1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Chuck Grassley may have just gotten caught up in Maria Butina’s Trump-Russia plea deal

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Now that Russian operative Maria Butina has cut a cooperating plea deal, we’re going to begin learning which Republican politicians and operatives she was criminally conspiring with. One name to keep an eye on as this saga unfolds: Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.




Back in early 2017, Palmer Report brought you the surreal story of how Chuck Grassley, the Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, just happened to be seated next to a member of the Russian parliament at the National Prayer Breakfast – which took place just as Donald Trump was taking office. Our source on this: Grassley’s own Instagram account, where he posted a selfie he’d taken with the Russian politician. Considering that Grassley was the head of one of the two key Senate committees that would naturally end up investigating the Trump-Russia scandal. We asked what the odds were that this could be a coincidence.


Now that Maria Butina has cut her deal, details are surfacing left and right. MSNBC reported this evening that Butina made a point of bringing a Russian delegation to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast, under the guidance of the Russian government. So now we know that it was no mere accident that the a Russian member of parliament was there at the breakfast, buddying up to Chuck Grassley; in fact it was arranged by a Russian spy.




Clearly, Chuck Grassley didn’t think he was going to be participating in anything nefarious when he sat down with the Russian politician at that breakfast table, or he wouldn’t have documented it on social media at the time. But as the Grassley-led Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into Trump-Russia went on, we saw Grassley go from originally wanting a legitimate investigation, to later trying to sabotage his own investigation.



We’ve long wondered aloud if the Russians used the National Prayer Breakfast to establish communications with Chuck Grassley, so they could later use it to put – ahem – pressure on him with regard to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation, if it became necessary. Now we’re learning that a Russian spy did indeed set up that breakfast situation with Grassley – and that same Russian spy just cut a cooperating plea deal. Looks like we’re about to get some answers.

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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: Jared Kushner makes rare appearance on Hannity – Daily Mail

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Jared Kushner makes rare appearance on Hannity  Daily Mail

Jared Kushner, appeared in a rare interview on Fox News’ Hannity where he was asked to discuss the challenges facing the Trump administration following the …

“Jared Kushner” – Google News


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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: Jared Kushner on Prison Reform: Bill ‘Will Accomplish a Lot to Make Our Communities Safe – LifeZette

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Jared Kushner on Prison Reform: Bill ‘Will Accomplish a Lot to Make Our Communities Safe  LifeZette

Senior adviser to the president spoke on ‘Hannity’ about First Step Act.

“Jared Kushner” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Maria Butina’s handler suddenly vanishes as she cuts Trump-Russia plea deal

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Russian operative Maria Butina has cut a cooperating plea deal today, after a few weeks of increasingly loud hints that she was planning to do so. This is bad news for Donald Trump, the NRA, John Bolton, Dana Rohrabacher, and a number of other people. But as it turns out, it’s really bad news for Butina’s handler in the Russian government.




By all accounts, Maria Butina was taking direct instructions from Vladimir Putin’s ally Aleksandr Torshin, who has previously held high positions in the Russian government, and has most recently been a top official in a Putin-controlled Russian bank. But ten days ago, just as news reports were getting louder that Butina was about to flip, Torshin quietly “resigned” from the bank out of the blue. Now Rachel Maddow is reporting on MSNBC that Torshin appears to have vanished entirely.




It’s not difficult to parse what’s happened here. The Russians realized that Maria Butina was about to begin giving people up, and Torshin is one of the top people involved in it. So either Torshin went into hiding out of fear of Putin, or Putin told him to go into hiding, or Putin had him killed. Take your pick, but one of Putin’s very top people in his own government was just essentially sacrificed.



This tells you just how costly and dangerous the Trump-Russia scandal is becoming on Vladimir Putin’s end. That’s before getting to whichever American participants were just given up by Maria Butina. It’s time for everyone in this scandal to panic.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump russian ties” – Google News: Targets of U.S. Sanctions Hire Lobbyists With Trump Ties to Seek Relief – New York Times

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Targets of U.S. Sanctions Hire Lobbyists With Trump Ties to Seek Relief  New York Times

Representing clients who face penalties from Washington is a lucrative new niche, especially for lobbyists who have links to the president or his administration.

“trump russian ties” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: WATCH: Jared Kushner Awkwardly Dodges Khashoggi Question From Hannity – Mediaite

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WATCH: Jared Kushner Awkwardly Dodges Khashoggi Question From Hannity  Mediaite

Jared Kushner sat for a rare television interview on Monday night — making a brief appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

“Jared Kushner” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: We’ve finally arrived at Donald Trump’s downfall

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Don’t ask me the precise day Donald Trump will be ousted from the presidency, or precisely how it’ll happen. Those kinds of finer details have a way of being the least predictable. But at this point I can tell you this much: it’s over. We’ve arrived at Donald Trump’s end. He’s been checkmated, and it’s becoming so obvious that even he’s about to figure it out. How can I be so sure?




Over the weekend, Palmer Report explained how Robert Mueller and House Democrats had managed to checkmate Donald Trump. Mueller had his SDNY allies accuse Trump of just two felony counts, out of the hundreds he’ll eventually be hit with. This alone sets up a situation in which Trump will be arrested the minute he’s no longer president. The Democrats, Adam Schiff in particular, then began spelling out that Trump’s only possible way out would be to negotiate his swift resignation in exchange for some degree of criminal leniency.


Here’s the key: even the mainstream media, which has never wanted to skip ahead in this scandal by even a page or two, is now talking about the reality that Donald Trump will be in handcuffs the minute his presidency is over. Pundits are saying it on MSNBC. More importantly, pundits are also saying it on Fox News, the channel that Trump watches every night. Whether Trump thinks it’s fair or legitimate or not, he now knows that if he doesn’t give up now, the rest of his life will consist of prison.




This is all a result of just two felony accusations, neither of which involve Donald Trump’s treasonous election conspiracy with Russia. Even with just this subtle nudge from Mueller and SDNY, Trump’s only two remaining options are to negotiate his resignation or die in a cell, and even his buddies at Fox have explained it to him.



When faced with this kind of no-win situation and certain failure in the past, Donald Trump has always opted to cut a deal (bankruptcy) and walk away. We’ll see if he decides to drag this out a bit longer before caving. But just two felony counts in, and we’ve already arrived at his downfall. The longer this goes on, and the more felonies he’s hit with, the worse of a resignation deal he’ll be able to cut. And don’t worry, New York state will end up putting him in prison for charges like money laundering and real estate fraud anyway.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump narcissist” – Google News: Intel expert Malcolm Nance goes on epic rant about Trump’s ‘unquenchable ego’ that can be ‘easily manipulated in blackmail’ – Raw Story

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Intel expert Malcolm Nance goes on epic rant about Trump’s ‘unquenchable ego’ that can be ‘easily manipulated in blackmail’  Raw Story

MSNBC commentator Malcolm Nance had an epic dialogue Monday about the president’s availability to be manipulated and blackmailed due to his …

“trump narcissist” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Donald Trump Jr. Wikileaks” – Google News: Trump Campaign, WikiLeaks Seek To Kill DNC Hacking Suit – Law360

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Trump Campaign, WikiLeaks Seek To Kill DNC Hacking Suit  Law360

The Trump campaign and WikiLeaks asked a New York federal court to toss the Democratic National Committee’s suit over a pre-election email hack, saying …

“Donald Trump Jr. Wikileaks” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Here’s the truly weird thing about Donald Trump’s “smocking gun” gaffe

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This morning Donald Trump went on a bender about how there was no smoking gun proving his guilt. The trouble: he misspelled it as “smocking gun.” Twice. We’ve all had fun with it today, and deservedly so. But after doing some research, I can all but prove that Trump didn’t type that tweet. In fact, when combined with another recent Trump gaffe on Twitter, I can demonstrate precisely – with a fair degree of certainty – who did type it.



I know what some of you are already thinking. You want Donald Trump to have typed this morning’s “smocking” tweet, because it’s more fun that way. But hear me out, because facts and evidence matter – and once you see who actually typed up this tweet, you’re going to see that it’s important.


First, Donald Trump knows how to spell “smoking gun.” In fact he used it in a tweet just a few months ago. Further, while Trump routinely makes spelling errors, they’re nearly always a result of failed attempts at phonetically spelling things. There is no one, no matter how illiterate, who would try to phonetically spell “smoking” and come up with “smocking” instead. So this had to have been typed by someone who has very different misspelling patterns than those of Trump. That brings us to the space bar.


For weeks, someone in Donald Trump’s inner circle has been suffering from a malfunctioning space bar, resulting in tweets with random double spaces between words, and missing spaces between sentences. Then over the weekend, one of Trump’s own tweets mysteriously suffered from the same space bar malfunction. It was fairly clear that the Trump tweet in question was typed by the other person, the one with the broken space bar. That person is Rudy Giuliani.




The evidence here is overwhelming. Donald Trump posted a tweet that suffered from the same malfunctioning space bar that Rudy Giuliani has been suffering from. Then Trump misspelled a word that we’ve already seen he knows how to spell, and he misspelled it in a manner that doesn’t fit with his particular literacy issues.



If Donald Trump didn’t write his most recent tweets, then Rudy Giuliani did. And if Trump is now allowing his bumbling, cognitively compromised defense attorney to tweet for him, it suggests that Trump is either too frozen with fear to do anything, or he’s given up fighting entirely. Again, some of you want Trump to have made the funny “smocking” gaffe. But the evidence points to something more important: Trump having given up.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: There are two popular schools of thought when it comes to the Republicans ousting Donald Trump, and they’re both entirely wrong

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutorial allies have formally hung two felonies around Donald Trump’s neck, and everyone paying close attention knows that they’re just the first of dozens if not hundreds of felony counts Trump will soon face. This means Trump’s presidency will go down in flames; it’s just a matter of when and how. The big debate is how the Republicans in Congress will handle this. Just about everyone has it wrong.



There are two popular schools of thought being expressed right now, both by pundits on television, and by observers on social media. The first is that the Republicans in Congress, because they’re mustache twirling villains and this is all a cartoon, will never ever ever abandon Trump no matter how bad this gets. The second is that if Trump’s crimes become ugly enough, the Republicans will suddenly grow a conscience and decide to do the right thing. These positions both represent a complete misunderstanding of how politics actually works.


The Republicans in Congress care first and foremost about getting reelected, which means trying to keep their donors and constituents as happy as possible. For the past two years, most of them have calculated that, while Donald Trump was a no-win scenario for them, the fallout would be less bad for them if they kept Trump in power. Was that a wise bet? Well, forty of them lost their seats in the House; we don’t know if that number would have been bigger or smaller if they had strategically ousted Trump beforehand.


But now things are very different. Donald Trump is no longer merely a historically unpopular and deranged thug with endless criminal scandals swirling around him. He’s now a guy who’s about to get lit up on a list of felony counts too long to recite. There’s about to be such a groundswell of national momentum for ousting him in early 2019, it’ll make Trump’s unpopularity of 2017 and 2018 look like a day at the beach.




So now the scheming Republicans in Congress are going to do what corrupt conservative political parties always do: they’re going to make a selfish calculation about whether ousting or not ousting Donald Trump is best for them. The ones who are specifically caught up in his criminal scandals may decide to ride him to the bottom. But the rest of the GOP is going to view Trump’s downfall as simply yet another corrupt business decision.



The Republican Congress at large isn’t suddenly going to grow a conscience; that’s not what corrupt conservative politicians do. But they’re not going to selflessly allow Donald Trump’s downfall to take them down as well, because that’s also not what corrupt conservative politicians do. If twenty GOP Senators go along with ousting Trump, it’ll be because they think it’s best for them, not for America. Yes, there’s a good chance it’ll happen as the felony counts pile up – but not for Pollyanna reasons.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Politics: Senators to try condemning Saudi crown prince for journalist’s killing

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that the measure, while nonbinding, would still send a strong statement — especially for Republicans — that despite Trump’s denials, they hold Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

Politics

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: It’s time for John Bolton to panic over Maria Butina

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Back when Donald Trump hired John Bolton to be his National Security Adviser, most observers assumed that Trump was gearing up to invade Iran. However, Palmer Report looked at the available evidence and came away with a very different conclusion: this hire was entirely about the developments in the Trump-Russia scandal. Now it’s come home to roost.




The first reports about Donald Trump preparing to hire John Bolton surfaced just days after Cambridge Analytica was exposed as having been a mere clearing house for stolen user data, with strong ties to Russian hackers. Bolton had such a deep financial relationship with Cambridge Analytica, he had to have known the company’s true nature. Our interpretation at the time was that Trump brought Bolton in-house in the hope of dissuading him from cutting a plea deal or immunity deal with Robert Mueller. Then the Bolton-Butina thing happened.




Three months after Trump hired John Bolton, the United States arrested Maria Butina for being an alleged Russian spy. That was a real problem for Bolton, because he’s been documented as having had extensive communications and interactions with Butina. Combine this with Bolton’s deep ties to Cambridge Analytica, and it’s not difficult to parse that he’s some kind of agent of Russia. Butina’s arrest has been a ticking timebomb for Bolton, and today it went off.



Maria Butina formally filed in court today to withdraw her prior “not guilty” plea, which means she’s cut a plea deal. It’s since been reported that it’s specifically a cooperating plea deal. That means, in addition to everything and everyone else she’s giving up, she’s definitely giving up John Bolton. It’s time for Bolton to panic.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Rudy Giuliani’s FBI leak scandal just got a whole lot worse for him

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We’ve all instinctively known that Rudy Giuliani joined Donald Trump’s criminal defense team in the hope of getting himself off the hook for his own role in the Trump 2016 election scandal. That included his oddly specific, and ultimately accurate, pre-election proclamation on cable that the FBI was about to shake up the election with regard to Hillary Clinton. It’s finally coming back to haunt Rudy, in a big way.




Giuliani admitted months ago that the Department of Justice Inspector General had indeed interviewed him about the FBI leak, making clear that this was going to come to a hilt eventually. The first shoe dropped when pro-Trump House Republicans dragged in James Comey last week to ask him nonsensical questions about Hillary’s emails. This opened the door for Comey to reveal that he ordered an investigation into how Rudy knew what Comey was about to do. Now the other shoe is dropping.




We don’t know why nothing has publicly come yet of the investigation into the Rudy Giuliani leak. Surely the FBI has internally disciplined the agents who committed felonies by leaking to him. But Rudy also committed a felony by revealing this information in an attempt at altering the outcome of the election. So why hasn’t Rudy been arrested yet? Is the investigation still ongoing? Is Robert Mueller simply waiting for the right time to arrest Rudy? Has Trump somehow gotten the whole thing buried?



CREW, the legal activist group that’s been going after Donald Trump and his allies in civil court and repeatedly winning, now says it’s suing the FBI in order to obtain the records of the investigation into the Rudy Giuliani leak. This means we’re about to get some answers about the Giuliani probe. The FBI will either have to cough up the details of the scandals, or justify keeping them a secret by confirming that Rudy is still under active criminal investigation. Either way, this just got a whole lot worse for him.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “Elections 2016 Investigation” – Google News: Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election – PAHomePage.com

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Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election  PAHomePage.com

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s intensifying legal troubles are unnerving some of his fellow Republicans. Despite his brash stance, they believe …

“Elections 2016 Investigation” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: How the Maria Butina plea deal could blow up the entire Republican Party

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Maria Butina, the alleged Russian spy with confirmed links to the Kremlin, the NRA, and multiple key players in the Republican Party, has withdrawn her guilty plea today – meaning she’s cut a plea deal. In fact it’s now being reported that her deal specifically involves cooperation with the U.S. government. The thing is, Butina may be able to give up far more than just the NRA.



It’s recently been reported that the NRA spent at least $30 million in support of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. It’s no secret that the NRA has also provided campaign funding to just about every Republican candidate in politics. Further, it’s widely suspected that the NRA has been funded by Russia in recent years. This would mean that every Republican politician has taken Russian money from the NRA, whether they knew it at the time or not.

Let’s say you’re a Republican Congressman. Naturally you took NRA money, because your party is the pro-gun party. But then let’s say Russia reaches out to you and informs you that the NRA money you took was actually Kremlin money, and threatens to leak this tidbit about you unless you remain loyal to Donald Trump. You committed no crime by taking the money, because you didn’t know its true source. But taking Russian money would be enough of a scandal for you that it could cause you major political headaches, so you decide to simply go along with what the Russians are demanding.


There is no publicly available proof of such an arrangement. But when you look at all of the publicly available evidence, including the NRA’s status as an entity that helps fund every Republican candidate, the NRA’s ties to Russia, and Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, and the strangely cartoonish loyalty that so many Republicans in the House and Senate have been showing Trump even as his scandals and toxic unpopularity cost them reelection and ruin the party’s future, the Russia-NRA-GOP blackmail theory is certainly the most logical and likely explanation for what we’ve seen.


Maria Butina’s role in all of this appears to have been more narrowly focused. The Kremlin seems to have sent her to buddy up with certain middle aged men in the NRA and Republican Party, presumably to turn them into active and willing participants in the conspiracy. Now that she’s pleading out, we should end up seeing a few prominent GOP and NRA folks doing perp walks soon. But while that will be viscerally satisfying, the more important thing here may be that Butina’s plea deal will simply break the blackmail chain.




The thing about blackmail material is that it can’t be used anymore once it becomes public. The Maria Butina deal should expose just enough about Russia’s NRA-facilitated control over the Republican Party to blow the lid off it. If the Republicans in Congress who were unwittingly dragged into this mess are now left to conclude that it’s all going to come out anyway, they may see no further reason to honor Russia’s demands to continue standing with Trump.



If this theory is correct, and there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence to suggest that it is, then we should start to see some Republicans in Congress – the ones who are unwitting participants in this mess – begin inching away from Donald Trump in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, the Republicans who were active and willing conspirators in this plot will continue to publicly stand by Trump, at least for now.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “organized crime and intelligence” – Google News: Gardaí on alert as Kinahan target released from prison – thejournal.ie

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Gardaí on alert as Kinahan target released from prison  thejournal.ie

The man is expected to leave the jurisdiction in the coming weeks.

“organized crime and intelligence” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump anxiety” – Google News: Fear of interest rate hikes is fading as next Fed meeting approaches – CNBC

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Fear of interest rate hikes is fading as next Fed meeting approaches  CNBC

As of Monday, the odds were pretty low in the futures market that the Fed would raise interest rates more than one more time, though traders still expect the Fed …

“trump anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Jared Kushner” – Google News: Trump’s biggest Mueller problem isn’t Russia. At least not yet. – CNN

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Trump’s biggest Mueller problem isn’t Russia. At least not yet.  CNN

Special counsel Robert Mueller has begun quietly laying his cards down, one at a time, in court filings for three key former associates of President Donald Trump …

“Jared Kushner” – Google News


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“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News: Accused Russian spy Maria Butina to plead guilty to conspiracy – CBS News

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Accused Russian spy Maria Butina to plead guilty to conspiracy  CBS News

Last Updated Dec 10, 2018 6:26 PM EST. with reporting by Paula Reid. WASHINGTON — Maria Butina, who has been accused of spying for Russia, will plead …

“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Donald Trump pouts as no one is willing to become chief of staff of his sinking ship

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In the past forty-eight hours we’ve seen Donald Trump announce the departure of John Kelly as his White House Chief of Staff so he could usher Nick Ayers into the position, only for Ayers to change his mind at the last second – and resign from the administration entirely. It turns out Ayers was Plan Z to begin with, because Trump now can’t find anyone willing to take the gig, and even the people who are completely unsuitable for it are preemptively turning him down.




Even as news reports surfaced that Donald Trump was preparing to offer the Chief of Staff job to Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, other news reports surfaced making clear that Mulvaney didn’t want the job. This is the guy who is best known for doing a public victory lap about cutting funding for Meals on Wheels. He’s a loser going nowhere. Yet even he doesn’t want a promotion in the Trump regime, because no one seems to think there’s still going to be a Trump regime.


Trump reportedly tried floating the job to one of his most eager, corrupt, and stupid lackeys, Republican Congressman Mark Meadows. But then came reports that even Meadows didn’t want it. Meadows then put out his own statement suggesting that perhaps he might be interested, and because he’s a nonstop liar, who knows what we should believe. But then the whole job offer fiasco got worse, because Chris Christie came into the picture.




That’s right, Donald Trump is reportedly now trying to convince his former lackey Chris Christie, a washed up politician who left office with about a fifteen percent approval rating, to come bail him out by taking the White House Chief of Staff job. This is like when a football team becomes so depleted by injuries, they have to go sign failed former players who have already proven themselves to be terrible, because the only other option would be to pull fans out of the stands and send them into the game.



The difference, of course, is that Donald Trump can’t find anyone to take his Chief of Staff job because he’s a career criminal and traitor whose crimes are blowing back on him in rapid fashion. His presidency isn’t likely to last much longer, and it’s likely to end in Trump going to prison, along with a whole lot of his White House advisers. Trump will find someone stupid enough to take the job. But when you sink so low that you’re already in the Mulvaney-Meadows-Christie range, it means you’re so radioactive, even your friends won’t stand next to you. Trump is finished.

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The post Donald Trump pouts as no one is willing to become chief of staff of his sinking ship appeared first on Palmer Report.

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