Poisoned Former Spy Shared Trade Secrets
The New York Times reports that former Russian spy Sergei Skripal – who was found poisoned alongside his daughter on a park bench in Salisbury, England on March 4 – was not completely divorced from his previous occupation. Skripal used his experience in espionage to advise nations on Russia's spycraft, which may have kept him in Russia's crosshairs.
Mueller Investigates Mifsud Connections
The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand takes a look at the role information pertaining to Joseph Mifsud, a professor, is playing in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation.
In the spring of 2016, Mifsud told a young Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to the special counsel’s statement of the offense against Papadopoulos, who was indicted for misleading federal agents about his conversations with Mifsud. Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee months earlier, and would soon break into Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s inbox. It is still not clear how Mifsud seemed to know in advance that Russia sought to compromise Clinton’s candidacy.
Mifsoud reportedly has been missing since last October.
Mueller's Probe Is Even More Expansive Than It Seems (The Atlantic)
‘Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing
FBI Questions Artemenko
Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian politician who enlisted Felix Sater and Michael Cohen to help deliver a pro-Russian peace plan proposal to Michael Flynn in February 2017, tells Politico that FBI agents now have questioned him on at least two occasions over the past year.
A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates
Mueller probes Ukrainian who pitched peace plan to White House
Lawmaker who held secret 'peace plan' meeting with Trump's lawyer has been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship
Ukraine Lawmaker Who Worked With Trump Associates Faces Treason Inquiry
Former Trump Aide Helping Russian Firm Fight Sanctions
The Trump campaign's deputy communications director and transition team's communications director, Bryan Lanza, has gone from working for the president to lobbying his administration on behalf of a Russian energy and aluminum firm controlled by a sanctioned Russian oligarch (Deripaska).
Lanza is not the only former member of the Trump campaign and transition working on behalf of Russian interests.
Former New York Republican Rep. John Sweeney has made more than $200,000 lobbying on behalf of a European pipeline venture owned by Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian natural gas company, according to federal lobbying disclosures. The New York Republican previously worked on Trump's campaign and assisted with administration hires during the presidential transition.
Bolton Eliminates Top Cybersecurity Coordinator Role
Justice Department and F.B.I. Are Investigating Now-Defunct Cambridge Analytica
Trump Tower Meeting Threads
A review of the materials the Senate Judiciary Committee released Wednesday that relate to its inquiry into the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower reveals important new details about possible Trump campaign cooperation with Russian government agents and allies.
Materials from Inquiry into Circumstances Surrounding Trump Tower Meeting (Senate Judiciary Committee)
Donald Trump Jr. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony (pdf)
Russian social media giant offered pro-Trump effort during campaign
A Russian tech executive began pitching the Trump campaign in early 2016 about using social media to help gain “massive exposure” for his presidential bid, according to Senate interview transcripts released Wednesday.
Witnesses disagree on Kushner timing at Trump Tower meeting
Trump Jr. lawyer tried to coordinate stories on Trump Tower meeting with organizer
Steve Bannon Got Russian ‘Evidence’ From Rob Goldstone During Transition
‘Infuriated’ Jared Kushner Lost His Cool When Russians Didn’t Deliver Hillary Dirt
Trump Jr.'s call to a blocked number could help build an obstruction of justice case against his father
Cohen Lied About Trump Tower Moscow Plans
Michael Cohen has said he abandoned efforts to get a Trump Tower Moscow deal in January 2016, but Felix Sater has turned over communication to investigators showing the two men kept working on trying to make it happen until at least May.
The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign
At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen Met with Oligarch Vekselberg 11 Days before 2017 inauguration.
The men also arranged to see one another at the inauguration, the second of their three meetings.
Andrew Intrater attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg.
Intrater's firm, Columbus Nova, paid $580,000 to Cohen.
The FBI Has Launched An Operation To Take Down A Massive Russian Botnet
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it has seized control of a key server in a network of 500,000 routers hacked by the Kremlin.
Michael Cohen’s Russian Immigrant Business Partner
Agrees to Cooperate as Part of Plea Deal
Under the agreement, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, will avoid jail time, and will assist government prosecutors in state and federal investigations
Manafort's former son-in-law cuts plea deal, to cooperate with government
As a close business partner, Jefferey Yohai was privy to many of Manafort’s financial dealings.
Mueller sent a team of prosecutors to interview Yohai last June, asking him about
Manafort’s relationship with Trump, his ties to Russian oligarchs, and his borrowing of tens of millions of dollars against properties in New York.
Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary and
Russian-Linked Israeli Social Media Manipulation Specialist
Offering Help to Win Election
Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.
The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office
Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.
The company, which employed several Israeli former intelligence officers, specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.
Companies connected to Mr. Zamel also have ties to Russia. One of his firms had previously worked for oligarchs linked to Mr. Putin, including Oleg V. Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who hired the firm for online campaigns against their business rivals.
Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was once in business with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty in the special counsel investigation to charges of financial crimes and failing to disclose the lobbying work he did on behalf of a former president of Ukraine, an ally of Mr. Putin. Mr. Rybolovlev once purchased a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump.
Mr. Nader’s visits to Russia and the work Mr. Zamel’s companies did for the Russians have both been a subject of interest to the special counsel’s investigators
The princes, the president and the fortune seekers
and a back-channel to Russia
After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, thought he was finally close to nailing more than $1 billion in business.
'Trump's son should be concerned': FBI obtained wiretaps of Putin money laundering ally who met with Trump Jr.
Spanish Organized Crime Prosecutor: Don Jr. "Should Be Concerned"
Yahoo News reports the FBI has obtained from Spanish police transcripts of wiretapped conversations involving now-sanctioned Russian politician Alexander Torshin, who has close ties to the National Rifle Association and who met with Donald Trump Jr. during an NRA convention dinner in May 2016.
Alexander Torshin, a prominent Russian banker suspected of money laundering met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 US presidential election.
Torshin is closely associated with the National Rifle Association, and he and his longtime assistant attempted to use the organization's annual convention in 2016 to set up a backdoor meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When José Grinda, a Spanish prosecutor who spearheads investigations into organized crime, was asked if he was concerned about Torshin's interactions with Trump Jr. or other American political figures, Grinda replied: "Mr. Trump's son should be concerned."
RUSSIA WARNS MORE U.S. TROOPS IN POLAND COULD 'LEAD TO COUNTERACTION' FROM KREMLIN
A Kremlin spokesman on Monday responded to reports that Poland offered $2 billion for the U.S. to be stationed permanently within its borders for protection from Russia, saying the move could “lead to counteraction from the Russian side.”
Poland's monetary offer stems from a desire to deter “potential Russian aggression,” according to a Polish Defense Ministry proposal reported by Poland's Onet.pl news site.
Poland says Russian gas pipeline is a ‘new hybrid weapon’
Poland’s prime minister on Monday called a planned Russian gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, a “new hybrid weapon” and says Moscow wants to use it to undermine NATO and the European Union.
Mateusz Morawiecki called Nord Stream 2 “a poisoned pill of European security” as he addressed a NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Warsaw.
The Nord Stream 2 project would double the amount of natural gas Russia can funnel directly to energy-hungry Germany from newly tapped reserves in Siberia, intentionally skirting Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine.
The United States and some other EU members share Poland’s opposition to the project, warning that it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. The debates have created divisions within the EU, for example between Poland and Germany, neighbors and important trade partners.
Bipartisan Call to Prioritize Cybersecurity
Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) sent a letter to President Trump this week expressing bipartisan concern over his decision to get rid of the White House's top cybersecurity post and urging him to finalize and present a national cybersecurity strategy as soon as possible.
John Bolton eliminated the job.
Broadly, the senators also signaled concern over a lack of public strategy from the White House to deter, defend against and respond to cyberattacks.
They pressed Trump to quickly complete and release a national strategy to help defend critical U.S. assets — from the financial system to the energy grid — from cyber threats and to deter nation-state hackers.
Mueller Team Detains Stone Contact at Logan Airport
Questioned a London-based American academic named Theodore Roosevelt "Ted" Malloch about his connection to WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Roger Stone.
Russia-Connected Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years in U.S. Prison
The U.S. government has sentenced 23-year-old Kazakhstan-born, Canadian citizen Karim Baratov to five years in prison for an email hacking scheme that targeted people on behalf of Russia's domestic spy agency.
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