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EU extends Russia sanctions over Ukraine crisis

https://www.reuters.com/articl...crisis-idUSKCN1GO0YL


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https://investigaterussia.org/news
 
Posts: 671 | Registered: March 09, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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GOP congressman Roerbacher: 'Nothing sinister' about my recurring role in Russia probe

During a trip to Moscow in April 2016, Rohrabacher met Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who traveled to Trump Tower in New York two months later to meet with Donald Trump Jr.

During a trip to London in August 2016, he met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who controlled the release of hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.

And at a meeting on Capitol Hill in early 2017, he met with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank, a controversial figure who also briefly met Trump Jr. at a May 2016 gun convention.

Erik Prince — the Trump supporter and founder of the security firm Blackwater who is alleged to have secretly met with a high-ranking Russian official in the Seychelles during the transition — is hosting a fundraiser for Rohrabacher later this month.

When Trump campaign aide Richard Gates pleaded guilty last month to lying to federal agents, the topic he was alleged to have lied about related to a 2013 meeting that involved Rohrabacher.

Gates had lied when asked about topics discussed between participants that included Manafort and “a member of Congress who was on a subcommittee that had Ukraine within its purview,” which ABC News later confirmed as Rohrabacher.

Over the years, Rohrabacher’s repeated contacts with Russian nationals generated enough suspicion that the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee asked him to curtail his travel to that part of the world.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics...be/story?id=53680564


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MAKING RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN?

In Russia, a ‘ghost empire’ rises

“I used to feel like I was part of an empire,” Pavel said. “And I’m starting to feel like I’m part of one again.”

That sentiment, more than any, reflects the desired central narrative — or, perhaps myth — of the Putin era. After years of irreverence and national humiliation, Russia is back. “Risen from its knees,” as Russians like to say.

Russia’s answer to sanctions had run into sanctions.

Under Putin, Russia is once again taken seriously — if not feared — on the international stage. The country hosts premiere world sporting events — such as the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and this year’s World Cup. And compared with the economic chaos of the 1990s, Putin’s watch has ushered in a period of relative economic stability that many appreciate.

But many of Russia’s problems never went away. There is the endemic corruption — including at the top levels of government. There is the grinding poverty, particularly in the country’s smaller towns and villages. Breakdowns in infrastructure is a regular occurrence. These issues are regularly ignored by state media as it pushes the narrative of Russia’s return as a global power.

https://www.pri.org/stories/20...a-ghost-empire-rises


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Putin's Cold War mentality explains a lot

https://www.pri.org/stories/20...ntality-explains-lot


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Russia “Previewed” Plan to Disseminate Emails with Trump Campaign

And how that's legally significant


the Russians previewed to Papadopoulos that they could help with disseminating these stolen emails

When Donald Trump openly called on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, they’d be richly rewarded if they released these to the press, his campaign had already been put on notice that the Russians were prepared to do just that and disseminate these stolen emails

in Papadopoulos’s plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.

If Trump campaign officials gave tacit assent or approval or support, it could directly implicate them in the “conspiracy to defraud the United States” by evading the Federal Election Commission—the very conspiracy for which Mueller has already indicted thirteen Russian nationals. If Papadopoulos intentionally encouraged the Russians and if he was instructed to do so by other campaign officials, they could be liable as accomplices

The Trump campaign as an organization could also be criminally liable. Finally, if members of the Trump campaign tried to conceal the facts of a crime (potentially including either the original DNC hack or the dissemination of the stolen emails) they could be guilty of “misprision of a felony”

Federal campaign finance law prohibits a candidate campaign committee from coordinating with a foreign national on any expenditure made by the foreign national for the purpose of influencing a U.S. election. More specifically, federal law treats an expenditure made in coordination with a candidate as a “contribution” to such candidate. Foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions to U.S. candidates, and U.S. candidates are prohibited from receiving contributions from foreign nationals. “Coordinated” is defined in the law to mean “in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, his authorized political committee, or their agents.” Papadopoulos was an agent of the Trump campaign. If any Russian made any expenditure to disseminate the stolen emails for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election, and did so in cooperation or consultation with or at the request or suggestion of Papadopoulos, then both the Russian and the Trump campaign violated federal law.

Donald Trump, Jr.’s excitement some weeks later at the prospect of receiving “dirt” on Hillary Clinton certainly suggests a posture of encouragement within the campaign with respect to the actions by the Russians. To the extent we are looking for indications that the campaign aided and abetted the Russian activities through words or actions, the Don, Jr. emails provide a big clue.

Finally, what about the potential crime of helping to conceal the Russians’ felony?

Misprision of a felony may be an especially fruitful avenue in this case if the Russians informed the campaign about their plans to disseminate the stolen emails. We know that Papadopoulos himself lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians, and that other former campaign officials misled federal authorities about the campaign’s contacts with the Russians. These could add up to a strong case of misprision in having not only failed to notify authorities but more importantly in also having actively concealed important information about the Russians’ involvement in the DNC hack and dissemination of those stolen emails.”

Donald Trump’s calling on the Russians to hack and disseminate Clinton’s emails, and

Don Trump Jr.’s positive response to being offered dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Don Jr.’s direct communications with WikiLeaks,

Roger Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks, and

the head of Cambridge Analytica reaching out to Wikileaks to help release Clinton emails. also

a long series of former Trump campaign officials’ misleading federal authorities about the campaign’s contacts with the Russians, and
recent reporting that Hope Hicks allegedly said that Don. Jr. emails “will never get out” in discussions with President Trump about releasing a false statement to cover up the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians.


https://www.justsecurity.org/5...ails-trump-campaign/


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Mueller’s Choice of Criminal Charges: Why the Trump Team Should Be Very Worried

Not only had the Russians told the Trump campaign that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, but they had also previewed for George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, that they could help with disseminating them.

an extremely troubling pattern of interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia-linked operatives, which show an

intertwining of two campaigns to elect Donald Trump: one run out of Trump Tower and one run out of the Kremlin.

four types of actions that could create criminal liability for the Trump team stemming from this new information:

1) If the campaign consulted with the Russians on their plans to disseminate the emails;

2) if the Trump campaign gave tacit assent or approval or support;

3) if Trump officials intentionally encouraged the Russians; or

4) if they sought to conceal the facts of a crime.

Just looking at the publicly available information shows the outlines of a potential legal case against members of the Trump team along these very lines.

Campaigns cannot coordinate with foreign nationals on any expenditure that seeks to influence a U.S. election. Coordination includes cooperation, consultation, or acting in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of the candidate or his team. A key word is “or”—each of those actions could independently suffice to establish a violation.

there were two campaigns trying to elect Donald Trump, that the Trump campaign was eager to work with its Russian counterpart, and that they had repeated and frequent contacts with Russia-linked operatives.

the two campaigns adopted similar strategies and appeared to act in concert during critical moments of the election season.

despite widespread knowledge within the Trump campaign of these contacts, the Trump team did everything in its power to cover it up. That included not only lying to the public but also lying to federal authorities.

What remains to be found is the extent of that collusion and the legal liability that may result from it.

SOME DETAILS

Donald Trump Jr.’s enthusiastic response to the offer of damaging information on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,”

he says that such information would be helpful “especially later in the summer.”

In this statement, Trump Jr. was not only communicating a willingness to collude with Russia; he was also telling them when the campaign thought the release of such information would be most politically useful.
a form of consultation and assistance.

the timing of WikiLeaks’ release of the hacked emails of John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. His emails were made public a scant 29 minutes after the Washington Post broke the story late on a Friday afternoon of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Trump campaign proved surprisingly effective at weaponizing the Clinton-linked emails released by WikiLeaks. Trump mentioned the website 164 times—an average of more than five times per day—in the final month of the campaign, including during all three presidential debates. In one notable instance, the Trump campaign and its supporters were very quick to find and highlight a supposedly anti-Catholic email from 2011 among the many pages of Podesta’s emails that were released by WikiLeaks. The email was used to attribute bias to Clinton in an effort to drive down her numbers among Catholics, a particularly important voting demographic in the Rust Belt states that Trump was targeting.

Trump tweeted about the hacked emails just 15 minutes after WikiLeaks messaged Trump Jr. suggesting his father promote them. Trump Jr. wasn’t the only person talking with Wikileaks; both Roger Stone and the head of Cambridge Analytica, a firm the Trump campaign employed to help with data analytics, were also reportedly in contact with them.

Trump team undertook a massive effort to cover-up its collusion with Russia. They repeatedly denied any contacts with Russian officials, calling the claims “absurd,” “disgusting,” and even “dangerous.” But subsequent reporting, admissions, and indictments have revealed there were many, many

the Trump campaign was supportive of Papadopoulos’ repeated efforts to set up meetings between the campaign and Russia after he learned of the emails. In one instance, Sam Clovis, national campaign co-chairman, responded to a Papadopoulos email about the campaign meeting with Russian leadership by telling him he was doing “great work.”

contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives, including numerous in-person meetings. Knowledge about these contacts was widespread in the campaign: Donald Trump Jr.,
Jared Kushner,
Paul Manafort,
Rick Gates,
Jeff Sessions,
Sam Clovis, and
Corey Lewandowski all knew, as did many others.

Yet no one on the campaign ever revealed these contacts or told the authorities about Russia’s hacking and offers of help. In fact, they actively participated in the cover-up by lying about their contacts every step of the way. There’s no question that the Trump team was hiding its contacts with Russia-linked operatives—the only question is whether that cover-up exposes them to criminal liability as a result.

https://www.justsecurity.org/5...-trump-team-worried/

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Senator on NRA's ties to Russia: 'I remain concerned'

Of particular concern is “electioneering, issue advocacy, educational, voter mobilization, or communications expenditures” that might not be subject to the Federal Election Commission’s disclosure requirements.

December 2015 trip to Moscow during which top NRA executives and “elite donors”

met with Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician with close ties to Vladimir Putin,
who has been developing a relationship with the NRA for several years.

McClatchy reported in January that the
FBI was investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the Trump campaign, but the NRA claims it has not been contacted by the FBI regarding Torshin’s activities.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics...ed/story?id=53538416


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Depth Of Russian Politician's Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he is a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin's relationship to the group.

These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January.

Investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice have revealed that the Russian government has sought to sharpen political divisions among American citizens by amplifying controversial social issues. Investigators have expressed concern about Russian links to the NRA, one of the most politically polarizing organizations in the U.S.

Torshin is a former Russian senator and served as the deputy speaker of Russia's parliament for more than a decade. Known as a Putin ally

Torshin's use of NRA connections to open doors, and his 2015 claim to know Trump through the organization, raise new questions about the group's connections with Russian officials — at a time when the organization is being roundly criticized by its opponents, and at times the president himself, for opposition to gun control.

On his verified Twitter account, Torshin talked about how he knew Trump through the NRA, citing a connection at the group's 2015 convention.
"I saw him in Nashville" in April 2015
, Torshin added later, the date and site of the NRA's 2015 convention. Trump gave a speech at that convention, the outlines of which would become familiar as his stump speech throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

Among his tens of thousands of tweets, Torshin also documented his attendance at every NRA convention between 2012 and 2016, only some of which have been previously reported.

Torshin's attendance at the NRA convention in 2016 is where he reportedly met with Donald Trump Jr.

A conservative activist with ties to Torshin aide Maria Butina reached out to the Trump campaign in 2016, saying that Russia was "quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S." and would try to use the NRA convention to make "first contact," the New York Times reported.

"Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump," the activist, Paul Erickson, wrote. "He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election." Erickson has business ties to Butina, having started an LLC with her in South Dakota.


Torshin has used his repeated trips to NRA conventions to cultivate relationships with top NRA officials. And his Twitter account documents that he has personally met with every person who has been president of the NRA since 2012.

On Twitter, Torshin portrayed these meetings as more than merely casual encounters. In 2017, he tweeted that he was bringing a gift to then-NRA President Allan Cors and suggested he was familiar with Cors' hobbies.

Torshin came to the United States in 2012 as an international election observer and watched as ballots were cast during the Obama-Romney presidential contest in Tennessee. This was possible, he wrote, because of his NRA links.

The heat is on the Russian politician, who was alleged by Spanish police to have directed financial transactions for the Russian mob. Not only is the FBI reportedly investigating him — the bureau declined to comment for this story — but lawmakers involved in congressional investigations have also expressed interest in Torshin.

https://www.npr.org/2018/03/01...of-nra-ties-revealed

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Alexander Torshin and money laundering of Russian money to Trump Campaign through NRA

Aleksandr Porfiryevich Torshin is a Russian politician and a Mafia boss. He served in Federation Council of Russia,[1] the upper house of the Russian parliament, from 2001 to 2015,

In December 2017, The New York Times reported that a May 2016 email to Rick Dearborn, Donald Trump's 2016 campaign adviser, bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, Paul Erickson, a National Rifle Association (NRA) member, said he wanted the advice of Dearborn and Jeff Sessions, then a foreign policy adviser to Trump and Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meetings involved Alexander Torshin

In January 2018, McClatchyDC reported that Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation is pursuing allegations that Torshin has links to Russian organized crime, and laundered money from the Russian government to the NRA to benefit Trump's campaign. Torshin is a life member of the NRA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Torshin


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The Very Strange Case of Two Russian Gun Lovers, the NRA, and Donald Trump

Here’s what we uncovered about an odd pair from Moscow who cultivated the Trump campaign.

Alexander Torshin and his aide Maria Butina

“Today in NRA (USA) I know only 2 people from the Russian Federation with the status of ‘Life Member’: Maria Butina and I,” he tweeted the day after Donald Trump was elected president.

Of particular interest are their overtures to Trump. Butina asked him straight-up at a campaign event about the future of “damaging” sanctions against Russia.

July 11, 2015: At FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Butina asks Trump, “What will be your foreign politics…and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging on both economy?”

Trump responds, “I know Putin and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin…I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well.”






February 13, 2016: Torshin writes on Twitter, “Maria Butina is currently in the USA. She writes to me that D. Trump (an NRA member) really is for cooperation with Russia.”

February 2016: Butina and Erickson form Bridges LLC. Erickson later tells McClatchy that they created the South Dakota-based company for Butina to get financial assistance for her graduate studies—“an unusual way to use a LLC,” as McClatchy dryly notes.

May 2016: In an email to Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn, with the subject line “Kremlin Connection,” Erickson says Russia is “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and proposes using the NRA convention to set up “first contact” with the Trump team. According to a New York Times report, Erickson writes that he’s in a position to “slowly begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin’s Kremlin.” The email doesn’t name Torshin but appears to reference him as “President Putin’s emissary” who planned to attend a dinner hosted by conservative Christian activist Rick Clay. Meanwhile, Clay sends an email to Dearborn with the subject line “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,” seeking a meeting between Trump and Torshin. Dearborn forwards Clay’s email to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who reportedly nixes the proposal.

June 15, 2016: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells fellow GOP leaders in a private conversation, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God.” House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately shuts down the conversation and swears those present to secrecy. When a recording of the conversation later becomes public, McCarthy says he was just joking.

August 2016: Hours after Trump appears to threaten Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally by invoking “Second Amendment people” who might “do something” to stop her, Politico reports that the NRA has bought its most expensive pro-Trump campaign ad yet: a $3 million spot attacking Clinton.

November 8, 2016: Donald Trump is elected the 45th president of the United States.

November 12, 2016: Butina hosts a costume party in DC for her 28th birthday, attended by Erickson and Trump campaign aides. Erickson dresses as Russian mystic Rasputin, and Butina dresses as the Russian empress Alexandra. Two unnamed guests tell the Daily Beast that Butina bragged about being part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia.

August 15, 2017: After Rohrabacher meets with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, he claims he has evidence to share with the White House that the Russians did not hack the Democratic National Committee. But White House chief of staff John Kelly rebuffs him. Rohrabacher later tells the Intercept, “What is preventing me from talking to Trump about this is the existence of a special prosecutor. Not only Kelly, but others are worried if I say one word to Trump about Russia, that it would appear to out-of-control prosecutors that that is where the collusion is.”

January 18, 2018: McClatchy reports the FBI is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the Trump campaign through the NRA

Jan. 20, 2017: Butina and Erickson attend the Freedom Ball, one of the three official inaugural balls Trump attends.

https://www.motherjones.com/po...xander-torshin-guns/


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This is back from August, but has good in-depth details about everything known by then.

Definitely worth a read.

Russiagate: The Depth of Collusion

https://www.americanprogressac...ate-depth-collusion/


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Mueller is reportedly wrapping up his obstruction of justice case on Trump — but might wait to file charges

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly almost done with the obstruction of justice portion of his investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

He might hold off on taking action on the obstruction case until he finishes other portions of his investigation so witnesses will cooperate and so he won't be under pressure to conclude the probe.

Mueller has been gathering information on Trump's possible obstruction since last year, but still needs to interview Trump himself on the matter.

If he files charges now, he is likely to face pressure from Trump and his allies to conclude the investigation, and witnesses may be less cooperative with other elements of his probe.

According to current and former US officials who spoke to Bloomberg, regardless of what he uncovers in the obstruction case, Mueller might make it a priority to keep his findings secret as he continues with other portions of his investigation.

Mueller will likely finish this portion of his inquiry shortly after he interviews Trump himself and his son, Donald Trump, Jr.

http://www.businessinsider.com...against-trump-2018-3


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Nerve agent in Salisbury attack ‘clearly came from Russia’, says Tillerson

http://www.basingstokegazette...._____says_Tillerson/


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quote:
Originally posted by Elsevier:
Nerve agent in Salisbury attack ‘clearly came from Russia’, says Tillerson

http://www.basingstokegazette...._____says_Tillerson/


White House Calls Attack on Ex-Spy in UK 'An Outrage,' But Doesn't Mention Russia

https://www.voanews.com/a/whit...-russia/4295542.html


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quote:
Originally posted by Elsevier:
quote:
Originally posted by Elsevier:
Nerve agent in Salisbury attack ‘clearly came from Russia’, says Tillerson

http://www.basingstokegazette...._____says_Tillerson/


White House Calls Attack on Ex-Spy in UK 'An Outrage,' But Doesn't Mention Russia

https://www.voanews.com/a/whit...-russia/4295542.html


Tillerson casts poisoning as sign of more aggressive Russia

Tillerson, who spoke Monday by phone with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said he's grown "extremely concerned" about Russia, noting that he spent most of the first year of the Trump administration trying to solve problems and narrow differences with the Kremlin. He said after a year of trying, "we didn't get very far."

"Instead what we've seen is a pivot on their part to be more aggressive," Tillerson said. "And this is very, very concerning to me and others that there seems to be a certain unleashing of activity that we don't fully understand what the objective behind that is."

He said if the poisoning turned out to be the work of Russia's government, "this is a pretty serious action."

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.c...rticle204797749.html


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Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump

BOOK COMING OUT TOMORROW



The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election.

The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister -- a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle -- including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn -- and Russia.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

https://www.amazon.com/Russian...ection/dp/1538728753


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U.K. names Novichok nerve agents in ex-spy poisoning: What are they?

Soviet-developed substances

he use of Russian developed nerve agent Novichok to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter makes it "highly likely" that Russia was involved, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday.

Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War. The agents were ostensibly created in an attempt to avoid the international chemical weapons treaty that had just been signed; any new substances wouldn't be subject to past treaties.

Novichok behaves slightly differently than other nerve agents, with some reports that the class of substances is deadlier than similar chemicals like sarin or VX and harder to identify.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/n...russia-spy-1.4573210


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https://investigaterussia.org/news
 
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Papadopoulos says that Trump personally encouraged him to arrange meeting with Putin, new book reports

STEVE BANNON SLAMS TRUMP'S ANSWERS TO RUSSIAN AGENT MARIA BUTINA

Papadopoulos told Mueller’s investigators that Trump encouraged him, saying he found the idea “interesting,” according to the book, which cites sources familiar with his questioning by Mueller’s investigators.

Trump looked at Sessions, as if he expected him to follow up with Papadopoulos, and Sessions nodded in response

The book chronicles the efforts of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a close Putin ally, and his assistant, Maria Butina, to curry favor with the Trump campaign — including their own attempt to set up a Trump-Putin meeting in Moscow.

Those efforts began as early as July 2015, when Butina showed up at FreedomFest, a conservative gathering, in Las Vegas, where Trump was speaking. During a Q&A session, Trump called on Butina, who asked him about his stance on Russia and the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on the country — eliciting the first response from the new GOP candidate on an issue that was a top priority of Putin’s government.

“I know Putin,” Trump replied during the course of a five-minute answer. “I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.”


Later in the campaign, the book reports that two top Trump officials — Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus — discussed a video of the Las Vegas event and wondered how Butina gained such quick access to Trump’s ear.

“How was it that this Russian woman happened to be in Las Vegas for that event? And how was it that Trump happened to call on her?”
Isikoff and Corn write. “And Trump’s response? It was odd, Bannon thought, that Trump had a fully developed answer. Priebus agreed there was something strange about Butina. Whenever there were events held by conservative groups, she was always around.”

In the spring of 2016, Torshin and Butina — who had close ties to the National Rifle Association — made a direct play to gain influence with the Trump campaign, floating their own proposal for a Trump-Putin summit during an international conference in Moscow on the plight of persecuted Christians, organized by Franklin Graham.


In an email to Trump campaign officials, Rick Clay, a conservative activist, described Torshin as a “very close friend of President Putin” and encouraged the Trump team to strongly consider the offer.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pap...ports-010056370.html


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The NRA is at the center of a brewing controversy over its ties to conservatives' 'favorite Russian'

The National Rifle Association is fielding a growing number of questions about its ties to Alexander Torshin, a prominent Kremlin-allied Russian banker, politician, and gun-rights activist.

Torshin, who has been described as "President Putin's emissary" in the US, said in 2015 that he knew President Donald Trump through the NRA.

The FBI is currently investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money through the NRA to help sway the 2016 US election in Trump's favor.

He was also touted as the main point of contact from Russia's side when his longtime assistant Maria Butina and a Republican strategist tried to set up a backdoor meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during an NRA convention at the height of the election.

http://www.businessinsider.com...-butina-trump-2018-3


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TILLERSON AND HALEY BOTH CONDEMN RUSSIA FOR CHEMICAL AGENTS ATTACKS,

BUT WHITE HOUSE STILL REFUSES TO MENTION RUSSIA

quote:
Originally posted by Elsevier:
quote:
Originally posted by Elsevier:
Nerve agent in Salisbury attack ‘clearly came from Russia’, says Tillerson

http://www.basingstokegazette...._____says_Tillerson/


Tillerson casts poisoning as sign of more aggressive Russia

Tillerson, who spoke Monday by phone with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said he's grown "extremely concerned" about Russia, noting that he spent most of the first year of the Trump administration trying to solve problems and narrow differences with the Kremlin. He said after a year of trying, "we didn't get very far."

"Instead what we've seen is a pivot on their part to be more aggressive," Tillerson said. "And this is very, very concerning to me and others that there seems to be a certain unleashing of activity that we don't fully understand what the objective behind that is."

He said if the poisoning turned out to be the work of Russia's government, "this is a pretty serious action."

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.c...rticle204797749.html


Haley condemns Russia over Syria; not ruling out taking action over chemical attacks on civilians

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2...ks-on-civilians.html

White House Calls Attack on Ex-Spy in UK 'An Outrage,' But Doesn't Mention Russia

https://www.voanews.com/a/whit...-russia/4295542.html


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