|Saved Stories – None|
|Trump Jr., ex-campaign head given nod to testify in Congress: Senator – Reuters|
|After Low-Key Lobbying Effort, Trump Says He Was ‘Let Down’ By Senators – NPR|
|Eighth Participant In Meeting With Trump Jr. Once Linked to Russian Money Laundering – Mother Jones|
|In Michigan: Who wins, who loses if GOP efforts slay Obamacare – Crain’s Detroit Business|
|Trump Jr., Manafort given approval to testify in Congress: senator – The Globe and Mail|
|Poll: Swing-State Voters Sour On Trump – The National Memo (blog)|
|Donald Trump – Google News: Eighth Person at Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Was Rep for Russian Developer – TIME|
Donald Trump – Google News
|Eighth Person at Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Was Rep for Russian Developer – TIME|
|“Let Obamacare fail: Donald Trump lays out healthcare plan video|
Donald Trump says he is disappointed by his partys failure to agree on legislation that would have repealed and replaced Barack Obamas signature healthcare act. Speaking to reporters after support for his bill fell apart, the US president said his administration was in the position where well let Obamacare fail
|As Turkey and NATO Drift Apart, Russia, China, and Iran Stand to Gain – National Review|
|Trump set out to uproot Obama’s legacy; so far, that’s failed – Los Angeles Times|
|Trump Jr and Manafort can testify before Congress – RTE.ie|
|Eighth man at Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer was focus of money laundering inquiry – Los Angeles Times|
|Breitbart’s White House reporter is trying to hold Trump accountable. Seriously. – Washington Post|
|Talks for US’s return of Russian compounds fail, sparking anger from Moscow – Los Angeles Times|
|Senate insider: Republican Senators are now in a coordinated rebellion against failing Mitch McConnell|
Last night two more Republican Senators announced they would vote against their own party’s AHCA “TrumpCare” bill, effectively killing it. That prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make an immediate attempt at repealing ObamaCare without a replacement, but today four Republican Senators announced their refusal to participate, killing that idea as well. One longtime Senate insider says you’re not just imagining it: the Senate GOP is in full rebellion mode against McConnell.
Adam Jentleson was the Deputy Chief of Staff for recently retired Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, having spent years working with and against McConnell and his staff. Last night, Jentleson posted an insider’s view of what’s really going down between Senate Republicans and Mitch McConnell: “What we’re witnessing is an unprecedented, full-blown rebellion by Republican senators against their leader, McConnell,” he explained. “McConnell’s political victories have come at a steep price for the institution. He has taken power & influence away from other senators. His fellow Rs did not like losing their individual power, but they were willing to abide it as long as McConnell delivered victories.”
Jentleson continued: “The question has always been, what happen to McConnell when he hits a dry spell – especially one that his scorched-Earth tactics precipitated. We’re seeing indications of that tonight. This sounds like trolling but I’m honestly shocked at how nasty Republicans are being towards him. Accusing your leader of a “significant breach of trust” [an accusation made publicly by GOP Senator Ron Johnson] is about as harsh as it gets in Senate-speak. Senators want to get things done. McConnell’s pitch to his fellow Republicans was always, let’s get power & then we’ll get things done. Their problem now is that the tactics McConnell employed to accrue power undercut their ability to get things done.”
You can read Jentleson’s full explanation, which goes into more detail, in his Twitter thread (link). But his upshot is this: “This is a massive humiliation for McConnell” and “the breadth of the rebellion is fascinating and suggests that this was coordinated.” As failures and frustration pile up, could we soon be seeing the end of Mitch McConnell in the leadership role?
The post Senate insider: Republican Senators are now in a coordinated rebellion against failing Mitch McConnell appeared first on Palmer Report.
|Trump owns plenty of blame for health-care defeat – CNBC|
|‘The Apprentice’ helped Trump win approval of African-Americans and Latinos here’s how he lost it – Business Insider|
|Lawyer: Russian developer’s staffer also at Trump Tower meeting – CBS News|
|Trump Is The Villain, Stop Rooting For Him|
Sometimes it takes a metaphor from professional wrestling to help make sense of our current political landscape. Professional
|Report: Prosecutors demand records on Chicago bank’s loans to Paul Manafort – Chicago Tribune|
|Putin Trump – Google News: Ian Bremmer: Trump, Putin held second informal meeting at G-20 – The Hill|
Putin Trump – Google News
|15 Gross Things White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Has Said|
Homophobia, misogyny, anti-Muslim fearmongering, fat jokes — no matter who you are, Bannon probably thinks you’re inferior.
|Analysis: What can Republicans do if they can’t repeal Obamacare? – USA TODAY|
|There is more evidence Russia interfered in the election. Fewer Trump supporters believe it. – Vox|
|Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks|
|Guest List at Trump Jr.’s Meeting With Russian Expands Again – New York Times|
|Trump, Putin Had Second, Previously Undisclosed Meeting At G-20 Summit – NBCNews.com|
|Donald Trump Had A Second Meeting With Vladimir Putin At G-20 Summit|
The meeting was previously undisclosed.
|Robert Mueller Confirmed to Be Investigating Donald Jr.’s Russia Meeting: Report – Newsweek|
|Putin Trump – Google News: Putin Is Helping Trump Because He Wants to Protect His Secret Stash of Money, Businessman Claims – Newsweek|
Putin Trump – Google News
|Donald Trump Jr. Met Russian Accused of Laundering $1.4 Billion – Daily Beast|
|The Agalarovs, Who Set Up the Trump-Russia Meeting, Are Selling Their Jersey Mansions Mother Jones|
Aras Agalarov’s Alpine, N.J. home was listed in June for $6,988,000.Zillow
The billionaire Russian real estate magnate and his pop singer son who helped arrange the June 2016 meeting where Trump campaign officials hoped to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Kremlin are looking to get out of the United States—or, at least, out of New Jersey.
Aras Agalarov, who in 2013 received an Order of Honor award from Vladimir Putin for his construction work in Russia, last month listed a seven-bedroom, 10 bathroom, French-manor style home he owns in Alpine, New Jersey, fully-furnished. People involved in the sale said a buyer signed a contract to purchase the home last week, for just under the $6,900,000 asking price, though the sale is still pending. That’s a whopping discount from the $9.3 million Agalarov paid in 2005 for what Sotheby’s touted as a “stunning private oasis.”
Aras Agalarov’s Alpine, New Jersey-home comes fully furnished. Drapes included.
The “one of kind French manor estate” sits on 2.5 acres of land and includes a fountain.
Agalarov’s son Emin, meanwhile, has spent two-plus years attempting to unload a slightly more modest six bed, eight bath “stunning brick colonial” he owns in nearby Demarest. Emin, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, attended high school for two years in Tenafly, New Jersey.
After putting the property on the market in April 2015 for $3.3 million, the younger Agalarov is now offering the manse for $2.9 million, just shy of the $3 million his family spent on the home in 2008.
Emin Agalarov’s multi-million-dollar home.
The home features a “spectacular great room” with French doors.
According to emails released by Trump Jr.—after he learned the New York Times was on this story—the Agalorovs helped set up the Trump Tower meeting where Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, expected to receive negative material on Clinton from a Kremlin-connected attorney.
Aras Agalarov’s home went on the market on June 15—about three weeks before the Times, in a seriesof reports, broke the news of the meeting. Sometime in June, the Trump camp learned that the Agalarov-brokered meeting would probably become public as a result of Kushner filing an amended security clearance form that listed the meeting. (Probably that same month, Trump Jr. hired a lawyer. A lawyer for Trump Jr. received an initial payment from the Trump campaign on June 27.)
Aras Agalarov’s home boasts a double bridal staircase.
The wet bar includes a built-in aquarium.
The buyer will find out where a spiral staircase from the master bedroom goes.
The Trump and Agalarov families formed a relationship in 2013, when they partnered to hold the 2013 Miss Universe contest at a Moscow-area concert pavilion, Crocus City Hall, which Aras Agalarov owns. Emin Agalarov performed at the event. Trump Sr. later appeared in one of the singer’s videos. Aras Agalarov made his fortune building shopping malls in Russia, but won Putin’s favor by building important national projects, such as two stadiums for the 2018 World Cup.
Like many before them, the Agalarovs, say they moved to New Jersey for the schools. Emin told <a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a> in 2014 that his father, while living in Manhattan, bought the Alpine home so that Emin could attend Tenafly High School for his junior and senior years. Emin then went to college in the United States at Marymount Manhattan before returning to Russia in 2001. The singer kept his home and still “considers himself something of a Jersey guy,” <a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a> reported.
The front hall of Emin Agalarov’s home.
The fully furnished basement includes a home theater.
Emin Agalarov’s home is just a few blocks from a property owned by senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and her husband George. They paid $6 million for the property in 2007. In 2011, Forbes ranked the 07620 zip code belonging to Alpine as the most expensive in the country, with a median home value of about $4.3 million.
While it might seem odd that a family that made billions in Russian real estate is posed to take a drubbing in the New York suburbs, James Collins, who represented the sellers of the Demarest property in 2008, said the performer’s difficulty finding a buyer reflects the state of “the whole Tri-State market,” where high-priced homes are often remaining on the market for long stretches, even years.
But the agent involved in the sale said that Aras Agalarov had offered his home for a low enough price to unload it fast. “At a more realistic price they sell quicker,” the agent said.
|There is more evidence Russia interfered in the election. Fewer Trump supporters believe it.|
The evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election has only grown since Donald Trump took office. Yet a whopping 72 percent of Trump voters believe the whole story is “fake news.” A mere 14 percent believe there’s anything to the Russia story.
That’s according to an astonishing new survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling. Here some additional highlights:
A July 15 ABC/Washington Post poll found a similarly disturbing trend: Only 9 percent of Republicans polled said they believe Russia tried to influence the election, which was down — yes, down — from 18 percent in April.
This is all despite the fact that:
This is staggering. It means that even when Trump and his team openly admit to doing something — regardless of whether they believe that thing is bad or illegal — some Trump supporters will stillrefuse to believe it.
Trump supporters just don’t want to believe the Russia story
A quick look at the crosstabs of the poll show there is a clear partisan split when it comes to what people think about Russia’s involvement in the election. Those who voted for Trump are a lot less likely to believe the story than those who voted for Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein.
Public Policy PollingAnecdotal evidence also seems to support this finding. When my colleague Lindsay Maizland traveled to her home state of Michigan — a state Trump won in the election — in July, she found that people there overwhelmingly believe the whole Russia story is “fake news.”
People told her that they feel ignored by the Washington establishment, hate the “liberal media,” and couldn’t care less about the Russia investigation. They saw it as a distraction from what America should be focusing on: the return of jobs to areas that have been neglected by Washington for years.
Still, that real, verifiable facts that come directly from the Trump family themselves don’t seem to be able to change opinions about the veracity of at least some aspects of the Russia story is troubling. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that people don’t like learning information they are predisposed to disagree with, as my colleague Brian Resnick discovered. Clearly the Russia story is something Trump supporters just don’t want to face.
That’s going to be a problem, though, as the evidence piles up that Russia did a lot more to influence the election than the president wants to admit. Worse, it may mean that some Americans might not even care that Russia orchestrated one of the greatest attacks on US democracy in our country’s history.
|Senate intel panel wants to interview everyone at Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting|
July 18, 2017 / 5:26 PM / an hour ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday that wanted to interview President Donald Trump’s son, campaign chairman and everyone else who was at a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
“Sure, sure,” the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr, told reporters when asked if he wanted the committee to call in the attendees.
Senator Mark Warner, the panel’s Democratic vice chairman, also said the committee wanted to see everyone who had been at the meeting.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Eric Beech
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|Ty Cobb, Donald Trump’s newest Russia lawyer, adds legal muscle as investigations widen|
Paul Pierce signs with Boston to retire as…
Paul Pierce signed a contract with the Boston Celtics on Monday so he can retire as a member of the organization, the team announced.Time_Sports
Ty Cobb, a partner in the investigations practice of the law firm Hogan Lovells, was appointed as White House special counsel by President Donald Trump on July 15, 2017.(Photo: Hogan Lovells)
WASHINGTON — President Trump has for months decried the investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia as the greatest “witch hunt” in American political history. But Trump’s quiet appointment of prominent Washington criminal attorney Ty Cobb as White House special counsel shows just how seriously he’s taking them.
Trump’s outside legal team is already sprawling. Marc Kasowitz, his longtime corporate lawyer, is leading a team of four attorneys to shield him from potential peril of three congressional committees and a special Justice Department counsel investigating possible collusion with Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking Democrats.
Yet by tapping former federal prosecutor Cobb as White House point man for the Russia probes, Trump is sending a clear signal that an internal legal bulwark is equally necessary to keep the administration from being consumed by the growing storm of questions about his campaign’s ties to Russian-linked operatives.
“He brings to the White House a lot of experience the president has not had,’’ said John Dowd, a prominent member of Trump’s outside legal team who recommended Cobb for the job.
Cobb will come to the White House at a particularly tense time, after revelations the president’s son, son-in-law, and former campaign chief took a highly controversial meeting in June 2016 in the hopes of obtaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. And it’s increasingly clear the current White House staff lacks the bandwidth to defend a president facing a criminal investigation.
“Ty’s easily one of the best lawyers in Washington, if not the country,’’ Dowd said. “Given the load they have (at the White House), they need someone like him.’’
Cobb, who has built a formidable reputation as a criminal lawyer and crisis manager, is meant to be a counterpoint to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, an expert in election law and former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission.
The addition of Cobb to the White House post also equips Trump with a seasoned criminal lawyer available to advise at any time.
He will also serve as a conduit to Trump’s hard-charging chief outside legal counsel Kasowitz, who does not possess Cobb’s criminal law expertise. Kasowitz, who has also been under scrutiny lately for firing off profanity-laden emails to a stranger, also must commute from his New York offices for occasional meetings with his client.
A former federal prosecutor in Baltimore, Cobb headed the office’s criminal division and organized crime task force. In private practice, he represented a far-flung roster of clients in bribery and corruption cases in 44 states and 35 countries, according to his firm Hogan Lovells.
Among his clients: former Democratic Party fundraiser John Huang, who emerged as a target of the Justice Department’s Campaign Finance Task Force during the Clinton administration. Huang pleaded guilty in 1999 for violating federal election law. The same year, Cobb successfully defended Hudson Foods related to a Justice investigation into a massive recall of beef contaminated by E. coli.
As a special White House counsel, Cobb will serve as the primary White House contact with the congressional investigating committees (the Senate and House Intelligence panels and the Senate Judiciary Committee), and special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is conducting the Justice Department’s wide-ranging criminal inquiry into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Cobb’s appointment also is expected to help relieve mounting pressure on chief White House counsel McGahn, who has been helping to direct both the White House response on Russia matters in addition to providing legal guidance on myriad policy issues confronting the administration.
“Within the counsel’s office, there are various attorneys that have different portfolios,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. “And while we have outside counsel (handling Russia-related matters), a lot of times the requests that we get…require us to go to counsel and say, ‘Can we answer that question? What can we say or can’t we say?”
In fact, the White House is seeking to model its Russia legal response effort in part off the one that President Clinton put together in the midst of the various Whitewater investigations during the 1990s into the real estate investments of the Clintons and their associates.
One difference: The Clintons assembled a unit of lawyers and other professionals within the administration; so far, Cobb is the only lawyer to be brought onto the White House staff with the specific portfolio to handle investigations.
Lanny Davis, among those who served as a special White House counsel during the Clinton administration, said lawyers recruited for such jobs need to come with an understanding of the complex intersection of the law, media and politics.
“Working in a White House under attack is like working in the midst of a political campaign,” Davis said. “The first rule is to get the bad news out. There can’t be any B.S. Building a support group for what (Cobb) will have to do is not going to be easy.”
Even with Cobb’s broad experience and formidable reputation, Davis said he will need something more than his own acumen: the support of the president.
“You can’t do the job without the backing of the president,” said Davis, cofounder of the crisis management firm Trident DMG.
Cobb’s friends and former associates said colorful lawyer, who bears the name of a distant relative and baseball great known for his relentless competitiveness on the field, is up for the challenges of the task – and Trump.
“He is not a fixer, he is not a political operative,” said Robert Weber, a longtime friend and former general counsel at IBM. “He is a pure lawyer. He understands the client. He knows there are no shortcuts, and that success depends on on hard work. He’s fearless.”
James Ulwick, a fellow former prosecutor in the Baltimore, described Cobb as “the guy on everybody’s short list when you need help.”
“He likes being the center of attention, he revels in that role,” Ulwick said. “Some people would shrink from that, not him.”
Ulwick said Cobb is a natural storyteller – a lover of literature and history – who possesses a keen sense of humor that have all worked in his favor countless times both in court and out. “He is used to the challenge of persuading large groups of people,” Ulwick said.
Cobb also brings another potentially valuable commodity to the job: a long-standing friendship with Mueller.
“He’s known (Mueller) for years,’’ Dowd said. “They are both professional acquaintances and good friends. They have great respect for one another.’’
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|8th Person Identified at Trump Son’s Russia Meeting – Voice of America|
|Eighth person at Trump Jr meeting was accused of money laundering|
Irakly Ike Kaveladze, who once accused of laundering more than $1.4bn, was a participant in the notorious get-together at Trump Tower in June 2016
A Russian American businessman once accused of laundering more than $1.4bn into the US from eastern Europe attended the meeting where Donald Trumps son expected to receive secret information from Moscow.
Irakly Ike Kaveladze was the eighth participant in the notorious get-together at Trump Tower in Manhattan on 9 June 2016, his attorney Scott Balber confirmed to the Guardian on Tuesday. Kaveladzes attendance was first reported by CNN.
|If Bannon and Trump are honey badgers, what is honey: the American people? Wake up, Honey!|
If Bannon and Trump are “honey badgers”, what is “honey”: the American people? Wake up, Honey!
|Trump Investigation: What did the FBI know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it, including with the use of this information?|
Trump Investigation: What did the FBI know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it, including with the use of this information?
|How Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Rode the Honey Badger Into the White House|
Green reminds us that it wasn’t long ago that both men were looked at as political jokes, and not even bad ones. When Ivanka Trump told Rupert Murdoch over lunch that her father intended to run for president, the media baron replied, without even looking up from his soup: “He’s not running for president.”
As for Bannon, when Green first met him in 2011 he came across as a “political grifter seeking to profit from the latest trend.” Later, as Bannon took the reins of the Trump campaign, he was seen by Beltway Republicans as “an Internet-era update of the Slim Pickens character in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ who rides the bomb like a rodeo bull, whoopin’ and hollerin’ all the way to nuclear annihilation.”
But whatever the pair lacked in conventional political experience, they made up for with other gifts. Both understood showmanship: slogans, narrative, put-downs and especially conflict. They knew the value of rage and outrage alike — the first as fuel for a movement; the second as the indispensable foil for that movement.
They also grasped that much that was supposed to matter in politics no longer did — detailed policy papers, for instance, or personal decorum. Trump, Green writes, “figured out that the norms forbidding such behavior were not inviolable rules that carried a harsh penalty but rather sentiments of a nobler, bygone era, gossamer-thin and needlessly adhered to by politicians who lacked his willingness to defy them.”
That’s why Trump’s birtherism — the support he gave to the lie that Barack Obama was born abroad — never disqualified his candidacy, even as it helped him “forge a powerful connection with party activists.” It’s a tactic he would repeat straight through the end of the campaign, when he took to denouncing “international banks” in terms that shaded into anti-Semitism.
“Darkness is good,” was Bannon’s advice for dealing with criticism from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League. “Don’t let up.” At another moment, when the campaign feared House Speaker Paul Ryan would try to steal the G.O.P. nomination from Trump, Bannon threatened to rally Breitbart’s army. “Pepe’s gonna stomp their ass,” he said — “Pepe the Frog” being the alt-right’s white-supremacist cartoon mascot on Twitter.
Green is consistently interesting on the subject of Trump. But the real value of “Devil’s Bargain” is the story it tells about Bannon, some of which has been previously reported (not least by Green himself) but never so well synthesized or explained as it is here. The product of a working-class family and a Catholic military high school in Richmond, Va., he was taught from an early age that the defining moment in Western civilization occurred in 1492 — not with Columbus’s discovery of the New World, mind, but with Ferdinand and Isabella’s Reconquista from the Moors of the Iberian Peninsula.
“The lesson was, here’s where Muslims could have taken over the world,” recalled one of Bannon’s classmates. “And here was the great stand where they were stopped.”
If that was an early hint of Bannon’s political vision (and now a staple of Trump’s foreign policy speeches), other lessons suggested the means he would employ to achieve that vision. On Wall Street in the mid-1980s, he came to admire Michael Milken, the so-called junk bond king, who showed how a “band of outsiders” could set about “laying siege to a comfortable, fattened and vulnerable establishment.”
Later, while running an Internet business in Hong Kong, Bannon discovered the underworld of online gamers; “intense young men” who “disappeared for days or even weeks at a time in alternate realities.” One of those alternate realities was “World of Warcraft,” in which millions of people were digitally transformed into secret soldiers waging titanic battles in unseen worlds against mythical enemies.
Bannon seemed to intuit that this digital world could be recreated for his political purposes, by designing an apocalyptic narrative of righteous warriors waging an end-of-days battle by all necessary means against assorted enemies: jihadists, progressives, Acela-corridor Republicans, the Clintons. Republican political operatives had spent the Obama years wondering about the “missing” white voters who had failed to show up for John McCain and Mitt Romney. Turns out, they (or others like them) were online, and Bannon — whose own fantasies were suggested by a portrait he had of himself in his office, dressed as Napoleon — was proposing to supply this army with the necessary ammunition.
Much of it would come from the bile factory at Breitbart News. Another part would be supplied by the Government Accountability Institute, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based nonprofit that mined the “deep Web” and dug up the dirt on the Clinton Foundation for Peter Schweizer’s 2015 blockbuster “Clinton Cash.” There was also a data-analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company “that advised foreign governments and militaries on influencing elections and public opinion using the tools of psychological warfare.”
What all of this added up to was a kind of alt-G.O.P. — agile and indifferent to norms and boundaries — that could supply the Trump campaign with everything it needed to win. Bannon has described himself as a “Leninist” for wanting to “destroy the state.” Whether he will achieve that is doubtful, but he seems to share Lenin’s genius for building a secret party with radical designs, ready to pounce at the historically opportune time.
Now it has succeeded. To what end? As an electoral gambit, the honey badger approach was a good bet: Trump is president not in spite of the wretched things he said about Mexicans, women, John McCain, Megyn Kelly and so on, but because he said them. He sold his shamelessness as fearlessness and his charlatanism as charisma, and people believed. Lord save us when Democrats alight on a similar candidate.
As a governing principle, however, honeybadgerism has been less of a success. As an article in Mental Floss noted, honey badgers may be smart, resilient and incredibly tough, but they’re also “lazy about housekeeping,” “mean” and “skunk-like,” meaning they possess an anal gland that releases a suffocating smell when in distress.
Readers can draw their own parallels, but that’s usually not a formula for political success. Bannon and his acolytes should beware: Sooner or later, they’ll outstay their welcome.
|The Real Crimes of Russiagate, by Patrick Buchanan|
For a year, the big question of Russiagate has boiled down to this: Did Donald Trump’s campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC?
And until last week, the answer was “no.”
As ex-CIA director Mike Morell said in March, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians … there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”
Well, last week, it appeared there had been a fire in Trump Tower. On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with Russians — in anticipation of promised dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
While not a crime, this was a blunder. For Donald Jr. had long insisted there had been no collusion with the Russians. Caught in flagrante, he went full Pinocchio for four days.
And as the details of that June 9 meeting spilled out, Trump defenders were left with egg on their faces, while anti-Trump media were able to keep the spotlight laser-focused on where they want it — Russiagate.
This reality underscores a truth of our time. In the 19th century, power meant control of the means of production; today, power lies in control of the means of communication.
Who controls the media spotlight controls what people talk about and think about. And mainstream media are determined to keep that spotlight on Trump-Russia, and as far away as possible from their agenda — breaking the Trump presidency and bringing him down.
Almost daily, there are leaks from the investigative and security arms of the U.S. government designed to damage this president.
Just days into Trump’s presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador forced the firing of Flynn.
An Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister in which Trump disclosed that Israeli intelligence had ferreted out evidence that ISIS was developing computer bombs to explode on airliners was leaked. This alerted ISIS, damaged the president, and imperiled Israeli intelligence sources and methods.
Some of the leaks from national security and investigative agencies are felonies, not only violations of the leaker’s solemn oath to protect secrets, but of federal law.
Yet the press is happy to collude with these leakers and to pay them in the coin they seek. First, by publishing the secrets the leakers want revealed. Second, by protecting them from exposure to arrest and prosecution for the crimes they are committing.
The mutual agendas of the deep-state leakers and the mainstream media mesh perfectly.
Consider the original Russiagate offense.
Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. And who was the third and indispensable party in this “Tinker to Evers to Chance” double-play combination?
The media itself. While deploring Russian hacking as an “act of war” against “our democracy,” the media published the fruits of the hacking. It was the media that revealed what Podesta wrote and how the DNC tilted the tables against Bernie Sanders.
If the media believed Russian hacking was a crime against our democracy, why did they publish the fruits of that crime?
Is it not monumental hypocrisy to denounce Russia’s hacking of the computers of Democratic political leaders and institutions, while splashing the contents of the theft all over Page 1?
Not only do our Beltway media traffic in stolen secrets and stolen goods, but the knowledge that they will publish secrets and protect those who leak them is an incentive for bureaucratic disloyalty and criminality.
Our mainstream media are like the fellow who avoids the risk of stealing cars, but wants to fence them once stolen and repainted.
Some journalists know exactly who is leaking against Trump, but they are as protective of their colleagues’ “sources” as of their own. Thus, the public is left in the dark as to what the real agenda is here, and who is sabotaging a president in whom they placed so much hope.
And thus does democracy die in darkness.
Do the American people not have a “right to know” who are the leakers within the government who are daily spilling secrets to destroy their president? Are the identities of the saboteurs not a legitimate subject of investigation? Ought they not be exposed and rooted out?
Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic?
Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.
People inside the executive branch are daily providing fresh meat to feed the scandal. Anti-Trump media are transfixed by it. It is the Watergate of their generation. They can smell the blood in the water. The Pulitzers are calling. And they love it, for they loathe Donald Trump both for who he is and what he stands for.
It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at <a href=”http://www.creators.com” rel=”nofollow”>www.creators.com</a>.
|Juan Williams: Trumps war on U.S. intelligence | TheHill|
|Just Security: The Early Edition: July 17, 2017|
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
The Secret Service would have put a stop to it if there had been anything nefarious about the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., President Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner, his then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian lobbyist and possible former Soviet intelligence agent last year, President Trumps lawyer Jay Sekulow said yesterday, a claim a Secret Service spokesperson subsequently cast doubt on by pointing out that Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection in June 2016.Greg Jaffe reports at the Washington Post.
Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the U.S.S.S. in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at the time. Secret Service spokesperson Mason Brayman reiterated that Trump Jr. was not under Secret service protection at the time of his meeting in a statement issued yesterday following Sekulows assertions, Reuters Arshad Mohammed and Howard Schneider report.
Nothing in that meeting was illegal or a violation of the law, Sekulow said in a separate interview on Fox News Sunday, one of five interviews on major Sunday news shows in which he made a full-court defense of his client President Trump, whom he said was unaware of the meeting, writes Rebecca Savransky at the Hill.
Donald Trump Jr.s meeting with Veselnitskaya clearly brings the [Trump-Russia] investigation to a new level and makes our effort all the more important, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Mark Warner said yesterday, NBC News Kailani Koenig reports.
Donald Junior made a mistake, former Trump adviser Michael Caputo said in an interview yesterday, adding that while the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya should have raised a red flag for an experienced campaign operative, for a family member, for a first-time candidate for president of the United States in a whirlwind like we were in it was unsurprising and understandable. The Hills Cyra Master reports.
The ultimately-executive decision whether White House senior adviser Jared Kushner loses his security clearance over his actions including failing to disclose meetings with senior Russian officials could ultimately rest with President Trump, his father-in-law, explain Austin Wright and Josh Dawsey at POLITICO.
Was Russian developer Aras Agalarov, named in emails arranging a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, a Kremlin conduit to President Trump? Neil MacFarquhar considers this question at the New York Times.
The hope that the U.S. would find the political wisdom to return two Russian diplomatic compounds that were seized under the Obama administration based on Russias alleged involvement in the hacking of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election was expressed by the Kremlin today, Reuters reports.
Unless the Russia sanctions bill currently awaiting a vote in the House undergoes serious revision it would compromise European energy security and damage U.S.-European relations, with Russia as the ultimate beneficiary. The former German ambassador to the U.S. Wolfgang Ischinger explains why Europeans oppose the U.S. Russia sanctions bill at the Wall Street Journal.
American Princeton University researcher Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years prison on charges of spying for the U.S. by an Iranian court, an Iranian judiciary official confirmed yesterday, Rick Gladstone reporting at the New York Times.
The immediate release of American citizens detained in Iran on fabricated national security chargeswas called for by the U.S. Department of State yesterday, Al Jazeera reports.
President Trumps arbitrary and conflicting policies as well as those of his arrogant, aggressive and occupying allies were to blame for global instability, Iran said over the weekend, after Trump called Iran a rogue regime during his press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron last week, Reuters reports.
The KOREAN PENINSULA
South Korea has requested talks with North Korea in an effort to ease tensions along their shared border and resume the reunification of families separated since the Korean War in the 1950s, South Koreas vice defense minister Suh Choo-suk said today, Al Jazeera reporting.
If Pyongyang agrees to the military talks they will be held Friday in the truce village of Panmunjom in the supposedly demilitarized zone between the North and the South, with experts anticipating that Kim Jong-un will likely agree to the military talks but reject returning to the Red Cross talks aimed at reunifying families, writes Bryan Harris at the Financial Times.
Myanmar has no military ties with North Korea, a Myanmar official said today as U.S. diplomat Ambassador Joseph Yun who is responsible for North Korea arrived in Myanmar for talks during which he is likely to seek assurances that it will comply with U.S. efforts to isolate the Pyongyang regime, Simon Lewis reports at Reuters.
Yuns trip to Myanmar is symbolic of a key Trump administration tactic, cutting of North Korean revenue no matter how small or obscure the source, suggests Joshua Berlinger at CNN.
Two shells were fired at the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus yesterday, according to Syrian state news agency S.A.N.A., the attack coming amid a Syrian government forces offensive against rebel-held areas in Damascus, the AP reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed opposition to the U.S.-Russia brokered ceasefire in southern Syria during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday, stating that the ceasefire perpetuates Irans presence in Syria and poses a threat to Israels security. Barak Ravid reports at Haaretz.
The E.U. is set to impose sanctions against 16 Syrian scientists and military officers responsible for chemical weapons attacks against civilians, adding to the broad range of E.U. sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assads regime instituted since the conflict began, Lauren Norman reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Baghdadi is definitely alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive, a top Kurdish counterterrorism official Lahur Talabany said today, warning that Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi knows what he is doing, Reuters reports.
The seventh round of U.N. Syria peace talks produced no breakthrough, no breakdown, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday, stating that representatives of Assads government refused to discuss political transition, Al Jazeera reports.
The lack of long-term plans for reconstruction in Iraq and Syria will lead the Trump administration to repeat mistakes of previous administrations, neglecting humanitarian needs perpetuates the conditions for extremism to thrive, Josh Rogin writes at the Washington Post.
Irans success in making Iraq a client state – entrenching its influence in Iraqs military, politics and economy, playing on sectarian divides, and using Iraq as a springboard for expansionism in the region represents a failure in U.S. foreign policy, Tim Arango writes at the New York Times.
The international community should not underestimate the Islamic States ability to exploit vacuums of power and, although militants have faced setbacks in Mosul and Raqqa, the U.S. and its allies should draw a clear political roadmap for Iraq and Syria to help neutralize the Islamic States ability to exploit local grievances. Hassan Hassan writes at the Guardian.
The fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is far from over and tough battles are yet to be fought despite the defeat of militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the impending defeat of militants in the Syrian city of Raqqa. Liz Sly outlines six of those battles at the Washington Post.
The Trump administrations relaxation of protections for civilians in Iraq and Syria, as well as the brutality of the final stages of the battles in Mosul and Raqqa, is demonstrated by research which shows that approximately 12 civilians have been killed every day in Iraq and Syria since President Trumps inauguration, Samuel Oakford writes at The Daily Beast.
The U.A.E. orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites on May 23, attributing false quotes to Qatars emir which were then cited by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain as a reason for banning all Qatari media and diplomatically isolating Qatar, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Karen De Young and Ellen Nakashima report at the Washington Post.
The allegation that U.A.E. was involved in hacking is false, the U.A.E. Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba said in a statement yesterday, adding that [what] is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists, Al Jazeera reports.
You cannot be both our friend and the friend of al-Qaeda, U.A.E. Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash will warn Qatar today, Patrick Wintour at the Guardian citing it as the strongest indication yet that Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain plan to expel Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.).
We need a regional solution and international monitoring to address the ongoing Gulf-Arab dispute, Gargash will also say today in prepared remarks, adding that the pressure from the four Arab nations is working, with the memorandum of understanding between U.S. and Qatar signed last week on financing terrorism providing evidence of this, Al Jazeera reports in rolling coverage.
Qatars policy of welcoming unwanted individuals has angered its Gulf neighbors and its image as a place of refuge for dissidents, extremists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban officials and others underlies the current Gulf-Arab dispute. Declan Walsh explains at the New York Times.
The death of Islamic States leader in Afghanistan was announced by the Pentagon Friday, confirming that U.S. forces killed Abu Sayed in an airstrike on the groups eastern headquarters in a statement, Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.
At least 1,662 Afghan civilians have been killed in the first half of this year and 3,581 wounded, according to a statement released by U.N. investigators today, the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto stating that the figures represent the human cost of this ugly war, Josh Smith reporting at Reuters.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus decision to award a reported C$10.5m to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr undermines Canadian values and limits the legal options of the family of Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer who was killed by a grenade thrown by Khadr, Conservative Member of the Canadian Parliament and official opposition critic for foreign affairs Peter Kent writes at the Wall Street Journal.
ISRAEL and PALESTINE
The resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks was called for by French President Emmanuel Macron following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris yesterday, adding that France was prepared to apply diplomatic levers toward renewed negotiations without being specific, Al Jazeera reports.
Controversial new security measures including check points were introduced at Jerusalems sacred al-Aqsa Mosque compound yesterday two days after three Palestinians with Israeli citizenship killed two police officers in an attack there before being shot dead themselves, Ruth Eglash reports at the Washington Post.
A major offensive against the Islamic State has been launched in the north-western region of Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan, Pakistans military said, adding that militants had gained ground inside Afghanistan and had to be prevented from spreading their influence. The BBC reports.
India targeted a Pakistani military vehicle and killed four Pakistani soldiers in unprovoked cross-border fire in the Kashmir region yesterday, according to Pakistani military officials. Al Jazeerareports.
A new approach toward Pakistan that could involve an end to U.S. assistance and increased security cooperation with India will be discussed by President Trump when he meets with his national security team this week, when they will also discuss the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, CNNs Barbara Starr reports.
A provision forcing Congress to vote on a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (A.U.M.F.) may be stripped out of the House Appropriations defense spending bill which hit a roadblock this week, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who introduced the provision, offering an amendment to revoke a 2001 A.U.M.F. in eight months, Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.
A Turkish military vehicle was blown up as it passed through the Yuksekova district of Turkeys Hakkari province which borders Iran and Iraq today, wounding 17 soldiers, in an attack the Turkish military attributed to the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), Reuters reports.
Indonesia renamed waters in its exclusive economic zone that overlap with Chinas claims in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea in an assertion of sovereignty announced Friday that has angered Beijing, the APs Christopher Bodeen reports.
The U.N. banned nuclear weapons this month, the worlds nine nuclear powers boycotting the vote, the U.S., Britain and France jointly denouncing the treaty in a statement asserting that it clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary, while North Korea has not declared where it stands, but Iran has signed up. The Wall Street Journal editorial board expresses its reservations in a brief overview.
|Juan Williams: Trump’s war on U.S. intelligence|
By Juan Williams – 07/17/17 06:00 AM EDT
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Web World Times wwtimes.com
|“Russia isnt delivering for Trump, and Trump isnt delivering for Russia. So, what is the deal, and who are the dealers?!|
“Russia isn’t delivering for Trump”, and “Trump isn’t delivering for Russia”. So, what’s the deal, and who are the dealers?! Ask the Germans, they know but won’t tell…
|How German Condoms Funded the Russian Revolution|
The French suggested that they might have proof. Encouraged by that hope, a Russian colonel named Boris Nikitin was put in charge of the investigation. He dispatched a spy to monitor the Bolsheviks’ use of the telegraph and paid informers for all gossip, true or false. Nikitin’s was a full-time job, but the only office space available was in a building partly occupied by yet more suspect Bolsheviks. Not only did the colonel feel like the one being watched, but all his windows opened onto fluttering red flags.
Meanwhile, the provisional government continued to prosecute the war. In late June, it launched an offensive on the Galician front. Though vaunted as a campaign by the crack troops of a free new state, it collapsed within three days. Large-scale disturbances ensued in Petrograd, complete with street battles between right- and left-wing gangs, black flags and socialist banners, panic, shooting and civilian deaths. There were new rumors of a coup.
In desperation, Pavel Pereverzev, the justice minister, tried scapegoating the Bolsheviks for Russia’s dismal plight. His evidence was flimsy (he was promptly ordered to resign), but the idea that Lenin had been working for the Germans prompted a manhunt. As Petrograd descended into chaos, government thugs ransacked the office that produced the Bolshevik newspaper, Pravda. Several leading revolutionaries were imprisoned, among them Leon Trotsky. Beardless and disguised beneath a wig, Lenin fled the Russian capital in fear for his life. In August, after collecting more testimony, the provisional government condemned him in absentia.
The case against Lenin was always thin. Pereverzev’s evidence, which involved a contract Lenin was alleged to have signed in Berlin at some time in the previous year, turned out to be the raving of a fugitive prisoner of war. The press proffered more fairy tales — Lenin’s sister was a spy based in Salonica, Lenin had been murdered, Lenin’s real name was Mytenbladm or Zederbluhm. Years later, Trotsky remembered July 1917 as “the month of the most gigantic slander in world history.”
In fact, Lenin was far from dead. He used the months in Finland to lay new, ambitious plans. By mid-September, he felt bold enough to slip back into Russia and take up the fight again, this time preparing his lieutenants for a Bolshevik seizure of power. The operation took place on Nov. 7, and that same day the streets of Petrograd were littered with leaflets announcing the triumph of Lenin’s new Soviet regime.
But questions about finance have a way of haunting history’s great men. Lenin relied on secrecy; the Germans let him down. At the end of 1917, Germany’s foreign minister, Richard von Kühlmann, gloated about his country’s role in November’s Bolshevik coup. Berlin, he said, had long schemed to subvert Russia. The challenge had been to find a person who could do the job. The Germans had backed a range of hopefuls, from Finnish nationalists to Central Asian jihadists. “It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels,” Kuhlmann explained in a frank memorandum, “that they were in a position to build up their main organ, Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and to extend the originally narrow basis of their party.”
Lenin’s bank records were scrupulous enough. He protested that he had snubbed every agent the Germans sent him. He insisted (rightly) that his party had triumphed by giving voice and shape to real passions and despairs. Still, cash had been essential. In the summer of 1917, the British estimated that it would cost them 2 million pounds a month to match Lenin’s propaganda effort. The high price had to take account of Bolshevism’s genuine appeal, but even Lenin knew that newspapers and posters did not print and distribute themselves.
That’s where the condoms and lead pencils come in. Lenin could not risk accepting direct bribes, but it was easy for Berlin to supply his agents with commodities and then forget to send the bill. Goods were exported to Denmark (which was legal), the packaging was changed (illegal), and then they were resold to countries where imports from Germany were banned. Part of the profit found its way into the Bolsheviks’ coffers via businesses in Stockholm. A key part here was played by Yakov Fürstenberg, the manager of a Scandinavian-based import-export company whose directors, Alexander Helphand and Georg Sklarz, were known agents of Germany. Though Lenin publicly disdained Helphand, Fürstenberg was one of his closest contacts, his north European fixer.
“Lenin’s entry into Russia successful,” the German spy chief in Stockholm reported to his masters in April 1917. “He is working exactly as we would wish.” But it was Lenin who would win the high-stakes gamble in the end. The kaiser and his ministers were swept away, but Lenin’s empire went from strength to strength. As he had put it years before: “Sometimes a scoundrel is useful to our party precisely because he is a scoundrel.”