Tag Archives: Russia

He Who Laughs Last….Trump May Have Walked Into Impeachment With Comey Dismissal And Subsequent Tweet About Taped Conversations

(SL) – I don’t know what else has to be done before Capitol Hill does what it needs to do. Whether it’s the continuance of business profits while holding office, setting off bombs without consulting Congress, Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon..the list goes on. The Rolling Stone says it best:

ct-oregon-man-dies-trump-impeached-20170418We have watched this unfold in the open: Trump has thumbed his nose at custom and the Constitution by refusing to resolve the conflicts of interest that will now shadow his presidency. He has used his Twitter account – a 21st-century bully pulpit – not to unify Americans behind his agenda, but to settle personal scores in a sustained assault on freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

Trump has installed an inner circle that aims to marginalize millions of our countrymen, even as it seeks to degrade the institutions of our government. Finally, Trump has clutched Russia in a perplexing bear hug. Whether he’s done this out of genuine admiration for its brutal regime, because he’s indebted to its oligarchs, or because Trump has somehow been compromised by former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin we have yet to resolve. For Americans, and for our NATO allies, none of these alternatives will be reassuring.

Republicans in Congress have stood by quietly, almost without objection. They’ve acted as enablers – even as Trump has inserted himself as the ur-chairman of publicly traded companies, blessing their manufacturing plans or tanking their stock prices with a single tweet. Republicans used to object to politicians “picking winners and losers.” Just last July, Speaker Paul Ryan called it “a recipe for a closed economy – for cronyism.”

History will judge this period harshly.

Conflicts of interest
Trump has not released his tax returns. The American public remains in the dark about the debts and deals that could bind the 45th president against the national interest or pervert the foreign policy of the United States.

The lack of transparency matters because Donald Trump has not divested from his businesses. His promises to set up a blind trust and to halt new business deals were both empty. As the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, described it, Trump’s decision to hand daily management of the Trump Organization to his adult sons instead is “meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.”

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Sounding more than a bit like Richard Nixon, Trump has proclaimed that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” By a lawyerly reading of 18 U.S.C. § 208, that may parse as true – but the claim is false from any moral perspective. The Supreme Court has written that when our leaders “engage in activities which arouse suspicions of corruption,” those office-holders endanger “the very fabric of a democratic society.” Trump, Shaub insisted in remarks delivered January 11th at the Brookings Institution, has failed to rise to the standards “that every president in the past four decades has met.”

In fact, during the transition period, Trump and his children appeared to trade on his status as president-elect: The Trumps have reportedly secured a stalled building permit for a tower in Argentina; Ivanka Trump joined her father in a meeting with the prime minister of Japan, where she has business with a state-backed enterprise; and the Trump Organization’s new leaders, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, took seats at the conference table for a once-in-a lifetime meeting with executives from Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft and others at the “tech summit” convened by their president-elect father at Trump Tower. Even Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been pursuing lucrative business deals with foreign investors. Trump has now named Kushner a senior adviser, skirting anti-nepotism laws.

The president’s global business enterprise remains an invitation to corruption – from interests who may try to ingratiate themselves to Trump by leasing his properties, golfing at his resorts or lodging at his hotels, including the new Trump International, down the street from the White House.

donald-trump-impeachment-petitionTrump’s business conflicts raise not only ethical but constitutional concerns. Can profits earned from foreign governments paying exorbitant sums for luxury rentals, hotel rooms, golf retreats or $24 cocktails be construed as either bribes or “emoluments” (i.e., gifts)? Those would be impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

The Republican Congress could act to place limits on Trump’s ability to profit from his office. Congress could also force Trump to reveal his tax returns, which 74 percent of Americans want him to release. But the only move a Republican from the legislative branch has made on presidential ethics so far is to threaten the independent government watchdog who dared criticize Trump.

This has left our 45th president, in the words of Harvard legal scholar Laurence Tribe, “a walking, talking violation of the constitution from the moment he takes the oath.”

And then there’s Russia.

Continue reading He Who Laughs Last….Trump May Have Walked Into Impeachment With Comey Dismissal And Subsequent Tweet About Taped Conversations

Trump Goes Against His Own Words With Attack On Syria, Russia Is Pissed And Syria Strikes Again

(SL) –  I can understand the moral pressure, but why kill more people to prove a point and put the imminent threat of WWIII on our heads? And……reportedly Syria flew more planes out of the same area that our  missiles hit. What’s more disturbing is the report that Syria hit the same area that was attacked with chemical weapons a few days ago again on Friday.

No report on who exactly executed the bombing, but only Russia and Syria have ordered hits on that particular area.

CNN reports, New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to “send a message” to the Assad regime.

It wasn’t immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.

The latest attacks come after a missile strike early Friday by the United States on a base in western Syria that the United States says was used to launch Tuesday’s chemical attack, which left more than 85 people dead and hundreds more injured.

 The new strikes came as Russia, the Syrian regime’s main ally, sent a frigate armed with cruise missiles to a port in western Syria in an apparent show of force in response to the US action.

The strike is the first direct military action taken by the US against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s six-year civil war. It represents a substantial escalation of the US military campaign in the region, and could be interpreted by the Syrian government as an act of war.

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Shift in policy

Trump’s decision marked a dramatic shift in his position on whether the US should take military action against the Syrian President’s regime — which Trump opposed during his campaign for president — and came after the President was visibly and publicly moved by the images of this week’s chemical weapons attack.
Briefing reporters late Thursday night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the strike did not represent a “change in our policy or our posture in Syria,” even though it marked the first time the US had decided to take military action against the Syrian government.
A senior administration official told CNN Friday that the strike should not be interpreted as the beginning of a wider campaign to weaken or remove Assad, but instead is aimed at dealing with the “unacceptability” of Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
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This official said the President’s order to his national security team to develop a plan for defeating ISIS remains the priority for the administration. That strategy is actually well on its way to being completed, the official added.
But the strikes represented not only an escalation of the US role in Syria, but could have a ripple effect on the US’ relations with the Syrian regime’s powerful backer, Russia.
Russians were present at the base the US struck, a US defense official said, though the role of those Russians was not immediately known.

A warship armed with cruise missiles has joined the Russian battlegroup off the coast of Syria as part of Moscow’s response to US cruise missile strikes on the Syrian airbase of Shayrat.

Russia’s angry declarations, a world away from hopes of a rapprochement voiced in Washington and Moscow after Donald Trump’s election, have overshadowed US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s planned visit to Moscow. His anticipated meeting with Vladimir Putin will now be dedicated to reaching an understanding on Syria and addressing concerns over Russia’s suspension of an agreement designed to keep the world’s largest nuclear powers from accidentally clashing there.

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The frigate Admiral Grigorovich, reached the group of at least six warships off the coast of Syria, Russia state media reported. It carries Kalibr cruise missiles, the Russian equivalent to the US Tomahawk missiles fired at Shayrat, and has previously fired them at targets in the war-torn country.

While many saw the US strikes as curtailing hopes for better ties between Putin and Trump, some Russians believe they were more posturing than precision warfare.

“There’s a bad scenario with this flexing of muscles. The danger of a clash between the US and Russia in Syria is not pleasant, and it could have bad consequences,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading foreign policy analyst in Moscow.

War Games..Will Syrian Strike Lead To WWIII With Russia?

(SL)- In an attempt to protect Syrian people from their own leader, the United States has finally taken action against  Bashar al-Assad. Assad is accused of ordering a horrific nerve gas (Sarin) attack which killed more than 80 of the dictator’s own citizens including children.

Yes, it’s devastating. But at the end of the day, we’re going to kill people to help people? It’s understood that there will be some collateral damage but what about the bigger picture. Reportedly, Russia is not happy.

Putin called it an ‘illegal act of aggression’ and ripped up an agreement to avoid mid-air clashes between Russian and US fighter jets over Syria.

Allegedly, as an immediate act of payback, Russian or Syrian planes once again bombed the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the same location of the nerve attack.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, speaking alongside German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, said, “We do not want an escalation. We have to stop the hypocrisy. If Russia is acting in good faith it should stop and negotiate.”

World leaders praised the US strikes and urged Putin to hold urgent talks with Trump to prevent the Syria crisis escalating into a wider world conflict.

But is it too late? Sources say, Vladimir Putin has vowed to bolster Assad’s air power f leading to fears that the conflict will spiral into and all-out war between Russia and the West.

The Daily Mail reports, Russian warship the Admiral Grigorovich – armed with cruise missiles and a self-defence system – is docking in Syria today after it was immediately diverted from the Black Sea following Donald Trump’s airstrike on al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, which killed six and destroyed nine Syrian jets.

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The US military fired 59 tomahawk missiles at 1.40am today after the US President blamed Bashar al-Assad’s regime for a horrific nerve gas attack which killed more than 80 of the dictator’s own citizens. Footage showing burnt out shelters and hangars and a damaged runway was cheered by tearful Syrians hoping that Trump’s intervention would lead to Assad being overthrown.

 

The US used a special military-to-military hotline to warn Russia it was launching an airstrike on a Syrian air base about 30 minutes in advance – but the Trump administration did not ask Moscow for permission. It is likely Russia alerted the Syrians about the incoming strikes but this has not been confirmed.

Viktor Ozerov, head of the defense committee in the Russian Federation Council, told state news agency RIA that the US strikes ‘may undermine the efforts in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

‘Russia will demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting after the US airstrike on Syrian aviation base. This is an act of aggression against a UN member.’ Russia’s foreign minister says no Russian servicemen have been hurt in the bombing raid. The strikes have won broad international support with officials saying that Canada and other allies were behind the move.

Britain backed the US missile strike, describing it as an ‘appropriate response’, as the government offered its full support to Trump’s targeted assault.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘The UK Go164124716-bb65ad393eb1649b79473c971975221e2e28dc1d-s6-c10vernment fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.’  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said Syrian president Assad bore ‘sole responsibility’ for the US strike on a regime airbase.

In a joint statement on Friday, they said: ‘After the chemical weapons massacre of April 4 on Khan Sheikhun in northwestern Syria, a military installation of the Syrian regime was destroyed by a US air strike last night.

‘President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development.’ Hollande added that the US strike was what France had been calling for in the wake of another chemical attack in 2013.

Both he and Merkel said their countries would continue to work with UN partners in ‘efforts to hold President Assad responsible for his criminal acts.’

EU President Donald Tusk said the action demonstrated ‘needed resolve’ against chemical attacks. ‘US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria,’ Tusk said in a tweet.

3F06418000000578-4388834-image-m-8_1491547634030Israel’s prime minister also welcomed the US attack saying he ‘fully supports’ President Trump’s decision.

Benjamin Netanyahu said ‘in both word and action’ Trump ‘sent a strong and clear message’ that ‘the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.’

It is not yet clear what China’s response has been to Trump’s decision to brazenly announce the strike on Syria while the president was his guest. China has backed Syrian-ally Russia’s attempts to protect Assad’s government and vetoed six resolutions on Syria.

What’s more, Trump didn’t consult Congress before initiating the attack.

 

Kellyanne Conway At Odds Again With The Truth After Spicer Says Trump Did In Fact Ask For Flynn’s Resignation

(SL) – Who isn’t clueing Kellyanne Conway in on the facts? Starting to wonder if she is ever briefed before she speaks or if she just wings it. And where the common goal seems to be  to make everything look like it’s great and on the up and up, it seems like the truth escapes her time and time again.

The latest drama comes on the heels of Mike Flynn’s resignation from the National Security Advisor position. Fears of blackmail from Russia amongst other issues caused

A report on Tuesday afternoon said that the FBI had put Flynn under scrutiny in the first days of Trump’s administration.

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If he did not tell investigators the truth, the New York Times said, he could be charged with a felony.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said  the situation reached ‘ critical mass’ last night after weeks of allegations against Flynn. Spicer said, “That is why the president decided to ask for his resignation, and he got it.’

Spicer cited Flynn’s misleading statements to Vice President Mike Pence about a call he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States – ‘and a series of other questionable instances’ that he did not describe that led to his resignation just 24 days after he started.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was the first to say that Trump had asked for his national security advisor’s resignation.

‘National security is perhaps the most important function or responsibility a president has. And I think the president made the right decision,’ Ryan said of Flynn’s departure on Tuesday morning.

At a House leadership press conference the Republican told reporters, ‘You cannot have a national security adviser misleading the vice president and others. So I think the president was right to ask for his resignation. And I believe it was the right thing to do.’

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A White House press release Monday night stated that Trump had accepted Flynn’s resignation and was appointing Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. to the post. It did not say that Flynn had been dismissed.

But on Tuesday,  During the Today Show, Conway, who had claimed just hours before his resignation that the White House had “full confidence” in Flynn, repeatedly could not say why the administration waited to act.

On NBC’s “Today” show, the White House counselor claimed that “the situation had become unsustainable” after Flynn misled Pence. “But the fact is, General Flynn continued in that position and was in the presidential daily briefings, as part of the leader calls, as recently as yesterday,” Conway said.

Matt Lauer wasn’t buying it though. “Kellyanne, that makes no sense,” he said. “Last month, the Justice Department warned the White House that General Flynn had misled them and that, as a result, he was vulnerable to blackmail and at that moment he still had the complete trust of the president?”

Conway’s response, “It was misleading the vice president that made the situation unsustainable” and that Trump “accepted the resignation, and he is moving on.”

Can’t Trust Him, CIA Freezes Out NSA Mike Flynn’s Top Aide After New Proof Suggests Flynn Did In Fact Have Sanctions Discussion With Russia

(SL) – Trump and his administration have and will continued to jeopardize national security because they’re just not built to do honest work. With wormy alternative facts, business dealings with other countries, Muslim bans and let’s not forget Russia and its interference with the election, there’s no secret why the CIA is starting to take matters into their own hands. Like US District Judge James Robart did with the immigration ban, somebody’s got to keep this country on track…Especially, when you’re dealing with someone like Mike Flynn.

Newsweek’s Jeff Stein Broke It Down Nicely:

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Question: How did Mike Flynn get a security clearance?

A couple of weeks ago, I sued several federal agencies, including the FBI, CIA and Justice Department, to find out—not just about Flynn, the besieged White House National Security Adviser, but other top appointees in the Donald Trump administration who have dodgy foreign ties.

Gen. Flynn has close ties to the Russian government, has accepted money from allies of Turkish President Erdogan, and was forced to resign from the Defense Intelligence Agency for mismanagement, any one of which would raise serious concerns about granting him access to” classified information. Flynn also “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan, “which would by itself warrant the denial of a security clearance for most federal employees,” says my suit, filed by National Security Counselors, a Washington, D.C. public interest law firm.

And all that documentation came long before reports Friday that Flynn had possibly conspired over the telephone with Russia’s ambassador in Washington to undermine President Barack Obama’s sanctions against Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Washington Post’s account cited nine—nine!—”current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, [who] spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

Continue reading Can’t Trust Him, CIA Freezes Out NSA Mike Flynn’s Top Aide After New Proof Suggests Flynn Did In Fact Have Sanctions Discussion With Russia

Russian Spies Have 72 Hours To Leave Country As President Obama Retaliates Against Russia For Election Tampering

(SL) – White House reps are keeping mm on the what else President Obama plans to do after Congress ruled that Russia did in fact tamper with the United State’s Presidential Election. The only person who isn’t buying it, of course, is Donald Trump who believes we she just….’get on with our lives.’

The Daily Mail reports, President Obama launched a Cold War strike on the Kremlin and its spies on Thursday, accusing them of hacking the presidential election on orders from Vladimir Putin.

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The Two Compounds Russian Diplomats were occupying.

He ordered 35 Russian intelligence operatives to leave the country as part of sanctions ordered for what he said where the country’s attempts to ‘interfere with democratic governance’ and harassment of U.S. diplomatic officials in Russia.

And he launched a scathing attack on Putin’s Kremlin in an official announcement of sanctions over allegations of hacking in the run-up to the presidential elections.Obama all but named the Russian strongman in his statement – saying hacking was ‘ordered at the highest level’.

That prompted an angry response from the Kremlin which promised an ‘appropriate’ retaliation – while its London embassy tweeted a picture mocking him as a ‘lame duck’. Donald Trump took four hours to react – and did not say if he had been briefed in advance.’It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,’ he said in a statement.landscape-1450461032-putin-index ‘Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.’

The sanctions came after the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s secrets were published, mostly by Wikileaks, in a series of releases before Hillary Clinton’s election defeat.

 These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.
Obama accuses Putin of being behind hacking which led to the Democrats’ secrets being published

The White House says Russia hacked the emails, and Clinton has claimed Putin acted out because of a ‘personal beef.’

Wikileaks has denied Moscow was the source.

‘This is not in question. There’s no debate within the U.S. administration about the fact,’ a senior U.S. official said Thursday, ‘that Russia interfered in our democratic election. We’ve established that clearly to our satisfaction.

Continue reading Russian Spies Have 72 Hours To Leave Country As President Obama Retaliates Against Russia For Election Tampering

Russia Wants Name Left Out Of U.S. Election And Evacuates 40 Million In Nuclear War Drill, Fears U.S. Schizophrenics Are Sharpening Atomic Weapons…Meanwhile In America…

(SL) – Russia and China have been mentioned a lot in the current U.S. election process and the Kremlin is making it clear that they are not with the sh***.

kremlin-what-to-see.jpg Allegedly, folks in Moscow are fed up with being dragged into the U.S. election campaign. Reports from the Kremlin say Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, were repeatedly being presented in a negative light by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and their running mates.

The comments come after the Republican presidential candidate claimed Russia had broken a deal with the US over a ceasefire in Syria and Putin did not respect American leaders.

Russia is also evacuating more than 40 million people in drills to prepare for nuclear war after Putin’s Ministry of Defense warned of schizophrenics from America sharpening atomic weapons for Moscow.

Kremlin officials believe a war with the West is imminent and assured citizens underground shelters have been built to house 12 million people. The massive evacuation drill started yesterday and will last three days.