Trump’s former security chief Keith Schiller testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, confirming that a foreign individual offered to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during his visit to Moscow in November 2013, but Schiller refused the man’s offer saying that “we’re not interested in that.” Carol D. Leonnig reports at the Washington Post.
Schiller made the comments about the five women in the context of him strenuously disputing the contents of the salacious dossier compiled by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Ken Dilanian and Jonathan Allen report at the Hill.
- The White House senior adviser Stephen Miller has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, sources familiar with the investigation said yesterday, one source claiming that Miller’s role in the firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey was among the topics discussed. Pamela Brown, Gloria Borger and Evan Perez report at CNN.
The opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. produced negative information on the Clinton Foundation that the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya offered to Trump Jr. and Trump campaign officials during their meeting in June 2016, according to sources familiar with the matter. Mark Hosenball reports at Reuters.
Schiller’s revelation about the offer of five women demonstrates how things work in Russia and their pursuit of “kompromat” tactics, Chris Cilizza writes at CNN.
The Russian state-funded R.T. television news network said yesterday that it would register as a foreign agent in compliance with a request from the U.S. Justice Department, but said that it would challenge the decision as the “demand is discriminative.” Focus on the network has intensified in light of the investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and the lobbying efforts of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. Paul Sonne reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The Russian embassy in the U.S. yesterday condemned the Justice Department for demanding R.T. to register as a foreign agent, saying that measures limiting activity “will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response.” Julia Manchester reports at the Hill.
The U.S. is expected to propose the deployment of 20,000 peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine in the coming days in a test of Russia’s willingness to end the conflict in Ukraine, however Western officials remain skeptical that Russia would fulfil its commitments under the 2015 Minsk agreement to withdraw all troops and weapons out of Ukraine and allow Kiev to restore control over the country following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Laurence Norman and Julian E. Barnes report at the Wall Street Journal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday accused the U.S. of attempting to interfere in Russia’s presidential campaign and claimed that the U.S.’s role in trying to disqualify Russian athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics was a means of trying to undermine his presidency. David Filipov and Marissa Payne report at the Washington Post.
The Islamic State group have taken back half of the Syrian town of Albu Kamal despite the Syrian army’s announcement yesterday that it had captured the town, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Reuters reports.
The Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was spotted Albu Kamal, a Hezbollah-run media unit claimed today, but did not offer further information, Reuters reporting.
Syrian opposition activists denied claims that al-Baghdadi has been sighted, saying that the Syrian army was seeking to distract from its losses in Albu Kamal. Bassem Mroue reports at the AP.
Iran- and Russia-backed Syrian government forces now face possible confrontation with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) following yesterday’s defeat of the Islamic State group in their last significant stronghold in the country, Sarah El Deeb explains at the AP.
Russia’s “deplorable” attempts to discredit the report into chemical weapons attacks in Syria continue to “deny the truth,” the U.S. representative Kenneth D. Ward said yesterday at a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (O.P.C.W.), remarks that were posted on O.P.C.W.’s website. Mike Corder reports at the AP.