Sputnik investigation | Firtash could be extradited: The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik | Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash could be extradited “within weeks,” his lawyer said Monday

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Day in Photos – Voice of America: September 11, 2017 

M.N.:

  • Stop the immigration from Russia and the former USSR! 
  • Stop the abuse of green card lottery by Russian Intelligence and Russian Mob! 
  • Send all the Russian agents back to Russia (after flipping them)! 
  • Revive and reanimate the US government media outlets, such as RL-RFE and VOA, supply them with the new set of steel teeth! 
  • Investigate thoroughly the foreign interference (Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and others) in the previous US elections, especially of 2012, which were the antecedents of the present crisis, learn from it and prevent it with the unsurmountable firewalls! 
  • Turn all the influence devices, that the US opponents used, back onto them, magnify them ten fold, and fight them with their own weapons! 

Wake up, already! 

The Cold War is not over, it just has started! 

______________________________

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Some of Trump’s lawyers advised the president this summer that Jared Kushner should step down as a senior White House adviser due to his dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople, arguing that Kushner’s position would create legal complications for the president in relation to the Russia investigation. Carol D. Leonnig reports at the Washington Post.

The connections between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin could ultimately lead to the undoing of both of their presidencies, creating domestic difficulties for the respective leaders and causing foreign policy tensions. Gideon Rachman argues at the Financial Times.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Attorney General Jeff Session and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats urged Republicans and Democrats yesterday to permanently renew a wide-ranging surveillance law authorized by section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Services Act. Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

A U.S. citizen will stand trial in Brooklyn today on charges of conspiring to support al-Qaeda and helping to prepare a 2009 car bomb on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Brendan Pierson reports at Reuters.

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SputnikNewsSputnik investigation – News 

“This is incredibly significant,” said Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent and now an associate dean of Yale Law School, about the bureau’s questioning of the former Sputnik reporter. “The FBI has since the 1970s taken pains not to be perceived in any way as infringing on First Amendment activity. But this tells me they have good information and intelligence that these organizations have been acting on behalf of the Kremlin and that there’s a direct line between them and the [Russian influence operations] that are a significant threat to our democracy…

In his letter to Justice, Fionda  said he was employed by RIA Global LLC, a media company associated with Sputnik, from Sept. 5 to Oct. 19, 2015. During that time, Fionda wrote, Sputnik conducted “a perception management information warfare program” about Russia’s military involvement in Syria. He said the news organization falsely described Russia’s targets in that country as “terrorists” affiliated with the jihadist group ISIS when, he asserted, the Russian forces were actually bombing other anti-Assad rebel groups.

In another instance, Fionda said, an article he wrote in September 2015 about President Obama’s repatriation of Guantánamo detainees to a number of countries was “censored” to omit any reference to the fact that six of the detainees were being sent back to Russia, where they were later imprisoned… 

Fionda said his last straw with Sputnik came on Oct. 19, 2015, after excerpts of private emails from then-CIA Director John Brennan were published by a hacker on Twitter. He claimed Gavasheli, Sputnik’s U.S. editor in chief, asked him to “obtain the CIA Director’s stolen emails” from the hacker.

“I refused because I believed this was a solicitation to espionage,” Fionda wrote.

When he refused the order, Fionda wrote that Gavasheli told him to “get the f— out of my office” and then fired him. Gavasheli, in his interview with Yahoo News, denied this and said Fionda was fired after falsely claiming his father was ill in order to take time off from work… 

The probe into Sputnik also comes shortly after the Russian news agency announced a significant expansion in the U.S. capital: It took over a popular Washington FM radio station dedicated to playing bluegrass music and replaced it with an all-talk format with hosts who regularly criticize U.S. policies — as well as one co-host who is a former Breitbart News reporter and Trump supporter. “I’m sure you heard a lot about us,” Gavasheli was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “Now you can actually listen to us.” 

Russian operatives created events on Facebook to organize political protests in the U.S., 

including an August 2016 anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rally in Idaho. Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman reveal at The Daily Beast.

Russian propaganda in 2016 elections – News

Image result for sputnik is GRU's fellow traveler

Sputnik is GRU’s fellow traveler News

Story image for sputnik is GRU's fellow traveler from Daily Beast

Inside Russia’s Fake News Playbook

Daily BeastApr 27, 2017
Content created by white outlets (RT and Sputnik News) promoting the … “FellowTravelers” – In some cases, Russia has curried the favor of “Fellow … such as those GRU [Russia’s foreign intelligence agency] leaders and …

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Dmytro Firtash – News | Dmytro Firtash extradition – News 

Story image for Dmytro Firtash extradition from Chicago Tribune

Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief …

Chicago Tribune12 hours ago
Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash could be extradited “within weeks,” his lawyer said Monday. (GEORGES SCHNEIDER/AFP/Getty Images).

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sputnik investigation – Google Search

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Story image for sputnik investigation from HuffPost

Sputnik, The Russian News Agency, Is Under Investigation By The FBI

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Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief … – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune
Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief …
Chicago Tribune
Prosecutors say wiretapped conversations link Ukrainian to Chicago, argue he will flee to Russia.and more »

Russian news agency that pushed DNC conspiracy reportedly under FBI investigation – Business Insider Nordic

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Russian news agency that pushed DNC conspiracy reportedly under FBI investigation
Business Insider Nordic
The FBI is investigating whether Russia’s state-owned Sputnik News is a propaganda arm of the Kremlin and therefore operating in the United States in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Yahoo News reported Sunday. Sputnik’s former …and more »

FBI probes Russian news agency over election propaganda – New York Post

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New York Post
FBI probes Russian news agency over election propaganda
New York Post
The FBI is investigating a Russian government-backed news agency to see if it spread Kremlin propaganda during the 2016 presidential election, according to a report on Monday. Federal agents have obtained a thumb drive that contains thousands of …and more »

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other
Financial Times
If Vladimir Putin did help to put Donald Trump in the White House, it would be the ultimate intelligence coup. Yet, it might also prove to be the ultimate own goal. An operation designed to ease the pressure on Mr Putin’s government by installing a 
Putin on Trump: He’s not my bride, and I’m not his groomNewburgh Gazette
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Story image for Dmytro Firtash extradition from Chicago Tribune

Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief …

Chicago Tribune12 hours ago
Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash could be extradited “within weeks,” his lawyer said Monday. (GEORGES SCHNEIDER/AFP/Getty Images).

Story image for Dmytro Firtash extradition from RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Austrian Court Rejects Spanish Extradition Request For Ukrainian …

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyAug 30, 2017
A court in Austria has rejected a Spanish extradition request for Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. The move paves the way for the …

Story image for Dmytro Firtash extradition from Chicago Tribune

Extradition of Ukrainian oligarch with links to Trump campaign …

Chicago TribuneAug 31, 2017
Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash arrives for the start of his trial at the courts of justice in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 21, 2017. Firtash was arrested …

Russian thread runs through Chicago extradition case

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Firtash is weeks or months away from extradition to stand trial here because Austria has already made a final decision that extradition is …
_____________________________________

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other

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If Vladimir Putin did help to put Donald Trump in the White House, it would be the ultimate intelligence coup. Yet, it might also prove to be the ultimate own goal. An operation designed to ease the pressure on Mr Putin’s government by installing a friendly face in the White House has instead led to a tightening of sanctions on Russia, and a dangerous increase in the domestic political pressure on the Russian president.

As for Mr Trump, his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia may have aided his electoral victory at the risk of destroying his presidency. It would be a strange irony if the intimacy of the Putin and Trump camps ultimately ended both presidents’ political careers.

Of course, the Russian government and Mr Trump’s diehard defenders still deny that any such collusion took place. But the US intelligence services are certain that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic party emails.

It seems likely that the hack influenced the course of a tight election. I was in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic convention in July 2016 when the first leaked emails were released. The revelation that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, had been privately disparaging the Bernie Sanders campaign forced her resignation, and ensured that the convention got off to a chaotic start.

Mr Sanders’ supporters were convinced that their man had been robbed. And Sanders voters who switched to the Republicans, were crucial to Mr Trump’s victories in the vital states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. We now also know that Russian operators used Facebook and Twitter to spread anti-Clinton messages.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Trump was consistently sympathetic to the Kremlin. Whether he was motivated by ideology, investment or some embarrassing secret has yet to emerge.

But the Russian connection set off the chain of events that may ultimately unravel his presidency. Alarmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into his Russian contacts, Mr Trump sacked James Comey, the head of the FBI.

The backlash against the Comey sacking led to the appointment of Robert Mueller, a former head of the Bureau, as a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection. And the remorseless progress of the Mueller inquiry is likely to spark indictments and resignations. That, in turn, could lead to the impeachment of Mr Trump — and the destruction of his presidency.

As for Mr Putin, the moment it became clear that his gamble might backfire was when Mr Trump was forced to sack General Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, for not disclosing contacts with the Russian government. From that point on, it became politically impossible for Mr Trump to help Russia by easing sanctions. On the contrary, the backlash against Russian interference in the US election has led to the intensification of sanctions, with a distrustful Congress ensuring that Mr Trump cannot lift these measures unilaterally.

Indeed, for the Republican Congress getting tough on Russia seems to have become a surrogate for getting tough on Mr Trump. The sanctions added over the summer were aimed specifically at the Russian mining and oil industries, In response, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, accused the US of “a declaration of full-fledged economic warfare on Russia”.

So far from improving under Mr Trump, US-Russian relations are now as bitter as at any time since the height of the cold war. Realising that the Trump administration will not be able to lift sanctions, the Kremlin resorted to a mass expulsion of US diplomats in response to an earlier expulsion of Russians by the Obama administration. The prospect that the US might supply arms to Ukraine has become much more real. And Russia is about to embark on some major military exercises in eastern Europe, which will heighten US fears.

The irony for Mr Putin is that, if he had simply let events take their course, sanctions on Russia could have been eased in the natural run of events — even with Hillary Clinton in the White House. Mrs Clinton had already tried one “reset” with Russia as secretary of state, and might have been prepared to try another. Many in Europe were also tiring of sanctions on Russia.

When the Mueller inquiry reports, there is likely to be a renewed spike in American outrage towards Russia. The most obvious threat is posed to Mr Trump. But the Mueller inquiry also poses an indirect threat to Mr Putin. He will contest a presidential election in March and faces a re-energised opposition, led by the popular and daring Alexei Navalny, and a deteriorating economy that has hit Russian consumers hard. Even though very few people expect Mr Putin to lose the election, the pro-Putin euphoria of a couple of years ago is clearly fading. Articles about the post-Putin era have begun to appear in the Russian media.

Above all, the most powerful economic interests in Russia now know that there is no longer any light at the end of the sanctions tunnel. In fact, things are likely to get worse. Something radical will have to change to get sanctions lifted. And that change might be the removal of Mr Putin from the Kremlin. Indeed, it is only when Mr Trump and Mr Putin both go that it may truly be possible to reset US-Russian relations.

gideon.rachman@ft.com

If you are a subscriber, add Gideon to myFT in order to receive alerts when his articles are published. To do so, just click the button “add to myFT” which appears on his author page

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Why Robert Mueller May Have to Give Donald Trump Immunity

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The Trump-Russia Investigation has accelerated. Armed with more evidence, and assisted by many of the most talented prosecutors and investigators in the country, special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., to investigate whether President Trump and his associates colluded with Russian operatives to win the White House.


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