According to Q, nearly every president before Trump was a “criminal president” who was part of an evil global organization of Satanist pedophiles. It also claims members of the US military who are not working for the global pedophile cabal supposedly approached Trump and begged him to run for president so that they could purge the government of the deep state operatives without a military coup.
Q claims Trump is not under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, but that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are. And Trump is actually working with Mueller.
Q regularly drops clues that followers call “crumbs,” which are meant to predict things. For instance, he claimed John Podesta would be arrested or indicted Nov. 3, 2017 — which, of course, didn’t happen
See, bad fanfic. But the bottom line, with tons of documentation at the Buzzfeed piece citied here is that it was a hoax which finally makes sense to me. Imagine bored dateless BernieBros in a basement some where ….
“Let us take for granted, for a while, that QAnon started as a prank in order to trigger right-wing weirdos and have a laugh at them. There’s no doubt it has long become something very different. At a certain level it still sounds like a prank. But who’s pulling it on whom?” they said.
They also point to the fact that even this article runs the risk of being sucked into the QAnon vortex and just adding more fuel to the fire. “If [QAnon’s] perpetrators claimed responsibility for it and showed some evidence (for example, unmistakeable references to our book and the Luther Blissett Project), would the explanation itself become yet another part of the narrative, or would it generate a new narrative encompassing and defusing the previous one?”
So, now that’s cleared up the press can leave it alone. There are real things out there. That sucking sound you hear are wages and wealth going to the richest of the rich.
The income share possessed by the top 0.1 in America increased from 7% in 1978 to 22% in 2012: https://t.co/xJO23w6xT6
On May 8th, Brookings officially launched a new initiative on the Future of the Middle Class. Through this initiative, we will publish research, analysis, and insights that are motivated by a desire to improve the quality of life for those in America’s middle class and to improve upward mobility into its ranks. We have already wrestled with how we define this group, considered its changing racial composition, and called upon experts to outline major policies geared toward improving its fate. But why all of this attention? Here are seven of the reasons we are worried about the American middle class.
For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.
The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.
Driving the surge, the study suggests, is a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals, who are bearing an ever-greater responsibility for their own financial well-being as the social safety net shrinks.
The transfer has come in the form of, among other things, longer waits for full Social Security benefits, the replacement of employer-provided pensions with 401(k) savings plans and more out-of-pocket spending on health care. Declining incomes, whether in retirement or leading up to it, compound the challenge.
Donald Trump has signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on Iran – a move the EU said it “deeply” regretted.
Three months after he revealed he was pulling the US out of the seven-party Iran nuclear deal, Mr Trump announced the reimposition of wide range of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. Three months after he revealed he was pulling the US out of the seven-party Iran nuclear deal, Mr Trump announced the reimposition of a wide range of of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. A second set will be reimposed in a further three months.
“[The Iran nuclear deal] a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos,” Mr Trump said in a statement.
“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond.”
In the aftermath of Mr Trump’s unilateral decision in May, the other parties to the 2015 deal – Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK and the EU – vowed to stick with the deal and to and continue to trade with Iran. Several companies, such as French-based Airbus, felt obliged to pull out of a deal with Iran, rather than risk sanctions from Washington.
The revoking of licensees to the company and its rival, Boeing, saw the aircraft manufacturer lose out on a $39bn deal with Tehran for new planes. Easing sanctions such as this was a major inducement get Tehran to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 under President Barack Obama.
The executive order signed on Monday, which will come into effect at midnight EST, releases to the purchase or acquisition of US currency Iran, the trade in gold and other precious metals, materials such as graphite, aluminium, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes. They also target the country’ automotive sector.
The remaining sanctions to be reimposed on November 5 relate to Iran’s port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors. Crucially, they will also target its oil industry and foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.
It’s like he’s single handedly destroying our economic, world order, and the environment. This news is awful but typical Trump policy.
This is the worst thing about Trump trade policy I've read yet. Tariffs are one thing; tariffs that are enforced selectively, at the discretion of political appointees, are much worse — an open invitation to corruption https://t.co/Uu9V8dyV75
Two of America’s biggest steel manufacturers — both with deep ties to administration officials — have successfully objected to hundreds of requests by American companies that buy foreign steel to exempt themselves from President Trump’s stiff metal tariffs. They have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers.
Charlotte-based Nucor, which financed a documentary filmmade by a top trade adviser to Mr. Trump, and Pittsburgh-based United States Steel, which has previously employed several top administration officials, have objected to 1,600 exemption requests filed with the Commerce Department over the past several months.
To date, their efforts have never failed, resulting in denials for companies that are based in the United States but rely on imported pipes, screws, wire and other foreign steel products for their supply chains.
The ability of a single industry to exert so much influence over the exclusions process is striking even in Mr. Trump’s business-friendly White House, given the high stakes for thousands of American companies that depend on foreign metals. But the boundaries of trade policy are being tested by the scope of Mr. Trump’s multifront trade war with allies and adversaries alike, which includes tariffs on up to $200 billion worth of goods from China and possible tariffs on automobiles and auto parts.
But after watching Trump for all this time, there’s no reason to beat around the bush on this question anymore. Donald Trump is a racist, and we all know it. He could barely have tried any harder to convince us. Not only did he turn himself into a political figure by making himself America’s most prominent birther, he repeatedly demanded to see Barack Obama’s high school and college transcripts, on the theory that Obama couldn’t possibly have been smart enough to get into Columbia and Harvard Law School on his own merit. He ran a white nationalist campaign for president, and said that the judge in his Trump University fraud cause couldn’t be fair because “He’s a Mexican” (in fact, the judge is an American). On multiple occasions he retweeted racist memes from white supremacists. In a White House meeting about immigration, he said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and complained that once Nigerian immigrants had seen the United States they would never “go back to their huts” (Nigerian immigrants are one of the most highly educated groups in America). He meets a group of Native American war heroes, and decides to bring up the fact that he insults Elizabeth Warren by calling her “Pocahontas.” And of course, he called non-white nations “shithole countries” and averred that a group of neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis were “very fine people.”
So we know who Donald Trump is, and why he says what he does. The fact that much of what Trump says about African Americans is performative—a public show meant to keep his base angry—doesn’t mean that the bigotry isn’t sincerely felt.
This is a good reminder that Trump’s 2020 campaign will be no less built on hate than his 2016 campaign was. In fact, it could be even more so. Trump will no longer be able to plausibly argue that there’s a system controlled by an elite that’s keeping regular people down, since he and his party are the ones with all the power. So it’s likely that he’ll rely even more heavily on white nationalism to get re-elected.
Donald Trump has admitted for the first time that his son met a Kremlin-connected lawyer in 2016 to collect information about Hillary Clinton, but insists the meeting was legal.
In one of a series of Sunday morning tweets issued in apparent reaction to a CNN report, the US president wrote: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
That explanation differs entirely from one given by Trump 13 months ago, when a statement dictated by the president but released under the name of Donald Trump Jr read: “We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago.”
The 2016 meeting is pivotal to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion investigation, though Trump’s tweets appeared aimed at conveying the message that he is not worried about Donald Trump Jr’s exposure to the inquiry.
He made the remarks as one of his lawyers warned the special counsel against trying to force the president to be interviewed.
The President’s latest social media meltdown was in reaction to what he called a “complete fabrication” in Sunday’s Washington Post claiming Trump was concerned “innocent and decent people,” including his son Donald Trump Jr., could be hurt by Mueller’s probe exploring links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
“This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere,” he wrote. “I did not know about it!”
Thirteen months ago, Trump gave a different explanation for the meeting between his eldest son and parties alleging ties to the Russian government. A July 2017 statement credited to Don Jr. and later discovered to have been dictated by the President read: “We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago.”
Though the President maintains he knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting prior to its taking place, his former fixer Michael Cohen, who has reportedly indicated a willingness to cooperate with Mueller’s team, has allegedly said otherwise.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he had “bad information” when he personally argued that the meeting was about adoption.
So, this is just an open news dump thread! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
Jon McNaughton painted a take on George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, except in this version Trump is commanding a boat filled with members of his administration.
“Trump endeavors to cross the ‘swamp’ of Washington D.C. as he carries the light of truth, hope and prosperity,” McNaughton wrote. “The murky water of the deep state is laced with dangerous vermin, perfectly willing to destroy American prosperity for their personal ideologies and financial gain.”
Take a peek at the link to see the various jokes, I’ve posted one of the funnier ones below, which conveniently also shows what the original painting looks like….
lot to unpack here but obvious observations first: Bolton looks like he's hunting Bugs Bunny and Jared Kushner has been left off the boat. https://t.co/G6kiZCi3XR
You can also see another new “work of art” (excuse me while I vomit) below…I don’t know what the name of that piece of shit is…but it must have Strangling the Mueller somewhere in the title.
Nah, see? It is called Expose the Truth. God it is fucking disgusting.
So, now that I have posted some of the visual images for the thread, I suppose I should get around to throwing some links in the pie as well.
Trump called Don Lemon, LeBron James and Maxine Waters, "dumb". One is from the South. One is from Cleveland. One is from LA. One is in the NBA. One is on TV. One is in Congress. Hmmmm… I wonder what they could possibly have in common? Oh, wait…🖐🏾
I don’t know what to make at that tweet above… I know whatever is being done with the attacks on the press is dangerous. Just like the paintings of tRump strangling Mueller with a tie…it crosses the line.
The pastor delivering the invocation at President Trump’s rally in Ohio on Saturday called for God to shield Trump from “jungle journalism.”
CNN reported that Gary Click, a pastor and member of the Ohio GOP’s State Central Committee, delivered the prayer ahead of Trump’s remarks, asking for God to “protect our President and his family with a shield of faith, Lord.”
“That shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one, Lord, against that jungle journalism that extorts the truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day, gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendos,” Click continued.
Twenty percent of the quiet justice’s former clerks owe their current jobs to President Trump.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is by far the court’s quietest and most conservative justice. He went 10 years without asking a single question from the bench, a streak broken in 2016, not long after the death of his friend Justice Antonin Scalia. Since then, Thomas hasn’t uttered a word in court. His opinions are so quirky and radically conservative that his colleagues on the bench often seem reluctant to sign on to them, making him perhaps one of the least influential justices in the court’s history.
But the court’s only African-American justice is having an outsize influence in one important sphere: the Trump administration. A new report by the AP’s Mark Sherman indicates that roughly 20 percent of the clerks—a total of 22—Thomas has hired since his confirmation in 1991 are either now working as political appointees in the administration or have been appointed by Trump to federal judgeships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to the US actor in 2016, and now Seagal will expand his ties, serving as a goodwill ambassador. He will receive no salary, the Ministry said, adding, “It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy.”
Seagal’s new role was noted by Kremlin-backed TV station RT, who noted Seagal as welcoming the appointment.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT quoted Seagal. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”
While Seagal is popular in Russia, he has been accused in the US of sexual misconduct.
In March of this year, two women who previously accused Steven Seagal of rape and sexual assault stepped forward to offer more detailed accounts of the actor’s alleged misconduct. Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom told reporters in a press conference that she will represent former Dutch model Faviola Dadis and one-time aspiring actress Regina Simons as they seek justice.
Actresses Juliana Margulies and Pamela Anderson have also complained about Seagal’s conduct during auditions.
Looks like DC is trying to make the relations between the Neo Nazis holding a rally and folks counterprotesting the racist KKK white nationalist fucks:
In an effort to head off violence between white nationalists and counterprotesters, the District of Columbia metro transit system is considering providing separate trains for those attending the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally Aug. 12. The use of separate trains for such a purpose would be unprecedented.
Hundreds of far-right protesters from as far away as Florida gathered on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon for a “Freedom March” on Saturday. Dozens of those interviewed said they were there to utilize their “freedom of speech.” To do so, they came armed with bats, weighted fighting gloves, wooden poles, canisters of mace, knives, shields and body armor.
The police had declared a day earlier that all such weapons were illegal in Portland parks. But no effort was witnessed to confiscate the weapons or arrest the weapon-holders.
For hours, four lines of riot police kept the far right separated from a much larger crowd of anti-fascists. The Portland police seemingly wanted to avoid a replay of June 30, when they took a hands-off approach to another far-right rally that quickly degenerated into a violent brawl of about 100 people, resulting in five hospitalizations.
This time it was the police who sent protesters to the hospital. Later in the day, when the far right decided to march into the city, police decided to sweep the streets of counter-protesters. Neither side had permits, but police provided protection to the far right to march for two blocks.
To clear the way, police shot dozens of flash-bang grenades at more than 1,000 people who had gathered to oppose what they say are white supremacists.
There are exclusive pictures of the wounded at the Raw Story link.
Maduro was unharmed in the attempt, but many of the military members in attendance were seen reacting to the explosion.
Footage of the speech, circulated on social media, showed Maduro delivering a speech before the sound cuts out, and those on the stage duck. A camera then shows soldiers running from in a square, before the footage cuts completely.
According to Patricia Laya, Bloomberg News’s Venezuela Bureau Chief, the feed cut after an explosion was heard near the stage.
Iam essentially a hack, a commercial person,” Orson Welles once said. “If I had a hobby, I would immediately make money on it or abandon it.” Self-deprecation aside, this most creatively ambitious and restless of US directors was hardly a hack. Welles did have a hobby, though – one he never abandoned or monetised, and one that is now shedding fresh light on a mighty career.
For in private, the great man worked quietly as an artist – yielding a vast, varied collection of paintings, drawings and doodles that has rarely been given serious scrutiny. That output is the subject of The Eyes of Orson Welles, a whimsical documentary by film critic, historian and lifelong Welles devotee Mark Cousins. An exhibition of the artworks, on which Cousins advised, is also now running at Edinburgh’s Summerhall galleries.
For those who think of Welles chiefly as the stern, booming talent behind such concrete American standards as Citizen Kane, Cousins’s film is revelatory, exposing a wry, playful, angry, often lovestruck man behind the Hollywood legend.
That is all I have today, hope everybody is doing well.
This is an open thread.
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
A lot of shit went down this week, the reason I chose to highlight the quote up top is simply because of the key word: Regime.
Many news outlets made quite a point about Mike Pompeo’s Freudian slip, referring to the tRump Administration as “this regime.”
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER Senate Grills Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Aired 4:30-5p ET CNN.com – Transcripts
“Sanctions that didn’t exist before this regime took office.” – Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.
Now, I read the transcript…link above, and honestly…I don’t know what the fuck “regime” Pompeo is talking about; so much bullshit is spewing from his mouth. But if he is indeed referring to tRump…he spoke the words we all know to be true.
8 Months ago I warned you that Maria Butina was a Russian Spy connected to the NRA.
Today I am warning you all that many within the GOP are compromised.
I am nearly 100% confident in this statement.
Feel free to rub it in my face later and call me a LIAR if I'm wrong.
What you have to realize is that Trump voters do 👏 not 👏 care 👏 that Trump is a traitor. Long term, this has to be our greatest challenge – how do we change the minds of people who’s minds have been warped? Because at some point, we’re going to have to.
Take a look at this thread, it deals with Stein and Sanders and Tad Devine…and only strengthens my belief in #FuckBernieSanders :
Putin is a ruthless murdering criminal even terrorizing his own people. He seized Crimea, staged war in eastern Ukraine, arrested LGBT citizens & his opponents, murdered journalists & dissenters. His state controlled propaganda machine has waged war against the US.
Kemp was leading the resistance against federal help in 2016..as partisan and worthless as they come. Remember this the next time someone ask "why was nothing attempted to combat hacking?' prior to 2016 election.
SCOOP: 'US Person 2' in the case of alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is George O'Neill, Jr. – new research reveals that his daughter interned for Dana Rohrabacher, helped promote an anti-Magnitsky event, and was part of Trump's transition team, my latesthttps://t.co/diHVcNo671
The Trump Administration may lift sanctions on a major Russian company founded by one of Vladimir Putin’s top allies.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin told reporters during G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers last week, that the department may remove sanctions on Rusal, an international aluminum company that controls an estimated 6 percent of the global market that has long been controlled by Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is a Putin confidant who has been implicated in suspected coordination between Moscow and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but he has repeatedly deniedinvolvement. As Reutersreported, the department is mulling the move in the wake of a sharp increase in aluminum prices that followed Trump‘simposition of a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
“The objective was to impact the oligarchs, not to impact the hardworking people of Rusal as a result of the sanctions,” Mnunchin told CNN, which reported the comments on Friday.
In April, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on Deripaska and Rusal, along with 24 other Russians, in a delayed action aimedat punishing Russia for interfering the 2016 election. Under the sanctions, the US assets of the individuals and firms listed are frozen, and American citizens are barred from doing business with them. Deripaska was specifically singled out for “having acted or purported to act for, or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.”
Updates on tRump’s crimes against humanity:
The latest on that 6 year old who was assaulted at a detention center…she has been reunited with her family.
A 6-year-old girl was allegedly sexually abused while at an Arizona-based detention center, The Nation reports. The child, who The Nation refers to as D.L., reportedly left Guatemala with her mother because of gang violence; they were separated at the U.S. border on May 24, as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The 6-year-old was then placed in Casa Glendale, a detention center run by Southwest Key Programs.
According to The Nation, D.L.’s father (who lives in California) received a phone call from Southwest Key on June 11, telling him that another child in the detention center had allegedly “fondled” his daughter and other children. Mark Lane, a spokesperson representing D.L.’s family, told The Nation that the 6-year-old’s father was instructed “not to worry” because “Southwest Key was changing some of its protocols and such abuse would not happen again.” (The report notes that several weeks later, D.L.’s father received another phone call, alerting him to a second instance of alleged abuse by the same suspect.)
The Nation also reports that D.L. was asked to sign a form that was part of the detention center’s “intervention protocol.” The form, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, noted that D.L. was instructed to maintain her “distance from other youth involved,” and that she was made aware it was her “responsibility to maintain appropriate boundaries with peers/workers.” The document also noted that it was D.L.’s “responsibility to report sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and/or inappropriate sexual behavior.”
NO CHILD should be considered “ineligible” to be returned to their parents. That’s just a way for the Trump administration to hide the fact that they have NO IDEA where the parent is. https://t.co/rC1Q2csZcH
Monsters with the full backing of the US presidency and federal apparatus. This is kidnapping and child trafficking hiding in plain sight behind wilful incompetence. Their goal is orphaned and trafficked children. https://t.co/tf00vsyHhD
This story is just unbelievable. A mother is picked up in a 2007 immigration raid at a chicken processing plant. A judge rules she's unfit because she won't visit her son (FROM PRISON) and he's given up for adoption against her will at 11 months old.https://t.co/GUy8yqTBVW
Almost as soon as President Trump took office, he began rolling back health care rules that had angered religious groups for much of the last decade. First, Trump signed an executive order declaring that his administration would protect religious freedom. Then, his administration ruled that health insurance plans offered by large employers don’t have to cover contraception for employees, an about-face from a contentious Obama policy. The Department of Health and Human Services created a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, signaling a new focus for the agency. A proposed rule could require all 5,500 hospitals in the U.S. to post notices informing individuals and entities that they are protected from religious discrimination.
The changes are all designed to ensure that employers, health care institutions and providers don’t have to participate in health care practices they object to for ethical or moral reasons. But even decades before the Trump administration moved to roll back Obamacare policies, some religious hospitals — in particular, Catholic hospitals — already had the green light from the government to deny certain treatment options to their patients. These hospitals’ right to refuse care is generally unquestioned, creating a dilemma for the people who walk in the door: What happens when you need or want a standard medical service, but the hospital won’t provide it?
In a growing number of communities around the country, especially in rural areas, patients and physicians have access to just one hospital. And in more and more places, that hospital is Catholic. That sounds innocuous — a hospital is a hospital, after all. But Catholic hospitals are bound by a range of restrictions on care that are determined by religious authorities, with very little input from medical staff. Increasingly, where a patient lives can determine whether Catholic doctrine, and how the local bishop interprets that doctrine, will decide what kind of care she can get.
This is worrying news:
In prayers for my friend and hero! Congressman John Lewis 'resting comfortably' after being hospitalized https://t.co/B9DO5mmRav
It’s becoming more and more clear that we have a Russian intelligence asset acting as “president” of the U.S. It’s an full-on national emergency, and the Republican-controlled Congress is seemingly determined to brazenly aid a foreign enemy rather than live up to their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution.”
Yesterday the “president” held 30-minute National Security Council meeting supposedly to discuss election security. To show how committed he was to the project, he sent a nonsense tweet about jobs during the meeting. We’re not going to get any help from Trump or the GOP in the fight to save democracy. They’re too busy figuring out ways to suppress the votes of people who aren’t white and stupid.
President Trump chaired a meeting Friday of his most senior national security advisers to discuss the administration’s effort to safeguard November’s elections from Russian interference, the first such meeting he’s led on the matter, but issued no new directives to counter or deter the threat.
By Deborah DeWit Marchant
The meeting, which lasted less than an hour, covered all the activities by federal agencies to help state and local election officials, and to investigate and hold accountable Russian hackers seeking to undermine American democracy….
“It was a good meeting,” said one senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an event that was closed to media coverage. “Everybody was on the same page. We’re doing a lot of good work across the administration.’’
There was no discussion of new actions Trump wants or of a coordinated strategy to prevent Russia from interfering in U.S. politics, officials said. Instead, the meeting focused on the activities undertaken so far.
Read the rest of the article to learn what kinds of defensive strategies government officials other than the “president” have been working on.
After nearly two years of calling Russian election interference a hoax and its investigation a witch hunt, President Donald Trump on Friday presided over the first National Security Council meeting devoted to defending American democracy from foreign manipulation.
“The President has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation state or other malicious actors,” the White House said in a statement afterward.
But current and former officials tell NBC News that 19 months into his presidency, there is no coherent Trump administration strategy to combat foreign election interference — and no single person or agency in charge….
Bertha Wegmann – Lesende Frau in einem Innenraum
To be sure, individual government agencies have responded in various ways. The Department of Homeland Security is working with states to improve cyber security in voting systems. The FBI created a “foreign influence task force,” and the Justice Department announced a new policy his month to inform the public about bots and trolls on social media. The National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command are coordinating to counter Russian influence in cyberspace, the general in charge of those agencies has said.
But even members of Trump’s national security cabinet have acknowledged the need for a central, unifying effort — one that experts say is missing. Senior officials have also admitted that the government has failed to take steps necessary to give the Russians second thoughts about intervening in American politics. Trump hasn’t done so, and neither did Barack Obama, whose response to election meddling — expelling diplomats and closing Russian compounds in December 2016 — has been described by some of his own former aides as tepid.
State-sponsored Russian hackers appear far more interested this year in demonstrating that they can disrupt the American electric utility grid than the midterm elections, according to United States intelligence officials and technology company executives.
By David Hettinger
Despite attempts to infiltrate the online accounts of two Senate Democrats up for re-election, intelligence officials said they have seen little activity by Russian military hackers aimed at either major American political figures or state voter registration systems.
By comparison, according to intelligence officials and executives of the companies that oversee the world’s computer networks, there is surprisingly far more effort directed at implanting malware in the electrical grid.
Do you think Trump will do anything about that?
This week, the Department of Homeland Security reported that over the last year, Russia’s military intelligence agency had infiltrated the control rooms of power plants across the United States. In theory, that could enable it to take control of parts of the grid by remote control.
While the department cited “hundreds of victims” of the attacks, far more than they had previously acknowledged, there is no evidence that the hackers tried to take over the plants, as Russian actors did in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.
In interviews, American intelligence officials said that the department had understated the scope of the threat. So far the White House has said little about the intrusions other than raise the fear of such breaches to maintain old coal plants in case they are needed to recover from a major attack.
Mikhail Korneevich Anikeev, moments de détente
Somehow I think Russia, with the aid of their asset in the White House will probably find a way to focus more on election hacking as November approaches.
President Trump has sought repeatedly to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to ban those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials, according to several current and former administration officials.
At various moments throughout his presidency, Trump has vented angrily to aides about what he considers disrespectful behavior and impertinent questions from reporters in the Oval Office and in other venues. He has also asked that retaliatory action be taken against them.
“These people shouting questions are the worst,” Trump has said, according to a current official. “Why do we have them in here?”
Until this week, the officials said, Trump’s senior aides have resisted carrying out his directives. They convinced him that moves to restrict media access could backfire and further strain the White House’s fraught relationship with the press corps, whose members the president routinely derides as “fake news” and “dishonest people.”
On Wednesday, however, newly installed Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took action against CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, telling her she could not attend Trump’s open-media event in the Rose Garden because they objected to her questioning of the president earlier in the day.
Following the controversial Helsinki summit between the Russian and American presidents, Moscow’s media commentators greeted Trump’s deference toward Putin with a mix of concern, pity and ridicule, none of which could have been uttered without the Kremlin’s approval, says Ukrainian-born Julia Davis, an expert on Russian propaganda.
“They usually get a printout of some kind, about which topics they’re supposed to discuss and what their position is supposed to be,” said Davis, a featured expert at the Atlantic Council’s Disinfo Portal. The state-controlled commentary “is very closely monitored, and they would not take a chance on stepping outside of the line,” she told Newsweek.
The Kremlin, she continued, is “growing very frustrated because there’s so many controls that are being placed on” Trump by Congress, starting with Russian sanctions, upgrades to the U.S. nuclear arsenal and beefed-up military aid to Ukraine, which is under assault by Moscow-backed forces in its eastern Donbas region. And then there are the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections by special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee, independent actions that would be unthinkable in Putin’s Russia….
“They like to talk about him as weak and incompetent and just pretty much a clown,” Davis said of the Moscow analysts before the Cohen disclosure. “They still think he might prove himself to do what he promised him to do. But if he goes down, I expect they would not skip a beat. They would jump in to help finish him off.”
So how would that happen?
Planted, by Karin Jurick
Measures at Putin’s disposal include leaking a mix of real and fabricated details on Trump’s suspected debts to Russian bankers and oligarchs, said Milton Bearden, a legendary former CIA officer who worked against the Soviet target and later co-authored a book, The Main Enemy, with the cooperation of several former KGB officials.
“Putin can continue to plug along with his best friend and watch how tribalism and divisions within American society continue to tear it apart,” Bearden told Newsweek. “However, if things start to quiet down here, Putin can begin to release whatever it is he might have on the president. It can be real information dealing with the money flow from Deutsche Bank, or it can be carefully fabricated information that looks genuine.”
“I can imagine a wide variety of scenarios,” John Sipher, another top former CIA Russia hand, wrote in March, including the Kremlin injecting “stolen or otherwise unverified” or “well-crafted forgeries” into the U.S. media to take down Trump or just fan political chaos in the U.S. Former CIA director John Brennan suspects that the Russians have “something on him personally.”
Such suspicions have gained wider currency in recent weeks, mostly from Democrats. But last year a Russian opposition politician, Vladimir Milov, alleged in an interview with a Russian exile journalist that Moscow’s secret services had been “closely ‘following’ Trump for over 30 years and the dossier they have on him certainly comprises many, many volumes.” In the 1980s, Milov told Russian exile journalist Kseniya Kirillova, “Trump was married to a Czechoslovak woman who spoke Russian, which also offers good conditions for recruitment.”
Read the rest the link. Maybe we have something to look forward to when the time comes.
I’ll add more links in the comment thread, and I hope you’ll do the same.
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
I watched quite a bit of Mike Pompeo’s appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. I have to say, Pompeo is as rude and obnoxious as Trump; his personality seems highly unusual for someone who is supposed to be a diplomat. It was obvious from Pompeo’s vague responses to questions from Democrats and Republicans alike that he has no idea what Trump and Putin talked about in their more than two hour private meeting in Helsinki.
“You come before a group of senators today who are filled with serious doubts about this White House and its conduct with American foreign policy,” said Republican Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in one of the sharper exchanges.
“The administration tells us, ‘Don’t worry, be patient, there is a strategy here.’ But from where we sit, it appears that in a ‘ready, fire, aim’ fashion, the White House is waking up every morning and making it up as they go,” he said.
The senators focused their criticism on Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki on July 16, details of which remain murky even to administration insiders.
They also took Pompeo to task for the apparent lack of progress in nuclear negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, more than a month after a summit meeting that Trump hailed as a resounding success.
Pompeo returned fire during more than three hours of testimony—his first open exchange with lawmakers since Trump’s meetings with Putin and Kim.
“I understand the game that you’re playing,” he told Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the committee, during a line of questioning about Trump’s private meeting with Putin, which raised deep concerns among lawmakers and national security experts.
Menendez cut him off and shot back: “No, no, Mr. Secretary. With all due respect, I don’t appreciate you characterizing my questions. My question is to get to the truth. We don’t know what the truth is.”
SHAPIRO: What did you learn from Secretary Pompeo about what happened in that closed-door meeting in Helsinki?
MENENDEZ: Not very much. I learned that the reason that there is such concern is because no one has a clear readout of what transpired between President Trump and President Putin for over two hours. What we have is what took place at the press conference in Helsinki. And that was alarming to members on both sides of the aisle, which is why we were trying to pierce an understanding of how far he had been briefed and what elements of a conversation for over two hours were being pursued.
And, you know, it’s interesting that, you know, Secretary Pompeo, when it seems to be of benefit to the administration, will suggest that he knew something. But when if not, he says it’s a private conversation. It only seems to be a private conversation for President Trump because Putin and the Russian defense and public relations ministry is telling all about it. So it obviously has a much different view….
SHAPIRO: It seems like you were trying to ask Secretary Pompeo, in so many words, do you even know what was discussed in that room? And Secretary Pompeo got a little bit indignant and kind of scoffed at the question. But do you think he does know what happened in that room?
MENENDEZ: No. I don’t think he knows what happens in that room.
SHAPIRO: That’s kind of shocking. He’s the secretary of state, right?
MENENDEZ: It is. Well, it’s kind of shocking that you go into a meeting for two hours and you don’t have your secretary of state or your national security adviser or the director of National Intelligence with you because that allows the Russians to ultimately, you know, characterize the discussion as they are doing without a counter to it. And it’s interesting to see that we see no counter. Therefore, when members of the committee are citing the Russian ministry of defense, they’re doing it not because they believe the Russian ministry of defense, but they’re looking for counter arguments.
And when the administration is unwilling to be transparent and speak to it and let us know what actually transpired, it then gives credence to what the Russians are doing. And this is a major concern.
Read more at the NPR link.
As often happens, the Pentagon doesn’t seem to know anything about what Trump and Putin discussed either. That was another topic Senators asked about during the Pompeo hearing. Yesterday Buzzfeed published an article about how often those in charge of our troops are kept in the dark by Trump: New Emails Show What Happens When The Pentagon Has To Scramble To Catch Up To Trump. The article begins with a series of graphics depicting reports about Trump announcements that the Pentagon officials were completely unprepared for.
“The Pentagon was caught off guard” stories have become a staple of news coverage of the Trump administration.
It’s no secret that time and time again, officials in the Defense Department have been blindsided by sudden, often significant announcements and policy changes involving the US military coming out of the White House.
Trump administration officials have excused those moments as overblown, affecting news reports more than creating any real government dysfunction.
Now, however, internal emails released through the Freedom of Information Act offer an inside look at how chaotic it can be for Pentagon officials when they face an unexpected onslaught of questions in the wake of an alarming public statement from the White House. The confusion resonates not only in Washington but around the world, according to the emails, which were sought by a left-leaning watchdog group, Democracy Forward, and shared with BuzzFeed News.
The emails document two days of the aftermath of an unusual, and seemingly sudden, statement released by the White House late on the night of June 26 last year. It warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he and his military would “pay a heavy price” if they carried out another chemical weapons attack.
At a mid-July news conference at the Pentagon, AP reporter Lolita Baldor asked Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, about an attack in Afghanistan that had led to the death of an American soldier. But before he could reply, a Defense Department press officer cut in to say that Milley and the three officials flanking him would be answering questions only about the intended topic for the news conference: the announcement of the location of a new command.
The next question went to Jennifer Griffin from Fox News. Over the previous two days, President Donald Trump had roiled the NATO summit in Brussels with verbal shots at the alliance’s members, so Griffin, after opening with a question about the new command, added, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with Lita, we don’t have an opportunity to see you enough. Gen. Milley, have you reached out to your counterparts in Europe after the NATO summit to reassure them that the U.S. forces are staying?”
Again, the press officer cut off the question before Milley could answer.
The incident, which left Pentagon reporters furious, was the latest flash point in what has become an increasingly adversarial relationship between Defense Secretary James Mattis’ Cabinet department and the reporters who cover it. Chief among the complaints, according to defense reporters who spoke to POLITICO, are declining access to Mattis and other military officials, as well as a sense that reporters are not receiving the information they need to keep the public informed about America’s military activities.
Is this happening because Mattis and his team are out of the loop and don’t really know what Trump is up to? Or are they simply following Trump’s example? Read more at Politico.
Trump’s appeasement of Russia is unprecedented for an American president, despite his recent claim that he has been the toughest president on Russia. It is almost certainly driven in part by his desire to protect the credibility of his election victory at all costs, to promote an image of being the ultimate deal-maker, and because of his preference for strong-man leadership. A former KGB officer and skilled manipulator, Putin no doubt recognizes these traits and is leveraging them to manipulate Trump.
Putin publicly admitted at the Helsinki summit that he wanted Trump to win, confirming a key point of the IC assessment. Trump probably is willing to look the other way on Russian interference because it was aimed at getting him elected, even if that means ignoring the threat Russia poses and allowing Moscow to continue attacking the country.
Behavior consistent with blackmail:
Trump’s behavior on Russia is consistent with a recruitment tactic employed by intelligence services to turn a person into an asset using damaging information as black-mail. Several senior Obama-era national security officials have said they believe Putin has compromising information on Trump and is using it to make the president do his bidding. Trump and his political base have been undeterred by revelations about his personal life, such as his alleged extra-marital affairs or history of sexual abuse. This suggests that if Moscow does have comprising information, it is likely to be about his personal finances, business practices, or other information that would damage his business.
► We know that some Trump campaign officials discussed working together with Moscow during the election, suggesting Russia could also be holding additional proof of collusion over the president’s head.
Trump’s doubling down since the summit and his invitation to Putin to the White House almost certainly have emboldened Putin to continue or even escalate intelligence operations against the U.S.
There was some encouraging news yesterday. A federal judge ruled that one of the emoluments cases against Trump can go forward.
Today’s ruling by federal court Judge Peter Messitte in one of the three emoluments cases against President Trump was a big win for the plaintiffs—and a bigger win than many had expected. It sets the stage for potentially shutting down the Trump International Hotel in D.C. as a violation of the government lease and thus an unconstitutional emolument. The legal interpretation in this decision would force Trump to divest from the hotel entirely.
For a little background, recall there are two emoluments clauses in the Constitution: The Foreign Emoluments Clause provides that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The Domestic Emoluments Clause provides, “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
After the court ruled that the Foreign Emoluments Clause applies to the president, it adopted the plaintiffs’ definition of emolument as any “profit,” “gain,” or “advantage,” relying on the research of law professor John Mikhail (a co-author with me of our amicus brief in the case). The court acknowledged this historical purpose of the clauses: “the Court does not see how the historical record reflects anything other than an intention that the Emoluments Clauses function as broad anti-corruption provisions. … The Foreign Emoluments Clause was unquestionably adopted against a background of profound concern on the part of the Framers over possible foreign influence upon the President (and, to be sure, upon other federal officials).” The court cited many examples of the historical context from the founding, and discussed how the executive branch has applied the clauses in a manner consistent with that interpretation of the clauses. (The court acknowledged an exception for “de minimis” benefits, i.e., inconsequential minor benefits.)
Then the court applied this interpretation to the Trump Organization and the Trump International Hotel specifically.
Click on the link to read the rest at Slate.
Note: The illustrations in this post are by Myles Hyman. So . . . what stories are you following today?
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
Once again, I’ve hit a wall. I simply can’t take it anymore. Has this been the worst week in the Trump administration? I don’t know. Every week is horrible. I don’t think I can write anything coherent today, so I’ll just share some random stories that caught my attention this morning.
For much of the White House, Mr. Trump’s conduct at the news conference with Mr. Putin on Monday was wholly unexpected. Administration officials ahead of the summit had crafted a plan for Mr. Trump to confront Mr. Putin on Russia’s electoral interference, officials said.
Before the summit, Mr. Trump had authorized the Justice Department to release an indictment of 12 Russians who allegedly hacked into Democratic computers during the 2016 campaign, agreeing it would strengthen his hand when he raised the issue of election interference, a White House official said.
Afternoon in the garden-Diane Leonard
In preparatory meetings, Mr. Trump and his aides discussed using the indictment to forcefully make the case. The plan was for Mr. Trump to invoke the indictment both in private meetings and in the public news conference afterward, a White House official said. The idea, the official said, was to “shove it in Putin’s face and look strong doing it,” depicting it as hard evidence of Russian crimes against America’s electoral process.
“He did the exact opposite,” the official said. During the news conference, Mr. Trump appeared to side with Mr. Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies, saying he saw no reason why Russia would have interfered in the election. On Tuesday, he said he meant to say he saw no reason why Russia wouldn’t have interfered….
“It was a well laid-out plan. Unfortunately, he didn’t execute on it,” the official said.
Mr. Trump’s performance at the summit and afterward complicates plans for the midterm elections, a White House official said.
White House aides had begun preparations to make Mr. Trump the public face of planned efforts by the administration to stop election interference in the midterms. Mr. Trump would be shown presiding over meetings and making announcements about an administration-wide commitment to safeguard the 2018 elections. In the wake of the Putin summit, Mr. Trump may struggle to credibly make the case that he is spearheading the effort to protect U.S. election systems, the official said.
Russia provided additional details Friday of what it said were agreements made at the presidential summit in Helsinki this week, shaping a narrative of the meeting with no confirmation or alternative account from the Trump administration.
Not surprisingly, the Russian story line tended to favor the Kremlin’s own policy prescriptions, at times contradicting stated administration strategy.
Lucy Hessel Reading – Edouard Vuillard, 1924
Russia already has sent formal proposals to Washington for joint U.S.-Russia efforts to fund reconstruction of war-ravaged Syria and facilitate the return home of millions of Syrians who fled the country, following “agreements reached” by President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, the three-star head of the Russian National Defense Management Center, said Friday.
Mizintsev, speaking in Moscow at a joint session of planners from the Defense and Foreign Ministries, said that Russia had already begun work I gon the ground in both areas but that additional resources and international coordination are needed.
Russia’s U.S. ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, said separately that Syria had been the primary topic in the Trump-Putin conversations, along with “the removal of the concerns that the United States has regarding the well-known claims about alleged interference in the elections.” [….]
Asked about Russian claims that agreements had been reached, a National Security Council spokesman said: “As President Trump stated, the two sides agreed that their national security council staffs will follow up on the presidents’ meetings, and these discussions are underway. There were no commitments to undertake any concrete action, beyond agreement that both sides should continue discussions.”
I guess Trump is still refusing to tell anyone what happened in the meeting. Maybe he can’t remember?
As much as official Washington has become numb to the daily offenses of Donald Trump, there was something uniquely disturbing about the president’s transgressions in Helsinki. After months of combating Trump’s attempts to align himself with Vladimir Putin, the president was alone and unguarded with the man he had long sought to meet. National Security Adviser John Bolton, among other Russia hawks, had traveled with Trump to Finland in preparation for the summit. But when Trump and Putin entered the gilded Hall of State at the Presidential Palace for a joint press conference, the result was a shocking display of servility. Repudiating the hardline positions of his aides and advisers, Trump exonerated Putin for hacking the 2016 election—and put the blame on “foolish” Americans for driving the United States and Russia apart.
Albrecht Samuel Anker
Days later, insiders who know Bolton are still struggling to explain how the man who’s advocated violent regime change in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could have allowed his boss to bend the knee before one of America’s greatest geopolitical adversaries. “I’m stumped,” said a former high-ranking State Department official. “The John Bolton I remember from the past was a strong hawk. So either he’s changed, or the president isn’t listening to him or taking his advice on how to deal with Russia.” A second erstwhile colleague, also a former senior State Department official, concurred. “The John Bolton I know would have been more horrified than I am over what happened,” this person told me. “I mean, he must just be pulling his forelock practically out of his head in order to maintain the ‘Oh you’re so great’ and ‘Mr. President, oh you’re the best.’ That’s the only thing that works with this birdbrain, and he must be doing it over and over and over again.”
“Birdbrain.” I haven’t seen that synonym for “moron” lately.
Bolton isn’t the only senior Trump adviser who has been sidelined or subordinated. Defense Secretary James Mattis, an outspoken critic of Moscow, has not appeared in public or made any comments since Monday’s press conference, and the Pentagon has been unable to answer questions about the summit….
As the post-summit fallout continues, however, these foot soldiers of the Deep State are coming to a chilling realization: nobody has any control over Trump—including Trump himself. For the legion of national-security, diplomatic, and military officials trying to smile while white-knuckling through the Trump presidency, Helsinki was a wake-up call. As a current administration official explained, Trump seems to believe that he alone can sit down with dictators and strongmen like Putin and Kim Jong Un to remake the world order—and experts and advisers will only slow him down.
Hey, he told us at the GOP convention: he believes that he alone can fix it.
In the past few days, President Trump has given at least some Republicans reason to express displeasure over his relationship with Russia. First he performed a pathetic ritual of subservience before Vladimir Putin, standing beside the Russian leader — after a private meeting between the two, which no aides were permitted to attend — and dismissing the copious evidence of a Russian attack on the 2016 election in deference to Putin’s word.
Asta Nørregaard (1853-1933) Woman Reading, 1889
Then we learned that Putin had suggested that we make Americans available to the Kremlin for questioning, including Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, in exchange for allowing us to question some of the agents who carried out the cyberattack. Trump had called it “an incredible offer,” and the White House said he was considering it, before finally backing down after the Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning the idea.
But look past the modest number of Republicans saying that Trump has gone a bit too far here or there, and you see a very different picture. The truth is that the entire GOP is well on its way to becoming a Russian asset.
A few weeks ago, while posthumously honoring a World War II hero, Trump gave the man’s family a report on their departed loved one. He was “looking down from Heaven, proud of this incredible honor, but even prouder of the legacy that lives on in each of you. So true.”
A few weeks before that, at what was billed as a celebration of patriotism at the White House, Trump reported to the crowd that fallen soldiers are pleased with his economic policies and increases in the stock market. “Many of them are looking down right now at our country, and they are proud,” he said.
Sometimes, Trump pinpoints the location of the deceased, using some psychic GPS. At an outdoor Medal of Honor ceremony in May for soldiers lost at a battle in Afghanistan, Trump pointed at a location in the sky and said, “They are looking down right now.” A week before that, outside the Capitol, Trump pointed to a point in the sky over his head and told the family of a slain police detective: “So she’s right now, right there. And she’s looking down.”
Occasionally, something must get lost in the cloud and Trump receives a heavenly miscommunication. Speaking to a steelworker at the White House in March, Trump informed the man: “Your father, Herman, he’s looking down, and he’s very proud of you right now.”
I woke up last Sunday morning feeling anxiety in my chest as I checked the Twitter app on my phone, scrolling down to refresh, refresh, refresh. There was a comment I started to engage with — I opened a new post, tapped out some words, then thought better of it and deleted the tweet. The same thing happened repeatedly for the next two hours.
The evening before, I had complained to a close friend that I hated being on Twitter.It was distorting discourse, I said. I couldn’t turn off the noise. She asked what was the worst that could happen if I stepped away from it.
There was nothing I could think of. And so just after 6 p.m. last Sunday, I did.
After nearly nine years and 187,000 tweets, I have used Twitter enough to know that it no longer works well for me. I will re-engage eventually, but in a different way.
I really hope she just stays away. Haberman represents everything that is negative about the mainstream media and access “journalism.” I’ll keep right on ignoring her inane gossip columns whether she “reengages” or not.
That’s all I’ve got. I hope you all have a relaxing weekend.
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
I’m not too with it this morning. My mother is in the hospital and we still don’t know what is wrong with her. A few days ago, she started feeling weak and tired and she suddenly was unable to tie her shoes. Her blood pressure has been too high and her oxygen levels are too low. At the hospital the physical therapist found that her left hand wasn’t working properly, so that might explain the shoe-tying problem.
Whatever is wrong, it doesn’t seem to be life-threatening, because she has had all kinds of tests that have so far shown nothing wrong. She had an MRI yesterday and today they are going to check for blockage in her carotid artery she will work more with the physical therapist. A neurologist told my sister and my niece that she doesn’t think it’s serious, but they still don’t understand why her blood pressure is so high.
Anyway, I’ve been very anxious about Mom, and between that and the Trump madness. I can’t really think straight.
Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.
The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.
Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.
So Trump saw specific information proving that Vladimir Putin ordered the interference into our election to help him win, and he has spent his entire administration so far attempting to cover up for what his buddy Putin did.
The Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, held at Trump Tower, was a prime example. He was briefed that day by John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director; James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence; and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of United States Cyber Command.
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was also there; after the formal briefing, he privately told Mr. Trump about the “Steele dossier.” That report, by a former British intelligence officer, included uncorroborated salacious stories of Mr. Trump’s activities during a visit to Moscow, which he denied.
The briefing revealed that a highly sensitive source close to Putin had provided information.
Mother and child, Pablo Picasso, 1901
According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence officials described the streams of intelligence that convinced them of Mr. Putin’s role in the election interference.
They included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence services. Officers of the Russian intelligence agency formerly known as the G.R.U. had plotted with groups like WikiLeaks on how to release the email stash.
And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.
That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified.
Instead, to keep the information from being shared widely, Mr. Brennan sent reports from the source to Mr. Obama and a small group of top national security aides in a separate, white envelope to assure its security.
Mr. Trump and his aides were also given other reasons during the briefing to believe that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hacks.
I was exhausted last night and fell asleep early. I woke up about 3:30AM and check Twitter. A number of people were saying that this story was likely leaked to the NYT in response to Trump’s performance in Helsinki and afterwards and that the highly placed source must have been burned–possibly by Trump–or the story would not have been leaked.
For this is to leak, along with details about how it was kept outside of the PDB, the source must have been burned at some point after the election.
Hey, funny thing just popped in my head: what was so urgent and secret that Flynn and Kushner needed a backchannel to the Kremlin?
No one in a position to be the source for the NYT’s reporting tonight would have burned a sourced close to Putin. The only reason that detail would be included is because Trump, who was briefed in Jan 2017, burned the source to Russia just like he burned Israeli intelligence. https://t.co/93jKCXqjGn
At beginning of Presidency Trump received deep detail of Russian operation from intel brief, apparently including human intel very close to Putin. Who’s confident Trump didn’t share that with Putin either in Hamburg of Helsinki?
As others have noted, the article mentions a source close to Putin that you would expect to be redacted from the article unless U.S. intelligence was convinced that the source was already burned, perhaps by Trump himself.
Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved.
Delfina Flores Y Su Sobrina Modesta, Diego Rivera
“Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.
But officials at the most senior levels across the U.S. military, scrambling since Monday to determine what Trump may have agreed to on national security issues in Helsinki, had little to no information Wednesday.
At the Pentagon, as press officers remained unable to answer media questions about how the summit might impact the military, the paucity of information exposed an awkward gap in internal administration communications. The uncertainty surrounding Moscow’s suggestion of some sort of new arrangement or proposal regarding Syria, in particular, was striking because Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, is scheduled to brief reporters on Syria and other matters Thursday.
This is interesting:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not attend Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting with Trump and has not appeared in public this week or commented on the summit.
One thing Trump and Putin apparently discussed was allowing Russia to question 11 American citizens, including former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
At this week’s summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed what President Trump described as an “incredible offer” — the Kremlin would give special counsel Robert S. Mueller III access to interviews with Russians who were indicted after they allegedly hacked Democrats in 2016. In return, Russia would be allowed to question certain U.S. officials it suspects of interfering in Russian affairs.
One of those U.S. officials is a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, a nemesis of the Kremlin because of his criticisms of Russia’s human rights record.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to rule out the Kremlin’s request to question McFaul and other Americans. Asked during the daily press briefing whether Trump is open to the idea of having McFaul questioned by Russia, Sanders said President Trump is “going to meet with his team” to discuss the offer.
Current and former American diplomats are expressing disgust and horror over the White House’s willingness to entertain permitting Russian officials to question a prominent former U.S. ambassador.
One serving diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was “at a fucking loss” over comments that can be expected to chill American diplomacy in hostile or authoritarian countries – a comment echoed by former State Department officials as well.
“It’s beyond disgraceful. It’s fundamentally ignorant with regard to how we conduct diplomacy or what that means. It really puts in jeopardy the professional independence of diplomats anywhere in the world, if the consequence of their actions is going to be potentially being turned over to a foreign government,” the U.S. diplomat told The Daily Beast.
During President Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Putin pivoted a question about extraditing the 12 Russian intelligence officers whom Robert Mueller has indicted into a quid pro quo for going after longtime betes noire currently beyond his reach.
We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.
Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees….
The reasons for Trump’s striking behavior—whether he was bribed or blackmailed or something else—remain to be ascertained. That he has publicly refused to defend his country’s independent electoral process—and did so jointly with the foreign dictator who perverted that process—is video-recorded fact.
And it’s a fact that has to be seen in the larger context of his actions in office: denouncing the European Union as a “foe,” threatening to break up nato, wrecking the U.S.-led world trading system, intervening in both U.K. and German politics in support of extremist and pro-Russian forces, and continually refusing to act to protect the integrity of U.S. voting systems—it all adds up to a political indictment, whether or not it quite qualifies as a criminal one.
America is a very legalistic society, in which public discussion often deteriorates into lawyers arguing about whether any statutes have been violated. But confronting the country in the wake of Helsinki is this question: Can it afford to wait to ascertain why Trump has subordinated himself to Putin after the president has so abjectly demonstrated that he has subordinated himself? Robert Mueller is leading a legal process. The United States faces a national-security emergency.
Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Thursday!
Did you like this post? Please share it with your friends:
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.