anti-Trump cabal that was determined to throw the election against Trump. None of this has a shred of truth.”

He also conceded that it was fair for those to scrutinize the text messages between him and Lisa Page. However, Goelman recalled sickening things the president did during the campaign, such as attacking the Gold Star family, that justified being horrified by Trump.

🐣 RT @ForeignPolicy Attorney Anne Chandler has been providing legal aid to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexican border for years. A few months ago, she noticed things were changing. The refugees were being brought to court in shackles. Check out @SarahAWildman’s FP podcast.
⋙ ForeignPolicy: They Took the Children for a Bath and Never Brought Them Back http://bit.ly/2tTGBq9
// 6/29/2018; On our podcast: An immigration lawyer tells harrowing stories of asylum-seekers at the southern U.S. border. Photo: children in cages, chains

🐣 RT @MaddowBlog “I’m not here today to accuse Russia of this or that or so forth,” Shelby told Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. “I’m saying that we should all strive for a better relationship.”
⋙ WaPo: Republican lawmakers come to Moscow, raising hopes there of U.S.-Russia thaw http://wapo.st/2NmrMVv

🐣 RT @JimSciutto What are Putin’s goals? 1- Undermine NATO. 2- Force West to accept Crimea annexation. 3- Undermine western democracies thru election interference. 4- Ensure survival of Assad regime & Russia bases in Syria. Trump is now aiding Putin on each one.

RT @MaggieDay55 The tangled web between the Bad Boys, Trumpworld, and Russia can be traced back to 2012, when Nigel Farage, then-leader of the anti-immigration party UKIP, met Steve Bannon, who was then still at the helm of Breitbart News.
⋙ VanityFair, Isobel Thompson: Did The Bad Boys of Brexit Break America? http://bit.ly/2MKGtAh
// Two years after Trump’s election and the Brexit referendum, a small, transatlantic faction of pinstripe-clad populists is under international scrutiny for its role in both votes—and for its shadowy ties to Russia.

The tangled web between the Bad Boys, Trumpworld, and Russia can be traced back to 2012, when Nigel Farage, then-leader of the anti-immigration party UKIP, met Steve Bannon, who was then still at the helm of Breitbart News. Bannon’s site would go on to vocally support Farage’s campaign, and as Bannon and Farage’s parallel agendas flourished, so too did an alliance between Banks, who bankrolled Farage’s Leave.EU effort after it failed to score official backing; his associate and ally Andrew Wigmore; and Russian ambassador to the U.K. Alexander Yakovenko. Banks had previously admitted to at least one meeting with Yakovenko: a “boozy six-hour lunch” at Yakovenko’s London dwelling in 2015. But pressured by reports from The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr, among others, Banks later admitted he met with the Russians three times. On Friday, the number of meetings rose to four, and details piled up: per the Times, Banks’s Russian contacts offered him “at least three potentially lucrative investment opportunities in Russian-owned gold or diamond mines.” One of Banks’s business partners, James Mellon, was reportedly presented with similar offers, and appears to have taken advantage of at least one:

Three weeks after the 2016 Brexit vote, the Russian government sold the Alrosa stake in a private offering to a restricted group of investors. The shares were sold at a discount to the market price at a time when the value of both the stock and diamonds were rising.

Mr. Mellon’s fund-management company, Charlemagne Capital, was among a restricted number of investors who were allowed to participate.

… Banks is alleged to be worth up to £250 million, meaning his roughly £9 million contribution to Farage’s Leave.EU campaign—thought to be the the largest political donation in British history—would’ve been hefty, but doable. But multiple reports have called Banks’s net worth into question, and OpenDemocracy has suggested the figure may be far lower, casting doubt as to whether he could’ve facilitated such a transaction on his own.

The second theory is that Banks and his Bad Boys enabled a less obvious exchange between the Trump campaign and Russia: Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Post he has questions about whether Banks and Co. “served as a conduit of information to and from the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign.” (Rep. Joaquin Castro added that the documents “[open] a whole new chapter” in the Trump-Russia probe.) Not only was Banks connected to Bannon through Farage, with whom he reportedly signed a five-year lease on a Washington property nicknamed the “alternative British Embassy,“ but his ties to Yakovenko also link him to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who sought a meeting with the Russian ambassador in March 2016. (Papadopoulos’s efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.)

🐣 RT @sahilkapur As Trump echoes Russia’s claims that it didn’t meddle in the 2016 election, the GOP-led Senate Intel Cmte releases a bipartisan report concurring w/ U.S. intel community that Russia interfered to help Trump and Putin approved it.
↥ ↧
RawStory: Senate intel committee concludes Putin personally approved meddling to aid Donald Trump http://bit.ly/2Ku5ALk

⋙ “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S . presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the document reads.

🐣 RT @sahilkapur As Trump echoes Russia’s claims that it didn’t meddle in the 2016 election, the GOP-led Senate Intel Cmte releases a bipartisan report concurring w/ U.S. intel community that Russia interfered to help Trump and Putin approved it.
↥ ↧
📒💙💙 SenateIntelComm, Richard Burr et al: Report on Russian Interference in 2016 Elections: Initial Findings [pdf] http://bit.ly/2KHwHSg 7p
Conclusions: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1014338294405050368/photo/1
Intentions: https://twitter.com/DrDenaGrayson/status/1014259009904365568/photo/1
Efforts to influence: https://twitter.com/DrDenaGrayson/status/1014260762855043072/photo/1
Cyber ops: https://twitter.com/DrDenaGrayson/status/1014261522217029632/photo/1
Dossier not used: https://twitter.com/DrDenaGrayson/status/1014262383085281280/photo/1
// actual doc is untitled

WaPo: Republican lawmakers come to Moscow, raising hopes there of U.S.-Russia thaw  http://wapo.st/2MJ42JS

━━━━━━━▼ Trump-Russia-Israel
WSJ: Trump Expected to Seek Putin’s Help to Curb Iran’s Military in Syria http://on.wsj.com/2z4hdmA
// 6/28/2018, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin plan to meet in Helsinki on July 16

AlJazeera, Joe Macaron: In southern Syria, the US faces a Russia-Israel challenge http://bit.ly/2z7ybRj
// 6/20/2018, The US is being pushed to take action on Syria’s southern front.

WSJ (6/6): At Putin’s Parade, Netanyahu Seeks Understanding on Iran http://on.wsj.com/2tShvrW
// 6/6/2018, Israeli leader wants to make sure that the Russians consider his security concerns

Observer, John Schindler (6/5): Mueller Finally Starts to Target Trump’s Israel Ties http://bit.ly/2HmkM6I
// 6/5/2018

A genuine bombshell dropped yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere. It came in an interview with Simona Mangiante, the wife of George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who pled guilty last October to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian agents—especially Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor with suspicious Kremlin ties—during the president’s election campaign. As expected, Mangiante explained that her husband, whom she married just three months ago, is innocent of what he admitted he did, and in no way was working for Russian intelligence.

“George had nothing to do with Russia,” she explained, seemingly in an effort to convince the White House that Papadopoulos lacks any dirt on the president’s Kremlin connections that could assist Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Team Trump. However, what Mangiante said next was the real shocker: her husband “pled guilty because [Mueller’s prosecutors] threatened to charge him with being an Israeli agent.”

The notion is hardly implausible. Before joining the Trump campaign in early March 2016, Papadopoulos was a self-styled energy consultant who was known for taking strongly pro-Israeli positions in print. To boot, during the 2016 campaign, he met with an Israeli settler leader and assured him that Donald Trump, if elected president, would take a favorable view of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Then there’s the backstory to Papadopoulos’ infamous May 10, 2016 meeting at an upscale London wine bar with Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner (i.e. ambassador) to Britain. At that hard-drinking affair, the young Trump staffer informed Downer that Russia possessed derogatory information about Hillary Clinton—a claim the Australian diplomat found so troubling that he shared it with Australian security officials, who passed it on to their American partners, thus officially beginning the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s Kremlin ties.

That fateful boozy chat was set up by an unnamed Israeli diplomat. This fact, namely that “the meeting came about through a series of connections involving an Israeli diplomat who introduced Papadopoulos to an Australian counterpart,” was reported at the end of last year, “sourced from four current and former American and foreign officials.” This revelation has not been rebutted, nor has it received the attention it deserves. Given that a high percentage of Israeli diplomats serving abroad are spies, this story needs further investigation. …

[T]here are strange Israeli footprints all over the Trump-Russia story. Quite a few of the shady figures close to the president and his business affairs are American Jews of Soviet heritage who possess connections to Israel. Felix Sater and Michael Cohen are only the best-known of this dubious crew. Those men are also connected to Chabad of Port Washington, a Jewish community center on Long Island that is part of the worldwide Chabad movement—which reportedly possesses close links to Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin. The recent BBC report that Cohen accepted at least $400,000 from the Ukrainian government to set up a substantive meeting with President Trump last year included the tantalizing detail that this dirty deal ran through attendees of Chabad of Port Washington.

Then there’s the explosive New York Times report just two weeks ago about a hush-hush meeting in Trump Tower on August 3, 2016—less than two months after the other hush-hush meeting there with Kremlin operatives—between Team Trump and George Nader, who reportedly offered Donald Trump, Jr. help with getting his father elected. According to the Times, Nader proffered unofficial (and probably illegal) foreign aid to the Republican nominee’s campaign, including from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

That day, Nader brought with him Joel Zamel, an Israeli expert in several things that were of interest to Team Trump, including social media manipulation. Zamel is known to possess a close relationship with a bunch of former Israeli intelligence officials, and Nader reportedly paid him a large sum, perhaps as much as $2 million, after Trump’s election as compensation for Zamel’s shadowy social media assistance to the president-elect’s campaign in 2016 (both men visited the White House as well).

Zamel is best known as the founder of Wikistrat, a private intelligence firm that was founded in 2010, ostensibly as a “crowdsourced” geopolitical analysis outfit. Although it’s based in Washington, D.C., as The Daily Beast recently uncovered, “Wikistrat is, for all intents and purposes, an Israeli firm; and that the company’s work was not just limited to analysis. It also engaged in intelligence collection.” For this reason, Wikistrat is under investigation by Team Mueller, whose investigators have interviewed Zamel, while FBI agents have traveled to Israel to dig deeper. Several prominent Wikistrat staffers formerly worked for Israeli intelligence—and some experienced espionage professionals in our nation’s capital wonder if they still do.

Israeli espionage against the United States is a perennially touchy subject in Washington. …

Indeed, some counterintelligence pros in Washington have a rather different take on the Mueller inquiry than most Americans do. While Moscow’s secret role in subverting our election in 2016 is plain to see and is now denied only by the willfully obtuse or congenitally dishonest, detecting a direct Kremlin hand on the Trump campaign is trickier. Trump’s links to Moscow are visible but remain somewhat obscure.

His ties to Israel, however, are much plainer to see. Based on the available evidence to date, Team Trump’s 2016 links to shadowy Israelis appear just as troubling as those to dodgy Russians—indeed, in some cases they are the very same people. As a veteran counterspy in our Intelligence Community whom I’ve known for years recently asked me with a wry smile, “What if the real secret of the Trump campaign isn’t that it’s a Kremlin operation, rather an Israeli operation masquerading as a Russian one?” …

Few of America’s friends around the world are happy with the Trump administration, given its habit of gleefully trashing our longstanding alliances and declaring trade wars on our allies. Israel stands as a significant exception, however, and it’s no wonder that Mueller and his investigators are trying to get to the bottom of what certain Israelis were doing in 2016 in secret to boost the Trump campaign. That answer may eventually prove just as important as Mueller’s inquiry into the Kremlin and its clandestine attack on our democracy two years ago.

AlJazeera, Joe Macaron: In southern Syria, the US faces a Russia-Israel challenge http://bit.ly/2z7ybRj
// 6/20/2018, The US is being pushed to take action on Syria’s southern front.

🐣 Am I getting this right? Israel considers Russia a reliable ally against Iran, may have worked w Russia in election hack. Trump and Putin will talk about leaving Assad in power if Iran pushed out of Syria. Then what? War w Iran? Educate me, please. @emptywheel @ignatiuspost

💙💙 WaPo, David Ignatius (6/28): Is Trump handing Putin a victory in Syria? http://wapo.st/2z3zwbL //➔ interesting in light of @emptywheel’s blog post on a source she believes aided the Russians http://bit.ly/2KHDcRH
Text: https://twitter.com/Auriandra/status/1014196520080551936/photo/1

An intriguing aspect of the possible Syria deal is that it’s driven by close cooperation between Russia and Israel. The Israeli agenda, like Trump’s, is narrowly focused on blocking Iran — and Israelis seem to have concluded that Putin is a reliable regional partner.

💙💙 Dkos: Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel): “If something happens to me …everyone will now know why and who did it” http://bit.ly/2KHDcRH

Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist (who some may remember around dKos as emptywheel), wrote an extraordinary post on her blog today. In it, she describes sharing information with the FBI about someone she had reason to believe was helping the Russians interfere with the 2016 election. 

Oh, also, she points out that Putin won on Syria.

EmptyWheel: Putting a Face (Mine) to the Risks Posed by GOP Games on Mueller Investigation http://bit.ly/2KuSfSP

Sometime last year, I went to the FBI and provided information on a person whom I had come to believe had played a significant role in the Russian election attack on the US. Since that time, a number of public events have made it clear I was correct.

I never in my life imagined I would share information with the FBI, especially not on someone I had a journalistic relationship with. I did so for many reasons. Some, but not all, of the reasons are:

● I believed he was doing serious harm to innocent people
● I believed (others agreed) that reporting the story at that time would risk doing far more harm than good
● I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists
● I had reason to believe he was testing ways to tamper with my website
● I believed that if the FBI otherwise came to understand what kind of information I had, their likely investigative steps would pose a risk to the privacy of my readers

To protect the investigation, I will not disclose this person’s true identity or the identity and/or role I believe he played in the attack. …

I always planned to disclose this when this person’s role was publicly revealed. But I’m doing so now for two reasons. First, I think the public deserves to see the text he sent me at 3:15 PM on November 9, 2016.

Text: “Off the record. You likely don’t want to hear this anymore than I did, I have it on very good intel (A 1 if you know humint ratings) that Flynn is speaking to Team Al-Assad in the next 48 hours.

“Obviously that in and of itself is very disconcerting on a number of levels. You can probably figure out [a] lot more than I can.”

[Related Tweet] https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1014120713089888256

The substance of the text — that the Trump team started focusing on Syria right after the election — has been corroborated and tied to their discussions with Russia at least twice since then. Most importantly, in his statement to Congress, Jared Kushner explained his request for a back channel with the Russians by describing an effort to cooperate on Syria.

The Ambassador [Sergei Kislyak] expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address U.S. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn.

Less credibly, in the days after Mike Flynn pled guilty, an inflammatory Brian Ross report was corrected to reveal that “shortly after the election” Trump asked Flynn personally to work with Russia on Syria (Ross left ABC yesterday but as far as I understand the corrected story stands).

Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.


The source said Trump phoned Flynn shortly after the election to explicitly ask him to “serve as point person on Russia,” and to reach out personally to Russian officials to develop strategies to jointly combat ISIS.

The text sent to me matches both those reports — indeed, it makes it clear that “shortly after the election” means just over 14 hours after polls closed. But the text doesn’t come from anyone, like Kushner or Flynn, inside the Trump team. It comes from someone who, I believe, had already done real damage to the United States as part of the Russian attack. That person understood the cooperation with Syria in terms of the US backing Bashar al-Assad, not in terms of fighting ISIS.

I’m making this public now because a David Ignatius report Thursday maps out an imminent deal with Russia and Israel that sounds like what was described to me within hours of the election. This deal appears to be the culmination of an effort that those involved in the Russian attack worked to implement within hours after the election.

The other reason I’m disclosing this now is to put a human face to the danger in which the House Republicans are putting other people who, like me, provided information about the Russian attack on the US to the government.

My risk isn’t going to go away — indeed, going public like this will surely exacerbate it. That’s to be expected, given the players involved.

But I’m a public figure. If something happens to me — if someone releases stolen information about me or knocks me off tomorrow — everyone will now know why and who likely did it. That affords me a small bit of protection. There are undoubtedly numerous other witnesses who have taken similar risks to share information with the government who aren’t public figures. The Republicans’ ceaseless effort to find out more details about people who’ve shared information with the government puts those people in serious jeopardy. …

[M]y decision to share information with the FBI had nothing to do with my dislike for Donald Trump. It had to do with the serious damage that someone else I believed to be involved in the Russian attack — someone I had been friendly with — was doing to innocent people, almost all of those people totally uninvolved in American politics.

This investigation is not, primarily, an investigation into Donald Trump. It’s an investigation into people who attacked the United States. It’s time Republicans started acting like that matters.

🐣 RT @MarkHertlin I wish someone could help me understand why these GOP Senators are in Russia. I know what CODELs are supposed to do, and I just don’t get this. It’s a bad action and an especially bad optics. Please,someone explain this.

🐣 RT @johnson_carrie NEWS from @NPR – Scott Schools, the highest ranking career lawyer at the Justice Dept., who helps oversee the Mueller probe and other sensitive issues, is stepping down.

🐣 RT @dcpoll Mar 2006 photo of Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik [1] & his associates:
2- Tad Devine, BERNIE SANDERS 2016 senior campaign strategist
3- Manafort, TRUMP 2016 campaign chair
4- Christian Ferry, LINDSEY GRAHAM 2016 campaign manager

⭕ 2 Jul 2018

WaPo: Facebook’s disclosures under scrutiny as federal agencies join probe of tech giant’s role in sharing data with Cambridge Analytica http://wapo.st/2MH9HA5

🐣 Maria Bartiromo’s interview of Trump wasn’t softball. It was WIFFLE BALL.

🐣 RT @SenBobCorner Recognizing Crimea as part of Russia would undermine the rules-based international order that was created with U.S. leadership and has caused democracy to thrive around the world and made America a safer home for our citizens.

VanityFair, Emily Jane Fox: “He Was Trying to Get Ahead of Things”: Michael Cohen, Former Trump Shield and Current Regency Prisoner, Got Sick of Being a Whipping Boy http://bit.ly/2KtZydx

NYPost, Benny Avni: It’s up to the hawks to save Donald Trump from himself http://nyp.st/2KpqhYF

🐣 RT @Billbrowder What are the odds that Putin brings up his obsession to repeal the Magnitsky Act in his one-on-one meeting with Trump (without aides present) at the US Russia summit in Helsinki?

🐣 RT @McFaul Agreed. Remember, Bolton is the National Security ADVISER. He is supposed to give expert advise on these matters to a president with no foreign policy experience at all.
⋙ 🐣 RT @RichardHaass Disconcerting that NSA John Bolton unable/unwilling to reassure that @realDonaldTrump would not recognize Russian annexation of Crimea at Helsinki summit. The unacceptability of acquiring territory by force underpins what little international order exists.

TheGuardian: Will Michael Cohen flip on Trump? The key questions answered http://bit.ly/2lSeUd4
// Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer has told an interviewer that his first loyalty is to his family. Is he about to change tack?

Newsweek: Can Donald Trump Convince Vladimir Putin to Turn Against Iran? Syria War to Be Discussed at U.S.-Russia Summit http://bit.ly/2Ni3pZ3

McClatchy: Russia investigators likely got access to NRA’s tax filings, secret donors http://bit.ly/2NjIC7l

Carnegie: Can the Trump-Putin Summit Restore Guardrails to the U.S.-Russian Relationship? http://ceip.org/2z0RU53

BuzzFeed: The Senate Intel Committee Is In Regular Contact With The Trump–Russia Dossier Author http://bzfd.it/2MJIMUt
// The committee’s chair, Richard Burr of North Carolina, told BuzzFeed News that there are weekly contacts with Christopher Steele.

Politico: Russia becomes 7th WTO member to challenge Trump tariffs http://politi.co/2IKJ2QI

Axios: Trump sends letters to NATO allies demanding more defense spending http://bit.ly/2KIlGwP

WaPo, Jennifer Rubin: John Bolton’s ‘case of the vapors’ http://wapo.st/2KGluyd

If Bolton is right about his boss’s toughness, Trump will play hardball with Putin, pushing back on Russian war crimes in Syria, its illegal occupation of Crimea, its poisoning of defectors in England, its killing of journalists and its continuing support for Iran. If he does not, and instead goes to his default position with Putin (eager subservience), Bolton should seriously consider resigning. At this point, Bolton is enabling a president who favors foes over friends and is simply too foolish to be left in the room alone with an enemy of the United States. In short, he’s become a purveyor of the foreign policy he’s spent his life decrying.

🐣 William L Shirer wondered if Hitler would have risen to power if his name had remained “Schicklgruber.” If you replaced “strong” and “a disgrace” in Trump’s vocabulary, would that help? I suggest “babydimply” and “poodlepoo.” Except it might reflect poorly on babies and poodles.

WaPo, Ben Rhodes: Obama worried with foreign leaders about Trump. The president has proved them right. http://wapo.st/2lNK4SP

NYRB, Umberto Eco: Ur-Fascism http://bit.ly/2IN4QuL
// 6/22/1995

USAToday, Norm Eisen and Andrew Wright: How Donald Trump could speed up Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation: Talk to him. http://usat.ly/2IMTdUN

NYMag, Jonathan Chait: Michael Cohen Apparently Flipping Is Extremely Bad News for Trump http://nym.ag/2Ng6dWl

NBC: Trump continues to deny Russia interfered in 2016. Here’s why that’s a problem. http://nbcnews.to/2IN5p7Z

Politico: The Trump-Russia election interference seesaw rides on http://politi.co/2z3X5Bn 🌼They did interfere 🌼They didn’t interfere 🌼They did interfere 🌼The