Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jun 30, 2017.
The deep state
I'm seeing a lot of the lawyer blogs/anti trump blogs pushing this narrative
MUELLER DRAFT REPORT SAYS TRUMP 'HELPED PUTIN DESTABILIZE THE UNITED STATES', WATERGATE JOURNALIST SAYS
Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein has said that he’s been told that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will show how President Donald Trump helped Russia “destabilize the United States.”
Bernstein, who is renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss two bombshell reports released this weekend, one from The New York Times and one from The Washington Post, which revealed new details about whether or not Trump and his aides have colluded with Russia.
The Post reported that Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal direct conversations he has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Times article revealed that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump after he fired former bureau director James Comey in 2017, suspecting the president could be working on behalf of Russia. Trump has angrily denied allegations that he worked with Russia and has regularly attacked the media for reporting on the investigation. But Bernstein slammed Trump’s dismissal of the probe.
“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,'” Bernstein explained during his appearance on Reliable Sources .
“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.
“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”
Trump has defended himself against such reports, arguing, inaccurately, that he has taken a hardline stance against Russia.
“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again! [sic],” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
However, the president’s 2016 campaign remains the subject of a special investigation led by Mueller. Several former high-ranking Trump aides have been indicted in the probe and last week, it was revealed that Manafort shared confidential polling data with an associate linked to Russian-intelligence.
Trump's administration recently moved to remove financial sanctions on an ally of Putin, and has recently pulled troops out of Syria -- a long-standing demand from the Russian President.
Kremlin Blessed Russia’s NRA Operation, U.S. Intel Report Says
When Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin’s brought NRA bigwigs to Moscow, it wasn’t a rogue mission. It was okayed from the very top, according to a report reviewed by The Beast.
The Kremlin has long denied that it had anything to do with the infiltration of the NRA and the broader American conservative movement. A U.S. intelligence report reviewed by The Daily Beast tells a different story.
Alexander Torshin, the Russian central bank official who spent years aggressively courting NRA leaders, briefed the Kremlin on his efforts and recommended they participate, according to the report. Its existence and contents have not previously been reported.
While there has been speculation that Torshin and his protege, Maria Butina, had the Kremlin’s blessing to woo the NRA—and federal prosecutors have vaguely asserted that she acted “on behalf of the Russian federation”—no one in the White House or the U.S. intelligence community has publicly stated as much. Senior Russian government officials, for their part, have strenuously distanced themselves from Butina’s courtship of the NRA, which she did at Torshin’s direction.
The report, on the other hand, notes that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fine with Torshin’s courtship of the NRA because the relationships would be valuable if a Republican won the White House in 2016.
“This reporting indicates that Alexander Torshin was working with the blessing of the Kremlin, at a minimum,” one European intelligence official told The Daily Beast. The official added that this reporting is consistent with his group’s understanding of how the Kremlin operates.
“The NRA is quite powerful, so when you look to influence U.S. politics, you should consider them as a convenient target,” the official added.
The report, published last year, is based on conversations that happened in 2015, before NRA leaders visited Moscow on a trip arranged by Torshin and Butina. The document does not specifically name the NRA or the Republican Party, but its context makes clear it is discussing those two American organizations. (American intelligence reports generally do not name U.S. persons or organizations for privacy and legal reasons.)
According to the report, Torshin suggested that Russian officials use the NRA to reach out to politically active Americans. Torshin, then a deputy governor at Russia’s central bank, noted the gun rights group’s influence in U.S. politics. He told the Kremlin about his contacts in the NRA, including conversations and meetings in the United States, and suggested that Kremlin officials scrutinize how some people affiliated with the group viewed relations between the U.S. and Russia.
The report notes that Russian officials discussed having their embassy in Washington participate in the work of courting the NRA. Kremlin officials also discussed preparations for NRA members’ upcoming trip to Moscow. Torshin recommended that someone from President Vladimir Putin’s executive office, meaning the group of people who support his day-to-day activities, meet with the group.
“My assessment of what was happening with Torshin and Butina and the NRA was that the Russians decided, a good period of time before 2016, to run an influence operation here in the U.S. with a couple of different goals,” said Steve Hall, who spent 30 years in the CIA and oversaw its Russia operations. “The obvious goal was the one the intelligence community assessed back in 2016, which was to help Donald Trump win and increase the likelihood that Hillary Clinton would lose. In addition, they wanted to create as much chaos in our democracy as possible.”
Spokespersons for the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment for this story. A lawyer for Butina declined to comment as well.
Kremlin officials at the highest levels have tried to distance themselves from Torshin’s outreach to the NRA. Last month, Putin denied that he or his security chiefs were aware of the undertaking.
“I asked all the heads of our intelligence services what is going on,” he said, regarding Butina. “Nobody knows anything about her.”
And in April of 2017, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s longtime spokesperson, said nobody in the Kremlin knew anything about the broader courtship of American conservatives by prominent Russians.
“We know nothing about that,” Peskov told The Washington Post.
Torshin and the Kremlin did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Torshin spent years building relationships with the NRA, as The Daily Beast previously detailed. A Tennessee lawyer named G. Kline Preston, who practices law in the U.S. and Russia, has said he introduced Torshin to David Keene, who helmed the NRA for a time and remained deeply active in its work after ending his time running it. Thanks to Keene, Torshin built connections throughout the gun rights movement and among prominent American conservatives. Torshin also dispatched Butina, a Siberian gun rights activist, to work in the U.S. maintaining those relationships and developing new ones. Butina struck up a romance with Paul Erickson, also an influential member of the American gun rights movement, and with his help built more elaborate plans for winning allies in the NRA.
Before moving to the U.S., she helmed a Russian gun rights organization called The Right to Bear Arms. Oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev, with the help of P.R. operator Igor Pisarsky, helped fund the group.
In December of 2015, she and Torshin helped arrange for a group of influential NRA members to travel to the Kremlin, where they had high-level meetings—including with the country’s powerful Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov; and sanctioned Putin deputy Dmitry Rogozin, an ultra-right politician who oversaw the country’s defense industry. A schedule of the 2015 trip which The Daily Beast reviewed showed attendees also planned to drive to the Presidential Administration Office on Dec. 9, 2015, for a meeting with Evgeny Lukyanov, then the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council. NRA trip participants did not respond to queries about whether the scheduled meeting with Lukyanov took place. When the trip made national news after the U.S. intelligence community publicly asserted that the Kremlin had tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 campaign, Keene said it wasn’t about politics.
“Rogozin is chairman of the Russian Shooting Federation and his Board hosted a tour of Federation HQ for us while we were there,” he told The Daily Beast. “It was non-political. There were at least 30 in attendance and our interaction consisted of thanking him and his Board for the tour.”
Torshin and Butina’s outreach to the NRA ended unhappily for both of them. The United States placed Torshin under sanctions, and he recently left his post at the central bank. Butina, meanwhile, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to act as a covert foreign agent. She is in jail awaiting sentencing, and agreed to cooperate with American prosecutors on their investigations.
The Senate intelligence committee is also probing Russian efforts to court the NRA. Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating the NRA’s Russia ties as well.
One veteran CIA officer noted that references to the Kremlin in intelligence reports have a more specific meaning than in general parlance, where Americans sometimes use the phrase as a metonym for the entire Russian government.
“In U.S. intelligence reports like this one, the phrase ‘the Kremlin’ generally refers to Vladimir Putin and his small inner circle, which would include key power ministers, including the heads of the intelligence services (SVR, FSB, GRU), the foreign minister, and oligarch cronies,” said a 30-year veteran of the CIA with deep knowledge of the Russian intelligence services who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity around issues related to Russia. “In this case, Kremlin decision-making would have likely been a smaller, even more limited, group.”
International affairs professor Nina Khrushcheva of the New School, meanwhile, told The Daily Beast that the American intelligence officers who produced the report described in this piece may have overstated the Kremlin’s organization and efficiency.
“I’m sure there’s truth to the report,” she said, “but that kind of incredible consistency and logic that Americans have in their report about what and how Russia is doing is just culturally wrong.”
“Russia is a chaotic country that makes it up as it goes along,” she added.
NRA May Have Illegally Coordinated With GOP Senate Campaigns
January 13, 2019
NRA President Oliver North (L) listens as Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at the Jefferson County GOP office on November 3, 2018, in Imperial, Missouri.
The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated campaign ads with Republican candidates in key Senate races, according to Federal Communication Commission (FCC) records obtained by The Trace.
According to the report, the NRA’s ads on behalf of Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley and Montana Senate candidate Matt Rosendale in 2018, as well as North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr in 2016, were all authorized by the same media consulting firm that they candidates used for their ads. (Hawley and Burr won their races, but Rosendale lost to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.) The scheme appears to be in violation of laws barring independent groups from working in concert with political campaigns.
According to the FCC records, at least 10 purchases by both the NRA and three Senate campaigns were made by the same person, National Media CFO Jon Ferell.
The Trace reported that the company used the “assumed or fictitious name” Red Eagle Media to buy ads for the NRA while using the name American Media & Advocacy Group to buy ads for the Senate candidates.
The Trace previously reported in December that President Trump’s 2016 campaign had the same type of scheme with the NRA. In that case, the campaign and the NRA hired different National Media affiliates to approve ads on their behalf. National Media employees using different corporate names placed ads for both Trump and the NRA around the country.
Campaign finance laws prohibit independent groups from sharing election-related information with campaigns. Though it is not illegal for the groups and campaigns to use the same vendor, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires vendors to prevent workers from sharing information.
Larry Noble, who served as general counsel for the FEC for more than a decade, told The Trace that “all evidence points to coordination.”
“It’s hard to understand how you’d have same person authorizing placements for the NRA and the candidate and it not be coordination,” he said.
Last year, The Daily Beast obtained audio in which Rosendale, during his 2018 campaign against Tester, admitted that Chris Cox, the top political strategist for the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action, assured him that the NRA would aid his campaign by August.
“I fully expect the NRA is going to come in … in August sometime,” Rosendale said in the recording. “The Supreme Court confirmations are big. That’s what sent the NRA over the line. Because in ’12, with [Republican Senate nominee Denny Rehberg], they stayed out, they stayed out of Montana. But Chris Cox told me, he’s like, ‘We’re going to be in this race.’”
The NRA followed up Rosendale’s prediction by spending more than $400,000 on political ads targeting Tester by September.
Both the NRA and Rosendale denied any coordination after the recording was released.
Even before that story broke, Politico reported in July 2018 that two NRA groups had illegally coordinated spending in support of Republican candidates, using a shell company created by the Republican consulting firm OnMessage.
Alex Tausanovitch, who served four years as counsel to commissioners on the FEC, told Montana Public Radio that the coordination between Rosendale’s campaign and the NRA was as blatant as it gets.
“The spirit of the rule is candidates are supposed to be entirely independent of these outside groups, and here we have a recording of the candidate talking about what seems to be a private, substantive conversation with an outside dark money group about the specifics of the campaign,” Tausanovitch said. “That is the kind of thing the FEC could easily look into.”
The NRA is now the subject of two pending complaints before the FEC, but The Trace noted that the federal laws barring such coordination are rarely enforced, in part because the FEC has been deadlocked along partisan lines for years.
Ann Ravel, who served on the FEC until 2017, said that the NRA cases “show how weak the campaign finance system is.”
“There is so much documentary evidence that it wouldn’t even require a lengthy investigation,” Ravel said. “Some cases are hard to prove, but this, on its face, is so obvious. I would not think that there is any basis for not at least investigating the matter.”
“What this reflects is the FEC’s lack of enforcement and the lack of respect that the NRA and the vendor are showing toward the FEC and the law,” added Larry Noble. “You do this if you think no one is going to investigate.”
This is Trump being told by Russians to drive Turkey eastward, it also helps the neocons don't want Turkey to fight the Kurds.
The deep state are the neocons, they create major openings for corruption by trying to use economics to create ideological fights.
Russia sees the opening where these people are pushing allies and helps compound the issue, but their intention is to break not bend people to their side.
So it's both sides piling on Trump, but this is a major score for Russia/Iran/China
What a time to be alive
Look at that fucking neck
fit a lot of dicc
While President Donald Trump fended off critics over a dragged-out government shutdown and fresh reports he had sought to conceal communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his evangelical envoy sang his praises from the Middle East.
America’s top diplomat Mike Pompeo greeted his audience in Cairo with a prophetic turn of phrase.
“This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.”
He added that he was in Cairo to herald another truth, that America was a “force for good” in the Middle East.
Pompeo then proceeded to rip into former President Barack Obama, who some fringe evangelists have accused of being a secret Muslim and even the anti-Christ. The secretary of state used his speech to air domestic grievances, blaming Obama for the rise of Islamic State and the empowerment of Iran.
“Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.
“The results of these misjudgments have been dire,” Pompeo told an assembled group of blank-faced students, eliciting little palpable reaction.
“We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents,” he said.
Pompeo’s messianic message came as challengers for the 2020 US presidential race began announcing their candidacies. Over the past two weeks, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Obama’s secretary of housing Julian Castro and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have all stepped up to the plate, hoping to be the Democratic challenger to Trump.
The incumbent is expected to retain his party’s mantle. But the businessman who campaigned on taking his “art of the deal” style negotiation tactics to run Washington will now have to justify a dipping stock market and the longest government shutdown in US history. To win in 2020, Trump will need America’s evangelicals firmly in his corner.
Years before assuming the office of secretary of state, Pompeo told attendees at a rally in his native Kansas that it was not only a right, but a duty for Christians to combine their faith with service to the country.
Politics, he said, “is a never-ending struggle … until the rapture.” The rapture being the belief among many evangelical Christians that believers and the resurrected dead will rise up to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Andrew Chesnut, Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, explained that Christian Zionists – now hegemonic among white evangelicals – believe that for the rapture to occur, Jews must return to the “promised land,” or Israel.
“Be a part of it. Be in the fight,” Pompeo urged the congregation.
The current secretary of state has also said there is a threat to America from “people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer.”
“They abhor Christians, and will continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”
Pompeo appeared to have thrown his full weight into that crusade as America’s top envoy abroad.
“As a Christian Zionist, Pompeo shares Israel’s belief that the great force for evil in the Middle East is Iran, and he underscored this in his Cairo speech, that the US would not rest until every Iranian boot was expelled from Syria.
“Moreover, he views US policy in the Middle East as a force of Christian good in a region torn apart by Islamic extremism, namely ISIS and Iran, especially the latter,” said Chesnut.
Pompeo is consistently unfazed and unabashed by the mercurial inclinations of his boss, taking the latest Syria withdrawal directive in his stride and branding it as part of the grand plan, in which the security of Israel and the stability of Arab states willing to normalize relations with Israel is paramount.
US allies have meanwhile made their own contingency plans; the Syrian Kurds of the YPG are in talks with Bashar al-Assad’s government, key Gulf states are reopening their embassies in Damascus and the Turks have announced they will proceed with military moves against the YPG regardless of the US pullout. None of those parties appear to have been Pompeo’s audience.
Instead, he appeared to be sending a strong signal to a key constituency back home.
Passion for Israel
Protestants make up more than 40% of the US populace, with dedicated evangelicals forming the majority of that pool.
Leading voices in the evangelical community in the run-up to the 2016 race decided that Trump, despite questionable morals, could serve as a vessel for their ambitions. The Pew Research Center found that white evangelicals voted “overwhelmingly” for Trump in the last vote.
As of April 2017, 75% of white evangelical Protestants approved of Trump’s job as president, compared with an approval rating of 39% with the general public, according to Pew.
One key issue for that constituency is unequivocal support for Israel, to where evangelicals believe the Jewish people must return.
“White Evangelicals figure among the largest sector and most loyal of Trump’s political base so Pompeo’s self-references to being an evangelical coupled with his implementation of pro-Israel policy in the Middle East plays perfectly to Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, for example, who are more Zionist than American Jews,” said Chesnut.
Then-CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo (L), Vice-President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on March 20, 2018. Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb
Pompeo’s evangelical counterpart Mike Pence in July 2017 said: “My passion for Israel springs from my Christian faith … It’s really the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice-president to a president who cares so deeply for our most cherished ally.”
The vice-president promised then that “the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when.”
That promise came to pass in December 2017, when Trump pledged to move the embassy, and again in May, when the new building was inaugurated in Jerusalem.
The US relationship with the heir to the Saudi throne is also viewed as an invaluable component of the effort to maintain Israel’s security in a hostile region.
The young prince Mohammed bin Salman in April said the “Israelis have the right to have their own land.” The statement was viewed as a veiled recognition of Israel’s right to exist and it was made without gaining any concessions.
While his father, King Salman, has since put his son in his place on the matter of ceding Jerusalem to the Israelis, it is only a matter of time before the father fully passes on the reigns to the new face of the kingdom.
On Monday, Pompeo sat down with the crown prince in Riyadh, a critical endorsement meant to turn the page once and for all on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. It was also a public dismissal of the elected leaders of the US Senate, who passed a resolution holding the crown prince responsible for the killing.
The former CIA chief instead gave credence to the Saudi investigation, which has not implicated the crown prince in the affair. Up to five Saudis may face the death penalty for the murder, but they have not been named and not expected to include the crown prince’s micromanaging aide Saud al-Qahtani, who is also accused of personally overseeing and participating in the torture of women’s rights activists.
Pompeo on Monday night concluded his tour with a deliberate nod to Oman, which welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a surprise visit in October. With that visit, the sultanate went from being viewed as Obama’s suspicious backchannel to Iran, to gaining notice as a key piece of a promising regional equation. An equation that, for the ideological Christians in the Trump administration, divides the world in terms of good and evil.
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