1:51 PM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov
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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 10:28 AM 12/5/2017 – Trump’s Russia defense in disarray – CNN
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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 9:45 AM 12/5/2017 Trumps personal bank details handed over to Muellers Russia investigation Metro…
Trump Investigations Report: 9:45 AM 12/5/2017 Trumps personal bank details handed over to Muellers Russia investigation Metro
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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family…
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FBI News Review: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters
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The World News and Times from mikenova (22 sites)
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov

11:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov

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Russia News: 11:34 AM 12/5/2017 Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov

Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov Russian Senator Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France Twitter Search / engcrimerussia: French Prosecutor: Russian Senator Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France https://en.crimerussia.com/financialcrimes/french-prosecutor-s-office-russian-senator-kerimov-smuggles-suitcases-with-money-into-france/ pic.twitter.com/EyMsg8Ozgq Trump versus the FBI – Greensboro News & Record (blog) Trump Is … Continue reading“11:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov”

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France

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Trump Investigations Report: 11:19 AM 12/5/2017 Kerimov smuggled suitcases with cash into France

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Twitter Search / engcrimerussia: French Prosecutor: Russian Senator Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France https://en.crimerussia.com/financialcrimes/french-prosecutor-s-office-russian-senator-kerimov-smuggles-suitcases-with-money-into-france/ pic.twitter.com/EyMsg8Ozgq French Prosecutor: Russian Senator Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France https://en.crimerussia.com/financialcrimes/french-prosecutor-s-office-russian-senator-kerimov-smuggles-suitcases-with-money-into-france/ pic.twitter.com/EyMsg8Ozgq Investigative Committee asks for Interpol arrest warrant for Telman Ismailov https://en.crimerussia.com/contractkillings/investigative-committee-asks-for-interpol-arrest-warrant-for-telman-ismailov-/ pic.twitter.com/JpQXd6dZj3 Russian oligarchs mull on taking assets back to country as … Continue reading“11:19 AM 12/5/2017 – Kerimov smuggled “suitcases with cash” into France”

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10:28 AM 12/5/2017 – Trump’s Russia defense in disarray – CNN

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 10:28 AM 12/5/2017 – Trump’s Russia defense in disarray – CNN

10:28 AM 12/5/2017 – Trump’s Russia defense in disarray – CNN

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Trump Investigations Report: 10:28 AM 12/5/2017 Trumps Russia defense in disarray CNN

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9:45 AM 12/5/2017 Trumps personal bank details handed over to Muellers Russia investigation Metro

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Trump Investigations Report: 9:45 AM 12/5/2017 Trumps personal bank details handed over to Muellers Russia investigation Metro

Donald Trump’s personal bank details handed over to Mueller’s Russia investigation Tuesday December 5th, 2017 at 9:37 AM Comments On: Trumps Personal Bank Details Handed Over To Muellers Russia Investigation 1 Share Donald Trumps personal bank details have been handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller. The prosecutor issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank AG in a … Continue reading“9:45 AM 12/5/2017 – Trump’s personal bank details handed over to Mueller’s Russia investigation – Metro”

Trump Investigations Report

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FBI News Review: 9:04 AM 12/5/2017 Saved Stories: Recent Searches December 2017 | Trump Has Now Urged Seven Officials

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Recent Searches December 2017 Trump Has Now Urged Seven Officials to Help End the Russia Probes A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now. – Washington Post FBI director tells staff to ‘expect — and welcome’ tough questions – CNN A special counsel needs to … Continue reading“9:04 AM 12/5/2017 – Saved Stories: Recent Searches December 2017 | Trump Has Now Urged Seven Officials…”

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family…

8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family…

8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family…

8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters

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FBI News Review: 8:34 AM 12/5/2017 Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters

Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters Yes, the President Can Obstruct Justice Ex-Justice Department officials defend FBI after Trump says bureau is ‘in tatters’ – Yahoo News FBI … Continue reading“8:34 AM 12/5/2017 – Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family Business Insider | Director Defends F.B.I. After Trump Says Bureau Is in Tatters”

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10:12 AM 12/3/2017 – The plot gets thicker: Enter Ms. McFarland…

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Image result for KT McFarland

KT McFarland – Google Search

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Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation – Washington Post

 

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Who is KT McFarland? Donald Trump’s pick for deputy national security adviser
 

mikenova shared this story .

This article was originally published on November 28, 2016 and republished after reports of KT McFarland’s involvement in the Trump-Russia probe.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has filled two more top administration posts.

The incoming president has tapped Fox News analyst Kathleen “KT” McFarland to serve as deputy national security adviser, and campaign attorney Donald McGahn as White House counsel.

Trump confirmed the picks Friday in a statement from his transition team.

He cited McFarland’s “tremendous experience and innate talent,” which he said would “complement the fantastic team we are assembling.”

Trump had already tapped retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

McFarland has most recently served as a Fox News analyst. She served in various posts under former Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

While on Fox News McFarland has offered analysis on various issues of national security, some of which has raised an eyebrow or two over the years.

In 2012 McFarland said to, “Either bomb Iran, or let Iran get the bomb.”

In response to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, McFarland called for more racial profiling, while blaming the attacks on the failings of political correctness. Candidate Trump echoed McFarland’s sentiments in 2016 following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, insisting that the U.S. should adapt “Israeli style” racial profiling.

In a segment with Sean Hannity on Fox News, McFarland defended waterboarding saying, “It’s not torture, but even if it is torture, it’s worth doing.”

While discussing Saudi Arabia’s support for the Iran nuclear agreement, McFarland inisted Saudi Arabia was being duplicitous, based upon her reasons that “they are Arabs, they are not going to say something to your face that will upset you… it’s not what they say, it’s what they do.”

McFarland whose national security experience goes as far back as serving on Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council Staff in the Ford administration, wrote a column in 2013 praising Vladimir Putin for his role in the Syrian conflict. She even went as far as to suggest Putin should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

McFarland’s position does not require Senate confirmation.

Meet KT McFarland, Trump’s anti-Arab, Putin-praising Former Deputy National Security Adviser – Haaretz
 

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Haaretz
Meet KT McFarland, Trump’s anti-Arab, Putin-praising Former Deputy National Security Adviser
Haaretz
This article was originally published on November 28, 2016 and republished after reports of KT McFarland’s involvement in theTrump-Russia probe. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has filled two more top administration posts. The incoming president has  

Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City – CBS News
 

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CBS News
Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City
CBS News
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Queens New York – Google Search
 

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One dead after hit-and-run driver strikes four people during knife …

New York Daily News2 hours ago
One dead after hit-and-run driver strikes four people during knife fight outside Queens hookah bar … (Marc A. Hermann for New York Daily News) … An irate hit-and-run driver mowed down at least four people, killing one, after a knife fight outside a Queens hookah bar Sunday morning, according to police …

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Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City

CBS News1 hour ago
NEW YORK — Police are searching for a driver who hit and killed one person and injured three others outside a nightclub in QueensNew York, early Sunday morning, CBS New York reports. Two of the three who are injured are in serious condition, according to the station. Two other people were stabbed …
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20-year-old fatally shot in Long Island City
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BREAKING – Sputnik International
 

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BREAKING
Sputnik International
Police are searching for a driver of a white sedan that has reportedly struck several people in New York City and fled the scene. A car has rammed into a crowd in the Queens area in New York City, killing at least one and injuring three people, CNNand more »

Trump: we will grow everything – Google Search
 

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Story image for Trump: we will grow everything from Telegraph.co.uk

Tax cuts for businesses and rich as Donald Trump wins major 11th …

Telegraph.co.ukDec 2, 2017
US corporation tax will drop from 35 per cent to 20 per cent under Donald Trump’s overhaul which has been backed by Congress. The move piles pressure … “We‘re going to grow the country, we‘re going to grow jobs, we‘re going to be growing everything,” Mr Trump said in New York. “We have companies …

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CIA chief Pompeo says he warned Iran’s Soleimani over Iraq aggression
 

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December 2, 2017 / 11:38 PM / Updated 4 hours ago

CIA chief Pompeo says he warned Iran’s Soleimani over Iraq aggression

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Reuters) – U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he sent a letter to Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian leaders expressing concern regarding Iran’s increasingly threatening behavior in Iraq.

Speaking during a panel at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in Southern California, Pompeo said he sent the letter after the senior Iranian military commander had indicated that forces under his control might attack U.S. forces in Iraq. He did not specify the date.

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“What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control,” Pompeo told the panel.

“We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.”

Soleimani, who is the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, refused to open the letter, according to Pompeo, who took over the CIA in January.

Iranian media earlier quoted Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying an unnamed CIA contact had tried to give a letter to Soleimani when he was in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal in November during the fighting against Islamic State.

“I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people,” Golpayegani quoted Soleimani as saying, according to the semi-official news agency Fars.

Reuters reported in October that Soleimani had repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to withdraw from the oil city of Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, and had traveled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to meet Kurdish leaders.

The presence of Soleimani on the frontlines highlights Tehran’s heavy sway over policy in Iraq, and comes as Shi‘ite Iran seeks to win a proxy war in the Middle East with its regional rival and U.S. ally, Sunni Saudi Arabia.

A U.S.-led coalition has been fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and is often in proximity to Iran-allied militia fighting Isis there.

“You need to only look to the past few weeks and the efforts of the Iranians to exert influence now in Northern Iraq in addition to other places in Iraq to see that Iranian efforts to be the hegemonic power throughout the Middle East continues to increase,” Pompeo said.

The CIA chief said Saudi Arabia had grown more willing to share intelligence with other Middle Eastern nations regarding Iran and Islamist extremism.

The Israeli government said last month that Israel had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumoured secret dealings.

“We’ve seen them work with the Israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the Middle East, to the extent we can continue to develop those relationships and work alongside them – the Gulf states and broader Middle East will likely be more secure,” said Pompeo.

Writing by Michelle Price in WASHINGTON, additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Mary Milliken and Michael Perry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
6:31 PM 12/2/2017 To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs World Politics Review
 

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None The Latest: Trump expresses no concern about Flynn plea deal Kaspersky Lab, Russian antivirus vendor, singled out in warning issued by U.K. cybersecurity chief FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour … Continue reading“6:31 PM 12/2/2017 – To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs – World Politics Review”

To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs
 

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Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in the Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2013 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

plan to privatize CIA operations – Google Search
 

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The Trump Administration Is Mulling A Pitch For A Private “Rendition …

BuzzFeed NewsNov 30, 2017
Amyntor’s officials and employees include veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent … A source speaking on behalf of the company stressed that while Amyntor officials are aware of and involved in the rendition plan, the company itself …

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Trump Admin Plans To Pay Millions To Private Firm For A Spy Network

Carbonated.tv (blog)14 hours ago
President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly planning to pay millions to a private international security firm and is also considering allowing former U.S. … intelligence on terrorists using “a network of assets in a denied area”, an online propaganda operation to counter Islamic extremism, and the rendition plan.

Story image for plan to privatize CIA operations from Truth-Out

Is Steve Bannon Planning to Unleash Erik Prince on Wyoming Sen …

Truth-OutNov 27, 2017
Is Steve Bannon Planning to Unleash Erik Prince on Wyoming Sen. … a former Australian air force pilot, and a lawyer with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel . . . to secretly rebuild his private CIA and special operations enterprise by setting up foreign shell companies and offering paramilitary services.”.

Story image for plan to privatize CIA operations from The Intercept

Intercepted Podcast: The Distraction in Chief

The InterceptNov 15, 2017
Trump has granted the CIA and military sweeping authorities to conduct lethal operations, all while laughing it up with the murderous despot, Rodrigo ….. JS: Right, and Erik Prince publicly is pushing this Afghanistan plan to privatize the war and, you know, I think he secretly wants to be or not so secretly …

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Blackwater founder still promotes plan to privatize Afghan operations

ReutersOct 26, 2017
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The founder of private military contractor Blackwater is trying to interest U.S. intelligence agencies in his plan to privatize … U.S. government sources say Prince has recently floated his Afghanistan proposal to spy agencies including the CIA but it is not clear how much support it …
FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks
 

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FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that adversarial governments are more often collaborating with criminals to carryout cyber attacks against the United States.

Wray said the indictment of a Canadian national who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping Russian spies hack into Yahoo email accounts reflect “one of the more dangerous, emerging threats” facing the United States today, known in the intelligence community as a “blended threat.”

“We are seeing an emergence of that kind of collaboration,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, noting that until recently governments and criminals worked separately. “Now there’s this collusion, if you will, that’s occurring on a number of instances like mercenaries being used to commit cyber attacks.”

The Justice Department announced charges in March against Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Canadian citizen, and three other men, including two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, for their involvement in the 2014 hack into Yahoo that affected 500 million accounts.

U.S. law enforcement officials said Baratov, who they dubbed a “hacker-for-hire,” acknowledged breaking into email accounts and selling the passwords to an agent of the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.

The individuals targeted included Russian officials, a European diplomat, a former economic minister from a neighboring country, and a prominent banker.

The case confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russia’s government hires non-government hackers and uses its spy services to facilitate criminal activity in addition to conducting espionage.

Wray, who President Donald Trump handpicked to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey in June, said Russia is attempting to assert its dominance in the world by relying on asymmetric warfare to “damage and weaken” the United States

To combat the threat, Wray said he has set up a “foreign influence task force” within the bureau made up of different divisions, including counterintelligence, cyber, and criminal investigation. He said the agency would also coordinate closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with overseeing critical election infrastructure, to prevent against cyberattacks.

The post FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacksappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Trump administration allegedly considering plan to privatize CIA operations
 

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The United States Central Intelligence Agency and the White House are considering several proposals to hire private companies to carry out covert operations abroad, according to a report. 

To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs – World Politics Review
 

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World Politics Review
To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs
World Politics Review
As Paul Kan of the U.S. Army War College put it in a path-breaking book on narcotrafficking and security, the unique nature of the trade has made persistent threats to national and international security more complex, durable, and acute. In short  

FBI, DHS Warn of Hacker Mercenaries Funded by Nation-States
 

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A screenshot of the warning screen from a purported ransomware attack, as captured by a computer user in Taiwan, is seen on a laptop in Beijing, May 13, 2017.

Defense Intelligence Agency – Google Search
 

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Citing probes, military agency bars access to Flynn records

Washington PostNov 28, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Defense Intelligence Agency is refusing to release a wide array of documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, saying that turning them over could interfere with ongoing congressional and federal investigations. Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general …

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The Hill

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Washington Times

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The Daily Caller

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Daily Beast

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Key players in the Michael Flynn investigation

The Spokesman-Review5 hours ago
A retired U.S. Army lt. general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, Flynn served for less than a month as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser. He was fired in mid-February by Trump after officials said that he had misled Vice President …
Donald Trump’s best and worst day as president: An analysis
Opinion<a href=”http://NOLA.com” rel=”nofollow”>NOLA.com</a>4 hours ago

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Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley – Google Search
 

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Vice President Pence visits DIA Headquarters

DVIDS (press release)Nov 8, 2017
DIA Director Army LtGenRobert Ashley hosted the visit, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats accompanied the vice president. “DIA officers play a crucial role in our intelligence apparatus,” Pence said in a statement. “We are grateful for their work and sacrifice.” The vice president received …

Story image for Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley from Homeland Preparedness News

LtGenAshley to become 21st Defense Intelligence Agency director

Homeland Preparedness NewsAug 24, 2017
LtGenRobert P. Ashley, Jr., U.S. Army, was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 21st Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Currently serving as deputy chief of staff, G-2, for the U.S. Army, Ashley is scheduled to begin his duties as DIA director in October, where he takes over for Lt.

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LtGenRobert Ashley: Army Kicks Off Force Review to Identify …

ExecutiveGovApr 20, 2017
The team will present findings to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and host an industry day on June 29 to discuss its findings, Judson reported. Ashley said the assessment will cover the areas of open-source intelligence, interrogation, certification process for analysts, counterintelligence, collection …
Army looks to revamp its intelligence enterprise from the ‘bottom-up’
<a href=”http://FederalNewsRadio.com” rel=”nofollow”>FederalNewsRadio.com</a>Apr 20, 2017

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Outgoing DIA Director to Workforce: ‘Keep Telling Truth to Power’

Department of DefenseOct 4, 2017
Marine Corps LtGen. Vincent R. Stewart turned over the reins to Army LtGenRobert P. Ashley during the ceremony at the agency’s Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling headquarters. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan represented Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the ceremony and presided over it.

Story image for Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley from Voice of America

Former US DIA Chief Tells Analysts, ‘Speak Truth to Power’

Voice of AmericaOct 3, 2017
Army LtGenRobert Ashley takes over. Stewart is now set to become deputy commander at U.S. Cyber Command, a move approved by lawmakers this past July. The new DIA chief, Army LtGenRobert Ashley, previously served as director of intelligence at both U.S. Central Command and Joint Special …

Ashley, new DIA chief, concerned

Intelligence OnlineSep 5, 2017
Army LtGenRobert Ashley, the new head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s intelligence agency, was appointed on August 21 having only just finished carrying out an audit of the US Army’s intelligence services. As director of intelligence, or G2, of the army, he launched a …

Story image for Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley from Defense Systems

Army says smartphone, digital tech increase vulnerability

Defense SystemsMay 9, 2017
Electronic signals emitted by U.S. forces make it easier for tech-savvy enemies to keep tabs on units’ locations and movements. The spying tools are relatively cheap and ubiquitous: iPhones, Goggle maps, commercial tracking software. “It’s an unbounded battle space,” said LtGenRobert Ashley Jr., Army …
Vice President Pence visits DIA HQ
 

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Vice President Mike Pence visited the Defense Intelligence Agency Headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Nov. 6, to receive classified intelligence briefings and meet with DIA officers.

Flynn Flipped. Whos Next?
 

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Michael Flynns guilty plea raises obvious questions: What did President Trump know? And when did he know it?

Mueller Removed Top F.B.I. Agent Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts
 

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The special counsel had a top agent removed from his inquiry after the Justice Departments inspector general began examining whether the agent sent texts expressing political views.

Mueller unearths more lies, a key witness but no smoking gun in Flynn
 

mikenova shared this story from Stars and Stripes.

Michael Flynn’s guilty plea Friday and all of the criminal cases thus far have not resolved the fundamental question special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking to answer: Did Trump’s campaign collude with Russia to win the election?

US agent who got prostitutes, cash from Colombian drug lord headed to prison
 

mikenova shared this story from Stars and Stripes.

The bribes federal agent Christopher Ciccione accepted from a wanted Colombian drug lord $18,000 in cash, prostitutes, restaurant meals and a hotel room have cost him his career. Yet, “Chris is a good man who served his country for more than 20 years both in the military and as a federal agent,” his defense attorney said.

Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation – The Washington Post
 

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Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has already interviewed two dozen current and former Trump aides, according to people familiar with the investigation. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

A white sedan whisked a man into the loading dock of a glass and concrete building in a drab office district in Southwest Washington. Security guards quickly waved the vehicle inside, then pushed a button that closed the garage door and shielded the guest’s arrival from public view.

With his stealth morning arrival Thursday, White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II became the latest in a string of high-level witnesses to enter the secretive nerve center of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Twenty hours later, Mueller and his team emerged into public view to rattle Washington with the dramatic announcement that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would plead guilty to lying to the FBI.

The ensnaring of Flynn, the second former aide to President Trump to cooperate with the inquiry, serves as the latest indication that Mueller’s operation is rapidly pursuing an expansive mission, drilling deeper into Trump’s inner circle.

In the past two months, Mueller and his deputies have received private debriefs from two dozen current and former Trump advisers, each of whom has made the trek to the special counsel’s secure office suite.

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What likely led Michael Flynn to flip sides in the Russia investigation
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The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips discusses what likely caused Michael Flynn to flip on his old boss.

The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips talks about what likely caused President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to flip on his old boss and cooperate with the Mueller investigation. (Jason Aldag, Amber Phillips/The Washington Post)

Once inside, most witnesses are seated in a windowless conference room where two- and three-person teams of FBI agents and prosecutors rotate in and out, pressing them for answers.

Among the topics that have been of keen interest to investigators: how foreign government officials and their emissaries contacted Trump officials, as well as the actions and interplay of Flynn and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.

Often listening in is the special counsel himself, a sphinx-like presence who sits quietly along the wall for portions of key interviews.

This picture of Mueller’s operation — drawn from descriptions of witnesses, lawyers and others briefed on the interviews — provides a rare look inside the high-stakes investigation that could implicate Trump’s circle and determine the future of his presidency.

The locked-down nature of the probe has left both the witnesses and the public scrutinizing every move of the special counsel for meaning, without any certainty about the full scope of his investigation.

Trump and his lawyers have expressed confidence that Mueller will swiftly conclude his examination of the White House, perhaps even by the year’s end. Trump’s Democratic opponents hope the investigation will uncover more crimes and ultimately force the president’s removal from office.

Meanwhile, some witnesses who have been interviewed came away with the impression that the probe is unfolding and far from over.

“When they were questioning me, it seemed like they were still trying to get a feel of the basic landscape of the place,” said one witness who was questioned in late October for several hours and, like others, requested anonymity to describe the confidential sessions. “I didn’t get the sense they had anything incriminating on the president. Nor were they anywhere close to done.”

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb said he believes the probe’s focus on Trump’s White House is wrapping up, noting that all White House staffer interviews will be completed by the end of next week.

“At the end of the interviews, it would be reasonable to expect that it would not take long to bring this to conclusion,” Cobb said. “I commend the Office of Special Counsel for their acknowledged hard work on behalf of the country, to undertake this serious responsibility, and to perform it in an expedited but deliberate, thorough way.”

At least two dozen people who traveled in Trump’s orbit in 2016 and 2017 — on the campaign trail, in his transition operation and then in the White House — have been questioned in the past 10 weeks, according to people familiar with the interviews.

The most high profile is Kushner, who met with Mueller’s team in November, as well as former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer. Former foreign policy adviser J.D. Gordon has also been interviewed.

White House communications director Hope Hicks was scheduled to sit down with Mueller’s team a few days before Thanksgiving. Mueller’s team has also indicated plans to interview senior associate White House counsel James Burnham and policy adviser Stephen Miller.

McGahn, who was interviewed by Mueller’s prosecutors for a full day Thursday, was scheduled to return Friday to complete his interview. However, the special counsel postponed the session as a courtesy to allow McGahn to help the White House manage the response to Flynn’s plea, a person familiar with the interview said.

Cobb declined to say which White House aides remain to be interviewed.

Several people who worked shoulder to shoulder with Flynn have also been interviewed by Mueller’s operation. That includes retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, the chief of staff to the National Security Council, as well as several people who worked with Flynn Intel Group, a now-shuttered private consulting firm.

Mueller’s group has also inquired whether Flynn recommended specific foreign meetings to senior aides, including Kushner. Investigators were particularly interested in how certain foreign officials got on Kushner’s calendar and the discussions that Flynn and Kushner had about those encounters, according to people familiar with the questions.

During the transition, Kushner and Flynn met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. At the early December meeting, Kushner suggested establishing a secure communications line between Trump officials and the Kremlin at a Russian diplomatic facility, according to U.S. officials who reviewed intelligence reports describing Kislyak’s account.

Kushner has said that Kislyak sought the secure line as a way for Russian generals to communicate to the incoming administration about U.S. policy on Syria.

Trump’s son-in-law has also been identified by people familiar with his role as the “very senior member” of the transition team who directed Flynn in December to reach out to Kislyak and lobby him about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements, according to new court filings.

The volume of questions about Kushner in their interviews surprised some witnesses.

“I remember specifically being asked about Jared a number of times,” said one witness.

Another witness said agents and prosecutors repeatedly asked him about Trump’s decision-making during the May weekend he decided to fire FBI Director James B. Comey. Prosecutors inquired whether Kushner had pushed the president to jettison Comey, according to two people familiar with the interview.

Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell declined to comment on what the president’s son-in-law discussed at his November session with Mueller. “Mr. Kushner has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so,” he said.

Two administration officials said that it would be natural for investigators to ask a lot of questions about Kushner, whom Trump put in charge of communicating with foreign officials, adding that such inquiries do not indicate he is a target.

The special counsel has continued to make ongoing requests for records from associates of the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the requests. The campaign associates aren’t expected to finish producing these documents by the end of the year. Mueller’s team is also newly scrutinizing an Alexandria-based office and advisers who worked there on foreign policy for the campaign.

In the past several weeks, Mueller’s operation has reached out to new witnesses in Trump’s circle, telling them they may be asked to come in for an interview. One person who was recently contacted said it is hard to find a lawyer available for advice on how to interact with the special counsel because so many Trump aides have already hired attorneys.

“It was kind of a pain,” the person said. “It’s hard to find a lawyer who wasn’t already conflicted out.”

People who have gone before Mueller’s team describe polite but detailed and intense grillings that at times have lasted all day and involved more than a dozen investigators. Spicer, for example, was in the office from about 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for his fall session. Mueller’s team has recommended nearby lunch spots, but many witnesses have food brought in for fear of being spotted if they go outside.

Mueller has attended some interviews, introducing himself to witnesses when he enters and then sitting along the wall. Sometimes he is joined by his deputy, longtime friend and law partner James Quarles, a former Watergate prosecutor who is the main point of contact for the White House.

Investigators bring large binders filled with emails and documents into the interview room. One witness described the ricochet of questions that followed each time an agent passed them a copy of an email they had been copied on: “Do you remember this email? How does the White House work? How does the transition work? Who was taking the lead on foreign contacts? How did that work? Who was involved in this decision? Who was there that weekend?”

Some witnesses were introduced to so many federal agents and lawyers that they later lamented that they had largely forgotten many of their names by the time one team left the room and a new team entered.

“They say, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to be rude, but people are going to come in and out a lot,’ ” one witness explained about the teams. “They kind of cycle in and out of the room.”

One contingent of investigators is focused on whether Trump tried to obstruct justice and head off the investigation into Russian meddling by firing Comey in May. Prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Jeannie Rhee have been involved in matters related to Flynn.

Yet another team is led by the former head of the Justice Department’s fraud prosecutions, Andrew Weissman, and foreign bribery expert Greg Andres. Those investigators queried lobbyists from some of the most powerful lobby shops in town about their interactions with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign adviser Rick Gates.

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Mueller’s team charged Manafort and Gates last month with engaging in a conspiracy to hide millions of dollars in hidden foreign accounts and secretly creating an elaborate cover story to conceal their lobbying work for a former Ukrainian president and his pro-Russia political party. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers familiar with prosecutors’ questions about Manafort said they expect several more charges to come from this portion of the case.

People familiar with the Mueller team said they convey a sense of calm that is unsettling.

“These guys are confident, impressive, pretty friendly — joking a little, even,” one lawyer said. When prosecutors strike that kind of tone, he said, defense lawyers tend to think: “Uh oh, my guy is in a heap of trouble.”

Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.

Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation
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A white sedan whisked a man into the loading dock of a glass and concrete building in a drab office district in Southwest Washington. Security guards quickly waved the vehicle inside, then pushed a button that closed the garage door and shielded the 
FBI agent removed from Mueller investigation over anti-Trump messagesCNN
Mueller Removed Top FBI Agent Over Possible Anti-Trump TextsNew York Times
Mueller reportedly ousted an investigator on his team over possible anti-Trump textsBusiness Insider
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11:52 AM 12/1/2017 – The Operation Silk Road – The World News and Times

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11:52 AM 12/1/2017 – The Operation Silk Road – The World News and Times

11:52 AM 12/1/2017 – The Operation Silk Road – The World News and Times

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11:52 AM 12/1/2017 – The Operation Silk Road – The World News and Times

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The Operation “Silk Road”: Please, meet (for now) the CIA Director, and our Designated Future President…

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The Operation “Silk Road”: Please, meet (for now) the CIA Director, and our Designated Future President, Mr. Silk (codename Cotton). Yea-yeah, the same one who six years ago was just a kid looking for a job…

8:10 AM 12/1/2017 – Sen. Cotton or Dir. Silk, you still gotta serve somebody – Trump Investigations …

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8:10 AM 12/1/2017 – Sen. Cotton or Dir. Silk, you still gotta serve somebody – Trump Investigations Report

2:33 PM 11/30/2017 – Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser, focus of Russia investigation…

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2:19 PM 11/30/2017 – NYPD cop charged with trying to traffic three kilos of heroin

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1:51 PM 11/30/2017 – Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser, focus of Russia investigation…

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1:51 PM 11/30/2017 – Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser, focus of Russia investigation: What to know – Fox News

1:45 PM 11/30/2017 – Trump Wants to Install a Reliable Mouthpiece on Russia at the CIA – Mother Jones…

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1:45 PM 11/30/2017 – Trump Wants to Install a Reliable Mouthpiece on Russia at the CIA – Mother Jones

12:05 PM 11/30/2017 – Donald Trump Attacks China For Having ‘No Impact On Little Rocket Man’

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10:49 AM 11/30/2017 – Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where…

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10:49 AM 11/30/2017 – Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard.

Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, pleaded guilty on Friday for lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, the New York Times reported. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office charged Flynn with one count of making false statements to the FBI about two meetings with Sergei Kislyak in which Flynn and Kislyak discussed U.S. sanctions and a U.N. Security Council resolution. The charge is an indication that Flynn is cooperating with the special counsel investigation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is developing quickly and Lawfare’s coverage of current reporting is likely to be overtaken by events throughout the day.

Pope Francis said, “the presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” marking the first time the pope has used the term for Myanmar’s Muslim ethnic group during his visit to Southeast Asia, Reuters reported. The pope gave remarks after meeting Rohingya refugees in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar after a campaign of military that the U.N. has termed “ethnic cleansing.” The pope did not use the word “Rohingya” when he visited Myanmar earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia’s air force intercepted a ballistic missile launched from Yemen. The attack is the second this month, CNN reported. A Saudi military spokesperson said the missile was headed towards a Saudi city near the Yemen border. Houthi rebels in Yemen said the attack was a successful test. A missile fired at the Riyadh airport on Nov. 4 prompted the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen to blockade all the country’s ports. The U.N. sanctions monitor said on Wednesday that Iran had designed and manufactured those missiles, according to Reuters. The U.N. report said it did not have any evidence who supplied the missile to the Houthis. Iran has denied smuggling weapons in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Reza Zarrab, the Turkish-Iranian businessman who plead guilty to evading U.S. sanctions, testified that Turkish government officials told him that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved his scheme to illegally move millions of dollars of Iranian oil sales, the Washington Post reported. Zarrab is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the trial of one of his co-conspirators. The Turkish government has castigated the trial as a plot by Erdogan’s enemies to challenge his credibility.

Over the summer, President Trump pushed top Senate Republicans to close out congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the New York Times reported. The president told Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, that he was hopeful the inquiry would “as quickly as possible.” Trump angrily denounced the Russia investigation to other top lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Bob Corker. The White House denied that the president had tried to improperly influence the investigation.

Erik Prince, founder of the security firm Blackwater, confirmed to congressional investigators that he secretly met a Russian banker close to President Vladimir Putin to discuss a U.S.-Russia communications channel, according to the Post. Prince confirmed that his counterpart at the previously reported meeting was Kirill Dimitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Prince denied that he was acting on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Session refused to answer questions from congressional investigators in a closed hearing about whether Trump had ever attempted to interfere with the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, Reuters reported. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Sessions declined to answer questions about President Trump’s interactions with Sessions regarding the investigation.

The Defense Department disclosed that it has not yet provided a lawyer to the American citizen believed to be an Islamic State fighter being detained as an enemy combatant despite the man’s request for counsel, the Times reported. Justice Department lawyers provided the information in response to an order from D.C. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan in a habeas petition the ACLU brought on behalf of the man. The FBI has not questioned the man since he asked for a lawyer. The government has not charged the man with any crime and it is unclear whether it plans to transfer him to any other country for detention.

Israel bombed targets in Gaza in response to mortar fire from Palestinian militants, the Post reported. The Israeli military said it hit Hamas military sites. The mortar fire came after Israel destroyed a tunnel that the Islamic Jihad militant organization had built under the Israel-Gaza border.

The White House is considering a plan to relocate the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Wall Street Journal reported. The move would also involve formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The plan is not yet official, but it could spark strident opposition from Palestinians and cause complications with the Israel-Palestine peace process. On Friday, the president will face a deadline on whether to issue a waiver that would allow the U.S. to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv, delaying provisions of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act from taking effect.

The U.S. will withdraw 400 Marines from Syria ahead of schedule after the U.S.-backed campaign against the Islamic State achieved large reductions in the group’s territory, the Journal reported. The Marine unit provided artillery support to the U.S.-backed forces that captured Raqqa, the Islamic State’s former capital, last month. A coalition spokesperson said the move was part of a larger reduction in military commitments as the campaign winds down.

The Syrian government‘s negotiators left U.N. peace talks in Geneva and said they may not return, Reuters reported. The Syrian representatives said the opposition’s collective statement that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot play a role in the country’s political transition made negotiations impossible. The government team said they would consult with political leadership in Damascus on whether to return to the table next week.

Niger’s government gave its approval for armed U.S. drone flights over its territory, the Times reported. The U.S. and Niger signed a memorandum of understanding allowing armed drone flights out of Niamey, the capital, and an expanded military presence in the country. The U.S. is targeting extremist groups across West Africa. Deploying drones in Niger would significantly enlarge the range U.S. drones can cover over West Africa.

Taliban gunmen disguised in burqas attacked a university dormitory in Peshawar, Pakistan, the Times reported. Gunfire killed at least nine people and wounded thirty others. The Pakistani Taliban said its militants had attacked a Pakistani intelligence safe house. Pakistani authorities said there was no intelligence activity at the university.

The Pentagon delayed indefinitely a planned phase-out of certain types of cluster munitions, according to the AP. The Department of Defense said it was unable to fulfill a pledge by President George W. Bush to use cluster munitions that have high safety standards by 2019 and would continue to use its existing stockpile. The U.S. has not signed the 2010 treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Hayley Evans and Shannon Togawa Mercer discussed Brexit’s implications for data protection regulations.

Evans summarized the UK’s new data protection bill.

Madiha Afzal explained why the Trump’s administration’s strategy in Pakistan is likely doomed to failure.

Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith discussed whether Congress cares that the president has an enormous amount of discretion to interpret international law.

Goldsmith and Robert Williams argued that the recent indictment of three Chinese hackers shows the 2015 U.S.-China cybersecurity agreement is weakening.

Scott Anderson and Yishai Schwartz explained the potential consequences if the president waives the Jerusalem Embassy Act.

Benjamin Wittes posted the “Power of Delusion Thinking” edition of Rational Security.

Susan Hennessey shared her testimony from a congressional hearing on the cybersecurity of voting machines.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

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The Early Edition: December 1, 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. Here’s today’s news.

The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

A plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo has been devised by the White House, senior administration officials said yesterday, with Pompeo to be replaced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) – who has signaled an intention to accept the role of C.I.A. Director if offered – however officials have said that Trump has not yet signed off on the plan which was devised by White House chief of staff John F. Kelly. Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Gardiner Harris report at the New York Times.

“He’s here – Rex is here,” Trump said yesterday in response to a question about Tillerson and whether he wants him to remain as secretary of state, Trump’s comments did not quell rumors about Tillerson’s departure and there have been numerous reports that the president has a poor relationship with the secretary of state. Michael C. Bender and Peter Nicholas report at the Wall Street Journal.

“He remains, as I have been told, committed to doing this job,” the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said yesterday, making the statement as part of a series of comments by administration officials that tried to downplay the rumors of Tillerson’s departure, separately Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters that he had spoken to Tillerson in a lengthy conversation and did not believe he was soon to be sacked. Anne Gearan and Carol Morello report at the Washington Post.

Kelly called the State Department to tell them that the “rumors” about a plan to oust Tillerson “are not true,” Nauert said yesterday, the BBC reports.

Nauert pointed out that Tillerson will be going on a tour of Europe next week and had a full week of engagements when asked about the secretary of state’s position, in response to a question about Tillerson’s authority and whether it has been undermined, Nauert responded that Tillerson “is someone whose feathers don’t get ruffled very easily.” Julian Borger and David Smith report at the Guardian.

“There’s nothing to it,” the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday in response to reports of Tillerson’s imminent departure. Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.

The reports of Tillerson’s departure were disclosed as part of an attempt by the White House to publicly shame the secretary of state, according to a source familiar with the matter, adding that the shaming would be followed by waiting for Tillerson to “punch out.” Michelle Kosinski and Sara Murray report at CNN.

Several senior administration officials claimed that there would be further departures of senior White House aides and Cabinet members as Trump reaches his one-year anniversary in office, the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday that “there are no personnel announcements at this time.”  Michael C. Bender reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Diplomats frustrated with Tillerson’s leadership of the State Department have cautiously welcomed the prospect of Pompeo’s appointment, saying that despite his partisan persuasion, they hope that a better relationship with the president would be to the benefit of the department. Nahal Toosi explains at POLITICO.

Pompeo has certain qualities that Tillerson does not possess, however he would be still faced with similar problems regarding the president’s lack of regard for diplomacy and the reports of Pompeo’s potential appointment has drawn a mixed reaction from serving U.S. officials. Arshad Mohammed explains at Reuters.

Pompeo would bring a distinctly political voice to the role of secretary of state, having shown an ideological and politicized approach as C.I.A. director which has aligned with the president’s views on many issues, this would bring the benefit of a better relationship with the president, but would remove a voice of moderation on key foreign policy issues. Mark Landler writes at the New York Times.

Tillerson is arguably unsuited to his role and has presided over a chaotic and demoralizing period at the State Department, however if the personnel changes take place, it would potentially provide Trump with “two more loyal lieutenants” as Pompeo has been pointedly hawkish on key issues, such as on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and Cotton is “perhaps the hardest-line hawk in the Senate.” Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

The appointment of Cotton as C.I.A. Director “would cement his meteoric rise in Republican politics,” which has been achieved through an attempt to “co-opt and shape the president rather than rail against him.” Eliana Johnson and Ali Watkins observe at POLITICO.

Intelligence professionals have questioned Cotton’s credentials and have expressed objection to his characterization of waterboarding and torture, Spencer Ackerman explains at The Daily Beast.

Changes in personnel would “likely be seen as a signal of greater U.S. willingness to use force,” it remains unclear whether bringing in Pompeo and Cotton would lead to substantive policy changes, nevertheless “Pyongyang and Tehran should understand that Washington is recalculating its tolerance for risk.” David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post.

NORTH KOREA

“The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted yesterday, referring to a recent visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy to Pyongyang and North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.) on Wednesday. Ashley Parker reports at the Washington Post.

The U.S.’s announcement last week of joint military drills with South Korea provoked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to take “rash action,” the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed yesterday, accusing the U.S. of escalating tensions and calling for the U.S. to “first of all explain to us what they are trying to achieve.” Nathan Hodge reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday praised China for “doing a lot” but said they could do more to “restrain” the trade of oil with North Korea, Makini Brice and Andrew Osborn reporting at Reuters.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday that the U.S. would be “unrelenting” in its pursuit of diplomacy, adding that “our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options.” Reuters reporting.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump urged Senate Republicans to try and conclude the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to several lawmakers and aides, including the Chairman of the committee Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The former Chairwoman of the committee Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Trump’s requests were “inappropriate” and breached the separation of powers, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns report at the New York Times.

During testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, the Trump associate and founder of private military company Blackwater, Erik Prince, confirmed that he had met with a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle in the Seychelles in a secret Jan. 11 meeting. The meeting was brokered by the U.A.E. as part of an apparent attempt to set up backchannel communications between Trump and Russia, according to sources familiar with the interview, however Prince denied that he was representing the Trump transition team during the meeting, Karoun Demirjian reporting at the Washington Post.

A transcript of Prince’s interview is expected to be made public within the next three days, Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was evasive when testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing yesterday, according to Democratic lawmakers who attended, the ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) said that he was troubled by Sessions’ refusal to answer critical questions relating to the Russia investigation. Patricia Zengerle and Sarah N. Lynch report at Reuters.

The opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. would not run afoul of the First Amendment by revealing more of its clients and vendors, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon suggested yesterday, the firm commissioned the former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile a controversial dossier that alleged links between Trump and Russia. Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort reached a bail deal with prosecutors yesterday, Manafort and his co-defendant Rick Gates have had their movement restricted since special counsel Robert Mueller charged them as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the election. Spencer Hsu reports at the Washington Post.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

A plan to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. Embassy to the city has been considered by the Trump administration, according to U.S. officials, such a move would likely provoke a strong reaction from Palestinians and potentially undermine peace negotiations. When asked about moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, a White House spokesperson said that the “president has always said it is a matter of when, not if,” Felicia Schwartz, Andrew Ackerman and Rory Jones report at the Wall Street Journal.

“This is a premature report,” the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response to rumors of the planned U.S. Embassy move, Andrew Restuccia and Eliana Johnson reporting at POLITICO.

An Israeli soldier was stabbed to death in southern Israel yesterday, hours after Israeli forces struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation for mortar fire. Ilan Ben Zion reports at the Financial Times.

The two sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should focus on incremental changes rather than a comprehensive solution, and the plan to for the division of the Jerusalem municipal area “is a good place to begin.” Peter Berkowitz writes at the Wall Street Journal.

YEMEN

Saudi Arabia intercepted a Houthi rebel missile fired toward the country from Yemen, the Saudi military said today, marking the second launch by the Houthi rebels in Yemen after they fired a ballistic missile on Nov. 4. Jamie Tarabay reports at CNN.   

The Houthi ballistic missiles that were fired into Saudi Arabia this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Iran, according to a confidential report by U.N. sanctions monitors to the Security Council on Nov. 24, the revelation likely strengthening the Trump administration’s attempts to punish Iran. Michelle Nichols reports at Reuters.

The Saudi-led coalition must “fully” wind down its blockade on Yemen to “avoid an atrocious humanitarian tragedy,” the U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said today, Tom Miles reporting at Reuters.

SYRIA

The U.S. is set to pull 400 Marines out of Syria following their successful support of coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) in their operation to take the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement yesterday.

“We’re not saying it’s not needed anymore but we’re saying it’s not needed in the volume we’ve had it,” the spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition Col. Ryan Dillon said yesterday in relation to troop deployments in Syria and the withdrawal of the Marines. Ben Kesling reporting at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.N.-backed peace talks on Syria have been extended until mid-December, the U.N. special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said yesterday, emphasizing that the talks should have “no preconditions.” The U.N. News Centre reports.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 11 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between November 24 and November 26. [Central Command]

U.S.-U.K. RELATIONS

“The fact that we work together does not mean that we are afraid to say we think the United States has got it wrong,” the British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday, responding to Trump’s sharing of content from the far-right, anti-Islam political group “Britain First” on his Twitter account. Jason Douglas and Jenny Gross report at the Wall Street Journal, noting the impact the president’s actions have had on the “special relationship.”

Trump’s visit is unlikely to be officially canceled, despite the outrage across the political spectrum in the U.K. at Trump’s actions, Amanda Erickson explains at the Washington Post.

The British government were “within their rights to tell the U.S. President to butt out,” and Trump should be aware that the U.K. remains the “indispensable ally to the U.S. in the political and economic affairs of the world,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

The U.K. should rescind its invitation to Trump for a state visit, Matthew D’Ancona writes at the New York Times.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The U.S. Defense Department was granted permission by the government of Niger to deploy armed drones from its capital, Pentagon officials said yesterday, the agreement was made through a memorandum of understanding and drone operations could begin within days. Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt report at the New York Times.

Taliban militants in Pakistan killed at least nine people and wounded at least 30 in an attack in the city of Peshawar today, according to officials, Ismail Khan reporting at the New York Times.

The American citizen who apparently fought for the Islamic State group in Iraq and was captured by the U.S. in mid-September has been informed of his right to counsel, however the Department of Justice said yesterday that “due to his current situation, it was unknown when he would be able to have an attorney.” Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

Members of the Taliban in Afghanistan have defected to Islamic State group in the northern Jawzjan province, providing the Islamic State with a new foothold which has drawn the attention of U.S. forces. Matin Sahak and Girish Gupta report at Reuters.

The Defense Department has indefinitely postponed a planned policy banning the use of certain cluster bombs by 2019, the Pentagon spokesperson Tom Crossen saying in a statement yesterday that “cluster munitions remain a vital military capability.” Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.

A package of secret proposals that would allow for private companies to run covert operations and rendition programs has been considered by the White House and the C.I.A., Aram Roston reveals at BuzzFeed News.

The Libyan Prime Minister Fayez el-Sarraj yesterday expressed hope that the U.N.-imposed arms embargo would be partially lifted, making the comments ahead of a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and a meeting today with President Trump. Reuters reports.

The Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab claimed that the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan personally intervened in a scheme allowing Iran to avoid U.S. and U.N. sanctions, Zarrab said in court testimony in New York yesterday. Jose Pagliery reports at CNN.

Trump has not nominated a single member to work on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board which reviews the intelligence community, demonstrating the president’s ambivalence toward the intelligence community, Jenna McLaughlin writes at Foreign Policy.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia’s goal to curb Iran’s influence in the Middle East has been undermined by a lack of commonality on key issues, particularly how far they are willing to risk a civil war in Lebanon to clamp down on the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group. Yaroslav Trofimov writes at the Wall Street Journal.

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Group Of Republicans Warn Against Plans To Drill In Fragile Arctic Wildlife Refuge

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“Any development footprint in the refuge stands to disrupt this fragile, critically important landscape,” the 12 House GOP lawmakers wrote.

Robert Mueller expertly used Michael Flynn to lay a no-win trap for Jared Kushner 

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Two days ago we learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller recently met with Jared Kushner to discuss Michael Flynn’s role in the Trump-Russia scandal. It stood out as bizarre, considering that we had already learned Mueller was in the process of cutting a deal with Flynn, meaning that Mueller wouldn’t need any more testimony against Flynn. This morning Flynn did indeed cut that deal. Now that the details are leaking out, it’s become clear why Mueller went back and met with Kushner: it was a trap.

Flynn has testified that while he was illegally communicating with the Russian Ambassador about sanctions on December 29th, he was relaying those conversations in real time to Jared Kushner at Mar-a-Lago (link). In other words, Flynn just sent Kushner up the river by pegging him as the ringleader of the Trump-Russia conspiracy. Of course Flynn will have to provide evidence of this beyond merely his own word, but Mueller has given him a sweetheart deal, suggesting that Flynn does indeed have overwhelming evidence. The key here, however, is Mueller’s last minute meeting with Kushner.

Based on the timeline as we now know it, Mueller went back and met with Kushner after Flynn had begun negotiating a deal, but before word of that deal became public. In other words, Kushner didn’t know at the time that Flynn had already ratted him out. Mueller met with Kushner in order to lay a perjury trap by asking him about the events that Flynn had already spelled out.

We don’t yet know whether Jared Kushner fell into that perjury trap, or if he told Robert Mueller the truth. But either way he’s facing trouble. If he admitted to being Flynn’s point man for the Russian sanctions conspiracy, then he just confessed to a serious crime. And if he lied about it, then Mueller has him nailed for lying to a federal investigator, which is an imprisonable felony. If Flynn’s evidence against Kushner is as good as Mueller seems to think it is, then Kushner is screwed one way or the other.

The post Robert Mueller expertly used Michael Flynn to lay a no-win trap for Jared Kushner appeared first on Palmer Report.

erdogan trump – Google Search

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Story image for erdogan trump from Politico

Trump speaks with Erdogan about crisis in Syria

PoliticoNov 24, 2017
President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart on Friday discussed by phone the crisis in Syria and other issues, including ties between the United States and Turkey, according to a White House readout of the call. “President Trump and President Erdogan underscored the need to end the …
ErdoğanTrump vow to fight against ‘all’ terror groups
InternationalYeni Şafak EnglishNov 25, 2017
Trump tells Turkey’s leader: US to stop arming Syrian Kurds
In-DepthWashington PostNov 24, 2017
Media image for erdogan trump from USA TODAY

USA TODAY

Media image for erdogan trump from Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner

Media image for erdogan trump from The Independent

The Independent

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Reuters

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Business Insider

Media image for erdogan trump from Daily Sabah

Daily Sabah
Story image for erdogan trump from Business Insider

Trump and Turkey’s Erdogan ‘on the same wavelength’ for the first …

Business InsiderNov 28, 2017
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump last week were the first occasion in a long time the two NATO allies were “on the same wavelength” and they would speak against this week. Diplomatic ties between Ankara and Washington …
Erdoğan says he will talk to Trump again amid YPG dispute
InternationalHurriyet Daily NewsNov 28, 2017
Turkey Demands Trump Honor Purported Pledge to Cut Off …
In-DepthVoice of AmericaNov 27, 2017
ErdoganTrump to talk again in coming days
InternationalAnadolu AgencyNov 28, 2017
Media image for erdogan trump from Reuters

Reuters

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Hurriyet Daily News

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Anadolu Agency

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Daily Sabah

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Haaretz

Media image for erdogan trump from Al-Monitor

Al-Monitor
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giuliani and trump – Google Search

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Story image for giuliani and trump from The Daily Caller

Turkish Gold Trader Suggests That Rudy Giuliani Negotiated …

The Daily CallerNov 29, 2017
A month after Giuliani and Mukasey’s meeting with Erdogan, Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who was initially handling the Zarrab case. The move caught Bharara by surprise. Though an Obama appointee, Trump had told him just after the election that he would keep his position during the new …
Reza Zarrab takes the stand in trial straining US-Turkish ties
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Nov 29, 2017
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Daily Beast

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New York Magazine

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New York Daily News

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NBCNews.com

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Bloomberg

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New York Times

Trump taps golf club members for posts

Long Island Business News1 hour ago
Callista Gngrich, named envoy to the Vatican, and her husband, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have both been members of Trump’s Northern Virginia golf club, according to USA Today. Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s son and a member of Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, is the White …

Is It Giuliani’s Turn in the Flynn/Trump/Turkey Barrel?

TPM (blog)Nov 29, 2017
GOP Senators Criticize Trump Retweets Of Anti-Muslim Videos about 10 hours ago. After President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning retweeted several anti-Muslim videos from a far-right.
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rudy giuliani russia – Google Search

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Story image for rudy giuliani russia from Raw Story

Rudy Giuliani turns up in Ukraine with pro-Russia official linked to …

Raw StoryNov 20, 2017
Former Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani was seen this week in the Ukraine with a pro-Russiaofficial who is linked to Ukrainian political clients of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort. The Palmer Report was first to note on Monday that a news publication in the Ukraine had published …
Story image for rudy giuliani russia from Daily Beast

Crook Claims Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey Tried to Broker …

Daily BeastNov 29, 2017
Giuliani and Mukasey avoided mentioning the “central role” of Iran in the charges against Zarrab on filings submitted to the court about their work and said the case had no serious implications for U.S. national security. Judge Richard Berman slammed the omissions as “disingenuous” earlier this year.
Story image for rudy giuliani russia from Slate Magazine (blog)

Why a Gold Trader’s Plea Deal Is a Big Deal for US Foreign Policy …

Slate Magazine (blog)Nov 28, 2017
The Zarrab case itself is complicated to begin with, and is also tied to a dizzying number of ongoing geopolitical stories—from Turkey’s political crackdown to the investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia—and involves figures including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, and Turkish President …
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Rudy Giuliani – Google Search

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Crook Claims Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey Tried to Broker …

Daily BeastNov 29, 2017
Giuliani and Mukasey avoided mentioning the “central role” of Iran in the charges against Zarrab on filings submitted to the court about their work and said the case had no serious implications for U.S. national security. Judge Richard Berman slammed the omissions as “disingenuous” earlier this year.
Media image for Rudy Giuliani from The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

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New York Magazine

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New York Daily News

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The News Tribune

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Bloomberg

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Voice of America
Story image for Rudy Giuliani from Raw Story

Turkish gold trader linked to Flynn and Giuliani could start testifying …

Raw StoryNov 28, 2017
A Turkish-Iranian gold trader linked to both Mike Flynn and Rudy Giuliani has agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors. Reza Zarrab was scheduled to stand trial earlier this month in New York, where the U.S. attorney had filed charges in an international corruption case, but his lawyer confirmed an …
Turkish Gold Trader Confirmed as Witness in Sanctions Case
Courthouse News ServiceNov 28, 2017
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Rudy Giuliani Could Be Facing Felony Charges In Reza Zarrab Case

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Rudy Giuliani May Be Going to Prison

Rudy Giuliani is famous for being the former mayor of New York City during the terrorist attacks in 2001. He helped the city get back on its feet and made the city even stronger than before. For those efforts, he deserves a ton of respect.

Nevertheless, there’s a possibility that he will be heading to jail. The reason is that Giuliani may have played a critical role in rigging the 2016 presidential election in order to help his friend Donald Trump see victory. If this is true, that could mean he broke the law.

The Background Story

Before getting into politics, Giuliani practiced law in New York City. After getting out of politics, Giuliani got back to practicing law again.

This led Giuliani to work alongside Michael Mukasey (who was appointed Attorney General by George W. Bush) in order to try to broker a prisoner exchange with Turkey. Giuliani and Mukasey were representing Reza Zarrab, who is from Turkey and has links to Turkish government officials. In the end, there was no exchange of prisoners between the United States and Turkey. (Source: “Crook Claims Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey Tried to Broker U.S.-Turkey Prisoner Swap,” The Daily Beast, November 29,2017.)

Reza Zarrab<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6F5L6pV2w0″ rel=”nofollow”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6F5L6pV2w0</a>

Zarrab needed to be represented by lawyers because he was a gold trader who was allegedly involved in a multi-million-dollar cash-for-gold scheme to help Turkey buy oil from Iran and get around the sanctions against Iran. There was no success in the case, and Zarrab remain in America.

Zarrab feels that Giuliani was trying to sabotage the trial for his own personal interest. Things then took another turn, with Giuliani just disappearing. Now Zarrab is co-operating with U.S. officials and informing them of all the details he knows about Rudy Giuliani.

Zarrab has told his side of the story, including more than €45.0 million that he used to bribe a former Turkish minister of economy. He did that so he would be allowed to trade gold with Iran even though there are sanctions in place. The plan was to split the profit margins of the transactions 50-50. Zarrab disclosed how a gold trade would work from the start to the end. He also explained how the parties involved would conduct their business. (Source: Ibid.)

In terms of client-lawyer confidentially there were no laws being broken by Zarrab. Since there is a possibility that Giuliani broke the law, Zarrab was allowed to speak about his interactions with Giuliani.

Did Rudy Giuliani Take on Representing Reza Zarrab to Protect Himself?

A lawyer always has a decision of not representing a client if they choose to do so. When looking at all the facts, it seems that Giuliani took on the Zarrab case in order to protect himself.

First off, Giuliani is good friends with Donald Trump. This was even before Trump got into the political world. This, of course, is no indication that there was any wrongdoing.

However, one suspicious move by President Trump is that he did not give Giuliani a high-ranking role in his administration. There had been many rumors that Giuliani was going to be named vice president; instead, Giuliani only took an informal role as a cybersecurity advisor. This is quite surprising, due to vast amount of experience that Giuliani has in politics.

A major reason for not being appointed to a high-ranking position is because Giuliani most likely would have not been approved by the senate committee. This is due to the fact of possible rigging of votes in the 2016 presidential campaign. In addition, there is the possibility that he worked with the FBI by gaining information about Hillary Clinton.  Giuliani told Fox News that he had information about the Clinton e-mail scandal  before it was public knowledge.  (Source: “FBI Investigating Possible Leaks To Rudy Giuliani About Hillary Clinton Email Investigation,” Huffington Post, May 3, 2017.)

By being involved in the case, it gave Giuliani a first-hand look at all the information in the matter. In addition, it gave Giuliani the possibility of helping his friend Trump if his name were to come up in the manner.

Therefore, by Giuliani having an “informal” role in Trump’s administration, it still gave the two a working relationship.

Bill Palmer Claims that Giuliani Is Going to Prison

Bill Palmer is the senior editor and founder of The Palmer Report, said,

Whatever extra-legal antics Rudy Giuliani was carrying out to try to sabotage the trial of Reza Zarrab earlier this year, Zarrab surely knows the ugly details. Now that Zarrab has flipped, he must and will give up Giuliani. Because Giuliani was breaking the law to try to help Zarrab, attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply. It means Giuliani is going to prison – and he might have to cut a deal against Trump just to avoid a particularly long sentence.

(Source: “Key Witness Flips, Rudy Giuliani Now Implicated…But He’s Suddenly Disappeared,” Bluedot Daily, November 30, 2017.)

Can the Former Mayor Really Go to Prison?

There is a long list of political figures who have gone to jail for their actions. So, regardless of what they did for the country, breaking the law is a serious matter. Interference in the 2016 presidential election is not a joking matter. The time that Giuliani could spend in jail would be determined by a judge.

Giuliani could see jail time, but it will be related to events that have occurred relating to the 2016 presidential election. It seems that he used his previous contacts as a political figure to gain access to FBI confidential information regarding Hillary Clinton’s e-mail case. Since he has a relationship to Donald Trump, the information could have been shared and used during the campaign, which would be breaking the law.

Also, it could be possible that there was interference from Turkey and Russia in the 2016 election, with Giuliani working with these foreign governments. Again, this would be breaking the law. If any of this is tru,e than it could lead to Giuliani going to jail.

Of course, no one is guilty until it is proven. This is where Reza Zarrab comes into play. Zarrab seems to have information related to Giuliani interfering in the election; this is where charges could be laid. This would then result in the former mayor seeing possible jail time.

Robert Mueller and his special investigation team will investigate Rudy Giuliani for any interference in the 2016 presidential election. It is quite possible that Mueller interviews Reza Zarrab as part of this investigation.

It does not help Giuliani’s case that he seems to be hiding from the public. Some may think it means he has done something wrong. With Giuliani being a public figure, it’s possible that someone will find and broadcast his current hiding position on social media .

If Giuliani is guilty, it may be best to come out of hiding and attempt to make a deal in order to see fewer charges.

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Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter

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Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case?
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Rudy Giuliani is famous for being the former mayor of New York City during the terrorist attacks in 2001. He helped the city get back on its feet and made the city even stronger than before. For those efforts, he deserves a ton of respect. Nevertheless 

 Rudy Giuliani – Google News

Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter

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Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case?
Lombardi Letter
Rudy Giuliani is famous for being the former mayor of New York City during the terrorist attacks in 2001. He helped the city get back on its feet and made the city even stronger than before. For those efforts, he deserves a ton of respect. Nevertheless 

Criminologists Are Asking Jeff Sessions To Release FBI Crime Data … – FiveThirtyEight

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Criminologists Are Asking Jeff Sessions To Release FBI Crime Data …
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As Trump tweets, government acts. Welcome to Meanwhile, our recurring look at what federal agencies are up to and how their work affects people’s lives. When da…

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It’s a Gay, Gay, Gay Government

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In many places and at many moments, we still do. But not in Palm Springs. While the names of streets and structures here commemorate its Rat Pack and Republican pasts — there’s Frank Sinatra Drive and, at the airport, the Sonny Bono Concourse — its present is progressive and very, very gay. Democrats handily outnumber Republicans. The local officials I spoke with guessed that anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of the city’s residents are gay or lesbian.

The old City Council had just one straight person on it. Moon, a 68-year-old former Navy officer, is the city’s third openly gay mayor. When we chatted, he went through the government’s gay roll call. The city manager: gay. The assistant city manager: gay. The newly hired city clerk: gay.

“You see why having an all-gay City Council is no big deal?” he told me. “Nobody cares anymore.”

Palm Springs so thoroughly embraces L.G.B.T. people that Holstege, who is married to a man, faced questions about whether she was inventing her bisexuality for political gain.

“Social media started to trash her,” said Roberts, 57, who supported her candidacy. “They were saying she’s not really bi, maybe she had an experience in college, and now she wants to sweep up gay dollars and gay votes. So I called her up one day and said: ‘Christy, I’m making the weirdest call I’ve ever made in my entire life. You’re being accused of being fake gay, fake bi. This is a whole new world for me. This is a parallel universe.’ ”

He was backing her, he said, because of her erudition — she has a law degree from Stanford — and her expertise regarding homelessness and affordable housing. But he did care about her truthfulness and wanted her assurance that her critics were off base. She gave that to him.

She gave it to me, too, and said that during her campaign, she in fact shied away from talk about sexual orientation. When I asked her what the new Council’s first order of business should be, she mentioned making it easier for people at the airport to summon Uber or Lyft.

In general the City Council race included little talk about identity politics. Middleton told me that she was seldom asked about being a transgender woman but routinely fielded questions about downtown development and the city’s budget, subjects she knew well because of her extensive involvement in civic organizations. High on her wish list for the city is six more police officers and four more firefighters. That was among her campaign promises.

I asked the police chief, Bryan Reyes, about her victory. He was jubilant. “I just believe — I reallybelieve — in her,” he said. “I’m a straight male. I have no problem doing photo ops, giving her hugs, because of the person she is, what she represents, her work ethic, her character.”

When she and I had lunch, servers and others rushed over to congratulate her. “Do we refer to you as ‘City Councilwoman’ or just plain Lisa?” asked one of the restaurant’s owners, John Paschal.

“Her Exalted,” Middleton suggested, and they both laughed. Then she went back to bending my ear about spurring entrepreneurship in Palm Springs.

She sees the city, which has a population of just under 50,000 people, as a beacon of inclusion. But she also sees it as an example of how Americans “have been sorting ourselves,” with liberals and conservatives in separate enclaves. (The new Council is entirely Democratic.) And she has mixed feelings about that. “We get our information from different newspapers,” she said. “We live in different communities. We’re becoming not just polarized but isolated.”

Roberts echoed that over dinner at that tropical-themed restaurant with his fellow councilman Kors, 56, a lawyer and longtime gay rights advocate. “Isn’t our goal not to be separated out?” he said. He confessed to some worry that after the election, “The straight community might wake up and say, ‘Do we matter?’ ”

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4:07 PM 12/1/2017 – Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter

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Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter

Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter
Putin Trump – Google News: Did Trump Ask Flynn To Befriend Russia? The President Has Been Praising Putin For Years – Newsweek
Masha Gessen: Trump and Putin ‘a new generation of monsters’ – Channel 4 News
The coming American explosion – Macleans.ca
After Michael Flynn deal is finalized, James Comey taunts Donald Trump religiously on Twitter
FBI trying to ‘get in front’ of future threats of Russian interference … – The Hill
Criminologists Are Asking Jeff Sessions To Release FBI Crime Data … – FiveThirtyEight
Flynn is front and center – and that’s bad news for Trump and his relatives – SFGate
Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror – Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Air Force failed to report dozens of violent service members to FBI gun databases – The Keene Sentinel
FBI investigating people animated by ‘Antifa ideology’ – Washington Examiner
FBI, DHS Warn of Hacker Mercenaries Funded by Nation-States – Nextgov
Black Lawmakers Question FBI Director About ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Report – News One
FBI director meets with black caucus over criticized report – CNN.com – CNN
FBI probe of ‘Antifa ideology’ underway, Wray tells House panel … – Fox News
FBI Shares Tools, Trains Partner Nations to Fight Terrorists Online – Department of Defense
Flynn has promised special counsel ‘full cooperation’ in Russia probe: Source – ABC News
Today’s Headlines and Commentary – Lawfare (blog)
Michael Flynn prepared to testify against Donald Trump over Russia links
Donald Trump is Putin’s Trojan Horse – Seacoastonline.com
social media in trump campaign – Google News: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI – Washington Post
US attorney general Sessions evasive on Russia probe: congressmen – Reuters
Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Stalin calendar pulled from sale in Russia – euronews
The Note: Reality show redux? Trump’s new normal isn’t normal – ABC News

 

Saved Stories – None
Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter
 

Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case?
Lombardi Letter
Rudy Giuliani is famous for being the former mayor of New York City during the terrorist attacks in 2001. He helped the city get back on its feet and made the city even stronger than before. For those efforts, he deserves a ton of respect. Nevertheless 

 Rudy Giuliani – Google News

Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case? – Lombardi Letter
 

Is Rudy Giuliani Facing Serious Felony Charges in the Reza Zarrab Case?
Lombardi Letter
Rudy Giuliani is famous for being the former mayor of New York City during the terrorist attacks in 2001. He helped the city get back on its feet and made the city even stronger than before. For those efforts, he deserves a ton of respect. Nevertheless 

Putin Trump – Google News: Did Trump Ask Flynn To Befriend Russia? The President Has Been Praising Putin For Years – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Did Trump Ask Flynn To Befriend Russia? The President Has Been Praising Putin For Years
Newsweek
Long before the November 2016 vote, Trump told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News in June 2015 that he would establish friendlier relations with Russia than President Obama. I was over in Moscow two years ago and I will tell youyou can get along with those 
The Trump Show is alive and well, and we’re all a part of itDallas News (blog)
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 Putin Trump – Google News

Masha Gessen: Trump and Putin ‘a new generation of monsters’ – Channel 4 News
 


Channel 4 News
Masha Gessen: Trump and Putin ‘a new generation of monsters’
Channel 4 News
Masha Gessen: Trump and Putin ‘a new generation of monsters’. Krishnan Guru-Murthy Presenter. Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the transition and more »

The coming American explosion – Macleans.ca
 


Macleans.ca
The coming American explosion
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In the process, a fuse has been lit that may lead to the most significant political explosion in American history. We have been expecting this moment for a long time. One of the peculiar things about the Russia scandal is that at the beginning it 
Flynn’s rise and falls ends with charge of lying to FBIAmerican Press
Today’s Headlines and CommentaryLawfare (blog)all 1,210 news articles »

After Michael Flynn deal is finalized, James Comey taunts Donald Trump religiously on Twitter

Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn officially sold him out this morning, cutting a plea deal and testifying that Trump ordered him to secretly communicate with the Russian government during the election. In the wake of the news, former FBI Director James Comey who was fired by Trump for trying to investigate the Russia scandal took the opportunity to religiously taunt Trump on Twitter. Literally.Comey used his Twitter account around noontime to quote the Bible of all things, focusing in on Amos 5:24: “But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” This comes just two days after Comey quoted Winston Churchill by tweeting “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” So what’s Comey trying to tell us?

First, he clearly feels vindicated for having pursued the Trump-Russia scandal so vigorously for so long. Now that Trump is being proven guilty of having conspired with Russia during the election, this also proves that Trump obstructed justice when he fired Comey, meaning that the firing was unjustified and should not have happened. Many will say that James Comey got what he deserved, after he misled the public eleven days before the election by releasing a letter which falsely implied Hillary Clinton was newly under investigation for her emails, when that was not the case.

James Comey and the FBI also spent the election trying to keep their Trump-Russia investigation a secret in order to preserve the sanctity of the case, which led voters to go into election day under the mistaken impression that Clinton was the criminal instead of Trump. Comey’s legacy will end up being a mixed one at best. But on this day, he clearly feels justified and vindicated or perhaps he’s just really excited to see Trump going down.

The post After Michael Flynn deal is finalized, James Comey taunts Donald Trump religiously on Twitterappeared first on Palmer Report.

FBI trying to ‘get in front’ of future threats of Russian interference … – The Hill
 


The Hill
Criminologists Are Asking Jeff Sessions To Release FBI Crime Data … – FiveThirtyEight
 


FiveThirtyEight
Flynn is front and center – and that’s bad news for Trump and his relatives – SFGate
 


New York Times
Flynn is front and center – and that’s bad news for Trump and his relatives
SFGate
Kushner, you will recall, egged on the president to fire former FBI director James BComey, who the president fretted was not going to abandon the Russia probe. There are several conclusions one can draw from these accounts. First, Mueller likely has
Jennifer Rubin: Flynn could be a real problem for TrumpWinston-Salem Journalall 167 news articles »

Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror – Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
 


Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Good morning Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Thompson, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the current threats to the homeland. Our nation continues to face a multitude of serious and  

Air Force failed to report dozens of violent service members to FBI gun databases – The Keene Sentinel
 

Air Force failed to report dozens of violent service members to FBI gun databases
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Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said Tuesday that the failure to follow Pentagon guidelines to report Kelley’s crimes to theFBI was not an isolated incident and similar reporting lapses occurred at other locations. It is unclear how many and more »

FBI investigating people animated by ‘Antifa ideology’ – Washington Examiner
 

FBI investigating people animated by ‘Antifa ideology’
Washington Examiner
Federal domestic terrorism investigators are probing a number of people animated by kind of an Antifa ideology, FBI DirectorChristopher Wray told lawmakers Thursday. We do have a very active domestic terrorism program, Wray told the House  

FBI, DHS Warn of Hacker Mercenaries Funded by Nation-States – Nextgov
 


Nextgov
FBI, DHS Warn of Hacker Mercenaries Funded by Nation-States
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Lines between government-backed hackers and cyber criminals are getting fuzzier, top officials told lawmakers Thursday. That’s one message the FBI wanted to send when it indicted two Russian intelligence officers and two criminal co-defendants for a 
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FBI Sets Up ‘Foreign Influence’ Task Force To Protect Election SystemTPMall 10 news articles »

Black Lawmakers Question FBI Director About ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Report – News One
 


LawOfficer.com
Black Lawmakers Question FBI Director About ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Report
News One
Congressional Black Caucus members on Thursday held discussions with FBI Director Christopher Wray for a second consecutive day to air their concerns about the bureau’s report that labeled the Black Lives Matter collective as Black Identity Extremists 
Questions Arise Over FBI Assessment On Black Identity ExtremistsLawOfficer.comall 2 news articles »

FBI director meets with black caucus over criticized report – CNN.com – CNN
 


CNN
FBI director meets with black caucus over criticized report – CNN.com
CNN
FBI Director Christopher Wray continued to fend off questions over a controversial bureau report that linked black extremists to violence against police officers, this time at a House hearing Thursday.
 

CNN
Agency officials have testified that the FBI has around 1,000 pending domestic terrorism investigations. Rep. Karen Bass, a caucus member who represents parts of Los Angeles, questioned the methodology of the report and said Wray had promised to get 
and more »

FBI probe of ‘Antifa ideology’ underway, Wray tells House panel … – Fox News
 


Fox News
FBI probe of ‘Antifa ideology’ underway, Wray tells House panel …
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The FBI are investigating people inspired by kind of an Antifa ideology, said agency’s director Christopher Wray on Thursday.
FBI Investigates Antifa Criminals | The Daily CallerThe Daily Caller
FBI
 
investigating people animated by ‘Antifa ideology’Washington Examiner
‘Antifa’ Sympathizers Being Investigated by FBI, Director Tells …Newsweek 
Reason (blog)
all 5 all 4

 news articles »

FBI Shares Tools, Trains Partner Nations to Fight Terrorists Online – Department of Defense
 


Department of Defense
FBI Shares Tools, Trains Partner Nations to Fight Terrorists Online
Department of Defense 
A team of eight experts from the FBI taught 33 participants from 23 countries how to bring the counterterrorism fight to the internet at the Marshall Center’s global counterterrorism workshop titled Investigating Terrorists Online held Nov. 27 to 30
 
But, their advantage is not absolute, said retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, a German-American security and defense institute based here. We can use the internet against
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Flynn has promised special counsel ‘full cooperation’ in Russia probe: Source – ABC News
 


ABC News
Flynn has promised special counsel ‘full cooperation’ in Russia probe: Source
ABC News
The stunning turn comes as Flynn, who is cooperating with investigators in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his back-channel negotiations with the Russian ambassador talks that occurred  

Today’s Headlines and Commentary – Lawfare (blog)
 

Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Lawfare (blog)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office charged Flynn with one count of making false statements to the FBI about two meetings with Sergei Kislyak in which Flynn and Kislyak discussed U.S. sanctions and a U.N. Security Council resolution. The charge is and more »

Michael Flynn prepared to testify against Donald Trump over Russia links

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is reportedly prepared to testify against the US president as part of an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. Source: Michael Flynn ‘prepared to testify against Donald Trump’ over Russia links
Donald Trump is Putin’s Trojan Horse – Seacoastonline.com
 

Donald Trump is Putin’s Trojan Horse
Seacoastonline.com
We all have heard the story of the Trojan Horse, when the Greeks during the Trojan war, used a huge horse filled with soldiers as a subterfuge to take the City of Troy. Every day it is becoming clearer and clearer that Vladimir Putin used his own  

social media in trump campaign – Google News: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI – Washington Post
 


The Daily Herald
Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI
Washington Post
Flynn’s admission to the charge Friday in federal district court in D.C. is an ominous sign for the White House, as court documents indicate Flynn is cooperating in the ongoing probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin 
Flynn Admits to Lying, Says Trump Team Knew of Russia TalksBloomberg
Former Trump adviser Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBIThe Daily Herald
Reactions To Michael Flynn’s Claims That Trump Directed Him To Contact The Russians Show People Aren’t SurprisedRomper
The Sydney Morning Herald
all 678 news articles »

 social media in trump campaign – Google News

US attorney general Sessions evasive on Russia probe: congressmen – Reuters
 


Reuters
US attorney general Sessions evasive on Russia probe: congressmen
Reuters
The panel is among several congressional committees, along with the Justice Department’s special counsel Robert Mueller,investigating allegations that Russia sought to influence the U.S. election and potential collusion by Trump’s campaign. Moscow has and more »

Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Stalin calendar pulled from sale in Russia – euronews
 


euronews
Stalin calendar pulled from sale in Russia
euronews
“Everything that happened at that time was a savage, savage horror,” was the opinion of a man old enough to remember. The calendar, at just under eight dollars or 450 rubles, sparked an intensive discussion on social media. “Is it already sold out and more »

 Russian propaganda on social media – Google News

The Note: Reality show redux? Trump’s new normal isn’t normal – ABC News
 

The Note: Reality show redux? Trump’s new normal isn’t normal
ABC News
It’s crunch time for the Republican tax reform bill and President Trump and congressional Republicans and Democrats know it. Republicans got a procedural victory Wednesday when the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the bill. But they are stilland more »


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1:17 PM 12/1/2017 – The Operation Silk Road (or iz zis zi Zilk Rod?). The same movie, Part Three

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

11:52 AM 12/1/2017 The Operation Silk Road (or iz zis zi Zilk Rod?). The same movie, Part Three (Obama Trump Zilk) The World News and Times | The World News and Times

Erdogan Allowed Turkish Banks to Help Iran Make Illegal Payments, Witness Says — 2nd Update – Fox Business
6:51 AM 12/1/2017 Trump Pressed Top Republicans to End Senate Russia Inquiry New York Times
The curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby
The curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby – Middle East Eye
Flynn Indictment Shows He Committed a More Serious Offense Than Lying to the FBI
Timeline: What Flynn copped to and what he didn’t – Washington Post
trump and silk road group – Google Search
China Pushes Its New Silk Road In Post Trump Asia
Trump and Silk Road – Google Search
Donald Trump begins shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic
Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the FBI – New York Times
8:10 AM 12/1/2017 Sen. Cotton or Dir. Silk, you still gotta serve somebody Trump Investigations Report
you shall know the truth cia – Google Search
10:49 AM 11/30/2017 Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard.
Cotton to CIA? The move would say a lot about how the GOP star views his partys future – The Washington Post
White House readies plan to replace Tillerson with Pompeo at State, install Cotton at CIA – The Washington Post
Sen. Cotton – Google Search
Alex Younger – Google Search
MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat – The Times – Google Search
MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times
MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat – The Times
Cotton cements his rise under Trump – Politico
“It Was Just the Two of Them: Could Obama Be Questioned About Trump and Flynn? – Vanity Fair
Tillerson’s fall could turn State into a hawk’s nest – Washington Post
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
11:52 AM 12/1/2017 The Operation Silk Road (or iz zis zi Zilk Rod?). The same movie, Part Three (Obama Trump Zilk) The World News and Times | The World News and Times
 

mikenova shared this story from The World News and Times.

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The World News and Times

The World News and Times

The Operation Silk Road: Please, meet (for now) the CIA Director, and our Designated Future President, Mr. Silk (codename Cotton). Yea-yeah, the same one who six years ago was just a kid looking for a job 

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2:33 PM 11/30/2017 Michael Flynn, Trumps ex-National Security Adviser, focus of Russia investigation
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4:22 PM 11/27/2017 The World News and Times 
4:39 AM 11/27/2017 It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov | FBI criticism
4:35 AM 11/27/2017 Former CIA Director tells Donald Trump to go to hell | FBI failed to notify US officials about Russian hackers efforts to break into personal Gmail accounts
12:57 PM 11/26/2017 Recent Posts
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9:45 AM 11/26/2017 Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you!
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11.11.17 4:26 PM 11/11/2017 Inside Russias Intentionally Bizarre Bid To Sabotage The 2016 Election
5:23 AM 11/11/2017 Прошла любовь, завяли помидоры
5:05 AM 11/11/2017 Mr. Pu does not look very happy
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6:27 PM 11/10/2017 С Президентом США Дональдом Трампом.
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12:47 PM 11/10/2017 RECENT POSTS: The Secrets Of The Black Briefcase | Question: Why do we have all these problems with the counter-terrorism and the counterintelligence? Answer: Because sometimes the F.B.I. Supervisor Wakes to Find a Woman Stole His Gun FBI News Review 
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9:41 AM 11/9/2017 Recent Posts: Mueller could indict Putin for multiple violations of American law | M.N.: Prepare the VIP prison cell at Rikers Island! | Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks What the Manafort Indictment Reveals About What Drove Putin | Putins Revenge | FRONTLINE | PBS
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WSJ.com: World News: Erdogan Allowed Turkish Banks to Help Iran Launder Money, Witness Says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally approved the use of Turkish banks to help Iran facilitate international payments that violated U.S. economic sanctions, a key government witness testified in a closely watched Manhattan trial.WSJ.com: World News

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Erdogan Allowed Turkish Banks to Help Iran Make Illegal Payments, Witness Says — 2nd Update – Fox Business
 

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6:51 AM 12/1/2017 Trump Pressed Top Republicans to End Senate Russia Inquiry New York Times
 

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The curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby
 

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Even before he assumed office, Donald Trump had appointed Jared Kushner to be his point-person on US relations with the Middle East. The latter was specifically charged with forging an Israel-Palestine peace plan, which Trump, in typical flamboyant fashion, called “the ultimate deal“.

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Trump’s Middle East peace plan: Dead on arrival?

Leaders throughout the region and analysts who’ve devoted much of their lives to pursuing this goal were stunned that the US had charged a young man with no previous experience except negotiating commercial real estate deals with resolving one of the world’s most intractable problems.

Kushner’s Middle East policy

Since Kushner, whose family has made significant donations to Israeli settlements, was already known to be heavily pro-Israel in his approach, he determined that the Saudis were the key to unlock the Arab part of the equation.

So he’s made three visits to the Saudi kingdom in the past year. He brought his father-in-law on the latter’s first foreign trip as president to visit King Salman and the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The goal was to flatter and cultivate the Saudi royals, expecting them to “bring along” the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world towards that “ultimate” peace deal. This was an astonishing turn in US relations because, though the Saudis are nominal allies, the two countries have had a contentious relationship going all the way back to 9/11.

This is in part because 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, and wealthy Saudi patrons heavily financed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The Trump-Kushner “pivot” toward Saudi Arabia accords with a similar Israeli embrace of the House of Saud due to the two states common enemy: Iran.

In this and other ways, Kushner is placing US Middle East policy in lock-step with Israel. That certainly leaves the Palestinians, among others, out in the cold.



Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and other royals walking in front of Jared Kushner during an arrival ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh 20 May 2017 (AFP)

Violating Logan Act

Many analysts who study the region question whether the US putting all its eggs in the Saudi basket is wise considering the unpopularity of the autocratic-theocratic regime both in the region and the world.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported a new development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation: did Jared Kushner violate the Logan Act after he lobbied UN Security Council members to sabotage a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements.

The act dates back to the earliest days of the republic. In 1799, America was in its infancy and it was extremely sensitive about foreign meddling in its affairs. The great powers of that day were only too eager to interfere with the domestic and foreign affairs of weaker states if it was in their interest.

For that reason, American legislators passed the Logan Act which prohibited private citizens from becoming agents of foreign states in trying to influence US foreign policy.

The Act, as it was implemented, became something of a double-edged sword as it enabled the political party in power to target anyone in the opposition who exercised his right to lobby for a particular policy regarding various foreign states.

Eventually, virtually everyone realised that a weapon you used against an opponent could be wielded against you once you were out of power. So the Act fell into limbo. Only one individual was ever charged with violating it and he was never prosecuted.

Harming US interests

But news that Kushner was under suspicion of violating the Act raised interesting issues. Though many US politicians have been accused of being shills for Israel and the Israel lobby holds sway over an enormous number of legislators, and though numerous Americans have been convicted of spying on Israel’s behalf, no one has ever been convicted of harming the interests of the US for Israel’s sake.

In fact, the rallying cry of the lobby is that there is no difference between Israeli and US interests. In other words, when you work on behalf of Israel’s interests, you’re also advancing America’s. Of course, this is utter nonsense. It turns both countries into awkwardly conjoined Siamese twins.

Kushner is placing US Middle East policy in lock-step with Israel. That certainly leaves the Palestinians, among others, out in the cold

That’s certainly what Kushner did in this case: Netanyahu, who initiated the request for Trump’s intervention in the UN affair, wanted to fend off the resolution at all costs. It was originally put forward by Egypt.

Because Israel has tremendous leverage over the Egyptian military-led government regarding intelligence-sharing on Sinai Islamists, and because of Israeli attacks in Sinai which have killed militants on Egypt’s behalf, the Israeli leader was able to persuade Egyptt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to back off.

But this strategy failed because four other member states stepped forward and sponsored it. Then Netanyahu sought to lobby the Russians and Chinese, who also were unmoved. Running out of cards to play, Netanyahu turned to Trump’s right-hand man, Kushner.

Then Trump’s camp began working the phones.



Palestinians protested at Jared Kushner’s visit in Ramallah (AFP)

Crossing the line

It was clear from Netanyahu on down, and including Trump, that the goal was to destroy the resolution which had the tacit support of the Obama administration.

Though the US in the end abstained, the Obama administration clearly did nothing to stop the resolution – meaning it tacitly supported it. In the past, it had actually vetoed virtually identitcal Security Council proposals.

So, the abstention was quite a bold move for the US. Therefore, Kushner’s intervention to kill the resolution crossed the line from using his First Amendment right to speak freely about government policy into subverting official US foreign policy. This is legal ground which has yet to be plowed.

Including the Logan Act in a list of charges against Kushner would not only be novel, it would put the Israel lobby on notice that it had crossed a red line. And that once you cross that line you’re actually engaging in criminal behaviour. That would be a first. A shocking shot across the bow that would set the lobby reeling.

However, it is doubtful that Mueller would make the Logan Act a key element of his legal strategy. When you’re pursuing a president of the United States, you don’t want to dabble in untried or esoteric legal theory.

READ MORE ►

Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ seen as ‘ultimatum’ to Palestinians

But including a Logan Act violation would be the equivalent of mood music, setting the tone for the overall indictment. In other words, we’re talking about high crimes and misdemeanors here, and not run-of-the-mill charges.

Much like a spy who betrays his country, Kushner acted against the best interest of the United States. That’s certainly an impeachable offence when and if it comes round to Trump himself.

What Kushner did is to violate a cardinal rule of American life: he showed dual loyalty. This is a canard that anti-Semites used to throw around against Jews. But today, given the eagle-clawed grip the Israel lobby holds over aspects of American politics, dual loyalty is once again a claim raised (and this time validly) against American Jews like Kushner, who put the interests of Israel above those of their native country.

As the guiding force behind the Trump Middle East peace plan, an indictment by the special counsel against Kushner would significantly damage this effort. That might mean that a plan which is already derided by the Palestinians as hopelessly biased in Israel’s favour, might die at birth.

– Richard Silverstein writes the Tikun Olam blog, devoted to exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. His work has appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times. He contributed to the essay collection devoted to the 2006 Lebanon war, A Time to Speak Out (Verso) and has another essay in the upcoming collection, Israel and Palestine: Alternate Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield).

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: US presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner (REUTERS)

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The curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby
Middle East Eye
Many analysts who study the region question whether the US putting all its eggs in the Saudi basket is wise considering the unpopularity of the autocratic-theocratic regime both in the region and the world. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported a
In First, Kushner to Speak Publicly About Trump Peace EffortsHaaretz
In rare public remarks, Kushner to discuss peace push at DC confabThe Times of Israelall 15 news articles »

Flynn Indictment Shows He Committed a More Serious Offense Than Lying to the FBI
 

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On Friday morning, special counsel Robert Mueller announced that he had indicted Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s short-lived national security adviser (who had led the “lock her up” cheers at the last Republican convention), on two counts of lying to the FBI and soon after that Flynn pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington as part of a cooperation deal with Mueller. This means that both Trump’s top campaign official, Paul Manafort, and his top national security campaign aide now stand accused of criminal activity.

Mueller released a two-page “information” document detailing the two counts. The first was no shocker: that Flynn had lied to FBI agents about a conversation he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, in December 2016, during the presidential transition. Flynn told the agents that he had not asked Kislyak to restrain Russia’s response to sanctions President Barack Obama was imposing on Moscow for its underhanded meddling in the 2016 campaign. He also told the agents that he did not recall that Kislyak had said that Moscow would indeed moderate its response as a result of his request. But according to Mueller, Flynn had made the request and knew Moscow had done what he asked.

It has been previously reported that there was evidencemost likely intelligence interceptssuggesting Flynn had lied about this interaction with Kislyak. On the day of that conversation, when it appeared Russia would indeed not be responding harshly to the Obama sanctions, Trump tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart.”

The other count expands the story. It notes that on December 22, 2016, Flynn had asked Kislyak to delay or vote against a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in disputed territories, but that Flynn denied doing so when interviewed by the FBI. Israel was fighting hard against the resolution and requested that the Obama administration veto the measure. At the time, Trump publicly sided with the Israeli government. The resolution was approved on December 23, with the United States abstaining.

Israeli officials, it was known, had reached out to Trump transition team officials prior to the vote in an effort to delay the vote or block the resolution. Those Trump officials included Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Stephen Bannon, then Trump’s chief strategist. Mueller’s indictment discloses that Flynn was part of this endeavor and took concrete steps to thwart the foreign policy of the Obama administration in its final month. (Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Mueller was investigating Kushner’s conversation with Israeli officials about this matter. The newspaper noted that a 1799 law called the Logan Act prohibits Americans from communicating with foreign officials to influence an overseas governments actions related to a conflict with the United States. No one has ever been successfully prosecuted under this law.)

This part of the indictment shows that prior to Trump’s inauguration, Flynn went beyond attempting to establish a modus vivendi with Moscow. He was secretly asking Kislyak for a favor. (Moscow did not oblige him in this instance.)

That is quite a picture. On October 7, 2016, the US intelligence community released a statement declaring that Russia was behind the hack-and-dump operation that targeted Democrats in order to influence the 2016 presidential campaign. (That statement also suggested that Russia had explored penetrating US vote-counting systems.) About two months earlier, Trump and Flynn had received an intelligence briefing that included information about Russia’s clandestine efforts to subvert the election. Yet during the transition, Flynn, as Trump’s representative, was covertly trying to enlist Moscow’s assistance to undermine existing US policy.

For Moscow, this requestand Flynn’s subsequent plea for a light response to Obama’s sanctionscertainly could be read as an encouraging sign and a signal that Trump was not upset about Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the campaign. Flynn was sending a clear message to Putin’s man in Washington that he and Trump were more interested in partnering with Russia than in holding it accountableor preventing Putin from future attacks on elections in the United States or elsewhere.

That might not have been illegal. But as bad as it is to lie to the FBI, countenancing Russia’s assault on American democracy is a far graver offense.

Timeline: What Flynn copped to and what he didn’t – Washington Post
 

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Timeline: What Flynn copped to and what he didn’t
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This article has been updated. On Friday, another card played from special counsel Robert Mueller III’s closely held hand: An indictment against former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. By itself, the indictment isn’t 
The Michael Flynn Charge: Monstrous Injustice or Prelude to Bigger Things?National Review
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Two of Trump’s partners have been investigated for money laundering. In 2011, The Trump Organization struck a deal with Silk Road Group to build a Trump Tower in the former Soviet country of Georgia. Silk Road Group paid Trump $950,000 to license his name for developments there. Three years later …

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Donald Trump begins shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic
 

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Now that even Donald Trump knows he’s hosed in the Russia scandal, the big question has been how he’s going to plot his endgame. In the month since the arrests of his associates began, and in the week since top adviser Michael Flynn decided to cut a plea deal against him, Trump has gone off the deep end on Twitter and in his public remarks. Now he’s moving beyond words and taking action, but that action looks a lot like shuffling the deck chairs as his ship sinks.

On Thursday, it leaked to the media that Trump is planning to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Once that happens, Trump will promote CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has been on the job for less than a year, to Secretary of State. Then he’ll promote Senator Tom Cotton, who is less than halfway through his first term, to CIA Director. Then the Republican Governor of Arkansas will appoint someone to replace Tom Cotton.

What does all of this accomplish? Literally nothing. Trump will be going from one comically unqualified Secretary of State to another. On top of it, he appointed Pompeo to run the CIA in the hope that Pompeo would misuse the position to sabotage the Trump-Russia investigation, and that hasn’t worked. It’s unlikely that Cotton will have any greater success in that regard. The only thing Trump will gain here is the satisfaction of getting to fire Tillerson, who committed the crime of calling Trump a “moron” behind his back.

So this is how Donald Trump is using the limited time and dwindling political capital he has left. He’s not using it to try to save himself. Instead, as his Trump-Russia scandal prepares to completely sink him, he’s focused on settling internal scores with an ally who made an out-of-turn remark while frustrated one day. He’s sunk.

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Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the FBI – New York Times
 

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Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the FBI
New York Times
WASHINGTON President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special
Ex-Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBIChicago Tribune
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8:10 AM 12/1/2017 Sen. Cotton or Dir. Silk, you still gotta serve somebody Trump Investigations Report
 

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Bob Dylan – Gotta Serve Somebody

“My luck to wear cotton, my luck to wear silk”

________________________________

4.15.17 - FBI Reportedly Has 'Concrete and Corroborative Evidence' of Trump/Russia Collusion

8:10 AM 12/1/2017 – Is Sen. Cotton one of the “Russian dolls”? This is a very reasonable question to ask. Who will provide THE DEFINITIVE ANSWER?!

Another good question is: Will Sen. Cotton be able to be transformed into a “Director Silk”? “Not to be seen and not to be heard” from, just about, and strictly on as needed basis. I guess, it all depends on taste and comfort level: some like to wear silk, some – cotton, and still some – leather or furs. But never polyester. Never fakes. However, before “you shall know the truth”, it can make you very free, and in many different respects.  

By the way, Sen. Burr (probably, among the many puzzled others), is long in the thrall of Sen. Cotton’s likings for beards. Is this like some kind of a “smell test”?

(See the videotapes with his jokes on this subject at one of the Trump – Russia Investigation Senate Hearings.)

Michael Novakhov

12.1.17

Quote: 

Within the intelligence community, Cotton is viewed as a political grandstander who might lack the experience to lead a workforce largely older and more experienced than he is. It’s also a post, some said, that has left many of its occupants politically bruised no matter how much experience they have brought to Langley.”

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Seat in Senate in play if Cotton goes to CIA

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is weighing whether to make U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported Thursday. Both stories relied on statements from unnamed administration officials. In Arkansas …
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This speaker — recognised by many in the audience as Alex Younger, the head of MI6 — told Nato ambassadors that the Kremlin “exemplified” the modern threats faced by this country and its allies. Russia’s aim was to divide the West, sowing uncertainty and ambiguity. Familiar boundaries had become …
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MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat

The Times12 hours ago
This speaker — recognised by many in the audience as Alex Younger, the head of MI6 — told Nato ambassadors that the Kremlin “exemplified” the modern threats faced by this country and its allies. Russia’s aim was to divide the West, sowing uncertainty and ambiguity. Familiar boundaries had become …
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10:49 AM 11/30/2017 Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard.
 

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Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard. I think part of it is he has signaled his frustrations with his current job, which would make the transition much easier, the second State Department staffer said. He is already a … Continue reading“10:49 AM 11/30/2017 – Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard.”

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), seen here in a file photo, is rumored to be a potential CIA director for President Trump. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
 November 30 at 7:39 PM

A 40-year-old icon among conservatives, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) seems to have limitless potential in the Senate. Not yet finished with his third year in the upper chamber, Cotton is an in-demand figure on Sunday talk shows for his hard-line policy views.

Cotton seems poised for a presidential campaign at any point in the next decade or beyond, holding a safe Republican seat. Yet Cotton might be willing to chuck it all and move into President Trump’s inner circle as CIA director if a much-rumored shake-up of the national security team occurs.

Such a risky move would speak volumes, in two key ways, about how Cotton views his future. He falls in the camp of some young and ambitious politicians who hold in derision the dysfunctional nature of the plodding Senate. The possible move also shows that some Republicans believe Trump has fundamentally shifted their party going forward, and that planting a flag in the camp of the former reality-TV star is a better long-term bet than staying in the orbit of traditional conservative orthodoxy.

White House readies plan to replace Tillerson with Pompeo at State, install Cotton at CIA – The Washington Post
 

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The White House has readied a plan to oust embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has become one of the most personally loyal and politically savvy members of President Trump’s national security team, two administration officials confirmed Thursday.

The plan, hatched by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, is expected to be set in motion over the next few weeks, and it has broad support within Trump’s inner circle, the officials said. But it was unclear whether Trump had signed off on the plan yet; the president has been known to change his mind about personnel and other matters before finalizing decisions with public announcements.

Under the plan, Pompeo would probably be replaced at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump’s most steadfast defenders and a confidant to some leading members of the foreign policy team, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House has not publicly announced the moves.

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MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat

The Times12 hours ago
This speaker — recognised by many in the audience as Alex Younger, the head of MI6 — told Nato ambassadors that the Kremlin “exemplified” the modern threats faced by this country and its allies. Russia’s aim was to divide the West, sowing uncertainty and ambiguity. Familiar boundaries had become …
MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat – The Times – Google Search
 

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MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat

The Times12 hours ago
This speaker — recognised by many in the audience as Alex Younger, the head of MI6 — told Nato ambassadors that the Kremlin “exemplified” the modern threats faced by this country and its allies. Russia’s aim was to divide the West, sowing uncertainty and ambiguity. Familiar boundaries had become …
MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times
 

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MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat – The Times
 

mikenova shared this story from Russian Intelligence services – Google News.

MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat
The Times
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Politico
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Christian Science Monitor
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Washington Post
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The bad marriage of President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to be nearing an end, probably to the relief of both. The question is how the new national security team that appears to be coming will change American policy. Tillerson for and more »


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