Tag Archives: Intelligence Agencies

Follow the money: the Trump connection to Deutsche Bank and Russian money

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Special Counsel Mueller Subpoenas Deutsche Bank Records Related to Trump:

Deutsche Bank received a subpoena earlier in the fall from U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s office concerning people or entities affiliated with President Donald Trump, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The subpoena requested documents and data about accounts and other dealings tied to relationships with Mr. Trump and people close to him, the person said. The bank has lent more than $300 million to entities affiliated with Mr. Trump, according to public disclosures.

Ty Cobb, the White House’s chief lawyer handling the Russia investigation, said bank records of Mr. Trump and his family weren’t subpoenaed. “Previous reports today about subpoenas for financial records relating to the president and his family are false,” Mr. Cobb said.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman said Tuesday that the bank “takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations into this matter.” The subpoena was earlier reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt.

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Putin and his puppets are ‘sowing discord and confusion that destabilizes our system’ of democracy

While Americans were enjoying a long weekend Christmas holiday, the Washington Post did some important reporting on Russia’s ongoing cyber war against the United States that few people probably saw.

The hard reporting is a lengthy investigative report, Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options. You really should read this report for background and context.

Michael Morell, former deputy director and twice acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2010 to 2013, and Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan who served in the House from 2001 to 2015 and was chairman of the Intelligence Committee from 2010 to 2015, write in an op-ed at the Post, Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States:

[T]he United States has failed to establish deterrence in the aftermath of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. We know we failed because Russia continues to aggressively employ the most significant aspect of its 2016 tool kit: the use of social media as a platform to disseminate propaganda designed to weaken our nation.

There is a perception among the media and general public that Russia ended its social-media operations following last year’s election and that we need worry only about future elections. But that perception is wrong. Russia’s information operations in the United States continued after the election and they continue to this day.

This should alarm everyone — Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. Foreign governments, overtly or covertly, should not be allowed to play with our democracy.

Russia’s information operations tactics since the election are more numerous than can be listed here. But to get a sense of the breadth of Russian activity, consider the messaging spread by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter, which cybersecurity and disinformation experts have tracked as part of the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.

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The GOP assault on the Special Counsel is appeasement of Russia

The Washington Post today has an exclusive report about how our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to continuing cyber war attacks from Russia because he does not want to believe the intelligence that Russia engaged in a cyber war against the U.S. in the 2016 election. Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked:

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

His administration has moved to undo at least some of the sanctions the previous administration imposed on Russia for its election interference, exploring the return of two Russian compounds in the United States that President Barack Obama had seized — the measure that had most galled Moscow. Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.

Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said.

This is the equivalent of ordering the U.S. military and intelligence agencies to “stand down” and to do nothing in response to the cyber war that is being waged against this country by Russia. This is not just appeasement, but it makes Trump a collaborator with Vladimir Putin in his war against the U.S. (like Vichy France). Some would dare call it treason.

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‘Lock him up!’ Michael Flynn to plead to lying to the FBI (updated)

What goes around comes around, Mikey.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged Friday with making a false statement to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, marking another monumental development in the wide-ranging probe of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Michael Flynn charged with making false statement to the FBI:

Flynn is expected to enter a plea at 10:30, according to the special counsel’s office. The charge relates to false statements Flynn made to the FBI on January 24, four days after President Trump was inaugurated, about his meeting with Kislyak during the transition.

Flynn is accused of making false statements to the FBI about asking the ambassador in late December to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.” Flynn also told authorities he did not recall the ambassador saying the Russians would moderate their response to Obama administration sanctions after the conversation.

Separately, authorities say Flynn lied about asking the ambassador to delay a vote on United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The count for lying to the FBI is the bare minimum charge that was anticipated to be filed against Michael Flynn. This tells me that he is cooperating with the Special Counsel as has been widely speculated about over the past couple of weeks. See, Flynn’s lawyer shuts down communications with Trump’s team, a sign he may be cooperating with Mueller probe; A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With Mueller; Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal.

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A roadmap to the crime of conspiracy?

First, a preface to some earlier reporting that provides some background and context to the post by Martin Longman highlighted below.

Philip Bump of The Post breaks down the George Papadapolous plea agreement and the Carter Page testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Russian officials and allies repeatedly signaled support for Trump to his campaign team.

Philip Bump of The Post also reported on the Drudge Report linking directly to individual stories at Infowars, as well as RT and Sputnik News, both content-sharing arms of the Russian government. One of the busiest websites in the U.S. in 2016 regularly linked to Russia propaganda.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a Shorenstein fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, explains how “the wide distribution of strategically aligned messages increases the likelihood that Russian efforts — including posts, ads, tweets and the release of stolen emails — changed the outcome of the 2016 election.” Could Russian trolls have helped elect Donald Trump?

Which brings me to this fascinating post by Martin Longman at the Political Animal blog. A #TrumpRussia Confession in Plain Sight:

At about 11:14pm on November 6th, 2012, enough states were called for President Obama that he was declared the winner of the election by NBC News. That was quickly followed up by a similar call on Fox News and finally by CNN. At 11:29pm, Donald Trump blasted out the following defiant tweet:

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 9.47.23 AM

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Democratic institutions are under assault from Trumpism

Donald Trump is hollowing out the federal government and undermining our democratic institutions with his authoritarianism and the cult of Trumpism.

In the past several days, Trump has repeated this statement about the U.S. intelligence agencies assessment of Russian cyber attacks:

“As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership,” Mr. Trump said  … “I believe in our agencies. I’ve worked with them very strongly.”

What Trump is referring to is his appointment for CIA Director, former congressman Mike Pompeo, who is politicizing the intelligence agency on behalf of Trump.  Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously pro-Trump — things:

The Intercept just broke a pretty big story: CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with the purveyor of a disputed theory about the internal Democratic National Committee emails that were released last year — a theory that runs counter to the intelligence community’s own long-standing conclusions about the matter.

It’s not the first example of Pompeo doing something that has been put under microscope. But there is a common thread running through just about every example: Pompeo doing and saying questionable things involving Russia — and those questionable things tend to lean in a pro-Trump direction.

The most recent example is Pompeo’s meeting with William Binney, a former intelligence official who argues that the DNC hack wasn’t a hack at all, but rather a leak from within.

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