Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

Jared Kushner a ‘person of interest’ in the Russian digital operation

McClatchy News continues its investigative reporting into the Russian cyber war against the U.S. during the 2016 election. Previous post McClatchy News: Russia uses ‘bots’ and trolls for information war against U.S.

Today McClatchy News reports Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation:

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

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

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

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Attempted collusion confirmed: ‘We are past the point of innocent explanations on Trump and Russia’

(Permanent musical accompaniment to this post, Whoomp! There It Is)

With the New York Times report Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton, we have the first direct public admission against interest that the Trump campaign attempted to collude with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer in an effort to obtain damaging information against Hillary Clinton.

The most interesting point of the Times story is that it is sourced to five advisors inside the White House, after Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner updated his national security clearance forms to reveal yet another meeting that he “forgot” to disclose on his initial form. The Sunday Afternoon of the Long Knives.

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Donald Trump Jr. has recanted his earlier denials about any such meetings, saying that he did agree to the meeting to see what dirt the Russians had on Clinton, but that they didn’t deliver anything useful–instead using it as a pretext to lobby for changes to the Magnitsky Act (sanctions against Russia). When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Means ‘Sanctions’.

This was not just any Russian lawyer. As Martin Longman explains in detail at the Political Animal blog, Trump’s Inner Circle Met With No Ordinary Russian Lawyer. Natalia Veselnitskaya is the lawyer for the Russian mafia:

More than that, though, she should have been seen as an attorney for murderous Russian mobsters with high-level connections to the Russian Ministry of the Interior. Simple prudence should have prevented them [Trump campaign] from getting entangled with such a person, and not just for political reasons. The potential for blackmail or violence were too high to be acceptable to a rational person.

The New York Times followed up with a third installment in its Donny Jr. series on Monday evening. Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign:

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

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You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Russian in the Trump campaign

There were no note takers allowed at Donny and Vlad’s first date, with only the principals (Trump, Putin), their foreign ministers (Tillerson, Lavrov), and translators for each side present. The Trump-Putin Bromance Is Back On. So there is no official record or transcript of what was actually said in this meeting (well, maybe the Russians have a recording). Both men, known to be world-class liars, are free to claim whatever they want in an effort to spin their first date.

Our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief was so enamored with the man who engaged in a cyber war against the United States to hack our U.S. election for the purpose of making him president — “Oh Vlad, you bad boy! You really shouldn’t have! But thank you! It’s lovely” — that he says he wants to continue dating.  ‘Time to Move Forward’ on Russia, Trump Says, as Criticism Intensifies:

President Trump’s account of his lengthy and closely scrutinized closed-door meeting with Mr. Putin on the sidelines of theGroup of 20 summit meeting came in a series of Twitter posts the morning after he had returned from the gathering in Hamburg, Germany. They appeared to be an attempt to move beyond the controversy after Moscow characterized the election discussion as a meeting of minds rather than a showdown between the American president and his Russian counterpart.

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On Sunday, it appeared that Mr. Putin had to some degree succeeded in doing just that, after Mr. Trump’s refusal to answer questions about the encounter essentially ceded the narrative to Mr. Putin.

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Donny and Vlad’s first date did not go well — for America

Our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief started his day in Hamburg, Germany at the G20 Summit by tweeting this absurd claim that John Podesta and the DNC emails were the talk of the G20 leaders.

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John Podesta interrupted a cross-country trip to tweet a response giving the idea as much credence as it deserves:

Pulled in for a pit stop in E. Fairmont W. VA. to see that our whack job POTUS @realDonaldTrump is tweeting about me at the G20.

Get a grip man, the Russians committed a crime when they stole my emails to help get you elected President.

Maybe you might try to find a way to mention that to President Putin

BTW, I had nothing to do with the DNC

God only knows what you’ll be raving about on twitter by the time we get to Utah.

Dude, get your head in the game. You’re representing the US at the G20.

Podesta followed up his tweet with an op-ed at the Washington Post. Why is Trump tweeting about me when he should be doing his job?

This bit of insanity was followed by Trump’s long-anticipated first date with his man-crush Vladimir Putin and, well, let’s just say that his first date did not go well — for America.

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Trump undermines democratic institutions while in Poland

President Donald Trump gave a speech in Poland yesterday that contained all the white nationalist talking points of his alt-right advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. Trump cast the world as being in a clash of civilizations between Muslim terrorists and the West. Transcript:

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today, we’re in the West, and we have to say, there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life.

You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

We are confronted by another oppressive ideology, one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.

America and others have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop.

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding and their networks and any form of ideological support that they may have.

While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism. And we will prevail.

We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence and challenge our interests.

Then oddly, Trump identifies “government “bureaucracy” as enemies:

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger, one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people.

The West became great, not because of paperwork and regulations, but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles and nations of Europe value freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.

If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

This is Doctor Stragelove‘s General Jack Ripper: “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

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For our 4th of July, North Korea celebrates with a missile test

On January 2, 2017, with a threat from North Korea that it might soon test an intercontinental ballistic missile, President-electcDonald Trump tweeted that “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”

The tweet came to be seen as a “red line” for North Korea and set up a potential test of Trump’s credibility.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un bided his time and decided to send America a birthday present for our Fourth of July. North Korea Says It Has Successfully Tested ICBM. Red line crossed. Your move, Twitter troll:

North Korea said on Tuesday that it had successfully conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, claiming a milestone in its efforts to build nuclear weapons capable of hitting the mainland United States.

The announcement came hours after a launch that the United States military said sent the missile aloft for 37 minutes. That duration, analysts said, suggested a significant improvement in the range of the North’s missiles, and it might allow one to travel as far as 4,000 miles and hit Alaska.

In initial statements, the United States Pacific Command and the State Department described the weapon as an intermediate-range missile rather than an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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