3:50 PM 12/7/2017 – Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt?

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Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt?
Live Stream: Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary on FBI Oversight
Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era
Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era – Bloomberg
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Putin and Russia’s 2018 Election – STRATFOR
WATCH: FBI director Christopher Wray testifies before House committee – New York Daily News
Lawmakers press FBI on alleged bias in Clinton, Trump cases – Reuters
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The 7 facts (and 27 footnotes) that prove the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow – Macleans.ca
Russia-Trump: FBI chief Wray defends agency – BBC News
Argentine judge issues arrest warrant for Cristina Kirchner over terror attack cover-up – Telegraph.co.uk
Ex-intelligence chiefs probed over worst type of betrayal: Polish defence minister
Ex-intelligence chiefs probed over ‘worst type of betrayal’: Polish defence minister – thenews.pl
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Mike Flynn – Google News: Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt? – Salon
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Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt?

mikenova shared this story .

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.

Live Stream: Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary on FBI Oversight

mikenova shared this story from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying this morning at 10 a.m. before the House Judiciary Committee. Read his prepared testimony, and watch the live stream below.

Russia Takes a Step Toward the Post-Putin Era

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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

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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Russian Military Wants To Help Trump Destroy ISIS in Iraq – Newsweek

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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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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 

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Lawmakers press FBI on alleged bias in Clinton, Trump cases
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Their criticism comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged four people from Trump’s inner circle since October as part of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Republicans had been frustrated with Comey 
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FBI Director Defends Bureau’s ‘Brave Men And Women’ After Trump Twitter Attack

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“There is no finer institution than the FBI, Director Chris Wray told Congress.

Russia-NATO Cold War Leads Finland to Build Military 100 Years After Independence – Newsweek

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Russia-NATO Cold War Leads Finland to Build Military 100 Years After Independence
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Throughout the Cold War, Finland attempted to balance the interests of both Western and Eastern factions, and renewed tensions across Europe have once again put the Nordic nation in the middle of a geopolitical struggle for influence. While Lindberg 

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The 7 facts (and 27 footnotes) that prove the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow – Macleans.ca

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Macleans.ca
The 7 facts (and 27 footnotes) that prove the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow
Macleans.ca
There is now no question Moscow offered to help the Trump campaign multiple times. Campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has testified high-level Russian officials offered him dirt on Clinton.[1] Someone who Donald Trump Jr believed was a Crown 

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Russia-Trump: FBI chief Wray defends agency – BBC News

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Russia-Trump: FBI chief Wray defends agency
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In particular, the Republicans honed in on a former member of Mr Mueller’s team, Peter Strzok, a top FBI counterintelligence officer removed from the investigation this summer after the agency discovered he had written negative text messages about

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Argentine judge issues arrest warrant for Cristina Kirchner over terror attack cover-up – Telegraph.co.uk

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Argentine judge issues arrest warrant for Cristina Kirchner over terror attack cover-up
Telegraph.co.uk
A crusading Argentine judge has ordered the arrest of the country’s former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on charges of treason against the fatherland, accusing her of covering up Iranian involvement in the country’s worst-ever terrorist
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Ex-intelligence chiefs probed over worst type of betrayal: Polish defence minister

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PR dla Zagranicy

Paweł Kononczuk 07.12.2017 13:13

Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has said that former heads of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW) are suspected of “the worst type of betrayal a Pole can commit.”

Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Photo: PAP/Rafał GuzDefence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Warsaw prosecutors are conducting a probe into suspicions that former heads of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service overstepped their powers, including allegations that they cooperated with a foreign country without the consent of the Polish prime minister.

‘Illegal cooperation with Russian spies’

“This is about fully conscious and illegal cooperation with Russian spies, about the worst type of betrayal a Pole can commit,” Macierewicz told public broadcaster TVP Info on Wednesday.

“We are dealing with people who have very serious allegations against them,” he added.

Asked if former Prime Minister Donald Tusk knew about cooperation between the SKW and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Macierewicz replied that “at some stage he certainly gained some knowledge.”

Macierewicz was speaking after Piotr Pytel, a former head of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service was detained on Wednesday.

Macierewicz said Pytel “is being charged in connection with illegal collaboration with the FSB.”

The FSB is Russia’s principal security agency and the main successor agency to the KGB.

Relations between Moscow and Warsaw are tense while Russian intelligence services are widely seen in Poland as hostile to this country.

After emerging from a prosecutor’s office on Wednesday, Pytel said he had refused to testify. He told reporters that the case against him was politically motivated.

Poland’s Gazeta Polska Codziennie daily reported last year that Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service and the FSB struck a deal in April 2010, just after the crash of a Polish presidential plane in western Russia, on cooperation regarding threats faced by either of the sides.

Gazeta Polska Codziennie reported that a former SKW head and Pytel, his successor, had been accused of overstepping their powers.

Tusk, now European Council head, in April appeared before prosecutors in Warsaw as a witness in a probe into suspected collaboration between Russian and Polish intelligence services.

(pk/gs)

Source: IAR/TVP Info

Ex-intelligence chiefs probed over ‘worst type of betrayal’: Polish defence minister – thenews.pl

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Ex-intelligence chiefs probed over ‘worst type of betrayal’: Polish defence minister
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The FSB is Russia’s principal security agency and the main successor agency to the KGB. Relations between Moscow and Warsaw are tense while Russian intelligence services are widely seen in Poland as hostile to this country. After emerging from a 

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The Early Edition: December 7, 2017

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

TRUMP RECOGNIZES JERUSALEM AS ISRAELS CAPITAL

President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a speech yesterday, the president said it was a long overdue step to advance the peace process and added that the U.S. would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. David M. Halbfinger, Mark Landler and Isabel Kershner report at the New York Times.

While previous president have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver, Trump said, adding that we cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. David Nakamura reports at the Washington Post.

The presidents decision is an important step toward peace, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Trumps decision, however Palestinian officials denounced the decision and the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said that the move undermined efforts to achieve peace and meant that the U.S. could no longer be an honest broker in peace talks. Rory Jones reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital is a war declaration against Palestinians, the leader of the Palestinian Hamas militant group, Ismail Haniya, said in a speech in Gaza City today, calling for a new Intifada, or uprising, and saying that Trumps decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo [accord], has killed the settlement process. Al Jazeera reports.

Clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli soldiers broke out today following Trumps announcement, including at a checkpoint near Ramallah, at the border fence between Israel and Gaza, and in other places in the West Bank. Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash report at the Washington Post.

Leaders across the world condemned Trumps decision, including some of the U.S.s traditional allies and leaders in the Arab and Muslim world. The BBC reports.

There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B, the U.N.-Secretary-General António Guterres said yesterday in response to Trumps announcement, adding that he understood the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. The U.N. News Centre reports.

The solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both, the E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said today, Reuters reporting.

Trumps decision amounted to throwing the region into a circle of fire, the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan said today, adding that the move disregarded U.N. resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem. The Hürriyet Daily News reports.

Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem constitutes a legitimate reason to target American forces in Iraq, the leader of a prominent Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group said in a statement today. Reutersreports.

I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition, Netanyahu said today, but did not say which countries have been contacted, Reutersreporting.

The White House was prepared to accept a temporary derailment of the peace process to fulfil Trumps campaign process, two senior White House officials said after the announcement, with one official explaining that we know there will be some short term pain, but think it will help in the long run. Elisa Labott and Jeremy Diamond report at CNN.

A full transcript and video of Trumps speech is provided by the New York Times.

It is not for the U.S. to decide who should control East Jerusalem, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said yesterday in response to a question about the issue. East Jerusalem is considered by many to be occupied Palestinian territory, Mallory Shelbourne reports at the Hill.

The U.N. Security Council will meet tomorrow to discuss Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem, diplomats said yesterday that the request for a meeting was made by eight members of the 15-member body. Michelle Nichols reports at Reuters.

While I recognize that you will publicly welcome this news, I ask that you restrain your official response, a State Department document dated Dec. 6 said, revealing U.S. efforts to influence Israeli officials to temper their reaction to the news. Arshad Mohammed reveals at Reuters.

A taskforce was set up by the State Department to deal with the fallout from the Jerusalem announcement, revealing the threat to the safety of Americans, Josh Rogin explains at the Washington Post.

The precise location of a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has important symbolic implications, and some consider the White Houses plan to move the embassy within three to four years as optimistic, Adam Taylor explains at the Washington Post.

The announcement was greeted with joy and outrage in Jerusalem, an Israeli police spokesperson said that the police were prepared for larger protests in the city tomorrow. Loveday and Ruth Eglash observe at the Washington Post.

The key takeaways from Trumps speech are provided by Barbara Plett Usher at the BBC.

Trump had been intent on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for months. Some senior administration officials, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warned that the move would raise potential risks to U.S. interests in the region and undermine the prospect of an Israel-Palestine peace deal, while others, such as Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, were in support of the decision. Josh Dawsey, Missy Ryan and Karen DeYoung reveal at the Washington Post.

The presidents son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner pushed for the recognition of Jerusalem, he has been focused on achieving a peace deal in defiance of his critics and amid waning influence since the appointment of White House chief of staff John Kelly. Kushner has gambled that the Jerusalem announcement will pay off, however it could have serious implications in the Middle East, Annie Karni explains at POLITICO.

Arab leaders have deprioritized the Palestinian cause while they have been distracted by other troubles in the region, including the Arab Spring uprisings, wars in the Middle East, and the Saudi Arabia-Iran rivalry, meaning that the emotions following Trumps speech were as much of sadness and resignation as of anger and threats. Anne Barnard, Ben Hubbard and Declan Walsh explain at the New York Times.

The rationale for the decision was seemingly tied to Trumps psychology rather than diplomatic considerations, and it is hard to discern any substance in the Trump administrations strategy to achieve the ultimate deal between Israel and Palestine. Peter Beaumont and Julian Borger write at the Guardian.

The peace process was over long ago, Christopher Dickey writes at The Daily Beast, noting the changed dynamics since 1995 and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Countries have not recognized Jerusalem as Israels capital for good reason, the presidents decision has demonstrated that the Trump administration has been willing to pick sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict and exploded any residual notion that Washington can act as honest broker. The Financial Times editorial board writes.

Trumps decision was not as radical as his critics have portrayed, it reflected promises by numerous previous presidential candidates and was in accordance with Congresss 1995 act recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

Trumps speech did not acknowledge the majority-Arab East Jerusalem, was muted in his support for the two-state solution, and the motivation for his speech may in fact be an ideological desire to extend the reach of the culture war, consequently solidifying his support among American evangelicals and reinforcing his own brand of divisive politics. Ishaan Tharoor writes at the Washington Post.

Trumps announcement has undermined the U.S.s moral authority, damaged the nascent relationship between Israel and Gulf Arab countries and played into the hand of extremists and terrorists in the region. Hussein Ibish writes at The Daily Beast.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trumps former national security adviser Michael Flynn told a former business associate that one of the Trump administrations first acts would be to rip up economic sanctions against Russia, a whistle-blower revealed yesterday in a letter written to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Flynn has been under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt report at the New York Times.

Cummings asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to issue a subpoena to the White House for documents related to Flynn, saying that the committee has credible allegations that Flynn sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy through the revelation that Flynn assured the associate that sanctions against Russia would be ripped up. Tom Hamburger reports at the Washington Post.

Gowdy said yesterday that his committee would not look into the whistleblowers allegations as the Oversight Committee is not investigating Russia, the House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) declined to say if they would investigate the matter. Manu Raju and Katelyn Polantz report at CNN.

Donald Trump Jr. testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday and refused to provide details of a telephone conversation with his father earlier this year about how to handle the fallout from the revelations that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in July 2016, during the presidential campaign. Byron Tau reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Jr. said the call with his father was protected under attorney-client privilege as lawyers for both men were on the call, the ranking Democrat on the committee Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) said that the presence of counsel does not make communications between father and son a privilege and that he would follow up with Trumps lawyer about the legal basis for refusing to disclose details of the call. Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos report at the New York Times.

The founder of private military contractor Blackwater, Erik Prince, said that his meeting with Russian banker Kirill Dmitriev on Jan. 11 in the Seychelles had nothing to do with his support for the Trump campaign, according to a transcript released yesterday of his interview before the House Intelligence Committee. Prince said that the meeting with Dmitriev was informal and that the real purpose of the trip was to meet with Emirati officials, Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska dropped his libel suit against the Associated Press, which alleged that the AP had falsely implied that he was paying Trumps former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for work advancing the Russian governments interests. Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 13 as part of the committees Russia investigation, Brett Samuels reports at the Hill.

The president and his allies have attacked Muellers investigation, highlighting possible bias in Muellers team and the F.B.I. in a possible attempt to discredit the special counsel and create the political support needed to dismiss him. Devlin Barrett and Sean Sullivan report at the Washington Post.

YEMEN

Trump yesterday called on Saudi Arabia to allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach Yemeni civilians, making the statement after the second consecutive night of Saudi airstrikes on Yemens capital of Sanaa and intermittent blockades on the country by the Saudi-led coalition. Max Bearak reports at the Washington Post.

A White House official said that Trumps statement on Yemen was not a retaliation for Saudi Arabias condemnation of Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying that the statement was to do with a serious humanitarian issue in Yemen and the Saudis should and can do more. Steve Holland and Phil Stewart report at Reuters.

The Saudi-led coalition captured an area southwest of Sanaa, residents said today, marking the first significant gains by the coalition since the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday. Reuters reports.

The death of Saleh has changed the dynamics of the war in Yemen, providing Saudi Arabia an opportunity to gain an advantage by bridging relations with Saleh supporters in opposition to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Yaroslav Trofimov writes at the Wall Street Journal.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S.-South Korea large-scale military exercises and U.S. threats have made the outbreak of war an established fact, a spokesperson for North Koreas foreign ministry said today. Soyoung Kim and Heekyong Yang report at Reuters.

The U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman met with North Koreas vice foreign minister in Pyongyang yesterday and discussed bilateral cooperation and other issues of mutual interest, according to North Koreas K.C.N.A. news agency. Reuters reports.

A total of 49 countries violated U.N. sanctions on North Korea between March 2014 and September 2017, according to a report by a Washington-based think tank. Rishi Iyengar reports at CNN.

SYRIA

Approximately 2,000 U.S. troops are on the ground in Syria, the Defense Department acknowledged yesterday, a number four times greater than the figure provided a month ago. Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.

The updated figure does not reflect troops assigned to classified missions and some Special Operations personnel, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said yesterday, John Ismay reporting at the New York Times.

A delegation representing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to arrive in Geneva on Sunday to participate in U.N.-backed peace talks, according to Syrias state S.A.N.A. news agency, the delegation had walked out last week and returned to the Syrian capital of Damascus. Reuters reports.

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

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Islamic State groups capacity to reach sympathizers around the world means that its ability to inspire attacks remains potent, the acting director of intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, Lora Shiao, told senators yesterday. Doina Chiacu reporting at Reuters.

The Saudi merchant Mustafa al Hawasi said that he was very happy to have been able to support the brothers who carried out the 9/11 attack, former F.B.I. agent Abigail Perkins said of her 2007 interrogation of the former C.I.A. captive, describing the conversation in testimony meant to demonstrate that Hawasi is subject to trial before the Guantánamo Bay war court. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

The House yesterday voted against advancing articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, Ben Jacobs and Lauren Gambino report at the Guardian.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to visit Africa at the beginning of next year, amid speculation over his position and a plan to replace Tillerson with C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo. Reutersreports.

Mike Flynn – Google News: Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt? – Salon

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Salon
Mike Flynn and the Russians: Was he reckless, greedy or hopelessly corrupt?
Salon
… information for months at the behest of special counsel Robert Mueller. Free to tell the story now that Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, Cummings said the committee Democrats had been approached last summer by a 
Flynn told former business associate that Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up,’ according to congressional witnessWashington Post
A Missing Piece Falls Into Place in the Saga of Michael FlynnThe Atlantic
Whistleblower: Flynn told colleague Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’CNN
CBS News –NBCNews.com –Politico –TheHill
all 109 news articles »

 Mike Flynn – Google News

The FBI’s constant bungling is an American embarrassment – The Hill

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The Hill
The FBI’s constant bungling is an American embarrassment
The Hill
The actions of current and former FBI officials are making life easy for Kremlin propagandists, who no longer have to make stuff up and now just cut-and-paste news reports. The Kremlin material won’t be broadcast to American audiences but will be used 
Reps. Gaetz, Biggs: Hillary Clinton’s FBI special treatment must be …Fox News
GOP Lawmakers Press for Investigation of FBI’s ‘Special Treatment’ of Hillary Clinton ProbeDaily Signal
Hillary Clinton Received ‘Break After Break From the FBI,’ Say House RepublicansNewsweek
CNSNews.com –Townhall –Tampabay.com
all 21 news articles »
5:23 PM 12/6/2017 FBI and DOJ have Been Under Investigation Since January American Lens

mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks FBI and DOJ have Been Under Investigation Since January American Lens Peter Strzok Photo: See First Image of the FBI Agent fbi criticism – Google Search How Nonpartisan and Independent Was the FBI’s Leadership in 2016? DANA MILBANK: Latest fallback: Who cares if Trump colluded with Russia? … Continue reading“5:23 PM 12/6/2017 – FBI and DOJ have Been Under Investigation Since January American Lens”

Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon” | Video

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FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett on Wednesday night said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become “America’s secret police” and that special counsel Robert Mueller is using the government entity as a “political weapon.”
“The FBI is a shadow government now,” Jarrett declared. “It has become highly politicized.”
“I think we now know that the Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt,” Jarrett told Sean Hannity. “And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment, and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.”

Jarrett on Wednesday night’s Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY: Let’s start with all of these revelations. [Jeannie] Rhee, and Peter Strzok and all of these figures. Hillary Clinton supporters, Trump haters.
GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS: I think we now know that the Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt. And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment, and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.
HANNITY: By the way, this is not a game, this is not a hyperbole you’re using here.
JARRETT: No, ask Paul Manafort. They came for him and broke through his front door…
The FBI is a shadow government now. It has become highly politicized. Peter Strzok is the perfect example of it. He led both the Hillary Clinton investigation and until recently the Mueller investigation. This is a guy who has corrupt political motives. We now know it. The Congress has the emails but he is the tip of the iceberg. There are others, especially Andrew Weissmann and as you pointed out, Jeannie Rhee.

7:56 AM 12/7/2017 FBIs Crisis and Peter Strzok My Bullet Points by Michael Novakhov

mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

Michael Novakhov My Bullet Points:  Stop this hysteria, and stop scapegoating Peter Strzok. The political attitudes, and expressing them, on the part of the FBI agent, might or might not be ethical, depending on the circumstances (office email to a colleague and lover probably is not), but it is not a crime. Mr. Muellers … Continue reading“7:56 AM 12/7/2017 – FBI’s Crisis and Peter Strzok – My Bullet Points – by Michael Novakhov”

wray fbi – Google Search

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Story image for wray fbi from Los Angeles Times

FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify amid turbulence over Russia …

Los Angeles Times2 hours ago
Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Wray probably will face questions about the conduct of FBI agents assigned to the Mueller inquiry. One agent was removed from the case after he …
Director Defends FBI After Trump Says Bureau Is in ‘Tatters’
Highly CitedNew York TimesDec 4, 2017
Media image for wray fbi from NPR

NPR

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Washington Examiner

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New York Times

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ABC News

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USA TODAY

Media image for wray fbi from RealClearPolitics

RealClearPolitics
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Who is FBI Director Christopher Wray?

Fox NewsJun 7, 2017
Wray was formally installed as the new director of the FBI on Sep. 28, after he was confirmed by the Senate on a 92-5 vote in August. All five nay votes came from Democrats. He was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in July, after he appeared before the committee. President Trump …
Ceremony Held to Recognize Appointment of Eighth FBI Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)Sep 28, 2017
Media image for wray fbi from Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)

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CBS News

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USA TODAY

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NPR

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Chicago Tribune

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The Hill
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FBI Director Chris Wray sends internal email to boost employee …

CBS NewsDec 4, 2017
FBI Director Chris Wray sent an internal email to FBI employees Monday amid concerns about morale. On Sunday in a tweet President Trump had disparaged the Bureau as having a reputation “in tatters — worst in history.” In the email, which was obtained by CBS News, Wray told staff Monday morning that …
Trump versus the FBI
Greensboro News & Record (blog)Dec 5, 2017
Story image for wray fbi from Washington Examiner

FBI Director Christopher Wray stands by staff after Trump attacks …

Washington ExaminerDec 4, 2017
FBI Director Christopher Wray told his staff Monday it was “truly an honor” to represent them after President Trump took the agency to task for being the “worst in History” and leaving its reputation in “Tatters,” according to a report. Wray told 35,000 agents and support staff he was “inspired by example after …
Story image for wray fbi from Newsweek

FBI Director Tells Agents to ‘Keep Calm and Tackle Hard’ After …

NewsweekDec 5, 2017
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in an internal memo to FBI employees Monday that they should “welcome” people asking “tough questions” about how they use their power—after President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet over the weekend that the agency was in “tatters.” In the email, which was …
Story image for wray fbi from Mediaite

FBI Director Defends Agency After Trump Says It’s ‘In Tatters’: ‘Truly …

MediaiteDec 4, 2017
As President Trump continues to trash the FBI and talk about how their reputation is “in tatters,” Director Christopher Wray says the agency is doing just fine. The New York Times picked up on an internal memo Wray sent out to the bureau’s staff this morning. While the statement doesn’t address Trump by …
Peter Strzok – Google Search

mikenova shared this story from Peter Strzok – Google News.

Story image for Peter Strzok from National Review

On Strzok, Let’s Wait for the Evidence

National Review12 hours ago
I’m taking a “wait and see” attitude on FBI agent Peter Strzok, who is now enmeshed in a political storm involving both the Clinton and the Trump investigations. You know why? Well . . . it’s because I can’t stand the Clintons. What difference does that make? Well, because I didn’t like them any better in 2001.
Anti-Trump bias exposed in Mueller probe
In-DepthFox News15 hours ago
Cohen: Smoking gun of FBI’s bias
OpinionBoston HeraldDec 4, 2017
Media image for Peter Strzok from Washington Post

Washington Post

Media image for Peter Strzok from RealClearPolitics

RealClearPolitics

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Daily Mail

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Breitbart News

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Boston Herald

Media image for Peter Strzok from Mediaite

Mediaite
Story image for Peter Strzok from Fox News Insider

Gutfeld: The Real Collusion Between the FBI and Clinton Campaign

Fox News InsiderDec 5, 2017
Greg Gutfeld discussed the FBI official who was reassigned from the Mueller investigation after sending politically-charged texts to his mistress. Gutfeld said Peter Strzok showed evidence of “bias and stupidity” when it was revealed he sent the messages critical of President Trump and supportive of Hillary …
Stray Strzok thoughts
Power Line (blog)20 hours ago
Trump to FBI: Losers
OpinionBaltimore SunDec 4, 2017
HOW CAN TRUMP TRUST THIS WITCH HUNT?
BlogHerald Sun (blog)Dec 5, 2017

Story image for Peter Strzok from Washington Times

FBI agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump texts demanded by Senate

Washington Times13 hours ago
Charles Grassley wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray on Wednesday to ask that the bureau address a series of questions about counterintelligence investigator Peter Strzok. The deputy assistant director in the FBI’s counterterrorism division was removed both from that position and the Mueller team over the …
Mueller investigation smells to high heaven
OpinionBaltimore Sun13 hours ago
Media image for Peter Strzok from Fox News

Fox News

Media image for Peter Strzok from Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner

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Breitbart News

Media image for Peter Strzok from The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

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National Review

Media image for Peter Strzok from Vox

Vox
Story image for Peter Strzok from CNN

FBI agent dismissed from Mueller probe changed Comey’s …

CNNDec 4, 2017
Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey’s earlier draft language describing Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” the sources said. The drafting …
Why Mueller removed a top FBI agent from the Russia inquiry
OpinionThe San Diego Union-TribuneDec 4, 2017
Five Things to Know About Anti-Trump FBI Agent Peter Strzok

mikenova shared this story from Breitbart News.

by Adam Shaw6 Dec 2017565

Here’s what you need to know about Strzok:

Strzok Was Demoted Over the Texts

Strzok, who the New York Times reported is “considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators” and was a top investigator in Mueller’s Russia probe, was demoted to a human resources position after the discovery of the texts — which were sent to an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Strzok Was Involved in Softening Comey’s Language on Clinton’s Email Use

CNN reported that Strzok was involved in changing the language FBI Director James Comey used in his July 2016 statement to describe Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information. The language was reportedly changed from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”

The subsequent language is softer and therefore was less damaging to Clinton — who was at that time locked in a bruising presidential campaign with then-candidate Donald Trump. CNN noted that federal law carries penalties for gross negligence in the handling of classified material.

Strzok Interviewed Michael Flynn, Top Clinton Aides

Strzok was reportedly involved in the interviews of Michael Flynn in January for the probe into Russian interference, as well as Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills concerning the Clinton email scandal.

Those interviews are now being scrutinized as Flynn was charged for lying during that interview about his contacts with Russian officials, but Abedin and Mills were not charged for saying they did not know about Clinton’s private email server until 2013 — when there were emails from earlier suggesting they do.

Strzok’s roles in both interviews have stoked concerns about bias and double standards in the FBI’s probes.

Strzok Is Not the Only One

Strzok is not the only agent accused of having a left-leaning bias. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the prosecutor now serving as Mueller’s top deputy sent an email in January gushing over then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s travel ban.

“I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects,” said Andrew Weissman in the email, one of a number of supportive emails Yates received from DOJ colleagues.

Congress Wants Answers

Strzok’s potential bias has caught the attention of Republicans in Congress. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) toldthe New York Post Tuesday that he and fellow members of the House Intelligence Committee want to review Strzok’s “text messages, e-mails and contacts.”

They also want to know his impact on the findings of the investigation into Clinton’s email use and why he was questioning Michael Flynn. He also said the FBI and Justice Department have been “stonewalling” them.

“I think we should definitely question him. In fact, he’s one of the people we’ve been trying to get information on for the last several months,” King said.

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter:@AdamShawNY.

Mueller Removed Top Agent in Russia Inquiry Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts

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