Reading List – 7:26 AM 7/13/2017: Investigators want to know: Did the Kushner-led digital team point out vulnerable voting districts for Russian cyber operatives? | Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic  Eurasia Review: Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad Analysis  National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary We Now Have Proof of Donald Trumps Russian Collusion  trump russia treason – Google News: This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun. – The Week Magazine

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Reading List – 7:26 AM 7/13/2017

1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)
WSJ.com: World News: Chuck Blazer, Who Touched Off Soccer Scandal, Dead at 72

The FIFA whistleblower accused Concacaf President Jack Warner and fellow executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam of offering bribes to voters in the organizations 2011 presidential election.WSJ.com: World News

 

Saved Stories – None
Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic
Eurasia Review: Medicaid: Obamacare Pushed More Americans Into Low-Quality Care System Analysis
Eurasia Review: Russians Seldom Know Much About Their Ancestors Before Their Grandparents Generation OpEd
Eurasia Review: Georgia After Montenegros NATO Accession Analysis
Eurasia Review: Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad Analysis
Defense One – All Content: The US Must Rethink How It Uses Special Operators, Says Incoming SOLIC Secretary
msnbc.com Latest Headlines: Despite Russia scandals, Trump’s GOP base…
Trump – Google News: Trump’s lawyers try to control unruly White House – Politico
Trump – Google News: Trump: I’ve ‘done more in five months than practically any president in history’ – CNBC
Reuters: World News: Russia hands 20-year jail term to killer of Putin critic Nemtsov
Is Mr. Trump mad? Does it matter?
The Truth, the only Truth, and only the Truth is my God. Donald: accept and embrace this thesis fully, and we will start to see the light.
Mueller probe could draw focus to Russian crime operations
Mueller probe could draw focus to Russian crime operations Tuesday July 4th, 2017 at 5:54 PM
The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah: The Foreign Interference In The Elections Of 2016 By Michael Novakhov
Who stole the 2016 US Presidential Elections? The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah
Russia-born dealmaker linked to Trump assists laundering probe Financial Times Who is Felix Sater? Trumps Russian ex-Real Estate Partner Set to Help in Laundering Probe Newsweek FT Investigation: Trump and the Russian-born fixer Financial Times Broker, mobster, fraudster and Trump associate Felix Sater agrees to cooperate with investigation Daily Kos
» Who is Felix Sater? Trumps Russian ex-Real Estate Partner Set to Help in Laundering Probe 07/07/17 21:38 from Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks mikenova shared this story from Newsweek. Whether at home or abroad, President Donald Trumps alleged links to Russia dog the U.S. executive at every turn.
From Nixon to Trump, the FBI has always had a duty to keep the President in check Saturday July 8th, 2017 at 9:05 PM IrishExaminer.Com World
Russian Intelligence services Google News: Tillerson: Trump confronts Putin over Russian election meddling KTOO Donald Trump | The Guardian: Trump-Russia: new meeting revealed involving Donald Jr, Kushner and Manafort US elections and russia Google News: Everybody knows Russia meddled in US elections, says Haley Business Standard
» Who stole the 2016 US Presidential Elections? Google Search 09/07/17 16:18 from Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks mikenova shared this story . » No youre the puppet
Miosotis Familias murder is Russian Mafias response to Muellers investigation: Here are my mouth and my ears for you. The Family-Bratva https://t.co/g4XSiNoIVI
» Kremlin Believes U.S. Wants Regime Change In Russia M.N.: Whats the big news?! Kremlin believes this for about the last 100 years 10/07/17 17:13 from Saved Stories
Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familias assassination: le flores for the dead, Missi, i ssi, i ppi, these are just the flowers, the berries will come M.N.
FBI is incompetent and inefficient, even on the home soil, (not) dealing with terrorism, subversion, attacks on police and military. If you want to save America, reform FBI, and urgently!  M.N.

 

Saved Stories – None
Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic
 


New Republic
Trump’s Russian Laundromat
New Republic
They saved his bacon, says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s. It’s entirely possible that Trump … After Vladimir 

 Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News

Eurasia Review: Medicaid: Obamacare Pushed More Americans Into Low-Quality Care System Analysis

By John O’Shea and Robert Moffit*Attempts to change the Medicaid program have been widely and inaccurately characterized as a way for conservatives to deny care to people. However, the reality is that Medicaid fails to provide timely access to care and in many cases provides lower quality care. Yet, Obamacares architects claimed success for having expanded Medicaids sub-par services to more people, further exacerbating these problems.The current Senate health reform billtakes steps in the right direction by recognizing that health care coverage is not the same as health care and that simply pouring more taxpayer money into a failing, open-ended system is not the best way to help those in need. The bill rightly creates a pathway to transition to a more focused program that centers on the needs of the most vulnerable recipientsthe disabled, elderly, children, and pregnant women in povertyand gives people additional private optionIncreased Medicaid enrollment will not achieve increased access to high-quality health care for the following reasons. Medicaid:

  • Fails to ensure health care access,
  • Provides inadequate physician reimbursement rates,
  • Hinders continuity of care,
  • Fosters of a culture of bureaucracy,
  • Furthers reliance on emergency departments, and
  • Provides inferior quality care.

Medicaid Coverage Fails to Ensure Health Care Access

Medicaids low physician reimbursement rates and administrative hassles make it difficult, if not impossible, for many physicians to incorporate Medicaid patients into their practices. Moreover, the Medicaid population disproportionately resides in medically underserved communities with serious shortages of primary care providers. These factors result in low participation rates, which in turn lead to reduced access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion and even recent survey datasuggest that most doctors participate in the program, but objective data challenge that claim.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics show that the percentage of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients was 68.9 percent and the percentage for only primary care physicians dipped to 66.8 percent. Meanwhile, 84.7 percent accepted new privately insured patients and 83.7 percent accepted new Medicare patients.3
  • Self-reported data from a voluntary survey of California physicians show physician participation in Medi-Cal (the states Medicaid program) declined from 69 percent in 2013 to 63 percent in 2015.4

Medicaids Low Physician Reimbursement Rates Undermine Access to Quality Care

Quality care means getting the right treatment for the right condition at the right time, which depends on access to a doctor. Physicians are less likely to accept Medicaid patients in their practice because Medicaid payment rates for medical services are set at artificially low levelsin some cases even below the cost of providing the services. As a general rule, Medicaid reimbursement rates are substantially lower than the fixed Medicare payments and substantially lower than the rates paid by privately insured patients.

Reimbursement rates vary across states and, not surprisingly, state reimbursement rates are directly correlated to physician participation rates. New Jersey, which reimburses physicians for services under Medicaid at only 45 percent of what it reimburses for Medicare, is also at the bottom in terms of access to care.5

This trend also holds true in specialty care. A 2016 study in The Journal of the American College of Surgeons found wide variations in payment across states, with many state Medicaid programs paying far less than Medicare and private insurance for common, essential surgical procedures, raising concern that this may act as a disincentive for surgeons to care for Medicaid patients, especially in states with very low reimbursement rates.6

A 2017 analysis in Health Affairs found that, even when Medicaid patients get appointments, they experience significantly longer wait times in the doctors office before being seen.7

The wait times were longer in states that had lower reimbursement rates.

Obamacares anemic attempt to address the low physician reimbursement rates in Medicaid was a failure. The Medicaid primary care payment increase expired on December 31, 2014.8

The provision required that all state Medicaid programs increase payment for certain primary care services to Medicare payment levels during calendar years 2013 and 2014.

The payment increase was intended to address the need to maintain provider networks for those currently enrolled in Medicaid in light of the Obamacare-mandated expansion of Medicaid eligibility (later made optional by the U.S. Supreme Court), which was expected to cover millions of additional enrollees. This increase in payment rates was fully federally funded. Despite $7.1 billion in taxpayer money spent on increased payments for services, nothing indicates that the payment increase had any effect on recruiting Medicaid primary care providers.9

Medicaid and Discontinuity of Care

Churning in Medicaidpeople cycling on and off the programalso hinders access. Churning makes it difficult to maintain continuity of care and contributes to the total number of uninsured.

From 1998 to 2003, 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees had at least one uninsured spell, compared to only 12 percent of individuals with private coverage.10

Medicaid enrollees, many of whom have lower educational levels and face language barriers, are required to complete complicated paperwork to enter or remain in the program.11

Furthermore, under Obamacare, changes in income and family circumstances are likely to produce frequent transitions in eligibility for Medicaid and health insurance Marketplace coverage for low-income and middle-income adults.

A 2014 Health Affairs study estimated that more than 40 percent of adults likely to enroll in Medicaid or subsidized Marketplace coverage would experience a change in eligibility within twelve months, exacerbating gaps in coverage and disruptions in the continuity of care.12

Medicaid and a Culture of Bureaucracy

Substantial administrative burdens are another reason that provider participation rates are so low in Medicaid. These burdens include reimbursement delays; rejection of claims for seemingly capricious reasons; pre-authorization requirements for many services; and complex rules and regulations for claim filing procedure.

Of these, reimbursement delays within the program are especially problematic. Like reimbursement rates, reimbursement wait times vary widely across states: Kansas has an average of 37 days, while Pennsylvanias is 115 days. In every state, however, the average wait time for Medicaid reimbursement is appreciably longer than the average wait time for payment from private insurers.13

As expected, in the states where providers face low reimbursement and long wait times, the number of physicians who accept Medicaid patients was particularly low. However, in states with high reimbursement rates but long wait times, physician participation was not significantly higher, suggesting that raising reimbursement rates without addressing wait times will not improve access.

Other studies of various physician groups, such as pediatricians, have corroborated the findings that the factors of reimbursement rates and wait times contribute to low physician participation in Medicaid and that fixing one without addressing the other is unlikely to close the access gap.14

Medicaid and Emergency Department Reliance

A clear example that Medicaid coverage does not equal access to health care is the continued reliance on the emergency department (ED) by Medicaid enrollees.

A 2014 examination of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, which expanded Medicaid through random-lottery selection of potential enrollees beginning in 2008, found that expanded Medicaid coverage produced no detectable changes in physical health, employment rates, or earnings, and also increased emergency department (ED) visits by 40 percent in the first 15 months, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.15

A follow-up study in 2016 found that the increased use of the ED in Medicaid persisted for at least two years and therefore was not due simply to pent-up demand that would dissipate over time. Medicaid enrollees ED use in California surged by an even more dramatic 75 percent in the two years following the massive eligibility expansion authorized by Obamacare, according to data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.16

Nationwide statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also show no reduction in the traditionally high rates of ED use for non-urgent reasons among adults with Medicaid during and immediately following the Affordable Care Act implementation, suggesting that increasing coverage by adding more people to the Medicaid roles may not be the best solution in terms of improving access to primary care.17

Medicaids Poor Quality Care Problem

If Medicaid patients overcome these other barriers to access, evidence suggests that the care they receive in the doctors office may be inferior to the care received by privately insured patients.

Discussions of the Medicaid program routinely overlook these persistent quality deficiencies. For example, a 2015 study in Health Affairs found that after patient and provider characteristics were controlled for, Medicaid-insured visits were less likely than privately insured visits to include several preventive services, including clinical breast exams and Pap tests.18

Previous studies regarding cardiac and cancer patients have revealed extensive shortcomings in the quality of care delivered through Medicaid. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology examined outcomes from coronary artery bypass surgery and found that Medicaid status was independently associated with a worse 12-year mortality than for patients with other types of insurance. In fact, Medicaid enrollees had a 54 percent greater 12-year risk-adjusted mortality than patients enrolled in other types of insurance plans.19

Controlled studies of cancer patients have also found differences in quality of care and clinical outcomes between Medicaid patients and patients with private coverage. According to a study in the journal Cancer, researchers found that Medicaid patients who were diagnosed with breast, colorectal, or lung cancer had a two-to-three times greater risk of dying from their disease than patients with other types of insurance, even after controlling for other factors, such as site and stage of the cancer and the gender of the patients.20

More recently, a report in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care also found that privately insured patients had higher rates of medication adherence than Medicaid patients. Moreover, patients with Medicaid plans also had 20 percent more inpatient hospitalizations, 48 percent increased odds of emergency department visits and 42 percent fewer outpatient visits compared with those who had a private plan.21

Expand Access to Quality Care: Medicaid Premium Support

The Medicaid payment policies in the Senate and House bills both offer the states federal payment alternatives: a per-capita payment system for different Medicaid populations or a state block grant with enhanced managerial flexibility for state officials. Both bills put Medicaid on a more predictable budgetary path, and replace automatic federal spending for Medicaid as an open-ended entitlementan approach long recommended by many health policy analysts.22

These steps could encourage the highest and best use of federal Medicaid funds for the affected Medicaid populations.

To secure better access to care, Congress should consider the creation of a Medicaid premium support program for the able-bodied Medicaid population. Congress should fund assistance to Medicaid patients through a direct defined contribution payment system (a premium support program) for these beneficiaries to enroll in private health plans. The Senate bill takes a step in this direction by providing lower-income individuals access to tax credits to purchase private insurance, rather than put them into Medicaid.

Such a policy would mainstream Medicaid beneficiaries into the same competitive private health insurance coverage that is available to their fellow citizens. This would mean that they would have access to the same doctors and networks of medical professionals that most Americans enjoy through the private sector. Unlike at present, then, when many Medicaid beneficiaries cannot find a doctor to care for them, these individuals could secure superior medical care, especially primary care.23

Conclusion

The Medicaid status quo is not effectively serving the health care needs of the disabled, elderly, children, and pregnant women in poverty. Policymakers should ignore hyperbolic political rhetoric claiming that conscientious reforms to secure and improve the safety net for Medicaids core populations and to provide better options for coverage and care to others will result in a situation in which thousands will die.24

Obamacare expanded the poorly performing Medicaid and claimed success for doing so. These new recipients can fare better under a new system that broadens their access to quality care. A Medicaid premium support program can accomplish that worthy end.

*About the authors:
John OShea, MD
, is Senior Fellow in Health Policy in the Center for Health Policy Studies, of the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation, and Robert E. Moffit, PhD, is a Senior Fellow in the Center for Health Policy Studies.

Source:
This article was published by The Heritage Foundation

Notes:

[1] Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, H.R. 1628, 115th Cong., 1st Sess., https://www.budget.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/BetterCareReconcilistionAct.6.26.17.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[2] Michael L. Barnett and Benjamin D. Sommers, A National Survey of Medicaid Beneficiaries Expenses and Satisfaction with Health Care, JAMA Internal Medicine, July 10, 2017, http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2643347 (accessed July 10, 2017).

[3] Most recent figures are from 2013. Esther Hing, Sandra L. Decker, and Eric Jamoom, Acceptance of New Patients with Public and Private Insurance by Office-based Physicians: United States, 2013, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Data Brief No. 195, March 2015, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db195.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[4] California Health Care Foundation, Physicians Participating in Public Insurance Programs, 2015, http://www.chcf.org/aca-411/explore-the-data#chart%2Caccesstocare%2Csystemlevelaccess%2Cpubprogpart%2CPunchcard%20(Physiciantype%7CPayer)%2C2015 (accessed July 10, 2017).

[5] Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid-to-Medicare Fee Index, 2014, http://www.kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/medicaid-to-medicare-fee-index/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedDistributions=all-services–primary-care&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D (accessed July 10, 2017), and Hing, Decker, and Jamoom, Acceptance of New Patients With Public and Private Insurance by Office-based Physicians.

[6] Charles Mabry, Lori A. Gurien, Samuel Smith, and Steven Mehl, Are Surgeons Being Paid Fairly by Medicaid? A National Comparison of Typical Payments for General Surgeons, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 222, No. 4 (April 2016), http://www.journalacs.org/article/S1072-7515(16)00028-4/pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[7] Tamar Oostrom, Liran Einav, and Amy Finkelstein, Outpatient Office Wait Times and Quality of Care for Medicaid Patients, Health Affairs, Vo. 36, No. 5, (2017), https://healthaffairs.espstores.com/Articles/HA/May_2017/2016.1478.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[8] Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111148, as amended.

[9] Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP, March 2015, https://www.macpac.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/March-2015-Report-to-Congress-on-Medicaid-and-CHIP.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[10] Kathryn Klein, Sherry Glied, and Danielle Ferry, Entrances and Exits: Health Insurance Churning, 19982000, The Commonwealth Fund, Issue Brief, September 2005; http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publications/issue-brief/2005/sep/entrances-and-exits–health-insurance-churning–1998-2000/klein_855_entrancesexits_ib-pdf.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[11] Scott Gottlieb, What Medicaid Tells Us About Government Health Care, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123137487987962873.html#printMode (accessed July 10, 2017).

[12] Benjamin Sommers, John Graves, Katherine Swartz, and Sara Rosenbaum, Medicaid and Marketplace Eligibility Changes Will Occur Often in All States; Policy Options Can Ease Impact, Health Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 4 (2014), http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/33/4/700.full.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[13] Peter J. Cunningham and Ann S. OMalley, Do Reimbursement Delays Discourage Medicaid Participation by Physicians? Health Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 1 (November 18, 2008), http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/1/w17.abstract (accessed July 10, 2017).

[14] See the following: Steve Berman, Judith Dolins, Suk-fong Tang, and Beth Yudkowsky, Factors That Influence the Willingness of Private Primary Care Pediatricians to Accept More Medicaid Patients, Pediatrics Journal, Vol. 110, No. 2 (August 2002), http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/110/2/239(accessed July 10, 2017); Joel Cohen and Peter Cunningham, Medicaid Physician Fee Levels and Childrens Access to Care, Health Affairs, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring 1995), http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/14/1/255.abstract (accessed July 10, 2017); Peter Cunningham and Jack Hadley, Effects of Changes in Income and Practice Circumstances on Physicians Decisions to Treat Charity and Medicaid Patients, The Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 86, No. 1 (March 2008), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18307478 (accessed July 10, 2017); and Janet Perloff, Phillip Kletke, and James Fossett, Which Physicians Limit Their Medicaid Participation, and Why, Health Services Research, Vol. 30, No. 1 (April 1995), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7721586 (accessed July 10, 2017).

[15] Sarah Taubman, Heidi Allen, Bill Wright, Katherine Baicker, and Amy Finkelstein, Medicaid Increases Emergency-Department Use: Evidence from Oregons Health Insurance Experiment, Science, Vol. 343, No. 6168 (January 2014), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955206/ (accessed July 10, 2017).

[16] Rich Daly, ED Use Surges Among California Medicaid Enrollees, Healthcare Business News, May 5, 2016, https://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=48018 (accessed July 10, 2017).

[17] Renee M. Gindi, Lindsey I. Black, and Robin A. Cohen, Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults Aged 1864: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health Statistics Reports No. 90, February 18, 2016,  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr090.pdf (accessed July 10, 2017).

[18] Stacey McMorrow, Sharon Long, and Ariel Fogel, Primary Care Providers Ordered Fewer Preventive Services for Women with Medicaid than for Women with Private Coverage, Health Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 6 (June 2015), http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/34/6/1001.full.pdf+html (accessed July 10, 2017).

[19] Anoar Zacharias, Thomas Schwann, Christopher Riordan, Samuel Durham, Aamir Shah, and Robert Habib, Operative and Late Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Outcomes in Matched African-American Versus Caucasian Patients Evidence of a Late Survival-Medicaid Association, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol. 46, No. 8 (October 2005), http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109705017717?via%3Dihub (accessed July 10, 2017).

[20] Cathy Bradley, Joseph Gardiner, Charles Given, and Carlee Roberts, Cancer, Medicaid Enrollment, and Survival Disparities, Cancer, Vol. 103, No. 8 (March 2005), http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.20954/abstract;jsessionid=3EE1BC250E81650DF5363A6B60E55BFB.f03t03 (accessed July 10, 2017).

[21] Jongwha Chang, Gary Freed, Lisa Prosser, Isha Patel, Steven Erikson, Richard Bagozzi, and Rajesh Balkrishnan, Comparisons of Health Utilization Outcomes in Children with Asthma Enrolled in Private Insurance Plans Versus Medicaid, Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Vol. 28, No. 1 (February 2014), http://www.jpedhc.org/article/S0891-5245(12)00260-X/fulltext (accessed July 10, 2017).

[22] The Medicaid program is growing significantly in both enrollment and cost. Congress should separate Medicaid enrollees into three distinct categoriesable-bodied, disabled and elderlyand should finance each category independently but within an aggregate federal spending cap. This change would put Medicaid spending on a more predictable fiscal path and allow for different policy and financing arrangements for these different sets of enrollees to better meet their different needs. The Heritage Foundation, Blueprint for Reform: A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017, Mandate for Leadership Series (2016), p. 55, http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/BlueprintforReform.pdf.

[23] Federal Medicaid assistance to able-bodied individuals should be converted to a direct contribution to facilitate participation in the private marketplace, and federal assistance to the states for the disabled and elderly should be limited to ensure fiscal control. The Heritage Foundation, Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017, The Mandate for Leadership Series (2016), pp. 89.

[24] Josh Delk, Sanders: Thousands Will Die Under GOP Health Bill, The Hill, June 23, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/339234-sanders-thousands-will-die-under-gop-health-bill (accessed July 10, 2017).

 Eurasia Review

Eurasia Review: Russians Seldom Know Much About Their Ancestors Before Their Grandparents Generation OpEd

Two new studies, one by the Moscow Institute of Sociology and a second by the Romir Organization, show that Russians know very little about their ancestors beyond two generations back, a reflection of the traumas of the 20th century but a phenomenon that makes it vastly more difficult for them to integrate into a common nation.The Romir survey, conducted in June found that few Russians can name all their relatives three generations back, that two-thirds of Russian households do not have family archives, and that despite a recent uptick in interest in the past the share of Russians focusing on the history of their families remains small.As Mariya Nedyuk of Izvestiya notes, sociologists link such a short family memory to the fact that the country experienced such a large number of shocks, as well as the fear of talking about the past in Soviet times and the illiteracy of most of the Russian population before the 20th century (iz.ru/616331/mariia-nediuk/korotkaia-pamiat-na-predkov).Andrey Milekhin, the head of Romir, says it is possible that the role of inertia of Soviet times when studying history outside of official frameworks wasnt permitted and that going into the history of ones own family (and especially telling this to ones children) was at times simply dangerous (nazaccent.ru/content/24666-opros-rossiyane-ne-pomnyat-svoih-predkov.html).The Institute of Sociology study found that 60 percent of those surveyed did not know whether there were among their ancestors those who during the revolution and civil war supported the Whites or suffered from the terror at that time. Equally large fractions didnt know about what happened to their ancestors under Stalin (kommersant.ru/doc/3330116).

This absence of knowledge represents a kind of family trauma, experts say. Dmitry Travel of St. Petersburg University says that his research has found that most Russians have large gaps in their knowledge about their families, gaps that increase as one goes back earlier in time.

Vasily Zharkov, a political psychologist at the Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences, says that fear in Soviet times played a major role in this: his own grandmother did not acknowledge until July 1991 that she had had relatives who fought for Admiral Kolchak.

The absence of memories about ones own family has serious consequences for society as a whole. People find it difficult to fit themselves into a national narrative or even to identify as members of the nation if they do not know where their ancestors came from. Being part of an imagined community is easier if one knows something about where one comes from.

Vladimir Petukhov of the Institute of Sociology says that the situation in Russia is especially dire: Even in Germany with its Nazi past, memories about ancestors have not broken off. But because the Soviets created a situation where it was dangerous to talk about the past, Russians have learned not to. Overcoming that will be extremely difficult.

 Eurasia Review

Eurasia Review: Georgia After Montenegros NATO Accession Analysis

By Eduard Abrahamyan*(FPRI) — Montenegros recent accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) sent an important political message to Russias post-Soviet neighbors: NATOs door remains open to new members no matter the security environment. This signal will likely propel many post-Soviet countries to revitalize their relationships with the Alliance. In particular, it will likely trigger the resumption of discussions over Georgias almost two decades-long bid for NATO membership.Since 2002, close strategic cooperation with the United States and a determined pursuit of NATO membership have comprised the key pillars of Georgias security policy. With Alliance membership constituting a top priority objective, Tbilisis NATO aspirations have become a critical instrument in its foreign policy decision making. Notably, these aspirations serve as a framework for Tbilisis regional relationships: Georgia has cultivated good, neighborly relations with Alliance member Turkey and NATO partners, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Conversely, Russias vocal antagonism toward NATO enlargement has contributed to Georgias hostile relations with its large neighbor to the north.Georgias threat perception is laid out clearly in two strategic documents: the National Security Concept and the Strategic Defense Review (2017-2020). These documents articulate that Russias destructive posture vis-à-vis Georgias breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the prospect of a Russian military incursion constitute the countrys chief security threats. While the Georgian government invests in its deterrence and defense capabilities to protect the countrys sovereignty and territorial integrity, the size of Tbilisis defense budget ($310 million in 2017, including a $32.5 million loan for arms procurement), does not allow for substantial acquisition of new equipment and advanced weapon systems. The need to restructure personnel also will likely slow the modernization and professionalization of Georgian land forces.

Georgias Evolving Role in NATOs Black Sea Security Architecture

Sharing key interests and core values with its Western counterparts, Georgia spares no effort in becoming a full-fledged member of the Wests political and security institutions. Not only has Georgia made remarkable advancements in its integration with the European Union, but Tbilisi also enjoys sustained support from and comprehensive integration with NATO. At the NATO Wales Summit in 2014, Georgia was one of five countries chosen for Enhanced Opportunities Partnership (EOP) status under NATOs newly launched Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII). This effort, intended to deepen NATOs connections with its valued partners, outlines tailor-made enhanced cooperation opportunities for each selected country. For Georgia, the agreement stipulates the extended presence of NATO military specialists on its soil along with regular political consultations and information sharing with the Alliance. It allows Georgia to host Alliance-sponsored military training facilities and to participate in multi-purpose combat missions by contributing to the NATO Response Force (NRF).

The EOP effectively provides all of the privileges that Alliance members receive except for the collective security umbrella enshrined in Article 5 of the 1949 Washington Treaty. Thus, while Georgia has yet to become a full-fledged member of the Alliance, it is nonetheless exceedingly considered an important element of NATOs strategic planning and security concept for its south-eastern European flank. Accordingly, at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session held in Tbilisi on May 26-29, 2017, Alliance officials clearly articulated that since security in the South Caucasus is crucial for the Euro-Atlantic community, political and practical support to Georgia must be expanded.

Prior to this session, Georgia similarly hosted the NATO Military Committee in early March 2017 to discuss the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP). An initiative endorsed at the 2014 Wales Summit, the SNGP entails a set of measures designed to bolster Georgias defense capabilities by developing closer security cooperation with members of the Alliance. It comprises support at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels and endeavours to hone Georgian armed forces defensive skills via joint training missions, such as the annual Agile Spirit military drills. Much of this cooperation takes place under the guise of the Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) in Krtsanisi, Georgia, an element of the SNGP established in 2015. Tbilisi is further set to build additional infrastructure to be utilized as assets for the Alliance in line with training sites in Vaziani and Senaki. In particular, the establishment of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) akin to the same-purpose center operating at the U.S. base in Hohenfels, Germany, was announced in early April. The U.S.-Georgia JMRC will be located at the Vaziani facilities and will be up and running by mid-2018.

The sustained involvement of NATO countries in assisting the reform of Georgias armed forces has culminated in the More NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO concept, articulated by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the JTEC inauguration. This concept represents somewhat of an alternative to a Membership Action Plan (MAP) discussion of which was notably absent during Stoltenbergs visit to Georgiainsomuch as it provides all of the necessary instruments that the MAP recommends, but avoids a clear strain between NATO members and Russia that the extension of the MAP would entail.

Circumventing concerns about Russian backlash, the implementation of NATO reform programs through the More NATO in Georgia concept has received robust support within the Alliance. To date, this approach seems the most foolproof option for underpinning Georgias institutional resilience by implementing all the required reforms to conform to NATO criteria. The measures derived from the More NATO in Georgia approach have boosted Georgias defense and deterrence capabilities; however, it has not mitigated the security challenge presented by Russias assertiveness.

With regard to the NATO Response Force initiative, since joining in September 2015, Georgia has carried out the Operational Capability Concept Evaluation and Feedback Programme (OCC E&F) that enables troops to be trained and fielded under NRF command. By successfully completing intensive exercises simulated on a mock battlefield, the Alpha Company of the 12th Light Infantry Battalion, the 4th Mechanized Brigade, and the Charlie Company of the 12th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade received 2nd-level qualification to be used in NATO rapid operations for three years. As such, these units, comprised of Georgian personnel, are now at NATOs disposal and can be deployed to reinforce vulnerable Alliance flanks when needed.

However, above all, Georgias progress is exemplified in the evolution of the NATO-Georgia bilateral relationship into a new multilateral format. The NATO-Georgia structure has transformed into an important stage for providing other Alliance partners with sustained access to NATO facilities and training opportunities located within Georgia. By becoming a hub for NATOs deepening practical collaboration with partners, Georgia has developed into an important platform for the Alliance in the Black Sea region.

During its visit to Georgia in late March 2017, the NATO Military Committee highly praised Georgias progress in security sector reforms via the 15 current SNGP projects. The committees comments clearly illustrated NATOs perception of the SNGP as an essential investment in Georgias security. After all, Georgias enhanced security in recent years can largely be attributed to the almost regular presence of Allied troops in the country for bilateral or multilateral drills.

Just days prior to the NATO meeting, the Georgian Defense Ministry announced plans for the Noble Partner-2017 multinational drills, scheduled to occur on July 30, 2017. These NATO-backed drills will combine troops from eleven different countries, including Georgias neighbors, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, pleased with Georgias progress to date and aware that the development of Georgias infrastructure is inextricably linked to NATOs Black Sea power projection, the NATO Military Committee announced its intent to increase the number of SNGP projects to 20 by the end of 2018.

At the same time, Tbilisi is progressively adapting to the evolving security environment in the wider region, seeking to be drawn into NATOs Black Sea maritime initiatives. Since the 2014 Wales Summit, Georgia has emerged as a key participant in NATOs dialogue about increasing its presence in the Black Sea. Specifically, Georgia is working with the Alliance to discuss strategies for reinforcing NATOs maritime capabilities in line with the 2016 Tailored Forward Presence initiative in Romania and Bulgaria.

In February 2017, negotiations between Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria and Brussels paved the way for Georgias concrete participation in NATOs Black Sea initiatives. These negotiations further granted Romania a supervisor role in overseeing Georgias involvement. Possibly as a result of Georgian-Romanian consultations, the Alliance has accepted Georgias proposal to renovate its Poti seaport to make it accessible to NATO vessels. Georgian Chief of General Staff Major General Vladimir Chachibaia discussed this issue specifically in a news conference on March 2. Speaking of NATOs potential support for strengthening Georgias and Ukraines naval capabilities, the Brigadier General emphasized the strategic importance of establishing infrastructure capable of serving NATO vessels given the restrictions outlined in the Montreux Convention of 1936. This initiative, in conjunction with Ukraines plan to purchase warships from NATO states, will enhance the strategic value of the Alliances partners in the Black Sea. Commending Georgia as one of the Alliances most valued partners, during a visit to Tbilisi in May 2017, NATOs Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller underscored Georgias critical role in helping the Alliance form a deep understanding of the security situation in the Black Sea region.

In regard to Georgias military cooperation with the United States, on April 11, Minister Izoria reportedthat a new round of the U.S.-sponsored Georgia Train and Equip Program will be launched in March 2018 with the goal of establishing at least nine NATO-standard rifle battalions. In addition to increased military-to-military cooperation, the political-economic relationship between the United States and Georgia is also deepening.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvilis visit to Washington, D.C. this past May resulted in President Donald Trump signing a legislative act that recognizes Georgias breakaway regions as occupied by Russia. However, considering President Trumps uncertain stance on NATO, it remains unclear as to whether the United States will vocalize support for Georgias NATO bid during Defense Secretary James Mattis expected reciprocal visit to Tbilisi. The visit of Vice President Mike Pence to Tbilisi is now scheduled for late July, suggesting that the Trump administration is paying more attention to Georgias role in the region. Though the U.S. president approved NATOs recent expansion in the Balkans, his unpredictable relationship with the Alliance might present an obstacle to Georgias pro-Western path.

For this reason, Tbilisi seeks to demonstrate to the Trump administration that Georgia is not the troublemaker country that it was perceived to be in the aftermath of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. Rather, as the U.S. recalibrates its foreign policy priorities, Georgia has supported U.S. interests in the Black Sea region through its partnership with NATO. While membership in the Alliance remains a distant prospect for Georgia, the More NATO in Georgia approach integrates the aspirant country into NATOs orbit without granting official status.

Rhetoric versus Tangible Support

Considering mounting tensions between Russia and the West, Washingtons historically vocal support for Georgias NATO bid has only exacerbated Georgias security environment. As Russia asserts itself more aggressively in its Near Abroad, any improper or untimely voice backing Georgias NATO accession appears risky and, in some sense, provocative. Given that NATO has expanded exercises in Georgia in response to Russias increased presence in the Black Sea, such rhetoric makes Russia uncomfortable about Georgias NATO prospects.

Nevertheless, this dynamic does not mean that NATO should retract its political support for Georgia nor abandon Georgias membership prospects. On the contrary, the United States should stand firm in its commitment to Georgias sovereignty and use its weight in international forums to protect the countrys territorial integrity from Russian aggression. Losing Georgia as an Eastern European democracy and the Wests sole strategic pillar in the South Caucasus would severely impair the United States standing in the region and buttress Russias strategic advantage. Additionally, authoritarian backsliding in Georgia would advance Moscows goal of discrediting liberal Euro-Atlantic values and causing discord within the transatlantic community.

Despite various programs to train Georgian troops and reform the countrys armed forces, no significant measures have been taken to assist in the modernization of Georgias military inventory. As NATOs mission has evolved in the post-Cold War era to focus primarily on peacekeeping and counterterrorism operations, the Alliances military needs have similarly adapted. Rather than requiring partners to participate in full-scale combat operations, today, the Alliance increasingly needs partners capable of urgently contributing troops to smaller-scale crisis management missions. As a result, less attention has been paid to modernizing Georgian military equipment.

Ultimately, the United States must redefine its approach vis-à-vis Georgia. Specifically, it should adopt the approach that Russia uses to reward its allies in the region, namely supplying technical assistance and state-of-the-art military equipment at non-market prices. Unlike Russias allies, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan, who receive low-cost, up-to-date arms from Moscow, Georgia cannot afford to replace its obsolete Soviet equipment, so key NATO members should consider selling discounted defense equipment to Georgia.

Georgia is currently in the process of applying for a costly military loan from France to purchase a Vertical Launch MICA short-range, ground-based air defense system. This loan will place a substantial burden on the countrys relatively humble defense budget. Deals of this sort should be supported by the comprehensive implementation of the U.S.-Georgia 2016 framework agreement on security cooperation. Moreover, the Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Partnership signed by then-Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Kvirikashvili in July 2016 creates a legal basis for providing substantial aid, including a wide-range of advanced arms, to boost Georgias security. Material and technical support under these preferential terms will enable NATO to aid Georgian security in the event of conflict reescalation with Russia and will further instill the Georgian population with pride in being a valued U.S. and NATO partner in the South Caucasus region.

At this critical juncture in Black Sea security dynamics, the United States and NATO must bear in mind that rhetoric alone is futile. Rather, it provokes adversaries and further endangers the Wests valued partners in the region. Instead, NATO should continue to build up its strategic partners, enhancing both troop operability and aiding the acquisition of modern military equipment. By adopting tactics similar to those of Russia in order to shape special relationships with Georgia, and even Ukraine, NATO can diminish the nervousness of its partners. Unlike empty words, these meaningful forms of reassurance will demonstrate to NATOs Black Sea partners the tangible benefit of standing with the Alliance.

About the author:
*Eduard Abrahamyan is a defense and security policy analyst and doctoral research fellow at the University of Leicester, UK

Source:
This article was published by FPRI.

 Eurasia Review

Eurasia Review: Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad Analysis

By Scott Englund*A diverse battlefront runs from nightclubs in Florida and Paris, along the Mediterranean coast of France, through the Bosphorus Strait and among the shadowy discourses of online propagandists. It continues in the sieges of Iraqi and Syrian towns, through the ruins of Afghanistan, and deep in the jungles of the Philippines. While this varied topography presents a challenge, similar threats have been confronted before. Pundits, politicians, academics, and journalists frequently remind whoever may be listening that the United States and its allies face an enemy that is rigidly committed to a radical ideology in which the old political orders of liberalism, democracy, and a system of sovereign states will be torn down and replaced.1 This description, however, could apply equally to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War 70 years ago and to the present global phenomenon of Salafi jihadism, the ideology that motivates terrorist organizations such as the so-called Islamic State, al Qaeda, and associated groups. Examining the Wests understanding and response to the ideology of communism and the Soviet Union and comparing them to the threat posed by Salafi Jihadism provides a lens that can help shape a practical and credible response to current threats. This article applies the strategy of containment at the beginning of the Cold War to the current threat of Salafi jihadism.Just as containment was successfully deployed against the threat of Soviet-style communism in the Cold War, it may serve as an effective strategy against the present ideological struggle against jihadist terror organizations. Published anonymously as X in a 1947 Foreign Affairs article, George Kennan described a strategy for the ideological battle of his day that later came to be known as containment.2 Applying Kennans prescription to Salafi jihadism means persistent, patient pressure and unified resolve to counter perceived Salafist expansionism. In containing an idea, what Kennan called superfluous gestures and outward histrionics are counterproductive. Such political restraint, however, proved difficult to come by in a super-charged U.S. Presidential campaign. Promises by some candidates to quickly eradicate groups like the Islamic State through large-scale military action may make headlines, but these promises are disingenuous, misleading, and perhaps reveal a misunderstanding of the threat posed by groups like the Islamic State. Even after their inevitable military defeat, jihadi terror groups will still pose a threat to security in the Middle East and elsewhere. This article first reviews Kennans containment strategy, then turns to compare Salafi jihadism to the Soviet system that inspired Kennans 1947 analysis, noting some critical differences, and then applies containment to the jihadist threat.

Kennans Containment

Though jihadi groups represent a challenge to the peace and security of the Middle East and threaten terrorist violence abroad, one cannot conclude that this is either wholly unique and unprecedented or that the challenge they present is insurmountable. Their absolutist ideology and unwavering hostility to liberal political institutions is also nothing new. In 1947, George Kennan wrote of the Soviet Union:

subjectively these men [Soviet leaders] probably did not seek absolutism for its own sake. They doubtlessly believedand found it easy to believethat they alone knew what was good for society and that they would accomplish that good once their power was secure and unchallengeable.3

Kennan drew parallels between the Kremlin under Joseph Stalin and a religious order, operating in a world where the forces of good (the Soviets) would, through the inevitable progress of history, overcome the forces of evil (the global capitalist order):

The leadership of the Communist Party is therefore always right. . . . On the principle of infallibility there rests the iron discipline of the Communist Party. . . . Like the Church, it is dealing in ideological concepts which are of long-term validity, and it can afford to be patient.4

In confronting an uncompromising ideological opponent, one should expect that challenges to their motivating ideology would be either disregarded or subsumed into the narrative of a decaying, corrupt governing political order. Kennan observed:

Now it lies in the nature of the mental world of the Soviet leaders, as well as in the character of their ideology, that no opposition to them can be officially recognized as having any merit or justification whatsoever. Such opposition can flow, in theory, only from the hostile and incorrigible forces of dying capitalism.5

According to Kennan, Soviet leaders believed themselves to be absolutely powerful at home and infallible in their interpretation and application of their ideology; they could rest assured of their inevitable victory, and could not be criticized from without. The Soviets were a formidable ideological opponent; the political-ideological dimension of the challenge the Soviet Union posed immediately after World War II was greater than the threat they posed to the physical security of people beyond its immediate influence.

Kennans prescription for foreign policy under such circumstances is now well known: a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies. He cautioned that such a policy has nothing to do with outward histrionics: with threats or blustering or superfluous gestures of outward toughness.6 He suggested that the United States create in the world an image of consistency, harmony, and peaceful prosperity:

It is rather a question of the degree to which the United States can create among the peoples of the world generally the impression of a country which knows what it wants, which is coping successfully with the problems of its internal life and with the responsibilities of a World Power, and which has a spiritual vitality capable of holding its own among the major ideological currents of the time.7

He cautioned that disunity is a balm to ones opponents in an ideological battle: by the same token, exhibition of indecision, disunity and internal disintegration within this country have an exhilarating effect.8

Kennans prescription for patiently squeezing the Soviets was sometimes criticized as being not aggressive enough. It was, after all, a strategy for containing and eventually strangling the Soviet Union, not abruptly destroying it. Applying containment to the present struggle against jihadism may be similarly criticized as not doing enough, but of critical importance are persistence, patience, and consistency along multiple vectors of action (some of which are clandestine), and coordinated efforts with allied states. In a political contest, opponents attempt to create differing visions of a political reality and then try to convince people that the vision they create is preferable. The United States and its allies were arguably better than their Soviet opponents at this kind of competition during the Cold War. In its present conflict with jihadist terror organizations, the United States has been notably less successful.

Since 1947, Kennans blueprint for containment has evolved as successive administrations were confronted by the Soviet challenge. For example, Fareed Zakaria argued in 1990 that Ronald Reagans administration thought of itself as implementing containment, but one quite different from any previous version of containment. He concluded that in spite of its high-risk tendencies, Reagans version of containment was successful.9 In a Cold War postmortem, Daniel Deudney and John Ikenberry argued that over 50 years, with small changes occasionally, the basic thrust of Western policy toward the [Soviet Union] remained remarkably consistent.10 They concluded that though containment must have played an important role in the ultimate demise of the Soviet system, it cannot be the sole cause. Writing in 1989, Paul Kreisberg laid out how changes in Soviet economic and military behavior in the late 1980s meant that containment was on its last gasp and innovation in U.S. foreign policy was overdue.11 The sudden and unpredicted collapse of the Soviet Union cannot be attributed to a single cause. However, as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy for six successive administrations, containment served to provide a stabilizing force that contributed to the implosion of the Soviet system.

Kennan later regretted the extent to which his prescription for containing the Soviet threat became dominated by military means at the expense of other avenues. Writing in Foreign Affairs in 1987, Kennan sought to contextualize his containment prescription and apply it to the political realities of the late 1980s. When the article was first written as a memo for the new Secretary of Defense in December of 1946, Kennan admitted, there was no way that Russia could appear to me as a military threat. What he did see was an ideological-political threat.12 The populations of Europe and Asia had been traumatized by World War II and the infrastructure of their societies had been devastated; this made them vulnerable to the political vision of Soviet propagandists. Military conquest was not necessary where people willingly accepted communist promises of a near-to-hand utopia, as was almost the case in Greece and Turkey in 1946.

Kennans views on what motivated Soviet aggression changed some over the years. In the final decade of the Soviet system, Kennan was suggesting that an essential element in confronting the Soviets was to seek to understand their perspective and the environment in which they operate.13 Writing in the last years of the 1980s, Kennan suggested, what most needs to be contained, as I see it, is not so much the Soviet Union as the weapons race itself.14 Furthermore, the first thing we Americans need to learn to contain is, in some ways, ourselves; our own environmental destructiveness, our tendency to live beyond our means and to borrow ourselves into disaster.15 Of course, war is sometimes necessaryKennan was no pacifist. What Thomas Schelling called the diplomacy of violence is a legitimate means of achieving a political outcome in some cases.16 Properly accomplished, containment keeps the widest array of policy options open to ultimately defeat jihadism.

Black Is the New Red

No analogy is perfect, but this does not limit the utility of comparison. In this section, Salafi jihadism is compared to the Soviet ideology Kennan confronted in 1946. First, and perhaps most obviously, communism is a distinct political ideology borne of an economic theory, while Salafi jihadism is a religious interpretation of sacred texts. This important distinction does not render comparison useless, however. In both cases, a core belief system drives and constrains behavior. Importantly, both the communists of the past and the jihadists of the present wage a battle they believe will shape the future of the world. Both belief systems assure their adherents of inevitable success. For the communists, their victory would be a result of the forces of history, and for Salafi jihadists, their victory is divine destiny.

In both cases, local political considerations shaped the manner in which their beliefs were adopted and adapted. Vladimir Lenins Russia was different from Mao Zedongs China, which was different from Abimael Guzmáns Shining Path in Peru; each had distinct features that differed across place and time, each had unique political and social forces that drove different applications of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Similarly, local sociopolitical conditions shape how the dominant Salafi ideology is manifested through the constellation of terrorist organizations that assert its religious superiority. In spite of some differences in application, a core belief system that inalterably divides the world into two oppositional camps remains.

Other important differences should be noted: no jihadist terror organization possesses the massive industrial complex and economy the Soviets did; though the Islamic State has successfully seized modern military equipment, nothing they have compares to the massive Soviet Red Army. Secondly, though eventually the Soviet nuclear force actually posed an existential threat to the United States and its allies, presently no terror group poses such a threatin spite of claims made by some political leaders. Thirdly, the Soviets had a rigid, centralized structure for interpreting Marxism-Leninism and possessed the power to demand loyalty to that interpretationnot that schisms did not exist, notably the break between Soviet and Maoist systems. Presently, no single jihadist group can legitimately claim to dictate its interpretation of orthodoxy to others, though many rivals have attempted to do so. In fact, the declaration of a caliphate by the Islamic State was denounced by al Qaeda leadership and organizations affiliated with al Qaeda.17

However, similarities between Salafi jihadist organizations and the Soviets deserve some attention and can help policymaking. Just as Marxism-Leninism sought the establishment of global socialism and the ascendance of the proletariat through revolution, Salafi jihadism expects to spread its authority through violence in order to replace a corrupt, decadent order.18 Like the Soviets 70 years ago, jihadist terrorist organizations capitalize on upended political orders, the chaos that accompanies and follows open warfare, and public anxiety: [Whole nations] had just been seriously destabilized, socially, spiritually and politically, by the experiences of the recent war. Their populations were dazed, shell-shocked, uncertain of themselves, fearful of the future, highly vulnerable.19 Written by Kennan to describe Europe and Asia after World War II, it could just as easily describe much of the Middle East and North Africa now, as well as Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the southern reaches of the Arabian Peninsula.

As was argued by Robert Hutchings in Foreign Policy 12 years ago, the phenomena of al Qaeda and Soviet communism were born of political circumstance and sustained by a commitment to a particular ideology.20 For Salafi jihadists and the communists in the Kremlin, the correct application of ideology is key to correcting political imbalance and restoring political Islam and Russia, respectively, to their rightful place of leadership in the global order. The ideological dimension of jihadi groups is often discussed, but too often considered separately from the more tangible dimensions of the threat of violence they pose, the mayhem they cause in the territories where they operate, or funding and supply-chain logistical issues. Properly understood, ideology is central to the existence of any of the jihadist terror groups, justifying and explaining both means and end. It has been argued that al Qaeda is more than an organization, but is representative of a myth and an ideology, which is being immortalized as Nazism and Marxism-Leninism was in the 20th century.21

Salafi jihadism claims to represent an ideological purification and correction, and repentance from prior errors; ultimate victory over the present decadent and decaying order is only a matter of time and piety. Salafism is a relatively modern interpretation, being traced to the 19th-century Iranian scholar Jamal al din al Afghani. It is revivalist, seeking to interpret contemporary events through original Islamic principles. Afghani sought to understand how Islam, which had been dominant for so long and produced so much wealth, could have fallen behind and was now subject to Western imperial projects.22 Both the Islamic State and al Qaeda embrace Wahhabi-Salafism, which focuses on the elimination of idolatry (shirk) and affirming the oneness (tawhid) of God. Its adherents view themselves to be the only true Muslims and they engage in the practice of takfir, or declaring other Muslims to be unbelievers.23

A schism has developed between al Qaeda and the Islamic State, although they both agree on the central principles of Salafi jihadism; their differences center on long-term strategy and local tactics. Al Qaeda takes a long view of restoring the caliphate; the Islamic State is committed to its tactics of hyper-violence, even against fellow Muslims, and sees benefits to its high-risk, incendiary style. Al Qaeda sought to attack and disrupt what it viewed as the far enemy, the West, and to chase it from Muslim lands. The Islamic State chose to attack the near enemy in order to quickly establish its caliphate.24

Political, temporal victory is integral to spiritual revival and ascendancy. An Islamic State spokesperson made its political objectives clear:

We inform the Muslims that, with the announcement of the caliphate, it has become obligatory for all Muslims to give baya and support to Caliph Ibrahim. Void is the legitimacy of all emirates, groups, administrations, and organizations to which his [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadis] authority extends and his army comes.25

Violence is inherent to their ideology, as interpreted by al-Baghdadi who, in May of 2015, declared:

O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war. Your Prophet (peace be upon him) was dispatched with the sword as a mercy to the creation. . . . He fought both the Arabs and non-Arabs in all their various colors. He himself left to fight and took part in dozens of battles. He never for a day grew tired of war.26

Salafi jihadism, therefore, combines the puritanical strains of the Wahhabi tradition with a commitment to violence in pursuit of political ascendency. Violence is necessary to create utopia; in some cases, as with the leaders of the Islamic State, religious warfare provides the opening notes of the apocalypse.27

Applying Containment

Kennans 70-year-old advice can be fruitfully applied to the present ideological conflict. The intervening years have suggested that Kennans read of Soviet conduct exaggerated their expansionist strategy, but given the Kremlins inscrutability and open hostility at the time he wrote, his urgency may be forgiven. It may not be possible to deter an organization like the jihadi terror groups the same way that the Soviet Union and Stalina realist with an instinct for institutional survivalwere deterred. However, Kennans principal stricture was patient resolve in containing and squeezing the perceived threat from international communism. Swagger, grand gestures, fruitless engagements were contraindicated. Kennan understood that in open warfare the Soviet Union could not be defeated without great cost, and skirmishes would likewise harden their resolve. Instead, persistent containment through positive example, negative consequences for bad behavior, and above all, unified action and harmony, were advised. Political competition is natural in liberal democratic societies, but the current level of discord in the United States and Europe must comfort jihadi ideologues in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Just as it took 44 years from when Kennans X article was published before the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and their ilk will likely present challenges for many years. The important question is how well the threat they pose can be managed and reduced in the interim. Its fight against radical terrorist groups has forced U.S. military planners to rethink what winning looks like as it confronts the challenges posed by terror groups spread across the globe, and notably active in Syria and Iraq.28

To differing degrees, the Islamic State and al Qaeda play a three-level game: first, a clandestine transnational effort to infiltrate Western states and commit terrorist acts; second, a propaganda program designed to win support in areas where they assert some level of influence; and finally, a military campaign to take and hold territory. During the Cold War, the Soviets (and arguably, the United States) followed a similar multilevel effort to undermine opposition governments with acceptable levels of deniability, win hearts and minds openly where it could, and engage in military action only where necessary, through proxies if available. Containing Salafi jihadism requires a similar strategy: first, intelligence-driven efforts to detect, disrupt, and destroy jihadi terror operations; second, laying bare jihadi groups own hypocrisy, contradictions, and immorality both to undermine their ideological authority and to drive a wedge between it and potential supporters; and finally, fighting it in the open only where absolutely necessary, killing jihadi leaders and destroying terrorist financial and material infrastructure.

First, detect and disrupt clandestine plots to carry out terrorist attacks outside hot battlefields through an intelligence-driven effort, relying on well-placed human intelligence assets, appropriately tasked technical assets, and disciplined, rigorous analysis. Todays Intelligence Community was designed and built to contain the Soviet threat. During the Cold War, intelligence activities flourished in a classic head-to-head contest with the Soviet Union. Assets were recruited over cocktails, microfilm was left in dead-drops, spy planes flew overhead, covert operations changed the political map abroad, while back home there was little oversight, and the American people knew almost nothing of what was happening. An instructor with the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II predecessor to todays Central Intelligence Agency, is famously supposed to have said that their ideal candidate was a Ph.D. who can win a bar fight, and the same is true today. In todays fight, recruits will likely need to have spent considerable time living and working abroad in dangerous places; they might not have a spotless record or have the smoothest path to security clearance adjudication. The difficult, disciplined, and quiet work of intelligence is just as important now as it was in the Cold War, and requires patient investment and cultivation.

Presently, intelligence is a very public topic, and the people (and Congress) want results. Much of intelligence still needs to be done quietly, however, and serving in silence remains the ideal. In todays fight against jihadism, the same principles will apply, though the settings may look different. Clandestine service officers need to be recruited and trained, human assets need months of development, analysts with rigorous methodological skills must be employed. Gone are the days of Embassy parties; todays intelligence needs to be done in tents, on horseback, with dangerous people. Analysts, formerly confined to cubicles in a headquarters building, need to be deployed to the field. Intelligence collection at home is perhaps just as important as collecting abroad, as recent homegrown jihadist attacks have proved. Surveillance in aid of detecting the potential radicalization of individuals will push the legal limits of a liberal democratic society.

Secondly, deploy an effective counter-propaganda operation and lay bare jihadi contradictions, exaggerations, and hypocrisy. The varied sociopolitical geography of Salafi jihadism will require a finely tuned approach. Any message originating in the United States will be immediately discredited. Therefore, overt U.S. Government projects should not be considered. Covert counter-information operations will need to be given priority.29 This effort will lean heavily on intelligence gathered in the field. The people who produce such messages need to know the local language, the local idioms and slang, the jokes, the history, and the taboos. The right message, delivered in the right way, to the right people requires much effortand mistakes will be made. Attention needs to be turned home, as well as abroad. The most cost-effective means of carrying out a terror attack in the United States is to convince a disaffected young person to use his own resources to wreak havoc at home. Even if defeated militarily, the online presence of jihadist groups may persist; eliminating or neutralizing the radicalizing effects of these groups may prove to be the most challenging.

Part of this effort will be to avoid giving too much credit to jihadist groups that will inspire attacks against civilian targets in the United States and allied countries. Because terrorism at its core relies on an emotional response on the part of the witnesses to violence, the best counterterrorism policies necessarily require two distinguishable, but related tasks: first, actually reducing the risk of an attack, and secondly, making people feel more secure. Underlining and reinforcing radical linkages between an individual who acts in the name of a Salafi jihadist organization does little but unrealistically amplify that organizations operational effectiveness. An act of violence that both inflicts harm and raises the profile of the group that inspired the violence is a double-win for the terrorist organization. An effective domestic communication plan, therefore, includes elements directed toward preventing people from choosing to commit acts of violence while resisting the urge to over-hype the combat effectiveness of an organization that may inspire violence.

Finally, fight openly only when absolutely necessary, limiting exposure, and relying on proxies wherever possible. Using drones to kill jihadi leadership and technical experts (especially those responsible for media operations) are important tactical victories, but they do not, on their own, constitute a counterterrorism strategy. In containing the Soviets, only twice (on the Korean Peninsula and in Vietnam) was a corps-size force deployed to combat, and never in direct contact with the Red Army. Much smaller, detached units of advisors or special operations forces units were sparingly deployed. Routine naval and air patrols were far more likely to make contact with their Soviet counterparts, but were never required to engage. Nuclear deterrence, and an approach to open warfare that was inculcated by the destruction wrought by World War II, meant military engagement was restrained, indirect, and respectfully cautious.

In the 15 years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has deployed two force-size armies to two different theaters of operation and has maintained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan up to the present day. According to a RAND study, as of 2011, to support Operations Iraqi Freedom (and follow-on operations) and Enduring Freedom, the U.S. Army alone supplied over 1.5 million Soldier-years (that is, one Soldier deployed for 1 year, or 2 Soldiers deployed for 6 months, each). The total Soldier-years of all Services exceed 2.3 million. The same RAND report assessed that only 4 percent (or 20,000) of the Active component of the U.S. Army has not deployed and are available to do so.30 As of September 2016, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, over 6,000 U.S. military personnel are deployed to Iraq, and according to the Defense Department, it spends on average $12.3 million every day on the combined joint task force.31 This is unsustainable. Smaller is better in the present fight. The complexity of the battlefield in Syria is a prime example of how U.S. forces can be dragged into settling scores among long-feuding local factions. Success against Salafi jihadism requires policymakers to lean on intelligence, deploy conventional forces only when absolutely necessary, and respect the long-term commitment of military action when it is employed.

Conclusion

Important, though admittedly less exciting, debates will need to happen about precisely when and where the United States absolutely must fight, or what is and is not legal or ethical in collecting the intelligence it needs. The real work of counterterrorism is often quiet, behind-the-scenes, and away from the publics eye. Open warfare in Iraq and Syria may achieve one goal: the disintegration of the Islamic States leadership and its ability to wage an insurgency, but it will not contain the transnational threat remnant jihadi groups may pose. Clear-eyed and unafraid, the work of defeating jihadi terror will mean careful analysis of threats, assessments of countermeasure effectiveness, then the application of the appropriate tools to a well-defined threat.

Like Stalins Kremlin in 1947, the leaders of Salafist jihadist groups around the globe believe themselves to be locked in a world-altering battle in which they will inevitably be victorious. As Kennan advised, the longer the rest of the world can deny them any semblance of victory and lay bare their own hypocrisy and contradictions, then the end of this particular challenge is achievable through patient, thoughtful opposition and defense. Surely, there was never a fairer test of national quality than this, concluded Kennan.32

About the authors:
*Dr. Scott Englund is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Orfalea Center for Global International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Source:
This article was published in the Joint Force Quarterly 86, which is published by the National Defense University.

Notes:
1 Daniel Byman, Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

2 George Kennan [as X], The Sources of Soviet Conduct, Foreign Affairs 25, no. 4 (1947), 566582.

3 Ibid., 569.

4 Ibid., 572573.

5 Ibid., 570.

6 Ibid., 575.

7 Ibid., 575.

8 Ibid., 581582.

9 Fareed Zakaria, The Reagan Strategy of Containment, Political Science Quarterly 105 (Autumn 1990), 374.

10 Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, Who Won the Cold War? Foreign Policy 87 (Summer 1992), 131.

11 Paul H. Kreisberg, Containments Last Gasp, Foreign Policy 75 (Summer 1989), 146163.

12 George Kennan, Containment Then and Now, Foreign Affairs 65, no. 4 (1987), 885890.

13 Paul Hollander, The Two Faces of George Kennan: From Containment to Understanding, Policy Review (Summer 1985), 2834.

14 Kennan, Containment Then and Now, 889.

15 Ibid.

16 Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press 1966), chapter 1.

17 Thomas F. Lynch III, The Impact of ISIS on Global Salafism and South Asian Jihad (Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, August 2015), available at <https://hudson.org/research/11608-the-impact-of-isis-on-global-salafism-and-south-asian-jihad>.

18 Cole Bunzel, From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, March 2015), available at <www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/03/ideology-of-islamic-state>.

19 Kennan, Containment Then and Now, 886.

20 Robert L. Hutchings, X + 9/11, Foreign Policy 143 (2004), 7072.

21 John Turner, From Cottage Industry to International Organization: The Evolution of Salafi-Jihadism and the Emergency of the Al Qaeda Ideology, Terrorism and Political Violence 22, no. 4 (September 2010), 541558.

22 Ibid., 543.

23 Bunzel.

24 Lynch.

25 Ibid., 31.

26 Islamic State Releases al-Baghdadi Message, BBC Online, May 14, 2015, available at <www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32744070>.

27 William McCants, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State (New York: St. Martins Press, 2015).

28 Anna Mulrine, In Syria, a Test of Obamas Good Enough Military Doctrine, Christian Science Monitor Online, May 13, 2016, available at <www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2016/0513/In-Syria-a-test-of-Obama-s-good-enough-military-doctrine>.

29 Scott Englund, Killing Anwar: Targeting Jihadi Propagandists Only Part of the Solution, War on the Rocks, January 14, 2016, available at <http://warontherocks.com/2016/01/killing-anwar-targeting-jihadi-propagandists-is-only-part-of-the-solution/>.

30 Dave Baiocchi, Measuring Army Deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2013), available at <www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR145.html>.

31 Operation Inherent Resolve: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists, Department of Defense, available at <www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0814_Inherent-Resolve>; Helene Cooper, U.S. to Send 600 More Troops to Iraq to Help Retake Mosul from ISIS, New York Times, September 28, 2016, available at <www.nytimes.com/2016/09/29/world/middleeast/obama-troops-iraq.html?_r=0>.

32 Kennan, The Sources of Soviet Conduct, 582.

 Eurasia Review

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Trumps Russian Laundromat | New Republic
 

mikenova shared this story from New Republic.

Over the years, Trump and his sons would try and fail five times to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow. But for Trump, what mattered most were the lucrative connections he had begun to make with the Kremlin—and with the wealthy Russians who would buy so many of his properties in the years to come. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. boasted at a real estate conference in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

The money, illicit and otherwise, began to rain in earnest after the Soviet Union fell in 1991. President Boris Yeltsin’s shift to a market economy was so abrupt that cash-rich gangsters and corrupt government officials were able to privatize and loot state-held assets in oil, coal, minerals, and banking. Yeltsin himself, in fact, would later describe Russia as “the biggest mafia state in the world.” After Vladimir Putin succeeded Yeltsin as president, Russian intelligence effectively joined forces with the country’s mobsters and oligarchs, allowing them to operate freely as long as they strengthen Putin’s power and serve his personal financial interests. According to James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Company who consulted on the Panama Papers, some $1.3 trillion in illicit capital has poured out of Russia since the 1990s.

At the top of the sprawling criminal enterprise was Semion Mogilevich. Beginning in the early 1980s, according to the FBI, the short, squat Ukrainian was the key money-laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, or Brotherhood, one of the richest criminal syndicates in the world. Before long, he was running a multibillion-dollar worldwide racket of his own. Mogilevich wasn’t feared because he was the most violent gangster, but because he was reputedly the smartest. The FBI has credited the “brainy don,” who holds a degree in economics from Lviv University, with a staggering range of crimes. He ran drug trafficking and prostitution rings on an international scale; in one characteristic deal, he bought a bankrupt airline to ship heroin from Southeast Asia into Europe. He used a jewelry business in Moscow and Budapest as a front for art that Russian gangsters stole from museums, churches, and synagogues all over Europe. He has also been accused of selling some $20 million in stolen weapons, including ground-to-air missiles and armored troop carriers, to Iran. “He uses this wealth and power to not only further his criminal enterprises,” the FBI says, “but to influence governments and their economies.”

In Russia, Mogilevich’s influence reportedly reaches all the way to the top. In 2005, Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian intelligence agent who defected to London, recorded an interview with investigators detailing his inside knowledge of the Kremlin’s ties to organized crime. “Mogilevich,” he said in broken English, “have good relationship with Putin since 1994 or 1993.” A year later Litvinenko was dead, apparently poisoned by agents of the Kremlin.

Mogilevich’s greatest talent, the one that places him at the top of the Russian mob, is finding creative ways to cleanse dirty cash. According to the FBI, he has laundered money through more than 100 front companies around the world, and held bank accounts in at least 27 countries. And in 1991, he made a move that led directly to Trump Tower. That year, the FBI says, Mogilevich paid a Russian judge to spring a fellow mob boss, Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov, from a Siberian gulag. If Mogilevich was the brains, Ivankov was the enforcer—a vor v zakone, or “made man,” infamous for torturing his victims and boasting about the murders he had arranged. Sprung by Mogilevich, Ivankov made the most of his freedom. In 1992, a year after he was released from prison, he headed to New York on an illegal business visa and proceeded to set up shop in Brighton Beach.

In Red Mafiya, his book about the rise of the Russian mob in America, investigative reporter Robert I. Friedman documented how Ivankov organized a lurid and violent underworld of tattooed gangsters. When Ivankov touched down at JFK, Friedman reported, he was met by a fellow vor, who handed him a suitcase with $1.5 million in cash. Over the next three years, Ivankov oversaw the mob’s growth from a local extortion racket to a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise. According to the FBI, he recruited two “combat brigades” of Special Forces veterans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan to run the mafia’s protection racket and kill his enemies.

Like Mogilevich, Ivankov had a lot of dirty money he needed to clean up. He bought a Rolls-Royce dealership that was used, according to The New York Times, “as a front to launder criminal proceeds.” The FBI concluded that one of Ivankov’s partners in the operation was Felix Komarov, an upscale art dealer who lived in Trump Plaza on Third Avenue. Komarov, who was not charged in the case, called the allegations baseless. He acknowledged that he had frequent phone conversations with Ivankov, but insisted the exchanges were innocent. “I had no reason not to call him,” Komarov told a reporter.

Trump Taj Mahal paid the largest fine ever levied against a casino for having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering rules.

The feds wanted to arrest Ivankov, but he kept vanishing. “He was like a ghost to the FBI,” one agent recalls. Agents spotted him meeting with other Russian crime figures in Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, and Toronto. They also found he made frequent visits to Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which mobsters routinely used to launder huge sums of money. In 2015, the Taj Mahal was fined $10 million—the highest penalty ever levied by the feds against a casino—and admitted to having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering regulations for years.

The FBI also struggled to figure out where Ivankov lived. “We were looking around, looking around, looking around,” James Moody, chief of the bureau’s organized crime section, told Friedman. “We had to go out and really beat the bushes. And then we found out that he was living in a luxury condo in Trump Tower.”

There is no evidence that Trump knew Ivankov personally, even if they were neighbors. But the fact that a top Russian mafia boss lived and worked in Trump’s own building indicates just how much high-level Russian mobsters came to view the future president’s properties as a home away from home. In 2009, after being extradited to Russia to face murder charges, Ivankov was gunned down in a sniper attack on the streets of Moscow. According to The Moscow Times, his funeral was a media spectacle in Russia, attracting “1,000 people wearing black leather jackets, sunglasses, and gold chains,” along with dozens of giant wreaths from the various brotherhoods.


Throughout the 1990s, untold millions from the former Soviet Union flowed into Trump’s luxury developments and Atlantic City casinos. But all the money wasn’t enough to save Trump from his own failings as a businessman. He owed $4 billion to more than 70 banks, with a mind-boggling $800 million of it personally guaranteed. He spent much of the decade mired in litigation, filing for multiple bankruptcies and scrambling to survive. For most developers, the situation would have spelled financial ruin. But fortunately for Trump, his own economic crisis coincided with one in Russia.

In 1998, Russia defaulted on $40 billion in debt, causing the ruble to plummet and Russian banks to close. The ensuing financial panic sent the country’s oligarchs and mobsters scrambling to find a safe place to put their money. That October, just two months after the Russian economy went into a tailspin, Trump broke ground on his biggest project yet. Rising to 72 stories in midtown Manhattan, Trump World Tower would be the tallest residential building on the planet. Construction got underway in 1999—just as Trump was preparing his first run for the presidency on the Reform Party ticket— and concluded in 2001. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this year, it wasn’t long before one-third of the units on the tower’s priciest floors had been snatched up—either by individual buyers from the former Soviet Union, or by limited liability companies connected to Russia. “We had big buyers from Russia and Ukraine and Kazakhstan,” sales agent Debra Stotts told Bloomberg.

Among the new tenants was Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan. Nektalov, who was being investigated by a Treasury Department task force for mob-connected money laundering, bought a condo on the seventy-ninth floor, directly below Trump’s future campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. A month later he sold his unit for a $500,000 profit. The following year, after rumors circulated that Nektalov was cooperating with federal investigators, he was shot down on Sixth Avenue.

Trump had found his market. After Trump World Tower opened, Sotheby’s International Realty teamed up with a Russian real estate company to make a big sales push for the property in Russia. The “tower full of oligarchs,” as Bloomberg called it, became a model for Trump’s projects going forward. All he needed to do, it seemed, was slap the Trump name on a big building, and high-dollar customers from Russia and the former Soviet republics were guaranteed to come rushing in. Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald.”

To capitalize on his new business model, Trump struck a deal with a Florida developer to attach his name to six high-rises in Sunny Isles, just outside Miami. Without having to put up a dime of his own money, Trump would receive a cut of the profits. “Russians love the Trump brand,” Gil Dezer, the Sunny Isles developer, told Bloomberg. A local broker told The Washington Post that one-third of the 500 apartments he’d sold went to “Russian-speakers.” So many bought the Trump-branded apartments, in fact, that the area became known as “Little Moscow.”

Many of the units were sold by a native of Uzbekistan who had immigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1980s; her business was so brisk that she soon began bringing Russian tour groups to Sunny Isles to view the properties. According to a Reuters investigation in March, at least 63 buyers with Russian addresses or passports spent $98 million on Trump’s properties in south Florida. What’s more, another one-third of the units—more than 700 in all—were bought by shadowy shell companies that concealed the true owners.

Trump promoted and celebrated the properties. His organization continues to advertise the units; in 2011, when they first turned a profit, he attended a ceremonial mortgage-burning in Sunny Isles to toast their success. Last October, an investigation by the Miami Herald found that at least 13 buyers in the Florida complex have been the target of government investigations, either personally or through their companies, including “members of a Russian-American organized crime group.” Two buyers in Sunny Isles, Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall, were convicted for taking part in a massive international gambling and money-laundering syndicate that was run out of Trump Tower in New York. The ring, according to the FBI, was operating under the protection of the Russian mafia.


The influx of Russian money did more than save Trump’s business from ruin—it set the stage for the next phase of his career. By 2004, to the outside world, it appeared that Trump was back on top after his failures in Atlantic City. That January, flush with the appearance of success, Trump launched his newly burnished brand into another medium.

“My name’s Donald Trump,” he declared in his opening narration for The Apprentice, “the largest real estate developer in New York. I own buildings all over the place. Model agencies. The Miss Universe pageant. Jetliners, golf courses, casinos, and private resorts like Mar-a-Lago, one of the most spectacular estates anywhere in the world.”

But it wouldn’t be Trump without a better story than that. “It wasn’t always so easy,” he confessed, over images of him cruising around New York in a stretch limo. “About 13 years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt. But I fought back, and I won. Big league. I used my brain. I used my negotiating skills. And I worked it all out. Now my company’s bigger than it ever was and stronger than it ever was.… I’ve mastered the art of the deal.”

The show, which reportedly paid Trump up to $3 million per episode, instantly revived his career. “The Apprentice turned Trump from a blowhard Richie Rich who had just gone through his most difficult decade into an unlikely symbol of straight talk, an evangelist for the American gospel of success, a decider who insisted on standards in a country that had somehow slipped into handing out trophies for just showing up,” journalists Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher observe in their book Trump Revealed. “Above all, Apprentice sold an image of the host-boss as supremely competent and confident, dispensing his authority and getting immediate results. The analogy to politics was palpable.”

Russians spent at least $98 million on Trump’s properties in Florida—and another third of the units were bought by shadowy shell companies.

But the story of Donald Trump, self-made business genius, left out any mention of the shady Russian investors who had done so much to make his comeback narrative possible. And Trump’s business, despite the hype, was hardly “stronger than it ever was”—his credit was still lousy, and two more of his prized properties in Atlantic City would soon fall into bankruptcy, even as his ratings soared.

To further enhance his brand, Trump used his prime-time perch to unveil another big project. On the 2006 season finale of The Apprentice, as 11 million viewers waited to learn which of the two finalists was going to be fired, Trump prolonged the suspense by cutting to a promotional video for his latest venture. “Located in the center of Manhattan’s chic artist enclave, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in SoHo is the site of my latest development,” he narrated over swooping helicopter footage of lower Manhattan. The new building, he added, would be nothing less than a “$370 million work of art … an awe-inspiring masterpiece.”

Trump SoHo was the brainchild of two development companies—Bayrock Group LLC and the Sapir Organization—run by a pair of wealthy émigrés from the former Soviet Union who had done business with some of Russia’s richest and most notorious oligarchs. Together, their firms made Trump an offer he couldn’t refuse: The developers would finance and build Trump SoHo themselves. In return for lending his name to the project, Trump would get 18 percent of the profits—without putting up any of his own money.

One of the developers, Tamir Sapir, had followed an unlikely path to riches. After emigrating from the Soviet Union in the 1970s, he had started out driving a cab in New York City and ended up a billionaire living in Trump Tower. His big break came when he co-founded a company that sold high-tech electronics. According to the FBI, Sapir’s partner in the firm was a “member or associate” of Ivankov’s mob in Brighton Beach. No charges were ever filed, and Sapir denied having any mob ties. “It didn’t happen,” he told The New York Times. “Everything was done in the most legitimate way.”

Trump, who described Sapir as a “great friend,” bought 200 televisions from his electronics company. In 2007, he hosted the wedding of Sapir’s daughter at Mar-a-Lago, and later attended her infant son’s bris.

Sapir also introduced Trump to Tevfik Arif, his partner in the Trump SoHo deal. On paper, at least, Arif was another heartwarming immigrant success story. He had graduated from the Moscow Institute of Trade and Economics and worked as a Soviet trade and commerce official for 17 years before moving to New York and founding Bayrock. Practically overnight, Arif became a wildly successful developer in Brooklyn. In 2002, after meeting Trump, he moved Bayrock’s offices to Trump Tower, where he and his staff of Russian émigrés set up shop on the twenty-fourth floor.

Trump worked closely with Bayrock on real estate ventures in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. “Bayrock knew the investors,” he later testified. Arif “brought the people up from Moscow to meet with me.” He boasted about the deal he was getting: Arif was offering him a 20 to 25 percent cut on his overseas projects, he said, not to mention management fees. “It was almost like mass production of a car,” Trump testified.

But Bayrock and its deals quickly became mired in controversy. Forbes and other publications reportedthat the company was financed by a notoriously corrupt group of oligarchs known as The Trio. In 2010, Arif was arrested by Turkish prosecutors and charged with setting up a prostitution ring after he was found aboard a boat—chartered by one of The Trio—with nine young women, two of whom were 16 years old. The women reportedly refused to talk, and Arif was acquitted. According to a lawsuit filed that same year by two former Bayrock executives, Arif started the firm “backed by oligarchs and money they stole from the Russian people.” In addition, the suit alleges, Bayrock “was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated.” The company’s real purpose, the executives claim, was to develop hugely expensive properties bearing the Trump brand—and then use the projects to launder money and evade taxes.

The lawsuit, which is ongoing, does not claim that Trump was complicit in the alleged scam. Bayrock dismissed the allegations as “legal conclusions to which no response is required.” But last year, after examining title deeds, bank records, and court documents, the Financial Times concluded that Trump SoHo had “multiple ties to an alleged international money-laundering network.” In one case, the paper reported, a former Kazakh energy minister is being sued in federal court for conspiring to “systematically loot hundreds of millions of dollars of public assets” and then purchasing three condos in Trump SoHo to launder his “ill-gotten funds.”

During his collaboration with Bayrock, Trump also became close to the man who ran the firm’s daily operations—a twice-convicted felon with family ties to Semion Mogilevich. In 1974, when he was eight years old, Felix Sater and his family emigrated from Moscow to Brighton Beach. According to the FBI, his father—who was convicted for extorting local restaurants, grocery stores, and a medical clinic—was a Mogilevich boss. Sater tried making it as a stockbroker, but his career came to an abrupt end in 1991, after he stabbed a Wall Street foe in the face with a broken margarita glass during a bar fight, opening wounds that required 110 stitches. (Years later, in a deposition, Trump downplayed the incident, insisting that Sater “got into a barroom fight, which a lot of people do.”) Sater lost his trading license over the attack, and served a year in prison.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to racketeering—operating a “pump and dump” stock fraud in partnership with alleged Russian mobsters that bilked investors of at least $40 million. To avoid prison time, Sater turned informer. But according to the lawsuit against Bayrock, he also resumed “his old tricks.” By 2003, the suit alleges, Sater controlled the majority of Bayrock’s shares—and proceeded to use the firm to launder hundreds of millions of dollars, while skimming and extorting millions more. The suit also claims that Sater committed fraud by concealing his racketeering conviction from banks that invested hundreds of millions in Bayrock, and that he threatened “to kill anyone at the firm he thought knew of the crimes committed there and might report it.” In court, Bayrock has denied the allegations, which Sater’s attorney characterizes as “false, fabricated, and pure garbage.”

By Sater’s account, in sworn testimony, he was very tight with Trump. He flew to Colorado with him, accompanied Donald Jr. and Ivanka on a trip to Moscow at Trump’s invitation, and met with Trump’s inner circle “constantly.” In Trump Tower, he often dropped by Trump’s office to pitch business ideas—“just me and him.”

Trump seems unable to recall any of this. “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” he told the Associated Press in 2015. Two years earlier, testifying in a video deposition, Trump took the same line. If Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” he swore under oath, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” He added: “I don’t know him very well, but I don’t think he was connected to the mafia.”

Trump and his lawyers say that he was unaware of Sater’s criminal past when he signed on to do business with Bayrock. That’s plausible, since Sater’s plea deal in the stock fraud was kept secret because of his role as an informant. But even after The New York Times revealed Sater’s criminal record in 2007, he continued to use office space provided by the Trump Organization. In 2010, he was even given an official Trump Organization business card that read: FELIX H. SATER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP.

In 2013, police burst into Unit 63A of Trump Tower and rounded up 29 suspects in a $100 million money-laundering scheme.

Sater apparently remains close to Trump’s inner circle. Earlier this year, one week before National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was fired for failing to report meetings with Russian officials, Trump’s personal attorney reportedly hand-delivered to Flynn’s office a “back-channel plan” for lifting sanctions on Russia. The co-author of the plan, according to the Times: Felix Sater.

In the end, Trump’s deals with Bayrock, like so much of his business empire, proved to be more glitter than gold. The international projects in Russia and Poland never materialized. A Trump tower being built in Fort Lauderdale ran out of money before it was completed, leaving behind a massive concrete shell. Trump SoHo ultimately had to be foreclosed and resold. But his Russian investors had left Trump with a high-profile property he could leverage. The new owners contracted with Trump to run the tower; as of April, the president and his daughter Ivanka were still listed as managers of the property. In 2015, according to the federal financial disclosure reports, Trump made $3 million from Trump SoHo.


In April 2013, a little more than two years before Trump rode the escalator to the ground floor of Trump Tower to kick off his presidential campaign, police burst into Unit 63A of the high-rise and rounded up 29 suspects in two gambling rings. The operation, which prosecutors called “the world’s largest sports book,” was run out of condos in Trump Tower—including the entire fifty-first floor of the building. In addition, unit 63A—a condo directly below one owned by Trump—served as the headquarters for a “sophisticated money-laundering scheme” that moved an estimated $100 million out of the former Soviet Union, through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investments in the United States. The entire operation, prosecutors say, was working under the protection of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whom the FBI identified as a top Russian vor closely allied with Semion Mogilevich. In a single two-month stretch, according to the federal indictment, the money launderers paid Tokhtakhounov $10 million.

Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted a decade earlier for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics, was the only suspect to elude arrest. For the next seven months, the Russian crime boss fell off the radar of Interpol, which had issued a red alert. Then, in November 2013, he suddenly appeared live on international television—sitting in the audience at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Tokhtakhounov was in the VIP section, just a few seats away from the pageant owner, Donald Trump.

After the pageant, Trump bragged about all the powerful Russians who had turned out that night, just to see him. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” he told Real Estate Weekly. Contacted by Mother Jones, Tokhtakhounov insisted that he had bought his own ticket and was not a VIP. He also denied being a mobster, telling The New York Times that he had been indicted in the gambling ring because FBI agents “misinterpreted his Russian slang” on their Trump Tower wiretaps, when he was merely placing $20,000 bets on soccer games.

Both the White House and the Trump Organization declined to respond to questions for this story. On the few occasions he has been questioned about his business entanglements with Russians, however, Trump has offered broad denials. “I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia,” he said at a press conference in January, when asked if Russia has any “leverage” over him, financial or otherwise. “I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all.” In May, when he was interviewed by NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump seemed hard-pressed to think of a single connection he had with Russia. “I have had dealings over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago,” he said. “I had the Miss Universe pageant—which I owned for quite a while—I had it in Moscow a long time ago. But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia.”

But even if Trump has no memory of the many deals that he and his business made with Russian investors, he certainly did not “stay away” from Russia. For decades, he and his organization have aggressively promoted his business there, seeking to entice investors and buyers for some of his most high-profile developments. Whether Trump knew it or not, Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.

Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mob’s “boss of bosses,” also declined to respond to questions from the New Republic. “My ideas are not important to anybody,” Mogilevich said in a statement provided by his attorney. “Whatever I know, I am a private person.” Mogilevich, the attorney added, “has nothing to do with President Trump. He doesn’t believe that anybody associated with him lives in Trump Tower. He has no ties to America or American citizens.”

Back in 1999, the year before Trump staged his first run for president, Mogilevich gave a rare interview to the BBC. Living up to his reputation for cleverness, the mafia boss mostly joked and double-spoke his way around his criminal activities. (Q: “Why did you set up companies in the Channel Islands?” A: “The problem was that I didn’t know any other islands. When they taught us geography at school, I was sick that day.”) But when the exasperated interviewer asked, “Do you believe there is any Russian organized crime?” the “brainy don” turned half-serious.

“How can you say that there is a Russian mafia in America?” he demanded. “The word mafia, as far as I understand the word, means a criminal group that is connected with the political organs, the police and the administration. I don’t know of a single Russian in the U.S. Senate, a single Russian in the U.S. Congress, a single Russian in the U.S. government. Where are the connections with the Russians? How can there be a Russian mafia in America? Where are their connections?”

Two decades later, we finally have an answer to Mogilevich’s question.

Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic
 

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New Republic
Trump’s Russian Laundromat
New Republic
They saved his bacon, says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s. It’s entirely possible that Trump … After Vladimir 

 Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News

National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary
 

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Amid all the controversy over Russian hacking, interference and propaganda efforts in the United States and Europe, there’s a growing concern among national security leaders that not enough is being done to stop the efforts. That’s why a large group of senior figures from both parties is launching a new effort to track and ultimately counter Russian political meddling, cyber-mischief and fake news.

The roster of figures who have signed onto the new project, called the Alliance for Securing Democracy, is a who’s who of former senior national security officials from both parties. The advisory council includes former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff; former acting CIA director Michael Morell; former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers; Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme Allied commander, Europe; John Podesta, former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign; Jake Sullivan, former national security adviser to Joe Biden; and former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

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The project will be housed at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) and will be run day to day by a staff led by Laura Rosenberger, a former senior State Department official in the Obama administration, and Jamie Fly, former national security counselor to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“This threat to our democracy is a national security issue. Russia is waging a war on us. They are using different kinds of weapons than we are used to in a war,” Rosenberger said. “We need to do a much better job understanding the tools the Russians are using and that others could use in the future to undermine democratic institutions and we need to work closer with our European allies who also are subjected to this threat.”

The idea is to create a platform and repository of information about Russian political influence activities in the United States and Europe that can be the basis for cooperation and a resource for analysts on both sides of the Atlantic to push back against Russian meddling.

The project aims to be able to eventually map out Russian disinformation on social networks, cyber-efforts, financial flows, broader state-level cooperation and even Russian government support for far-left or far-right parties in other countries.

“In a perfect world, we would have a national commission that would be looking into exactly what happened, exactly what did the Russians do and what can we do as a nation to defend ourselves going forward and deter Putin from ever doing this again,” Morell told me. “We all know this is not going to happen, so things like the GMF effort are hugely important to fill the gap.”

One of the first outputs, coming soon, is going to be an online digital dashboard that will allow for tracking of Russian disinformation through fake news stories as well as narratives being pushed by Russian-sponsored social media figures. The project will attempt to map how Russian government-promoted information is spread though the American and European media landscapes.

“The Russians are playing in a broader scope of issues here than just the election,” Morell said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Russians are trying to divide us on issues from gay rights to race.”

The goal of the project is not to re-litigate the 2016 presidential election or to investigate the issue of whether the Trump campaign either colluded or was used by Russia as part of its interference campaign. The premise is that the Russian interference is ongoing and that not enough is being done to understand and ultimately counter it.

“It’s time for people who care about this issue to drop the partisanship and come together on this,” said Chertoff. “The closer we get to 2018 and we don’t see a huge amount of activity to get prepared, the more dire this is.”

The project also doesn’t want to overlap with the various investigations ongoing by the FBI and several congressional committees. But the premise is that more research can actually spur more U.S. government and congressional action to increase awareness, deterrence and resilience in the face of ongoing Russian efforts.

“Part of the problem is the administration hasn’t been presented yet with a set of recommendations about how to confront this problem,” said Fly. “The jury is still out on whether this administration will be willing to do the things necessary to secure our democracy.”

Josh Rogin is a columnist for the Global Opinions section of The Washington Post. He writes about foreign policy and national security.

We Now Have Proof of Donald Trumps Russian Collusion
 

mikenova shared this story from Observer.

After months of speculation about the relationship between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, hard evidence has at last emerged which is deeply damaging to the White House. This represents a turning point in the ever-more-complex saga of what I’ve termed KremlinGate, and how the Trump White House handles the revelation will determine its future—if it even has one.

This comes on the heels of the president’s sidebar one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart last weekend at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Despite the fact that—as I recently noted—a meeting with the Kremlin leader (when the U.S. Intelligence Community says his spy services helped elect Trump last year) would seem to be the very last thing any sensible administration would want, Trump went ahead with it.

The meeting itself was awkwardly long, and afterwards neither side could agree on what was said. At a minimum, Trump allowed Putin to appear as his equal (and perhaps more, to examine the body language on display) and proceeded to go along with the Kremlin line that Russian intelligence played no nefarious role in keeping Hillary Clinton from the White House. That is dismissed as blatant deception by our spy agencies, yet appears to be accepted by Trump and his minions, extensive intelligence evidence to the contrary.

To make matters worse, once he was home, Trump fired off numerous combative tweets about his relationship with Putin, including the stunning idea that he and the Kremlin boss had discussed setting up a joint cybersecurity unit with Moscow to ensure the integrity of future elections. This, simply put, was the most shocking policy suggestion uttered by any American president in my lifetime—and quite possibly ever.

To get this straight: Trump wanted to share American cyber-secrets with the country whose spy services illegally and clandestinely helped put him in the White House, and which continue to cyber-pillage our government and economy right now, in real time.

Needless to add, this suggestion—which was quickly compared to establishing a joint counterterrorism unit with the Islamic State—was met with outrage and ridicule, including from prominent Republicans. As a result, the president backed off on Twitter once it became evident he had mishandled the matter. Nevertheless, the proposed joint cybersecurity initiative with Moscow stands as a telling example of the fact that Trump either has no idea that Russia represents a serious threat to our national security—or he simply doesn’t care.

Subsequent Twitter admissions from the president add to such questions. Trump admitted that he had discussed the ongoing (highly classified) counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s 2016 hacking of the Democrats with Putin and his entourage—who are the very subjects of that investigation. At this point, Trump is either broadcasting his once-secret relationship with the Kremlin or he may not be in his right mind. It’s difficult to find a third possibility to explain such unprecedentedly bizarre behavior by America’s commander-in-chief.

As if all this weren’t enough, The New York Times then broke the story that, on June 9, 2016, shortly after the president had clinched the Republican nomination for the presidency, Donald Trump, Jr. and other key members of Trump’s inner circle met in New York City with a prominent Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, ostensibly to discuss adoptions!

This flies in the face of repeated denials from the president and his inner circle—to include Don Jr.—that they had contact with Russians during last year’s campaign. It’s difficult to imagine that, at the height of said campaign, key members of Team Trump had time to chat about adoptions. It’s even more difficult to imagine that’s what they really discussed.

The lawyer in question, Nataliya Veselnitskaya, has an unsavory reputation for her links to Putin, particularly regarding efforts to get Western sanctions lifted off the ailing Russian economy. Her ties to Moscow’s spy services are hardly a secret either, per the observation of Bill Browder, one of the top Western whistleblowers about the official crime and corruption which underpin Putinism: “There’s no mystery about her background,” he stated about Veselnitskaya, adding, “I’d be surprised that anyone who had done due diligence would have agreed to meet her, considering her sketchy CV.”

Now, Veselnitskaya has ritually denied her Kremlin connections, as is de rigueur among Putin’s friends and associates. “Never believe anything until the Kremlin denies it” is a venerable old wag among Russia-watchers with good reason. However, what’s far more important is the revelation that Don Jr. and company wanted to meet with her precisely because they knew of her official ties in Moscow.

follow-on report by the Times, which can be fairly termed a bombshell, makes clear that Team Trump sought to parley with Veselnitskaya because they believed she had incriminating information about Hillary’s Clinton’s ties to the Kremlin. They wanted what the Russian call kompromat on the Democrats—precisely what Russian hackers were in the process of stealing. It’s not difficult to imagine why Team Trump, which was grappling with its own allegations of unsavory ties to Putin, would want to counter those with information showing that Team Hillary, too, was in bed with the Kremlin.

However, Veselnitskaya reportedly brought no such gifts to the meeting, and the president’s firstborn was disappointed about the lack of kompromat after he had expressed his “love” for potentially damaging information about Hillary, according to the Times.

Now, in a truly shocking turn of events, Don Jr. has released several emails via Twitter about the background of that June 9, 2016 meeting. He did so after the Times, which had them already, asked for his comments. In the email chain, Don Jr. makes his position indelibly clear on the meeting proposed by Rob Goldstone, a shady publicist with Kremlin clients, who said the get-together was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Goldstone promised that the “Russian government attorney”—that’s Veselnitskaya—would deliver “very high level and sensitive information” from Russian prosecutors, including “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” To anybody sentient, that’s a promise of intelligence information about Hillary from Russian spy agencies, to be delivered through a trusted Kremlin intermediary.

There have been no denials from the Trump camp of the veracity of this account—after all, Don Jr. is the source of these emails. However, White House spokespeople are already explaining that “everybody does it” and, really, it’s no big deal to talk to Russians anyway. Besides, they note, no secret information changed hands: Veselnitskaya didn’t deliver the promised goods.

But the meeting—which was knowingly arranged with a representative of Putin’s government—may have violated a raft of Federal laws, which makes Don Jr.’s public admission of his culpability so stunning. Moreover, that no kompromat was traded makes little difference here. You don’t have to commit the crime to get arrested for it; planning and attempting to do so can be enough to get arrested—as any viewer of NBC’s popular reality show To Catch a Predator knows.

What happens next is anybody’s guess. Congress is already making noise about getting Don Jr. to testify about his now-infamous meeting. It’s telling that the president, who loves to taunt enemies with his tweets, so far has been silent on Twitter about his son’s growing legal problem. Trump’s silence here appears highly revealing, and is perhaps an indication of the panic which has descended on the White House in recent days.

A siege mentality has set in on the West Wing, according to press reports, and nobody is eager to take the fall for Don Jr., who is disliked by most White House staffers, who view him as a dangerous buffoon. It’s difficult to spin the debacle he created here as anything but utterly disastrous for the Trump administration.

The key question lingering, of course, is: What did the president know and when did he know it?—to cite the legendary Watergate line. If Trump was aware of the June 9, 2016 meeting, he too may be in grave legal jeopardy.

Regardless, months of lies from Team Trump, their repeated, flat-out denials of any links to Moscow, have been exploded by Don Jr.’s public admission. In the middle of last year’s campaign, members of the president’s inner circle wanted Moscow’s kompromat on Hillary Clinton, a fact which amounts to witting collusion with hostile foreign intelligence.

This is a game-changer for the KremlinGate inquiry and, while it’s not the beginning of the end by any means—this is such a complex case that it will likely take Special Counsel Bob Mueller and his platoons of seasoned investigators years to unravel it all—it appears to be, as Winston Churchill famously said of British victory at El Alamein in the fall of 1942, the end of the beginning.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

Catherine Rampell: Polls reveal party matters more than civil rights | Columnists
 

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Americans once had a shared commitment to the traditional liberal democratic values: individual liberties, human rights, tolerance of dissent, free and fair elections, a free press, due process and separation of powers.

Or more concisely: liberty and justice for all.

Slowly but surely, we have been abandoning these shared values and drifting toward authoritarianism and mob rule.

Who’s leading the charge (left or right) depends on where you sit. Both sides claim to be the true champions of liberal democracy, yet neither seems particularly intent on safeguarding it when doing so hurts their team.

Last week, for example, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found striking levels of hostility toward political and civil freedoms among Republicans:

  • A quarter of Republicans believe the country has gone too far in expanding the right to vote.
  • Worse, 4 in 10 believe the United States has too greatly expanded freedom of the press.
  • The same share also says that the “right to protest or criticize the government” has gotten out of hand.

This is astonishing coming from a party whose entire raison d’être for eight years was to protest and criticize the White House.

The shares of Democrats agreeing that these rights (to vote, to a free press, to criticize the government) are too expansive were relatively tiny (5, 11 and 7 percent, respectively).

This partisan gulf is not some one-off result.

In February, a Pew Research Center survey found large gaps between Democrats and Republicans on civil and political liberties. Three-quarters of Democrats said that the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders is important for maintaining a strong democracy. Slightly less than half of Republicans agreed. Is anyone on the right actually reading those pocket Constitutions they’ve made into such a trendy fashion accessory?

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In other surveys over recent years, conservatives have been more supportive of book-banning and other forms of censorship. At the state level, conservatives have used government power to gag speech and ideas they consider offensive, and even to mandate speech they deem politically pleasing (by requiring doctors to spout junk science about abortions, for instance).

Conservatives who’ve read this far will surely point out that plenty of lefties flaunt their own illiberal tendencies. As I’ve written before, long-term surveys of college freshmen indicate rising intolerance of controversial speech. More anecdotally, the past few years have provided lots of vivid examples of pitchfork-wielding lefty students and cowardly administrators shutting down speech with which they disagree. This has led to demands for resignations and, sometimes, threats of violence.

Now of course there are also equally vivid examples of pitchfork-wielding right-wing mobs, inflamed by Fox News and other conservative news organizations, attempting to shut down speech by left-leaning academics. With little sense of irony, these mobs descend on liberals with demands for resignations and, sometimes, threats of violence — often in the name of protecting free debate.

So the question is, what’s changed? What or whom should we blame for this deteriorating commitment to dissent and other liberal values, whether on campuses or in statehouses?

To some extent, Americans — like citizens of other Western democracies experiencing similar backlashes — are actively rejecting democratic institutions and norms they believe failed them. The financial crisis and, before that, stagnating living standards left Americans angry, disillusioned and ready to burn it all down — with the “it” in this case including some of our shared values.

There’s another obvious villain in this story, though: our increasingly corrosive and tribalist partisanship.

“This just shows the degree to which partisan identity and loyalty to a political leader go deeper than a commitment to any particular values,” Yascha Mounk, a lecturer at Harvard University, argued last week by phone when I asked him about the Marist findings.

He notes that confidence in Russia’s authoritarian president, Vladimir Putin, has doubled among Republicans since 2015, while declining slightly among Democrats. This is probably not so much due to any actual familiarity with Putin’s murderous quashing of dissent as a perception that he’s on the (Republican) president’s team. The same perception may motivate Republicans’ rising antipathy toward a free press.

Maybe Americans are not exactly hostile toward liberal democratic ideals, so much as indifferent. In today’s partisan climate, that’s just as dangerous.

Putin and the Mob – Google News: Catherine Rampell: Polls reveal party matters more than civil rights – Billings Gazette
 

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Billings Gazette
Catherine Rampell: Polls reveal party matters more than civil rights
Billings Gazette
He notes that confidence in Russia’s authoritarian president, Vladimir Putin, has doubled among Republicans since 2015, while declining slightly among Democrats. This is probably not so much due to any actual familiarity with Putin’s murderous quashing 

 Putin and the Mob – Google News

trump russia treason – Google News: This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun. – The Week Magazine
 

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The Week Magazine
This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun.
The Week Magazine
Please remember that a year ago we were expected to believe that Donald Trump had committed treason by begging theRussian government to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails live on cable television, before an audience of millions. We all know that this is …and more »

 trump russia treason – Google News

A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday (7.11.17).
 

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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.
America is closed for renovations
 

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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.
Both intelligence committees and the DOJ are looking at whether Kushner helped guide Russian voter-targeting efforts
 

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Both intelligence committees and the DOJ are looking at whether Kushner helped guide Russian voter-targeting efforts

Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation

Federal investigators looking for evidence of collusion between Donald Trumps presidential campaign and Russia are highly skeptical that Kremlin cyber operatives could have independently known which election jurisdictions to bombard with fake news damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton. One focus of

Investigators want to know: Did the Kushner-led digital team point out vulnerable voting districts for Russian cyber operatives?
 

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Investigators want to know: Did the Kushner-led digital team point out vulnerable voting districts for Russian cyber operatives?

Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation

Federal investigators looking for evidence of collusion between Donald Trumps presidential campaign and Russia are highly skeptical that Kremlin cyber operatives could have independently known which election jurisdictions to bombard with fake news damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton. One focus of

Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations
 

mikenova shared this story .

Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.

Also under scrutiny is the question of whether Trump associates or campaign aides had any role in assisting the Russians in publicly releasing thousands of emails, hacked from the accounts of top Democrats, at turning points in the presidential race, mainly through the London-based transparency web site WikiLeaks.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told McClatchy he wants to know whether Russia’s “fake or damaging news stories” were “coordinated in any way in terms of targeting or in terms of timing or in terms of any other measure … with the (Trump) campaign.”

By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters. Some investigators suspect the Russians targeted voters in swing states, even in key precincts.

Russia’s operation used computer commands knowns as “bots” to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria.

One source familiar with Justice’s criminal probe said investigators doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently “known where to specifically target … to which high-impact states and districts in those states.”

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is confidential.

Top Democrats on the committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have signaled the same.

Schiff said he wants the House panel to determine whether Trump aides helped Russia time its cyberattacks or target certain voters and whether there was “any exchange of information, any financial support funneled to organizations that were doing this kind of work.”

Trump son-in-law Kushner, now a senior adviser to the president and the only current White House aide known to be deemed a “person of interest” in the Justice Department investigation, appears to be under the microscope in several respects. His real estate finances and December meetings with Russia’s ambassador and the head of a sanctioned, state-controlled bank are also being examined.

Kushner’s “role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow’s influence operations in the elections,” including his niche overseeing the digital operations, will be closely looked at, said the source knowledgeable about the Justice Department inquiry.

Kushner joined Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at a newly disclosed June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York.. The meeting, revealed by The New York Times, followed emails in which Trump Jr. was told the lawyer for the Russian government would provide him with incriminating information on Clinton and he replied “If it’s what you say I love it.”

That disclosure could only serve to heighten interest in whether there was digital collaboration.

Mike Carpenter, who in January left a senior Pentagon post where he worked on Russia matters, also has suspicions about collaboration between the campaign and Russia’s cyber operatives.

“There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation,” he said, without naming any American suspects.

Trump has repeatedly repudiated or equivocated about the finding of four key intelligence agencies – the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Directorate of National Intelligence – that Russian cyber operatives meddled with the U.S. election.

Last Friday, during their first face-to-face meeting, Trump questioned Putin about Russia’s role in the election meddling and Putin denied culpability, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was present. Trump then said the two countries should find ways to move forward in their relationship, Tillerson said.

A Russian official who was at the meeting said the two sides agreed to form a working group to address cybersecurity, including interference in other countries’ internal affairs. However, Trump backtracked Sunday night, saying in a tweet that he doesn’t believe such an effort can happen.

There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation.

Mike Carpenter, former senior Pentagon official who specialized on Russia matters

As more has been learned about the breadth of the Russian cyber onslaught, congressional Democrats have shown growing resolve to demand that the Republican-controlled intelligence committees fully investigate ways in which Trump associates may have conspired with the Russians.

Among other things, congressional investigators are looking into whether Russian operatives, who successfully penetrated voting registration systems in Illinois, Arizona and possibly other states, shared any of that data with the Trump campaign, according to a report in Time.

“I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told Pod Save America recently. “Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware (of) really raises some questions … How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?”

The Russians appear to have targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, “where the Democrats were too brain dead to realize those states were even in play,” Warner said.

Twitter’s and Facebook’s search engines in those states were overwhelmed, he said, meaning they couldn’t discern fake news from real news.

“On your news feed, you suddenly got … ‘Hillary Clinton’s sick’ or ‘Hillary Clinton’s stealing money from the State Department,’” said Warner.

It started even before Trump locked up the nomination. Throughout the Republican primary elections in early 2016, Russia sent armies of bots carrying pro-Trump messages and deployed human “trolls” to comment in his favor on Internet stories and in social media, former FBI special agent Clint Watts told Congress weeks ago.

Watts, now a cybersecurity specialist with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the targets included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

As Donald Trump was locking up the Republican presidential nomination in May 2016, a U.S. intelligence intercept picked up Russians discussing ways to spread news damaging to Clinton, two people familiar with the matter said.

No one has proved that Russia’s attack influenced the vote count in the Nov. 8 general election., but it wouldn’t have taken much to tip the results and change the course of history.

Clinton lost the decisive states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,744 votes out of 13.9 million ballots cast. She could have won Michigan if 5,353 Trump voters had gone for her instead, Wisconsin if 11,375 votes had flipped to her and Pennsylvania if 22,147 Trump voters had instead picked her.

Kushner’s pivotal role in the Trump cyber effort was underscored by his hiring in 2015 of Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital guru who previously had done work for the Trump Organization, said two GOP operatives familiar with the campaign.

Parscale’s company raked in about $90 million for work targeting many states with paid advertisements, social media messages and other cyber tools.

As the Trump campaign’s top digital director, Parscale ran much of the operation from his San Antonio offices. He is expected to appear before at least one of several congressional committees investigating aspects of Russia’s interference in the election.

Parscale could not be reached for comment.

CNN quoted him last month as dismissing suggestions that Russian-directed online bots would have been effective in swinging votes to Trump. He said the campaign did not find Twitter — where those bots mainly functioned – to be an effective tool.

Washington attorney Abbe Lowell, who was recently hired to be Kushner’s chief defense counsel and has “a reputation as a guy you hire if you’re going to do battle with the government,” according to one former federal prosecutor, declined to comment on the Russia inquiries facing Kushner.

Shortly after his name arose in the inquiry, Kushner publicly volunteered to tell Congress about his Russia contacts and to answer questions about all issues for which he’s being scrutinized. Another of Kushner’s lawyers, Jamie Gorelick, says he will cooperate with both congressional and Justice Department investigations.

However, no interview date has been set, and Kushner’s attorneys decline to say whether he has produced records sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Update: This story has been updated to clarify that some investigators suspect Russia targeted voters in swing states and even key precincts.

Peter Stone is a McClatchy special correspondent.

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From Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to former campaign director Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s allies have business and personal connections to Russia. As Congress and the FBI look into Russia’s involvement with the 2016 election, those connect

Natalie Fertig and Patrick GleasonMcClatchy

Did Kushner point Russian cyber operatives to key voting precincts during campaign? DOJ/committees are investigating http://bit.ly/2tee9fr
 

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Did Kushner point Russian cyber operatives to key voting precincts during campaign? DOJ/committees are investigating http://bit.ly/2tee9fr 

Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations
 

mikenova shared this story .

Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.

Also under scrutiny is the question of whether Trump associates or campaign aides had any role in assisting the Russians in publicly releasing thousands of emails, hacked from the accounts of top Democrats, at turning points in the presidential race, mainly through the London-based transparency web site WikiLeaks, .

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told McClatchy he wants to know whether Russia’s “fake or damaging news stories” were “coordinated in any way in terms of targeting or in terms of timing or in terms of any other measure … with the (Trump) campaign.”

By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters. Some investigators suspect the Russians targeted voters in swing states, even in key precincts.

Russia’s operation used computer commands knowns as “bots” to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria.

One source familiar with Justice’s criminal probe said investigators doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently “known where to specifically target … to which high-impact states and districts in those states.”

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is confidential.

Top Democrats on the committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have signaled the same.

Schiff said he wants the House panel to determine whether Trump aides helped Russia time its cyberattacks or target certain voters and whether there was “any exchange of information, any financial support funneled to organizations that were doing this kind of work.”

Trump son-in-law Kushner, now a senior adviser to the president and the only current White House aide known to be deemed a “person of interest” in the Justice Department investigation, appears to be under the microscope in several respects. His real estate finances and December meetings with Russia’s ambassador and the head of a sanctioned, state-controlled bank are also being examined.

Kushner’s “role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow’s influence operations in the elections,” including his niche overseeing the digital operations, will be closely looked at, said the source knowledgeable about the Justice Department inquiry.

Kushner joined Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at a newly disclosed June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York.. The meeting, revealed by The New York Times, followed emails in which Trump Jr. was told the lawyer for the Russian government would provide him with incriminating information on Clinton and he replied “If it’s what you say I love it.”

That disclosure could only serve to heighten interest in whether there was digital collaboration.

Mike Carpenter, who in January left a senior Pentagon post where he worked on Russia matters, also has suspicions about collaboration between the campaign and Russia’s cyber operatives.

“There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation,” he said, without naming any American suspects.

Trump has repeatedly repudiated or equivocated about the finding of four key intelligence agencies – the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Directorate of National Intelligence – that Russian cyber operatives meddled with the U.S. election.

Last Friday, during their first face-to-face meeting, Trump questioned Putin about Russia’s role in the election meddling and Putin denied culpability, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was present. Trump then said the two countries should find ways to move forward in their relationship, Tillerson said.

A Russian official who was at the meeting said the two sides agreed to form a working group to address cybersecurity, including interference in other countries’ internal affairs. However, Trump backtracked Sunday night, saying in a tweet that he doesn’t believe such an effort can happen.

There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation.

Mike Carpenter, former senior Pentagon official who specialized on Russia matters

As more has been learned about the breadth of the Russian cyber onslaught, congressional Democrats have shown growing resolve to demand that the Republican-controlled intelligence committees fully investigate ways in which Trump associates may have conspired with the Russians.

Among other things, congressional investigators are looking into whether Russian operatives, who successfully penetrated voting registration systems in Illinois, Arizona and possibly other states, shared any of that data with the Trump campaign, according to a report in Time.

“I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told Pod Save America recently. “Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware (of) really raises some questions … How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?”

The Russians targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, “where the Democrats were too brain dead to realize those states were even in play,” Warner said.

Twitter’s and Facebook’s search engines in those states were overwhelmed, he said, meaning they couldn’t discern fake news from real news.

“On your news feed, you suddenly got … ‘Hillary Clinton’s sick’ or ‘Hillary Clinton’s stealing money from the State Department,’” said Warner.

It started even before Trump locked up the nomination. Throughout the Republican primary elections in early 2016, Russia sent armies of bots carrying pro-Trump messages and deployed human “trolls” to comment in his favor on Internet stories and in social media, former FBI special agent Clint Watts told Congress weeks ago.

Watts, now a cybersecurity specialist with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the targets included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

As Donald Trump was locking up the Republican presidential nomination in May 2016, a U.S. intelligence intercept picked up Russians discussing ways to spread news damaging to Clinton, two people familiar with the matter said.

No one has proved that Russia’s attack influenced the vote count in the Nov. 8 general election., but it wouldn’t have taken much to tip the results and change the course of history.

Clinton lost the decisive states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,744 votes out of 13.9 million ballots cast. She could have won Michigan if 5,353 Trump voters had gone for her instead, Wisconsin if 11,375 votes had flipped to her and Pennsylvania if 22,147 Trump voters had instead picked her.

Kushner’s pivotal role in the Trump cyber effort was underscored by his hiring in 2015 of Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital guru who previously had done work for the Trump Organization, said two GOP operatives familiar with the campaign.

Parscale’s company raked in about $90 million for work targeting many states with paid advertisements, social media messages and other cyber tools.

As the Trump campaign’s top digital director, Parscale ran much of the operation from his San Antonio offices. He is expected to appear before at least one of several congressional committees investigating aspects of Russia’s interference in the election.

Parscale could not be reached for comment.

CNN quoted him last month as dismissing suggestions that Russian-directed online bots would have been effective in swinging votes to Trump. He said the campaign did not find Twitter — where those bots mainly functioned – to be an effective tool.

Washington attorney Abbe Lowell, who was recently hired to be Kushner’s chief defense counsel and has “a reputation as a guy you hire if you’re going to do battle with the government,” according to one former federal prosecutor, declined to comment on the Russia inquiries facing Kushner.

Shortly after his name arose in the inquiry, Kushner publicly volunteered to tell Congress about his Russia contacts and to answer questions about all issues for which he’s being scrutinized. Another of Kushner’s lawyers, Jamie Gorelick, says he will cooperate with both congressional and Justice Department investigations.

However, no interview date has been set, and Kushner’s attorneys decline to say whether he has produced records sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Update: This story has been updated to clarify that some investigators suspect Russia targeted voters in swing states and even key precincts.

Peter Stone is a McClatchy special correspondent.

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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

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 Obamas Legacy The Web -WebWorldTimes.com https://t.co/o2PqCXBrMN
 

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Trump And The Obamas Legacy The Web -WebWorldTimes.com https://t.co/o2PqCXBrMN

Trump And The Obamas 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

FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova: Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familias assassination: https://t.co/Lj3VAimh2H…
 

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Leflore Mississippi military plane crash might be a follow-up on police officer Miosotis Familias 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 Obamas Legacy By Michael Novakhov Trump is the Obamas 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…

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova

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

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


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

 mikenov on Twitter

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 Syrias southeast said it shot down the plane in regime controlled territory.

 FB-RSS feed for Mike Nova


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