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|Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead|
Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead
Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead
|Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot – Google Search|
|США для нового санкционного списка собирают сведения о десятках тысяч россиян|
Российские спецслужбы зафиксировали небывалую активность финансовой разведки США в странах Европы и ряде других государств. Связано это с тем, что в начале следующего года будет оглашен новый санкционный список.
Как рассказал «Росбалту» источник, знакомый с ситуацией, российские спецслужбы узнали, что последние месяцы страны Европы буквально забросали запросами из финансовой разведки США относительно россиян. «Речь идет о работниках госкомпаний, чиновниках, их близких и дальних родственниках и т. д. Всего о десятках тысяч россиян», — рассказал собеседник агентства. По его словам, в ходе дальнейшей работы было установлено, что такая активность финразведки напрямую связана с расследованием ФБР и подготовкой Сенатом доклада о якобы имевшем место вмешательстве России в президентские выборы в США. Предполагается, что по итогам расследования будет оглашен новый список граждан России, в отношении которых вводятся санкции.
«У нас есть данные, что этот список будет беспрецедентно большим. Некоторые горячие головы в США предлагают ввести санкции чуть ли не в отношении более чем 50 тыс. граждан России», — отметил источник агентства.
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|US actively collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite after Trumps new law on sanctions against Russia|
A new sanctions list will be drawn up based on an open report, which will provide information on Russian oligarchs and key political figures.
Russian special services hold an unprecedented activity of US financial intelligence in Europe and a number of other countries requesting data on Russians. This is due to the fact that at the beginning of next year a new sanction list will be announced, Rosbalt reports with reference to the source.
“We are talking about employees of state companies, officials, their close and distant relatives, etc. In total, about tens of thousands of Russians,” the source said. Such activity is directly related to the law on sanctions against Russia, signed by US President Donald Trump on Aug. 4, 2017, proposed by US congressmen. It deals primarily with collecting data on key political figures and oligarchs.
As The CrimeRussia previously reported, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the US Secretary of State, shoult provide an open report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian Federation to relevant congressional committees not later than 180 days after the adoption of the law. It should provide information on key political figures of Russia and the oligarchs, the level of their proximity to Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian ruling elite, their fortune and sources of income; moreover, a list of their relatives, including spouses, children, parents, their assets, including investments, business interests, property that generates income should be concluded; foreign companies affiliated with these persons have been identified too.”
In fact, by January 31, 2018, the Ministry of Finance should prepare a report on all significant politicians, businessmen and officials. The open document will reflect data on their assets, including foreign ones. In the future, the report will only be supplemented with new information and names. All these names will appear in the new sanctions list, which can number up to 50.000 Russian citizens.
According to experts who have already expressed their opinion on the new law, it is possible that later foreign accounts under the jurisdiction of countries that support sanctions against Russia can be frozen. Assets can be confiscated as property that is earned on criminal or illegal way. The Spanish authorities have the same experience, for example, Spain converts property of Russian mafia, accused of money laundering.
Please, read our material about the forthcoming report and how it threatens Russia.
|Mitigating the Russian challenge|
“It is time”, the USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev said in a 1989 speech, “to consign to oblivion the Cold War postulates when Europe was viewed as an arena of confrontation divided into ‘spheres of influence’.”
In place of old rivalries, Gorbachev laid out his vision of a “common European home”. Russia and Europe, he declared optimistically, should work together “to transform international relations in the spirit of humanism, equality and justice”.
Fast forward to 2017, and it is clear that things have not quite gone according to plan.
Gorbachev is defending Russia’s takeover of Crimea. For the first time since the Cold War, Nato is opening new command centres in Europe.
The stakes involved in the EU-Russia relationship are still high.
The EU is the most important investor in Russia, as well as its largest trading partner. Moscow, for its part, remains a crucial energy and security player for Europe.
Yet at the core of the Russia-EU confrontation lies the fundamental disagreement over values and geopolitical zones of influence. Those differences are unlikely to be bridged soon.
The EU, built on the values of interdependence and liberal norms, is willing to engage with Moscow, but with strings attached. To access the community’s perks – closer economic links, visa-free travel – the Kremlin is expected to abide by international laws and embrace liberalisation at home.
To Russia’s leadership, those conditions are unacceptable. It sees its neighbourhood as the bulwark against Nato expansion and the wave of ‘colour’ revolutions. As for domestic liberalisation, it would destroy Vladimir Putin’s regime, or, at least, seriously undermine it.
It is against this context that Russia’s attempts to stoke troubles in Europe should be considered.
Carrot vs Stick
To deter Russia, the EU global strategy recommends, member-states, above all, must “strengthen the EU and enhance the resilience of our eastern neighbours”.
The conspicuity of this observation doesn’t render it any less relevant. Russian leadership values strength and preys on weakness.
Show the Kremlin that you cannot use a stick, and it will wrestle the carrot out of your hands.
Thus, the most obvious thing the EU can do is to enhance its defensive capabilities. That means protecting eastern flunk, while also improving military mobility. Boosting cyber defence, too, is crucial, given recent attacks on Europe’s infrastructure.
Response to Russian meddling in European politics, though, is a more nuanced challenge. Concerns over Moscow’s malignant campaign – via TV, social media and financing of populist parties – are valid.
Yet it is also crucial to keep cool when confronting Russian propaganda.
The Kremlin’s aim, as the US example showed, is to sow discord within Western politics, not necessarily to achieve a concrete electoral outcome.
That is why media panic – and attaching the ‘Putin’s stooge’ label to any anti-establishment cause – only plays into Moscow’s hands.
The best way to deal with the Kremlin’s meddling, therefore, is treating it more as a security issue than a political one.
Western agencies have learned about Russia’s web campaign, so they can tackle it with considerable success in future. Reforms to increase transparency in party financing, likewise, is a useful step.
To bring Russia around to the idea of a common future on European terms requires demonstrating calm resolve. Moscow must understand that, despite its tricks, the EU’s institutions will continue to work as normal.
Making cooperation pay
But while Europe must demonstrate firmness, it is equally important to show what Moscow can gain by cooperating.
A deterrence-only approach to the Kremlin will only amplify its exuberance, leading to an endless ‘action-response’ cycle.
So, how can Russia be induced to cooperate?
Firstly, the EU should retain clear conditions for lifting economic sanctions on Russia. As the economist Vladislav Inozemtsev observed, wherever economic sanctions worked – like South Africa or Yugoslavia – they came with clear instructions of their relaxation or removal.
Heeding that, any comprehensive plan to resolve the Ukraine crisis should include the roadmap for sanctions relief.
The economic card is the strongest ace in the EU’s deck. It must play it wisely.
Secondly, there is a need to communicate with Russia in the way that brings maximum utility. Putin’s regime is here to stay. Nonetheless, it can still be affected, even if incrementally.
To facilitate change, it may be worth raising commercial and human rights concerns with Moscow on diplomatic level rather than just in the media. This approach will assure the Kremlin that Western concerns are genuine, and not an attempt to embarrass it.
Before any progress is achieved with Russia, things may get even more muddled. To succeed, Europe must demonstrate strategic patience.
Evgeny Pudovkin is a journalist writing on European politics, Russia and foreign affairs
|AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn case put off|
Prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller have postponed grand jury testimony related to the private business dealings of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the ongoing investigation into Trump campaign associates and Russian election interference told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The reason for the postponement was not immediately clear, but it comes one week after attorneys for Flynn alerted President Donald Trump’s legal team that they could no longer share information about the case. That discussion between lawyers was widely seen as a possible indication that Flynn was moving to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation or attempting to negotiate a deal for himself.
An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Wednesday afternoon.
The testimony that had been scheduled for the coming days related to Flynn’s firm, Flynn Intel Group, its work with a public relations firm and interactions with congressional staff, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
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Mueller and the FBI have been interested in hearing from employees at the public relations firm, SGR LLC, because of the firm’s work with Flynn Intel Group. SGR LLC, which does business as Sphere Consulting, did public relations work on a film Flynn Intel Group was working on about Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The film was never completed.
Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which produced its first criminal charges last month against three former Trump campaign officials, incorporated an earlier FBI inquiry into Flynn’s lobbying and investigative research work on behalf of a Turkish businessman. Sphere employees have cooperated for months with the investigation, including by turning over documents requested by investigators and sitting for voluntary interviews.
The October 2016 meeting that was expected to be the subject of the grand jury testimony has been described as a bait-and-switch carried out on behalf of Flynn’s firm.
As the AP reported in March, Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian, invited a representative of the House Homeland Security Committee to Flynn Intel’s offices in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss secure communications products. But after discussing the products, the session quickly turned into a lobbying pitch that mirrored Turkish government talking points. Kian and others involved were particularly interested in pushing for congressional hearings to investigate Gulen, whom the Turkish government has blamed for a botched coup and who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement.
The requests for congressional hearings went nowhere.
According to a filing with the Justice Department, an employee of Sphere consulting was present during the meeting.
CNN first reported the postponement.
|Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial | Business News|
In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Denton points at defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, right, during opening arguments of a trial, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York federal court. Denton said Atilla, deputy CEO of Halkbank, was the architect of a “massively successful” scheme to dupe U.S. banks into letting Iran move money around the world. Judge Richard Berman is seated at the bench, background left. (Elizabeth Williams via AP) The Associated Press
By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — A Turkish-Iranian gold trader testified at a New York trial Wednesday that he paid over $50 million in bribes to Turkey’s finance minister in 2012 to overcome a banker’s fears he was too popular in Turkey to launder Iranian money and evade U.S. sanctions.
Reza Zarrab, 34, calmly described his 2012 encounters with one of Turkey’s most important public officials as he began what will be several days on the witness stand at the trial of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is charged in a conspiracy that involved bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.
Zarrab’s decision to cooperate with U.S. investigators — revealed Tuesday — was a surprise twist in a prosecution that seemed in jeopardy just months earlier after Zarrab tried to free himself by hiring prominent and politically connected American attorneys to try to arrange a prisoner transfer between Turkey and the United States.
Zarrab said he began cooperating after efforts by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey failed. In the spring, prosecutors seemed alarmed after learning that Giuliani and Mukasey would meet with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top U.S. officials to try to broker a deal.
With Zarrab as a powerful addition to their arsenal of evidence, prosecutors wasted no time in getting him to name names and muddy reputations in the banking industry and in government.
Testifying with an American flag behind him, Zarrab answered questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju as the prosecutor elicited details of what the United States has said was a well-orchestrated conspiracy to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran and enable $1 billion in Iranian oil proceeds to move through international banking markets.
Zarrab said he ran into resistance from a Halkbank executive when he approached the Turkey government-owned bank in late 2011 or early 2012 to try to gain access to Iranian money through trades in gold.
The executive, he said, feared that Zarrab’s marriage to Turkish pop star and TV personality Ebru Gundes made him too popular and transparent to make gold trades.
Feeling unjustly rejected, he said he met with Zafer Caglayan, Turkey’s finance minister. He said Caglayan told him he would broker gold trades in return for half the profits.
Zarrab said he paid Caglayan over $50 million to broker the trades and that Caglayan’s involvement overcame the bank’s resistance.
Caglayan is indicted in the case. The indictment describes his alleged role in the gold-transfer scheme and in another scheme in which he and other Turkish government officials supposedly approved of and directed the movement of Iranian oil proceeds by claiming they were in connection with the sale of food and medicine to Iran from Dubai.
Erdogan has called on American authorities to “review” the decision to indict Caglayan, saying the former minister had not engaged in any wrongdoing because Turkey had not imposed sanctions on Iran, an important trade partner.
Zarrab took the stand wearing tan scrubs a month after pleading guilty to seven crimes, including conspiracy, violating U.S. sanctions, bank fraud, money laundering and paying a bribe to a prison guard to get alcohol and the use of a cellphone.
Atilla, a 47-year-old former deputy CEO of Halkbank, has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Atilla attacked Zarrab’s credibility Tuesday during opening statements, saying the trial is about Zarrab’s crimes.
As he testified, Zarrab described his 2016 arrest as he arrived in the U.S. for a trip to Disney World with his wife and daughter.
He said he initially lied to U.S. authorities when he was confronted with crimes.
“I did not know what I was facing and after a long trip I was shocked and I couldn’t give the right answers,” Zarrab said. “I was afraid.”
The prosecution in Manhattan has been major news in Turkey, where Erdogan has repeatedly asked the U.S. to release Zarrab.
Turkey’s deputy prime minister recently said Zarrab was a “hostage” being forced to testify against Turkey’s government.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
|Feinstein asks for Russia records from Trump campaign aides – The Hill|
|Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report|
Rudy Giuliani – Google News
|Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report|
|Lawsuit seeks details of Trump administration’s policies on surveilling journalists – Washington Post|
|Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks|
Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company.
Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said.
“Time seems to be of the essence,” said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked.
The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.
The consultant’s expected testimony comes as the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser’s business dealings has taken a new turn.
Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation, a move that signals Flynn is beginning conversations with the government that could involve a plea deal or a cooperation agreement.
that Flynn’s attorney met with special counsel’s attorneys on Monday.
Sphere’s government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.
Inovo paid Flynn’s group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere’s SGR was paid $40,000.
Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as “a cooperating witness at best.” Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the
such as their firm’s reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.
Another area of interest to Mueller’s team is Flynn’s alleged participation in discussions about the idea of removing Gulen, who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania, sources said. In the past, a spokesman for Flynn has denied that such discussions occurred. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, has called reports of an alleged kidnapping scheme “outrageous” and “false.” Kelner could not be reached for comment.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment.
Flynn disclosed its work for Inovo in a lobbying disclosure form in September 2016. Months later, in March 2017, it filed a FARA disclosure form stating “because of the subject matter of the engagement, Flynn Intel Group’s work for Inovo could be construed to have principally benefitted from the Republic of Turkey.”
Sphere entered the assignment in August 2016 when it was approached by Bijan Kian, Flynn’s business partner, to publicize the proposed documentary to promote investing in Turkey, according to the Sphere source. At Flynn’s direction Sphere created a Gulen-themed Monopoly graphic, according to Flynn’s FARA disclosure. A lawyer for Kian declined to comment. No explanation was given for why the graphic was created.
Two other consultants hired by Flynn, journalists David Enders and Rudi Bakhtiar, a former CNN anchor, were brought in to work on the documentary, according to the FARA form. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the investigation, reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation has contacted Enders and Bakhtair to set up interviews. Enders and Bakhtiar have not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
The documentary was never completed. But Sphere did place Flynn’s election day op-ed on Gulen in The Hill newspaper, according to the source at the company and the FARA filing. Flynn’s FARA filing distances that op-ed from the work he did for Inovo acknowledging it was shared with Inovo but: “To the best of our knowledge, Inovo did not communicate with the Republic of Turkey regarding the op-ed or provide the draft op-ed to the government.”
Through Flynn and Kian, Sphere met Alptekin, the Turkish businessman, who wanted Sphere to do PR work to get Gulen extradited, according to the source at Sphere.
According to a memo sent to Flynn’s firm, Sphere told Alptekin in November, when the firm first met with him, that none of this should be done through a publicity campaign, but rather should pursued through lawsuits.
|Today’s Headlines and Commentary|
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in a test that demonstrated the Kim regimes longest potential range capability yet. The Hwasong-15 missile could reach all of the continental United States, the New York Times reported. The missiles 53-minute flight took the projectile 2,800 miles into space before landing in the Sea of Japan 600 miles east of its launch site. Experts said the test flight showed a potential range of 8,000 miles. President Donald Trump, the leaders of Japan and South Korea, and the U.N. secretary-general condemned the launch, the Washington Post reported. The United Nations Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss Pyongyangs latest provocation.