Saturday, May 20, 2017

New report indicates Trump officials lied repeatedly about campaign’s contacts with Russia

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-officials-lied-repeatedly-about-campaign-contacts-with-russia-2ce404879ad9
"On Thursday morning, Reuters reported that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and other Trump campaign advisers “were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race.” That news stands in contrast to what Trump transition team chair-turned-Vice President Mike Pence said in January, when he repeatedly denied during TV interviews that there was any communication between the Trump campaign and Russian officials."

Trump boasted about firing ‘nut job’ Comey to Russian officials: report

Trump boasted about firing ‘nut job’ Comey to Russian officials: report

"A new bombshell report claims that during his meeting with Russian government officials last week, President Donald Trump boasted to them that he had just fired former FBI Director James Comey, whom he had described to them as a “nut job.” The New York Times reports that an official White House document that summarized Trump’s May 10 meeting with Russian officials showed that Trump told them that he felt a sense of relief after firing Comey due to his role in investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. “I just fired the head of the F.B.I,” Trump said, according to the document. “He was crazy, a real nut job… I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” The document was read to Times reporters by one U.S. official and was confirmed by a second official. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the overall accuracy of the document and its contents."

False Denials From VP Mike Pence Continue To Stack Up

FBI’s Russia investigation now includes at least one current White House official: report

FBI’s Russia investigation now includes at least one current White House official: report

"The federal probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives has expanded to include a current White House official, the Washington Post reports. A senior White House adviser—described by the Post as someone “close to the president”—is reportedly one of the subjects of the investigation, according to sources familiar with the probe. This is in addition to former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, who were previously identified as subjects of the investigation."

Trump Told Russians That Comey Was a "Nut Job," as FBI Investigation Inches Closer to the White House

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/trump-told-russians-comey-nut-job-fbi-white-house
"Two bombshell reports on Friday afternoon shed more light on President Donald Trump's rationale for firing FBI Director James Comey and showed just how close the FBI's Russia investigation is getting to Trump's inner circle. The day after he fired Comey, Trump met with top Russian diplomats in the Oval Office. There, the New York Times revealed Friday afternoon, he badmouthed Comey and seemed to imply that his firing was prompted by the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. "I just fired the head of the FBI," Trump said, according to the Times. "He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute this account. Moments later, the Washington Post reported that a current White House official in Trump's inner circle is now under scrutiny in the Russia investigation: The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter."

Watergate Lawyer: Obstruction Of Justice Evidence 'Overwhelming'

Russia probe reportedly reaches top White House official

https://thinkprogress.org/russia-probe-white-house-official-311b95e0cf84
"The Washington Post reports that the accelerating investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russian officials “has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest.” The focus coincides with “overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas"."

US spies caught Russian officers bragging about causing chaos in the election 6 months before the vote

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-spies-caught-russian-officers-152213049.html
"Although a declassified intelligence report released in January concluded that Russia ordered an influence operation to try to sway the 2016 election, it was in May 2016 that American spies were hearing the first talk of it in Moscow. Citing "senior intelligence officials," Time reports that a Russian military officer with the GRU (its military-intelligence agency) was caught speaking with a colleague, saying that he would cause chaos in the upcoming American election as payback for what Hillary Clinton did to foment protests in Russia during her time as secretary of state. Here's Time: "What the officer didn't know, senior intelligence officials tell TIME, was that U.S. spies were listening. They wrote up the conversation and sent it back to analysts at headquarters, who turned it from raw intelligence into an official report and circulated it. But if the officer's boast seems like a red flag now, at the time U.S. officials didn't know what to make of it. "We didn't really understand the context of it until much later," says the senior intelligence official. Investigators now realize that the officer's boast was the first indication U.S. spies had from their sources that Russia wasn't just hacking email accounts to collect intelligence but was also considering interfering in the vote. Like much of America, many in the U.S. government hadn't imagined the kind of influence operation that Russia was preparing to unleash on the 2016 election. Fewer still realized it had been five years in the making"."

Friday, May 19, 2017

James Comey Recounted Inappropriate Pressure From Donald Trump: NYT

Ryan and McCarthy want you to believe they were joking about Russia's war on Western civilization

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/18/1663644/-Ryan-and-McCarthy-want-you-to-believe-they-were-joking-about-Russia-s-war-on-Western-civilization
"When the Post approached Speaker Paul Ryan's and McCarthy's staff with the quotes, they both immediately denied it ever happened, said they weren't originally given quotes but just told that McCarthy had said this, and generally tried to stonewall, but once the Post told them there was a recording and they heard it and had the transcript, it all became a "failed attempt at humor"."

Michael Flynn Created a Back Channel with Russia After Election to Bypass U.S. Government: Report @alternet

Michael Flynn Created a Back Channel with Russia After Election to Bypass U.S. Government: Report @alternet:

"Let’s repeat that: A back channel to bypass U.S. national security bureaucracy. Which has a parallel in Trump’s bypassing American media while allowing Russian media inside the Oval Office, when he met with Kislyak and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. The day after he fired FBI Director James Comey. A meeting at which he disclosed to the Russians classified intelligence that was so sensitive it hadn’t even been shared with the United States’ closest allies. Classified intelligence that came from a source whose importance cannot be overstated"

Why Donald Trump Keeps Contact With Investigation Targets

WATCH: Dutch documentary investigates Trump’s alleged past links to the Russian mob

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/16/watch-dutch-documentary-investigates-trumps-links-to-russian-mob/
"In examining Trump’s business partners, the filmmakers encounter the Russian mafia, including business and personal connections to oligarchs in Russia. The documentary takes a close look at Trump’s connections to the country, starting with his first trip to Russia in the 1980s."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Questions On Donald Trump-Russia Special Counsel

Russian state-run bank financed Toronto Trump hotel through mystery buyer: report

Russian state-run bank financed Toronto Trump hotel through mystery buyer: report

"A new report in the Wall Street Journal reveals that a Trump-branded hotel in Toronto received an urgently needed cash injection via a deal financed by a Russian state-run bank. According to the Journal, government-owned VEB helped former Trump hotel partner Alexander Shnaider arrange an asset sale involving a share in a Ukrainian steel firm worth $850 million. Shortly after Shnaider completed the deal, he quickly began injecting cash into the Trump Toronto project, which the Journal notes was financially troubled at the time of the sale. Although the buyer of the share hasn’t been publicly identified, two sources tell the Journal that it was “an entity acting for the Russian government"."

Special Counsel Suits Donald Trump-Russia Probe Well

Without a Doubt, Donald Trump is Our Top National Security Threat — Period

https://forwardprogressives.com/without-doubt-donald-trump-top-national-security-threat-period/
"It’s not just that he’s a complete idiot who clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing, that in and of itself is bad enough. Then we have to factor in that our allies and enemies alike know this. Not only do adversaries such as Russia know they can easily manipulate his massive, insecure ego, but our allies are going to start pulling back from sharing information with us because they don’t trust him with it. Meanwhile, there’s still that “little” thing about Trump being part of the focus of an on-going investigation by U.S. intelligence officials looking into whether or not his campaign committed treason during last year’s election by colluding with Russian agents. We can add this to the ever-growing list of things we know about Trump that prove he’s completely unfit to lead this country. Such as saying he didn’t know being president would be so hard, apparently needing the Chinese president to explain to him why the situation with North Korea is so incredibly complex, and the sad reality that he still doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that, as “Commander-in-Chief” everything he says, even on Twitter, matters. Supporting someone to sit behind that desk in the Oval Office is about much more than simply liking their ideas or backing a certain political party. It’s about making sure, at the very least, the person living in the White House understands the basics of what it takes to be president. There are millions of people who, just like Trump, believe many of the same asinine things as he does. And, just like Trump, they have absolutely no business being this nation’s president. This isn’t about last year’s election, Democrats vs. Republicans, or even loathing Donald Trump — this is about this nation being led by someone who, through sheer incompetence alone, has become our top national security threat."

Secret GOP Audio In 2016: 'I Think Vladimir Putin Pays' Donald Trump

Erick Erickson: 'I Am Told What [Trump] Did Is Actually Far Worse Than What Is Being Reported' | Crooks and Liars

Erick Erickson: 'I Am Told What [Trump] Did Is Actually Far Worse Than What Is Being Reported' | Crooks and Liars

"conservative provocateur and Fox News analyst Erick Erickson wrote today on his site, The Resurgent, that he knows one of the sources, who is a Trump supporter and is so upset by his actions that he's leaking to try and get the man to change."

Former Israeli spymasters rip into Trump, say Israel must reassess intel sharing

http://www.timesofisrael.com/former-israeli-spymasters-rip-into-trump-say-israel-must-reassess-intel-sharing/
"A former chief of the Mossad spy agency fired off harsh criticism at Donald Trump in an interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday, saying his actions put international information-sharing efforts at risk, in light of reports that the US president divulged classified intelligence to Russia last week."

Breathtakingly Irresponsible: Former Bush Iraq Adviser on Trump Sharing Secret Intel with Russians

Flynn and Manafort emerge as ‘key figures’ in probe as special counsel takes over Russia investigation

Flynn and Manafort emerge as ‘key figures’ in probe as special counsel takes over Russia investigation

"NBC News reports two close aides to Donald Trump have emerged as “key figures” in the investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Four law enforcement officials told NBC News that “multiple grand jury subpoenas” have been issued in connection with former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn."

Lawrence To Donald Trump White House Staff: 'Lawyer Up'

Ex-Israeli spy chiefs trash ‘elephant in a china shop’ Trump: He couldn’t even run a ‘corner store’

Ex-Israeli spy chiefs trash ‘elephant in a china shop’ Trump: He couldn’t even run a ‘corner store’

"Leaders of Israel’s intelligence gathering community say they’re rethinking their policies on sharing information with the U.S. government after President Donald Trump leaked highly sensitive classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office visit last week. The Times of Israel said that two former heads of Mossad — Israel’s top intelligence agency — said this week that Trump is not trustworthy and slammed his decision to reveal classified intelligence with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak. Shabtai Shavit — who was Mossad’s director in the 1990s — told the Times that if he were the current leader of the agency, he would balk at sharing intelligence with the U.S. leadership, who he believes is compromised by Trump’s cozy relations with Moscow as well as the president’s instability and apparent inability to stop his mouth from running. “If tomorrow I were asked to pass information to the CIA, I would do everything I could to not pass it to them. Or I would first protect myself and only then give it, and what I’d give would be totally neutered,” Shavit said. “If some smart guy decides that he’s allowed to leak information, then your partners in cooperation will be fewer or just won’t be at all.” The Times noted that Trump leaked “code word” level intelligence to the Russian delegation. “Code Word” is one of the highest levels of secrecy in U.S. national security."

Paul Ryan tried to quash leaks after GOP majority leader declared ‘Putin pays Trump’: report

Paul Ryan tried to quash leaks after GOP majority leader declared ‘Putin pays Trump’: report

"A startling audio recording of Republican leadership documents a discussion of whether Donald Trump was the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Washington Post verified the recording of a June 2015 exchange featuring Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Speak Paul Ryan. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy told a gathering of lawmakers. Fellow California Republican Dana Rohrabacher is known as Putin’s favorite congressman. The Washington Post claimed Speaker Ryan immediately interjected, before McCarthy’s assertion about Trump could be further explored. “No leaks…this is how we know we’re a real family here,” Speaker Ryan said in an attempt to keep the conversation private."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Subpoena Issued Regarding Donald Trump Associate Paul Manafort (Exclusive)

‘I hope you let this go’: Bombshell Comey memo reveals Trump asked him to drop Flynn investigation

‘I hope you let this go’: Bombshell Comey memo reveals Trump asked him to drop Flynn investigation

"Sources close to fired FBI Director James Comey revealed the existence of a memo written by the former director as part of a paper trail into what he believes was “improper” conduct by President Donald Trump. Trump was quoted as saying “I hope you can let this go” regarding disgraced adviser Michael Flynn according to the memo, which was read aloud to a New York Times reporter."

Impeach! Trump Pressured Comey To Shut Down Flynn Investigation (UPDATED) | Crooks and Liars

Impeach! Trump Pressured Comey To Shut Down Flynn Investigation (UPDATED) | Crooks and Liars

"The New York Times is breaking the news that one of these memos details pressure Trump brought to bear on Comey after firing Michael Flynn to shut down the investigation into Flynn's contacts with Russia."

U.S. ally ‘might stop sharing intelligence’ after Trump’s leak

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/us-ally-might-stop-sharing-intelligence-after-trumps-leak
"Donald Trump’s first overseas trip as president was already poised to be awkward. Foreign Policy magazine reported yesterday that our NATO allies are “scrambling” to tailor their upcoming meeting “to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span.” A source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations explained, “It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child – someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing…. They’re freaking out.” And that was before our NATO partners learned that Trump apparently shared highly classified secrets with Russia for unknown reasons. The Associated Press reported today that U.S. allies “have anxiously wondered” if America’s strange amateur president could be trusted with sensitive national security information, and now those countries have “new reasons to worry"."

James Comey Memo: Donald Trump Asked For End To Probe: NYT

Cover-Ups and Russian Financial Ties Stand Out as Trump's Russia Scandal Keeps Getting Deeper @alternet

Cover-Ups and Russian Financial Ties Stand Out as Trump's Russia Scandal Keeps Getting Deeper @alternet:

"Trump stupidly thought he could use and/or abuse the power of the presidency to wiggle out of this predicament, but it’s the unstoppable wiggling that’s getting him into more and more trouble. For a guy who everyone says is so media-savvy, Donald Trump is even more incompetent at cleaning up his own messes than he is at being president."

What Donald Trump Doesn't Know About The James Comey Memo

Donald Trump’s loose lips with Russia may have cost America the trust of European allies

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/16/donald-trumps-loose-lips-with-russia-may-have-cost-america-the-trust-of-european-allies/
"The Associated Press reports that a senior European intelligence official believes his country might stop sharing sensitive information with the United States government if it is proved that Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The source is reported to have told the Associated Press that Trump’s actions could demonstrate “a risk for our sources” if they confide in the United States in the future."

Will a Mob-Connected Hustler Be the First Person to Spill the Beans to the FBI on Trump's Russian Ties? @alternet

Will a Mob-Connected Hustler Be the First Person to Spill the Beans to the FBI on Trump's Russian Ties? @alternet:

"Sure looks that way, based on an intriguing Wall Street Journal story that exposed aspects of a bitter feud between two of Trump’s former key business associates. The newspaper revealed that the Russia-born Felix Sater—a twice-convicted one-time Mafia associate—is demanding hush money from a former boss, Kazakhstan-born Tevfik Arif, whose Bayrock Group worked in a close partnership for nearly a decade with the Trump Organization."

Trump Leaked Highly Classified Information To Russians

H.R. McMaster Denies A Story The Washington Post Did Not Report | Crooks and Liars

H.R. McMaster Denies A Story The Washington Post Did Not Report | Crooks and Liars

"McMaster's denial is fine, but it is simply unrelated to the report of what WAS disclosed. A bait-and-switch maneuver, clumsily executed."

GOP lawmaker demands classified briefings ‘so that Congress can at least know as much as Russians’

GOP lawmaker demands classified briefings ‘so that Congress can at least know as much as Russians’

"Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration provide Congress with classified briefings about the “highly classified” information the president reportedly gave to Russian officials. Comstock released a statement on Tuesday following The Washington Post report claiming Trump revealed “code word” intelligence about ISIS to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. “Once again we are faced with inexplicable stories coming from the White House that are highly troubling,” Comstock said in the statement. “We need to have immediate classified briefings on what occurred at this meeting so that Congress can at least know as much as Russian leaders and know the impact on our national security, our allies, and our men and women protecting our country"."

Will Trump's lies cost lives? Can we break his spell? Killer cognitive bias.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally, Officials Say

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/us/politics/trump-russia-classified-information-isis.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
"President Trump boasted about highly classified intelligence in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week, providing details that could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected, a current and a former American government official said Monday. The intelligence disclosed by Mr. Trump in a meeting with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, was about an Islamic State plot, according to the officials. A foreign ally that closely guards its own secrets provided the information, which was considered so sensitive that American officials did not share it widely within the United States government or pass it on to other allies."

Russia probe: Senate requests Trump documents from agency that monitors money laundering

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/10/russia-probe-senate-requests-documents-from-money-laundering-watchdog-agency.html
"The Senate panel has requested information about President Donald Trump and his top aides from a financial intelligence unit in the Treasury Department that imposed a $10 million civil penalty on Trump Taj Mahal in 2015 for multiple violations of money-laundering laws."

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-high_trumpintel-0504pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.2b7c95138119
"The president’s disclosures to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in their Oval Office meeting last week jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State — an information-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump appeared to be boasting of the “great intel” he receives when he described a looming terror threat, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law."

WaPo: Donald Trump Shares Highly Classified Info With Russian Officials

Trump’s admission bolsters allegations of obstruction of justice

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-admission-bolsters-allegations-obstruction-justice
"Perhaps someone needs to remind Trump that he has the right to remain silent, and anything he says may be used against him in a court of law (or in a legislative chamber weighing impeachment charges)."

The Day Putin Played Trump Like A Cheap Fiddle | Crooks and Liars

The Day Putin Played Trump Like A Cheap Fiddle | Crooks and Liars

"No US media were allowed into the Oval Office, just Russian State Media. Really."

Donald Trump's Abrupt Firing Of US Attorneys Remains Unexplained

Did Donald Trump just write his own articles of impeachment?

https://thinkprogress.org/did-donald-trump-just-write-his-own-articles-of-impeachment-29d3d4b8fff5
"Trump also seems to be under the impression that he is in charge of the investigation into his own campaign and empowered to expand or end it. Trump told Holt that he might “lengthen out the investigation.” Ultimately, Comey’s firing seemed to reflect Trump’s frustration that Comey, in pursuing the investigation, was being “disloyal” to Trump. The New York Times reports that Trump invited Comey to dinner in January and demanded he pledge his “loyalty.” Comey refused, promising only to be honest. The Deputy White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, also linked Comey’s firing today to the Russia probe. Sanders said during her press briefing that she hoped Comey’s firing would help bring the investigation “to its conclusion.” While Trump could theoretically face criminal charges for obstruction of justice, it is not a practical possibility. (Trump, for one thing, controls the Department of Justice.) Therefore, accountability for obstruction of justice would have to be exercised through impeachment. With Republicans in charge of both chambers, impeachment proceedings do not seem in the offing."

Harvard’s Laurence Tribe: Impeach Donald Trump Now

Donald Trump is angry that his press shop can’t keep track of all his lies

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/12/donald-trump-is-angry-that-his-press-shop-cant-keep-track-of-all-his-lies/
"The only communications person he is reported to view favorably right now is deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — even though she inadvertently admitted that Comey’s firing really was about the Russia investigation."

Donald Trump's Big Mouth May Have Just Gotten Him Impeached @alternet

Donald Trump's Big Mouth May Have Just Gotten Him Impeached @alternet:

"The tragicomedy of Donald Trump is all about aggrandizement and annihilation. Now, as the president sinks deeper into mental incoherence, his aggrandizement is annihilating his own political defenses. Bereft of wise advisers and surrounded by a mercenary family, the president seems lost in a wilderness of social media mirrors. Mental health professionals are concerned, to put it mildly. The president of the United States apparently cannot comprehend the consequences of his actions."

Financial Crimes Unit To Help Donald Trump-Russia Investigation

Trump Completely Melts Down, Threatens Comey, Media in Morning Twitter Tirade

https://forwardprogressives.com/trump-completely-melts-threatens-comey-media-morning-twitter-tirade/
"It’s a sad day for this country when our leader, and the person who has the most difficult job in the world, apparently spent a good chunk of his Friday morning watching cable news and whining on Twitter like a petulant child who can’t control his emotions."

On Lavrov meeting, Trump admits to being Putin's puppet, not just looking like one

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/12/1661452/-On-Lavrov-meeting-Trump-admits-to-being-Putin-s-puppet-not-just-looking-like-one
"Now, look, this meeting was deeply problematic on so many levels: the White House locked out U.S. press while allowing a Russian news agency in; it posed a total security risk by agents of the very government that just hacked our democracy; and the White House readout of the Lavrov meeting didn’t even include the fact that Kislyak was there (i.e. without Russian media photos, U.S. press wouldn’t have even known the meddling ambassador was in attendance.) But consider something else, part of the reason that meeting ever took place is because Trump doesn’t, in fact, have a functional State Department to put the kibosh on such an ill-advised meeting (seriously, every foreign leader around the world now thinks/knows that Trump is Putin’s puppet). Remember, Trump and Tillerson—who likely has more Russian contacts than any other Trump Cabinet member—have drained the State Department dry of institutional knowledge. There’s been not one, but two major purges at State, resulting in a major brain drain there."

Elizabeth Warren On Republicans And Donald Trump’s 'Nonsense'

Monday, May 15, 2017

Shep Smith Can't Stop Laughing At Trump's Russian Award-Winning Law Firm | Crooks and Liars

Shep Smith Can't Stop Laughing At Trump's Russian Award-Winning Law Firm | Crooks and Liars

"Trump hired the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to send a letter to Lindsey Graham about his finances which stated that that "Trump's last 10 years of tax returns do not reveal "any income of any type from Russian sources" with some exceptions. The phrase "some exceptions" has caused quite a stir. The lawyers have offered no documents, including Trump's tax returns as proof of their findings. Experts on white-collar financial crime like Jack Blum, have already said, "There’s no substance to it. The letter is just another puff of smoke. It has no meaning at all. It’s just another way to not answer the question." But there's another part to this equation that is just as troubling. As the Washington Post reports, "Her law firm was honored by Chambers & Partners’ 2016 Chambers Europe guide as Russia Law Firm of the Year. Fox News' Shepard Smith and his guest, Geri Willis couldn't contain their amusement and kept breaking out in laughter as they discussed the story. After outlining the letter's contents, Smith said, "President Trump has not released the tax returns so Fox News cannot confirm any of this." "Meantime, the law firm which wrote the letter for the president has extensive ties to Russia and according to a press release on its own web site, the law firm won a 'Russia law firm of the year award' in 2016., " he said. As Shep continued, "The Fox Business Network's Geri..." He broke out laughing."

Controversial Oval Office meeting was held at Putin’s request

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/controversial-oval-office-meeting-was-held-putins-request
"First, it was controversial because of the timing: Trump meeting with Russian officials the day after firing Comey looked ridiculous. Then it was a little more controversial because American journalists were excluded. Then it was a little more controversial because a journalist from a state-run media outlet in Russia wasn’t excluded. Then it was a little more controversial because of the security risk. Then it was a little more controversial because White House officials said Russia had “tricked” them. Then it was a little more controversial because Lavrov brought along Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a detail the White House readout neglected to mention, and something we only know because Russia acknowledged it. Kislyak, of course, is the official Michael Flynn talked to before he lied about it and got fired. And then it was a little more controversial because the entire meeting happened at Vladimir Putin’s request, and Trump didn’t feel as if he could say no."

The dubious friends of Donald Trump: the Russians

Donald Trump's Financial Ties to Russian Oligarchs and Mobsters Detailed In Explosive New Documentary from the Netherlands @alternet

Donald Trump's Financial Ties to Russian Oligarchs and Mobsters Detailed In Explosive New Documentary from the Netherlands @alternet:

"Donald Trump's business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges. That's one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that aired last week, titled The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians. The first installment of the investigative reporting series, produced by Zembla, does what no American TV network has yet dared to do—take a deep look at the organized crime links and corrupt international business strategies used by Trump and his partners in his properties. It starts with Trump's luxury tower in the lower Manhattan neighborhood of Soho, where his partner in building that highrise was Bayrock LLC, whose primary investor was a Russian mining oligarch and another major investor was a convicted Russian mobster named Felix Sater. "Why did 60 Minutes pass on the Bayrock story in 2016? Why did ABC News' Brian Ross pass on the Trump Soho [Tower] story in 2015? Why has no major network done any kind of documentary on what the Dutch just did?" asks James Henry, a corporate lawyer-turned-financial investigative reporter who writes for DCReport.org. Henry is one of several investigative reporters whose work on Trump's shady business empire is profiled in the film. The documentary shows how Trump not only helped hide the identity of his mobster business partner, prompting an ongoing lawsuit accusing Trump of criminal racketeering, but also how Trump used that internal company crisis to demand more money. It goes on to show how Russian oligarchs saw Trump's properties as a way to get their money out of Russia, and describes the international financial networks that are akin to a pyramid scheme for money laundering. It also notes how the law firm of Trump's political adviser, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, helped set up a money-laundering account in the Netherlands used by Bayrock."

Here’s How Trump Could Already Be Prosecuted | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Fired and Smeared by Trump, Comey Wants to Talk Under Oath... and 'In Public'

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/05/13/fired-and-smeared-trump-comey-wants-talk-under-oath-and-public
"Though James Comey, the former director of the FBI whose firing by President Donald Trump sparked political uproar this week, has reportedly declined an invitation to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors about his controversial ouster, he is reportedly willing to answer lawmakers' questions in open session if given the opportunity. The New York Times on Saturday, citing a close associate of Comey, reports the former director "is willing to testify, but wants it to be in public"."

Former Trump Adviser Paul Manafort’s Bank Records Sought in Probe

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-trump-adviser-paul-manaforts-bank-records-sought-in-probe-1494637248
"Federal investigators looking into Russian election interference requested information; New York investigators also examining his real-estate transactions"

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Trump Administration ADMITS Comey Was Fired To Kill Russia Investigation

Trump still in denial Russian ambassador attended White House meeting

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-kislyak-meeting-f91eaa90c03c
"The White House didn’t want anybody to know that President Trump met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, and nobody would have known if Russian media hadn’t published multiple photos of all three of them in the Oval Office. But with that cat out of the bag, the administration — “furious” about the Russian photos — is still pretending like Kislyak wasn’t there. Thursday evening, Trump tweeted out a photo of his meeting, and it neither showed nor mentioned Kislyak. Indeed, the White House has released its own photos of the meeting, but none of them include Kislyak, even though he was clearly present according to the photos published by TASS, Russia’s state-owned media agency. Kislyak was also absent from the original scheduling of the meeting and went similarly unmentioned in the White House’s readout of the meeting. It seems as though Kislyak, who has been Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. since 2008, meets with a lot of people, but nobody wants to admit it. In March, Politico called him “Washington’s most dangerous diplomat.” It’s because of meetings with Kislyak, for example, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump administration and Russia. Despite meeting with him at least twice while serving as a Trump surrogate, Sessions testified during his confirmation hearing, “I did not have communications with the Russians.” He was never charged with perjury for this lie under oath, and his role in recommending FBI Director James Comey be fired is rather conspicuous given his recusal."

Paul Krugman: Republicans are Aiding and Abetting Potential Treason

http://thedailybanter.com/2017/05/i-pledge-allegiance-to-the-flag-of-the-1-percent/
"When the people you serve have a vested interest in weakening the federal government, having a potential traitor in the White House is a solution, not a problem. Right now, Republicans are more interested in inflicting massive pain on the average American to gift the rich with more money. I can only assume the calculation here is that when we get closer to the midterms, Republicans will "suddenly" discover they can't support Trump and this, combined with the massive voter suppression they're working on, will keep them in power. But as our own Jeremy Fassler explained yesterday and Krugman reiterates today, the Republican Party has become a clear and present danger to the continuance of the United States as a stable and sovereign power. They either need to remember that they work for more than just the rich or they need to be utterly destroyed as a political force in America."

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