Donald Trump’s First UN Address Gets Mixed Reviews From Political Leaders Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 4:05 PM

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Donald Trump’s First UN Address Gets Mixed Reviews From Political Leaders

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Some condemned Trump’s remarks as “dangerous.” Others praised the speech for being “strong

Trump’s first speech to the United Nations was a disastrous, nationalistic flop – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump’s first speech to the United Nations was a disastrous, nationalistic flop
Washington Post
Beyond pragmatism, the speech will likely be remembered as one in which the president of the United States sounded more like a mob boss than a statesman—think Robert DeNiro as Al Capone in “The Untouchables” minus the baseball bat. This was a …

Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and labeled Iran a “rogue nation,” the New York Times reported. In remarks at the summit of world leaders, Trump called the North Korean regime “a band of criminals” and said the U.S. would act unilaterally to defend itself against North Korea if necessary. Trump also denounced Iran as a “corrupt dictatorship” and a supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and called the Iran nuclear deal “an embarrassment.” Furthermore, Trump said the U.S. was “prepared to take further action” to respond to violence and repression in Venezuela. In the speech, the president emphasized an “America First” approach to foreign policy to the audience of foreign leaders and diplomats.

The FBI wiretapped Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants before and after the election, CNN reported on Monday. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant to surveil Manafort for a 2014 investigation into consulting firms working for Ukraine’s former ruling party, the Party of Regions, which was linked to Russia. Last year, investigators discontinued that surveillance because of a lack of evidence. However, the FISA court granted the FBI  a new warrant in fall 2016 to resume monitoring of Manafort in connection with the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and elements linked to the Russian government. The surveillance continued into this year. Separately, the Times reported that during a raid on Manafort’s house in July, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team warned Manafort that they planned to indict him.

Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi evaded accusations that her government is carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim population, the Washington Post reported. In her first public statement since the crisis began on August 25, Suu Kyi said that Myanmar’s government condemned all human rights violations, but she did not acknowledge any responsibility for the actions of Myanmar’s armed forces, which U.N. officials have described as atrocities. She pledged to investigate claims of abuse but also defended the government’s development efforts in Rakhine state, where the most of the Rohingya population live. Although Suu Kyi said that a majority of Muslims in Rakhine have not left the country, over 400,000 refugees have crossed the border to Bangladesh since August. Satellite images showed over 200 Rohingya villages that have been incinerated since March, according to the Times.

The Trump administration rejected a U.S. government study that found that refugees brought economic benefits, the Times reported on Monday. A draft of a study prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services this year showed that refugees had a net positive impact of $63 billion to government revenues over a 10-year period. But Trump administration officials cut these conclusions out of the final version of the report sent to the White House this September. That version said that the cost of refugees for the H.H.S. was higher than the cost of ordinary Americans but did not mention any of the revenues that refugees contribute.

The Senate approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on Monday in an 89-8 vote, the Post reported. The bill includes a government-wide ban on using Kaspersky Lab software and raises the level of defense spending to approximately $700 billion. Senators failed to include amendments reversing President Trump’s ban on transgender military service members or increasing sanctions on North Korea. The Senate bill authorizes about $40 billion more in spending than President Trump’s proposed defense budget, according to the Wall Street Journal. Lawmakers will now work out a compromise between the Senate bill and a version passed by the House in July.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is considering closing its embassy in Cuba to protect the health of diplomats who have reported hearing losses and brain trauma, the Times reported. Twenty-one Americans associated with the embassy in Havana have experienced a range of health problems over the last six months, including mild traumatic brain injury, loss of balance, and severe headaches. American officials have said that a sonic attack or misconfigured surveillance system may have caused the injuries. Cuba’s government has offered to let the FBI investigate. On Sunday, Secretary Tillerson said that the step of closing the embassy was being considered not as a political statement but as a measure to protect the health of employees. American and Cuban officials met on Friday to discuss the ongoing investigation into the incidents.

Japan moved a missile interceptor to a military base near the aerial paths of recent North Korean missile tests that crossed over the northern island of Hokkaido, the Post reported. The Japanese Defense Ministry announced it deployed on Tuesday a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit to a base in southern Hokkaido “as a precaution.” Japan’s constitution only allows its defense forces to shoot down missiles heading to Japan or causing debris to fall on Japanese territory.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Jesse Goldhammer and Zach Graves argued for the creation of a Cyber Workforce Incubator to bring private-sector cyber talent to Washington D.C.

Sarah Tate Chambers summarized the latest developments in cybercrime prosecutions in the Cybercrime Roundup.

Matthew Kahn celebrated the 70th birthday of the National Security Act of 1947.

Susan Hennessey, Shannon Togawa Mercer, and Benjamin Wittes analyzed the latest revelations about the investigations into Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign.

 

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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FBI Severely Underreported How Many Times It Authorized Informants to Break the Law

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Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.

Signed in as mikenova

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FBI Severely Underreported How Many Times It Authorized Informants to Break the Law – Gizmodo

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Gizmodo
FBI Severely Underreported How Many Times It Authorized Informants to Break the Law
Gizmodo
This year, the FBI appears to for the first time have overlooked a reporting obligation established by the US Attorney General’s office, and in doing so, the bureau appears to have greatly lowballed the total number of times it authorized confidential 

Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea – New York Times

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New York Times
Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea
New York Times
Leaders from around the globe take the lectern at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. It’s a particularly big moment for President Trump, who addressed the world gathering for the first time. • Mr. Trump threatened to “totally destroy 
Trump joins the UN club he once deridedCNN
Trump warns of ‘rogue nation’ threat in speech to UNBBC News
Trump Addresses UN General Assembly For The First TimeNPR
Washington Post –Reuters –CBS News
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Trump Threatens To ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea In ‘America First’ Speech At United Nations

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Trump also strongly indicated he would not renew the Iranian nuclear deal, in a forceful first speech before the international body.

Five Questions About the Manafort Investigation – The Atlantic

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The Atlantic
Five Questions About the Manafort Investigation
The Atlantic
Mueller’s primary responsibility is to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidentialelection, but he has broad latitude to pursue “any matters” he discovers during the course of his inquiry. Taking over the long-running investigation could 
Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairmanCNN
Government wiretapped Manafort during and after 2016: reportThe Hill
Trump campaign adviser was wiretapped under secret court orders: CNNCNBC
U.S. News & World Report –BBC News –Newsweek
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Senate Intelligence Committee interview with Trump lawyer abruptly canceled – Washington Post

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Washington Examiner
Senate Intelligence Committee interview with Trump lawyer abruptly canceled
Washington Post
The meeting was scheduled as part of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Cohen arrived for the interview with his attorney Tuesday morning, but left the closed door session after about an hour, informing 
The Latest: Trump lawyer says Hill panel delays interviewMiami Herald
Trump lawyer Michael Cohen blasts Russia investigations to Senate Intelligence CommitteeWashington Examiner
Senate Cancels Meeting With Trump Lawyer Michael CohenNBCNews.com
NBC Montana
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8:12 AM 9/19/2017 – Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and confidant, to appear before Senate investigators 

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Trump – from Huffington Post from mikenova (1 sites) Donald Trump: Noah Syndergaard Just Sent A Trump-Bashing Tweet About Hurricanes “Stick to baseball,” one commenter sniped.Donald Trump Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (2 sites) Trump Investigations Report: Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe has reached a critical stage Business Insider … Continue reading “8:12 AM 9/19/2017 – Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and confidant, to appear before Senate investigators”

Donald Trump – Google News: The Madness of Donald Trump – RollingStone.com

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RollingStone.com
The Madness of Donald Trump
RollingStone.com
It’s Donald Trump’s true coming-out party as an insane person. It looks like the same old Trump up there on the stage: same boxy blue suit, same obligatory flag pin and tangerine combover, same too-long reddish power tie swinging below his belt line 

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 Donald Trump – Google News

9:09 AM 9/19/2017 – ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections… 

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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Google Search Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 9:15 AM 1 Share Trump News Review Trump was a subdued figure at the first day of the General Assembly, pledging to cooperate with world leaders to restructure the U.N. and refraining from aggressive anti-U.N. rhetoric deployed throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, however a different and hardline side … Continue reading “9:09 AM 9/19/2017 – ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections… “
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Deutsche Bank warning: There will be MORE Trumps and Le Pens – Europe must prepare – Express.co.uk

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Express.co.uk
Deutsche Bank warning: There will be MORE Trumps and Le Pens – Europe must prepare
Express.co.uk
The election of US President Mr Trump over Hillary Clinton stunned the establishment, pollsters, and the electorate in America as he was not expected to win. But by using a populist narrative of “America First” and taking a tough stance on immigration 

Trump Lawyer Insists In Senate Testimony He Never Colluded With Russia

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Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, is set to testify before the Intelligence Committee in its Russia investigation.

Is Donald Trump actually crazy? 27 mental-health experts offer up their conclusions (Commentary) – OregonLive.com

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OregonLive.com
Is Donald Trump actually crazy? 27 mental-health experts offer up their conclusions (Commentary)
OregonLive.com
Diagnosing President Donald Trump’s mental health has become a favorite pastime among his political opponents. “Does the … Jeb Bush during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries: “I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but the guy needs therapy.”.

Trump’s Lawyer Says Rumors About Russia Undercut the President – New York Times

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New York Times
Trump’s Lawyer Says Rumors About Russia Undercut the President
New York Times
Their rush to presume guilt, Mr. Cohen said, had overtaken the facts, smeared supporters of the president — like him — and diverted attention from a pressing national security threat: Russia’smeddling in the United States‘ elections. “There are some 
Trump Confidante Rejects Any Collusion In Russia Election InterferenceNPR
In Senate testimony, Trump lawyer to deny colluding with RussiaCNN
Trump Lawyer Cohen to Senate: ‘Lies’ About Russia Hurt His ReputationNBCNews.com
U.S. News & World Report
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Donald Trump gives first speech to UN general assembly – live – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Donald Trump gives first speech to UN general assembly – live
The Guardian
Temer speaks about international terrorism and organized crime. He speaks about the need for countries to commit to human rights. “We reject racism,” Temer says. “We reject xenophobia in all its forms”. He expresses concern about the crisis in 

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Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Story image for Kurdish Independence Referendum from The Jerusalem Post

Why the US chose to oppose the Kurdish independence referendum

The Jerusalem Post11 hours ago
KURDISH PEOPLE attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq.. (photo …
Regional implications of the Kurdish independence vote
Opinion<a href=”http://Aljazeera.com” rel=”nofollow”>Aljazeera.com</a>1 hour ago
Kurds defiant as Iraq says no to independence vote
In-DepthThe Australian23 minutes ago

Kurdish Independence Referendum Draws Criticism and Threats, Saudi Arabia’s “Authoritarian Upgrading” Strategy, and the Gulf’s New Outreach to Israel 

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Iraq Braces for Kurdish Independence Referendum

As world leaders gather in New York this week, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly, will be conspicuously absent. He decided at the last minute to cancel his trip as Iraq prepares for a Kurdish referendum on independence. The vote is scheduled for September 25 and is approaching fast, despite months of efforts by Iraqi and international diplomats to convince Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to delay the referendum.

Attempts to reach a compromise have failed so far, and Baghdad has started taking legal and political action. The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution last week rejecting the referendum and authorizing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “take all measures” to preserve the unity of the country. The parliament also voted to remove Najmaddin Kareem, the governor of Kirkuk, a contested oil-rich province, from office in response to his support for the referendum; Kareem told Reuters he will not abide by the parliamentary order. The Iraqi Supreme Court intervened as well, ordering the vote be postponed while its constitutionality is reviewed. If it proceeds, Arab officials in Kirkuk say they will request federal protection—which could mean a military occupation of the contested city.

Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

The United States has repeatedly warned Kurdish officials not to go through with the planned referendum and tried to broker some face-saving measures to facilitate a delay. “The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters last week. “The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat [the Islamic State] and stabilize the liberated areas.” The U.S. Congress, which includes many outspoken supporters of Kurdish interests, has been quiet on the issue; a Kurdish diplomat told Politico that State and Defense Department officials have been advising members of Congress not to weigh in. Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors in Turkey and Iran have also been urging Barzani to call the referendum off, and factions within Iraq, including Iranian-backed militias, are issuing saber-rattling threats of reprisals if the vote is held. A spokesman for one Shia militia left Al-Monitor with the impression that Tehran has “given the unit the green light to attack Kirkuk if it decides to secede from Iraq.” The violence may have already started—on Monday, two men were killed in a shootout outside a Turkmen party office in Kirkuk, which the Washington Post reports may have been tied to the referendum.

As the vote has drawn near, Kurdish officials have increasingly tried to downplay its significance. “We are pledging dialogue and a peaceful solution,” one told the Post. As noted in a previous Ticker, the vote is subject to some ambiguities under Kurdish law and is designed to be a signal of intent, rather than a decisive rupture. Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

 

This Is What Authoritarian Upgrading Looks Like

Saudi Arabia’s economic reform project, Saudi Vision 2030, is reaching a critical juncture. Previous Saudi attempts to buck the country’s dependency on oil have faltered at early signs of economic trouble or the first hint of rebounding petrol prices. Now foreign lenders are feeling increasingly anxious about the Kingdom and two major European banks are looking to sell off their branches there, Bloomberg reports. That’s not a vote of confidence in the long-term promise of the reform plan.

Saudi Vision 2030 is hitting delays—the much-touted IPO for state oil giant Saudi Aramco will now likely be pushed until 2019, a separate Bloomberg article reported last week. That’s “a reflection of the deep discomfort with the need to expose the state to the scrutiny of open markets,” Karen Young, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, wrote recently for the Institute’s Market Watch blog. She also notes spending that has dried up a third of Saudi Arabia’s total reserve assets since 2014. This could force spending cuts in the next three years. “[T]here will be moments of reckoning, especially in debt management,” she warns.

With the economic challenges will come political challenges as well. Economic reforms also invite political turmoil. Saudi Arabia has tried to preempt and manage some shocks with a few reforms—municipal elections and women’s suffrage, for instance—but it is also cracking down hard. While the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been a worldwide charm offensive promoting a more cosmopolitan vision for the future of the Kingdom, authorities have been arresting dozens of political dissenters for such mild offenses as being reluctant to support Riyadh’s flailing feud with Qatar. More than 30 people have been arrested so far, including several prominent clerics. “In the starkest terms, Saudi Arabia is trying to moderate the extreme viewpoints of both liberal reformers and conservative clerics. And the arrests span that spectrum,” Saudi political analyst Jamal Kashoggi writes; his column in Al-Hayat was recently canceled due to government pressure, so his assessment appeared in the Washington Post.

The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy.

A decade ago, Steven Heydemann identified this mix of economic reform, palliative political changes, and ruthless crackdowns as a strategy for regime maintenance. “Authoritarian upgrading consists … not in shutting down and closing off Arab societies from globalization and other forces of political, economic, and social change. Nor is it based simply on the willingness of Arab governments to repress their opponents,” he wrote in a 2007 Brookings report. “Instead, authoritarian upgrading involves reconfiguring authoritarian governance to accommodate and manage changing political, economic, and social conditions.” The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy. The recent arrests and suppression of dissent underscore that subtext of Saudi Vision 2030.

 

Are the Gulf States Sending Up a Trial Balloon with Israel?

The Gulf states have been quietly shifting their position on Israel for years now. They’ve found common cause in their opposition to Iran’s regional policy and, more recently, Qatar’s media empire. That quiet relationship may be coming into open view. It was made public last week that King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa of Bahrain will allow Bahraini citizens to visit Israel and that he opposes boycotts of the Israeli state; his comments were released at an event hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, at which the king was represented by his son, Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa. The announcement follows recent rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a secret visit to Tel Aviv to discuss “regional peace.” There’s no clear indication that this prefigures an public diplomatic opening, but experts like Dennis Ross have speculated that the Trump administration may be trying to nudge the Arab states into the peace process to try to break the diplomatic deadlock.

Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts.

President Donald Trump is expected to discuss the peace process in separate meetings with President Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, but there’s no sign of a shakeup. Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts. This past weekend, Hamas announced that it would dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza in an effort to convince Abbas to ease sanctions against the Strip. As Grant Rumley, research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and coauthor of a new biography of Abbas, wrote for The Atlantic, this is likely to fare as well as other reconciliation attempts between the Palestinian factions. “The reality is that Hamas is unlikely to ever truly give up its military control over Gaza,” he writes. “The faction wants Abbas to pay for the costs of governing. Abbas wants total acquiescence and disarmament. Ultimately, there’s no middle ground here.”

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SYRIA – Google Search

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US military closes outpost in southeastern Syria, ceding territory to …

Washington Post3 hours ago
The U.S. military acknowledged Tuesday it has closed an outpost in southern Syria in recent days amid reports that American forces and their …
Key American base in southern Syria destroyed by retreating US …
Highly CitedAMN Al-Masdar News (registration)6 hours ago

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US and allies won’t rebuild Syria without political process

Washington Post11 hours ago
NEW YORK — The Islamic State is rapidly losing control of territory in Syria, but donor countries will not reconstruct the war’s damage until a …

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Google Search

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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany – Google Search

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Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from Newsweek

Trump ‘Pee Tape’ Dossier Researcher Tells Investigators He ‘Stands …

NewsweekAug 23, 2017
U.S. Donald Trump Russia Dossier … Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7. … Fusion GPS has alleged that the investigation is an attempt to discredit the research. “This investigation into Mr. Simpson began as a desperate attempt by the Trump campaign …
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from Mic

3 key takeaways from the newly released Trump-Russia emails

MicAug 28, 2017
3 key takeaways from the newly released Trump-Russia emails … the fervor around the investigationinto the Trump campaign’s potential Russian ties. … Putin at the opening of the G20 summit on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from MassLive.com

Tale of Trump-Russia links may soon be back – big league (Editorial)

<a href=”http://MassLive.com” rel=”nofollow”>MassLive.com</a>Aug 30, 2017
Tale of Trump-Russia links may soon be back – big league (Editorial) … In populist tones, President Donald Trump is trying to turn the investigation into his … One on his way back from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from The Guardian

Deutsche Bank expects subpoenas over Trump-Russia investigation

The GuardianJul 19, 2017
Deutsche’s relationship with Trump and questions about hundreds of millions in loans have dogged the German bank and the White House for …
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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Google Search

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Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION from Mother Jones

The New York Times and CNN Just Published Bombshells About …

Mother Jones13 hours ago
… Just Published Bombshells About the Trump-Russia Investigation … that indicate that the investigation into Donald Trump’s former campaign …
Who is Paul Manafort again? And how does he fit in FBI’s Russia …
OpinionThe San Diego Union-Tribune11 hours ago
Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort
In-DepthFinancial Times6 hours ago
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What Britain needs to understand about the profound and ancient divisions in Germany – New Statesman

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What Britain needs to understand about the profound and ancient divisions in Germany
New Statesman
Half of East Elbia was ruthlessly stripped of Germans and handed over to Poles or Russians; the rump became the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a mere satrap of the Red Army. So while …. Donald Trump is the president of the United States. His 

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Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort
Financial Times
“They must have felt like there was a danger of evidence being destroyed,” said the FBI agent. “It’s usually done in drug cases where it might be flushed, not in white-collar cases.” … The FBI is also probing Michael Flynn, the retired general who 

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Rubin: ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections – News Chief

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Rubin: ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections
News Chief
As Americans absorb the latest details of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections — via hundreds of fake Facebook accounts — Germans have been expecting similar interference in their Sept. 24 federal election. But the fact that no Russian hack 

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Manafort Wiretapped by Feds, Told to Expect Indictment: Reports – New York Magazine

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New York Magazine
Manafort Wiretapped by Feds, Told to Expect Indictment: Reports
New York Magazine
The wiretap of Manafort had to be approved by the court established under the ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Act, meaning federal judges found that there was probable cause to believe Manafort was an agent of a foreign power. Sources say … That 
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tonePittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)
Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairmanCNN
New York Times –New York Times
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James Comey Tried to Discredit Trump’s Wiretapping Assertions That Proved True – Breitbart News

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Breitbart News
James Comey Tried to Discredit Trump’s Wiretapping Assertions That Proved True
Breitbart News
Later that month, then-FBI Director James Comey disputed Trump’s claims to the House intelligence committee. “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that 
With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a ToneNew York Times
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)
Investigators wiretapped Manafort’s phones, may have picked up conversations with President TrumpHot Air
Washington Free Beacon
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Trump Lawyer Cohen To Answer Senate Questions About Russia – NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com
Trump Lawyer Cohen To Answer Senate Questions About Russia
NBCNews.com
WASHINGTON — Senate investigators probing Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election will zero in on reported links between Moscow and President Trump’sbusinesses when longtime Trump associate Michael Cohen answers …
Trump’s ‘pit bull’ to testify on RussiaThe Hill
Trump lawyer to meet with Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday in Russia probeThe Denver Post
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer will testify over Russian election meddlingNEWS.com.au
U.S. News & World Report
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Trump behaves like the buffoon his detractors always said he was – Stuff.co.nz

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Stuff.co.nz
Trump behaves like the buffoon his detractors always said he was
Stuff.co.nz
Hillary Clinton is hardly an impartial judge, but I believe she was on the mark when she recently described Trump as “immature, with poor impulse control”. She went on to say that … Politicsworks through consensus and collaboration. Trump shows no 

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Weiner Asks for Leniency, Claims His Underage Sexting is a ‘Deep Sickness’ – The Jewish Voice

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The Jewish Voice
Weiner Asks for Leniency, Claims His Underage Sexting is a ‘Deep Sickness’
The Jewish Voice
In a new court filing, the disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner said that his sexting with an underage girl was not an “abnormal sexual interest in teenagers,” but rather the result of a “deep sickness.” On Wednesday, September 13, in a 

The dangerous case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on “A Duty to Warn” – Salon

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Salon
The dangerous case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on “A Duty to Warn”
Salon
There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, the work of 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts to assess President Trump’s mental health. They had 

World Leaders Anxious To Hear Donald Trump As UN Assembly Kicks Off – NDTV

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NDTV
World Leaders Anxious To Hear Donald Trump As UN Assembly Kicks Off
NDTV
United Nations: World leaders open their annual debate at the United Nations Today, eager to hear US President Donald Trump deliver his maiden address amid global anxiety over North Korea and Iran. Mr Trump takes the podium at the General Assembly …
Trump treks to the United Nations to meet world leaders anxious about what he’ll sayUSA TODAY
At UN, Trump to lay out vision of US role in the world, focusing on ‘outcomes, not ideology’Chicago Tribune

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Donald Trump set to push nationalist agenda at UN – Financial Times – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Donald Trump set to push nationalist agenda at UN – Financial Times
Financial Times
Donald Trump’s debut address to the UN general assembly on Tuesday morning is expected to set out a nationalistic foreign policy based on “sovereignty” and …

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Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’

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Paul ManafortPaul Manafort Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Recent revelations about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign team indicate that the investigation has reached the point where Mueller may soon start announcing criminal charges.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN reported on Friday that Mueller had obtained a search warrant for records of the “inauthentic” accounts Facebook shut down earlier this month and the targeted ads these accounts purchased during the 2016 election.

Legal experts said the warrant meant Mueller had been able to convince a federal judge that there was good reason to believe a foreign entity had committed a crime by making campaign contributions in the form of ads and the spread of fake news, and that evidence of that crime would be found on Facebook.

Three days later, the New York Times reported that Mueller told Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort he was going to be formally charged with a crime following a raid on his Virginia home over the summer.

Mueller has also issued subpoenas to Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni and former attorney Melissa Laurenza to testify before a federal grand jury.

The developments indicate that Mueller’s probe “is nearing the litigation stage,” said Brookings Institution fellows and legal experts Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey.

“Combined with a flurry of stories about subpoenas, grand-jury appearances and other activity, it’s reasonable to expect that Mueller is moving forward on a number of different fronts and is getting close to entering a litigation phase,” wrote Wittes and Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency.

“The key question is what he will allege, to what extent it will deal with campaign activity, and against whom he will allege it,” they added.

Trump PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump AP

CNN reported on Monday that the FBI obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year to surveil Manafort, which typically requires “some indication of criminal conduct,” Wittes and Hennessey said, rather than merely “a showing of probable cause that a crime has or will be committed.”

Manafort was previously surveilled under a separate FISA authorization that began in 2014 as the FBI scrutinized his lobbying work on behalf of the pro-Russia Party of Regions in Ukraine and his business dealings with Russian entities.

That surveillance ended due to a lack of evidence, according to CNN, but was later restarted under the new warrant that extended into 2017. Information obtained from the newly discovered FISA warrant was shared with Mueller’s team.

An early foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, Carter Page, was also placed under FBI surveillance following a trip he took to Moscow last July.

It is still unclear whether Manafort has already been indicted, and if so, on what charges. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was recently recruited by Mueller to help investigate Manafort for possible financial crimes and money laundering. The IRS’s criminal-investigations unit has been brought onto the investigation to examine similar issues.

Manafort’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

It is difficult to predict whether Mueller will charge specific foreign entities with a crime for what could be perceived as illicit campaign contributions — there is little if any precedent for an election interference as brazen and multifaceted as Russia’s.

Taken together, though, wrote Wittes and Hennessey, the developments signal that “Mueller’s investigation has reached a critical stage — the point at which he may soon start making allegations in public.”

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Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’ – Business Insider

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Business Insider
Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’
Business Insider
… about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign team indicate that the investigation has reached the point where Mueller may soon start announcing 
With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a ToneNew York Times
Manafort To Be Indicted? Was Trump Tower Wiretapped? First Thoughts on Two Big ScoopsNational Review
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)

all 112 news articles »

A Charity Just Rented Out Donald Trump’s Childhood Home For Refugees

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Oxfam wants to “send a message to Trump but also world leaders that they need to do more to help refugees.”

Parsons Green attack: No evidence Isis is systematically using refugees for terror plots, research finds – The Independent

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The Independent
Parsons Green attack: No evidence Isis is systematically using refugees for terror plots, research finds
The Independent
The arrest of two refugees in connection with the attempted bombing on a London Underground train has reignited public debate, following four previous terror attacks in the UK this year. Both men, an 18-year-old from Iraq and 21-year-old … was no 

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Trump needs to abandon attack on former FBI director – Burlington County Times

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Washington Post
Trump needs to abandon attack on former FBI director
Burlington County Times
There’s nothing to suggest Comey’s memo contained any information that would be protected under the statute or that the memo was housed with FBI records. Sanders said Comey prepared the memo on a government computer. But even if that were enough …
The White House’s new way to defend Trump: Smear James ComeyWashington Post
John McCain on the Comey Hearing: “It Was a Colossal Screw-Up”Esquire.com

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Clinton returns to DC lamenting mistakes of 2016 campaign – Washington Blade

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Clinton returns to DC lamenting mistakes of 2016 campaign
Washington Blade
Citing her loss to Trump by 53 percent among white women, Clinton said a major factor was former FBI Director James Comey reopening the email investigation — only for him to close it again one day before the election . “All of sudden, people are told 
Clinton Won’t Rule Out Questioning 2016 Election, But Says No Clear Means To Do SoWVTF

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Trump’s ‘pit bull’ to testify on Russia – The Hill

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Trump’s ‘pit bull’ to testify on Russia
The Hill
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime confidante, will testify before congressional investigators on Tuesday in the midst of a slew of probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cohen is a fiercely loyal aide known 

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FBI Severely Underreported How Many Times It Authorized Informants to Break the Law

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This year, the FBI appears to for the first time have overlooked a reporting obligation established by the US Attorney General’s office, and in doing so, the bureau appears to have greatly lowballed the total number of times it authorized confidential informants to engage in criminal activity last year.

Source: FBI Severely Underreported How Many Times It Authorized Informants to Break the Law


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Donald Trump gives first speech to UN and other stories

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Donald Trump gives first speech to UN general assembly – live – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Donald Trump gives first speech to UN general assembly – live
The Guardian
Temer speaks about international terrorism and organized crime. He speaks about the need for countries to commit to human rights. “We reject racism,” Temer says. “We reject xenophobia in all its forms”. He expresses concern about the crisis in 

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Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Story image for Kurdish Independence Referendum from The Jerusalem Post

Why the US chose to oppose the Kurdish independence referendum

The Jerusalem Post11 hours ago
KURDISH PEOPLE attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq.. (photo …
Regional implications of the Kurdish independence vote
Opinion<a href=”http://Aljazeera.com” rel=”nofollow”>Aljazeera.com</a>1 hour ago
Kurds defiant as Iraq says no to independence vote
In-DepthThe Australian23 minutes ago

Kurdish Independence Referendum Draws Criticism and Threats, Saudi Arabia’s “Authoritarian Upgrading” Strategy, and the Gulf’s New Outreach to Israel 

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Iraq Braces for Kurdish Independence Referendum

As world leaders gather in New York this week, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly, will be conspicuously absent. He decided at the last minute to cancel his trip as Iraq prepares for a Kurdish referendum on independence. The vote is scheduled for September 25 and is approaching fast, despite months of efforts by Iraqi and international diplomats to convince Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to delay the referendum.

Attempts to reach a compromise have failed so far, and Baghdad has started taking legal and political action. The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution last week rejecting the referendum and authorizing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “take all measures” to preserve the unity of the country. The parliament also voted to remove Najmaddin Kareem, the governor of Kirkuk, a contested oil-rich province, from office in response to his support for the referendum; Kareem told Reuters he will not abide by the parliamentary order. The Iraqi Supreme Court intervened as well, ordering the vote be postponed while its constitutionality is reviewed. If it proceeds, Arab officials in Kirkuk say they will request federal protection—which could mean a military occupation of the contested city.

Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

The United States has repeatedly warned Kurdish officials not to go through with the planned referendum and tried to broker some face-saving measures to facilitate a delay. “The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters last week. “The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat [the Islamic State] and stabilize the liberated areas.” The U.S. Congress, which includes many outspoken supporters of Kurdish interests, has been quiet on the issue; a Kurdish diplomat told Politico that State and Defense Department officials have been advising members of Congress not to weigh in. Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors in Turkey and Iran have also been urging Barzani to call the referendum off, and factions within Iraq, including Iranian-backed militias, are issuing saber-rattling threats of reprisals if the vote is held. A spokesman for one Shia militia left Al-Monitor with the impression that Tehran has “given the unit the green light to attack Kirkuk if it decides to secede from Iraq.” The violence may have already started—on Monday, two men were killed in a shootout outside a Turkmen party office in Kirkuk, which the Washington Post reports may have been tied to the referendum.

As the vote has drawn near, Kurdish officials have increasingly tried to downplay its significance. “We are pledging dialogue and a peaceful solution,” one told the Post. As noted in a previous Ticker, the vote is subject to some ambiguities under Kurdish law and is designed to be a signal of intent, rather than a decisive rupture. Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

 

This Is What Authoritarian Upgrading Looks Like

Saudi Arabia’s economic reform project, Saudi Vision 2030, is reaching a critical juncture. Previous Saudi attempts to buck the country’s dependency on oil have faltered at early signs of economic trouble or the first hint of rebounding petrol prices. Now foreign lenders are feeling increasingly anxious about the Kingdom and two major European banks are looking to sell off their branches there, Bloomberg reports. That’s not a vote of confidence in the long-term promise of the reform plan.

Saudi Vision 2030 is hitting delays—the much-touted IPO for state oil giant Saudi Aramco will now likely be pushed until 2019, a separate Bloomberg article reported last week. That’s “a reflection of the deep discomfort with the need to expose the state to the scrutiny of open markets,” Karen Young, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, wrote recently for the Institute’s Market Watch blog. She also notes spending that has dried up a third of Saudi Arabia’s total reserve assets since 2014. This could force spending cuts in the next three years. “[T]here will be moments of reckoning, especially in debt management,” she warns.

With the economic challenges will come political challenges as well. Economic reforms also invite political turmoil. Saudi Arabia has tried to preempt and manage some shocks with a few reforms—municipal elections and women’s suffrage, for instance—but it is also cracking down hard. While the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been a worldwide charm offensive promoting a more cosmopolitan vision for the future of the Kingdom, authorities have been arresting dozens of political dissenters for such mild offenses as being reluctant to support Riyadh’s flailing feud with Qatar. More than 30 people have been arrested so far, including several prominent clerics. “In the starkest terms, Saudi Arabia is trying to moderate the extreme viewpoints of both liberal reformers and conservative clerics. And the arrests span that spectrum,” Saudi political analyst Jamal Kashoggi writes; his column in Al-Hayat was recently canceled due to government pressure, so his assessment appeared in the Washington Post.

The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy.

A decade ago, Steven Heydemann identified this mix of economic reform, palliative political changes, and ruthless crackdowns as a strategy for regime maintenance. “Authoritarian upgrading consists … not in shutting down and closing off Arab societies from globalization and other forces of political, economic, and social change. Nor is it based simply on the willingness of Arab governments to repress their opponents,” he wrote in a 2007 Brookings report. “Instead, authoritarian upgrading involves reconfiguring authoritarian governance to accommodate and manage changing political, economic, and social conditions.” The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy. The recent arrests and suppression of dissent underscore that subtext of Saudi Vision 2030.

 

Are the Gulf States Sending Up a Trial Balloon with Israel?

The Gulf states have been quietly shifting their position on Israel for years now. They’ve found common cause in their opposition to Iran’s regional policy and, more recently, Qatar’s media empire. That quiet relationship may be coming into open view. It was made public last week that King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa of Bahrain will allow Bahraini citizens to visit Israel and that he opposes boycotts of the Israeli state; his comments were released at an event hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, at which the king was represented by his son, Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa. The announcement follows recent rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a secret visit to Tel Aviv to discuss “regional peace.” There’s no clear indication that this prefigures an public diplomatic opening, but experts like Dennis Ross have speculated that the Trump administration may be trying to nudge the Arab states into the peace process to try to break the diplomatic deadlock.

Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts.

President Donald Trump is expected to discuss the peace process in separate meetings with President Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, but there’s no sign of a shakeup. Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts. This past weekend, Hamas announced that it would dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza in an effort to convince Abbas to ease sanctions against the Strip. As Grant Rumley, research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and coauthor of a new biography of Abbas, wrote for The Atlantic, this is likely to fare as well as other reconciliation attempts between the Palestinian factions. “The reality is that Hamas is unlikely to ever truly give up its military control over Gaza,” he writes. “The faction wants Abbas to pay for the costs of governing. Abbas wants total acquiescence and disarmament. Ultimately, there’s no middle ground here.”

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SYRIA – Google Search

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US military closes outpost in southeastern Syria, ceding territory to …

Washington Post3 hours ago
The U.S. military acknowledged Tuesday it has closed an outpost in southern Syria in recent days amid reports that American forces and their …
Key American base in southern Syria destroyed by retreating US …
Highly CitedAMN Al-Masdar News (registration)6 hours ago

Story image for SYRIA from Washington Post

US and allies won’t rebuild Syria without political process

Washington Post11 hours ago
NEW YORK — The Islamic State is rapidly losing control of territory in Syria, but donor countries will not reconstruct the war’s damage until a …

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Google Search

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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany – Google Search

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Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from Newsweek

Trump ‘Pee Tape’ Dossier Researcher Tells Investigators He ‘Stands …

NewsweekAug 23, 2017
U.S. Donald Trump Russia Dossier … Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7. … Fusion GPS has alleged that the investigation is an attempt to discredit the research. “This investigation into Mr. Simpson began as a desperate attempt by the Trump campaign …
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from Mic

3 key takeaways from the newly released Trump-Russia emails

MicAug 28, 2017
3 key takeaways from the newly released Trump-Russia emails … the fervor around the investigationinto the Trump campaign’s potential Russian ties. … Putin at the opening of the G20 summit on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from MassLive.com

Tale of Trump-Russia links may soon be back – big league (Editorial)

<a href=”http://MassLive.com” rel=”nofollow”>MassLive.com</a>Aug 30, 2017
Tale of Trump-Russia links may soon be back – big league (Editorial) … In populist tones, President Donald Trump is trying to turn the investigation into his … One on his way back from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION and germany from The Guardian

Deutsche Bank expects subpoenas over Trump-Russia investigation

The GuardianJul 19, 2017
Deutsche’s relationship with Trump and questions about hundreds of millions in loans have dogged the German bank and the White House for …
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TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – Google Search

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Story image for TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION from Mother Jones

The New York Times and CNN Just Published Bombshells About …

Mother Jones13 hours ago
… Just Published Bombshells About the Trump-Russia Investigation … that indicate that the investigation into Donald Trump’s former campaign …
Who is Paul Manafort again? And how does he fit in FBI’s Russia …
OpinionThe San Diego Union-Tribune11 hours ago
Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort
In-DepthFinancial Times6 hours ago

What Britain needs to understand about the profound and ancient divisions in Germany – New Statesman

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What Britain needs to understand about the profound and ancient divisions in Germany
New Statesman
Half of East Elbia was ruthlessly stripped of Germans and handed over to Poles or Russians; the rump became the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a mere satrap of the Red Army. So while …. Donald Trump is the president of the United States. His 

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Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Trump-Russia probe said to be closing in on Manafort
Financial Times
“They must have felt like there was a danger of evidence being destroyed,” said the FBI agent. “It’s usually done in drug cases where it might be flushed, not in white-collar cases.” … The FBI is also probing Michael Flynn, the retired general who 

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Rubin: ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections – News Chief

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Rubin: ‘Mother’ Merkel knows how to deal with Russian hacking, win elections
News Chief
As Americans absorb the latest details of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections — via hundreds of fake Facebook accounts — Germans have been expecting similar interference in their Sept. 24 federal election. But the fact that no Russian hack 

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Manafort Wiretapped by Feds, Told to Expect Indictment: Reports – New York Magazine

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New York Magazine
Manafort Wiretapped by Feds, Told to Expect Indictment: Reports
New York Magazine
The wiretap of Manafort had to be approved by the court established under the ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Act, meaning federal judges found that there was probable cause to believe Manafort was an agent of a foreign power. Sources say … That 
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tonePittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)
Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairmanCNN
New York Times –New York Times
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James Comey Tried to Discredit Trump’s Wiretapping Assertions That Proved True – Breitbart News

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Breitbart News
James Comey Tried to Discredit Trump’s Wiretapping Assertions That Proved True
Breitbart News
Later that month, then-FBI Director James Comey disputed Trump’s claims to the House intelligence committee. “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that 
With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a ToneNew York Times
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)
Investigators wiretapped Manafort’s phones, may have picked up conversations with President TrumpHot Air
Washington Free Beacon
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Trump Lawyer Cohen To Answer Senate Questions About Russia – NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com
Trump Lawyer Cohen To Answer Senate Questions About Russia
NBCNews.com
WASHINGTON — Senate investigators probing Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election will zero in on reported links between Moscow and President Trump’sbusinesses when longtime Trump associate Michael Cohen answers …
Trump’s ‘pit bull’ to testify on RussiaThe Hill
Trump lawyer to meet with Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday in Russia probeThe Denver Post
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer will testify over Russian election meddlingNEWS.com.au
U.S. News & World Report
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Trump behaves like the buffoon his detractors always said he was – Stuff.co.nz

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Stuff.co.nz
Trump behaves like the buffoon his detractors always said he was
Stuff.co.nz
Hillary Clinton is hardly an impartial judge, but I believe she was on the mark when she recently described Trump as “immature, with poor impulse control”. She went on to say that … Politicsworks through consensus and collaboration. Trump shows no 

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Weiner Asks for Leniency, Claims His Underage Sexting is a ‘Deep Sickness’ – The Jewish Voice

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The Jewish Voice
Weiner Asks for Leniency, Claims His Underage Sexting is a ‘Deep Sickness’
The Jewish Voice
In a new court filing, the disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner said that his sexting with an underage girl was not an “abnormal sexual interest in teenagers,” but rather the result of a “deep sickness.” On Wednesday, September 13, in a 

The dangerous case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on “A Duty to Warn” – Salon

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Salon
The dangerous case of Donald Trump: Robert Jay Lifton and Bill Moyers on “A Duty to Warn”
Salon
There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, the work of 27 psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts to assess President Trump’s mental health. They had 

World Leaders Anxious To Hear Donald Trump As UN Assembly Kicks Off – NDTV

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NDTV
World Leaders Anxious To Hear Donald Trump As UN Assembly Kicks Off
NDTV
United Nations: World leaders open their annual debate at the United Nations Today, eager to hear US President Donald Trump deliver his maiden address amid global anxiety over North Korea and Iran. Mr Trump takes the podium at the General Assembly …
Trump treks to the United Nations to meet world leaders anxious about what he’ll sayUSA TODAY
At UN, Trump to lay out vision of US role in the world, focusing on ‘outcomes, not ideology’Chicago Tribune

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Donald Trump set to push nationalist agenda at UN – Financial Times – Financial Times

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Donald Trump set to push nationalist agenda at UN – Financial Times
Financial Times
Donald Trump’s debut address to the UN general assembly on Tuesday morning is expected to set out a nationalistic foreign policy based on “sovereignty” and …

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Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’

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Paul ManafortPaul Manafort Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Recent revelations about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign team indicate that the investigation has reached the point where Mueller may soon start announcing criminal charges.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN reported on Friday that Mueller had obtained a search warrant for records of the “inauthentic” accounts Facebook shut down earlier this month and the targeted ads these accounts purchased during the 2016 election.

Legal experts said the warrant meant Mueller had been able to convince a federal judge that there was good reason to believe a foreign entity had committed a crime by making campaign contributions in the form of ads and the spread of fake news, and that evidence of that crime would be found on Facebook.

Three days later, the New York Times reported that Mueller told Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort he was going to be formally charged with a crime following a raid on his Virginia home over the summer.

Mueller has also issued subpoenas to Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni and former attorney Melissa Laurenza to testify before a federal grand jury.

The developments indicate that Mueller’s probe “is nearing the litigation stage,” said Brookings Institution fellows and legal experts Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey.

“Combined with a flurry of stories about subpoenas, grand-jury appearances and other activity, it’s reasonable to expect that Mueller is moving forward on a number of different fronts and is getting close to entering a litigation phase,” wrote Wittes and Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency.

“The key question is what he will allege, to what extent it will deal with campaign activity, and against whom he will allege it,” they added.

Trump PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump AP

CNN reported on Monday that the FBI obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year to surveil Manafort, which typically requires “some indication of criminal conduct,” Wittes and Hennessey said, rather than merely “a showing of probable cause that a crime has or will be committed.”

Manafort was previously surveilled under a separate FISA authorization that began in 2014 as the FBI scrutinized his lobbying work on behalf of the pro-Russia Party of Regions in Ukraine and his business dealings with Russian entities.

That surveillance ended due to a lack of evidence, according to CNN, but was later restarted under the new warrant that extended into 2017. Information obtained from the newly discovered FISA warrant was shared with Mueller’s team.

An early foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, Carter Page, was also placed under FBI surveillance following a trip he took to Moscow last July.

It is still unclear whether Manafort has already been indicted, and if so, on what charges. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was recently recruited by Mueller to help investigate Manafort for possible financial crimes and money laundering. The IRS’s criminal-investigations unit has been brought onto the investigation to examine similar issues.

Manafort’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

It is difficult to predict whether Mueller will charge specific foreign entities with a crime for what could be perceived as illicit campaign contributions — there is little if any precedent for an election interference as brazen and multifaceted as Russia’s.

Taken together, though, wrote Wittes and Hennessey, the developments signal that “Mueller’s investigation has reached a critical stage — the point at which he may soon start making allegations in public.”

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Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’ – Business Insider

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Business Insider
Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’
Business Insider
… about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign team indicate that the investigation has reached the point where Mueller may soon start announcing 
With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a ToneNew York Times
Manafort To Be Indicted? Was Trump Tower Wiretapped? First Thoughts on Two Big ScoopsNational Review
The Latest Scoops from CNN and the New York Times: A Quick and Dirty AnalysisLawfare (blog)

all 112 news articles »

A Charity Just Rented Out Donald Trump’s Childhood Home For Refugees

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Oxfam wants to “send a message to Trump but also world leaders that they need to do more to help refugees.”

Parsons Green attack: No evidence Isis is systematically using refugees for terror plots, research finds – The Independent

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The Independent
Parsons Green attack: No evidence Isis is systematically using refugees for terror plots, research finds
The Independent
The arrest of two refugees in connection with the attempted bombing on a London Underground train has reignited public debate, following four previous terror attacks in the UK this year. Both men, an 18-year-old from Iraq and 21-year-old … was no 

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Trump needs to abandon attack on former FBI director – Burlington County Times

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Washington Post
Trump needs to abandon attack on former FBI director
Burlington County Times
There’s nothing to suggest Comey’s memo contained any information that would be protected under the statute or that the memo was housed with FBI records. Sanders said Comey prepared the memo on a government computer. But even if that were enough …
The White House’s new way to defend Trump: Smear James ComeyWashington Post
John McCain on the Comey Hearing: “It Was a Colossal Screw-Up”Esquire.com

all 15 news articles »


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Here’s the buried bombshell…

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Here’s the buried bombshell: “White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.” – 

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Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia … New York Times–Sep 17, 2017 The debate in Mr. Trump’s West Wing has pitted Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, against Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to … Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 4:50 AM 1 Share ty cobb trump – Google Search Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 5:05 AM … Continue reading “Here’s the buried bombshell: “White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.””

Don McGahn Trump – Google Search

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Trump’s lawyers are clashing over how to handle the Russia probe

Business Insider15 hours ago
President Donald Trump’s personal defense attorneys are … team, had sparred with the White House counsel, Don McGahn, over how much to …
What’s the matter with Trump’s lawyers in Russia probe? | Opinion
Opinion<a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a>7 hours ago

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ty cobb trump – Google Search

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Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client

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Washington (CNN) Ty Cobb and other lawyers were supposed to impose discipline on an unruly White House as it confronted the investigation …
Why Is Trump’s Legal Team So Messy?
In-DepthThe Atlantic16 hours ago
What’s the matter with Trump’s lawyers in Russia probe? | Opinion
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Manafort FISA – Google Search

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Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign …

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A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of …
Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report
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Trump campaign adviser was wiretapped under secret court orders …

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Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager in June 2016 but was forced to … FISA warrants require the approval of top FBI and Justice …

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Analysis: Paul Manafort Wiretapping Raises New Questions About …

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CNN did not report on the contents of the government basis for obtaining the FISA warrant against Manafort, whose name repeatedly appears …
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Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report – TPM (blog)

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Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report
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Let’s also remember that letter former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote to James Comey after he appeared to reopen the Clinton emails investigation at the end of October. Quoting Reid:”In my communications with you and other top officials in the … 

Donald Trump may have incriminated himself on tape on Paul Manafort’s FISA wiretap 

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Earlier this year, Donald Trump asserted that the federal government had wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign. This was a wildly incorrect false claim. But while Trump himself never was wiretapped, his reckless behavior after the election appears to have gotten him tied up in a wiretap after all – and in the process, he may have incriminated himself on tape.

This evening, CNN reported that there was a FISA wiretap warrant on Paul Manafort both before and after the election (link). It’s confirmed that the first warrant covered the period of the election after Manafort had departed the Trump campaign, when they continued to communicate by phone. The second warrant covered the period of time after Trump took office and continued to speak with Manafort by phone. This means that the Feds all but certainly have tapes of the conversations between Trump and Manafort. Those tapes are now in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hands.

Now it comes down to what the two men discussed during these wiretapped conversations. It’s known, for instance, that Manafort told Trump near the end of the election that he should head to Michigan, a state which is widely suspected of having been targeted by the Russians. If Manafort’s advice to Trump included an admission that Russia had paved the way for Trump’s surprise upset in the state, then Trump is on the hook for election collusion or worse. But the wiretapped conversations after the election may be more damning.

By the time Donald Trump and Paul Manafort were communicating in 2017, Trump was the president and Manafort was known to be under federal investigation. Their mutual decision to continue communicating suggests that they were conspiring to try to get themselves and each other off the hook. If so, Trump has nailed himself on obstruction and other charges.

The post Donald Trump may have incriminated himself on tape on Paul Manafort’s FISA wiretapappeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client – CNN

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Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client
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Washington (CNN) Ty Cobb and other lawyers were supposed to impose discipline on an unruly White House as it confronted the investigation into President Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russians in the 2016 election. It appears the opposite has …
Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe.Washington Post
Mueller is homing in on a key White House player as he examines whether Trump obstructed justiceBusiness Insider
Can White House counsel McGahn claim client privilege in Mueller probe?Reuters
The Daily Caller –POLITICO Magazine
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The 2016 election was not a fluke – Washington Post

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The 2016 election was not a fluke
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It is understandable that she would blame James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and the media for damaging her prospects — and that she would play down her own strategic and tactical missteps. But take … The election never should have been close enough for 
Dissecting the election, Hillary Clinton sees dangers for democracyPBS NewsHourall 660 news articles »

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tone – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tone
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The tactics reflect some of the hard-charging — and polarizing — personalities of Mueller’s team, seasoned prosecutors with experience investigating financial fraud, money laundering andorganized crime. Admirers of Andrew Weissmann, one of the team and more »

FBI wire tapped Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: Report – Washington Examiner

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FBI wire tapped Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: Report
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The U.S. government wiretapped President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a part of an investigation into work done by Washington consulting firms for Ukrainian politicians. CNN reported Monday multiple intelligence community officials …and more »

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‪Paul Manafort was under FISA surveillance the entire time, and now Robert Mueller is about to indict him‬ 

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It turns out Paul Manafort has been under FISA surveillance the entire time. The Feds are now confirmed to have had a FISA warrant on Paul Manafort both during and after the election, monitoring his phone calls and communications. This includes Manafort’s calls to Donald Trump since he took office. It also includes potentially incriminating conversations between Manafort and Russia.

This bombshell comes by way of CNN, which is revealing this evening that the Feds have been targeting Paul Manafort since 2014 in relation to his involvement in the election of a Russian puppet in Ukraine (link). Some of the intercepted phone conversations took place between Manafort and Trump – meaning that the person occupying the office of President of the United States is associating with shady individuals so closely that he’s now been picked up on a wiretap. This is an incredible revelation. But there’s much more.

Here’s the part that’s about to put Paul Manafort’s back firmly against the wall. CNN is reporting that “Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign.” Not shockingly, the New York Times is reporting this evening that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to indict Paul Manafort (link), which confirms just how far along his probe is progressing.

For what it’s worth, Palmer Report deduced four days ago that Robert Mueller was on the verge of indicting Paul Manafort (link). These new developments this evening serve to confirm that Mueller is indeed willing to back Manafort up firmly against a wall in order to get him to flip on Donald Trump. As has previously been widely reported, Mueller is working with the New York Attorney General to bring parallel state-level charges against Manafort that can’t be pardoned by Trump – meaning Manafort’s only way out is to give Trump up.

The post ‪Paul Manafort was under FISA surveillance the entire time, and now Robert Mueller is about to indict him‬ appeared first on Palmer Report.

Paul Manafort Reportedly Wiretapped By Feds

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The FBI is investigating Trump’s former campaign manager.

Man sentenced for trying to sell satellite secrets to Russia

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A California engineer who worked for a defense contractor has been sentenced to five years in prison for selling sensitive satellite information to an undercover FBI employee he thought was a Russian agent

Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor

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Forces from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were struck by Russian air assets near the Deir Ezzor frontline on September 16th, this according to a statement made by the Combined Joint Task Force –…

The post Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor appeared first on Lima Charlie News.

Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 … – Washington Post

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Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 …
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An aspiring hacker who harassed the CIA director and the national intelligence director, among others, in 2015 was sentenced Friday to five years in federal …and more »

Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure – Washington Post

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Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure
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A pair of political science professors are out with a seemingly significant study: Despite Hillary Clinton saying she would be president if not for James BComey — and FiveThirtyEight, among others, lending credence to that claim — “We don’t think  

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Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe. – Washington Post

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Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe.
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… in that conversation indeed exist, they could well provide special counsel Robert S. Mueller III with crucial evidence about Trump’s thinking as Mueller investigates whether the president obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James BComey.and more »

Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers” near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, causing injuries to U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated S.D.F. fighters, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve on Saturday. | Global Security News

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SYRIA

Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers” near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, causing injuries to U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated S.D.F. fighters, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve on Saturday.

US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA

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US troops in SyriaAmerican troops deployed in Syria have exchanged fire with rebels that were until recently supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In 2013, soon after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the then-US President Barack Obama instructed the Central Intelligence Agency to provide covert support to fighters in Syria. Acting on the president’s directive, the CIA promptly joined forces with spy agencies from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to assist fighters affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. At that time, Washington saw the Free Syrian Army and forces affiliated with it as ideologically moderate. It also agreed with the group’s main aim, which was to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Under the project, which was codenamed TIMBER SYCAMORE, CIA personnel trained Free Syrian Army fighters in irregular warfare, while also providing them with light weaponry including machine guns, sniper rifles and off-road vehicles. But on July 19 of this year, US President Donald Trump abruptly ended the CIA program, which he called “dangerous and wasteful”. It soon became apparent that many Free Syrian Army soldiers approached Turkey, seeking financial income and protection. By early August, there were reports from Syria that large groups of former Free Syrian Army troops were conducting raids in northern Syria in coordination with the Turkish military.

Early on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Combined Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told reporters that US troops in Syria had come under fire by Turkish-commanded former Free Syrian Army units. The spokesman told reporters in Kuwait City that the rebels shot at US troops in the outskirts of Manbij, a northern Syrian city of about 70,000, located a few miles from the Turkish border. The American soldiers reportedly returned fire before seeking shelter from the assault. According to the US Pentagon, the Turkish government was promptly contacted by Inherent Resolve commanders, who described the incident as “not acceptable”. Washington alleges that its troops have come under fire “multiple times” in the past month. Some of the culprits are believed to be Turkish-controlled Syrian insurgents, including former members of the Free Syrian Army.

Turkey and the US are member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But the two countries do not follow a common policy on Syria. The US Pentagon supports Kurdish insurgents in Syria, which Turkey claims are connected with Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. Washington’s official position on Kurdish separatists is that they engage in terrorism against the Turkish state.

► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 30 August 2017 | Permalink

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Russian Strike Wounds Syrian Democratic Forces Troops > Operation Inherent Resolve > News Releases

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By CJTF-OIR | September 16, 2017

SOUTHWEST ASIA – At approximately 12:30 a.m. GMT Sept. 16, Russian forces struck a target east of the Euphrates River in Syria near Dayr Az Zawr, causing injuries to Coalition partner forces.

Russian munitions impacted a location known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisors. Several SDF fighters were wounded and received medical care as a result of the strike.

Multinational Coalition troops advising and assisting the SDF were present but not wounded as a result of the Russian strike. “Coalition officials are available and the de-confliction line with Russia is open 24 hours per day,” said Coalition commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II. “We put our full efforts into preventing unnecessary escalation among forces that share ISIS as our common enemy,” said Funk.

The Coalition and its partners remain committed to the defeat of ISIS and continued de-confliction with Russian officials. Coalition forces and partners always retain the right of self-defense.

Intelligence, Politicization, and the Russia Probe

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Editor’s Note: The incoming administration’s scorn for intelligence professionals is a matter of grave concern to many of us at LawfareI, for one, worry that the administration will conduct its foreign policy without understanding the dynamics of foreign governments, their attempts to mislead us, and emerging threats like cyber subversion. Joshua Rovner, a scholar of intelligence at American University, makes me even more concerned. He takes the long view, going beyond the potential for short-term policy catastrophe to explain the long tradition of policymaker suspicion of intelligence and the many potential negative consequences for the intelligence community.

***

In August, the Washington Post reported that intelligence officials are concerned about their new boss, given CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s political background and staunch support of Trump during the campaign. As a Republican representative from Kansas, Pompeo stood out in Congress for his relentless pressure to find a scandal in the Benghazi tragedy and to connect it with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not satisfied with the House Benghazi Committee’s final report, he attached an addendum declaring that Clinton “misled the public” about the affair and “failed to lead.” Meanwhile he threw his support behind Trump, “a commander in chief who fearlessly puts America out in front.”

Pompeo is not the first politician to lead the CIA, but his relentless brand of politics and close ties to Trump have led to fears that he cannot remain impartial about the Russia probe. In particular, critics worry that he will inhibit the work of the Agency’s Mission Center for Counterintelligence, which may possess damaging information about Russia’s role in last year’s election. The Center is the Agency’s hub for tracking foreign intelligence efforts in the United States, and according to the Post, a conduit to the FBI. Pompeo reportedly ordered the Center to report to him directly, which makes sense given his commitment to track down leakers and the sensitivity of the issue. But some within the Agency worry that he could use his position to discourage it from pursuing the investigation at all.

[Pompeo’s] relentless brand of politics and close ties to Trump have led to fears that he cannot remain impartial about the Russia probe.

Concerns about Pompeo are not new. In February, the Post reported that he was asked to call reporters in an effort to dispute stories about connections between Trump associates and Russian intelligence operatives. While Pompeo never acknowledged doing so, his public comments about broader Russian influence operations are mild compared to releases from U.S. agencies. Before the election, a joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security concluded that Russia had hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee in an effort to sway the outcome, and that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” This January, a second assessment explained why the election was a serious escalation in Russia’s long-term effort to influence U.S. politics.

Pompeo agreed with these findings in his confirmation hearings, but more recently he has argued that Russia’s so-called “active measures” are nothing new. He turned heads at the Aspen Security Forumwhen asked whether Russia had interfered in the election. “Yeah, of course,” he said. “And the one before that, and the one before that, they have been at this a hell of a long time.” Some fear that this formulation is too dismissive. While Soviet active measures in the Cold War were mostly dismal failures, this episode appears to have been much more successful, and Russia’s technical sophistication in cyber-espionage means that old analogies are not really relevant to understanding the present threat.

To be fair, Pompeo’s comments have gone far beyond what Trump has been willing to acknowledge about Russian activities. At various times, the president has pinned the blame for the DNC hacks on Russia, China, and the DNC itself. His only consistent theme is that the problem of attribution is too hard to make a firm judgment. Pompeo has been much more critical of Russia, but his caveats, especially the repeated suggestion that last year’s events were nothing new, have some worried that he will lean in Trump’s direction as the investigation intensifies. In other areas he has willingly assumed the role of a policy advocate, rather than an impartial intelligence official. This is in keeping with his embrace of Trump during the election season.

All presidents have incentives to politicize intelligence. Intelligence agencies are particularly effective public-relations vehicles because they control secret information, and individuals tend to believe in secrets. In this case, Trump has obvious reason to use intelligence leaders to muddy the waters about what happened during the campaign, and to create distance between the actions of the Russian government and his own staff. One reason why the Russia investigation is so explosive is that the intelligence community takes it so seriously. The president would surely love to see it downplay the results.

There are many ways to get intelligence to toe the policy line. Direct politicization occurs when they lean on intelligence leaders directly, cajoling them to shape intelligence conclusions in ways that are politically convenient. Indirect politicization, by contrast, occurs when policymakers send subtle signals about what they expect to see and hear. In this case, concerned intelligence officers seem to accuse Trump of what I call “manipulation by appointment.” Rather than twisting the elbows of intelligence chiefs, the idea is to put reliable friends in high places. Critics accused President Reagan of this tactic, for instance, when he appointed his campaign manager William Casey to lead the intelligence community. While pressuring senior officials can lead to political scandal, manipulation by appointment helps avoid that risk.

We can expect to see a few things if Pompeo turns out to be susceptible to White House pressure.

It is unclear that Trump chose Pompeo because he wanted a pliant leader at the CIA. We will not have the whole story for a long time, and episodes of politicization are extremely difficult to categorize. We can expect to see a few things if Pompeo turns out to be susceptible to White House pressure. Most importantly, he will temper his previous assertions about Russian responsibility for the election hack, even if the underlying intelligence remains the same. We will also see efforts to skirt organizational best practices in the CIA. Finally, we will probably see more CIA officials providing specific corroboration about how Pompeo interfered with their work. On the other hand, if Pompeo maintains his integrity, then the investigation will go by the book, and criticisms of the director will be rare and vague.

Nonetheless, there are reasons to be very concerned. Politicization is most likely when the political stakes are very high, and when leaders make public statements on controversial issues that are out of step with intelligence judgments. We are seeing this play out now. Trump’s cavalier attitude about Russian meddling stands in sharp contrast with the intelligence community, and his political future would be in serious doubt if the Russia investigation concludes that there was meaningful collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. In this hothouse environment, he has every reason to hope that special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions point in the other direction.

Mueller’s work depends on support from intelligence and law enforcement. Intercepted communications provided by the National Security Agency and investigative leads from the FBI will surely be central to the case, one way or the other. This is why Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was so troubling to observers, some of whom accused the president of obstructing the investigation by removing an official who was insufficiently loyal. Trump may believe that the new director, Christopher Wray, may be easier to manage. Similarly, he may be confident that his long-time political ally Pompeo will help him ride out the Russia probe.

If this is true, the implications are profound and disturbing. Politicization has many negative effects on the quality of intelligence: It can skew findings, inhibit later reassessments, and poison intelligence-policy relations over the long-term.

In this case there is another possible danger. It is obvious that Trump has critics inside the CIA, judging by what anonymous sources have told the press. But there are surely others within the Agency who view him favorably, not least because of his aggressive approach to counterterrorism. Trump seems to favor more aggressive collection, regardless of questions of ethics and effectiveness. He came out in favor of waterboarding, for example, arguing that it is necessary to “fight fire with fire.” Pompeo shares his inclinations. Last year he offered a strong defense of intelligence personnel against accusations that they had gone too far. “These men and women are not torturers,” he said, “they are patriots.” Pompeo’s comments suggest he will err on the side of being more aggressive, a mindset that probably resonates with some officers in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. The CIA is not a monolith.

The result might be a fracture between the Agency’s collectors and analysts. If many of the former are excited about working under Pompeo, and many of the latter believe he is a mouthpiece for the administration, then the prospects for effective collaboration are slim. The relationship between collection and analysis has always been complicated, and the Agency has invested a great deal of effort in bringing the two disciplines closer together. Most recently, it has reorganized around regional and topical mission centers in part to enhance collaboration. While this initiative is not without critics, there are good reasons to make such interactions routine. Among other things, collectors may overestimate the usefulness of their sources if they lack ready access to analysts who make sense of new information. Conversely, analysts’ work may be incomplete or outdated if they don’t have access to ongoing collection efforts. The same is true regarding covert operations: Plans that sound good in theory but are not backstopped by solid analysis may prove disastrous. Effective intelligence collection relies on a healthy working relationship with analysts. If a split develops as a result of Pompeo and the Russia probe, that working relationship may suffer.

For this reason, among others, we should be very concerned about politicization. Pompeo has a politician’s instincts and close ties to the president. This does not mean he will be politicized, of course, but it has raised suspicions within the CIA. “People have to watch him,” said one official to the Post. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.” To overcome these suspicions, and to protect the institutional integrity of the Agency, he should try.

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Report: Russia probe creates strife between WH counsel, Trump attorneys – CBS News

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Report: Russia probe creates strife between WH counsel, Trump attorneys
CBS News
The White House counsel and Trump attorneys are reportedly struggling to determine the extent of their cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion on the part of …
Trump lawyer talked loudly about Russia probe at DC restaurant with reporter nearbyVox
In Russia scandal, Trump’s legal team isn’t a fine-tuned machineMSNBC
Trump’s lawyers are clashing over how to handle the Russia probeBusiness Insider
New York Daily News –AOL –Slate Magazine (blog)
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