10:08 AM 9/12/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Photo published for Russian thread runs through Chicago extradition case

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief imminent

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 9:02 AM

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russian propaganda in 2016 elections – Google Search

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 8:35 AM

Russian Propaganda In 2016 Elections – Google News

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FBI investigates Russian news agency Sputnik

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 7:54 AM

Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

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WASHINGTON — The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

As part of the probe, Yahoo News has learned, the bureau has obtained a thumb drive containing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents — material that could potentially help prosecutors build a case that the news agency played a role in the Russian government “influence campaign” that was waged during last year’s presidential election and, in the view of U.S. intelligence officials, is still ongoing.

The emails were turned over by Andrew Feinberg, the news agency’s former White House correspondent, who had downloaded the material onto his laptop before he was fired in May. He confirmed to Yahoo News that he was questioned for more than two hours on Sept. 1 by an FBI agent and a Justice Department national security lawyer at the bureau’s Washington field office.

Feinberg said the interview was focused on Sputnik’s “internal structure, editorial processes and funding.”

“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg told Yahoo News. “They were interested in examples of how I was steered towards covering certain issues.”

It is not clear whether the agent and prosecutor who questioned Feinberg were acting as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s broader investigation into Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. “We are not confirming whether specific matters are or are not part of our ongoing investigation,” a spokesman for Mueller emailed. A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment, and the FBI did not respond to questions.

But the inquiry comes at a time when members of Congress and others have pushed the Justice Department to strengthen its enforcement of the FARA, especially as it relates to the operations in Washington of two Russian news organizations, Sputnik and RT (formerly known as Russia Today).

“This is incredibly significant,” said Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent and now an associate dean of Yale Law School, about the bureau’s questioning of the former Sputnik reporter. “The FBI has since the 1970s taken pains not to be perceived in any way as infringing on First Amendment activity. But this tells me they have good information and intelligence that these organizations have been acting on behalf of the Kremlin and that there’s a direct line between them and the [Russian influence operations] that are a significant threat to our democracy.”

Sputnik is owned by Rossiya Segodnya, a Russian government media operation headed by Dmitri Kiselyov, a belligerent television broadcaster who is known as Putin’s “personal propagandist” and has been sanctioned by the European Union in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. On its website, Sputnik describes itself as a “modern news agency” that “covers global political and economic news targeting an international audience.”

Contacted by Yahoo News, Sputnik’s U.S. editor in chief, Mindia Gavasheli, said, “Any assertion that we are not a news organization is simply false.” He also said he was unaware of the FBI probe. “This is the first time I’m hearing about it, and I don’t think anyone at Sputnik was contacted, so thank you for letting us know,” Gavasheli said.

Gavasheli attributed the push to have Sputnik register through FARA to paranoia surrounding Russia. “I think it tells about the atmosphere of hysteria that we are witnessing now,” Gavasheli said. “Anything being related to Russia right now is being considered a spycraft of some sort.”

Shortly after this story was published on Monday, a Sputnik spokeswoman released a statement saying the company reached out to the Justice Department after being alerted to the investigation by Yahoo News.

“Unfortunately our requests to the Justice Department for information has not been answered to date,” the statement said. ” We are more than happy to answer any questions the DOJ or the FBI might have.”

The statement also defended Sputnik as “a news organization dedicated to accurate news reporting.”

“Our journalists have won multiple media awards throughout the world. Any assertion that Sputnik is anything but a credible news outlet is false,” the statement said.

Both Sputnik and RT were identified in a U.S. intelligence report in January as being arms of Russia’s “state-run propaganda machine” that served as a “platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.” As an example, the report said, Sputnik and RT “consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.”

The investigation appears to center on whether Sputnik should be covered by the foreign agents registration law, a 1938 act passed by Congress to combat Nazi propaganda. The law mandates that foreign entities seeking to influence American public opinion and engage in lobbying must file detailed reports with the Justice Department on their funding and operations. If the Justice Department concludes that Sputnik is covered by the law, its executives in the U.S. could face criminal charges and fines, while the news agency’s reports would have to be explicitly labeled as foreign propaganda rather than presented as news.

There is an exemption under the law for media organizations that engage in legitimate news-gathering activity. But Feinberg, the former Sputnik reporter, said the FBI agent and Justice prosecutor who interviewed him focused their questions on how Sputnik determined what stories it would cover, where its directions came from and what he knew about its sources of funding.

(Yahoo first learned about the FBI inquiry from a U.S. intelligence source. Feinberg then confirmed he was interviewed and showed the business cards of the FBI agent and Justice Department lawyer who questioned him.)

While his instructions as White House correspondent came from the senior editors and news directors at Sputnik’s Washington office, Feinberg said these supervisors regularly “would say, ‘Moscow wants this or Moscow wants that.’”

The thumb drive of emails and other documents that Feinberg turned over to the FBI contains messages that could shed light on Sputnik’s funding, its operations in Washington and how it makes editorial decisions. It includes documents Feinberg submitted on behalf of Sputnik to obtain congressional press credentials in which he confirmed that the Russian government is the company’s main funding source.

The questioning of Feinberg, Sputnik’s former White House correspondent, came just two weeks after Yahoo News published an interview in which he claimed he was fired by Sputnik’s D.C. bureau chief for refusing orders to ask the president’s press secretary about a since-discredited Fox News report in a televised briefing. That report claimed that WikiLeaks obtained internal Democratic National Committee emails not from material hacked by Russian intelligence services, as the U.S. government has asserted, but from a low-level DNC staffer, Seth Rich, who was murdered on the streets of Washington in July 2016. (Fox has since retracted the report.)

Feinberg, who first made his allegations on May 26, the day he left Sputnik, has also claimed the company pushed him to ask questions that suggested the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, who is a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was not behind chemical attacks in that country. Feinberg said the interviewers specifically asked him about a piece he wrote detailing these claims that was published by Politico on Aug. 21. A spokeswoman for Sputnik has previously denied Feinberg’s allegations and told Yahoo News his contract with the company “was not renewed due to performance-related issues.”

The FBI reached out to Feinberg shortly after another former Sputnik staffer, Joseph John Fionda, sent a letter to the Justice Department’s national security division detailing a series of similar accusations against the news organization and requested that it be investigated for FARA violations.

In a brief conversation over an encrypted messaging app, Fionda told Yahoo News he also sent “a big packet” of information to the division on or about Aug. 15.

In his letter to Justice, Fionda  said he was employed by RIA Global LLC, a media company associated with Sputnik, from Sept. 5 to Oct. 19, 2015. During that time, Fionda wrote, Sputnik conducted “a perception management information warfare program” about Russia’s military involvement in Syria. He said the news organization falsely described Russia’s targets in that country as “terrorists” affiliated with the jihadist group ISIS when, he asserted, the Russian forces were actually bombing other anti-Assad rebel groups.

In another instance, Fionda said, an article he wrote in September 2015 about President Obama’s repatriation of Guantánamo detainees to a number of countries was “censored” to omit any reference to the fact that six of the detainees were being sent back to Russia, where they were later imprisoned.

Fionda said his last straw with Sputnik came on Oct. 19, 2015, after excerpts of private emails from then-CIA Director John Brennan were published by a hacker on Twitter. He claimed Gavasheli, Sputnik’s U.S. editor in chief, asked him to “obtain the CIA Director’s stolen emails” from the hacker.

“I refused because I believed this was a solicitation to espionage,” Fionda wrote.

When he refused the order, Fionda wrote that Gavasheli told him to “get the f— out of my office” and then fired him. Gavasheli, in his interview with Yahoo News, denied this and said Fionda was fired after falsely claiming his father was ill in order to take time off from work.

The probe into Sputnik also comes shortly after the Russian news agency announced a significant expansion in the U.S. capital: It took over a popular Washington FM radio station dedicated to playing bluegrass music and replaced it with an all-talk format with hosts who regularly criticize U.S. policies — as well as one co-host who is a former Breitbart News reporter and Trump supporter. “I’m sure you heard a lot about us,” Gavasheli was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “Now you can actually listen to us.”

This article was updated at 1:30 p.m. with an additional statement from Sputnik. 

Read more from Yahoo News:

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Sputnik (news agency) – Wikipedia

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 7:52 AM

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Sputnik (news agency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigationsearch

“Radio Sputnik” redirects here. For other uses, see Radio Sputnik (disambiguation).

Not to be confused with Sputnik (search engine).

Type News and Media
Country Russian Federation
Availability Worldwide
Slogan Telling the Untold
Owner

Launch date

10 November 2014

Official website

sputniknews.com

Notes

Sputnik (Russian pronunciation: [ˈsputʲnʲɪk]; formerly The Voice of Russia) is a news agencynews websites and radio broadcast service established by the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya.[2] Headquartered in Moscow, Sputnik has regional editorial offices in WashingtonCairoBeijingLondon and Edinburgh; in Sputnik’s Washington D.C. office, Peter Martinichev is the editor and Mikhail Safronov is the bureau chief.[3] Sputnik focuses on global politics and economicsand is geared towards a non-Russian audience.[4] Sputnik has been widely accused of bias, disinformation[5] and being a Russian propaganda outlet.[6][7]

Sputnik currently operates news websites, featuring reporting and commentary, in over 30 languages including EnglishSpanishPolishSerbian, and several others. The websites also house over 800 hours of radio broadcasting material each day and its newswire service runs around the clock.[8][9][10]Alongside its news content, Sputnik also produces photo essayslive streaminginfographics, and public opinion surveys.[11][12]

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Dmytro Firtash extradition – Google Search

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 7:43 AM

Dmytro Firtash Extradition – Google News

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Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief …

Chicago Tribune12 hours ago

Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash could be extradited “within weeks,” his lawyer said Monday. (GEORGES SCHNEIDER/AFP/Getty Images).

A Russian billionaire with ties to Manafort is out on $174 million bail …
Raw Story11 hours ago

View all

Austrian Court Rejects Spanish Extradition Request For Ukrainian …

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyAug 30, 2017

A court in Austria has rejected a Spanish extradition request for Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. The move paves the way for the …

Austria rejects Spanish extradition for Ukrainian oligarch
Washington PostAug 30, 2017

View all

Extradition of Ukrainian oligarch with links to Trump campaign …

Chicago TribuneAug 31, 2017

Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash arrives for the start of his trial at the courts of justice in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 21, 2017. Firtash was arrested …

Russian thread runs through Chicago extradition case

WLS-TVSep 8, 2017

Firtash is weeks or months away from extradition to stand trial here because Austria has already made a final decision that extradition is …

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sputnik investigation – Google Search

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 7:08 AM

Sputnik Investigation – Google News

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Sputnik, The Russian News Agency, Is Under Investigation By The FBI

HuffPost17 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency …

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Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief … – Chicago Tribune

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 at 6:39 AM

Donald Trump Racketeering – Google News

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Chicago Tribune

Lawyer says extradition of oligarch tied to Trump campaign chief …
Chicago Tribune
Prosecutors say wiretapped conversations link Ukrainian to Chicago, argue he will flee to Russia.

and more »

Russian news agency that pushed DNC conspiracy reportedly under FBI investigation – Business Insider Nordic

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 1:18 PM

Reopening Of The FBI Emails Investigation Is Not Going To Hurt Mrs. Clinton – Google News

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Russian news agency that pushed DNC conspiracy reportedly under FBI investigation
Business Insider Nordic
The FBI is investigating whether Russia’s state-owned Sputnik News is a propaganda arm of the Kremlin and therefore operating in the United States in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Yahoo News reported Sunday. Sputnik’s former …

and more »

FBI probes Russian news agency over election propaganda – New York Post

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News

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New York Post

FBI probes Russian news agency over election propaganda
New York Post
The FBI is investigating a Russian government-backed news agency to see if it spread Kremlin propaganda during the 2016 presidential election, according to a report on Monday. Federal agents have obtained a thumb drive that contains thousands of …

and more »

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other – Financial Times

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 12:48 PM

Putin Trump – Google News

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Financial Times

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other
Financial Times
If Vladimir Putin did help to put Donald Trump in the White House, it would be the ultimate intelligence coup. Yet, it might also prove to be the ultimate own goal. An operation designed to ease the pressure on Mr Putin’s government by installing a 
Putin on Trump: He’s not my bride, and I’m not his groomNewburgh Gazette
Putin’s peacekeepers: Beware of Russians bearing giftsEuropean Council on Foreign Relations
Not in love: Putin declares Trump is not his brideHi-tech Beacon
The Nation. –HiTechFacts
all 50 news articles »

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could destroy each other

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 11:38 AM

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If Vladimir Putin did help to put Donald Trump in the White House, it would be the ultimate intelligence coup. Yet, it might also prove to be the ultimate own goal. An operation designed to ease the pressure on Mr Putin’s government by installing a friendly face in the White House has instead led to a tightening of sanctions on Russia, and a dangerous increase in the domestic political pressure on the Russian president.

As for Mr Trump, his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia may have aided his electoral victory at the risk of destroying his presidency. It would be a strange irony if the intimacy of the Putin and Trump camps ultimately ended both presidents’ political careers.

Of course, the Russian government and Mr Trump’s diehard defenders still deny that any such collusion took place. But the US intelligence services are certain that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic party emails.

It seems likely that the hack influenced the course of a tight election. I was in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic convention in July 2016 when the first leaked emails were released. The revelation that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, had been privately disparaging the Bernie Sanders campaign forced her resignation, and ensured that the convention got off to a chaotic start.

Mr Sanders’ supporters were convinced that their man had been robbed. And Sanders voters who switched to the Republicans, were crucial to Mr Trump’s victories in the vital states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. We now also know that Russian operators used Facebook and Twitter to spread anti-Clinton messages.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Trump was consistently sympathetic to the Kremlin. Whether he was motivated by ideology, investment or some embarrassing secret has yet to emerge.

But the Russian connection set off the chain of events that may ultimately unravel his presidency. Alarmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into his Russian contacts, Mr Trump sacked James Comey, the head of the FBI.

The backlash against the Comey sacking led to the appointment of Robert Mueller, a former head of the Bureau, as a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection. And the remorseless progress of the Mueller inquiry is likely to spark indictments and resignations. That, in turn, could lead to the impeachment of Mr Trump — and the destruction of his presidency.

As for Mr Putin, the moment it became clear that his gamble might backfire was when Mr Trump was forced to sack General Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, for not disclosing contacts with the Russian government. From that point on, it became politically impossible for Mr Trump to help Russia by easing sanctions. On the contrary, the backlash against Russian interference in the US election has led to the intensification of sanctions, with a distrustful Congress ensuring that Mr Trump cannot lift these measures unilaterally.

Indeed, for the Republican Congress getting tough on Russia seems to have become a surrogate for getting tough on Mr Trump. The sanctions added over the summer were aimed specifically at the Russian mining and oil industries, In response, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, accused the US of “a declaration of full-fledged economic warfare on Russia”.

So far from improving under Mr Trump, US-Russian relations are now as bitter as at any time since the height of the cold war. Realising that the Trump administration will not be able to lift sanctions, the Kremlin resorted to a mass expulsion of US diplomats in response to an earlier expulsion of Russians by the Obama administration. The prospect that the US might supply arms to Ukraine has become much more real. And Russia is about to embark on some major military exercises in eastern Europe, which will heighten US fears.

The irony for Mr Putin is that, if he had simply let events take their course, sanctions on Russia could have been eased in the natural run of events — even with Hillary Clinton in the White House. Mrs Clinton had already tried one “reset” with Russia as secretary of state, and might have been prepared to try another. Many in Europe were also tiring of sanctions on Russia.

When the Mueller inquiry reports, there is likely to be a renewed spike in American outrage towards Russia. The most obvious threat is posed to Mr Trump. But the Mueller inquiry also poses an indirect threat to Mr Putin. He will contest a presidential election in March and faces a re-energised opposition, led by the popular and daring Alexei Navalny, and a deteriorating economy that has hit Russian consumers hard. Even though very few people expect Mr Putin to lose the election, the pro-Putin euphoria of a couple of years ago is clearly fading. Articles about the post-Putin era have begun to appear in the Russian media.

Above all, the most powerful economic interests in Russia now know that there is no longer any light at the end of the sanctions tunnel. In fact, things are likely to get worse. Something radical will have to change to get sanctions lifted. And that change might be the removal of Mr Putin from the Kremlin. Indeed, it is only when Mr Trump and Mr Putin both go that it may truly be possible to reset US-Russian relations.

gideon.rachman@ft.com

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Why Robert Mueller May Have to Give Donald Trump Immunity

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 9:25 AM

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The Trump-Russia Investigation has accelerated. Armed with more evidence, and assisted by many of the most talented prosecutors and investigators in the country, special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., to investigate whether President Trump and his associates colluded with Russian operatives to win the White House.

The fact that a federal grand jury has been impaneled is a significant development by itself; prosecutors don’t ordinarily convene grand juries unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The grand jury probe has expanded to include whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. And it is also reasonable to believe that Mueller’s team is presenting evidence to the grand jury relating to financial connections between Trump, the Trump Organization, and Trump’s business associates with Russia and Russian interests.

We have a fairly good picture of where the grand jury investigation will go. Although it is not known who all has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, many of them have already made statements, and we can reasonably assume that many of them already have been interrogated by federal investigators. We do not know whether any of these individuals has sought immunity from prosecution, been granted immunity, and has given testimony. Also, the fact that investigators obtained a search warrant to search Paul Manafort’s home in July is quite significant. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager and had the most far-reaching financial ties with the Ukraine and Russia. Prosecutors in order to obtain a warrant must demonstrate probable cause to believe that Manafort committed federal crimes.

But clearly the most critical witness of all, and a likely target of the investigation, is Trump himself. As the grand jury investigation accelerates, and it focuses on Trump’s role, he will almost certainly be subpoenaed, and his testimony demanded. When that happens, what follows is unclear. Given Trump’s almost pathological contempt for the rule of law and for Mueller’s investigation, which Trump has repeatedly disparaged as a “witch hunt,” it is reasonably predictable that Trump’s lawyers will flout the grand jury’s investigation, mock Mueller, and refuse to testify. Will Trump succeed in spurning the process?

It should be emphasized that Trump has no legal privilege to avoid testifying before the grand jury. A grand jury, the most formidable investigative body in the United States, has the power to compel testimony from anyone, even a president, as Bill Clinton was compelled to do for the first time in U.S. history in the 1998 investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr into whether he lied about having an inappropriate relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. And the Supreme Court has consistently reaffirmed the awesome powers of the grand jury, stating that “the public has a right to every man’s evidence,” including the president.

Although Trump’s lawyers most likely will advise him to resist testifying, probably claiming, as did former President Richard Nixon, some type of executive privilege, they will almost certainly lose. The Supreme Court decisively rejected that claim when Nixon refused to comply with a grand jury subpoena for records of conversations with White House associates.

When Trump is summoned, and presumably despite his resistance if ordered by a court to testify, will he comply? If not, will he be held in contempt? If Trump and the prosecutors try to negotiate some compromise, it is conceivable that the prosecutors will grant him immunity and thereby compel him to testify. As long as the prosecutors are careful, giving Trump immunity will not necessarily have any significant legal impact on the investigation, or the ability of prosecutors to charge Trump with crimes.

Immunity prevents the prosecutors from using Trump’s testimony against him, and from using any evidentiary leads gained from his testimony. But assuming that proof of Trump’s criminal offenses has already been discovered—such as proof of his obstruction of justice in seeking to halt the Flynn investigation or firing Comey—then despite giving him immunity, that proof can legally be used to prosecute him. And despite immunity, Trump can be prosecuted for perjury for giving false testimony.

Based on information that already is known, and reasonable inferences from other information that has likely been discovered (such as Trump’s financial records and testimony from other witnesses), these are some of the general areas that Trump likely would be questioned about. It is important to note that each of these areas is a relatively core subject, and would likely be the foundation to develop peripheral questions:

– Did Trump know when he was running for president and hired Paul Manafort as his campaign manager that Manafort had extensive financial dealings and lobbying work with Ukrainian and pro-Russian officials? Did he discuss Manafort’s connections with anyone?

– What was the basis for Trump’s decision to fire Comey? With whom did he discuss the firing? Did he discuss the firing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

– Did Trump know that his son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Paul Manfort met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign and allegedly obtained damaging information about Hillary Clinton? When did he learn about the meeting? From whom? What was his response?

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– Did Trump alter Don Jr.’s initial statement about the Russia meeting, in which Don Jr. stated that he met to discuss Russian adoption but then changed this fabricated story to a new explanation that he wanted to judge Clinton’s “fitness.”

– Did Trump know that during his campaign his company was seeking to develop a real estate project in Moscow? What was he told? By whom?

– Did Trump have any financial dealings, projects, loans, and any other financial or other interests with Russia, Russian officials, and Russian business interests?

– Did Trump know of any contacts between persons involved in his campaign and Russian intelligence operatives? Who were these persons? Did he have any conversations with them?

As with so many other grand jury investigations, it is possible that the substantive offenses that the grand jury is investigating—here the principal focus is collusion between the Trump team and Russian officials to undermine the presidential election—may not be able to be proved conclusively. Nevertheless, when confronted with specific questions about their knowledge of certain facts, their previous statements, previous meetings, and numerous other relevant albeit peripheral details about subjects that reasonably should be memorable to the witness, it is not uncommon for the witness either to claim lack of memory, or lie.

And if Trump becomes a grand jury witness, and given his abundantly documented penchant for lying, brazenly, and almost reflexively, it is very likely that the prosecutors will be able to pose clear, specific, and non-ambiguous questions to Trump of which he might claim an inability to remember, but which he also might answer falsely and thereby commit a felony. Indeed, that is exactly how Independent Counsel Starr was able to lay the foundation for the impeachment of President Clinton by in effect trapping Clinton into lying about his conduct with intern Lewinsky.

Whether Trump will be indicted, for what, and the legal consequences, are not clear or predictable. Indeed, the question of whether a sitting president can be prosecuted at all has been hotly debated. Whether Trump is able to claim some type of presidential immunity from prosecution may ultimately have to be ruled on by the Supreme Court, as was the case with Nixon. The court did hold in the Paula Jones civil lawsuit that Clinton enjoyed no immunity from civil liability for unofficial acts committed before he became president. The lesson in that case is that no person is above the law, even a president. Whether that lesson applies to Trump may likely be decided soon.

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First Read’s Morning Clips: Remembering 9/11

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 9:19 AM

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TRUMP AGENDA: Remembering 9/11

Follow all the latest on Hurricane Irma on NBCNews.com

Trump will preside over his first 9/11 commemoration in office today.

POLITICO: “President Donald Trump’s closest allies are planning a slate of primary challenges against Republican senators, potentially undermining the party’s prospects in 2018 and further inflaming tensions between GOP leaders and the White House. The effort is being led by Steve Bannon, Trump’s bomb-throwing former chief strategist, who is launching an all-out war against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment. Bannon has begun holding private meetings with insurgent challengers, vowing his support. He’s coordinating with conservative mega-donor Robert Mercer, who is prepared to pour millions of dollars into attacks on GOP incumbents. Bannon has also installed a confidant at an outside group that is expected to target Republican lawmakers and push the Trump agenda.”

More from The Washington Post, on Steve Bannon’s war on the GOP: “Stephen K. Bannon — President Trump’s former chief strategist who left the White House in August — declared war Sunday against the Republican congressional leadership, called on Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, to resign, and outlined his views on issues ranging from immigration to trade. Bannon, in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) of “trying to nullify the 2016 election.” It was Bannon’s first television interview since leaving the White House and returning as executive chairman to Breitbart News, the conservative website he previously led.”

Steve Bannon is calling Trump’s decision to fire James Comey the biggest mistake in “modern political history.”

Will Paul Ryan emerge stronger from his clashes with the administration? “President Trump’s fiscal deal with Democratic leaders in Congress — which passed the House with more than a third of Republicans voting against it — infuriated House conservatives, who struck first at Mr. Ryan, but ultimately turned their ire on the Trump White House,” writes the New York Times. “By week’s end, the men feeling the lash were Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary and budget director. If anything, Mr. Ryan may have emerged stronger.”

And from POLITICO: “Trump’s surprise partnership with Democrats may have bolstered, at least temporarily, Ryan’s standing among rank-and-file Republicans. Many lawmakers rallied behind the speaker and directed their anger at the White House over the debt deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and budget director Mick Mulvaney were booed when they came to Capitol Hill to plead with Republicans to support the deal.”

You can read the transcript of Bannon’s 60 Minutes interview here.

On CBS, Hillary Clinton described the aftermath of the election and said “I am done with being a candidate. But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.”

NBC’s Dartunorro Clark: “Trump’s vote fraud panel is coming to New Hampshire on Tuesday for its second public meeting, only days after the commission’s vice-chair amplified the president’s baseless claims in an op-ed that illegal voting had possibly swayed the election in the state.”

The New York Times: “The Trump administration opened the door to allowing more firearms on federal lands. It scrubbed references to “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking. And, on the advice of religious leaders, it eliminated funding to international groups that provide abortion. While these initiatives lacked the fanfare of some of President Trump’s high-profile proclamations — like his ban on transgender people in the military — they point to a fundamental repurposing of the federal bureaucracy to promote conservative social priorities.”

The Wall Street Journal notes that the hurricane will delay tests of Trump’s newfound bipartisan deal-making.

(But remember, this bipartisan deal – over a three-month extension of the debt limit – follows months of Trump pursuing a partisan agenda, on health care, taxes, regulations and judicial appointments.)

OFF TO THE RACES: California dreamin’ about an earlier presidential primary

“California is pushing forward with a plan to change the state’s primary date from June to March, a move that could scramble the 2020 presidential nominating contest and swing the early weight of the campaign to the West,” writes POLITICO.

AL-SEN: Does Roy Moore’s DACA gaffe matter?

NJ-SEN: <a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a> has the latest on the Menendez bribery trial.

TN-SEN: Is Bob Corker thinking of retiring? He told CNN he’s “still contemplating the future.”

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  • · ·

Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 8:10 AM

Antiwar.Com Original

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Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get into the United States to begin with? Who supported them while they were here? Why didn’t law enforcement – which had plenty of clues as to what they were up to – stop them? Prior to the attacks, our government spent billions on “anti-terrorist” programs designed to prevent precisely what occurred on September 11, 2001 – yet Mohammed Atta and his accomplices managed to slip through the cracks. How?

While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions.

What we do know, however, is that our lives were changed forever: propelled into a war without end, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere that are still ongoing. Thousands of Americans and an untold number of Afghans, Iraqis, and others – hundreds of thousands– have so far perished in what our generals tell us will be a “generational” conflict with no discernible end in sight.

We also know, thanks to public agitation around this question, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had substantial involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The campaign to reveal the redacted portions of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11 was partially successful, although there is still much the government is keeping from the American people. What we learned from the pages that were revealed is that Saudi government employees aided and directed at least two of the hijackers – and that Prince Bandar al Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, was at the center of the spider web that ensnared the nation on 9/11.

Now a lawsuit brought by some of the 9/11 families reveals that, a full two years before 9/11, the Saudi government funded a “dry run” designed to test airline security. As Paul Sperry reports in the New York Post:

“Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington ‘in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.”

The lawsuit accuses the Saudis of providing “both financial and operational support” to the operation, which was clearly a covert action by Saudi intelligence. Lawyers for the complainants allege that the two “students” — Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi – were part of “the Kingdom’s network of agents in the US.”

The evidence marshaled by the lawsuit is pretty impressive. It shows that:

  • These “students” trained at an al-Qaeda camp at the same time as some of the hijackers.
  • They had regular contact with a highly-placed Saudi leader of al-Qaeda who is now imprisoned at Gitmo.
  • Both were Saudi government employees and were in regular contact with the Saudi embassy.

It was November, 1999, when Qudhaeein and Hamdan boarded an Air West flight to Washington, D.C., and started acting in a highly suspicious manner. A summary of the FBI files on them states:

“After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious. When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane. Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit.”

The reaction of the pilots was clearly “Islamophobic” – they carried out an emergency landing in Ohio, where the duo was arrested, handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Luckily for the Saudi conspirators, the FBI decided their behavior was no big deal and let them go. It was only later that our Keystone Kops discovered that “a suspect in a counterterrorism investigation in Phoenix was driving Shalawi’s car” and this “student” had “trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and had received explosives training to perform attacks on American targets.” As for Qudhaeein, the FBI concluded he “was a Saudi intelligence agent, based on his frequent contact with Saudi officials.”

Move along, folks — nothing to see here!

wrote about the connection between the Saudi government and the activities of some of the hijackers in San Diego, which was revealed when the 28 pages of the redacted Joint Inquiry report were partially unredacted. We wouldn’t know anything about this part of the 9/11 plot if Robert Mueller – then FBI director, now the “special counsel” heading up the “Russia-gate” probe – had had his way. When the Joint Inquiry sent former FBI lawyer and counterterrorism expert Michael Jacobson to San Diego to investigate Saudi links to 9/11, Mueller was furious, as Andrew Cockburn reports in Harper’s:

“Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me recently that Robert Mueller, then the FBI director (and now the special counsel investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign) made “the strongest objections” to Jacobson and his colleagues visiting San Diego.

“Graham and his team defied Mueller’s efforts, and Jacobson flew west. There he discovered that his hunch was correct. The FBI files in California were replete with extraordinary and damning details …”

Jacobsons’s San Diego sojourn unearthed much evidence of FBI incompetence, including the fact that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar,who had arrived in California from Malaysia and been taken under the wing of Saudi agents, “had been close with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh,” as Cockburn informs us:

“Hazmi had actually lived in his house after Mihdhar left town. Shaikh failed to mention his young Saudi friends’ last names in regular reports to his FBI case officer, or that they were taking flying lessons. Understandably, the investigators had a lot of questions for this man. Nevertheless, Mueller adamantly refused their demands to interview him, even when backed by a congressional subpoena, and removed Shaikh to an undisclosed location ‘for his own safety.’ Today, Graham believes that Mueller was acting under orders from the White House.”

Think about this for a moment: the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for “collusion” with Russia and possible “obstruction of justice” himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Was Mueller, possibly on orders from President George W. Bush, colluding with the Saudis to cover up their role?

The Bush administration, with its familial ties to the Saudis, had every interest in covering up Riyadh’s active complicity. Aside from that, they were pushing the fable of Saddam Hussein’s ‘links” to the 9/11 attacks.

So many lies! So much official obstruction! Now, however, the truth is finally coming out. With the passage of legislation stripping the Saudis of their “sovereign immunity” – over President Obama’s veto – the class action suit against the Saudis is moving forward. Armed with thousands of pages of documents showing how Riyadh and its global network of Islamic extremists have succored, aided, and directed al-Qaeda and allied organizations in terrorist attacks against US citizens and interests, the families of those killed, wounded, and traumatized on September 11, 2001, are about to get their day in court.

And what is bound to come out is the complicity of US officials in the cover-up. It looks to me like Robert Mueller’s time in the spotlight is about to get a lot more interesting.

A NOTE TO MY READERS: Our fundraising campaign is over, and I’m happy to report that we reached our goal. Many thanks to all of you who contributed. Without your support, we just could not continue our work.

Independent journalism in the foreign policy field is more important than ever, and we’re grateful for your support. It’s a good thing that we can confront the future, however problematic it may be, with the full confidence of our readers and supporters. Again, many thanks.

And a very special thank you to the heroic Daniel Ellsberg, who helped us with such a kind letter of endorsement.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of <a href=”http://Antiwar.com” rel=”nofollow”>Antiwar.com</a>, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000]. View all posts by Justin Raimondo

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Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe? – Antiwar.com

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 8:08 AM

Mueller – Google News

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Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?
Antiwar.com
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get 

and more »

Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’ – Washington Post

Monday September 11th, 2017 at 8:07 AM

James B. Comey – Google News

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Washington Post

Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’
Washington Post
Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon believes the firing of FBI director James B.Comey by President Trump was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” Bannon made the extraordinary statement during an online segment of his …
Bannon Calls Comey Firing the Biggest Mistake in ‘Modern Political History’New York Times

all 109 news articles »

Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 6:47 PM

The Nation

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Felix Sater speaks at the Chabad of Port Washington in Port Washington, New York, in 2014. (YouTube: Felix Sater)

Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a blank. Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, and despite his recent headline-making appearance as an exuberant negotiator on behalf of Trump’s hardnosed attorney, Michael Cohen, in seeking to build a “massive Trump Tower in Moscow” last year, Trump ducks.

“I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him,” Trump said, in a deposition in a court case involving Sater in 2013. And The New York Times reported him as saying, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” As late as 2015, when asked about Sater, Trump hemmed and hawed. “Boy, I have to even think about it.”

It’s no wonder that Trump, especially now that he’s under investigation over his ties to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election, would respond to questions about Sater by saying: Who’s he?

Of all the characters caught up in Russiagate, none come close to Sater for having a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel. His past record includes a conviction for lacerating a man’s face with a broken margarita glass in a bar brawl and his involvement in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud and money-laundering scheme. Despite that record, which came before he worked with Trump, Sater spent nearly a decade working with the Trump Organization in search of deals in Russia and other former Soviet republics. But on August 28, Sater made the front pages of the Times and The Washington Post, thanks to leaked copies of e-mails that he sent in late 2015 and early 2016 to Cohen, concerning Sater’s efforts to work with a group of Russian investors to set up a flagship Trump property in the Russian capital.

In language that Cohen himself described to the Times as “colorful,” Sater seemed nearly beside himself as he reported on his work in Moscow on behalf of Trump:

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

Sater couldn’t resist adding, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.” According to the Times, Sater was “eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia.” Which, of course, Trump has done repeatedly over the years. And, though Trump has denied that he has any business interests in Russia, even as he was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary race, Cohen and Sater were deep into previously undisclosed talks with Russian partners about constructing a Trump-branded hotel, according to The Washington Post. In a statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week, Cohen did admit writing to Dmitry Peskov in connection with Sater’s work. Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, confirmed the contact.

So who, exactly, is Felix Sater? Tim O’Brien, author of a biography of Trump, wrote about Sater in an article titled “Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine.” He was born in 1966 in the Soviet Union, and he and his family moved to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, when he was just 8. According to a recent Guardian profile, Sater’s relationship with Cohen—and to organized crime—goes way back:

Sater’s links to Trump’s circle can be traced back to not long after he came to the US as a child. His father, Mikhail Sheferovsky (who changed the family name after arriving in New York) became a local crime boss in Brighton Beach and Sater grew up on that side of Brooklyn, where he got to know another teenager in the neighbourhood, Michael Cohen, a Long Island boy who would go on to become Trump’s personal lawyer and vice-president of the Trump Organization.

Sorting out Sater’s checkered past leads into a convoluted labyrinth of crime, legal entanglements, shady deals, alleged ties to US and foreign intelligence agencies and, of course, intimate connections to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The best comprehensive account of Sater’s long and complicated path was written by Andrew Rice and published in August in New York magazine under the headline “The Original Russia Connection.” Rice’s account, which includes parts of a lengthy interview with Sater, draws heavily on a 2007 breakthrough piece by Charles Bagli in The New York Times. Bagli was the first to uncover and report in depth on Sater’s criminal past. This past February the Times published a blockbuster story by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane recounting an effort by Sater, Cohen, Gen. Mike Flynn, and a Ukrainian politician to put forward a half-cocked Ukrainian “peace plan” and deliver it, freelance fashion, to the White House. In addition, various lawsuits, testimony, and depositions by the characters in Sater’s erratic orbit, including by Trump himself, provide valuable material in figuring out who Sater is and what role he plays in the Trump-Russia story. In this piece, I draw on all of these sources and more.

Sater’s first run-in with the law came in 1991—according to the indictment, as reported by Bagli in the Times—when Sater, then an upstart stockbroker in his mid-20s, “grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] broker’s face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.”

Sater, who served time in prison for that assault, was barred from financial trading by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Yet in 1993, Sater and several partners took over a securities firm called White Rock Partners, later called State Street Capital Markets, which portrayed itself as a legitimate brokerage firm but, in fact, ran a criminal enterprise involving stock fraud, money laundering, and a so-called “pump and dump” scheme that involved conspiring to inflate the apparent value of near-worthless stocks, sell them off to unsuspecting investors, and cash in. In so doing, for protection Sater drew on the assistance of his father’s friends in the Genovese crime family. According to Rice’s New York piece, Sater “laundered fraud proceeds through a labyrinthine network of Caribbean shell companies, Israeli and Swiss bank accounts, and contacts in New York’s Diamond District.” In the mid-1990s, New York reports, Sater spent a great deal of time in Moscow, where, according to a friend and business partner, Sal Lauria—who later wrote a book about all of this—“We were dealing with ex-KGB generals and with the elite of Russian society.”

It all came crashing down in 1998, when New York City police uncovered a stash of guns and documents in a mini-storage locker in SoHo implicating Sater and his partners in the fraud and money-laundering schemes. According to the Times, citing other defendants in the case, Sater pled guilty to racketeering charges for bilking at least $40 million from his investors. Using Sater’s testimony, the feds eventually convicted 19 of Sater’s cronies, including half a dozen who had mob connections. Significantly, the prosecutor who oversaw Sater’s cooperation agreement in the 1998 indictment, now sealed, was Andrew Weissmann—who is currently one of 16 prosecutors and criminal justice officials on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the Russiagate inquiry.

Enter the spies. During his time in Moscow and traveling around eastern Europe, Sater began cultivating ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, and—according to his interview in New York—even meeting with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. In order to get some bargaining power after he was indicted in 1998, according to Sater himself, he told the FBI that he had obtained valuable information about Osama bin Laden, a cache of Stinger missiles, and more. His information, it seems didn’t pan out—but after 9/11, Sater did cooperate in some fashion with the US government. Overseeing the Sater case back then was none other than Loretta Lynch, then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In her confirmation hearing to serve as US Attorney General under President Obama, Lynch confirmed that Sater did in fact work with the FBI “and other agencies”—presumably the CIA—in “providing information crucial to national security.” Where and how Sater gathered the information that he provided, whether or not it involved contacts with the Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU, and whether those agencies themselves established a covert connection with Sater is something that both Mueller and the US intelligence community ought to be looking at today, of course.

Sater’s connection with Trump starts in the mid-2000s, when Sater joined a real estate firm called the Bayrock Group, which had been founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Arif hired Sater in 2003, making him the firm’s chief operating officer. The firm later set up its headquarters on the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, just below Trump’s own suite of offices. (Sater’s first office suite, with his criminal enterprise called State Street Capital, had its offices in a Trump-owned building, 40 Wall Street, in the mid-1990s.)

Over the next several years Arif and Sater, via Bayrock, started or collaborated with Trump on a series of hotel and resort projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, and elsewhere. Their most important collaboration was the development in 2005 of the Trump SoHo project, which, according to the Times’s 2007 exposé of Sater, was a “sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel [then] under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street.” New York magazine adds that, oddly enough, the Trump SoHo tower “happened to be directly across the street from the storage facility that had been Sater’s previous undoing.”

When told by the Times about Sater’s criminal past, Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, which was involved in the SoHo project, said, “This is all news to me.” At the time, though, Trump didn’t separate himself from Sater, mingling with him at the SoHo opening, hanging out in Colorado while working on another project, and—according to Sater, at least—regularly interacting.

“How did I get to Donald?” Sater asked New York magazine, with typical braggadocio. “I walked in his door and told him, ‘I’m gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner.’” After that, Sater said, he’d frequently pop into Trump’s own office to talk about this or that deal. “Donald wanted me to bring deals to him,” Sater told New York. “Because he saw how many I put on the table at Bayrock.”

Sater and Bayrock sought to extend the Trump brand to Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere—including Moscow. Around 2005, Sater identified a location for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, and he says that he personally escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow back then—an assertion that neither of the Trumps have denied. Last January The New York Times reported, “During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.”

After the financial crisis of 2008, Bayrock ran into difficulty, and Sater went out on his own. According to New York, following his separation from Bayrock he went to work for the Trump Organization, even carrying a business card listing his title as “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.” Despite that, Trump denies ever employing Sater directly.

Sater’s links to Trump in recent years are obscure. According to recent reporting by the Times and the Post, however, as recently as 2015-16, Sater and Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, were working together on a Trump Tower Moscow arrangement, though that too didn’t pan out.

But Sater and Cohen would cooperate on another venture. Following Trump’s election, the two men worked together to develop a curious peace plan for Ukraine. In it, Sater and Cohen worked with Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian opposition politician who himself had a questionable past, having spent time in prison in Ukraine for an embezzlement scheme, according to the New York Times story last February that first broke the news of his collaboration with Sater and Cohen (the charges against Artemenko were eventually dropped). According to the Times, Sater met Cohen and Artemenko at a New York hotel just two blocks from Cohen’s current residence in Trump Park Avenue. Cohen, who’s married to a Ukrainian woman, has business ties there himself, having once tried to get a Ukrainian ethanol business off the ground.

In 2014, a popular revolt toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was replaced by another oligarch, the pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. Paul Manafort, the GOP operative who would later sign on as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was on Yanukovych’s payroll for years, and when Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, Manafort contracted with opposition politicians in Kiev to help build an anti-Poroshenko bloc—and Artemenko joined in. (Manafort, of course, is under intense scrutiny in the Russiagate investigation from Mueller and two committees of Congress over his possible role as a go-between in collusion between Russia’s spy network and the Trump campaign. In July, Mueller ordered a pre-dawn raid at Manafort’s Virginia home seeking evidence in the case, amid speculation that Manafort might “flip” and turn against Trump.)

According to the Times, the Artemenko plan—delivered to Sater and Cohen, and then to Michael Flynn, the short-lived White House national security adviser who was forced to resign in February—involved using unflattering or compromising information (kompromat) to help oust Poroshenko and then winning the support of a new Ukrainian government for a 50- to 100-year lease of Crimea to Russia—which in 2014 occupied and annexed Crimea, which for many decades had been part of Ukraine. Because the vast majority of Ukrainian political forces would never agree to surrender their claim to Crimea, the plan was considered a hopeless nonstarter by most experts familiar with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the role of Sater and Cohen, both Trump associates, contributed to the growing belief in Washington that Trump, who has steadily refused to criticize Putin for his authoritarian excesses, extrajudicial killings, and suppression of free expression in Russia, has questionable ties to Russia.

The plan went nowhere, however. According to the Times, Sater gave Cohen the proposal in a sealed envelope, who reportedly said he left it in Flynn’s office. But in an interview with HuffPost, Cohen said he never delivered the envelope. But that doesn’t quite jibe with the Times’s original report, which noted that when Flynn resigned (because of his own still unexplained conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition), Cohen was still waiting for a response, “hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause.” So far, as far as we know, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hasn’t responded to the idea, which is probably long dead.

Even allowing for Sater’s long-established record as a liar and self-promoter, there’s plenty here for Mueller and other investigators to dig into. And Sater, too, seems to believe that something big is coming. In his interview with New York magazine, he hinted ominously about the near future. “In about the next 30 to 35 days,” he told reporter Rice, “I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.”

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  • · · · · · · · ·

Felix Sater – Google Search

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 1:31 PM

Felix Sater – Google News

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Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

The Nation.Sep 8, 2017

Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a …

‘Help world peace and make a lot of money’: Here’s the letter of …
Business InsiderSep 8, 2017

Trump Moscow letter of intent divulged
CBS NewsSep 8, 2017

Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front
St. Louis AmericanSep 8, 2017

Letter of intent to build Trump Tower Moscow: ‘Help world peace and …
Metro USSep 8, 2017

Document details scrapped deal for Trump Tower Moscow
Highly CitedCNNSep 8, 2017

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felix sater – Google News: Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 11:47 AM

  1. Trump Circles: Elections From Mikenova (16 Sites)

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Page Six

Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

felix sater – Google News

Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Felix Sater – Google News

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Page Six

Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York – https://en.crimerussia.com/

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 11:42 AM

Russian Organized Crime In Us – Google News

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https://en.crimerussia.com/

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York
https://en.crimerussia.com/
In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach …

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 11:32 AM

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Four out of six suspects in the arson of a three-story building in May last year were arrested in November 2016 as part of a large-scale operation of the FBI and the New York police against the organized crime groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union countries.

The US Prosecutor’s Office in the Eastern District of New York has unveiled an indictment on charges of arson of the 3-story residential building in the Brighton Beach/Coney Island district of New York, in which an illegal poker club was located.

The major fire occurred on the night of May 2, 2016, but its reasons have not been officially announced until now. Residents of the building were evacuated, but firemen had to rescue two people blocked by flame in an apartment on the third floor. As a result of the fire-fighting operations, several New York fire fighters suffered injuries and burns.

According to the document, six members of the so-called Russian mafia have been convicted of arson; five of them were arrested almost a year ago on suspicion of other crimes, whereas the sixth person, Viktor Zelinger, is still at large.

Members of a transnational OCG Aleksey Tsvetkov, Leonid Gershman (Lenchik), Vyacheslav Malkeev (Steve Bart), and Librado Riviera (Macho), arrested on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, illegal usury, and the organization of an underground gambling business in November 2016, are currently in custody. As reported by the CrimeRussia, the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.

Detention of members of the criminal syndicate, November 2016

It is known that exerting pressure on their victims through their relatives in the US, the crime group would extort money abroad, namely in Israel and Eastern Europe. It was reported that the majority of those detained during the police operation had previous criminal experience. In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach Crew, headed by Zinovy Bari.

Aleksey Tsvetkov

According to the prosecutor’s office, Gershman and Malkeev were the Brighton Beach gang’s ‘power hitters’ along with Tsvetkov.

As reported by the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office of New York, all of them face various prison terms in accordance with the charges (from 17 years to life imprisonment).

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  • · · · ·

The Myth of Deep Throat

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 10:16 AM

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Columnists, talking heads and op-ed writers are holding open auditions for a role that presumably needs to be filled if we are ever going to get to the bottom of what seems fated to be dubbed, for better or worse, Russiagate: a new Deep Throat.

I get it. In the years since Watergate, the Washington Post’s famous golden source—later revealed to be former FBI No. 2 executive W. Mark Felt—has become practically synonymous with the ideal of the noble leaker. The original Deep Throat “was instrumental in thwarting the conspiracy and bringing [President Richard] Nixon down,” Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, approvingly wrote in the Los Angeles Times in May“Was it wrong for Deep Throat, as FBI official Mark Felt was then known, to guide the investigation?” Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan asked in June, in the midst of a column praising leaks and anonymous sources, and inviting more. New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat.

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The unarticulated presumption, which Sullivan, Litman and Rich are not alone in making, is that Felt—the FBI’s deputy director in June 1972, and subsequently the parking-garage interlocutor who steered Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to reportorial heights—was an honorable, selfless whistleblower intent on exposing the lawlessness rampant in the Nixon White House. Or, as David Remnick spelled out in the New Yorker—echoing Deep Throat’s original hagiographers, Woodward and Bernstein—Felt “believed that the Nixon administration was corrupt, paranoid and trying to infringe on the independence of the bureau.” The president and his top aides ran, Felt believed, “a criminal operation out of the White House, and [Felt] risked everything to guide” the Post reporters. A new biopic about Felt, starring Liam Neeson, is due out on September 29th and shows every sign of continuing to portray Deep Throat as a profound patriot and dedicated FBI lifer.

But here’s a heretical thought: Mark Felt was no hero. Getting rid of Nixon was the last thing Felt ever wanted to accomplish; indeed, he was banking on Nixon’s continuation in office to achieve his one and only aim: to reach the top of the FBI pyramid and become director. Felt didn’t help the media for the good of the country, he used the media in service of his own ambition. Things just didn’t turn out anywhere close to the way he wanted.

Only recently, more than four decades after Nixon’s downfall, has it become possible to reconstruct Felt’s design and what really happened during those fateful six months following the Watergate break-in. Doing so requires burrowing through a great number of primary documents and government records against the backdrop of a vast secondary literature. Nixon’s surreptitious tape recordings rank first in importance, but only mark the starting point. One has to also research documents from the FBI’s vast Watergate investigation; the bureau’s subsequent internal leak investigation; records from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force; documents from Felt’s own FBI file; and lastly, two unintentionally rewarding books: Mark Felt’s original 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid, and the slightly reworked version published in 2006, A G-Man’s Life.

What you’ll end up with is the real story of Deep Throat. And you might be left with this realization: No matter what happens to Donald Trump—whether he’s absolved, exposed or neither—you should hope there’s nobody as duplicitous as Mark Felt manipulating out understanding of Russiagate.

***

On May 1, 1972, John Edgar Hoover was days away from marking his 48th year as FBI director, or as one of his arch-critics labeled him, the “No. 1 Sacred Cow of American Politics.” The wily, 77-year-old bureaucrat was the closest thing to a cult of personality in the federal government that has ever existed; not even an unprecedented, year-long spate of bad publicity beginning in late 1970 had loosened his grip on the directorship. Sycophancy within the FBI was rife. Presidents and underlings came and went, but Hoover seemed invincible if not immortal, as inseparable from the law-enforcement empire he had built as the empire was unimaginable without him.

Yet behind the scenes, Hoover’s selfish refusal to step down when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1964, and two presidents’ lack of gumption to force him out, had put into motion a fierce, no-holds-barred struggle within the FBI to succeed him. It bore a striking resemblance to what used to happen inside the Kremlin, once a doddering Soviet leader neared the end of his term. More than a few top FBI executives saw a potential director when they looked in the mirror during their morning shave. And Hoover’s unwillingness to let go had unleashed what the dean of Watergate historians, the late Stanley Kutler, noted as the “war of the FBI succession.”

The executive with the inside track during Nixon’s first years was William C. Sullivan, who carried the title assistant to the director. A mercurial, intense, secretive personality, Sullivan was regarded by Hoover for a time almost like a son. The standard measure for where subordinates stood with the stern and formal Hoover was his method of addressing them. If someone was “Miller” instead of “Mr. Miller,” that person had achieved a high level of familiarity. Hoover called Sullivan, who oversaw the bureau’s all-important counterintelligence and domestic security responsibilities, simply “Bill.”

Yet Sullivan had a character flaw that became fatal the closer he got to the top of the pyramid: He was impatient. When the Nixon administration soured on the aging Hoover—chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman acidly described the director as a “real character out of days of yore”—Sullivan saw an opening, encouraged by like-minded Justice Department officials. He began leaking derogatory information about Hoover to journalists considered sympathetic, including, most notably, Robert Novak, the reporting half of the Rowland Evans and Robert Novak syndicated column.

Hoover’s FBI leaked all the time, of course, to favored reporters. The bureau may not have invented the practice, but it had perfected the art. No federal agency rivaled the FBI in terms of the well-placed, exquisitely timed disclosure designed with an end in mind. Information is the currency of power in Washington, and leaking to the press was instrumental to the bureau’s unofficial clout, the reason the FBI engendered fear in many quarters beyond its actual brief. But until Sullivan came along, leaking had largely been controlled, sanctioned and institutional—that is, directed against the bureau’s perceived adversaries or to burnish the FBI’s image and reputation. Never had leaks been employed for personal gain at Hoover’s expense.

Hoover soon figured it out. He fired Sullivan for disloyalty, insolence and insubordination, but not before a confrontation that instantly became part of FBI lore. In October 1971, Sullivan returned from a leave to find the locks in his office changed. Sullivan exchanged harsh words with the FBI executive who had thought up that particular touch. When the executive called him a “Judas,” the perpetually rumpled, bantam-sized Sullivan promptly challenged his dapper, six-foot tall adversary, William Mark Felt, to a fist fight.

Following Sullivan’s hasty exit, Felt became the front-runner to replace Hoover, despite being widely disliked internally. His nickname inside the bureau was the “White Rat.” He had acquired that sobriquet during the six years he headed up the Inspection Division, Hoover’s instrument for enforcing discipline and meting out punishment. Felt’s martinet-like inspection tours, where he out-Hoovered Hoover to curry the director’s favor, had earned him the enmity of agents and agents-in-charge throughout the country. Felt’s inspection report after the infamous break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI office in March 1971 by anti-war activists was typical. Felt’s report absolved the “Seat of Government” (as FBI headquarters was immodestly called during Hoover’s reign) of all culpability, and made the Media agent-in-charge the scapegoat, as former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger wrote in her 2014 book, The Burglary. “We would probably not have pissed on [Felt] if he was on fire,” retired agent Robert P. Campbell recalled in a 2011 interview, reflecting the rank-and-file’s disdain.

Felt never enjoyed strong support within the Nixon administration either, unlike Sullivan. While “Crazy Billy” had worn his ambition to succeed Hoover on his sleeve, Felt was self-serving in an unattractive way. Though consumed with what he believed was his rightful inheritance, Felt often exhibited a false humility, perhaps out of fear that his ambition would become too obvious to Hoover. “If you wanted to ruin somebody’s career in the FBI,” a former agent later recalled, “all you had to do [was] leak it to somebody in the press that so-and-so [was] being groomed as Hoover’s successor.” The result was that Felt “did not interact with credibility” with his peers, recalled Donald Santarelli, then an associate attorney general at the Justice Department, in a 2011 interview.

On the morning of May 2, 1972, Hoover’s lifeless body was discovered on the floor of his bedroom one hour after the ever-punctual director failed to come downstairs for his 7:30 a.m. breakfast. Later, mourners at the funeral home were stunned by what they saw in the casket. There in the coffin lay a small, gray-haired, frail-looking man. The mortician had washed Hoover’s hair and all the dye had come out—from his eyebrows too.

Felt was not surprised by the portrait of infirmity. For all intents and purposes he had been running the bureau for more than a year, confident that if he bided his time (unlike Sullivan), Nixon would inevitably turn to Hoover’s natural legatee.

Felt was wrong.

Nixon’s surprise appointment of a dark horse outsider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to be acting director within hours stands as one of the most far-reaching personnel decisions ever taken by a president inadvertently. His attention consumed by the upcoming election, geopolitical strategy and the effort to withdraw U.S. ground troops from Vietnam, Nixon was anxious to avoid having Hoover’s FBI become an issue in 1972. For the first time, a director was going to have to win Senate confirmation, and Nixon was leery of giving Democrats on the Judiciary Committee the opportunity to work over a nominee in an election year, possibly even block his confirmation. The president considered the appointment equal to nominating a chief justice to the Supreme Court. Nixon wanted a vigorous man who would occupy the post long after his second term ended. Gray’s acting appointment was roundly criticized on the grounds that he was a Nixon crony. But he otherwise aroused little opposition because he was as colorless as his name.

Gray wasn’t promised the permanent appointment, only that he would be considered for the post if he did a creditable job. Yet the message behind Gray’s interim status—that Nixon was intent on bringing in someone from outside the bureau—was an unmistakable signal to several executives angling for the job, and they decided to retire. The ambitious Felt saw the acting designation, however, as a small opening. It still left six months in which to persuade Nixon to “see the light” by nominating an insider, as Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir.

Felt was acting the part of Gray’s indispensable top deputy, while simultaneously belittling the interim director behind his back, according to interviews I conducted with contemporary FBI officials, when the Watergate break-in serendipitously occurred on June 17, 1972. The burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex by Nixon campaign operatives presented Gray with a dilemma that Felt could easily exploit to his advantage. If Gray could not manage the FBI’s politically sensitive Watergate investigation to the White House’s satisfaction, he risked alienating the president and losing out on the nomination. Yet if Gray didn’t allow an unbridled investigation to run its full course, he might fail to win confirmation before what was sure to remain a Democrat-controlled Senate. Gray essentially resolved the dilemma by absenting himself as much as possible, while leaving supervision of the investigation in the hands of professional subordinates, most prominently, Felt.

Gray’s decision facilitated Felt’s recourse to that bureau specialty, the artful leak. As John Dean has confirmed in numerous interviews beginning in 2011, Felt knew that nothing was more likely to incite the White House against Gray, and prove he was Hoover’s unworthy successor, than stories in the press about the politically sensitive probe. As White House counsel and desk officer for the cover-up, Dean was person most frequently tasked with conveying the president’s ire to Gray. Similarly, Democrats’ hackles would be raised by any stories suggesting that the FBI was conducting a lax or superficial investigation.

Felt acted quickly. On June 20, three days after the break-in, the Washington Post published a story headlined, “White House Consultant Tied to Bugging Figure.” The article, citing “Federal sources close to the investigation,” revealed that a one-time White House consultant named E. Howard Hunt, who was also a former CIA officer, had an as-yet undetermined connection to the five burglars nabbed red-handed at the Watergate office complex. Hunt, of course, would turn out to be the co-ringleader of the break-in, along with G. Gordon Liddy, the Nixon campaign’s finance counsel.

In his 2005 book about Felt, The Secret Man, Woodward described in detail how Felt provided the “critical and substantial buttress” for the scoop about Hunt. Although this investigative development would have become public inevitably, the fact that it happened so swiftly stunned a White House still grappling with how to respond to the break-in. The White House’s initial pose was to appear nonchalant and above the story, as captured in Ron Ziegler’s infamous, contemptuous observation that he would not be commenting on “a third-rate burglary attempt.” But the morning the article appeared special counsel Charles Colson roared to the president, as captured on an Oval Office recording, “Pick up that God-damn Washington Post and see that guilt by association!” Colson had been responsible for hiring Hunt, and instantly, the administration became obsessed with how information known only to the police, Justice Department prosecutors and the FBI had come out. “Where the hell are all these leaks from our side coming from?” Nixon wondered aloud. The impulse to circle the wagons, rather than make a clean breast of the campaign’s culpability, took root.

Yet that kind of Watergate story was only half of Felt’s influence operation. Four days later, Felt managed to get fabled Time magazine reporter Sandy Smith interested in allegations that Gray had conferred with John Mitchell, the head of the president’s campaign, right after the break-in, and that Gray had been overheard boasting that the FBI’s investigation would be wrapped up in “24 to 48 hours”—the clear inference being that the probe would be a whitewash. Smith presented the allegations for comment to Gray, who vehemently denied both. Merely being asked such questions left him furious. He knew that a journalist of Smith’s caliber, who had access to the highest echelons in the bureau, would not be posing such questions unless the allegations came from someone Smith firmly believed was in a position to know. When the Time story actually appeared in print on June 26, the piece was thankfully “trimmed of its falsehoods,” Gray noted in a memo. Apparently, Sandy Smith had been unable to corroborate the allegations to his or his editors’ satisfaction—which was hardly surprising, since neither of them was true. The leak to Time came from Felt himself, as Deep Throat’s revised autobiography, published in 2006, acknowledged. Subsequent leaks to Smith would prove more successful.

In the four months that remained before the election, Felt continued to feed the Washington Post and Time tidbits—ranging from the connection between Watergate and the White House operatives known as “plumbers” to how campaign funds had been laundered through Mexico—although the weekly magazine never received the public acclaim the daily newspaper later did. Felt could leak with relative impunity because Watergate was not, and never became, a significant issue during the campaign, and therefore, presented no threat to the only presidential candidate who might appoint Felt director—Richard Nixon. George McGovern, the Democrats’ nominee, was a “jackal” in Hoover’s parlance, anathema to every Hoover disciple and vice versa. The South Dakota senator had spent much of 1971 publicly lambasting the late director for various deficiencies, including alleged senility. Nixon, on the other hand, did discuss potentially appointing Felt to the position at one point, according to Oval Office tapes.

As Nixon’s confidence in Gray waned over the leaks, William Sullivan re-emerged as a potential rival after securing a top job in the Justice Department. That complicated Felt’s scheme greatly, for now he had to figure out how to damage Sullivan’s reputation too. He did so in leaks to Time’s Smith, whose discretion in such matters was legendary, in contrast to the untested Woodward. As in June, Felt was not above misleading Smith on occasion; we also know from Woodward’s handwritten notes that Deep Throat told the cub reporter an enormous number of falsehoods (as John Dean was the first to point out), including during their famous clandestine rendezvous in an Arlington, Virginia parking garage. But then Felt’s relationship to the truth was always casual at best. His goal was incitement, rather than protecting the presidency, the bureau, democracy, or the rule of law from Nixon’s predations. Even the Post’s most celebrated Watergate story of October 10, 1972—the seminal or “centerpiece” story that alleged a “massive campaign of political spying and espionage”—prominently featured a lie uttered by Felt. Deep Throat falsely asserted to Woodward that a letter damaging to the campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie—considered the Democrats’ strongest candidate until he finished poorly in the New Hampshire primary—was “a White House operation,” concocted “inside the gates surrounding the White House.” What Woodstein represented in the Post as “hard evidence” of a political dirty trick was a fabrication, as an internal FBI inquiry and later, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, determined.

Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute interregnum that occurred between Gray’s sudden resignation in May (for having destroyed embarrassing documents unrelated to Watergate found in E. Howard Hunt’s White House safe) and the appointment of a new acting director—another outsider named William Ruckelshaus. Unbeknownst to Felt, Nixon had learned in October 1972 that Felt was leaking to Time’s Sandy Smith. The president’s impulse was to fire Felt immediately, but cooler heads at the White House explained that Felt knew too much to make such a move just before the election. His removal would have to wait until after November, when a new director could be ordered to clean out the pestilence in the FBI’s upper ranks.

As it turned out, Felt abruptly resigned from the bureau in May 1973 to avoid being investigated right then and there for leaking. It was a fate he didn’t entirely escape, because a year-long internal investigation was launched a few months later anyway. Subsequently, the Inspection Division learned from Carol Tschudy, a bureau secretary for 17 years, that she was unable to recall how many calls transpired between a Washington Post reporter and her former boss, Felt. However, she said, “the frequency of Woodward’s calls seemed to depend upon various developments in the Watergate case.” Felt tried to make a go of consulting and the lecture circuit, and worked on his memoir after he retired from government service. In 1980, Felt made news when he was tried and convicted of ordering illegal FBI break-ins targeting the left-wing Weather Underground, a violent faction of domestic anti-war radicals. Nixon contributed to Felt’s defense fund and testified at his trial, and Reagan later pardoned him.

Meanwhile, Deep Throat went down in history as a do-gooder who saved the rule of law and American democracy from a criminal president. This was largely thanks to the large dose of buncombe in Woodward and Bernstein’s initial 1974 description of their source in All the President’s Men, and greatly magnified by the depiction in the eponymous Hollywood movie. Deep Throat, they wrote, was “trying to protect the office [of the presidency].” It wasn’t until 2005 that Woodward admitted in his book about Felt, The Secret Man, that Felt “never really voiced pure, raw outrage to me about Watergate or what it represented” (which is not surprising, given Felt’s contemporaneous role in sanctioning illegal FBI break-ins).

It remains true that Felt’s information, regardless of his motive, helped keep Watergate in the news at a time when few Americans cared, and that was important. Stories in the PostTime and elsewhere helped shield the three original federal prosecutors from political interference. And after they won convictions of all five burglars, plus Hunt and Liddy, in January 1973, the prospect of serious prison time finally broke the back of the cover-up. One of the burglars, James McCord, alleged that perjury had been committed during the trial, precipitating a foot-race to the prosecutors by John Dean and deputy campaign director Jeb Magruder, which, in turn, unleashed a flood of revelations that eventually put the president himself at risk.

Primarily because the Post (most prominently) reported increments of the break-in story (but never the cover-up, remember) before the burglars were actually tried, the fable took hold that the press “exposed” Watergate. This was a legend propagated by a media eager to bask in the Post’s reflected glory. The press was the decidedly junior partner to the legal machinery. For an authority on the subject, one need look no further than Sandy Smith, who broke as many significant stories about Watergate as anyone in the media. “There’s a myth that the press did all this, uncovered all the crimes,” he was quoted as saying in an official history of Time, Inc., published in 1986. “It’s bunk. The press didn’t do it. People forget that the government was investigating all the time. In my material there was less than two percent that was truly original investigation. There was [a federal] investigation being carried out here.”

This fact, in all likelihood, is the reason why Felt never came forward to claim the riches and acclaim that supposedly awaited Deep Throat. Indeed, he perpetually lied about being Deep Throat after theWashingtonian fingered him in June 1974 as the first prime suspect, just as All the President’s Menwas being published. Felt had to fear his actions could not withstand close scrutiny. His motive would be exposed as base and self-serving, and he would be roundly condemned in the only fraternity that he knew and cared about, the society of current and former FBI executives and agents. When finally outed in Vanity Fair in 2005 by his family, who had understandably imbibed the fable, Felt was dehabilitated by dementia and the few remaining peers able to recognize Felt for who he was and what he did were drowned out by the wave of nostalgia for the legacy media.

Felt’s admission left Pat Gray reeling; he likened it to being hit with a sledgehammer. Suffering from pancreatic cancer with only a few weeks to live, Gray summoned the strength to denounce publicly the man he considered, until that moment, his loyal and trustworthy executive officer. He had never grasped Felt’s treachery despite ample contemporaneous warnings. Now Gray belatedly realized that Felt had been a “formidable foe” primarily because he was such “a skilled liar.” The Vanity Fair story also stunned John J. McDermott, the special agent-in-charge of the Washington Field Office when it conducted the Watergate investigation. McDermott had long thought that the mysterious Deep Throat was actually a reporter’s invention and composite, meant to fuzz up the identities of several discrete White House sources. But once Felt claimed the mantle and Woodward confirmed it, McDermott immediately recognized that Felt had engaged in the same underhanded tactics as Sullivan. McDermott expressed “shock, dismay, and disgust” at Felt’s perfidy, and the bogus media-driven theory that Felt had a need “to expose information which otherwise would have been suppressed.” He defied anyone to prove that the FBI had failed to follow a single Watergate lead, concealed information from the Justice Department or did anything to warrant Felt’s behavior. “It’s embarrassing … for the bureau to be exposed as having had such people as Felt and Sullivan,” McDermott said in November 2010.

When the biopic comes out later this month, don’t be fooled. Felt betrayed the bureau, and more importantly, the investigative and legal machinery that is, more manifestly than ever, the last barrier between a government of laws and not of men or women.

There should be no pining for another Deep Throat. Leaks from bona fide whistle-blowers are one thing. Leaks from a self-aggrandizing FBI executive in the know, even if good for a few headlines, are bad for the rule of law. Nor would it be helpful to have an FBI executive plying reporters with false stories, indifferent to what gets printed or broadcast so long as it harms his bureaucratic enemies. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is far too important for that.

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The Myth of Deep Throat – POLITICO Magazine

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 10:14 AM

Calls For Comey’s Resignation – Google News

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POLITICO Magazine

The Myth of Deep Throat
POLITICO Magazine
New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat. ….. Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute 

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Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 9:54 AM

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By Morgan Chalfant – 09/10/17 07:30 AM EDT

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Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes – The Hill

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 9:53 AM

Trump And Intelligence Community – Google News

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The Hill

Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes
The Hill
Nearly six months ago, it was a House Intelligence Committee hearing that brought to light the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Comey, then still the FBI director, disclosed in dramatic … on 

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Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along – Palmer Report by mikenova

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 9:52 AM

Trump Investigations Report

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Who in the hell is Felix Sater?!

Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Here’s the deep dirt on the Russian businessman who promised “Our boy can become president of the USA” – by BILL SCHEFT – SATURDAY, SEP 9, 2017 02:00 PM EDT 

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along
This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election.

Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before?

Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is and why he’s so crucial to all of this for a very long time.Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there.

Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. 

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin,

and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election.

Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office.

Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater,

his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump – New York Times


Washington Post

‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump
New York Times
Even when I was on vacation with my family in August, I started looking, said Mr. Schumer, the New Yorker who leads Senate Democrats, as he recounted the buildup to the stunning debt limit deal that Democrats struck with President Trump this past 
Trump betrays everyone’: The president has a long record as an unpredictable allyWashington Post
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The media jumps on Donald Trumps bullshit train (again)
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No Justice, No Police: Flawed reforms alienate good cops and prolong a crisis – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Will: Trump is threatening war with North Korea. But what kind? – Roanoke Times (blog)
Donald Trump, Russian Ambassador caught lying about Friday meeting
Russia in the meddle: Interference in the West intensifies – StopFake.org
Donald Trumps strange late night Hurricane Irma tweet doesnt go over well
Trump demonizing getting to overdose stage – Mankato Free Press
The Wall Street Journal’s Trump problem
Donald Trump responds to Hurricane Irma by asking people to donate money to him
He’s implementing a conservative platform. – National Review
David Simon: ‘If you’re not consuming porn, you’re still consuming its logic’ – The Guardian
Russian Cyber-criminal Pleads Guilty to Online Identity Theft – Kansas City infoZine
Plea to keep politics out of mental health – Otago Daily Times
It’s finally dawned on Trump how much people ‘f—ing hate’ him and he’s pivoting to a new strategy – Business Insider
US, Russia diplomats look to calm tensions in talks – PBS NewsHour

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Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along by Bill Palmer

Sunday September 10th, 2017 at 7:49 AM

Palmer Report

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This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election. Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before? Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is – and why he’s so crucial to all of this – for a very long time.

Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there. Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election. Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office. Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater, his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen. Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

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Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person – Salon

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 2:48 PM

Felix Sater – Google News

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Salon

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Salon
WHY WE CARE: Sater was the intermediary who brought Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and representatives of Vladimir Putin a plan in late 2015 to discuss building a Trump Tower in Moscow in exchange for sanctions against Russia eventually being lifted if …

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means. – PBS NewsHour

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 11:25 AM

Putin Won US 2016 Election – Google News

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PBS NewsHour

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.
PBS NewsHour
In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial 
Russia’s Fake AmericansNew York Times
How We Can Fix Facebook Before the 2020 ElectionFortune
Facebook’s widening role in electing TrumpEngadget

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A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 11:24 AM

A Russian Propaganda Group Purchased Ads On Facebook During The 2016 Election. Here’s What That Means. – PBS NewsHour

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A giant Facebook “like” seen at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Photo by Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Facebook announced Wednesday that a Russian propaganda organization used the social media platform to purchase $100,000 of political advertising.

Here’s what you need to know about this news:

What was found?

Facebook found 470 inauthentic accounts associated with approximately 3,000 political ads from June 2015 to May 2017. The ad purchases and accounts are affiliated with a Russian “troll farm,” dubbed the Internet Research Agency, which spreads pro-Russian propaganda and false information across the World Wide Web.

Most of the ads did not contain references to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, voting or the candidates. “Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a blog post on the company’s website.

Facebook also conducted a wider search for political ads that potentially originated from Russia. The company found $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads. A Facebook spokesperson, however, cautioned that this group of ads carried a low amount of certainty because the company’s search included sources with weak connections to Russia.

How does the Russian propaganda machine work? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talked to someone who used to work as a “troll” inside the Internet Research Agency. Watch his July 2017 report from “Inside Putin’s Russia.”

What is the Internet Research Agency?

“The agency had become known for employing hundreds of Russians to post pro-Kremlin propaganda online under fake identities, including on Twitter, in order to create the illusion of a massive army of supporters,” journalist Adrian Chen wrote in 2015 in the New York Times Magazine.

Chen reported that the agency was responsible for false reports of toxic fumes in Louisiana and an outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta, both in 2014.

Learn more about the Internet Research Agency from this 2015 conversation between PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown and journalist Adrian Chen.

Why it’s important

In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial content — and the social media accounts of the pro-Kremlin television network RT were part of this effort, according to their report.

What Facebook found is “one small piece of this larger, consistent, Russian effort,” John Sipher, a former CIA agent who ran the agency’s Russia program for three years, told the NewsHour.

“This is a big deal because I think it’s more evidence of a coordinated Russian attack against our system,” Sipher said.

And for those who suggest that $100,000 in ads is not much: “This is just one troll farm that Facebook has proven” was Russian, Sipher said. “I’m sure there’s all kinds of other stuff that hasn’t been picked up on yet.”

In addition to the ad buying, an investigation published late Thursday by The New York Times, with research from the cybersecurity company FireEye, detailed other ways that suspected Russian trolls disseminated false and hacked information.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post that Facebook’s disclosure is a “profound warning to us and others about future elections.” A question left to answer, he said, is whether any of the pro-Russian trolls coordinated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

What’s next?

Stamos, the chief security officer, said Facebook has since shut down the 470 suspicious accounts and pages.

“We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary,” Stamos said.

But Facebook has not shared copies of the ads with the public, and does not plan to, a Facebook spokesperson told the NewsHour. A Facebook official told the Washington Post that “our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we won’t be releasing any ads.”

Facebook’s refusal to share the ads has drawn criticism from eBay founder, philanthropist and First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar and former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter.

Stamos noted that Facebook has made improvements to weed out fake accounts based on their activity on the platform and end the spread of fake news in the past year, with more improvements planned.

“We are looking at how we can apply the techniques we developed for detecting fake accounts to better detect inauthentic pages and the ads they may run,” Stamos said. “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”

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Russia berates German defense minister for war games remarks

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 11:10 AM

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September 9, 2017 / 9:03 AM / Updated an hour ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Defence Ministry on Saturday criticized German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, saying it was bewildered by her assertion that Moscow planned to send more than 100,000 troops to war games on NATO’s eastern flank this month.

On Thursday, the German defense minister said the war games, code named Zapad or “West”, were a clear “demonstration of capabilities and power of the Russians”.

“Anyone who doubts that only has to look at the high numbers of participating forces in the Zapad exercise: more than one hundred thousand,” von der Leyen told reporters at an EU defense ministers’ meeting in Tallinn.

Russia has said that its joint war games with Belarus will be purely defensive in nature, rejecting what it called false allegations that it might use the drills to train for invasions of Poland, Lithuania or Ukraine.

“We are bewildered by the statements of Ursula von der Leyen, publicly talking through her hat and making arbitrary allegations about 100,000 Russian troops …and about hidden threats to Europe,” Russia’s military said in a statement.

Russia has said around 13,000 troops from Russia and Belarus and almost 700 pieces of military hardware will be used in the exercises to be held in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad on Sept. 14-20.

General Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, used a meeting on Thursday with General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO military committee, to reassure him about the upcoming war games.

“It is hard to imagine that Ursula von der Leyen’s colleagues from NATO, other competent German ministries or her own subordinates deliberately misled her,” Russia’s defense ministry said. “It is much easier to suppose the opposite.”

(For a graphic on Russia’s Zapad war games, click tmsnrt.rs/2xQtYwH)

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Jason Neely

September 9, 2017 / 5:32 AM / Updated 6 hours ago

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s defense minister has said there is “some basis” to allegations by two American students that they were raped in Florence by Carabinieri policemen.

The two women, aged 19 and 21, have said they were raped in the early hours of Sept. 7 after they were given a lift home from a nightclub in the Italian city by a Carabinieri police patrol. The two policemen have denied the accusations.

Italian media say the police were called to the nightclub after a fight broke out on the premises. The students told investigators that two officers had offered to give them a ride back to their residence.

The students said they were raped inside the building before they could reach their rooms.

“Investigations are still ongoing, but there is some basis regarding the allegations,” Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti told a conference on women’s issues late on Friday.

“Rape is always a serious matter. But it’s of unprecedented seriousness if it is committed by Carabinieri in uniform.”

The Carabinieri is a paramilitary police force under the control of the Defense Ministry. It works alongside the national police, which is controlled by the Interior Ministry.

Italian media say the two women, who come from the states of Maine and New Jersey, told investigators they had drunk alcohol and smoked cannabis the night of the attack. They said they had been too frightened to scream or shout as the alleged assault took place.

Police are carrying out DNA tests to try to verify their accusations, with results expected in the coming days.

The case, which has received wide play in the Italian media, comes less than two weeks after a Polish tourist and Peruvian transsexual were brutally raped in the seaside resort of Rimini.

Two Moroccans, a Nigerian and a Congolese asylum seeker have been arrested over the attacks, which led to a sharp increase in anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy.

The allegations levelled against the Carabinieri have dismayed the Italian establishment.

“If this is true, and I hope that light is shed on the matter as soon as possible, then it would be an act of unheard of gravity,” Tullio Del Sette, the head of the army, told the ANSA news agency.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Helen Popper

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Мертвые души 1 серия – YouTube

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 9:18 AM

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Published on Jan 26, 2015

Dead Souls, Part 1 [Masterpiece of Russian Psychological Fiction] by Nikolai Gogol – YouTube

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 9:16 AM

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chet baker & philip catherine: chet’s choice full album 1985by Chet Baker

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 8:40 AM

Chet Baker’s YouTube Videos

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From: Chet Baker
Duration: 1:04:24

Analysis: Trump tortured Spicer and Priebus. Now they get to tell investigators about Trump. – Philly.com

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 8:20 AM

Saved Stories – None

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Philly.com

Analysis: Trump tortured Spicer and Priebus. Now they get to tell investigators about Trump.
Philly.com
28, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump, accompanied by from second from left, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, former National Security AdviserMichael Flynn, former Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, and former White …

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The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 4:42 AM

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The same morning, “Katherine Fulton” also began promoting DCLeaks in the same awkward English Mr. Redick used. “Hey truth seekers!” she wrote. “Who can tell me who are #DCLeaks? Some kind of Wikileaks? You should visit their website, it contains confidential information about our leaders such as Hillary Clinton, and others <a href=”http://dcleaks.com/.”” rel=”nofollow”>http://dcleaks.com/.”</a>

So did “Alice Donovan,” who pointed to documents from Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations that she said showed its pro-American tilt and — in rather formal language for Facebook — “describe eventual means and plans of supporting opposition movements, groups or individuals in various countries.”

Might Mr. Redick, Ms. Fulton, Ms. Donovan and others be real Americans who just happened to notice DCLeaks the same day? No. The Times asked Facebook about these and a half-dozen other accounts that appeared to be Russian creations. The company carried out its standard challenge procedure by asking the users to establish their bona fides. All the suspect accounts failed and were removed from Facebook.

Mobilizing a ‘Bot’ Army

On Twitter, meanwhile, hundreds of accounts were busy posting anti-Clinton messages and promoting the leaked material obtained by Russian hackers. Investigators for FireEye spent months reviewing Twitter accounts associated with certain online personas, posing as activists, that seemed to show the Russian hand: DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, Anonymous Poland and several others. FireEye concluded that they were associated with one another and with Russian hacking groups, including APT28 or Fancy Bear, which American intelligence blames for the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails.

Some accounts, the researchers found, showed clear signs of intermittent human control. But most displayed the rote behavior of automated Twitter bots, which send out tweets according to built-in instructions.

The researchers discovered long lists of bot accounts that sent out identical messages within seconds or minutes of one another, firing in alphabetical order. The researchers coined the term “warlist” for them. On Election Day, one such list cited leaks from Anonymous Poland in more than 1,700 tweets. Snippets of them provide a sample of the sequence:

@edanur01 #WarAgainstDemocrats 17:54

@efekinoks #WarAgainstDemocrats 17:54

@elyashayk #WarAgainstDemocrats 17:54

@emrecanbalc #WarAgainstDemocrats 17:55

@emrullahtac #WarAgainstDemocrats 17:55

Lee Foster, who leads the FireEye team examining information operations, said some of the warlist Twitter accounts had previously been used for illicit marketing, suggesting that they may have been purchased on the black market. Some were genuine accounts that had been hijacked. Rachel Usedom, a young American engineer in California, tweeted mostly about her sorority before losing interest in 2014. In November 2016, her account was taken over, renamed #ClintonCurruption, and used to promote the Russian leaks.

Ms. Usedom had no idea that her account had been commandeered by anti-Clinton propagandists. “I was shocked and slightly confused when I found out,” she said.

Notably, the warlist tweets often included the Twitter handles of users whose attention the senders wanted to catch — news organizations, journalists, government agencies and politicians, including @realDonaldTrump. By targeting such opinion-shapers, Mr. Foster said, the creators of the warlists clearly wanted to stir up conversation about the leaked material.

  1. M. Berger, a researcher in Cambridge, Mass., helped build apublic web “dashboard”for the Washington-based Alliance for Securing Democracy to track hundreds of Twitter accounts that were suspected of links to Russia or that spread Russian propaganda. During the campaign, he said, he often saw the accounts post replies to Mr. Trump’s tweets.

Mr. Trump “received more direct replies than anyone else,” Mr. Berger said. “Clearly this was an effort to influence Donald Trump. They know he reads tweets.”

The suspected Russian operators at times lacked sophistication. “They are not always Americanophiles who know every nuance of U.S. politics,” said Mr. Foster, the FireEye researcher.

For instance, last October, hundreds of Anonymous Poland Twitter accounts posted a forged letter on the stationery of the conservative Bradley Foundation, based in Milwaukee, purporting to show that it had donated $150 million to the Clinton campaign. The foundation denied any such contribution, which would have been illegal and, given its political leaning, highly unlikely.

‘A Battle of Information’

Only a small fraction of all the suspect social media accounts active during the election have been studied by investigators. But there is ample reason to suspect that the Russian meddling may have been far more widespread.

Several activists who ran Facebook pages for Bernie Sanders, for instance, noticed a suspicious flood of hostile comments about Mrs. Clinton after Mr. Sanders had already ended his campaign and endorsed her.

John Mattes, who ran the “San Diego for Bernie Sanders” page, said he saw a shift from familiar local commenters to newcomers, some with Eastern European names — including four different accounts using the name “Oliver Mitov.”

“Those who voted for Bernie, will not vote for corrupt Hillary!” one of the Mitovs wrote on Oct. 7. “The Revolution must continue! #NeverHillary”

While he was concerned about being seen as a “crazy cold warrior,” Mr. Mattes said he came to believe that Russia was the likely source of the anti-Clinton comments. “The magnitude and viciousness of it — I would suggest that their fingerprints were on it and no one else had that agenda,” he said.

Both on the left and the pro-Trump right, though, some skeptics complain that Moscow has become the automatic boogeyman, accused of misdeeds with little proof. Even those who track Russian online activity admit that in the election it was not always easy to sort out who was who.

The New York Times would like to hear from readers who want to share messages and materials with our journalists.

“Yes, the Russians were involved. Yes, there’s a lot of organic support for Trump,” said Andrew Weisburd, an Illinois online researcher who has written frequently about Russian influence on social media. “Trying to disaggregate the two was difficult, to put it mildly.”

Mr. Weisburd said he had labeled some Twitter accounts “Kremlin trolls” based simply on their pro-Russia tweets and with no proof of Russian government ties. The Times contacted several such users, who insisted that they had come by their anti-American, pro-Russian views honestly, without payment or instructions from Moscow.

“Hillary’s a warmonger,” said Marilyn Justice, 66, who lives in Nova Scotia and tweets as @mkj1951. Of Mr. Putin, she said in an interview, “I think he’s very patient in the face of provocations.”

Ms. Justice said she had first taken an interest in Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, while looking for hockey coverage and finding what she considered a snide anti-Russia bias in the Western media. She said she did get a lot of news from Sputnik and RT but laughed at the notion that she could have Kremlin connections.

Another of the so-called Kremlin trolls, Marcel Sardo, 48, a web producer in Zurich, describes himself bluntly on his Twitter bio as a “Pro-Russia Media-Sniper.” He said he shared notes daily via Skype and Twitter with online acquaintances, including Ms. Justice, on disputes between Russia and the West over who shot down the Malaysian airliner hit by a missile over Ukraine and who used sarin gas in Syria.

“It’s a battle of information, and I and my peers have decided to take sides,” said Mr. Sardo, who constantly cites Russian sources and bashed Mrs. Clinton daily during the campaign. But he denied he had any links to the Russian government.

If that’s so, his prolific posts are a victory for Russia’s information war — that admirers of the Kremlin spread what American officials consider to be Russian disinformation on election hacking, Syria, Ukraine and more.

But if Russian officials are gleeful at their success, in last year’s election and beyond, they rarely let the mask slip. In an interview with Bloomberg before the election, Mr. Putin suggested that reporters were worrying too much about who exactly stole the material.

“Listen, does it even matter who hacked this data?” he said, in a point that Mr. Trump has sometimes echoed. “The important thing is the content that was given to the public.”

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Russia’s Fake Americans – The New York Times

Saturday September 9th, 2017 at 4:18 AM

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The case for Trump-Russia collusion: We’re getting very, very close – Washington Post

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 5:12 PM

Russia Helping Trump – Google News

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Washington Post

The case for Trump-Russia collusion: We’re getting very, very close
Washington Post
In seeking Russian supportTrump sought not only to become president but also to make money: Even as he launched his presidential campaign, he hoped to receive a major influx of money from a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. Along with the motives, …
New Russian envoy describes ‘warm’ meeting with Trump: agenciesReuters
New Russian envoy describes ‘warm’ meeting with Donald Trump: AgenciesThe Straits Times
New Russian Ambassador To US Says Ready To Improve RelationsRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

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Mueller wants to speak with White House staffers about Trump Jr. controversy – Fox News

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 2:24 PM

Mueller – Google News

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Fox News

Mueller wants to speak with White House staffers about Trump Jr. controversy
Fox News
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested to speak with aides involved in the president’s eldest son’s initial response to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised damaging information on Democratic nominee …

trump as magnet and fraud – Google Search

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 1:40 PM

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The President Is A Ponzi Scheme

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Donald Trump

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He’s gotten many hardworking people to invest their hopes and dreams in him. But he’s also attracted the support of those who smell an easy profit.

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felix sater – Google News: ‘Help world peace and make a lot of money’: Here’s the letter of intent to build a Trump Tower Moscow – Business Insider

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 12:44 PM

  1. Trump Circles: Elections From Mikenova (16 Sites)

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Business Insider

‘Help world peace and make a lot of money’: Here’s the letter of intent to build a Trump Tower Moscow
Business Insider
A letter of intent forwarded by Russian-born businessman Felix Sater to the Trump Organization’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, outlines the terms of a licensing agreement to purchase property to build a “Trump World Tower Moscow.” Sater sent the 
REVEALED: Longtime Trump associate floated this bizarre ulterior motive for Moscow TowerRaw Story
Marcus: Trump’s pursuit of Moscow tower big, disturbing dealThe Columbian

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felix sater – Google News

Trump News Review – 10:21 AM 9/8/2017 by mikenova

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Trump Investigations Report

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Chuck Schumer Channels LBJ For A Dealmaking Day
Trump handed him a gift, but the Democrats’ workaholic-in-chief had earned it.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 to learn about Hillary Clinton’s “fitness” to be president, Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in a closed-door session, explaining that he would use the information from the meeting to “consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration” and defending the comments he made in an email chain promising damaging information on Clinton. Byron Tau and Rebecca Ballhaus report at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Jr. did not discuss with the president the misleading statement drafted this July on Air Force One about the June 2016 meeting, Trump Jr. said during questioning, reiterating that the meeting was not an attempt to collude with Russia to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign. Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman report at the New York Times.

“The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out not to be about what had been represented,” Trump Jr. said in prepared remarks, the president’s son tweeting a statement after the session that he hoped the interview “fully satisfied their inquiry,” which would be unlikely as the president’s son was not able to provide important details, according to people who attended the hearing. Tom Hamburger and Karoun Demirjian report at the Washington Post.

“I can say very confidently that I have not detected any whiff of interference” by the White House into the Russia investigation, F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray said yesterday in Washington, Sarah N. Lynch reporting at Reuters.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is seeking to interview White House staff over the statement drafted aboard Air Force One, according to three sources familiar with the situation. Pamela Brown, Gloria Borger and Jeremy Diamond report at CNN.

Questions should be asked of former F.B.I. Director James Comey’s role in the salacious “Trump dossier” commissioned by the opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. and compiled by the former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, Kimberley A. Strassel writes at the Wall Street Journal.

The senate investigations into connections between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin must be meticulous and should not be rushed, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes write at Foreign Policy.

CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY

Legislative action may be needed to require social media companies to disclose information about digital political ads, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA.) said yesterday, following Facebook’s findings Wednesday that a Russian firm likely purchased polarizing ads. Dutin Volz and David Ingram report at Reuters.

Twitter is expected to brief congressional investigators soon about Russian use of its advertising platform, Sen. Warner also said yesterday. Dustin Volz and Jonathan Landay report at Reuters.

Google has seen no evidence of a Russia propaganda campaign on its platforms, the search engine said in a statement, Reuters reporting.

Up to 28% of Americans could have seen Russian-funded propaganda posts on Facebook, according to an expert’s analysis of Facebook’s findings. Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman explain how the polarizing messages swept the social media platform during the 2016 presidential election at The Daily Beast.

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Expect Special Counsel Mueller to Follow the Money
Follow the money. Mark Felt, the deceased FBI executive who was Watergates Deep Throat, may not have actually whispered those words to reporter Bob Woodward. But they reflect a practice federal agents and prosecutors heed in criminal investigations as varied as drug dealing and terrorism to cyber intrusion and political corruption.No one should be surprised that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into the finances of President Donald Trump and his associates. But in July the president warned that Mueller would be exceeding his mandate if he sought information on the Trump familys finances unrelated to Russia. And now Rep. Ron DeSantis has filed a proposed amendment to a House spending bill to prevent Mueller from investigating matters that occurred before June 2015, when Trump announced his presidential run.

The president not only seems to misread the broad mandate that Mueller was given by the Justice Department, but the positions that he and DeSantis have taken suggest they are also unfamiliar with how investigations like Muellers work. Finances that are not on their face related to Russia could nonetheless prove relevant to the Russia investigation. And the contrived date restriction that DeSantis proposes would improperly inhibit investigators, prosecutors and ultimately the grand jury. For example, seemingly unrelated financial matters that predate events central to the investigation could show a pattern of behavior related to the issue in question or a state of financial distress that could speak to motive.

In this post, as a former U.S. attorney who has led numerous investigations in which financial evidence established key elements for conviction of serious crimes, I offer a brief explanation of why the special counsel is right to probe the finances of the subjects of his Russia investigation and why he surely will ignore the president’s warning if the evidence leads him there.

I oversaw many cases in which a suspects personal finances were often intimately linked to whatever wrongdoing that person had engaged in. The finances either created a motive (naked greed, for example), contained evidence or fruits of the illegal scheme itself, or provided evidence of how the scheme was concealed. For example, in one conspiracy case prosecuted by my office, we established the complicity of Russian hackers by examining related financial crimes and connecting complex schemes involving the transfer of funds to the conspirators. Similar evidence of financial transactions can establish overt acts proving the conspiracy or can connect the alleged conspirator with the crime, whether or not the crime itself is financial in nature. In fact, ignoring such evidence would severely hamstring most federal criminal investigations.

It is hard to imagine how payments by foreign governments, including Russia, would not be central to Muellers investigation, given what is already known. To start, Donald Trump, Jr. admitted at a real estate conference in 2008 that Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. As Reuters reported in March, wealthy Russians invested nearly $100 million in revenue to several of Trumps properties in Florida and New York in recent years. And beyond Russian money flowing to Trump properties in the United States, Donald Trump had tried to develop properties in Russia since the 1980s. In 2007 he declared, We will be in Moscow at some point, and in 2013 his hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in Russia was financed by Aras Agalarov, an oligarch who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Agalarov later worked with Trump on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, though the deal fell apart. Late last month, the Washington Post reported on emails that revealed that Trumps personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, played a role in that deal, working to connect the Trump Organization with a spokesperson for Putin to help finalize it. Agalarovs son also reportedly sought to arrange the now-infamous meeting between Trump Jr. and the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

These financial relationships are relevant to the Russia investigation because they may speak to Trump or his associates motive or opportunity to collude, or else provide evidence of collusion. Recently these facts were recounted as part of a civil lawsuit filed against the Trump campaign by three voters whose private information was exposed to the world as part of the Russians hack of the Democratic National Committee. Discovery will likely be allowed in that case. Surely the special counsel must look into these issues as well.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted Mueller a broad mandate to probe financial records when he authorized an investigation into any links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump (emphasis added). There is ample reason for Mueller to believe based simply on information in the public sphere that there are financial links between Trump and Russians close to the Russian government. The only way he would be able to tell if any of these financial links connect Trump to the Russian government for purposes of influence operations is to investigate them.

Given that investigating Trumps finances is within Muellers mandate, the president’s warning that Mueller not look at Trump family finances beyond any relationship to Russia is highly inappropriate. My bosses at the Department of Justice once tried to interfere in an election-related investigation within my purview. In 2006, I was fired along with eight other U.S. attorneys for what many believe was an attempt to politicize criminal investigations and install political loyalists to oversee important federal investigations. The investigation report issued by the Justice Departments Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that the Department failed to ensure that the removals were not undertaken for an improper political purpose and that several department officials assertion that the removals were performance-based was inaccurate and misleading with regard to several of the U.S. Attorneys.

In my view, we were fired because we chose loyalty to the law and our oaths to the Constitution over loyalty to the president and his political party.  The scandal that flowed from that moment rocked the country and resulted in the resignation of top Justice Department officials, including the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.

Bob Mueller, who served as FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, doesnt need anyones advice on how to investigate and prosecute cases. His experience and integrity speak for themselves to anyone but the willfully ignorant or those who have little regard for the truth. Whether ignorance, disregard for the rule of law or something else explains the antipathy of the White House and others, Mueller deserves and may require the active support of Congressand perhaps eventually the judiciary, if we want the truth.

Why Russia investigation could take new turn – CNBC

CNBC
Why Russia investigation could take new turn
CNBC
Trump has bragged about his “complete power” to pardon and used it in a controversial move to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The president’s power to pardon is indeed vast, but it does not extend to state and local law violations. The Muellerinvestigation 
In the Trump era, politics is crimeColorado Springs Independent
A closer look at Trump’s first pardon and Arpaio’s controversial careerGears Of Bizall 64 news articles »
Trump Terrible 10: Apocalypse Now Edition
Unprecedented violent storms are attacking our shores. North Koreas got nukes. Russia hacked our election. And malevolent
DOJ: Admitting Existence Of A Sessions Resignation Letter Would Violate His Privacy
HuffPost had filed a FOIA request seeking a copy of the alleged resignation letter.
The President’s Son Admitted To An Amateurish Attempt At Collusion. He May Have Helped Bury His Father’s Presidency In The Process
This delicate legal situation is once again due almost entirely to unnecessary and unforced errors on the part of the Trump family.
Chuck Schumer Channels LBJ For A Dealmaking Day
Trump handed him a gift, but the Democrats’ workaholic-in-chief had earned it.
How The Hell Do You Appraise A Crappy Drawing By Donald Trump?
A valuation expert speaks on the peculiar difficulty of appraising a doodle by the most powerful man in the world.
Poll: Most Americans Want Congress To Save Dreamers
Just over a quarter think Congress shouldn’t act to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
White Christians Are Now A Minority In The U.S.
A new study reveals major changes to the American religious landscape in recent decades.
Who Do Conservatives Blame For Donald Trump’s Bad Deal? Paul Ryan, Of Course!
Deals are Donald Trump’s art form, unless it’s a bad deal, in which case Paul Ryan is to blame.
Hurricane Harvey Is Just The Latest In Facebooks Fake News Problem
The social media network can’t help but spread political falsehoods.

Trump News Review – 10:21 AM 9/8/2017

1. Trump from mikenova (194 sites)
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Expect Special Counsel Mueller to Follow the Money
trump criminal investigation – Google News: Why Russia investigation could take new turn – CNBC
Trump Investigations – Google News: Why Russia investigation could take new turn – CNBC
trump psychological portrait – Google News: Even North Korea’s Top Trump Analyst Can’t Understand His Tweets – Vanity Fair
Donald Trump | The Guardian: Here comes Hillary Clinton’s memoir and there’s plenty of blame to go round
crime and terror – Google News: Terror suspects arrested at Birmingham Airport ‘quizzed on links to ISIS executioners’ – Coventry Telegraph
trump and republican party – Google News: GOP Lawmakers Prepare To Vote On Spending Deal Trump Cut With Democrats – NPR
Just Security: South Sudan: The Crisis Continues
trump electorate – Google News: With Charlie Dent’s retirement, Trumpism claims its first scalp – it won’t be the last | Friday Morning Coffee – PennLive.com
Trumpism – Google News: With Charlie Dent’s retirement, Trumpism claims its first scalp – it won’t be the last | Friday Morning Coffee – PennLive.com
2016 elections and mental health – Google News: These Women Are the Last Thing Standing Between You and Nuclear War – MarieClaire.com
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: iOS 11 May Complicate Border Searches
analysis of trump electorate – Google News: First Read’s Morning Clips: Trump’s Spending Deal Rattles GOP – NBCNews.com
Just Security: The Early Edition: September 8, 2017
US elections and russia – Google News: Russia: US may have planted ‘compromising material’ during Russian consulate inspection – Washington Examiner
Trump – Google News: What Donald Trump Jr. Left Out of His Statement to Congress – The Atlantic
Donald Trump: Cordrays possible exit from consumer regulator cheers US banks
trump and republican party – Google News: The Note: Trump’s deals flummox Republican Party – ABC News
Emails Investigation Reopening – Google News: Route 18 reopens after SUV, truck crash in Beaver Falls – Tribune-Review
Trump – Google News: Trump’s Bipartisan Push Shakes Up Capitol Hill – NBCNews.com
morell on trump – Google News: North Korea expected to test another ICBM this weekend – Washington Examiner

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Expect Special Counsel Mueller to Follow the Money
Why Russia investigation could take new turn – CNBC
Trump Terrible 10: Apocalypse Now Edition
DOJ: Admitting Existence Of A Sessions Resignation Letter Would Violate His Privacy
The President’s Son Admitted To An Amateurish Attempt At Collusion. He May Have Helped Bury His Father’s Presidency In The Process
Chuck Schumer Channels LBJ For A Dealmaking Day
How The Hell Do You Appraise A Crappy Drawing By Donald Trump?
Poll: Most Americans Want Congress To Save Dreamers
White Christians Are Now A Minority In The U.S.
Who Do Conservatives Blame For Donald Trump’s Bad Deal? Paul Ryan, Of Course!
Hurricane Harvey Is Just The Latest In Facebooks Fake News Problem
Here’s what a realistic Ukraine settlement may look like – EURACTIV
Chinese ‘chuckle at Trump for messing up picture-perfect America’: State media – CNBC
Seth Meyers Ruthlessly Mocks Trump’s ‘Bring Your Daughter To Jerk Day’
Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump Jr. fled father’s name before embracing it – ABC News
What Kind of War Is Trump Threatening? – Lynchburg News and Advance
On president’s war powers, Trump has the Constitution about right – Philly.com
Why North Korea is a black hole for American spies – Politico
Why we should worry that the only restraint on Trump is three unelected generals – New Statesman
Analysis: The long road to ending the North Korean threat – i24NEWS
Trump-Democrats Deal Leaves GOP Wary of More to Come – RealClearPolitics
Smiley’s London: exploring the underground haunts in John le Carré’s A Legacy of Spies – Evening Standard
Carr: Hillary Clinton uses new book to blame everyone but herself – Boston Herald
On Capitol Hill, Trump Jr. denies collusion with Russia – WITN
I Spent a Night at Donald Trump’s Childhood Home. He Would Hate This Place – Newsweek

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Felix Sater’s letter to Michael Cohen surfaces, directly incriminating Donald Trump by Bill Palmer

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 12:35 PM

Palmer Report

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Last week it was revealed that Donald Trump was trying to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election, and that his attorney Michael Cohen and business partner Felix Sater were leading the way in trying to make it happen. It was also revealed that Trump signed a letter of intent to build it, erasing any shot at deniability. Now an email from Sater to Cohen has surfaced regarding the project, and it directly incriminates Donald Trump.

The email in question has been obtained by the Daily Beast, and it’s brief but stunning. Felix Sater wrote the following to Michael Cohen, verbatim with some missing apostrophes and a missing word or two: “Attached is the signed LOI by Andrey Rozov. Please have Mr. Trump counter-sign, signed and sent back. Let’s make this happen and build a Trump Moscow. And possibly fix relations between the countries by showing everyone that commerce & business are much better and more practical than politics. That should Putins message as well, and we will help him agree on that message. Help world peace and make a lot of money, I would say thats a great lifetime goal for us to go after.” (link). That’s the full text of the email, and it tells us a lot.

There are a few key details that stand out. “LOI” refers to letter of intent. It’s been previously reported that Trump did in fact sign the letter. This means that Cohen, and by extension Trump, agreed with Sater’s premises laid out in the email. In other words, the Trump Tower Moscow was partly an attempt at conspiring with a foreign government to influence the outcome of the election, and partly and effort at making foreign profits from the election. These are both crimes. Trump’s decision to sign the letter of intent, after the project was framed to him in this manner, directly incriminates him.

In addition, the email reveals just how thoroughly the Trump and Putin camps were colluding during the election. It documents that Trump’s camp was even willing to help frame Putin’s messaging on the project so he could sell the idea that Trump should be president. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t already have this incriminating email, he does now.

The post Felix Sater’s letter to Michael Cohen surfaces, directly incriminating Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

Weiner resigned from Congress soon after, and in December Huma gave birth to son Jordan. – Daily Mail

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Abedin – Google News

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Daily Mail

Weiner resigned from Congress soon after, and in December Huma gave birth to son Jordan.
Daily Mail
In 2013, Weiner decided to run for mayor of New York City and also agreed to be filmed for a documentary about his return to politics. Weiner announced he would run in late May, but just two months later allegations emerged that he had continued to 

Why Russia investigation could take new turn – CNBC

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 10:17 AM

Trump Criminal Investigation – Google News

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CNBC

Why Russia investigation could take new turn
CNBC
Trump has bragged about his “complete power” to pardon and used it in a controversial move to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The president’s power to pardon is indeed vast, but it does not extend to state and local law violations. The Mueller investigation 
In the Trump era, politics is crimeColorado Springs Independent
A closer look at Trump’s first pardon and Arpaio’s controversial careerGears Of Biz

all 64 news articles »

Expect Special Counsel Mueller to Follow the Moneyby John McKay

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 10:17 AM

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

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“Follow the money.” Mark Felt, the deceased FBI executive who was Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” may not have actually whispered those words to reporter Bob Woodward. But they reflect a practice federal agents and prosecutors heed in criminal investigations as varied as drug dealing and terrorism to cyber intrusion and political corruption.

No one should be surprised that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into the finances of President Donald Trump and his associates. But in July the president warned that Mueller would be exceeding his mandate if he sought information on the Trump family’s finances unrelated to Russia. And now Rep. Ron DeSantis has filed a proposed amendment to a House spending bill to prevent Mueller from investigating matters that occurred before June 2015, when Trump announced his presidential run.

The president not only seems to misread the broad mandate that Mueller was given by the Justice Department, but the positions that he and DeSantis have taken suggest they are also unfamiliar with how investigations like Mueller’s work. Finances that are not on their face related to Russia could nonetheless prove relevant to the Russia investigation. And the contrived date restriction that DeSantis proposes would improperly inhibit investigators, prosecutors and ultimately the grand jury. For example, seemingly unrelated financial matters that predate events central to the investigation could show a pattern of behavior related to the issue in question or a state of financial distress that could speak to motive.

In this post, as a former U.S. attorney who has led numerous investigations in which financial evidence established key elements for conviction of serious crimes, I offer a brief explanation of why the special counsel is right to probe the finances of the subjects of his Russia investigation and why he surely will ignore the president’s warning if the evidence leads him there.

I oversaw many cases in which a suspect’s personal finances were often intimately linked to whatever wrongdoing that person had engaged in. The finances either created a motive (naked greed, for example), contained evidence or fruits of the illegal scheme itself, or provided evidence of how the scheme was concealed. For example, in one conspiracy case prosecuted by my office, we established the complicity of Russian hackers by examining related financial crimes and connecting complex schemes involving the transfer of funds to the conspirators. Similar evidence of financial transactions can establish overt acts proving the conspiracy or can connect the alleged conspirator with the crime, whether or not the crime itself is financial in nature. In fact, ignoring such evidence would severely hamstring most federal criminal investigations.

It is hard to imagine how payments by foreign governments, including Russia, would not be central to Mueller’s investigation, given what is already known. To start, Donald Trump, Jr. admitted at a real estate conference in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” As Reuters reported in March, wealthy Russians invested nearly $100 million in revenue to several of Trump’s properties in Florida and New York in recent years. And beyond Russian money flowing to Trump properties in the United States, Donald Trump had tried to develop properties in Russia since the 1980s. In 2007 he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point,” and in 2013 his hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in Russia was financed by Aras Agalarov, an oligarch who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Agalarov later worked with Trump on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, though the deal fell apart. Late last month, the Washington Post reported on emails that revealed that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, played a role in that deal, working to connect the Trump Organization with a spokesperson for Putin to help finalize it. Agalarov’s son also reportedly sought to arrange the now-infamous meeting between Trump Jr. and the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

These financial relationships are relevant to the Russia investigation because they may speak to Trump or his associates’ motive or opportunity to collude, or else provide evidence of collusion. Recently these facts were recounted as part of a civil lawsuit filed against the Trump campaign by three voters whose private information was exposed to the world as part of the Russians’ hack of the Democratic National Committee. Discovery will likely be allowed in that case. Surely the special counsel must look into these issues as well.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted Mueller a broad mandate to probe financial records when he authorized an investigation into “any links … between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” (emphasis added). There is ample reason for Mueller to believe based simply on information in the public sphere that there are financial links between Trump and Russians close to the Russian government. The only way he would be able to tell if any of these financial links connect Trump to the Russian government for purposes of influence operations is to investigate them.

Given that investigating Trump’s finances is within Mueller’s mandate, the president’s warning that Mueller not look at Trump family finances beyond any relationship to Russia is highly inappropriate. My bosses at the Department of Justice once tried to interfere in an election-related investigation within my purview. In 2006, I was fired along with eight other U.S. attorneys for what many believe was an attempt to politicize criminal investigations and install political loyalists to oversee important federal investigations. The investigation report issued by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that “the Department failed to ensure that the removals were not undertaken for an improper political purpose” and that several department officials’ assertion that the removals were performance-based “was inaccurate and misleading with regard to several of the U.S. Attorneys.”

In my view, we were fired because we chose loyalty to the law and our oaths to the Constitution over loyalty to the president and his political party.  The scandal that flowed from that moment rocked the country and resulted in the resignation of top Justice Department officials, including the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.

Bob Mueller, who served as FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, doesn’t need anyone’s advice on how to investigate and prosecute cases. His experience and integrity speak for themselves to anyone but the willfully ignorant or those who have little regard for the truth. Whether ignorance, disregard for the rule of law or something else explains the antipathy of the White House and others, Mueller deserves and may require the active support of Congress—and perhaps eventually the judiciary, if we want the truth.

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Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passportsby mikenova

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Trump Investigations Report

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Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts

The World Web TimesNews | Photos | Audio and Video | Politics | Trump | Security | Reviews | Analysis | Current Topics | Opinions | Links | PostsLocal | Guides | Classifieds | News reading lists, review of media reports, digests, reviews, summaries, editors selected important articles

Trump – from Huffington Post

Trump – from Huffington Post from mikenova (1 sites)
Donald Trump: Melania Trump’s Supporters Flip Out Over Vanity Fair ‘Best-Dressed List’ Snub
Barack and Michelle Obama did make the cut, however.
Donald Trump

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1. Trump from mikenova (194 sites)
Donald Trump | The Guardian: Harvey spells it out: markets alone won’t protect you | Joseph Stiglitz
trump as putin’s puppet – Google News: Carr: Hillary Clinton uses new book to blame everyone but herself – Boston Herald
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: Smiley’s London: exploring the underground haunts in John le Carré’s A Legacy of Spies – Evening Standard
donald trump russia – Google News: Rep. Adam Schiff On Donald Trump Jr. And Russia – NPR
trump as samson – Google News: Analysis: The long road to ending the North Korean threat – i24NEWS
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: Why we should worry that the only restraint on Trump is three unelected generals – New Statesman
Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime and terrorism – Google News: US threatens Syrian opposition to join PKK/PYD – Yeni Şafak English
Russia influence in Eastern Europe – Google News: Hybrid war: The real casualties in Ukraine – New Eastern Europe
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: On president’s war powers, Trump has the Constitution about right – Philly.com
Trump liar – Google News: Ted Cruz 2.0? Senator Adjusts With Trump in Office and Houston Under Water – New York Times
Donald Trump: Mar-A-Lago evacuated as hurricane approaches Florida
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: What Kind of War Is Trump Threatening? – Lynchburg News and Advance
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Facebook Says Fake Accounts Likely Tied To Russia Bought $100000 In Political Ads – Forbes Africa (blog)
Donald Trump: Melania Trump’s Supporters Flip Out Over Vanity Fair ‘Best-Dressed List’ Snub
Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump Jr. fled father’s name before embracing it – ABC News
Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump Jr. fled father’s name before embracing it – ABC News
1. Trump Circles: Elections from mikenova (16 sites): Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump Jr. fled father’s name before embracing it – ABC News
Donald Trump: Seth Meyers Ruthlessly Mocks Trump’s ‘Bring Your Daughter To Jerk Day’
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: WILL: Contemplating war with North Korea – Niagara Gazette
organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Cryptomania – Kyiv Post
organized crime and Russian intelligence – Google News: Cryptomania – Kyiv Post
Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Hillary Regrets Not Going After Ex-FBI Director During Election: ‘What the Hell Was Comey Doing?’ – Mediaite
The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea – The New Yorker
Authorities say sale of counterfeit sneakers can lead to terrorist financing – WJBD Online
Authorities say sale of counterfeit sneakers can lead to terrorist financing – KTIC
Donald Trumps attorneys wife arrested
Donald Trump Jr. Just Admitted He Committed A Crime
King on Trump and Schumer: ‘It was almost like a love-in at times’ – CNN
Editorial: Alarming signs and sleazy people in collusion probe – Boulder Daily Camera
The Latest: Trump Jr. denies collusion with Russia – Washington Post
Former U.S. Presidents may be laying the groundwork to jointly come out against Donald Trump
US May Need New Law to Address Russian ad Buys on Facebook – Senator – News18
Trump and Putin Are the Real Targets of Israel’s Alleged Strike in Syria – Haaretz
Even the Saudis Are Turning to Russia as Assad’s Foes Lose Heart – Bloomberg
Trump anger at Gary Cohn raises doubts about White House tenure reports
News Update: Russia Investigations into Hacking Collusion – Pinnacle
American Muslims 16 years after 9/11 – Milli Gazette
WILL: Contemplating war with North Korea – Niagara Gazette
Donald Trump Jr. fled father’s name before embracing it – ABC News
Melania Trump’s Supporters Flip Out Over Vanity Fair ‘Best-Dressed List’ Snub
Facebook Says Fake Accounts Likely Tied To Russia Bought $100000 In Political Ads – Forbes Africa (blog)
Mar-A-Lago evacuated as hurricane approaches Florida
US threatens Syrian opposition to join PKK/PYD – Yeni Şafak English
Rep. Adam Schiff On Donald Trump Jr. And Russia – NPR
Donald Trump Jr gives bumbling testimony, unwittingly nails his father for obstruction of justice

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Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports – WCAI

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 9:56 AM

Trump Russian Candidate – Google News

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WCAI

Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports
WCAI
The irony is that, on the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump railed against “anchor babies” — a demeaning name for children born to a noncitizen mother in a country to gain new citizenship for the child. And yet, according to the Daily Beast, the 

and more »

Comey’s Secret Power – WSJ

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 6:46 AM

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  1. Edgar Hoover’s abuse of power as FBI director led Congress and the Justice Department to put new checks on that most powerful and secretive of offices. By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update.

Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the presidency. Mr. Comey did, and Americans are now getting a glimpse of how much he influenced political events.

Mr. Comey’s actions in the Hillary Clinton email probe are concerning enough. He made himself investigator, judge and jury, breaking the Justice Department’s chain of command. He publicly confirmed the investigation, violating the department’s principles. He announced he would not recommend prosecuting Mrs. Clinton, even as he publicly excoriated her—an extraordinary abuse of his megaphone. Then he rekindled the case only 11 days before the election.

An inquiry by the Senate Judiciary Committee has now shown that Mr. Comey’s investigation was a charade. He wrote a draft statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton in May, long before he bothered to interview her or her staff. This at least finally explains the probe’s lackluster nature: the absence of a grand jury, the failure to follow up on likely perjury, the unorthodox immunity deals made with Clinton aides.

But the big development this week is a new look at how Mr. Comey may have similarly juked the probe into Donald Trump’s purported ties to Russia. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “dossier.” That dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele.

But the FBI had its own part in this dossier, and investigators are finally drilling down into how big a role it played, and why. The bureau has furiously resisted answering questions. It ignored the initial requests for documents and has refused to comply with the House committee’s subpoenas, which were first issued Aug. 24. Republicans are frustrated enough that this week they sent orders compelling FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appear before the committee to explain the obstruction.

One explanation is that the documents might show the FBI played a central role in ginning up the fake dossier on Mr. Trump. To this day, we do not know who hired Fusion GPS to gather the dirt. The New York Times early this year reported, citing an anonymous source, that a wealthy anti-Trumper initially hired Fusion to dig into Mr. Trump’s business dealings, but the contract was later taken over by a Clinton-allied group. That’s when Fusion shifted its focus to Russia and hired Mr. Steele.

The question is when the FBI got in on the act. The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start? The timing matters because it could answer the vital question of why the FBI wanted the dossier. Here’s one thought: warrants.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees spying activities, is usually generous in approving warrants, on the presumption law-enforcement agencies are acting in good faith. When a warrant is rejected, though, law enforcement isn’t pleased.

Perhaps the FBI wanted to conduct surveillance on someone connected to a presidential campaign (Carter Page?) but couldn’t hit what was—and ought to be—a supremely high bar for getting such a potentially explosive warrant. A dossier of nefarious allegations might well prove handy in finally convincing the FISA court to sign off. The FBI might have had a real motive to support Mr. Steele’s effort. It might have even justified the unjustifiable: working with a partisan oppo-research firm and a former spook to engineer a Kremlin-planted dossier that has roiled Mr. Trump’s entire presidency.

Now that’s power.

Mr. Comey’s meddling has never seemed to stem from some hidden partisan impulse, but rather from an overweening self-righteousness. But power can be misused as much in the hands of the sanctimonious as the corrupt. And it’s overdue for congressional investigators to get to the bottom of precisely how much power Mr. Comey was exercising.

Write to <a href=”mailto:kim@wsj.com”>kim@wsj.com</a>.

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Comey’s Secret Power – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 6:44 AM

Comey – Google News

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Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Comey’s Secret Power
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
By the time Congress finishes investigating James Comey’s role in the 2016 presidential election, those safeguards may be due for an update. Powerful as Hoover was, even he never simultaneously investigated both major-party candidates for the 

Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports – KOSU

Friday September 8th, 2017 at 6:36 AM

Trump Russian Candidate – Google News

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KOSU

Wealthy Russians are having babies in the US, for passports
KOSU
The irony is that, on the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump railed against “anchor babies” — a demeaning name for children born to a noncitizen mother in a country to gain new citizenship for the child. And yet, according to the Daily Beast, the 

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Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump by Bill Palmer

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 6:06 PM

Palmer Report

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If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard from or about Rudy Giuliani of late, we now have some answers to that. The Feds just took aggressive action which can only be interpreted as an attempt at pressuring him into flipping on Donald Trump, and it’s safe to assume he’s been laying low all of this time because he’s known what was coming. Suffice it to say that this latest development doesn’t look good for him.

Awhile back, Giuliani got himself tangled with Reza Zarrab, who’s been awaiting trial in the United States for a series of alleged financial crimes. Zarrab was operating his business out of Trump Towers Istanbul, making it suspicious that Giuliani – a Trump campaign surrogate – was attempting to meddle in the case. Once this was revealed, Giuliani all but disappeared from the public radar. Now the Feds are bringing indictments against pretty much everyone involved in the Giuliani-Zarrab mess.

Yesterday the Department of Justice posted a press release revealing that it was bringing indictments against four of the co-conspirators in the mess (link). Although the press release does not mention Giuliani, it does mention that Dana Boente is involved in this latest move – and that tells us a lot. Boente is the U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Virginia, even though this case is playing out in the Southern District of New York.

Boente also serves as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. He was also the one who helped get the initial grand juries in the Trump-Russia investigation underway in his Eastern District of Virginia, which have since been taken over by Robert Mueller. Even though Rudy Giuliani is still serving as Reza Zarrab’s quasi-attorney, this latest move reads like an attempt at getting co-conspirators to flip on then both – and the whole reason to nail Rudy is to get him to flip on Trump when it comes to election collusion shenanigans.

The post Feds put the screws to Rudy Giuliani to try to get him to flip on Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

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FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe – Reuters

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 6:06 PM

Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News

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CNN International

FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he has “not detected any whiff of interference” by the White House into the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Speaking publicly for the 
FBI Director Wray: No ‘whiff of interference’ with Mueller investigationCNN International
Wray: No Signs of Interference Into Russia ProbeNewsmax

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In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staffby Bill Palmer

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Palmer Report

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Just hours after Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress that he had initially lied to the media about the nature of his meeting with Russian government representatives, Robert Mueller is already springing into action. The Special Counsel is now targeting Donald Trump’s entire Senior Staff with regard to how Trump tried to obstruct justice in relation to that meeting.

Palmer Report pointed out immediately after Junior’s testimony that he had confirmed that his father had instructed him to lie to the media about the meeting, thereby unwittingly nailing his father for obstruction of justice (link). Sure enough, CNN is now reporting that Mueller is quickly zeroing in on that discussion (link) – and he’s targeting Trump’s senior staff in the process.

Donald Trump crafted his son’s initial false statement about the Russia meeting while he was on Air Force One with his senior staffers. That makes them witnesses at the least, and co-consirators in obstructing justice at the most. If Mueller can compel these senior staffers to testify about what Trump said during that plane ride, then he’ll have first-hand witnesses of Trump’s obstruction. Moreover, he’ll only need to flip one of them, by convincing them that it’s better to come clean than to face potential criminal charges.

Donald Trump Jr admitted to Congress today during his testimony that he had met with the Russian government representatives at Trump Tower during the election, in the hope of obtaining secret information about Hillary Clinton (link). While he still insists this is somehow harmless in intent, it means that he conspired with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the election – a crime. Donald Trump’s attempt at covering up his son’s collusion meeting isn’t merely obstruction of justice – it also demonstrates that he understood the collusive and illegal nature of his son’s Russia meeting.

The post In wake of Donald Trump Jr’s incriminating testimony, Robert Mueller quickly targets Donald Trump’s senior staff appeared first on Palmer Report.

FBI chief sees no sign of political interference in Russia probe

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 4:34 PM

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FBI director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he had seen no sign of political interference in the bureau’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation,” he told a conference of national security industry executives in Washington.

Making his first remarks on the matter since taking office one month ago, Mr Wray also said he had “enormous respect” for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the probe. Earlier this summer, after the president privately expressed frustration with the special counsel, prominent Republicans such as Senator Lindsey Graham warned Mr Trump against firing him.

The FBI has assigned several agents to do the investigative leg work for Mr Mueller. “I have confidence in them to do their jobs professionally,” Mr Wray said.

Agents in the bureau’s counter-intelligence division also are working to thwart any future election meddling by Russia. “I’m very impressed with the strides that are being made on that front,” said the director.

Mr Trump turned to Mr Wray to run the FBI after firing former director James Comey in May over his handling of the Russia allegations. At the time, Mr Trump said he had been irked that Mr Comey was still investigating his ties to Russia, which the president called a “made-up story”.

Mr Wray, who was sworn in as FBI director on August 2, headed the Department of Justice’s criminal division from 2003 to 2005 and later became a corporate defence attorney.

I can say very confidently I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation

His white-collar clients included New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was accused of engineering a traffic jam on a Hudson River bridge to punish a political adversary, and Credit Suisse, which in 2014 became the first major US bank in more than two decades to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing in helping Americans evade paying US taxes.

Since taking office, Mr Wray said that he had reviewed classified evidence supporting the intelligence community’s January 6 public assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally directed “an influence campaign” aimed at the presidential election.

Mr Putin sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy and hurt the election prospects of Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s rival in the race for the White House. “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference” for a Trump win, the intelligence community concluded.

Mr Wray repeated what he said during his Senate confirmation hearing, that he had “no reason to doubt the conclusions” of the intelligence community about Russia’s meddling.

Follow David J Lynch on Twitter: @davidjlynch

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President Donald Trump gives tax reform speech in North Dakota – YouTube

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 9:32 AM

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trump – Google Search

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 9:10 AM

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trump – Google Search

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 9:08 AM

Trump – Google News

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