8:14 AM 12/8/2017 – Wray seemingly confirmed that the F.B.I. had applied for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.) as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign

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  • Wray seemingly confirmed that the F.B.I. had applied for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.) as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign

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The Early Edition: December 8, 2017
FBI Director Chris Wray Briefs Congress And Defends His Institution – NPR
F.B.I. Director Denies Political Bias Is Tainting Investigations
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How Trump Has Flip-Flopped on Intelligence Agencies
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The Early Edition: December 8, 2017

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.ISRAEL-PALESTINEClashes broke out between Palestinian protestors and Israeli soldiers yesterday in a number of West Bank cities and near the Gaza Strip following President Trumps decision to announce that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. would begin moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 100 people were injured and larger demonstrations are expected today after Friday prayers, Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash report at the Washington Post.

The Palestinian Hamas militant group have called for a Day of Rage today in protest of Trumps decision, Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem could be a flashpoint and there have also been concerns that Trumps decision could disrupt the reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Fatah Party, who control the West Bank, and Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip. Dan Williams and Nidal al-Mughrabi report at Reuters.

The State Department have ordered tight security restrictions for U.S. diplomatic staff and their families in preparation for violent protests at U.S. missions across the Middle East, confrontations took place yesterday in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and at the border between Israel and Gaza, and there were demonstrations across the region. Peter Beaumont reports at the Guardian.

We support the call for a new Palestinian intifada (uprising) and escalating the resistance, the leader of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a speech yesterday. Reutersreports.

A senior Palestinian official said that Vice President Mike Pence would not be welcome in the Palestinian territories during his visit to Israel later this month the trip is expected to include a stop at the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, Al Jazeera reports.

Pence still intends to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian leaders and any decision to pull out of the meeting would be counterproductive, a White House official said in response to comments by the senior Palestinian official. The BBC reports.

Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have managed to destroy hope in the two-state solution, the secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) Saed Erekat said yesterdayadding that Palestinians have no option but to focus on equal rights rather than the pursuit of a Palestinian state. Erekats comments may not translate into a change in Palestinian policy, however he has said he planned to push for a shift in strategy within the Palestinian National Council, Mark Landler, David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner report at the New York Times.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (A.Q.A.P.) called on militants to close ranks to be ready to support Palestinians and appealed to Muslims to help with money and weapons, Reutersreports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed serious concerns over Trumps announcement on recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital and to move the U.S. Embassy, the Kremlin said in a statement yesterday following a phone call between the two leaders. Reuters reports.

Netanyahu is headed to Brussels as part of an effort to rally European cooperation for curbing Irans influence in Lebanon and Syria and along the Israeli-Syrian border, according to Israels Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs. While Netanyahu may have been bolstered by Trumps announcement on Jerusalem, it may also have made it harder to enlist European support because of their objection to the move, Laurence Norman observes at the Wall Street Journal.

Muslims in Asia have protested against Trumps decision, including in Indonesia and Malaysia, Kanupriya Kapoor and Joseph Sipalan report at Reuters.

Any changes to the status of the city without the consent of the Palestinians jeopardizes any prospect for peace, former President Jimmy Carter said yesterday in a statement, warning that Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital exacerbates tensions. Rebecca Savransky reports at the Hill.

Almost all former U.S. ambassadors to Israel disagree with Trumps change in policy, a typical view among the diplomats being that the presidents announcement has isolated the U.S. and undermined its position as a broker in the peace process. Sewell Chan reports at the New York Times.

President Trumps decision was symbolic, but has very real, negative consequences for the Israel-Palestine peace process, for the region, and has implications for the U.S.s relationships with key Arab and Muslim allies; it raises the possibility of an enhanced Israeli military occupation and increased settlement in occupied Palestinian territories. Warhad Khalid writes at CNN.

Palestinians, Arabs and the rest of the world will interpret Trumps decision as a major provocation and the president should reconsider this decision immediately as he has undermined international law, conventions and norms, given Israel the green light to continue expanding its settlements, and has potentially emboldened messianic Jewish extremists that could easily ignite a major religious conflagration in the Middle East and beyond. P.L.O. executive member and Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, writes at the New York Times.

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital is not a disaster if the president and the White House are able to keep message discipline, crucially by maintaining the distinction between acknowledging Jerusalem as Israels capital and recognition that the boundaries of the city are yet to be resolved through negotiations. Dennis Ross and David Makovsky write at Foreign Policy.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

The British publicist Rob Goldstone sent emails to a Russian participant after the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian individuals, with one of the emails saying that a story about Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) server was eerily weird considering what they had discussed at Trump Tower. Jim Sciutto, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report at CNN.

  • The executive of the Russian equivalent to Facebook emailed Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign social media director Dan Scavino during the 2016 presidential campaign offering help to promote the Trump campaign among Russian Americans and Russians, the revelations demonstrate a new point of direct contact between influential Russian individuals and Trump campaign officials. Rosalind S. Helderman, Anton Troianovski and Tom Hamburger report at the Washington Post.

An op-ed by the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on his work in Ukraine was not intended for a U.S. audience or to influence the forthcoming case against Manafort, his lawyer, Kevin Downing said yesterday, making the comments after special counsel Robert Muellers team which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia accused Manafort of violating a court gag order by ghost-writing the article with a long-time Russian colleague of Manaforts. Darren Samuelsohn reports at POLITICO and the article published about Manaforts consulting activities in Ukraine, published under the name of Oleg Voloshin, is available at the Kyiv Post.

Voloshin confirmed that the longtime Manafort colleague referred to by prosecutors was Konstantin Kilimnik, he said that allegations by Muellers team that Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence were shocking. Spencer S. Hsu reports at the Washington Post.

The F.B.I. Director Christopher A. Wray defended his agency during questioning by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, following revelations of alleged bias from top F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok, who was a senior member of Muellers team but removed in July from the investigation. Devlin Barrett and Ellen Nakashima report at the Washington Post.

  • Wray seemingly confirmed that the F.B.I. had applied for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.) as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign. Ken Dilanian reports at NBC News.

The judge presiding over the case of Trumps former national security adviser Michael Flynn has recused himself, it remains unclear why Judge Rudolph Contreras took the decision not to hear the case which concerns a guilty plea by Flynn that he made a false statement to F.B.I. agents about his communications with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.

RUSSIA

We will never accept Russias occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday in a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, adding that Russia was arming and supporting antigovernment forces in Eastern Ukraine. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

Tillerson said that U.S. would find it hard to look past or to reconcile Russias invasion of Ukraine, saying that the issue stands as the single most difficult obstacle to us re-normalizing a relationship with Russia. Carol Morello reports at the Washington Post.

Russia is prepared to discuss the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (I.N.F.) treaty with the U.S., a statement by Russias foreign ministry said today, the treaty helped end the Cold War and banned all Soviet Union and American short and intermediate-range land-based nuclear and conventional missiles. Reuters reports.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea is open to direct talks with the U.S., the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, who added that he had conveyed the message to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when they met in Vienna yesterday. Julian Borger reports at the Guardian.

Lavrov accused the U.S. of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and said the U.S. military maneuvers and aggressive rhetoric were unacceptable, according to a statement by the Russian foreign ministry describing the meeting with Tillerson. Reuters reports.

YEMEN

Intense conflict over six days in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa killed 230 people and injured over 400, according to the U.N. humanitarian coordinator, who noted that an intense calm had returned to Sanaa in the last day or so. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

The White House stated that it believed Saudi Arabia were taking actions to open a port in Yemen after Trump called on the blockade to be lifted, Reuters reports.

SYRIA

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Syria yesterday reproached Russia and Iran for failing to support civilians seeking to evacuate from the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the Syrian capital of Damascus, the BBC reports.

The U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that he would assess the behavior of President Bashar al-Assads delegation and the opposition to see if they have tried to sabotage the peace process being held in Geneva. Tom Miles reports at Reuters.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition coalition forces carried out 33 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between December 1 and December 3. [Central Command]

LEBANON

Lebanons Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for international support for Lebanon at a summit in France today, following a political crisis that was triggered by Hariris unexpected resignation on Nov. 4, which was later rescinded, before the summit, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed the U.S. backing for Lebanons sovereignty, stability and independence. Josh Lederman and Philip Issa reports at the AP.

The summit in France is expected to send a message to Saudi Arabia and Iran to stop interfering in Lebanon, John Irish reports at Reuters, explaining the significance of Lebanon to the Saudi-Iran rivalry and the bizarre circumstances since Hariris Nov. 4 announcement.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

An Argentine federal judge is seeking to arrest the former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchener, accusing her of covering-up the alleged involvement of senior Iranian officials in a 1994 bomb against a Jewish center in Beunos Aires. The BBC reports.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry has sought to remove Libya from Trumps travel ban, the ministry said in a statement yesterday, Reuters reporting.

FBI Director Chris Wray Briefs Congress And Defends His Institution – NPR
 

FBI Director Chris Wray Briefs Congress And Defends His Institution
NPR
FBI director Chris Wray is briefed Congress on Thursday. He faced questions about the Russia probe which has intensified in recent weeks. Facebook; Twitter; Flipboard; Email. Sign Up for the NPR Politics Newsletter. We follow politics; you follow us 
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The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, defended his employees during a politically charged appearance on Capitol Hill.
FBI Director Christopher Wray Under Fire Regarding Political Bias – CBS Philly
 


CBS Philly
FBI Director Christopher Wray Under Fire Regarding Political Bias
CBS Philly
Taste With Tori: Bredenbeck’s BakeryIn this week’s Taste With Tori, our Vittoria Woodill takes you to a Chestnut Hill bakery that’s known for its Christmas cookies and so much more. We’re talking about Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill. Make-A-Wish and more »
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President Trump has offered lavish praise when the intelligence community or law enforcement investigates his opponents but rebuked them when their actions do not align with his interests.
FOX NEWS FIRST: Roy Moore hopes for boost from Trump rally; FBI director in hot seat – Fox News
 


Fox News
FOX NEWS FIRST: Roy Moore hopes for boost from Trump rally; FBI director in hot seat
Fox News
Lawmakers’ concerns were sparked by the revelation that FBI official Peter Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe over the summer for allegedly exchanging anti-Trump texts with an FBI lawyer with whom he was romanticallyand more »
Conservatives ramp up attacks on Mueller – The Hill
 


The Hill
Conservatives ramp up attacks on Mueller
The Hill
The notion that Mueller’s probe has been hopelessly compromised is starting to seep in even among Republican who once said they were supportive of the special counsel, like Rep. Chris Stewart · Christopher (Chris) Douglas StewartAG Sessions to face  
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Our once bright and shiny democracy may be going down the drain before the holidays are out.
Congressional Republicans channel Trump in bashing the FBI – Los Angeles Times
 


Los Angeles Times
Congressional Republicans channel Trump in bashing the FBI
Los Angeles Times
Strzok also was involved in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business, and some Republicans speculate that he softened the FBI’s conclusion about Clinton’s culpability. Trump has made a similar
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Putin and Russia’s 2018 Election – STRATFOR
 

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STRATFOR
Putin and Russia’s 2018 Election
STRATFOR
As the world continues to focus on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and claims of Russian involvement more than a year later, Russia is preparing for its own presidential election season in 2018. In this episode of the Stratfor Podcast, Vice 
Russian Military Wants To Help Trump Destroy ISIS in Iraq – Newsweek
 

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Newsweek
Russian Military Wants To Help Trump Destroy ISIS in Iraq
Newsweek
Russia has offered to assist the U.S. in the final stages of the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq after Moscow declared total victory against the jihadis in neighboring Syria. Russia has long questioned the effectiveness 
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Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era – Bloomberg
 

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Bloomberg
Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era
Bloomberg
He has held on to illegally annexed Crimea, and the Kremlin retained operational control over the mob-run, separatist “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine, most recently through what looked like an engineered coup in one of them. Putin was held back 
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Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era
 

mikenova shared this story .

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would run for a fourth term as president was long predicted, though it seemed to some Russian observers (incorrectly) that he waited unusually long to make it. Less predictable is how the system Putin built will plan its perpetuation after his term ends in 2024, when he’s constitutionally barred from running again.

Putin’s third term has been his most important one, more momentous even than his first, in 2000-2004, which was marked by U.S. Republican-style economic reforms, a flat income tax, the harsh taming of the 1990s oligarchs and the recentralization of power. In 2012-2018, Putin abandoned any pretense of playing along with the U.S. and its European allies and sought to make it clear to the rest of the world that Pax Americana was ending. In that, he has been largely successful. He has, however, neglected the base on which his geopolitical achievements rest — his own Russia, the vast, still poor, increasingly cynical and potentially very angry nation that Putin may not quite represent, or even run, anymore.

Putin claims his biggest successes outside of Russia. He has held on to illegally annexed Crimea, and the Kremlin retained operational control over the mob-run, separatist “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine, most recently through what looked like an engineered coup in one of them. Putin was held back from further territorial gains by cost considerations — it appears important to him to keep regular military casualties low while making proxies shoulder most of the burden — but his minimum goals, including instability in Ukraine, have been achieved. It’s obvious even to the most biased observers that, despite massive Western support, modern Ukraine is a corrupt mess that is hardly more European than when its people decided to break away from the Russian orbit at the beginning of Putin’s third term.

Despite U.S. resistance, Putin helped his Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, win his civil war. At the end of 2017, it’s clear that if Assad is leaving at all, he’s not being toppled, the way the U.S. and its allies toppled Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi. Putin’s successful, resource-light intervention has redrawn the Middle Eastern relationship map, helping effectively rip Turkey out of the Western alliance and forcing even Saudi Arabia to seek a good working relationship with Moscow, which was solidified by an oil policy alliance.

Putin has also given hope to illiberal forces throughout Europe, which failed to win critical elections this year but which will remain useful allies. And, deservedly or not, Russia has been established in the Western elite’s mind as a hacking superpower, a different kind of tech force than the U.S. with its commercial internet behemoths. It’s a reputation Putin is looking to strengthen by embracing cryptocurrency technology as an alternative to the Western-dominated financial system.

All of this has cost Russia its place in the G-8 and its vague aspirations to membership in a greater Europe, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. But it hasn’t made Russia a pariah to the rest of the world, most notably to China, which has benignly allowed Putin to shake the foundations of the Western-led global order. Putin’s third term will likely be remembered as the four years that made a multi-polar world if not a reality, then a possibility.

But as Putin’s skill was applied to geopolitics, he was an increasingly absent feudal lord at home. Gleb Pavlovsky, a Kremlin political operator during Putin’s early years in power, captured this feeling best in an interview with Echo Moskvy radio on Wednesday:

For the world, it’s Putin’s Russia. But inside, it’s no longer Putin’s, it’s already post-Putin, and all the main players in it try, so to say, to make their own moves, set up their own chessmen, build up a potential for the moment Putin is no longer there. Putin is just walking around trying to get in on this process. I don’t think it’s possible for him to own it anymore.

Indeed, if first- and second-term Putin was a competent micromanager, making all the important decisions and mediating every significant conflict, Putin now appears to have lost that ability.

One high-profile example is the ongoing trial of former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, against whom a close Putin associate, Igor Sechin, the head of state-owned oil giant Rosneft, organized a sting operation to accuse him of extorting a $2 million bribe. The trial has been open to the press, and the secretive Rosneft chief has suffered the indignity of being repeatedly summoned to appear and inventing excuses not to. This is the kind of conflict that, in earlier days, Putin wouldn’t have allowed to play out in the open — at least not for long.

Another example is the defiant independence of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Putin-installed head of Chechnya. His conspicuous wealth, violent suppression of opponents and insistence on conservative Islamic values in a secular state are an ongoing challenge to Moscow’s authority — but Kadyrov’s warlord reputation seems to keep the federal law enforcement apparatus at bay. Again, Putin hasn’t intervened.

Even the banishment of Russian officials from next year’s winter Olympics is indicative of Putin’s weakening leadership. Russian state propaganda outlets discuss it in terms of geopolitical retribution — but Putin could have staged a domestic clean-up and kicked out officials who had, at best, failed to out a doping conspiracy in Russian sports and at worst, participated in it. He could then have appealed to his old friend International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach for support. Yet no such clean-up has taken place, indicating Putin’s remoteness and relative indifference.

Throughout the third term, Putin also drifted on economic policy. Little was done to prepare Russia for an era of low oil prices. A modest agricultural boom which has turned the country into a top grain exporter is no substitute for the lost hydrocarbon revenues, and snail-paced economic growth based on a borrowing-fueled consumption surge isn’t enough to generate economic optimism. Putin has repeatedly shown a reluctance to promote any bold change that would show Russians a more hopeful future.

Though Putin remains by far Russia’s most popular politician, Russians have been apathetic about the March election. According to Levada Center’s latest poll, only 58 percent of voters intend to cast ballots. In 2012, 65.3 percent turned out, and polls at the same time in the electoral cycle indicated that more than two-thirds would cast votes. Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist and Putin’s only serious opponent, won’t be allowed to run against him despite months of campaigning and mustering visible support in the Russian hinterland, especially among the young. He has promised to campaign actively for a boycott of the election.

The Soviet-style campaign announcement on Wednesday — during a visit to a truck factory in Nizhny Novgorod, where a worker asked him a “spontaneous” question about the election — is evidence of the Kremlin’s lack of ideas, characteristic of its domestic policy during Putin’s third term. Putin’s legitimacy after his inevitable win will be the lowest of his reign, spurring an ever more active battle for succession, in which new players are likely to start emerging as soon as Putin is re-enthroned.

Putin has cast Russia in the role of the world’s biggest geopolitical disruptor. But its current performance is unsustainable without coherent, successful domestic policies. Putin has presided over, indeed enabled, a corrupt, inefficiently run country where people — including those in the top echelons of business and power — just fend for themselves as best they can. The question of what kind of future Russia might have will arise after Putin’s re-election, and Putin won’t necessarily have much say in it.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.net

Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt?
 

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According to the whistle-blower, Copson said, “This is the start of something I have been working on for years. Mike has been putting everything in place for us.” Copson allegedly turned his phone around when he received the text, displaying the message from Flynn that the project was “good to go.” This would mean that Flynn’s first action for the new president was to let his former business partners know that their plan to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners was on.

Think about this for a moment. By this time, Flynn and everyone else in the country was aware that Russia had interfered in the election and that there was serious suspicion surrounding the Trump campaign’s and transition team’s dealings with Russian actors. They knew about the “Steele dossier” because it had been written up in Mother Jones before the election, and Trump himself had been briefed on it by FBI Director James Comey. If what this whistle-blower says is true, Flynn was even more reckless than we knew.

This news is especially damning since we already know that Flynn failed to disclose trips to the Middle East on behalf of ACU when he filed his security clearance renewal application in 2016. It means that his memory was sharp enough to call his friend even before Trump had finished his speech, but not good enough to remember to put his dubious business activities on his disclosure forms. And Robert Mueller knew all about it.

Flynn has made the case in public that it’s important to engage in business deals with Russian interests because the United States needs the Russian government to help fight ISIS. It’s even possible that’s what he thought he was doing — along with lining up a fat payday. According to The Washington Post, Flynn pushed this plan relentlessly during his brief tenure in the White House as national security adviser and his staff kept pushing it even after he left, without really understanding why they were doing it, just knowing that Flynn insisted it was a high priority.

Tillerson Says the US Will Never Accept Crimea Annexation – New York Times
 

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New York Times
Tillerson Says the US Will Never Accept Crimea Annexation
New York Times
After his talks with Mr. Putin in November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Danang, Vietnam, Mr. Trump emphasized that he believed Mr. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 United States 
Tillerson says Ukraine key sticking point in US-Russia tiesWCAX
Is Rapprochement with Russia Still Possible?The American Conservativeall 150 news articles »
FBI director defends bureau’s integrity as critics question handling of Trump, Clinton probes – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
FBI director defends bureau’s integrity as critics question handling of Trump, Clinton probes
Washington Post
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray defended the agency’s integrity Thursday, telling skeptical Republican lawmakers that its agents are decent people committed to the highest principles of integrity and respect.” Wray was asked at the House Judiciary
FBI Director Christopher Wray defends agency after Trump’s attacksCNN
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FBI Director Christopher Wray defends bureau amid turbulence over Russia investigationLos Angeles Times
USA TODAY –CBS News –U.S. News & World Report –Business Insider
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Mikhail Lesin’s death swung attention to Russia after Obama’s intelligence fiasco – Washington Times
 

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Mikhail Lesin’s death swung attention to Russia after Obama’s intelligence fiasco
Washington Times
How exactly did the corpse of Mikhail Lesin, Moscow’s most influential media magnate and the founder of the Kremlin-backed global satellite TV network Russia Today, or RT, wind up in a Washington hotel room just a mile from the White House almost
Bitcoins soar to heavens in value, but leave a staggering toll on earthly environment
 

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The jump in value of bitcoins has been nothing short of precipitous: A bitcoin that started 2017 worth $1,023 was trading at $16,999 at 2 p.m. Thursday. The currency has … Click to Continue »

The Strange Tale of Peter Strzok – The Atlantic
 

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The Atlantic
The Strange Tale of Peter Strzok
The Atlantic
Nationwide, law enforcement tends to lean right, and during the campaign, Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani acknowledged receiving secrets from FBI insiders. While the Justice Department has a clear code of ethics, it does not preclude employees from holding and more »
The Evolving Stalemate Between Russia and the West – STRATFOR
 

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STRATFOR
The Evolving Stalemate Between Russia and the West
STRATFOR
Those efforts have substantially boosted Russian influence in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, and it has followed by deepening its ties in other strategic theaters such as Afghanistan, Venezuela and Libya. Initially, Russia appeared to be 
Tillerson says Ukraine key sticking point in US-Russia tiesABC News
Is Rapprochement with Russia Still Possible?The American Conservativeall 136 news articles »
Can the president obstruct justice?
 

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Can the president obstruct justice?

One of President Trumps private lawyers, John Dowd, made a bold claim Monday that a president cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice. The statement raised a lot of questions for legal experts when it comes to laws applying to the American presidency: Can a president obstruct justice? Or is he immune from this as […]

Russian Colonel General Identified as Key MH17 Figure – bellingcat
 

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bellingcat
Russian Colonel General Identified as Key MH17 Figure
bellingcat
The investigation has identified, to a high degree of certainty, Delfin as Colonel General Nikolai Fedorovich Tkachev, currently serving as the Chief Inspector of the Central Military District of the Russian Federation. Photographs, videos, and audio and more »
Why the Kremlin is suddenly admitting that it rigged the election in Donald Trumps favor
 

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

After a year of largely denying it, even while throwing in the occasional wink, the Russian government is now finally admitting that it rigged the United States presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. It’s not saying so in exact words. Instead it’s acknowledging through a state-controlled media outlet that it arrested one of its own intel officers for admitting to the U.S. that Russia rigged the election. Rachel Maddow broke this news on her show, but left it an open question as to why Russia is choosing now. I have some thoughts on that.

Keep in mind that just yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he’s “running” for reelection in early 2018 after all. I’m putting “running” in quotes because he’ll rig this election like he always does, and he’ll win automatically. But this announcement is something of a surprise, because just a week ago, someone planted a series of stories in major European newspapers which claimed Putin was considering retiring. These stories had to have been planted by the Russian oligarchs as a warning to Putin: get your act together on this nonsense with Trump and sanctions, or we will put you out of business.

To be clear, even though Putin has total control over his puppet Trump, there is nothing that Putin can do to get Trump to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia. Both political parties are intent on increasing those sanctions, in retaliation for Putin’s decision to rig the election for Trump. There is only one possible way Putin can get those sanctions lifted, even though it may be a long shot, and he’s savvy enough to know it.

The United States will continue to take a defensive and punitive position toward Russia as long as Donald Trump illegitimately remains in power. If Trump is gone, and Russia begins to atone for its sins, then maybe those sanctions get incrementally walked back as a way of encouraging future good behavior. I’m not saying Putin is preparing to oust Trump in the hope of keeping his oligarchs happy. I’m just saying I think he’s testing the waters for ousting Trump by admitting today that he rigged the election. Watch Putin’s next move carefully.

The post Why the Kremlin is suddenly admitting that it rigged the election in Donald Trump’s favorappeared first on Palmer Report.

Donald Trump: The huge Israel announcement has overshadowed the Russia turmoil at home – ABC Online
 

mikenova shared this story from donald trump russia – Google News.


ABC Online
Donald Trump: The huge Israel announcement has overshadowed the Russia turmoil at home
ABC Online
It’s a move that the President had promised to deliver from way back when he was just candidate Trump. It’s also something that many Presidents have said they’d do but haven’t and it’s largely supported by the Washington Establishment. The White 
Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement faces further backlash: Russia, Canada, Pakistan condemn US decisionFirstpost
Forget Russia, Israel Actual Foreign Power Collaborating With Team TrumpSputnik Internationalall 8,029 news articles »
Hannity: Trump-Russia Probe ‘A House Of Cards Beginning to Crash Down’ – Fox News Insider
 

mikenova shared this story from Trump and Russia – Google News.


Fox News Insider
Hannity: Trump-Russia Probe ‘A House Of Cards Beginning to Crash Down’
Fox News Insider
Sean Hannity said in his Opening Monologue that the federal investigation into President Trump is becoming a “house of cards [that is] beginning to crash down.” Hannity said that the increasing tally of probe-related officials to be shown to have and more »

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