Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel… – The role of Germany in “Trump-Russia scandal” – Links – 7.14.17

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Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel as if the scenarios were known, played out, and planned by them, with skillful masking. 

Kushner-Bannon power struggle might also be a factor in the recent events and media reports, and also as if it were a part of the same scenario. 

Michael Novakhov

7.14.17 

The role of Germany in “Trump-Russia scandal” – Links – 7.14.17

Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel – My Opinions – By Michael Novakhov – The Web World Times – webworldtimes.com
The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah: The Foreign Interference In The Elections Of 2016 – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
trump and germany – Google Search
trump and merkel – Google Search
Trump’s America Is ‘No Friend’ Says Germany’s Angela Merkel Ahead of ‘Thorny’ G20 Summit
In Shadow of Trump Visit, Franco-German United Front Flourishes – Bloomberg
Merkel In Paris Ahead Of Trump Visit Talks Of Europe Self-Reliance, U.S. Cooperation
Full coverage – Google News
France, Germany Plan Development of New European Fighter Jet
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7.14.17

Former Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer – NBC News
Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says | Tampa Bay Times
Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 Pieces – USNI News
Christopher Wray Signifies America’s Thirst for Normalcy
Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump – The New York Times
Trump’s legal team faces tensions — and a client who often takes his own counsel – The Washington Post
Trump Russia scandal: What now? | The Sacramento Bee
Donald Trump’s deep connections to dirty Russian money: The trail leads back more than 30 years – Salon.com
Eels from overturned truck slime cars on Oregon highway – The Washington Post

Posts – 7.14.17

» Trump dodges on whether he accepted Putin’s hacking denial – The Hill 14/07/17 03:37 from Saved Stories – None The Hill Trump dodges on whether he accepted Putin’s hacking denial The Hill President Trump on Wednesday evening dodged a question on whether he accepted Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russia’s involvement in the interference campaign direc… – Shared Articles
» GOP Congressman: Donald Trump Should Remove His Kids From The White House 14/07/17 08:40 from Saved Stories – None “I wish that he would get them out of the way so that we could have a professional staff at the White House on policy issues,” said Rep. Bill Flores. – Shared Articles
9:23 AM 7/14/2017 – News and Posts – Shared Articles

7.13.17

Jared Kushner under fire for Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian lawyer – Business Insider
Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad – Analysis – Eurasia Review
National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary | heraldandnews.com
This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun.
Jared Kushner – Google Search
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Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic
We Now Have Proof of Donald Trump’s Russian Collusion | Observer
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The Latest: Trump wishes he’d asked Putin who he supported | Boston Herald
Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation – Chicago Tribune
All Roads Now Lead to Kushner – The New York Times
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The Inside Story of the Kushner-Bannon Civil War | Vanity Fair
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Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner factions clash in White House – Business Insider
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Alliance for Securing Democracy – Google Search
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) – Google Search
German Marshall Fund – Wikipedia
The Senate Judiciary Committee Plans How To Coordinate Investigations With Mueller
Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism – Google Search
Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense – Bloomberg
(42) WATCH LIVE: President Trump and French President Macron hold joint news conference – YouTube
(43) Trump: Most ‘Would Have Taken That Meeting’ – YouTube

Posts – 7.13.17

Reading List – 7:26 AM 7/13/2017: Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic  Eurasia Review: Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad Analysis  National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary We Now Have Proof of Donald Trumps Russian Collusion  trump russia treason – Google News: This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun. – The Week Magazine – Shared Articles
Daily News and Posts – 7:52 AM 7/13/2017 – Links
All Roads Now Lead to Kushner – New York Times-5 hours ago – Shared Articles

7.12.17

Military Plane Crashes With 16 on Board in Mississippi; ‘Most’ Bodies Recovered, Official Says – NBC News
leflore mississippi military plane crash mid-air – Google Search
Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air, emergency officials say
The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? – Al Arabiya English
Christopher Way Pledges Strict Independence FBI Helm, Jul 12 2017 | C-SPAN.org
FBI as “showboat” – Google Search
Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations | News & Observer
Trump’s FBI pick vows independence, says Russia probe no ‘witch hunt’
Rancor at White House as Russia Story Refuses to Let the Page Turn – The New York Times

Posts – 7.12.17

America is closed for renovations… – News In Photos
A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday (7.11.17). – News In Photos
The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? – Al Arabiya English – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
All of the FBI is one huge “showboat”! – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
sater missiles – Google Search
Felix Sater: The Crook Behind the Trump-Russia ‘Peace’ Plan
alliance between the Mafia and ISIS – Google Search
FBI is “showboat” – Google Search
FBI as “showboat” cartoons – Google Search
showboat meaning – Google Search
fbi has 12% public approval rating – Google Search
Poll: By 2 to 1 margin, registered voters reject Comey | TheHill
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NBC/WSJ Poll: Just 29 Percent Approve of Trump’s Firing of James Comey – NBC News
nincompoops – Google Search
Posts – 7.12.17: America is closed for renovations… – News In Photos A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday (7.11.17). – News In Photos The Mafia-ISIS conne
Voice of America: US Customs Agents Find Cobras Inside Mail at JFK Airport – Shared Articles
» Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations 12/07/17 13:25 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks mikenova shared this story . Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped gui… – Shared Articles
“Kushner’s role including his niche overseeing the digital operations will be closely looked at…” – Shared Articles
The Web World Times wwtimes.com: Posts: Wed, 12 Jul – Sat, 01 Jul 2017 – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com

Current Events and Topics – July 2017

Russian mafia, Trump, and Mueller investigation – 7.4.17

russian mafia – Google Search
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AP – Mueller probe could draw focus to Russian crime operations
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Red Mafia – Google Search

Democrats Push Probe Into Trump, Deutsche Bank and Russia

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House Democrats are using a new tactic to gather information on Deutsche Bank (DB) as part of a broader party effort to push action on inquiries into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Democrats will offer measures known as resolutions of inquiry, an investigative procedure that House of Representatives members can employ to make a direct request for information to the executive branch. The resolutions automatically trigger floor votes if they don’t get action in committee within 14 legislative days. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Friday will file a resolution to push for information on Trump, those in his orbit and Deutsche Bank.

The resolution, introduced by Waters and Representatives Daniel Kildee (R-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Al Green (D-TX) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), asks Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to provide records from his department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network that detail Trump’s ties to Russia as well as those of his family members and associates.

House Democrats have sent four letters requesting information on Trump and Deutsche Bank since March — two to Deutche Bank directly, one to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and one to Mnuchin.

“We have to get all the information we can find about [President Trump] and his business relationships,” Waters said in a recent interview with TheStreet. “It is extremely important, and I don’t care where it comes from.”

Specifically, Democrats are seeking details on the bank’s conduct in the Russian mirror trading scandal, through which it helped wealthy Russians move $10 billion out of the country from 2011 to 2014, and its relationship with Trump.

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The German banks is one of the few banks that still lends money to the president after his bankruptcies and financial woes. His financial disclosure, released by the U.s. Office of Government Ethics last month, shows liabilities for Trump of at least $130 million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, including at least $50 million for the Old Post Office that houses Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel.

Waters, ranking member on the Financial Services Committee, and fellow committee Democrats will request through resolution of inquiry from the Treasury Department information on credit extended by Russian banks and Russian government officials to Trump and those in his orbit and information on the Russian mirror trading scandal. They are seeking information on money laundering and sanctions violations by those in the president’s orbit as well.

The ROI lists off Trump’s properties, past and present, including the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Trump National Doral in Miami and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. It also targets properties owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Democrats also specify several figures of interest. Trump’s family members are listed, as well as figures such as campaign chairman Paul Manafort, activist investor Carl Icahn, Russian-born associate Felix Sater, operative Roger Stone and attorney Michael Cohen. They also list members of the administration, including Gary Cohn, Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions.

The resolution also requests information on the president’s long-time assistant, Rhona Graff, and publicist Rob Goldstone, two figures tied into the brewing scandal surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer. Emails released by Trump Jr. earlier this week just minutes before The New York Times was set to break a story on them revealed he accepted a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer on the promise that she could offer damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The emails also said the Russian government was supporting his father’s presidential bid.

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Trump’s legal team faces tensions — and a client who often takes his own counsel

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The challenge for President Trump’s attorneys has become, at its core, managing the unmanageable — their client.

He won’t follow instructions. After one meeting in which they urged Trump to steer clear of a certain topic, he sent a tweet about that very theme before they arrived back at their office.

He won’t compartmentalize. With aides, advisers and friends breezing in and out of the Oval Office, it is not uncommon for the president to suddenly turn the conversation to Russia — a subject that perpetually gnaws at him — in a meeting about something else entirely.

And he won’t discipline himself. Trump’s legal team, led by Marc E. Kasowitz of New York, is laboring to underscore the potential risk to the president if he engages without a lawyer in discussions with other people under scrutiny in widening Russia inquiries, including Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser.

Nearly two months after Trump retained outside counsel to represent him in the investigations of alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election, his and Kushner’s attorneys are struggling to enforce traditional legal boundaries to protect their clients, according to half a dozen people with knowledge of the internal dynamics and ongoing interactions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, listens during session with cybersecurity experts at the White House in January. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Compounding the challenges have been tensions between Trump’s and Kushner’s legal teams in a frenzied, siege-like environment. Senior White House officials are increasingly reluctant to discuss the issue internally or publicly and worry about overhearing sensitive conversations, for fear of legal exposure.

“Stuff is moving fast and furious,” said one person familiar with the work of the legal teams. “The tensions are just the tensions that would normally exist between two groups of lawyers starting to work together and struggling with facts that we don’t all know yet.”

A third faction could complicate the dynamic further. Trump’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., hired his own criminal defense attorney this week amid disclosures that he met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who he thought could provide incriminating information about Democrat Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Trump Jr. also is considering hiring his own outside public relations team.

In remarks to reporters on Air Force One before his arrival in Paris on Thursday, Trump defended his son as “a good boy” who had done nothing wrong and suggested he would support Trump Jr. testifying about the case “if he wants to.”

[‘Category 5 hurricane’: White House under siege by Trump Jr.’s revelations]

As in Trump’s West Wing, lawyers on the outside teams have been deeply distrustful of one another and suspicious of motivations. They also are engaged in a circular firing squad of private speculation about who may have disclosed information about Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer to the New York Times, said people familiar with the situation.

Michael J. Bowe, a partner at Kasowitz’s firm and a member of Trump’s legal team, said the lawyers are collaborating effectively. “The legal teams have worked together smoothly and professionally from the start,” he said.

Trump’s lawyer denies Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn probe

President Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz hit back at former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on June 8, saying that Trump never asked Comey to let the Flynn investigation go or for Comey’s “loyalty.” President Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz hit back at former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on June 8. (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Reuters)

(Reuters)

Another question is who will pay the legal fees for the president and administration officials involved in the Russia inquiries. Some in Trump’s orbit are pushing the Republican National Committee to bear the costs, said three people with knowledge of the situation, including one who euphemistically described the debate as a “robust discussion.”

Although the RNC does have a legal defense fund, it well predates the Russia investigations and is intended to be used for legal challenges facing the Republican Party, such as a potential election recount.

The RNC has not made a decision, in part because the committee is still researching whether the money could legally be used to help pay legal costs related to Russia. But many within the organization are resisting the effort, thinking it would be more appropriate to create a separate legal defense fund for the case.

RNC officials declined requests for comment. The White House has not said whether Trump, Kushner and other officials are paying their legal bills themselves or whether they are being covered by an outside entity.

Those retained by the parties involved include Kasowitz, Bowe and Jay Sekulow for Trump; Jamie S. Gorelick and Abbe Lowell for Kushner; and Alan Futerfas for Trump Jr.

The president has been irritated with Kasowitz, which the Times first reported this week. The two men have known each other for decades, and both are hard-charging, prideful and brash.

[Trump is struggling to stay calm on Russia, one morning call at a time]

But people briefed on the evolving relationship said Trump has made Kasowitz absorb his fury about the Russia inquiries — in keeping with how the president treats his White House staff, quick to blame aides when things go awry.

The lawyers are now faced with the challenge of trying to force change on Trump, 71, who throughout his life has often thrived amid freewheeling chaos. He made his name as a flamboyant Manhattan developer, trafficking in hyperbole and mistruth — or “puffery,” as one former aide put it — while exhibiting little discretion in his daily conversations. For Trump, this was a formula for success.

“There’s no question that Donald Trump has lied flagrantly and almost pathologically his entire life,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, author of the Trump biography “TrumpNation” and a Bloomberg View columnist. “For good parts of his life, he’s been insulated from the consequences of doing that.”

Trump is now the highest elected official in the nation, and with that outsize perch comes potentially outsize consequences. His legal team is trying to impress upon him and those in his orbit that there could be severe ramifications for lying to federal investigators or congressional committees.

O’Brien said, “He is now in a completely different world, and it’s a world unlike any he’s ever existed in before — both in terms of the sophistication and honesty that’s required of him to do his job well, and most especially the titanic legal and reputational consequences of Donald Trump continuing to be the same old Donald Trump.”

[‘A million miles per hour’: Inside Trump’s campaign when Trump Jr. met with Russian]

The president, however, believes he has done nothing wrong and is the target of what he repeatedly has called “a witch hunt.” His instinct, those close to him have said, is to trust his gut and punch back.

Barry Bennett, who was a Trump campaign adviser, said that Trump isn’t used to losing and that “he never stops fighting. That’s what life has taught him. In Washington, politics is a full-
contact sport, and it’s certainly tougher than having it out with a magazine. It’s a new arena for him and he’s treating it like every arena he’s ever been in. He may be right, but it’s messy.”

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During last year’s campaign, Bennett recalled, “do you know how many times people came to him and said, ‘That was lethal, you’re never going to survive it’? Every time, he survived. When somebody tells him he can’t do something, he’s at a minimum circumspect.”

When it comes to Twitter, however, the president is hardly circumspect. His political advisers have long urged him to restrain his first impulses on social media and to think twice before tweeting — and now, his lawyers are asking the same.

Still, the president persists.

“It’s my voice,’’ Trump said in a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine. ‘‘They want to take away my voice. They’re not going to take away my social media.’’

Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

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· · · · · · · ·

Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump

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Biographies describe a man intent on making his fortune and not afraid of skating near the edge to do so. At one point, according to Politico, federal investigators found that Frederick used various accounting measures to collect an extra $15 million in rent (in today’s dollars) from a government housing program, on top of paying himself a large “architect’s fee.” He was hauled before investigating committees on at least two occasions, apparently was arrested at a K.K.K. rally in Queens (though it’s not clear he was a member), got involved in a slush fund scandal with Robert Wagner and faced discrimination allegations.

I repeat this history because I don’t think moral obliviousness is built in a day. It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing; to take the normal human yearning to be good and replace it with a single-minded desire for material conquest; to take the normal human instinct for kindness and replace it with a law-of-the-jungle mentality.

It took a few generations of the House of Trump, in other words, to produce Donald Jr.

The Donald Trump Jr. we see through the Russia scandal story is not malevolent: He seems to be simply oblivious to the idea that ethical concerns could possibly play a role in everyday life. When the Russian government offer came across his email, there doesn’t seem to have been a flicker of concern. Instead, he replied with that tone of simple bro glee that we remember from other scandals.

“Can you smell money?!?!?!?!” Jack Abramoff emailed a co-conspirator during his lobbying and casino fraud shenanigans. That’s the same tone as Don Jr.’s “I love it” when offered a chance to conspire with a hostile power. A person capable of this instant joy and enthusiasm isn’t overcoming any internal ethical hurdles. It’s just a greedy boy grabbing sweets.

Once the scandal broke you would think Don Jr. would have some awareness that there were ethical stakes involved. You’d think there would be some sense of embarrassment at having been caught lying so blatantly.

But in his interview with Sean Hannity he appeared incapable of even entertaining any moral consideration. “That’s what we do in business,” the younger Trump said. “If there’s information out there, you want it.” As William Saletan pointed out in Slate, Don Jr. doesn’t seem to possess the internal qualities necessary to consider the possibility that he could have done anything wrong.

That to me is the central takeaway of this week’s revelations. It’s not that the Russia scandal may bring down the administration. It’s that over the past few generations the Trump family has built an enveloping culture that is beyond good and evil.

The Trumps have an ethic of loyalty to one another. “They can’t stand that we are extremely close and will ALWAYS support each other,” Eric Trump tweeted this week. But beyond that there is no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code. There is just naked capitalism.

Successful business people, like successful politicians, are very ambitious, but they generally have some complementary moral code that checks their greed and channels their drive. The House of Trump has sprayed an insecticide on any possible complementary code, and so they are continually trampling basic decency. Their scandals may not build to anything impeachable, but the scandals will never end.

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Nevada Rushes to Address Shortage of Newly Legalized Marijuana

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Donald Trump’s deep connections to dirty Russian money: The trail leads back more than 30 years

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On Air Force One on Thursday, President Trump actually took questions from reporters but there was some confusion about whether or not the exchange was on the record. The White House later released a transcript that left out a couple of things. Since reporters were released from their agreement to keep it off the record, they filled in the blanks:

So we are getting closer to an admission that our president knew that representatives of the Russian government wanted to help him win the election. He simply doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with that.

We know for sure that he doesn’t think there’s anything unusual about it. He told the reporters:

Honestly, in a world of politics, most people are going to take that meeting. If somebody called and said, hey — and you’re a Democrat — and by the way, they have taken them — hey, I have really some information on Donald Trump. You’re running against Donald Trump. Can I see you? I mean, how many people are not going to take the meeting?

When asked about it again during his press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, he said the same thing.

Donald Trump used to brag about doing business with Russians. He told David Letterman back in 2013 “I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians, I know the Russians very well. They’re smart and they’re tough and they’re not looking so dumb right now.” That was around the time of the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, when Trump was tight with billionaire oligarch Aras Agalarov, also known as Putin’s builder, and his pop star son Emin, both of whom were instrumental in the “Hillary dirt” meeting with Donald Jr. After years of trying fruitlessly to get a Trump project off the ground in the country, he had finally succeeded in making the contact who could make his dream come true.

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According to Michael Isikoff at Yahoo, it was a typical Trump arrangement in which Agalarov would build the tower and license Trump’s name for big dollars. Donald Jr. was put it charge and Ivanka even made a trip in 2014 to see the proposed property. Unfortunately for the Trumps, the project got shelved when the Russian economy went south due to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union following the Russian incursion into Crimea (something President Trump is now in a position to “fix”).

Agalarov told Forbes back in March that he was still on board the Trump train and that “anything Trump related I would be interested to pursue. I think today the Trump brand is stronger all over the world. And him being the president; I mean, it’s a big brand now.” Indeed it is.

Nonethless, Trump was all over the map about his involvement with Russia during the campaign, saying in one breath that he was good pals with Vladimir Putin and another denying that he’d ever had anything to do with Russia in any way, shape or form. In his first press conference as president he said, “I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

But asking if Trump has investments in Russia was never the right question. The question to ask was whether any Russians had investments in Donald Trump. Some years back Donald Trump Jr. told a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” When writer James Dodson asked how the Trumps were able to finance their purchase of golf courses during the recession when credit had all dried up, Eric Trump told him, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Eric Trump has denied he ever said this.)

Nonetheless it has been difficult to analyze Trump’s financing arrangements since his company is family-owned and he refuses to release his tax returns or detail his holdings in any useful way. We know Trump was cited numerous times for money-laundering in his Atlantic City casinos. (I wrote about that here.)  But this blockbuster article by Craig Unger in the New Republic confirms that Trump has been financed for years by Russian mobsters who have laundered money through his high-end real estate projects. And when I say Russian mobsters I’m talking about the most powerful Russian mobsters in the world.

Unger makes clear that he can find no evidence that Trump was ever involved in criminal activity, or knew exactly where the money pouring into his buildings was coming from. He didn’t need to know or want to; if nothing else Trump has finely honed survival instincts. But Unger also documents that criminals and oligarchs lived in and ran illegal activities out of Trump properties, including Trump Tower in Manhattan, for more than 30 years. They provided Trump with some of his most lucrative branding deals, the ones in which he was not required to make any personal investment. The unending flow of Russian money, Unger writes, that “provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics.”

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It’s hard to believe that anyone with that kind of criminal exposure would think it was a good idea to run for president. But Trump had been in the public spotlight and had gotten away with it for years. Books were written about his ties to criminals and he’s been sued thousands of time for fraudulent business practices. In his experience, this is just how the world works.

Trump’s comments about his son’s nefarious meeting shows that he believes everyone does whatever it takes to win and use any means at their disposal. He’s so casual about it that it’s obvious that if at some point before he ran for president he was personally offered the help of the Russian FSB, he would have taken it without a second thought. He simply assumes that everyone in the world is exactly like him.

I’m sure there is a clinical term for this but it’s just as easy to simply say that he has the ethos of a mobster. Why wouldn’t he? He’s been doing business with them for years.

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· · · · · ·

Former Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer

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WASHINGTON — The Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counter intelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, NBC News has learned.

NBC News is not naming the lobbyist, who denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship.

Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian attorney: Another person attended 2:49

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Veselnitskaya acknowledged to NBC News that she was accompanied by at least one other man, though she declined to identify him.

The presence at the meeting of a Russian-American with suspected intelligence ties is likely to be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate panels investigating the Russian election interference campaign.

Related: What’s Next in the Trump-Russia Saga? Here’s What We Know Now

Contacted by NBC News, representatives for Kushner and Manafort declined to comment.

Alan Futerfas, the attorney retained by Donald Trump Jr., confirmed he has spoken to the individual.

“It’s very simple,” Futerfas said. “The person was described as a friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]’s.”

Agalarov is a pop star and a client of Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who arranged the meeting with Trump Jr. Agalarov appeared in a music video with Trump when the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time, was held in Moscow in 2013.

Futerfas said he has talked with that individual who came to the meeting with Veselnitskaya. “He is a U.S. citizen. He told me specifically he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question.”

Futerfas confirmed that, “for the purpose of security or otherwise, the names were reviewed” but said Trump Jr. knew nothing about the man’s background at the time of the meeting.

When asked about whether he had concerns, knowing what he knows now, Futerfas responded: “I have absolutely no concerns about what was said in that meeting.”

Veselnitskaya, in an exclusive interview with NBC News, denied having any connection to the Kremlin and insisted the meeting was to discuss sanctions, not the presidential campaign.

Exclusive: Russian Lawyer Responds to Trump Jr. Emails 2:09

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In an email exchange released by Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son wrote “I love it” to Goldstone when told about possibly getting his hands on material potentially damaging to the Clinton campaign.

Goldstone told Trump Jr. that the meeting would be with a “Russian government attorney” and that the information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded enthusiastically, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Related: Trump’s Lawyer Says President Was Unaware of Son’s Russian Emails

Trump Jr. said after releasing the emails that, “in retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.”

President Trump has defended his son’s decision to meet with Veselnitskaya, saying “most people would have taken that meeting.”

“My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer,” Trump said Thursday in a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. “From a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or research into your opponent.”

Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva reported from Washington. Hallie Jackson reported from Paris.

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Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 Pieces

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Romanian static-line paratroopers enter a KC-130T Hercules Aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452, on the flight line of Campia Turzii, Romania, June 3, 2010. A pair of KC-130 Hercules aircraft, from VMGR-452, out of Newburgh, N.Y., and VMGR-234, out of Fort Worth, Texas, are currently deployed as the air combat element of the Black Sea Rotational Force Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force. US Marine Corps photo.

The Marine Corps KC-130T that crashed Monday afternoon likely experienced a failure at cruising altitude and fell to the ground in two main pieces, the service announced today.

The Marines have still not commented on potential causes of the crash, as the investigation is ongoing. But Brig. Gen. Bradley James, Commanding General of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, told reporters in a press conference in Mississippi today that there are “two large impact areas” and that “indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude. There is a large debris pattern.”

James said at the press conference that the families of the victims – nine Marines from the reserve unit Marine Air Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452 based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., along with six Marines and a Navy corpsman from 2nd Raider Battalion based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. – had been notified but that the names of those 16 service members would not be released until “the next few days” out of respect for their families.

The Marines from VMGR-452, which falls under James’ 4th MAW, were tasked with transporting the 2nd Raider Battalion special operations personnel from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., to Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif. Around 4 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration notified the Marine Corps that the plane had dropped off local radar readings. Around that time, large plumes of smoke were noticed by local residents in fields in Northwest Mississippi.

Two U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft with the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 prior to departing for a refueling mission in support of exercise Northern Edge 2011 June 13, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. US Marine Corps photo.

The fact that the KC-130T would experience issues at cruising altitude leading to a crash is unusual in that the airplane has among the best safety records of anything the military flies today. USNI News previously reported the Marines’ KC-130 fleet, which has included three older models before the introduction of today’s KC-130J, has experienced just two in-flight Class A mishaps before this week. Class A mishaps involve a fatality or more than $2 million in damages. In the two previous mishaps, one involved a flash fire breaking out as a plane was coming in for a landing in Pakistan, leading to a fatal crash into a mountainside, and the other occurred just after takeoff, leading to a crash landing that all personnel survived. The Marines have not seen any similar instances of a KC-130 having issues at cruising altitude.

Related

Marine KC-130 Involved in Monday Crash Has Good Safety Record

Marine KC-130 Involved in Monday Crash Has Good Safety Record

This post has been corrected to reflect that the KC-130 itself has experienced only three in-flight mishaps, rather than four in-flight mishaps as was previously reported. A fourth entry provided by the Naval Safety Center was mistakenly labeled as a KC-130 mishap; rather, the Naval Safety Center told USNI News…

July 11, 2017

In “Aviation”

U.S. Increases Role in Aussie Pitch Black Air Combat Exercise

U.S. Increases Role in Aussie Pitch Black Air Combat Exercise

The U.S. has increased its role in an air combat exercise, featuring its largest contribution of airpower in more than a decade from the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps in a practical demonstration of Washington’s, “rebalance to the Pacific.” Codenamed Pitch Black 2016, the biannual exercise in the first…

August 23, 2016

In “Aviation”

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Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says

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GREENWOOD, Miss. — A Marine Corps transport plane that crashed in Mississippi, killing 16 service members, experienced an emergency at high altitude and left two debris fields a mile apart, a Marine general said Wednesday, bolstering witness accounts that the plane broke up or exploded while in the air.

“Two large impact areas are half a mile north of Highway 82 and a half a mile south of Highway 82,” said Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James, commander of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve.

“Indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude,” he said. “There is a large debris pattern.”

The KC-130T, en route from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina to Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, crashed Monday into a soybean field between the towns of Itta Bena and Moorhead, in the Mississippi Delta. It was ferrying members of the elite Marine Raiders special operations force and their equipment, who were scheduled to proceed from El Centro to Yuma, Ariz., James said at a news conference a few miles from the crash site.

James did not specify what he meant by “cruise altitude.” As a propeller-driven craft, the KC-130 family of aircraft does not fly as high as jet planes of similar size. It can go above 30,000 feet with a relatively light load, but it generally cruises below that level.

Appearing with James, Marshall L. Fisher, commissioner of Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety, warned that the wreckage contained explosives. He cautioned people in the rural area not to touch any debris, both for safety’s sake and because removal of it could be a crime.

“There are items that are going to be recovered by teams on the ground; some of them may be unsafe,” he said. He later noted that “there are ordnance disposal teams in the area” who may be causing controlled explosions throughout the search.

The KC-130 family, consisting of four-engine turboprops, is a variant of C-130 transport, a venerable mainstay of the U.S. military. The KC-130T is designed for aerial refueling of other aircraft but can also be used to carry people and gear.

The aircraft that crashed bore registration number 165000 and was nicknamed “Triple Nuts” for the three zeros. It belonged to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452, or VMGR-452, nicknamed the Yankees, a Reserve unit based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., about 60 miles north of New York City.

The plane was built in 1993. In its life, it refueled fighter jets patrolling the no-fly zone in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, and later it ferried troops and equipment into and out of the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alan Stinar, a former Marine mechanic who worked on this and other KC-130s, and who is a historian of the model, said it also took part in at least two missions in Africa.

“These things are workhorses that can do almost any job the Marines need them to do, and during the war they were very, very busy,” Stinar said.

Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says 07/12/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 8:28pm] 
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Military plane crash victims: ‘These were the cream of the crop’ – CNN International

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CNN International
Military plane crash victims: ‘These were the cream of the crop’
CNN International
(CNN) A painter who loved to fly, a father who married his high school sweetheart, and a former football star who was living his dream of being in the Navy were among the 16 service members killed in Monday’s military plane crash in Mississippi 
Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general saysTampabay.com
Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 PiecesUSNI News
Woes said to hit plane at ‘cruise altitude’NWAOnline

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Donald Trump: Donald Trump, Russia and a mob of comedy Corleones

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The president struggles to keep things in the family

 Donald Trump

Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense

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Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official said, in a deal that signals a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six decades.

The preliminary agreement sees Turkey receiving two S-400 missile batteries from Russia within the next year, and then producing another two inside Turkey, according to the Turkish official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. A spokesman for Russia’s arms-export company Rosoboronexport OJSC said he couldn’t immediately comment on details of a deal with Turkey.

Turkey has reached the point of an agreement on a missile defense system before, only to scupper the deal later amid protests and condemnation from NATO. Under pressure from the U.S., Turkey gave up an earlier plan to buy a similar missile-defense system from a state-run Chinese company, which had been sanctioned by the U.S. for alleged missile sales to Iran.

Turkey has been in NATO since the early years of the Cold War, playing a key role as a frontline state bordering the Soviet Union. But ties with fellow members have been strained in recent years, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pursuing a more assertive and independent foreign policy as conflict engulfed neighboring Iraq and Syria. Tensions with the U.S. mounted over U.S. support for Kurdish militants in Syria that Turkey considers terrorists, and the relationship with the European Union soured as the bloc pushed back against what it sees as Turkey’s increasingly autocratic turn. Last month, Germany decided to withdraw from the main NATO base in Turkey, Incirlik, after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit troops there.

Turkey ‘Disappointed’

The missile deal with Russia “is a clear sign that Turkey is disappointed in the U.S. and Europe,” said Konstantin Makienko, an analyst at the Center for Analysis and Technology, a Moscow think-tank. “But until the advance is paid and the assembly begins, we can’t be sure of anything.”

The Russian system would not be compatible with other NATO defense systems, but also wouldn’t be subject to the same constraints imposed by the alliance, which prevents Turkey from deploying such systems on the Armenian border, Aegean coast or Greek border, the official said. The Russian deal would allow Turkey to deploy the missile defense systems anywhere in the country, the official said.

‘Know-How’

For Turkey, the key aspect of any deal is transfer of technology or know-how, the Turkish official said. Turkey wants to be able to produce its own advanced defense systems, and the Russian agreement to allow two of the S-400 batteries to be produced in Turkey would serve that aim, the official said.
“There are a lot of different levels of technology transfer,” and any offer to Turkey would probably be limited in terms of sophistication, said Makienko, the Moscow-based analyst. “For Turkey to be able to copy the S-400 system, it would have to spend billions to create a whole new industry.”

The S-400 is designed to detect, track and then destroy aircraft, drones or missiles. It’s Russia’s most advanced integrated air defense system, and can hit targets as far as 250 miles away. Russia has also agreed to sell them to China and India.

The sides are currently sorting out technical details and it could take about one year to finalize the project, the Turkish official said. One battery may be available earlier if Russia decides to divert it from another country, the official added. The missiles are not ready to sell off-the-shelf and Russia will have to produce the batteries before delivering them, the official said.

The official said the systems delivered to Turkey would not have a friend-or-foe identification system, which means they could be deployed against any threat without restriction.

U.S. and European rivals have also bid to co-produce missile defense systems with Turkey, as it seeks partnerships allowing it to enhance its domestic arms production amid a military buildup in the region.

Disagreements between Turkey, which has the second-largest army by personnel numbers in NATO, and the U.S., the bloc’s biggest military, have also impacted business. No U.S. companies bid for a Turkish attack helicopter contract in 2006 after Turkey insisted on full access to specific software codes, which the U.S. refused to share, considering it a security risk. Turkey partnered with Italy instead in a $3 billion project to co-produce 50 attack helicopters for its army.

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Russia – Google News: Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense
Bloomberg
Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official said, in a deal that signals a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six 

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 Russia – Google News


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