Voice of America: US Customs Agents Find Cobras Inside Mail at JFK Airport

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Voice of America: US Customs Agents Find Cobras Inside Mail at JFK Airport 

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents received a slithery surprise when they checked a mail container at Kennedy International Airport. The agency said Tuesday that officials seized five live king cobras and three geckos during an inspection at the airport mail facility on June 29. Agents first discovered the dangerous contents of the package in an X-ray scan.   The reptiles were sent in a container from Hong Kong.   The agency’s New York Field Operations Office said the seizure shows the wide-ranging responsibility of the agency.   The reptiles have been sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   King cobras are the world’s largest venomous snakes, growing up to nearly 19 feet. (5.8 meters)

 Voice of America

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions https://t.co/ryC0sOdyFn 

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The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions https://t.co/ryC0sOdyFn

The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions

, and their rage subsides, but not earlier, methinks. Not until his mission is accomplished. Such is this strange and weird political cycle.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

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mikenov on Twitter: The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions webworldtimes.com 

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The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions webworldtimes.com


Posted by  mikenov on Monday, July 10th, 2017 10:14pm

 mikenov on Twitter

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: Trump And The Obama’s Legacy – The Web -WebWorldTimes.com https://t.co/o2PqCXBrMN

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Trump And The Obama’s Legacy – The Web -WebWorldTimes.com https://t.co/o2PqCXBrMN

Trump And The Obama’s Legacy – The Web -WebWorldTimes.com

, and their rage subsides, but not earlier, methinks. Not until his mission is accomplished. Such is this strange and weird political cycle.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

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FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familia’s assassination: https://t.co/Lj3VAimh2H… 

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Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familia’s assassination: https://t.co/Lj3VAimh2H…

The Web -WebWorldTimes.com – The Web World Times: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions

My Opinion – By Michael Novakhov Trump And The Obama’s Legacy By Michael Novakhov Trump is the Obama’s biggest and the most important legacy. The American people will be ready to fire Trump after he completes his mission of de-Obamafication, and their rage subsides, but not earlier, methinks. Not un…

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mikenov on Twitter: Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familia’s assassination: webworldtimes.com… 

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Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familia’s assassination: webworldtimes.com


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 3:48pm

 mikenov on Twitter

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FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: FBI is incompetent and inefficient, unable to deal with terrorism, subversion, attacks on police and military. Save America, Reform FBI now! 

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FBI is incompetent and inefficient, unable to deal with terrorism, subversion, attacks on police and military. Save America, Reform FBI now!

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

mikenov on Twitter: FBI is incompetent and inefficient, unable to deal with terrorism, subversion, attacks on police and military. Save America, Reform FBI now! 

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FBI is incompetent and inefficient, unable to deal with terrorism, subversion, attacks on police and military. Save America, Reform FBI now!


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 4:35pm

 mikenov on Twitter

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: The Associated Press: 16 killed in fiery Marine plane crash in rural Mississippi. 

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The Associated Press: 16 killed in fiery Marine plane crash in rural Mississippi.

16 killed in fiery Marine plane crash in rural Mississippi

Associated Press historical news archive articles dating back to 1985

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

mikenov on Twitter: The Associated Press: 16 killed in fiery Marine plane crash in rural Mississippi. google.com/newsstand/s/CB… 

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The Associated Press: 16 killed in fiery Marine plane crash in rural Mississippi. google.com/newsstand/s/CB…


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 6:03pm

 mikenov on Twitter

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: Rebels claim to have shot down Assad warplane near ceasefire zone 

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Rebels claim to have shot down Assad warplane near ceasefire zone

Rebels claim to have shot down Assad warplane near ceasefire zone

The Ahmad al-Abdo Force operating in Syria’s southeast said it shot down the plane in regime controlled territory.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

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mikenov on Twitter: Rebels claim to have shot down Assad warplane near ceasefire zone newsweek.com/syria-rebels-c…

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Rebels claim to have shot down Assad warplane near ceasefire zone newsweek.com/syria-rebels-c…


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 6:15pm

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FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: A former KGB spy says Putin couldn’t have planned the Trump-Russia scandal better himself

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A former KGB spy says Putin couldn’t have planned the Trump-Russia scandal better himself

A former KGB spy says Putin couldn’t have planned the Trump-Russia scandal better himself

Trump’s advisers are “fundamentally unable to tie their own shoelaces” and Putin must think it is “beautiful,” according to an ex-Soviet sleeper agent.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: 16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi – ABC News – https://t.co/ewmdks3mXb via @ABC 

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16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi – ABC News – https://t.co/ewmdks3mXb via @ABC

16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi

The incident is under investigation.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

mikenov on Twitter: 16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi – ABC News – abcn.ws/2tHJsRW via @ABC

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16 service members killed in military plane crash in Mississippi – ABC News – abcn.ws/2tHJsRW via @ABC


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 6:31pm

 mikenov on Twitter

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: FBI cannot be trusted – https://t.co/IVl5h88aoQ – @washtimes 

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FBI cannot be trusted – https://t.co/IVl5h88aoQ – @washtimes

FBI cannot be trusted

Can anyone with a modicum of common sense trust the Federal Bureau of investigation? The answer to that question is a resounding “no.” The claim that the FBI strives to be above politics is today and has always been absurd.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

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mikenov on Twitter: FBI cannot be trusted – go.shr.lc/2t3Qy4P – @washtimes 

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FBI cannot be trusted – go.shr.lc/2t3Qy4P – @washtimes


Posted by  mikenov on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 10:33pm

 mikenov on Twitter

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy

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Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy

Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean claimed that a “criminal enterprise” is now controlling the United States.

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mikenov on Twitter: Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy insider.foxnews.com/2017/07/11/how… 

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Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy insider.foxnews.com/2017/07/11/how…


Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 1:03am

 mikenov on Twitter

mikenov on Twitter: America is closed for renovations… pic.twitter.com/Njuoe5Z9Ms 

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America is closed for renovations… pic.twitter.com/Njuoe5Z9Ms



Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 11:32am

 mikenov on Twitter

mikenov on Twitter: The FBI’s incompetent, red neck, dim-wit nincompoops are not able to protect the country. Investigate the investigators! Reform the FBI now! 

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The FBI’s incompetent, red neck, dim-wit nincompoops are not able to protect the country. Investigate the investigators! Reform the FBI now!


Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 12:31pm

 mikenov on Twitter

mikenov on Twitter: “Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air…” Now imagine the anti-aircraft weapon, fired by terrorists from the fields of Mississippi pic.twitter.com/nFrqotIz8y 

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“Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air…” Now imagine the anti-aircraft weapon, fired by terrorists from the fields of Mississippi pic.twitter.com/nFrqotIz8y



Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 1:10pm

 mikenov on Twitter

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mikenov on Twitter: The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? english.alarabiya.net/en/features/20… 

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The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? english.alarabiya.net/en/features/20…


Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 1:44pm

 mikenov on Twitter

The Web World News- webworldnews.com: Comey The High Priest and Trump The Meddlesome King – by Michael Novakhov

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Comey The High Priest and Trump The Meddlesome King by Michael Novakhov The “High Priest” Comey fell off his “High Horse”: the “Meddlesome King” Trump fired him. “When he was asked if he took President Trump’s “hope” that he would drop the Flynn-Russia investigation “as a directive,” Mr. Comey responded, “Yes, yes. It rings in my ears … Continue reading “Comey The High Priest and Trump The Meddlesome King – by Michael Novakhov”

 The Web World News- webworldnews.com

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FBI as “showboat” cartoons – Google Search

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Image result for FBI as "showboat" cartoons

The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers?

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The Mafia and the ISIS militant group seem to have a lot in common.

International terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the Mafia, according to Italy’s anti-terrorism and anti-the Mafia chief Franco Roberti.

He lists activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods, smuggling oil, smuggling archaeological relics and art, kidnapping for ransom and extortion.

But are these similarities between the the Mafia and ISIS making them competitors in the illegal business or partners in crime?
In an 100-page ISIS propaganda e-book titled Black flags from Rome, the Mafia support is presented as key to ISIS penetration in Italy.
“The the Mafia has a strong presence in Italy. The the Mafia has the strongest militia and takes advantage of the Italian government’s weakness. Beside this, the the Mafia has access to the drug and weapons’ black market,” page 79 of the e-book reads.

ISIS had released propaganda with plans to conquer Rome.

If ISIS identifies the Mafia as a key factor in its activities in Italy, the Mafia perhaps has no interest in allowing another criminal organization to access its area of influence. For this reason, there are those who believes that the Mafia has antagonized ISIS’s penetration in the Italian peninsula.

“The true protection from terrorism is through the indirect protection exercised by criminal organizations,” a former Intelligence agent said in an interview published by Italian magazine Panorama.
According to this theory, the two organizations see each other as competitors. But this scheme seems to be full of flaws, starting from the very idea that the Mafia controls and protects Italy.

“The idea that the Mafia plays a positive role in protecting from ISIS attacks is dangerous and simplistic,” Lorenzo Kamel, Associate Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, told Al Arabiya English.

ISIS had released propaganda with plans to conquer Rome.

“London is in many respects the Mafia’s trafficking center, particularly for money laundering, but this didn’t prevent terror attacks from occurring there,” added Kamel, who is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Rome-based Institute for International Affairs.

The idea of a Mafia-ruled State protecting its territory from ISIS is not very convincing, according to Enzo Ciconte, Professor of History of Organized Crime at University Roma Tre and author of many publications on the subject.

According to Ciconte, the Mafia has never controlled entire regions of Italy, not even when it was at its peak expansion, so it is not correct to consider it capable of exercising such wide control and being a protective measure from terrorist attacks.

Ciconte believes the opposite is true. When it comes to Mafia relations with terrorist groups the word to use is “convergence” more than “hostility,” Ciconte said in an interview with Vice News.

The Tax Police of the Italian Finance Guard of Venice have arrested so-called “Neapolitans from ISIS” with the allegation of international illegal trade of weapons and of dual-use material with countries under embargo as Iran and Libya.

The main concern is also related to a suspected mediation that sees members of the Camorra clan of Casalesi helping ISIS to pass through the South of Italy to reach other European countries.

That passage could represent a potential lucrative business for local the Mafia clans.

But the initiative of a handful of small criminals doesn’t represent the position of the whole group.

“ISIS is not a good client for the Mafia,” said Cristian Barbieri who works at Institute for International Affairs’ Security and Defense Program.

“First of all because ISIS-affiliated terrorists are highly monitored by the Intelligence, and the Mafia doesn’t want to attract the attention of the police. Second of all, because the Mafia and ISIS profit from different businesses: the Mafia from drugs and weapons, ISIS from oil and ransoms,” Barbieri said to Al Arabiya.

Police in Italy have found evidence that mobsters, who have long-controlled most of the country’s illegal drug supplies, have had to work with ISIS to get through its territory in Libya along the main North African smuggling route.

The route for North African hashish – compressed cannabis resin – now runs from Morocco, through Algeria, Tunisia to Tobruk in eastern Libya. The Italian Mafia was forced to strike a deal to pass through the increasingly lawless coastal city of Sirte, where ISIS controls the ports.

Despite this, experts don’t believe that the Mafia and ISIS are partners in crime.

“Mafia clans could have concluded deals with terrorists, but there is no joint strategy or alliance between the Mafia and ISIS,” said Alessandro Orsini, Professor of Sociology of Terrorism and Director of International Security Observatory at LUISS University in Rome.

“Mafia clans have no interest in establishing relations with terrorist groups for more than one reason. First of all, terrorists are the greatest enemy of the Italian state, and the Mafia doesn’t want the Italian police to monitor its illicit activities beyond measure.

“Second of all, an alliance between the Mafia and ISIS will eventually result in the end of the Mafia because then the Italian State, the international community, including the United States, would intervene to stop this phenomenon,” Orsini told Al Arabiya English.

While seems that the Mafia and ISIS are not real competitors and not true partners in crime, perhaps they can be described as two perfect strangers whose interests are sometimes aligned.

SHOW MORELast Update: Wednesday, 12 July 2017 KSA 11:59 – GMT 08:59

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organized crime and terrorism – Google News: The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? – Al-Arabiya

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Al-Arabiya
The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers?
Al-Arabiya
International terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the Mafia, according to Italy’s anti-terrorism and anti-the Mafia chief Franco Roberti. He lists activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods 

 organized crime and terrorism – Google News

leflore mississippi military plane crash mid-air – Google Search

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Story image for leflore mississippi military plane crash mid-air from WAPT Jackson

Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air, emergency …

WAPT Jackson15 hours ago
military plane that crashed Monday in rural Mississippi and killed 16 servicemen is believed to have exploded in mid-airLeflore County …
Military Plane Crashes With 16 on Board in Mississippi; ‘Most …
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Jul 11, 2017
UPDATE: Military C-130 out of Memphis crashes on Leflore …
Highly CitedMississippi News NowJul 10, 2017
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NBCNews.com

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Washington Post

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Newsweek

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FOX 61
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Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air, emergency officials say

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SUNFLOWER COUNTY, Miss. —A military plane that crashed Monday in rural Mississippi and killed 16 servicemen is believed to have exploded in mid-air, Leflore County emergency officials said Tuesday.

The KC-130T went down about 4 p.m. Monday at the Sunflower and Leflore county line, on Moorehead and Itta Bena Roads, authorities said. The plane experienced structural failure at 20,000 feet before it exploded and crashed, Leflore County officials said.

Seven of the U.S. troops killed in the plane crash were special operations forces based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Six were Marines and one was a sailor.

The Marines said Tuesday that the air tanker was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, and headed to California.

One of the plane’s stops was in North Carolina, presumably to pick up the seven commandos. The plane was scheduled to drop them and their equipment off for training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, and fly on to a naval air field at El Centro, California. The seven commandos were from the Camp Lejeune-based 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.

The Marine Corps said personal weapons and small-arms ammunition were aboard the plane. An explosive ordinance disposal team was called to the scene as a precaution, authorities said.

“On behalf of the entire Marine Corps, I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the aircraft mishap (Monday) afternoon in Mississippi,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said on the U.S. Marine Corps Facebook page. “Please keep the families of our 16 fallen service members in your thoughts and prayers. Our focus remains on notifying and supporting the families while we conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this tragedy.”

Two local retired Marines, Gresham Gregg and Arthur Ware, were at the scene Tuesday grieving for those who were killed.

“Most of these guys are probably in their 20s. Young kids, basically,” Gregg said. “It’s a terrible tragedy. It’s just horrible.”

“When you see something like this happen, it’s just hard to put it in words,” Ware said. “You can’t really express how you feel because you know they’ll never come back.”

Gregg and Ware both did tours in Iraq, but didn’t meet until they returned home to Mississippi. The two have become friends and share a common bond.

President Donald Trump and Gov. Phil Bryant shared their condolences via social media.

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NYT > Home Page: Donald Trump Jr., Christopher Wray, Major League Baseball: Your Wednesday Briefing

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A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday.

 NYT > Home Page

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Donald Trump: U.S. Set To Reach Trump’s Desired Refugee Cap As Revised Travel Ban Goes Into Effect

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About 50,000 refugees have been resettled. Not many more are likely to make it in.

 Donald Trump

Dean: ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Running the Country, Mueller Will Save Democracy

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Sekulow: Comey ‘Illegally Leaked Information’ About Trump Meeting

AP Stylebook Instructs Writers Not to Use Words Like ‘Pro-Life,’ ‘Refugee’ & ‘Terrorist’


Former presidential candidate Howard Dean claimed that a “criminal enterprise” is now controlling the United States.

Dean, formerly the governor of Vermont and chair of the DNC, said President Trump is a liar – especially when it comes to Russia – and everyone knows it.

He was reacting to new reports alleging Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney last summer in an attempt to find out damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

“The real savior for democracy is going to be Robert Mueller. He’s going to find out what the truth is,” said Dean on MSNBC.

Dean said even Trump’s supporters know he doesn’t tell the truth, but they back him anyway.

He said it’s “beginning to look more and more” like Russia influenced the outcome of the presidential election, citing the “drip, drip, drip” of reports on contacts between the Kremlin and the Trump team.

Earlier today, the Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. denied she has links to the Kremlin and denied ever possessing dirt on Clinton.

A lawyer for Trump Jr. said the president’s eldest son “did nothing wrong.”


MSNBC Guest: Trump’s Warsaw Speech ‘Fulfillment of Bin Laden’s Ideology’

Hannity: ‘Destroy-Trump’ Media ‘Foaming at the Mouth’ Over Trump Jr. Report

Dem Strategist: Trump’s Poland Speech Contained ‘Dog Whistles to White Nationalists’


fbi – Google News: Update: Person of interest being questioned; FBI investigates explosion at Bixby Air Force recruiting center – Tulsa World

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Tulsa World
Update: Person of interest being questioned; FBI investigates explosion at Bixby Air Force recruiting center
Tulsa World
Rice said the FBI, not the ATF, will make a determination whether the act was domestic terrorism, which she said is defined as “any act of extremism that supports a religious belief, a political belief, a radical belief … something that instills fear 
FBI: Person of interest taken into custody after Air Force center bombingThe Hill
The Latest: FBI says blast not being called act of terrorismMinneapolis Star Tribune
FBI Confirms Arrest In Explosion At Bixby Air Force Recruiting CenterNews On 6
UPI.com –UpperMichigansSource.com –Times Record
all 64 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

Update: Person of interest being questioned; FBI investigates explosion at Bixby Air Force recruiting center | Crimewatch

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    Training tomorrow’s police officers today: TPD Explorers Post hosts the “Green Country Challenge” Law Enforcement Explorer Competition

One big happy noodlin’ family

Nathan Williams has passed the skill and tradition of noodling down to his three young sons, Jayce, 14, River, 8, and Phierce, 6. When the family’s not at a noodling tournament, or guiding a group of first time noodlers they’re out on the river themselves, just for fun.

Tulsa World

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Update: A person of interest has been taken into custody for questioning related to Monday night’s explosion, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

Tulsa police and FBI agents were at the Sand Dollar apartments, near 61st Street and Riverside Drive, where a man was taken into custody.

They searched the area and found no explosive devices.

However, authorities were awaiting a search warrant.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.


BIXBY — An unknown person detonated a bomb Monday night outside an Air Force recruitment office in Bixby.

Federal authorities are investigating the explosion. The explosive device, a pipe bomb, was detonated about 10:30 p.m. at an Air Force recruiting center in Post Rock Plaza near 104th Street and Memorial Drive.

Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents spent five to six hours collecting evidence, including a pipe, from the scene. FBI spokeswoman Jessi Rice said they will attempt to re-create the pipe bomb to gather more evidence about how it was made and possibly by whom.

Federal agents are investigating the possibility that the placement and detonation of the bomb was an incident of domestic terrorism. However, federal agents have reached “no conclusion” on the intent and are not calling it an act of domestic terrorism, Rice said.

“We have not confirmed a subject. We also don’t know the motive behind it,” Rice said during a media briefing shortly after noon. “So at this point we don’t know if it was a disgruntled employee, an act of domestic terrorism or just someone playing games, so we’re treating it as strictly a criminal investigation with an explosive device.”

Crime-scene tape cordoned off the parking lot and area around the recruiting office and neighboring businesses throughout the night. From outside the tape, it was apparent that the office’s front doors were damaged by the explosion. The amount of damage inside is not apparent. No injuries were reported.

When asked about the incident occurring so late when no people were around and businesses were closed, Rice said

“It’s a little bit comforting that they didn’t want to kill anyone, obviously; they would have done it in broad daylight if that were the case.”

One of two front doors was off its hinges Tuesday morning and lying in a parking spot. Airmen boarded up the opening about 7 a.m. Tuesday.

A black blast pattern marked the ground and bottom of the remaining door, and an LED light ballast dangled from its wires on the building facade.

A glass company replaced the door before noon.

The bomb pierced the canopy over the recruitment office.

FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agents gathered surveillance video Tuesday morning in an effort to identify a suspect and to identify more information about the explosive device, Rice said.

Rice said special agents are looking for more witnesses, adding that “a hit on our military” is considered extremely serious.

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“That is a big deal to us,” she said. “This is something we do not take lightly by any means.”

Special agents are also investigating whether connection exists between a report of vandalism at another recruitment office within walking distance of the bomb site.

“It’s suspicious,” Rice said. “There’s no known connection. But it’s quite ironic that that happened.”

Bixby and Tulsa police initially responded to the explosion. However, the FBI, assisted by the ATF, are leading the investigation.

Rice said the FBI, not the ATF, will make a determination whether the act was domestic terrorism, which she said is defined as “any act of extremism that supports a religious belief, a political belief, a radical belief … something that instills fear in the American citizens and the government.”

Rice said the federal charges that the suspect might face depend on the results of the investigation.

“Potentially, we’re looking at weapons of mass destruction charges, explosive devices charges,” she said, “So it depends on what route it goes, whether it’s terrorism or criminal related, that will determine what kind of charges will be pressed.”

Agents identified several possibly leads to suspects by early Tuesday afternoon, but none were concrete yet, Rice said.

Those with information about the incident are encouraged to contact the Oklahoma City office for the FBI at 405-290-7770.

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Reuters: World News: Dutch pass ‘tapping’ law, intelligence agencies may gather data en masse

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch Senate passed a law early on Wednesday giving intelligence agencies broad new surveillance and other powers, including the ability to gather data from large groups of people at once.

  

 Reuters: World News

Syrian rebels – Google Search

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SyriaRebels Claim to Shoot Down Assad Warplane Near Russia …

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Syrian rebels claim to they have downed a Syrian government aircraft in the country’s south, near the ceasefire zone agreed Sunday between …
In Pictures: Syrian rebels, ISIS clash in southwest Syria
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Mosul – Google Search

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Clashes shake west Mosul after victory over IS declared

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MOSUL, Iraq — Airstrikes, shelling and other heavy clashes shook a small sliver of western Mosul on Tuesday in renewed fighting, a day after …
Is the fall of Mosul the fall of ISIS?
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Sporadic clashes in Iraq’s Mosul after victory declaration
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“le flores” for the dead, “Missi, i ssi, i ppi”, “these are just the flowers, the berries will come” – M.N. – The Web -WebWorldTimes.com

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  • Russia remains a problem for Trump — and his ‘resistance’ – The San Diego Union-Tribune July 11, 2017The San Diego Union-TribuneRussia remains a problem for Trump — and his ‘resistance’The San Diego Union-TribuneDonald Trump has a big Russia problem, and since he’s president, that means the United States has a big Russia problem. But is the problem mostly about appearances or about actual treasonous behavior? So far, that is very much open […]

  • Trump: Comey leaked classified information to the media – New York Post July 10, 2017New York PostTrump: Comey leaked classified information to the mediaNew York PostPresident Trump on Monday accused James Comey of leaking classified information to the media — on the heels of an explosive new report that reveals memos the former FBI chief kept on their conversations contained secret info. “James Comey leaked …Report: Some James Comey Memos […]

  • Trump Secured Neither Peace Nor War at Putin Meeting – Newsmax July 10, 2017NewsmaxTrump Secured Neither Peace Nor War at Putin MeetingNewsmaxThe crafty technician with the skill of a chess master and the soul of a KGB agent arrived with an agenda, a strategy, and a psychological profile of Trump committed to memory. And as his second, Putin had the even craftier Foreign Minister Sergey …

  • Did Putin help put Trump in the White House? – Jamaica Observer July 10, 2017Jamaica Observer Did Putin help put Trump in the White House?Jamaica ObserverBut, despite all such denials and historical, and current revisionism, did the Russians interfere in the American presidential election? Well, Donald Trump says that the Russians probably did do it; but adds, so did other people. However, he says, no … and more »

  • Trump says it’s time to work ‘constructively with Russia’ – ABC News July 10, 2017Washington PostTrump says it’s time to work ‘constructively with Russia’ABC NewsPresident Trump on the morning after his return from the G-20 summit and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin said it’s time to work “constructively with Russia.” The president also said the possibility of the U.S. lifting its sanctions …Trump vows to ‘move forward […]

  • Full Graham Interview: On Russia, Trump ‘Has a Blind Spot’ – NBCNews.com July 10, 2017NBCNews.comFull Graham Interview: On Russia, Trump ‘Has a Blind Spot’NBCNews.comFull Graham Interview: On Russia, Trump ‘Has a Blind Spot’. Sun, Jul 09. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joins Meet the Press for an exclusive interview and says that “when it comes to Russia, I am dumbfounded” about the president’s behavior. Share Video …and more »

  • Will Congress Hold Russia Accountable for the Behavior Trump Excuses? – The Atlantic July 10, 2017The AtlanticWill Congress Hold Russia Accountable for the Behavior Trump Excuses?The AtlanticUncertainties remain: Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate its messaging with Russia? Were any U.S. laws violated along the way? What exactly are Trump’s motives? What are Russia’s? And Sunday’s latest revelations added one more: Was Donald … Trump Drops His Call for a Joint […]

  • Australian Journalist’s Trump Teardown Goes Viral Amid Interest in G-20 – New York Times July 10, 2017New York TimesAustralian Journalist’s Trump Teardown Goes Viral Amid Interest in G-20New York Times In the “Insiders” video, Mr. Uhlmann, the politics editor at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s main public broadcaster, assessed Mr. Trump in bold and brash terms. His commentary would be out of line for American journalists, who President Donald Trump […]

  • Trump minimizes hacking allegations and seeks to ‘move forward’ with Russia – Washington PostJuly 10, 2017Washington PostTrump minimizes hacking allegations and seeks to ‘move forward’ with RussiaWashington PostPresident Trump on Sunday sought to move past allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, effectively dismissing the importance of the intelligence community’s definitive conclusion about a foreign adversary in pursuit of a … Trump’s plan to create a cyber-partnership with […]

  • Trump’s behavior is the biggest threat to US national security – Washington Post July 10, 2017Washington PostTrump’s behavior is the biggest threat to US national securityWashington PostRather than considering agreement on a communique as an achievement, it is more honest and accurate to see its content as a confirmation of the breakdown of international order that many have feared since Donald Trump’s election. And the president’s …and more »

  • Former head of Qatar spy agency sides with Saudis in diplomatic quarrel July 10, 2017A former director of Qatar’s intelligence agency broke ranks with the government of Qatar and accused Doha of supporting terrorism. He also warned that the United States, which has a base in Qatar, would not allow the presence of foreign troops there.

    Joseph Fitsanakis

  • Islamic State’s cyber army still ‘largely intact’ despite America’s efforts July 10, 2017The global reach of the Islamic State through the use of the internet remains “largely intact” despite relentless efforts by some of America’s most advanced cyber warfare experts to neutralize the group’s online presence.

    Ian Allen

  • A new Syrian truce goes into effect, testing Trump’s relationship with Putin – Washington Post July 10, 2017Washington PostA new Syrian truce goes into effect, testing Trump’s relationship with PutinWashington PostBEIRUT — The fighting stopped Sunday in southern Syria as a U.S. and Russian backed cease-fire went into effect, heralding the start of the first attempt at cooperation between Moscow and Washington since President Trump took office in January. The …Putin: Trump […]

  • Trump vows to ‘move forward in working constructively with Russia’ after Putin denied election hacking – Washington Post July 10, 2017Washington PostTrump vows to ‘move forward in working constructively with Russia’ after Putin denied election hackingWashington PostPresident Trump vowed Sunday to “move forward in working constructively with Russia,” including forming a cybersecurity unit between the two countries, after Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump’s… Trump vows ‘to move […]

  • Trump ignores facts in clearing Putin of election interference | TheHill – The Hill (blog) July 10, 2017The Hill (blog)Trump ignores facts in clearing Putin of election interference | TheHillThe Hill (blog)OPINION | Vladimir Putin has lured President Donald Trump in and this time the future of our democracy is being held captive.and more »

  • Trump’s opening line to Putin: “Did you do this?” – Axios July 10, 2017AxiosTrump’s opening line to Putin: “Did you do this?”AxiosBut Trump has shown little inclination for either: Not only does he not buy the extent of the Russian transgression, he has continued to call it “fake” in private. Axios’ Jonathan Swan texts me: “The cognitive dissonance — between his pride in his …and more »

  • A new Syrian truce goes into effect, testing Trump’s relationship with Putin – Chicago Tribune July 10, 2017Chicago TribuneA new Syrian truce goes into effect, testing Trump’s relationship with PutinChicago TribuneThe agreement to work on a cease-fire in Syria was the first publicized achievement of the historic first meeting Friday between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Details remain vague, however, and it is unclear whether the agreement will … Trump Entered […]

  • Trump’s admiration for Putin is constant. Everything else is gibberish. – USA TODAY July 10, 2017USA TODAYTrump’s admiration for Putin is constant. Everything else is gibberish.USA TODAYThe quintessential moment in President Trump’s second trip to Europe occurred at a Warsaw news conference where he was asked about Russian hacking of the U.S. election. See if you can follow his answer: “I think it was Russia, but I think it was […]

  • Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton – New York Times July 10, 2017New York TimesTrump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on ClintonNew York TimesMr. Trump has also equivocated on whether the Russians were solely responsible for the hacking. On Sunday, two days after his first meeting as president with Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post: “I strongly pressed President […]

  • Trump’s plan to create a cybersecurity partnership with Putin draws ridicule from within his own party – Los Angeles Times July 10, 2017Los Angeles TimesTrump’s plan to create a cybersecurity partnership with Putin draws ridicule from within his own partyLos Angeles TimesTrump’s encounter with Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday was his first meeting as president with the Russian leader. It came after months of controversy over […]

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Leflore County, Mississippi – Google Search

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Trump offers condolences after military plane crash in Mississippi

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A military plane has crashed in a soybean field in Leflore County, … Lee Smithson said the plane crashed on the Sunflower-Leflore county line.
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Trump Jr. Met Lawyer Who Repped Accused Russian Money Launderer

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LONDON—The Russian woman who held a secret meeting with a troika of President Trump’s top campaign staff is the chief orchestrator of Moscow’s efforts to overturn one of President Vladimir Putin’s most hated American interventions against his regime.

Natalia Veselnitskaya’s mission is to destroy the Magnitsky Act—a package of U.S. sanctions that targets corrupt Russian officials and their comrades.

She is alleged to have lured senior members of the Trump family into the meeting with a promise of compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

The 42-year-old Veselnitskaya is also lawyer to Denis Katsyv, who has paid out millions of dollars in the wake of money-laundering cases brought by authorities in the U.S. and Israel, while assets linked to him have been frozen in the Netherlands and Switzerland, as previously reported by The Daily Beast.

Some of the financial-crime cases brought against Katsyv allege that his company profited from the $230 million fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who subsequently died under suspicious circumstances in Russian custody.

One of Katsyv’s companies, Martash Investment Holding, which is registered in Israel, had $8 million seized by the Israeli authorities after a separate money laundering probe. Seven million dollars was frozen in Switzerland after claims of links to Russia’s biggest ever tax fraud, which Magnitsky uncovered.

Denis Katsyv’s father, Pyotr, was the vice governor of the Moscow region between 2004 and 2012, and is now vice president of the state-run Russian Railways.

During Pyotr Katsyv’s time as minister of transport in Moscow, his son’s new transportation company became extremely successful. It was the biggest in the region by the time Denis Katsyv was 25, making him a very wealthy man.

Some of those who raised questions about an apparent conflict of interest have ended up in Russian prisons.

The U.S. Department of Justice seized property owned by Denis Katsyv in Manhattan and the Netherlands valued at $15 million, alleging that money stolen in the fraud uncovered by Magnitsky had been funneled into Katsyv’s Prevezon company, which is registered in Cyprus.

The case brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was unexpectedly settled out of court on the eve of the trial in May, two months after Bharara was fired by Trump.

The agreement saw Prevezon pay the U.S. government $5.9 million, but the company did not accept responsibility for any wrongdoing.

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Vengeance for Magnitsky

The Magnitsky Act, which was passed through Congress in 2012 and named in his honor, is the source of great personal animosity for Putin. “Passage of Magnitsky Act is an outrageous act,” he told a press conference days after President Obama signed it into law.

With Obama set to leave office, in the summer of 2016,Veselnitskaya apparently set her sights on the long-shot Trump campaign as a possible route to satisfying her masters back in Moscow. She went to Trump Tower for a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort on June 9, according to a report in The New York Times.

Veselnitskaya, who was formerly married to Deputy Minister of Transportation Alexander Mitusov, acknowledges she was there to lobby against the Magnitsky Act. She said she also discussed Russia’s U.S. adoption ban, which was implemented by Putin in a petty act of tit-for-tat vengeance for the Magnitsky Act and hugely embarrassing for a president who wanted to conceal the scale of corruption within his Mafia state.

Trump Jr. has claimed in a statement that the meeting was predominantly focused on efforts to restore the adoption program.

Veselnitskaya was indeed involved in an NGO that was set up in February 2016 called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, which called for the adoptions to restart. In an email seen by The Daily Beast, accreditation for a press conference was requested in her name to represent the charity.

But there was only one way that Putin would relent—no matter how many orphaned children were cut adrift—and that was if the Magnitsky Act was scrapped.

Veselnitskaya worked obsessively to overturn the law that sanctioned 44 Russians linked to Magnitsky. The lawyer was allegedly tortured and beaten to death after uncovering a huge fraud perpetrated against the Russian people when subsidiaries of William Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management were stolen in 2007 and used to defraud $230 million from Russian taxpayers.

Veselnitskaya has helped orchestrate lobbying efforts against the law in Washington; she has promoted an anti-Magnitsky movie, and it now appears that she was attempting to persuade the Trump campaign to quash the anti-Russian sanctions—perhaps in exchange for information that would influence the election.

“In 2016, Natalia Veselnitskaya’s main life project was to overturn the Magnitsky Act and change the narrative of what happened to Sergei Magnitsky,” Browder told The Daily Beast. “Her interests and the interests of Vladimir Putin were completely aligned. Putin made overturning the Magnitsky Act his single largest foreign-policy priority.”

Social-media accounts in Veselnitskaya’s name show her vitriol toward Browder—a man who dedicated himself to exposing corruption in Putin’s Russia.

Indeed, in her work relating to Katsyv’s case in Manhattan federal court, Veselnitskaya did not pass up opportunities to slam Browder or Magnitsky. She even alleged that Browder’s lawyer tried to get her to provide kompromat on a Russian official in one letter filed in court.

She filed the statement alongside translated Russian documents slamming Magnitsky.

When a legal letter from Browder’s representatives prevented the anti-Magnitsky movie’s premiere at the European Parliament from taking place, she wrote on Facebook: “Browder spat on EU values and this will come back on him as a tsunami.”

An account set up in her name, with the name of her law firm, fired off around 50 tweets attacking Browder in 2015. There were none about the plight of the lost adoptees.

Denied Entry to U.S.

Veselnitskaya was initially refused entry to the United States when she applied for a visa for herself and her children for the end of 2015. According to court files, she said she was granted a temporary “parole letter” allowing her into the country to assist her client Katsyv, who was facing a trial in the U.S. linked to his alleged part in the $230 million fraud uncovered by Magnitsky.

She applied in the Southern District of New York for that temporary access to be extended beyond Jan. 6, 2016, when it was due to expire. Court transcripts show that prosecutors were reluctant to give Veselnitskaya a blank check to remain in the U.S. while the case stalled.

“What we’ve told defense counsel, when they have asked for it to be extended, is we will reauthorize the immigration parole to allow them to attend for trial and for reasonable pretrial preparation once there is a trial date,” said assistant U.S. attorney Paul Monteleoni. “We think that’s really the end of the matter.”

A judge ordered an extension, with the expectation that trial would start soon. (She was at another hearing related to the case as recently as February 2017, according to court transcripts.)

Just four months later, she would be riding the Trump Tower elevator to meet the top aides of the next president of the United States.

Manafort, Kushner, and Trump Jr were secretly meeting the lawyer of a Russian businessman whose assets had been frozen by the U.S. government while he awaited trial.

Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who is close to Trump Jr., claims he set up the meeting on behalf of singer Emin Agalarov, whose father is billionaire Moscow developer Aras Agalarov.

An image from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant shows Emin and Aras Agalarov alongside Trump, who also appeared in a music video with Emin that year. The Washington Post reported that Aras Agalarov had tried to arrange for Putin to attend the pageant and was acting as a liaison between Trump and Putin.

Agalarov was also named in the dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, which alleged the existence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

Soon after the 2013 pageant in Moscow, Agalarov, who’s been granted exclusive state contracts in the past, was awarded the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation. Trump and Agalarov reportedly discussed a deal to build a Trump Tower in Russia.

Goldstone has been a judge at Miss USA and Miss Universe in the past. He attended the meeting with Veselnitskaya at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue last summer. “Once she presented what she had to say, it was like, ‘Can you keep an eye on it? Should [Trump] be in power, maybe that’s a conversation that he may have in the future?’” he recalled to The Washington Post.

Veselnitskaya told The New York Times that the meeting lasted about half an hour. “Nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign,” she said. “I have never acted on behalf of the Russian government and have never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government.”

Additional reporting by Katie Zavadski.

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White House: Trump, Putin talked sanctions

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By Jordan Fabian – 07/10/17 04:21 PM EDT
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Who is the Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr?

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They thought they were getting damaging material from a Russian source on their political opponent. She spotted an opportunity to press her campaign to roll back US sanctions against Russian officials — and help one of her clients.

The disclosure that the US president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, and son-in-law Jared Kushner met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year to discuss “helpful” information has fed suspicions that the Trump campaign was actively seeking Russian help to undermine rival Hillary Clinton.

So who is Natalia Veselnitskaya? And why was she allegedly promising dirt on Mrs Clinton that it seems unlikely she would have had?

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had never heard of Ms Veselnitskaya. “We don’t know who she is and, naturally, we can’t track the meetings of all Russian lawyers domestically and abroad,” he said.

An expensively dressed criminal defence attorney, Ms Veselnitskaya normally practises in the courtrooms of Moscow’s suburbs.

Related article

Aides Kushner and Manafort also attended session during presidential campaign

Last year, however, Ms Veselnitskaya, who declined to talk to the Financial Times on Monday, flew to New York to represent a family friend, Denis Katsyv, accused of laundering $14m of the proceeds from an alleged $230m tax fraud into US real estate. Mr Katsyv’s company, Prevenzon Holdings, settled the case for $6m in May without admitting wrongdoing.

The alleged $230m tax fraud became a cause célèbre after it was exposed by accountant Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky died in prison in mysterious circumstances in 2008 after being arrested by prosecutors he had accused of the fraud.

Magnitsky’s employer, hedge fund manager William Browder, campaigned for the US to pass sanctions legislation in 2012 against Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky’s death. Vladimir Putin, Russian president, banned US adoptions of Russian children in response.

Ms Veselnitskaya used an audacious argument in defence of her client Mr Katsyv: it was Mr Browder who was guilty of the $230m tax fraud and arranged Magnitsky’s death to cover it up.

“I’m the real investigative lawyer that he is trying to build Magnitsky into,” she told the FT last year.

To support her case, Ms Veselnitskaya launched a lobbying campaign of her own that appeared to involve Russian officials.

Last year, Dana Rohrabacher, a pro-Russian Republican congressman, told the FT that while he was in Moscow, Konstantin Kosachev, a senior member of Russia’s upper house, asked if he would “at least take a look at something that our prosecutors would like the Americans to know about”, related to the Magnitsky case.

The congressman met senior Russian prosecutors who handed him a dossier that referred to materials filed in the Katsyv money laundering case.

Ms Veselnitskaya touted around a film, The Magnitsky Act, accusing Mr Browder of concocting his story. She organised a premiere in the European Parliament, which was blocked by Mr Browder’s lawyers at the last minute.

There’s no mystery about her background. I’d be surprised that anyone who had done due diligence would have agreed to meet her, considering her sketchy CV

According to court documents, Ms Veselnitskaya was repeatedly denied a visa to defend Mr Katsyv before securing “immigration parole”. Ms Veselnitskaya said she was later strip-searched at Heathrow on her way to New York.

The film was eventually shown at the Newseum in Washington last June, four days after she met Donald Trump Jr and Mr Kushner. Angry Russians in the audience shouted “Shame!” and “Lies!” after it finished.

Many of the allegations in the film, seen by the FT, were misleading or inaccurate. Mr Browder told the FT that it was part of a Kremlin “smear campaign” against him.

“She had one clear, unequivocal objective in 2016, which was to repeal the Magnitsky Act,” Mr Browder said.

Ms Veselnitskaya also hired Rinat Akhmetshin, a Washington-based fixer for Russian oligarchs.

Ms Veselnitskaya presented herself at the European Parliament premiere as a member of an organisation fighting to overturn the Russian adoption ban. The organisation was registered at a PO box at an address previously used by Mr Akhmetshin, who denied a link.

In April, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Department of Homeland Security to investigate Mr Akhmetshin for potential violations of lobbying laws. The committee said he conducted “subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda”.

“There’s no mystery about her background,” Mr Browder said. “I’d be surprised that anyone who had done their due diligence would have agreed to meet with her, considering her sketchy CV.”

Additional reporting by Guy Chazan

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Russian Lawyer Who Met With Trump Jr.: I Didn’t Have Clinton Info They Wanted

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MOSCOW — The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential campaign denied in an exclusive interview with NBC News that she had any connection to the Kremlin and insists she met with President Donald Trump’s son to press her client’s interest in the Magnitsky Act — not to hand over information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” Natalia Veselnitskaya said.

Russian Lawyer Says She Didn’t Have Info That Trump Jr. Wanted 1:16

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When asked how Trump Jr. seemed to have the impression that she had information about the Democratic National Committee, she responded:

“It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.”

Trump Jr. has confirmed that the meeting occurred, saying in a statement to The New York Times that he attended “a short introductory meeting” with the lawyer, where the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption.

On Monday, Trump Jr. seemed to confirm that he had been offered information about Clinton or her campaign but insisted that nothing untoward in the meeting had occurred.

“Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen,” he tweeted, seemingly sarcastic.

The New York Times on Monday reported that Trump Jr. was told in an email before the meeting that the information Veselnitskaya had was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s candidacy.

But Veselnitskaya flatly denied any connection to the Russian government. Kremlin officials said on Monday that they were unaware of who the lawyer is.

Veselnitskaya explained how she had worked for years to question the case that prompted the U.S. to impose sanctions on Russian officials accused of human rights violations, known as the Magnitsky Act. These sanctions led the Kremlin to ban the adoption of Russian children by Americans at the end of 2012.

Part of the information she put together for her client included details about a company run by a former U.S. citizen. She believes this company didn’t pay taxes in either Russia or the U.S. and may also have made donations to the DNC.

These details are what may have tweaked the interest of Trump’s campaign, she said.

Related: Ten Times Trump Denied Collusion With Russia

In the meeting, she explained how Trump Jr. asked her just one question.

“The question that I was asked was as follows: whether I had any financial records which might prove that the funds used to sponsor the DNC were coming from inappropriate sources.”

Veselnitskaya had no records and said “it was never my intention to collect any financial records to that end.”

Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya took place on June 9, 2016, two days after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.

Veselnitskaya described how she had circulated information on “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act,” to friends and friends of friends, seeking meetings with anyone who could help facilitate testimony before Congress.

“I never asked anybody for a particular meeting with Mr. Donald Trump Jr., or with anybody else,” she said.

In describing how the meeting came about, Veselnitskaya didn’t name the person who set it up over the phone while she was in New York for work.

She said she now knows that it was arranged in part by pop-star Emin Agalarov, who appeared in a music video with Trump when the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time, was held in Moscow. She said she has never met Agalarov.

Related: Trump Campaign Meeting Raises Question: Is Collusion Even a Crime?

When Veselnitskaya arrived at Trump Tower that Thursday, she was met by music publicist Rob Goldstone, who was involved in the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. After entering a board room, she was introduced to Trump Jr.

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. speaks out 2:54

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She described how Trump Jr. ran the meeting, which she said lasted 20-30 minutes. Two other men who she never met by name were also in the room. She said she only realized three days who they were after seeing their photos in the news. Those men were Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

“I could recognize the young gentleman who was only present in the meeting for probably the first seven to 10 minutes, and then he stood up and left the room,” she said. “It was Mr. Jared Kushner. And he never came back, by the way.

“And the other individual who was in the same meeting, but all the time he was looking at his phone. He was reading something. He never took any active part in the conversation. That was Mr. Manafort.” Midway in the interview, she described Manafort as “absent-minded.”

Trump Jr.’s newly appointed lawyer, Alan Futerfas, on Monday said “that Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed” in the meeting.

He called the reports “much ado about nothing,” and noted that Veselnitskaya was not a government official and had not been a prosecutor since 2001.

Veselnitskaya described how difficult the past few days have been since the story broke.

“Imagine yourself in my shoes. One morning you wake up and all of a sudden you are the focus of all the high ranking, upstream media of the world,” she said.

“To summarize, those were not the happiest days of my life, I have to say. I have to break up my holiday. I have to take a trip back to Moscow, because I just wanted to be able to answer the questions myself.”

Keir Simmons reported from Moscow, Rachel Elbaum reported from London

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Адвокат Весельницкая опровергла свое влияние на американские выборы: Политика: Россия: Lenta.ru

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Наталья Весельницкая

Наталья Весельницкая
Фото: Юрий Мартьянов / «Коммерсантъ»

The Culture of Dishonesty – The New York Times

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Just Security: The Early Edition: July 11, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

An email informing Donald Trump Jr. that the material he would receive if he met with a Russian Lawyer in June 2016 was part of a Russian government effort to assist his father’s candidacy was sent to him before he arranged the meeting by publicists and former British reporter Rob Goldstone, according to three people with knowledge of the email. Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman report at the New York Times.

Donald Trump Jr. hired a private attorney yesterday and said he would work with congressional investigators who wish him to testify as part of their ongoing probe into Trump-Russia collusion, Rebecca Ballhaus reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Jr. “did nothing wrong” when he met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin last June, his lawyer said yesterday, dismissing reports that Trump Jr. was told via email that the meeting was to discuss potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton that was part of the Kremlin’s efforts to boost his father’s presidential bid as “much ado about nothing,” POLITICO’s Nolan D. MacAskill reports.

The Trump Jr. meeting “should be the end of the idea pushed by the administration and the president that there is absolutely no evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor yesterday, adding that he supports Trump Jr. testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the meeting. Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.

The Trump Jr. meeting is the first time the public has seen “clear evidence” of collusion between senior Trump campaign members and the Russians, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen Mark Warner said yesterday, joining Sen. Sesan Collins (R-Maine), also on the committee, in calling for Trump Jr. to testify before them. POLITICO’s Austin Wright reports.

“There was, at a minimum, an effort by the Trump campaign to have the Russians help Donald Trump get elected. That’s an attempt at collusion,” Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Daily Beast’s Andrew Desiderio and Spencer Ackerman.

“The only thing I see inappropriate about this meeting is the people that leaked the information about the meeting after it was voluntarily disclosed.” The White House tried to play down the significance of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer as new details of the encounter emerged yesterday including that it had been arranged at the behest of a Russian family with ties to the Kremlin and with President Trump via a long history of business deals, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Saunders saying that the president had only learned of his son’s meeting “in the last couple of days,” write Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Greg Miller at the Washington Post.

“There’s no evidence of collusion,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted yesterday, Nolan D. MacAskill reporting at POLITICO.

“Adoptions” means “sanctions” as far as the Kremlin is concerned. Donald Trump Jr.’s original defense of his meeting with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last year that the meeting was mainly about “adoption,” a seemingly innocent humanitarian issue, ignored the fact that as far as the Russian government is concerned, “adoptions” and “sanctions” are so inextricably linked as to be almost synonymous, explains Amanda Taub at the New York Times.

There is a very real chance that Trump Jr. committed a federal crime when he met with a Russian lawyer last year with the express purpose of obtaining information the Russian government had acquired on Hillary Clinton, and his statement yesterday that “it quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information” is, according to experts on national security and election law, no defense at all, explains Zack Beauchamp at Vox.

Criminal conspiracy would be one of the most likely charges if unlawful collusion took place between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals, and Trump Jr.’s meeting helps establish a few critical facts toward such a charge, argues Randall D. Eliason at the Washington Post.

So Donald Trump Jr. knew that Vladimir Putin’s government sought to elect Donald Trump months before the U.S. intelligence community publicly stated? That means many of the denials by the Trump family and top aides about Russia’s interference in last year’s election must now be considered lies, writes Justin Miller at The Daily Beast.

The question now is what does special counsel Robert Mueller think is important, and what kind of legal jeopardy might Trump’s closest associates, including his eldest son, eventually face, writes Eugene Robinson, explaining how Trump Jr.’s meeting is a legal game-changer at the Washington Post.

How can Americans believe anything Trump administration officials say in the “culture of dishonesty”the Trumps have generated since the president’s campaigning days? Ask the New York Times editorial board.

These latest revelations only add to the questions surrounding President Trump’s firing of former F.B.I. director James Comey, and increase the need for careful Senate vetting of his nominated successor Christopher Wray, writes the Washington Post editorial board.

Who is Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and why did she allegedly promise dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr.? Max Seddon explains at the Financial Times.

RUSSIA

President Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed sanctions related to Russia’s election interference during their meeting last Friday, the White House said yesterday, contradicting an earlier statement by Trump himself, Jordan Fabian reports at the Hill.

German engineering and electronics company Siemens says it was an unwitting pawn in a scheme to evade sanctions against Russia and break a blockade of electricity to Crimea by a Russian customer who illegally shipped two power plan turbines to Crimea instead of the agreed destination in southern Russia, Jack Ewing and Andrew E. Kramer report at the New York Times.

SYRIA

The U.S.-Russia ceasefire agreement in southwest Syria is generally holding “despite some teething problems,” the U.N.’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said yesterday in Geneva, stating that the de-escalation agreements would contribute to peace talks but warning that the deals should not lead to the partition of Syria. Al Jazeera reports.

Israel and Jordan have expressed concerns over the ceasefire as the de-escalation zone borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, giving Iranian-backed forces the opportunity to establish themselves in the area, Somini Sengupta and Ben Hubbard report at the New York Times.

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) captured a town 10 miles to the south of the city of Raqqa – the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria – where the Islamic State ran a major military base and training camp, marking another significant advance in the battle to capture Raqqa, Reuters reports.

A video showing U.S.-allied Syrian-Kurdish Y.P.G. forces torturing detainees has been released, raising questions about the level of coordination between the Y.P.G. and the U.S.-backed S.D.F. on operations in Raqqa, Roy Gutman reports at The Daily Beast.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 16 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on July 9. Separately, partner forces conducted six strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

IRAQ

“I announce from here the end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared last night, thanking troops and the U.S.-led coalition for their efforts to recapture Mosul – Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq – from militants, Al Jazeera reports.

“The victory in Mosul, a city where ISIS once proclaimed its so-called ‘caliphate,’ signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered,” President Trump said in a statement yesterday, the top U.S. commander in the region Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend adding that tough fighting remains in the battle against the Islamic State. Gordon Lubold and Felicia Schwartz report at the Wall Street Journal.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State as a “great victory” for Iraq today, the AP reports.

Sporadic fighting continued in Mosul today despite Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of a “total victory” over the Islamic State, highlighting the ongoing threat from militants and the risks to civilians, Bram Jannsen reports at the AP.

Islamic State militants captured most of a village to the south of Mosul through the use of guerilla tactics, an Iraqi officer and civilians said today, Ghazwan Hassan reporting at Reuters.

The Iraqi government is going to have to do something “pretty significantly different” to prevent “ISIS 2.0” from emerging from the defeat of the militants in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend warned today, stating that the Iraqi government must build bridges with its Sunni civilians, the BBC reporting.

The U.S.-led coalition deployed unnecessarily powerful weapons in densely populated areas of Mosul, according to report by Amnesty International examining hostilities in the west of the city, a U.S. military spokesperson Col. Joe Scrocca dismissing the allegations as “irresponsible and an insult” to the nations involved in the U.S.-led coalition. The BBC reports.

A breakdown of the nine-month campaign to defeat Islamic State militants in Mosul is provided by Dan Lamothe, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Laris Karklis and Tim Meko at the Washington Post.

The fall of the Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Mosul stands to benefit Iran and its expansionist ambitions by making it easier for Iran to transport weapons through northern Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, creating a sphere of influence for pro-Iran Shi’ite militias in the region. Maria Abi-Habib and Asa Fitch write at the Wall Street Journal.

Mosul’s liberation poses an important question: can Iraq hold together? As national unity is threatened by Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian divisions, the possibility of Kurdish independence, a lack of governance, the challenge of reintegrating thousands of displaced civilians, and instability in neighbouring Syria. Tim Arango writes at the New York Times.

Serious political and military challenges remain in Mosul and Iraq including reconstruction, work on transitional justice, capturing the last pockets of Islamic State territory and combating insurgent tactics. Michael Knights writes at the BBC.

THE KOREAN PENINSULA

The Trump administration is heading toward unilaterally increasing sanctions against North Korea,targeting Chinese entities it says are funneling cash into North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Ian Talley reports at the Wall Street Journal.

A draft U.N. Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea in response to its test of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week was circulated by the U.S., two U.N. diplomats said yesterday, Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

Stop the “China responsibility theory.” China hit back at repeated calls from the Trump administration for it to put more pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs today, saying that all parties needed to pull their weight, Reuters reports.

There was no indication that North Korea is capable of arming a long-range missile with a warhead that could survive re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere in its recent missile test, South Korea’s intelligence agency said today, Alastair Gale reporting at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. successfully tested its T.H.A.A.D. missile system in Alaska today, intercepting a ballistic missile target launched from Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency stating that the test “bolsters the country’s defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries,” Reuters reports.

GULF-ARAB DISPUTE

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Kuwait’s emir and other senior Kuwaiti officials yesterday to discuss the Gulf crisis, supporting Kuwait’s mediation efforts in the dispute centering on Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain’s diplomatic isolation of Qatar based on its alleged support for terrorism, Al Jazeera reports.

Tillerson arrived in the Qatari capital of Doha today to discuss the Gulf crisis with Qatar’s emir and foreign minister, U.S. officials stating that Tillerson does not expect an immediate breakthrough, Al Jazeera reports.

The Saudi-led bloc’s 13 demands before diplomatic relations can be restored are not realistic, although some demands can be met individually, Tillerson said yesterday, Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.

“There are no clean hands here,” a senior adviser to Tillerson R.C. Hammond said yesterday, adding that the purpose of Tillerson’s trip to the Gulf is to explore “where a resolution can be found.” Carol Morello reports at the Washington Post.

The contents of secret agreements between Qatar and Gulf countries help to explain what sparked the diplomatic crisis and include provisions barring support for the Muslim Brotherhood and a vow not to support “antagonistic media,” Jim Sciutto and Jeremy Herb reveal at CNN.

The publication of the secret agreements “confirms beyond any doubt Qatar’s failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges,” the four Arab nations said in a statement, contending that the publication of the Riyadh Accord on CNN demonstrates that Qatar interferes in the affairs of Gulf countries. Reuters reports.

AFGHANISTAN

Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to cooperate more closely on efforts to combat the Taliban and other insurgent activity, with Pakistan offering to re-establish joint counterterrorism operations, the plan coming ahead of the Trump administration’s review of its Afghanistan strategy, Saeed Shah and Dion Nissenbaum report at the Wall Street Journal.

Two businessman with backgrounds in military contracting presented alternative plans for Afghanistanto chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Cyra Master reports at the Hill.

Greater reliance on contractors instead of U.S. troops was the basis of a plan by the businessmen which Bannon sought to relay to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Saturday, who declined to include the plan in the U.S. Afghanistan strategy, Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon report at the New York Times.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

President Trump will likely visit the U.K. next year, reports the BBC.

The Secretary of State betrayed democratic ideals when he failed to salute those who have stood up against President Erdoğan’s brutal purges since the failed coup attempt last July when he spoke in Istanbul Sunday, observes the Washington Post editorial board, suggesting that this may have been because he was hoping to curry favor with the Turkish president ahead of a crucial discussion on regional security.

U.S. officials “play a dangerous and perhaps self-defeating game” if they display their “historical amnesia” in pressing for regime change in Iran – as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to suggest last month – without recognizing the enduring relevance of America’s role in Iran’s 1953 coup for Iranians themselves, writes Ishaan Tharoor at the Washington Post.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Fifteen additional states and the District of Columbia joined Hawaii’s effort to broaden the definition of family relations exempted from President Trump’s travel ban yesterday, urging a federal judge in Homolulu to rule that the exclusion of grandparents and other relatives from the list of exempted relations was wrong after a federal appeals court dismissed Hawaii’s solo effort last week, Pete Williams reports at NBC News.

The U.S., Indian and Japanese navies began war games yesterday involving submarines capable of moving undetected into the waters of the Indian Ocean to take positions near the Indian coastline, where Chinese military vessels are increasingly entering from the South China Sea, Hari Kumar and Ellen Barry report at the New York Times.

A U.S. soldier in Hawaii was arrested on charges that he sought to provide training and classified military secrets to the Islamic State, Devlin Barrett reports at the Washington Post.

The government could shut down if a spending bill does not include funding for President Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) warned separately yesterday, the Hill’s Christina Marcos and Rafael Bernal report.

A U.N. resolution authorizing a new political mission in Colombia focusing on reintegrating F.A.R.C. rebels into society was unanimously approved by the U.N. Security Council yesterday, the AP’s Edith M. Lederer reports.

A meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was convened by Austria’s foreign minister today to overcome what he called a “crisis of confidence” restricting the organization’s ability to carry out its work reaching decisions by consensus about issues ranging from the Ukraine crisis to filling key positions within the organization itself, George Jahn reports at the AP.

Further accusations of sexual exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers across U.N. missions globally are revealed in new data released late last Friday, Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa reports.

Read on Just Security »

 Just Security

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Collusion allegations come into focus in the Trump-Russia scandal

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The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/10/17, 9:19 PM ET

NYT: E-mail told Trump Jr of Russian government campaign help

Rachel Maddow shares breaking news from the New York Times that Donald Trump, Jr. was told in an e-mail that the Russian government was behind the anti-Hillary Clinton information he would receive at a meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Yesterday afternoon, a Trump Organization spokesman confirmed that Donald Trump Jr. has

hired a private attorney

, Alan Futerfas, to represent his interests as the investigation into the Russia scandal continues. In light of

the latest reporting

 from the

New York Times

, the decision to lawyer up was probably wise.

Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting.

For context, it’s important to appreciate the evolution of the story in recent days. On Saturday night, the Times first reported on Trump Jr. having met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, which the president’s son said was a discussion about adoption policy. A day later, the story advanced: Trump Jr. acknowledged that he participated in the meeting because he hoped to acquire dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian attorney.

Trump was, in other words, effectively admitting that he tried to collude with a Russian national.

But this latest revelation is clearly the most dramatic to date. Trump Jr. was reportedly told, in writing, that the Russian government wanted to help elect his father – at which point the Republican’s son agreed to a meeting in order to collude with Moscow.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of revelations like these. Dan Pfeiffer, a former top advisor in the Obama White House, noted overnight, “Not in the wildest Democratic fantasy did we think there would be an email to a Trump clearly stating a Russian government effort to help.”

As the shockwave makes its way through the political world, there are multiple angles to keep in mind:

Trump Jr. wasn’t the only one from the campaign at that meeting. Remember, Jared Kushner, one of Trump’s closest confidants, and Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman at the time, also participated in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. They, too, will need to prepare an explanation.

The Nixonian question: What did Donald Trump Sr. know and when did he know it? Three of the top people in Trump World attended this meeting, and no one said a word to the candidate?

The sourcing: Much of the New York Times’ reporting has been based on White House sourcing. It would appear someone in the West Wing isn’t pleased with the president’s oldest son.

That Tapper interview: In July 2016, Trump Jr. did an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, dismissingthe idea that the Russians wanted to help the Republican campaign as a “phony” story. This looks even worse now.

Congressional scrutiny: The investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal on Capitol Hill is ongoing, and yesterday, there was bipartisan interest in having a chat with Trump Jr. The latest revelations all but ensure that he will have to testify.

Stepping back, there’s been ample talk in recent months about whether there’s fire beneath the smoke in this controversy. But those questions have effectively been answered: Russia wanted to put Trump in power, and the Trump campaign welcomed the assistance of the foreign American adversary.

The question isn’t whether there’s fire; it’s who’ll be burned and how severely.

Read the whole story
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trump russian candidate – Google News: Collusion allegations come into focus in the Trump-Russia scandal – MSNBC

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Collusion allegations come into focus in the Trump-Russia scandal
MSNBC
… a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of aRussian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy 

and more »

 trump russian candidate – Google News

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The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah: The Foreign Interference In The Electi… 

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The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah: The Foreign Interference In The Elections Of 2016

By Michael Novakhov Summary:  The big picture of the foreign interference in the Elections of 2016 still is not complete. What foreign …

In Homeland Security: What Should Americans Do about the Media’s Lost Credibility? 

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Truth is the hallmark of any professional journalist. However, we recently witnessed the media lose credibility with its coverage of Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

 In Homeland Security

The Early Edition: July 10, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer supportive of Russian President Putin after she offered to give him information that “individuals connected to Russia” were helping Trump rival Hillary Clinton, Trump Jr., White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort attending the meeting in June 2016 in the hope of gaining information that would be helpful to now-President Trump’s campaign, Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.

Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort were duped into the meeting by the Russians as part of a Democratic plot to sink the Trump campaign with the help of Kremlin operatives, spokesperson for President Trump’s outside counsel Mark Corallo said in a statement released in the hours after the story of the meeting was published, after the Trump team initially downplaying the meeting as a courtesy on behalf of orphaned children, writes Scott Bixby at The Daily Beast.

Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer “borders on treason,” Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer under former president George W. Bush, said yesterday, Brandon Carter reporting at the Hill.

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is heading Moscow’s efforts to destroy the Magnitsky Act, a package of U.S. sanctions targeting corrupt Russian officials. Nico Hines looks at the record of the lawyer who met with Trump Jr. last June at The Daily Beast.

Is Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer the first hard evidence of Trump-Russia collusion? Scott Bixby and Justin Miller examine the facts at The Daily Beast.

President Trump “strongly pressed” Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. election twice in their face-to-face meeting last week and it was “time to move forward,” Trump insisted yesterday, while lawmakers from both parties accused him of appeasing Putin by failing to insist that he was responsible for the interference or threaten any consequences, Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports at the New York Times.

President Trump agreed with him that Russia had not interfered in last year’s U.S. presidential election,President Putin told reporters Saturday, adding that they should ask Trump about it directly, David Filipov reports at the Washington Post.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s account of the Trump-Putin meeting in which he said Trump pressed Putin “on more than one occasion” on Russian meddling in the U.S. election, which Putin “denied” before Trump decided to move on in the face of Putin’s refusal to admit blame does not tally with that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which was that Trump had listened to Putin’s assurances that Moscow was not responsible for interfering in the U.S. election and “accepted these statements,” David Filipov, Damian Paletta and Abby Phillip report at the Washington Post.

Trump told Putin to “cut it out” during their meeting, bringing up the issue of Russian interference “right away” because he wanted to “look [Putin] in the eye” so that he would know that Trump knew “[he] did it,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley explained yesterday, Nolan D. McCaskill reports at POLITICO.

Over half of the memos former F.B.I. director James Comey made of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation contain classified information, according to officials familiar with the documents, raising the question of whether Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol he publicly denounced Hillary Clinton for during the 2016 presidential election, John Solomon reports at the Hill.

“That is so illegal!” President Trump tweeted this morning after it emerged that Comey’s memos contained classified information.

TRUMP-PUTIN MEETING

President Trump backtracked on a plan to work with Russia to create an “impenetrable” cybersecurity unit to combat election hacking hours after promoting the idea via Twitter yesterday, also via Twitter, and after the idea was ridiculed by various Democrats and some Republicans, the BBC reports.

U.S.-Russia cooperation on cybersecurity was also called for by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley yesterday, Julia Manchester reports at the Hill.

President Trump and Secretary of State John Kerry’s use of “Obama-like” rhetoric of cooperation and shared U.S.-Russia goals suggests that Putin may have successfully sized up Trump during their first meeting, yet both Trump and Kerry need to understand that Putin is not America’s friend, writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

In the face of a sustained and possibly accelerated attack on the U.S. by Russia, President Trump not only wavers on the source of the attack, but refuses to condemn the culprit and instead actually has a habit of praising him, writes Charles M. Blow at the New York Times, urging investigators to ignore team Trump’s calls for everyone to “get over this annoying Russia thing and move on.”

SYRIA

A new round of indirect talks between the Syrian government and opposition leaders aimed at reaching a peace agreement was opened by the U.N. envoy for Syria today, Jamey Keaten reports at the AP.

A ceasefire in a limited area of southwest Syria began yesterday following an agreement between the U.S., Russia and Jordan that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Friday, the agreement – which was negotiated on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Thursday – centering on a key boundary line demarcating areas of control for the various warring parties. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

“Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia,” Trump tweeted yesterday, stating that the ceasefire “will save lives” and calling for further cooperation with Russia in Syria, Philip Issa reports at the AP.

The ceasefire agreement constituted an important step toward the “common goals” of “defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in a statement Saturday, setting out that “de-escalation” zones are a priority for the Trump administration. Kyle Balluck reports at the Hill.

“The agreement can be fruitful if it is expanded to all of Syria,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said today, according to the Tasnim news agency, adding that Iran “is seeking Syria’s sovereignty and security so a ceasefire cannot be limited to a certain location,” Bozorgmehr Sharafedin reports at Reuters.

There have been no airstrikes or clashes in the southwest since the ceasefire began yesterday, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, rebel groups in the area also stating that there has been no significant fighting. Reuters reports.

Anxiety remains in southwest Syria due to a lack of mechanisms to enforce the ceasefire, the APreports.

Israel and Jordan expressed the fear that the ceasefire would enable Iranian-backed pro-Syrian government forces to establish a lasting presence along their borders, the AP reports in rolling coverage.

The southwest Syria ceasefire may offer a model for future cooperation between the U.S. and Russia throughout the country, marking a departure from previous approaches by acquiescing to Russia’s broader plan to end the violence in Syria through de-escalation zones – however many details of the agreement are yet to be developed and questions remain over Russia’s ability to rein in the Assad government and Iran. Liz Sly writes at the Washington Post.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has succeeded in killing hopes of democracy in Syria, has played on the notion that revolution is enabled by foreign interference, and has created a perception that dictatorship is a bulwark against colonialism and Islamist extremism. Kamel Daoud writes at the New York Times.

TILLERSON-POROSHENKO MEETING

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev yesterday,underlining U.S. support for Ukraine two days after President Trump met with Russian President Putin, Tillerson saying that the U.S. was committed to restoring Ukraine’s “territorial sovereignty and integrity” in a joint press conference following the meeting, Thomas Grove reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Russia must make the first move to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and European sanctions will remain in place until it changes its course in the region, Tillerson said, Matthew Lee reporting at the AP.

The U.S. will continue to have “dialogue” with Russia on how to gain assurances that there will be no more interference in U.S. elections, Tillerson also said at the press conference yesterday, the Hill’s Olivia Beavers reports.

THE KOREAN PENINSULA

North Korea accused the U.S. of “reckless military provocations” after a recent practice bombing by two U.S. B-1B bombers on the Korean peninsula, reports USA Today.

The U.S. bombing mission took place as G20 leaders were meeting in Hamburg last week and was conducted with South Korean jets, the U.S. air force commander in the Pacific Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy saying that “if called upon, we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces,” Demetri Sevastopulo reports at the Financial Times.

The U.S. decision to fly the B-1B bombers over the South China Sea was a “flexing of military muscles”seen as a threat to Beijing, China’s foreign ministry said, Christopher Bodeen reporting at the AP.

The Russia-China alignment in response to North Korea’s testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week may interfere with U.S. efforts to curb the Pyongyang regime, Asia policy experts and former diplomats fear, Katie Bo Williams writes at the Hill.

IRAQ

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Iraqi forces on their victory over the Islamic State after arriving in Mosul yesterday, while air strikes and exchanges of gun fire could still be heard as the militants made their last stand against Iraqi forces, Kalin reports at Reuters.

“Victory is settled and remaining Daesh [fighters] are trapped in the last spans,” al-Abadi said yesterday, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State and stopping short of declaring full victory against the militants in Mosul, Asa Fitch and Ali A. Nabhan report at the Wall Street Journal.

Iraqi forces advanced on the small area of Mosul’s Old City today which remains in the Islamic State’s hands, Susannah George reports at the AP.

Fighting continues in Mosul over an area believed to be 200 yards long and 50 yards wide, Louisa Loveluck, Liz Sly and Mustafa Salim report at the Washington Post.

The planned Kurdish referendum on independence in Iraq should not go ahead, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today, Reuters reporting.

 “A comprehensive post-Mosul strategy is the only way to ensure that the defeat of ISIL will be enduring,” the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement yesterday, joined by other Republican lawmakers who warned that more work needs to be done, Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.

Who controls what in Mosul? Yarno Ritzen provides a map at Al Jazeera.

The capture of Mosul does not spell the end of the problems blighting the city and the country: the Islamic State still maintains territory in other cities and towns in Iraq, there are signs that Islamic State militants will revert to their insurgent roots as they lose territory, the humanitarian crisis will need to be addressed, and sectarian divides persist, Tim Arango and Michael R. Gordon observe at the New York Times.

The impending defeat of the Islamic State’s caliphate poses serious questions for the Trump administration: what role will the U.S. take in Iraq once the Islamic State is defeated, who has responsibility for reconstruction, how can the U.S. enable the Iraqi government to implement federalism and bridge Sunni-Shi’ite divides, and what U.S. military presence should remain? Antony J. Blinken sets out the challenges at the New York Times.

The Islamic State’s crumbling caliphate should not be underestimated for the ideology persists and they have the ability to inspire global terrorist attacks, Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt write at the New York Times.

GULF-ARAB CRISIS

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will shuttle between Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia from today until Thursday in an effort to resolve a crisis that has enveloped the region since early June, Tillerson’s first shuttle diplomacy mission since taking office, Matthew Lee reports at the AP.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in Kuwait today to begin discussions aimed at resolving the crisis in which Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain have diplomatically isolated Qatar because of its alleged support for terrorism, issuing a list of 13 demands on June 22 before diplomatic ties could be restored which was rejected by Qatar last week, Al Jazeera reports.

Regret over the four Arab nation’s blockade of Qatar was expressed by the International Criminal Court’s (I.C.C.) chief prosecutor yesterday, who praised Doha for its mature handling of the crisis, according to Qatar’s state news agency. Al Jazeera reports.

Qatar has set up a commission to seek compensation from the Saudi-led bloc for the economic damage caused as a consequence of the land and air embargo of the country, the Qatari attorney general announced yesterday, Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

President Trump is considering “next steps” on the Israel-Palestine peace talks, a White House officials said yesterday, the Hill’s Olivia Beavers reporting.

Clarification on what seems to be an emerging power-sharing agreement between Gaza’s Hamas leaders and exiled rival to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Mohammed Dahlan was sought by Abbas in a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi yesterday, Al Jazeera reports.

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man who attached a soldier at a West Bank traffic junction this morning, Israel’s military said, the AP reporting.

AFGHANISTAN

A resolution to the Afghan war requires a political settlement and a shift in the political dynamics can be achieved by combining three approaches: holding credible elections, revisiting power-sharing mechanisms, and enabling the Taliban to participate in peace negotiations and be part of political reforms. Alex Thier and Scott Worden write at the Hill.

Pakistan’s support for the Haqqani terror network undermines efforts to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Trump administration must reconsider its approach to Pakistan if it wants to make headway in Afghanistan, Rahmatullah Nabil and Melissa Skorka write at the Wall Street Journal.

U.K. ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA

U.K. campaigners Campaign Against the Arms Trade (C.A.A.T.) lost a high-profile case calling for the cessation of U.K. arms sales to Saudi Arabia over concerns that Saudi Arabia is repeatedly breaching international humanitarian law in its campaign in Yemen today, the High Court of England and Wales delivering its open judgment this morning, C.A.A.T. spokesperson Andrew Smith promising to pursue an appeal of a judgment he said would “be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.” Alice Ross reports at the Guardian.

G20 SUMMIT

Trump’s behavior in and around the G20 summit last week was unsettling for his European allies and confirmed the fears of those who believe that his conduct is currently the biggest threat to American national security, writes Lawrence H. Summers at the Washington Post.

European leaders feel they can be less restrained in highlighting their differences with the U.S. in response to President Trump’s erratic and incendiary behavior, the change in attitude on display at the G20 summit and reflected in European domestic politics, writes Steven Erlanger at the New York Times.

The massive contradiction at the heart of Donald Trump’s foreign policy is that, on the one hand, he wants America to remain the “essential” nation, the ultimate embodiment of Western ideals, while on the other he works to deliberately alienate many of the U.S.’ traditional allies whose support the U.S. relies on, writes Robert J. Samuelson at the Washington Post.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited Guantánamo Bay detention center Friday for an update on current operations, the first concrete sign that the Trump administration means to follow through on its campaign promise to fill up the prison with “bad dudes,” writes Rebecca Kheel at the Hill.

President Trump’s pick to head the F.B.I. Christopher Wray will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, the Hill’s Morgan Chalfant reports.

Kuwait Airways and Royal Jordanian were exempted from President Trump’s ban on laptops in the cabins of U.S.-bound flights over the weekend, both countries saying they had worked with U.S. officials to tighten security checks from flights from Kuwait and Jordan, the BBC reports.

The process of pulling its military hardware from Turkey’s Incirlik airbase was begun by Germany yesterday, a further pressure on the already tense relationship between the two nations following a disagreement over whether German politicians could visit troops stationed at the air base, Matthias Gebauer reports at Der Spiegel.

Ukraine will not seek N.A.T.O. membership for now and will instead focus on building a “genuine program of reforms” to meet N.A.T.O. requirements for future membership, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said today following a meeting with N.A.T.O. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the APreports.

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Russia Causing Cyber Mayhem, Should Face Retaliation: Ex-UK Spy Chief – New York Times

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Russia Causing Cyber Mayhem, Should Face Retaliation: Ex-UK Spy Chief
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Asked if the Russian authorities were a threat to the democratic process, Robert Hannigan, who stepped down as head of the UK’s intelligence service in March, said: “Yes … There is a disproportionate amount of mayhem in cyberspace coming from Russia …

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Pacepa noted to WND in December that the Soviet Union’s massive intelligence apparatus, like the Romanian service he headed, was focused less on spying and more on activities such as rewriting history, manufacturing false documents, defaming noble …

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Pacepa noted to WND in December that the Soviet Union’s massive intelligence apparatus, like the Romanian service he headed, was focused less on spying and more on activities such as rewriting history, manufacturing false documents, defaming noble …

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It was the sort of photo that was just begging to be hilariously captioned, mocked on Twitter and photoshopped. During a visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Vice President Pence solemnly reached out and touched the Orion spacecraft’s titanium forward bay cover, placing his full palm just below a sign that read: “Critical […]

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Trump suggested a cybersecurity pact with Russia. Lawmakers say they were ‘dumbfounded.’
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Graham said Trump is “hurting his presidency by not embracing the fact that Putin is the bad guy.” A quick primer: Many, many people and several U.S. government intelligence agencies have accused Putin and Russia of hacking the 2016 election to help …

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The real special relationship – cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian

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Chris Riddell 09/07/2017

Donald Trump’s alarming G20 performance

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Confusing civility with comity is a grave mistake in human or international relations. Yes, the G20 summit did agree on a common communiqué after the leaders’ meeting. Some see this as an achievement or an indication that some normality in international relations between the US and other countries is being restored. The truth is that at no previous G20 meeting did the possibility that there would not be a common statement agreed by all participants occur to anyone.

Rather than seeing agreement as an achievement, it is more accurate to see the content of the communiqué as a confirmation of the breakdown of international order that many have feared since the election of Donald Trump. The president’s behaviour in and around the summit was unsettling to US allies and confirmed the fears of those who believe that his conduct is the greatest threat to American security.

The existence of the G20 as an annual forum arose from a common belief of major nations that there was a global community with common interests in peace, mutual security, prosperity and economic integration and the containment of threats even as there was competition between nations in the security and economic realms. The idea that the US should lead in the development of the international community has been a central tenet of American foreign policy since the end of the second world war.

Since his election, Mr Trump’s rhetoric has rejected the concept of global community, and expressed a strong belief that the US should seek better deals rather than stronger institutions and systems. In the past month and especially after the G20, it has become clear that Mr Trump’s actions will match his rhetoric. The US is now isolated on the question of how to deal with the long run security threat of climate change. It has forced the G20 to back away from previous commitments to rejecting protectionism. And in part because of American attitudes, the G20 was mute on international migration at a time when refugee issues are more serious than at any moment in the past 50 years.

All of this is troubling enough. What many people fear but few are saying is that in the difficult times that come during any term the president’s character will cause him to act dangerously. As biographer Robert Caro has observed, power may or may not corrupt but it always reveals. Mr Trump has yet to experience a period of economic difficulty or any form of international economic crisis. He has not yet had to make a major military decision in time of crisis. Yet his behaviour has been erratic.

The president chose hours before meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to cast doubt on judgments of the US intelligence community regarding Russia’s interference with the US election. On the brink of the most important set of international meetings of his presidency so far, he put forward the absurd idea that a main discussion item at the G20 involved Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, making demonstrably false assertions about his role.

It is rare for heads of government to step away from the table during major summits. When it is necessary, their place is normally taken by the foreign minister or another very senior government official. There is no precedent for a head of government’s adult child taking a seat, as was the case when Ivanka Trump took her father’s place at the G20. There is no precedent for good reason. It is insulting to the others present and sends a signal of disempowerment regarding senior officials.

Mr Trump’s pre-summit speech in Poland expressed the sentiment that the primary question of our time was the will of the west to survive. Such a sentiment is inevitably alienating to the vast majority of humanity that does not live in what the president considers to be the west. Manichean rhetoric from presidents is rarely wise. George W Bush’s reference to an “axis of evil” is generally regarded as a serious error not because the nations he referenced were not evil but because his rhetoric drew those adversaries together. Invoking the idea of the west against the rest as the president did is a graver mis-step.

A corporate chief executive whose public behaviour was as erratic as that of Mr Trump would already have been replaced. The standard for democratically elected officials is appropriately different. But one cannot look at the past months and rule out the possibility of even more aberrant behaviour in the future. The president’s cabinet and his political allies in Congress should never forget that the oaths they swore were not to the defence of the president but to the defence of the constitution.

The writer is Charles W Eliot university professor at Harvard and a former US Treasury secretary

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Opinion: Donald Trump’s alarming G20 performance

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A company would have replaced a CEO with behaviour as erratic as that of the president

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How Trump is rolling back Obama’s legacy

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Can Trump Destroy Obama’s Legacy?

New York TimesJun 25, 2017
WASHINGTON — When the judgment of history comes, former President Barack Obama might have figured he would have plenty to talk about.
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Moving to Scuttle Obama Legacy, Donald Trump to Crack Down on …

New York TimesJun 15, 2017
Mr. Trump is expected to declare that the two-year-old Obama-era approach of engagement has amounted to a failed policy of appeasement.
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Independent Journal ReviewJun 25, 2017
Ever since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, people have wondered what would become of the “legacy” left behind by …
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Trump Takes Steps to Undo Obama Legacy on Labor

New York TimesJun 20, 2017
President Trump, who came into office courting labor unions and vowing to stand up for American workers, is taking a major step to alter the …
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