Category Archives: Government

order of succession

Why the Presidential Order of Succession Could Theoretically Go to Mattis

Many people have expressed worry and concern about those in the Presidential order of succession that could become President should Trump be impeached. In this post I would like to share a scenario in which we could end up with General Mattis after all of the dust settles. I will share information available from reliable and reputable sources going in order down the list.

order of succession

Mike Pence

From my own observation one can tell from Pence’s body language in interviews that he is lying and I am quite sure that recently appointed Special Counsel Bob Mueller will prove it. Recent statements not only from Trump himself admitting he fired Comey over the Russia investigation as well as Deputy AG Rob Rosenstein saying his memo was a cover is further proof that Pence lied.

//players.brightcove.net/293884104/SJa0Thl7_default/index.html?videoId=5429060607001

Below are just some of the things that Pence has done that will be thoroughly investigated:

A top cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately with Vice President Mike Pence Thursday morning and urged the U.S. to cooperate with Russia to combat terrorism in the Middle East.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Moscow, who chairs the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations department, spoke with Pence backstage at evangelist Franklin Graham’s Washington summit on religious violence against Christians.

“It is only one united, international anti-terrorist coalition which can combat terrorism and win,” Hilarion told TIME during an interview in a suite at the Trump International Hotel in D.C., a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. “The two countries should put these political differences aside.”

IF you read the full article below you will see that Billy Graham’s son, Franklin is a traitor and complicit in activity with Russians as well, including Putin, and he is VERY close to the Trump administration.

http://time.com/4776717/mike-pence-russian-cleric-hilarion-alfeyev/

Mike Pence owes the lofty perch he occupies today to none other than Paul Manafort, the short-lived Trump campaign manager who was forced out of that public role in Trump World after The New York Times reported apparent records of millions of dollars in payments to Manafort for his work on behalf of the pro-Russia political party of Ukraine’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin—the same Vladimir Putin who put his thumb on the scales of the U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

It was Manafort who engineered Pence’s selection as Trump’s running-mate, knocking out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who, according to reports, had already been offered the slot. And even though Manafort, who has since been revealed to have had other business dealings with other oligarchs from the former Soviet bloc, officially left the Trump campaign in August, he remained an advisory presence during the transition, and was said to talk with Pence regularly.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-offered-chris-christie-vice-president-role-before-mike-pence/

Pence lied for Trump in the firing of FBI Director James Comey

Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday FBI Director James Comey was fired to restore confidence in the law enforcement agency and not because of any connection to its probe of possible Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

“That was not what this was about,” Pence told reporters at the U.S. Capitol when asked whether President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Comey was related to the Russia investigation. “The president took strong and decisive leadership here to put the safety and security of the American people first.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-comey-pence-idUSKBN18625E?il=0

Mike Pence and Russian political parties on same client list

I found Congressman MIke Pence on the same Strategic Media Group Client list as two Russian political parties, along with other fun clients as GoPAC, Gingrich and Freedom Forum.

The Russian parties are Russia Now and Christian Democrat Coalition. With the help of some excellent taxpayer funded librarians, I have some details on the frustratingly vague references.

Russia Now is likely “Sovremennaia Rossiia” with this website  and a blog. The Christian Democrats are “Rossiiskoe khristiansko-demokraticheskaia partiia,”  with a website here. Neither party appears active. Both emphasize a strong military, family values, nationalism and the importance of religious values. A good fit for the GOP these days.

This is all I have right now. What we need are names behind these parties to build the network to connect the russians, the domestic clients and the consultant. SMG appears to be fishing from a small, cozy ideological pond that could also hold connections between Pence and Manafort via Russia.

The media sees Pence through the lens of an aw-shucks Indiana governor who’s afraid of eating alone with women.

However, for most of his congressional career, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Cummins, the huge multinational engine corporation with a Russian presence, is headquartered in his former district.  He has been to the international rodeo before.

Give a post a few days, and you always see something to add or clarify. This is what needs digging into.

1) Any connection between the Russian political parties listed to the current Trumpgate scandal and Manafort in particular. Who were the party leaders or which other political parties did these groups merge into and do they fit into what is currently known?

2) Any connection between the Russian political parties listed and Mike Pence,outside of this co-appearance on a web page? How could Mike Pence come to be known by these parties?

3) Any connection between other clients such as the Freedom Forum in Indiana and these Russian parties that also connect to Pence.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/4/21/1655059/-A-Pence-Manafort-Russia-connection-before-Trump

Congressman MIke Pence appears on the same Strategic Media Group Client list as two Russian political parties, along with other fun clients as GoPAC, Newt Gingrich and Freedom Forum.

Darrell_Williams.jpg

SMG owner M. Darrell Williams died just this April 22 (a very Russian timing of late) and In his obit is an interesting paragraph

After the fall of the Soviet Union he [Williams] made several trips to Russia as part of the International Republican Institute where he presented seminars on campaigning and elections. He enjoyed his many Russian friends.

Republican media consultant, tied to Russia and to all sorts of conservatives like Mike Pence. Interesting.

International Republican Institute connections

Now, let’s get stranger. In this story from Politico is a reference to Paul Manafort protege Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik, formerly of Russia’s military intelligence GRU, worked at International Republican Institute for a decade until 2005, when he was hired by Manafort to work in Ukraine.
Kilimnik was at the institute at the same time Williams visited.
Let me be clear, this is a thin connection, but,  M. Darrell Williams, a media consultant connected to Mike Pence and other conservatives, just happened to make several trips to the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute who coincidentally had a GRU-connected staffer Kilimnik who wound up working for Paul Manafort on Ukraine elections.
No clear Pence-Manafort connection yet, but perhaps we are getting closer.

FYI

Here is that client list from SMG…

  • Republican Party of North Dakota
  • Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
  • Republican Party of Vermont
  • Republican Party of Florida
  • California Republican Party
  • Republican National Committee
  • Nat’l Republican Congressional Committee
  • Office of the Attorney General (Virginia)
  • Christian Democrat Coalition (RUSSIA)
  • Russia Now Party (RUSSIA)
  • Freedom Foundation (Indiana)
  • Woodrow Wilson Education Foundation (New Jersey)
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Governor Mark Schweiker (Pennsylvania)
  • Lt. Governor James Cawley (Pennsylvania)
  • National Mining Association
  • GoPAC
  • Propane Vehicle Council
  • Coalition for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE)
  • Pennsylvanians For Effective Government (PEG)
  • ALEX & ANI (Rhode Island)
  • Cong. Mike Pence (Indiana)
  • Cong. Jim Greenwood (Pennsylvania)
  • Cong. Robert Aderholt (Alabama)
  • Cong. Mike Rogers (Alabama)
  • Cong. Newt Gingrich (Georgia)
  • Cong. Felix Grucci (New York)
  • Cong. Bob Franks (New Jersey)
  • Cong. Marge Roukema (New Jersey)
  • Cong. Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
  • Cong. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/17/1663368/-Pence-Russia-direct-connection-one-step-closer

Rachel Maddow pointed out the obvious. None of the excuses that Vice President Mike Pence is giving for his lack of knowledge about the Russia scandal make sense. As the head of Trump’s transition, Vice President Pence is not clean and will go down with Trump for the events that happened during the 2016 election.

Video:

Maddow said:

Mike Pence had been the head of the Trump transition. As such, he would have been intimately involved with the selection and vetting process for a job as important as national security adviser. Nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence has professed absolute ignorance of any of the scandals of any of the foreign payments, contacts and all the rest of it surrounding Mike Flynn. Pence was the leader of the transition. As leader of the transition, he was notified in writing by members of Congress about Flynn’s apparent financial ties to the government of Turkey. The transition was also apparently notified twice by Flynn’s own lawyers about his financial relationship with the government of Turkey, but nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence says he has no idea about any of that.

….

Vice President Mike Pence claims he had absolutely no idea about that despite him being notified about on the record multiple times and it being a matter of considerable public discussion. Mike Pence’s role in the Mike Flynn scandal is flashing like a red beacon for anyone who sees him as the normal Republican in this setting.

The most common statement that I hear from readers when Trump impeachment is discussed is always some version of, “Yeah, but then Mike Pence will be president.”

There is no way that Mike Pence didn’t know what was going on with Russia. The White House’s attempts to firewall off Pence from the rest of the scandal make no sense and will not hold up under investigation.

If Donald Trump leaves office under a cloud of scandal, the investigations, criminal and political, will continue. The Russia scandal won’t go away after Trump is gone. Mike Pence sold himself to Donald Trump when he became his running mate. Pence is deeply involved in this administration.

The political career of Mike Pence will be over when the Russia scandal blows up.

Okay, enough on Pence for now.

Paul Ryan

When Ryan had a chance to speak out about Trump’s decision to make Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon his chief strategist, the speaker said he was “not looking backwards,” though Bannon has personally gone after Ryan. And amid questions about how Trump will handle his businesses and potential conflicts of interest, Ryan’s answer was “however he wants to.”

After The Washington Post reported the CIA’s conclusion that Russia had intervened in the presidential election, Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, issued a statement on Sunday saying that “Ryan has said for months that foreign intervention in our elections is unacceptable.”

“The speaker can not comment on or characterize the content of classified briefings but he rejects any politicization of intelligence matters,” she said.

That statement didn’t seem to answer anything, so Ryan came out with his new statement that simply reiterated the previous statement using more words.

“As I’ve said before, any foreign intervention in our elections is entirely unacceptable,” the statement read. “And any intervention by Russia is especially problematic because, under President Putin, Russia has been an aggressor that consistently undermines American interests. At the same time, exploiting the work of our intelligence community for partisan purposes does a grave disservice to those professionals and potentially jeopardizes our national security. As we work to protect our democracy from foreign influence, we should not cast doubt on the clear and decisive outcome of this election.”

It’s that last sentence that’s particularly interesting. Ryan doesn’t think we should “cast doubt” on the outcome of the election ― which may indicate that he does not support a congressional investigation into how Russia played the American electorate.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-ryan-russia-hacking_us_584eea68e4b04c8e2bb0cf62

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

McCarthy’s remark sounds like a bad joke, as his spokesman claimed, but the issue is not whether Trump was actually receiving rubles from the Kremlin. McCarthy and fellow Republicans betray in this episode both a recognition of the degree to which Trump was behaving as Vladimir Putin’s lapdog and their own lack of seriousness about a presidential nominee who, if elected, would pose a threat to the United States’ national security. The glib, cavalier treatment of a potential national security threat reveals a level of immaturity and irresponsibility that we do not expect from elected officials, especially those in top leadership roles.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/18/the-more-we-learn-about-russia-connections-the-worse-it-looks-for-all-republicans/?utm_term=.768b730fcb7f

Orrin Hatch

This is perhaps the toughest possible successor to have ousted from the order of succession. Personally, as a former financial planner that saw how quickly the elderly can deteriorate mentally I feel that at the age of 83 Hatch is far too old to exercise the office of President. I also feel that just as there is a minimum age there should also be a maximum. That said, there are some ethical questions concerning the Senator from Utah…

The pharmaceutical industry that long has benefited from Sen. Orrin G. Hatch’s legislative efforts has directed large sums of money to a charity he helped found — and still raises money for — while also hiring the Republican lawmaker’s son as a lobbyist.

Though Congress boasts that it is more transparent after passing new disclosure rules, Americans have had no way of knowing about the drugmakers’ largesse to the charity, Utah Families Foundation. No way, that is, until a normally confidential tax filing was mistakenly released by the Internal Revenue Service to a nonprofit database last year.

The tax form, obtained by The Washington Times, shows that five pharmaceutical companies and the industry’s main lobbying group wrote checks in 2007 to the Utah Families Foundation — some as large as $40,000 — that far exceed what they could give publicly to Mr. Hatch’s campaigns.

The donations, $172,500 in all, came at the same time that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) was paying one of Mr. Hatch’s sons, Scott, to be its lobbyist in Congress.

And if that weren’t enough political intrigue, the tax-exempt charitable foundation, which the senator from Utah helped start in the 1990s and still vigorously supports, has been delinquent for nearly a decade in filing its required annual reports with Utah state officials, a review by The Times found.

The tale of the Utah Families Foundation provides fresh evidence that the campaign-finance limits and transparency reforms that President Obama demanded and that Congress enacted still leave avenues for interests to route large sums of money to lawmakers’ favorite causes without disclosure.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/02/the-fog-of-congressional-transparency/

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) pushed forward two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks Wednesday morning, advancing their nominations despite a Democratic boycott.

The rules require at least one member of the minority party to be present for the committee to vote on a nominee. But Hatch suspended the rules, allowing him to go around that requirement.

Senate Republicans advanced Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steve Mnuchin, the pick for treasury secretary, out of committee favorably, on a 14-0 vote. Price and Mnuchin are now cleared to receive a full vote on the Senate floor.

Democrats are opposed to moving forward on the two nominees because they believe the two men misled the public and held back vital information about their backgrounds. The decision to boycott committee votes spread Wednesday morning, when Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee also skipped the vote on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

(Sidenote: Mnuchin is also now being investigated for connections with Russia)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mnuchin-price_us_5891f428e4b0c90eff01300a

Rex Tillerson

In my personal opinion, Tillerson, due to his close relationship with Russia and Putin in addition to his connection with Big Oil as former CEO of Exxon should have never been allowed near the White House, much less named Secretary of State. Here’s why he shouldn’t be allowed to be President…

The following just came out yesterday, May 18,2017 :

The State Department is withholding a document related to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s communications with the department about Russia in his capacity as ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO, citing a need to protect internal deliberations.
The decision comes in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by CNN in December, after Tillerson had been announced as Trump’s pick to lead the State Department, but before the inauguration and his subsequent confirmation by the Senate.
The request called for any “communications between ExxonMobil CEO/Chairman Rex Tillerson and officials at the State Department relating to Russia and US policy toward Russia.”
In a response letter dated May 10, the State Department’s FOIA office notified CNN it’s search had yielded one document responsive to the request. “After reviewing the document, we have determined that it must be withheld in full,” the letter states.
Tillerson had extensive dealings with the Russian government during his time at ExxonMobil, negotiating a partnership with the state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
The effort famously prompted Russia to award Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens.
In his confirmation hearing in January, Tillerson acknowledged he “engaged” with the State Department, Treasury Department and Office of Foreign Asset Controls over US sanctions affecting an ExxonMobil project in the Russian arctic.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/18/politics/tillerson-state-department-communication/

Tillerson initially met Putin in 1999 on the Sakhalin island in Russia’s Far East, when Exxon struck a deal with Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft. The two men have met a number of times since then, as Tillerson continued building a relationship with Putin through his business interests in Russia.

The link below shows the timeline and Tillerson’s many visits to Russia

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-rex-tillerson-vladimir-putin-russia-exxon-2016-12

From Wikipedia:

Tillerson with President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, the head of state-controlled energy giant Rosneft, at the Tuapse, 2012

Tillerson has ties with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.[6] They have been associates since Tillerson represented Exxon’s interests in Russia, the world’s largest producer of crude oil, during President Boris Yeltsin‘s tenure.[27] John Hamre, the President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, of which Tillerson is a board member, states that Tillerson “has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American, with the exception of Dr. Henry Kissinger.”[27]

Tillerson was a friend of Igor Sechin,[28] the Executive Chairman of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, and leader of the Kremlin’s Siloviki (security/military) faction,[29] who has been described as “Russia’s second-most powerful person” after Putin.[30]

In 2011, on behalf of ExxonMobil, Tillerson signed an agreement with Russia for drilling in the Arctic that could be valued up to $300 billion.[31] The company began drilling in the Kara Sea in the summer of 2014, and a round of sanctions against Russia introduced in September that year due to the Ukrainian crisis was to have brought the project to a halt in mid-September.[32][33]Nevertheless, the company was granted a reprieve that stretched the window to work until October 10, which enabled it to discover a major field with about 750 million barrels of new oil for Russia.[34]

In 2013, Tillerson was awarded the Order of Friendship by Putin for his contribution to developing cooperation in the energy sector.[35][36]

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

Steve Mnuchin 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just got a new Hollywood business partner: a man who made billions investing in Russia.

A company run by Len Blavatnik announced a deal Tuesday to buy a stake in a film-finance firm that, in turn, is engaged in a joint venture with Mnuchin, backing blockbusters including “The Lego Batman Movie.” The Treasury secretary has pledged to sell his own interest in the business by June.

Len Blavatnik

Photographer: Rick Maiman/Bloomberg

Born in Ukraine and raised in Russia, Blavatnik moved to the U.S. in 1978 and later became a U.S. citizen, according to the website of his company, Access Industries Holdings Inc. He made a fortune following the breakup of the Soviet Union, investing in Russian oil and aluminum. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates the 59-year-old’s net worth at $18.7 billion, including assets around the world in chemicals, real estate, technology and entertainment.

Through Access Entertainment, Blavatnik bought an interest in RatPac Entertainment from James Packer, an Australian businessman who founded the film company with movie producer Brett Ratner. RatPac, in turn, is part of a joint venture with Mnuchin known as RatPac-Dune, which struck an agreement with Warner Bros. in 2013 to provide $450 million in funding for as many as 75 movies, including “Suicide Squad” and “Kong: Skull Island.” The transaction disclosed Tuesday doesn’t include Mnuchin’s stake.

A spokesman for Access Entertainment declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Treasury. Blavatnik didn’t disclose the price he paid.

Potential Conflicts

The link with Blavatnik shows the complexity of managing potential conflicts for top Trump administration officials, many of whom, including President Donald Trump, were wealthy businessmen who took office with far-reaching financial interests. Bloomberg estimated in January that Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc.partner who later became a Hollywood financier and turned around a troubled bank, was worth more than $600 million.

In January, Mnuchin provided federal ethics officials with a five-page plan to divest dozens of assets, including the stake in RatPac-Dune. He said he would complete the sale within 120 days of his confirmation, and that he wouldn’t make decisions as Treasury secretary that would affect its value during that time.

Blavatnik was a significant donor in the last presidential election, pouring millions of dollars into political action committees supporting several Trump rivals for the Republican nomination. His name later appeared on the guest list for a suite of “highest level” party donors at the GOP convention in Cleveland. Mnuchin, who was Trump’s fundraising chief, hosted a gathering in the suite next door.

In December, Blavatnik’s Access Industries gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee, according to a Federal Election Commission filing

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-19/mnuchin-s-newest-hollywood-partner-made-billions-in-russian-oil

The information below was just released yesterday, May 18, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would not fully commit to providing a list of business associates of President Trump who had any ties to Russia to lawmakers at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Mnuchin, who was asked to testify before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, sidestepped Ohio Democratic Ranking Member Sherrod Brown’s request for a complete list of any associates of Mr. Trump or his administration, including his family members who had such relationships.

Mnuchin advised Brown to follow up with Mnuchin’s team following the hearing, but Brown told him he had already sent Mnuchin a written request back in March. He continued to press Mnuchin to commit to providing a list of any business entanglements.

Brown told Mnuchin that the American people are “troubled by the president’s business connections,” particularly when members of the Trump family conduct business in another country on behalf of the Trump brand.

“It’s about the national security of this country and it’s about people wanting that information,” added Brown.

Mnuchin replied that he can “assure if there were any cases that involved the president” and members of his family, that he would “take it very seriously” and review them like anyone else.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mnuchin-sidesteps-trump-russia-business-ties-at-senate-hearing/

From Wikipedia:

Steven Mnuchin was born on December 21, 1962, in New York City, as the second-youngest son of a Jewish family.[4][5][6] He is a son of Robert E. Mnuchin, of Washington, Connecticut, and Elaine Terner Cooper, of New York.[7] Robert Mnuchin was a partner at Goldman Sachs in charge of equity trading and a member of the management committee. He is also the founder of an art gallery in New York City, the Mnuchin Gallery.[7][8] Mnuchin’s great-grandfather, Aaron Mnuchin, a Russian-born diamond dealer who later resided in Belgium, emigrated to the U.S. in 1916.[9]

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

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, found himself on the defensive for failing to disclose $100 million in real estate assets on his financial disclosure forms before today’s confirmation hearing.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., pointedly asked Mnuchin, a former hedge fund manager, if he would support closing tax loopholes in the U.S. that “extremely wealthy people use, such as yourself, to avoid paying taxes?”

She said Mnuchin, 53, also failed to include his position as a director of a Cayman Islandsholding corporation.

Mnuchin said his offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands were used only to benefit nonprofits and pension funds and were allowable by law. Regarding the omission about his position in a shell company, Mnuchin claimed the mistake was an oversight.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trumps-treasury-secretary-pick-steven-mnuchin-defends-role/story?id=44886015

James Mattis

One point that makes Mattis stand out among the others in the order of succession is that he is an Independent and was actually appointed by President Obama in 2010 to replace General Petraeus.

From Wikipedia:

James NormanJim[3] Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is the 26th and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the Trump Administration. Mattis is a retired United States Marine Corps general who previously served as the 11th Commander of United States Central Command and was responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, from August 11, 2010, to March 22, 2013.

On January 20, 2017, Mattis was confirmed as Secretary of Defense 98–1 by the United States Senate on a waiver,[4] as he had only been three years out of active duty despite US federal law requiring a seven-year cooling off period for retired military personnel to be appointed Secretary of Defense. He was the first member of President Donald Trump‘s cabinet to be confirmed.

Before President Barack Obama appointed him to replace General David Petraeus on August 11, 2010, Mattis previously commanded United States Joint Forces Command from November 9, 2007, to August 2010 and served concurrently as NATO‘s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from November 9, 2007, to September 8, 2009. Prior to that, he commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force, United States Marine Forces Central Command, and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.[5]

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

Mattis, whose nicknames include “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” has had a leading hand in some of the U.S. military’s most significant operations in the past 20 years. As a one-star general, he led an amphibious task force of Marines that carried out a November 2001 raid in helicopters on Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, giving the Pentagon a new foothold against the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Using the call sign “Chaos,” he commanded a division of Marines during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and returned there the following year to lead Marines in bloody street fighting in the city of Fallujah.

Mattis continued to rise through the ranks and establish his credentials as a military thinker, co-authoring the U.S. military’s new counterinsurgency manual with then-Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus while Mattis was a three-star general at Quantico, Va.

He was considered a leading contender to become commandant of the Marine Corps in 2010 but was bypassed in favor of Gen. James F. Amos. Instead, Mattis replaced Petraeus as the chief of Central Command, overseeing U.S. military operations across the Middle East.

Even though Central Command did not encompass Israel, Mattis made a concerted effort to reach out to his Israeli military counterparts, according to Steven Simon, who worked with Mattis when he served on Obama’s National Security Council.

Simon, who now teaches at Amherst College, said Mattis made frequent stops in Israel during trips to the region, part of an effort to encourage the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors to work together to counter Iranian influence. “They respected Mattis because they saw him as a straight shooter and a good listener,” Simon said of the Israelis and Arabs.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-has-chosen-retired-marine-gen-james-mattis-for-secretary-of-defense/2016/12/01/6c6b3b74-aff9-11e6-be1c-8cec35b1ad25_story.html?utm_term=.d5228736be65

James Matttis

The following quote by Mattis sums up the way I feel about combat:

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.” General James Mattis

I was going to include information on Jeff Sessions as he is next in line after Mattis but his obvious Russian Connections as well as ethical violations are so numerous that he will be ousted with the rest of Trump’s cronies.

Here are a couple more links that should be VERY interesting…

Guccifer 2.0 and the hacking of Democratic candidates for Congress

Who in Trump’s Inner Circle Doesn’t Have Ties to Russia

Fast Facts on Order of Succession 

I feel that with the “no doubt” thorough investigation that will be done by Robert Mueller that those above Mathis with the possible exception of Hatch will also be implicated in connections and/or collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice/perjury which will knock them out of consideration.

It is my hope that warrants will be issued for all simultaneously with articles of impeachment for Trump and that Orrin Hatch will put the good of the country over himself and decline the office due to his age and the very real possibility that he could not serve the remainder of the term.

I do not pretend to be an expert in the Presidential Order of Succession and this is merely my own opinion on how things could and should go.

Storm

Donald Melania Barron Trump Tower

Evidence For Theory Trump is a Manchurian Candidate

In this post I am going to share research done by myself and others going back 30 years that show that despite the recent reversals and objections by Trump, his children and his cronies that his connections to Russia go back three decades. Before we get into all of the evidence I want to share the definition of a “Manchurian Candidate” for those that may be unfamiliar with the term.

Manchurian-candidate

A Manchurian candidate is a person, especially a politician, being used as a puppet by an enemy power. The term is commonly used to indicate disloyalty or corruption, whether intentional or unintentional.

http://www.dictionary.com/meaning/manchurian-candidate

Before we get into the numerous lengthy articles showing Trump’s Russian Connections I want to share two YouTube videos – one where Trump himself admits knowing Putin and the other with his son, Donald Jr. in an interview detailing his many trips to Russia.

The next thing I want to share is from USA Today showing the connections going back 30 years, I will continue with all of the documentation and articles I have found from reputable sources and let you make up your own mind. All of the information I am sharing is freely available online I am merely trying to make it easy for people to absorb by putting as much as I could find in one place.

Here is a timeline of Trump’s known connections to Russia:

1987: Trump was invited to Moscow by the Soviet ambassador to the United States to discuss luxury hotel developments. Trump later told Playboy magazine that his plans to build hotels in Moscow failed because the country “was out of control and the leadership knows it.” Four years later, on Christmas Day, the Soviet Union officially dissolved, and Russians who had been allowed to buy state-owned enterprises amassed enormous fortunes.

1996: While wrapping up a series of bankruptcies in New York, Trump talked of building a replica of his Trump Tower in Moscow and traveled there to discuss renovating the Moskva and Rossiya hotels, according to Bloomberg News. The bankruptcies led to a change in Trump’s business model: Instead of building projects from the ground up, he signed licensing agreements that in some cases gave him an ownership stake in properties that bore his name without putting up any of his own money. The Trump Organization continued to seek wealthy investors in Russia.

Dozens of condominiums in Trump World Tower in midtown Manhattan were bought by Russians in the late 1990s, said Dolly Lenz, a real estate broker who sold many of the units. Many buyers sought an audience with Trump, whose business acumen they respected, Lenz said.

Early 2000s: The Trump Organization developed several projects abroad, many of them involving Russian money.

2007: Trump debuted his Trump Super Premium Vodka at the Millionaire’s Fair in Moscow. Large orders for the gold-glazed spirit followed, but the brand fizzled by 2009, according to The New York Times.

2008: Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., told investors in Moscow that the Trump Organization had trademarked the Donald Trump name in Russia and planned to build housing and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, and sell licenses to other developers, the Russian daily Kommersant reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said at the time. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Trump Jr. traveled to Russia a half-dozen times in 18 months looking for deals, but none materialized. He said there were plenty of investment opportunities, but the business environment was dangerous and trustworthy partners hard to find. “It really is a scary place,” he said, according to eTurboNews, an online business publication.

2010: Trump’s next big U.S. project, the Trump SoHo in New York, was built with partner Bayrock Group, founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official.

2013: Trump brought the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow, funded by $20 million from Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov. The venue was Agalarov’s Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow. Trump took part in a music video with Agalarov’s son, Emin.

2016: Trump’s presidential campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned in August amid reports that he worked on the political campaign of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who had been forced to flee office because of his pro-Russian stance.

Carter Page, a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow, was a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser until August, when Yahoo News reported that U.S. intelligence officials were investigating whether he had been communicating with Russian officials about lifting U.S. sanctions if Trump became president.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/02/15/donald-trumps-ties-russia-go-back-30-years/97949746/

The Russian Hacking of the 2016 Election

Russian intelligence agencies have allegedly recently digitally broken into four different American organizations that are affiliated either with Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party since late May. All of the hacks appear designed to benefit Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations in one fashion or another.

When asked about this, and his affection for Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump said any inference that a connection exists between the two is absurd and the stuff of conspiracy. “I have ZERO investments in Russia,” he tweeted after the Democratic National Committee was apparently hacked by Russia and the emails released by Wiki Leaks on the eve of the DNC convention to nominate Clinton as its 2016 presidential candidate.

Most of the coverage of the links between Trump and Putin’s Russia takes the GOP presidential nominee at his word—that he has lusted after a Trump tower in Moscow, and come up spectacularly short. But Trump’s dodge—that he has no businesses in Russia, so there is no connection to Putin—is a classic magician’s trick. Show one idle hand, while the other is actually doing the work.

The truth, as several columnists and reporters have painstakingly shown since the first hack of a Clinton-affiliated group took place in late May or early June, is that several of Trump’s businesses outside of Russia are entangled with Russian financiers inside Putin’s circle.

So, yes, it’s true that Trump has failed to land a business venture inside Russia. But the real truth is that, as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What’s more, several of Trump’s senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.

“The Trump-Russia links beneath the surface are even more extensive,” Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.”

What’s more, three of Trump’s top advisors all have extensive financial and business ties to Russian financiers, wrote Boot, the former editor of the Op Ed page of the Wall Street Journal and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Trump’s de facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed president of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014. Manafort also has done multimillion-dollar business deals with Russian oligarchs. Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page has his own business ties to the state-controlled Russian oil giant Gazprom. … Another Trump foreign policy advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, flew to Moscow last year to attend a gala banquet celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, and was seated at the head table near Putin.

Manafort denounced the New York Times Monday for a deeply reported story that broke over the weekend showing that secret ledgers in Ukraine contained references to $12.7 million in payments earmarked for him. The Times report said that the party of former Ukraine president and pro-Russia ally, Viktor Yanukovych, set aside the payments for Manafort as part of an illegal and previously undisclosed system of payments.

“Once again, the New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” Manafort said in a statement first reported by NBC News. Manafort said that he has never done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia—but that “political payments directed to me” in Ukraine were for his entire political team there that included operatives and researchers.

In response, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, issued a statement: “Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them.”

But it is Trump’s financing from Russian satellite business interests that would seem to explain his pro-Putin sympathies.

Read more: This Is How the Trump Campaign May Have Interfered With Russia Policy

The most obvious example is Trump Soho, a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.

“Tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock’s business model,” the lawsuit said of the financiers behind Trump Soho. The financing came from Russian-affiliated business interests that engaged in criminal activities, it said. “(But) there is no evidence Trump took any part in, or knew of, their racketeering.”

Journalists who’ve looked at the Bayrock lawsuit, and Trump Soho, wonder why Trump was involved at all. “What was Trump thinking entering into business with partners like these?” Franklin Foer wrote in Slate. “It’s a question he has tried to banish by downplaying his ties to Bayrock.”

But Bayrock wasn’t just involved with Trump Soho. It financed multiple Trump projects around the world, Foer wrote. “(Trump) didn’t just partner with Bayrock; the company embedded with him. Bayrock put together deals for mammoth Trump-named, Trump-managed projects—two in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a resort in Phoenix, the Trump SoHo in New York.”

But, as The New York Times has reported, that was only the beginning of the Trump organization’s entanglement with Russian financiers. Trump was quite taken with Bayrock’s founder, Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet-era commerce official originally from Kazakhstan.

“Bayrock, which was developing commercial properties in Brooklyn, proposed that Mr. Trump license his name to hotel projects in Florida, Arizona and New York, including Trump SoHo,” the Times reported. “The other development partner for Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir, was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.”

Trump was eager to work with both financial groups on Trump projects all over the world. “Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif’s overseas connections,” the Times wrote. “In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed ‘numerous deals all over the world’ and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump’s office to meet him. ‘Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.’”

The Times also reported that federal court records recently released showed yet another link to Russian financial interests in Trump businesses. A Bayrock official “brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians ‘in favor with’ President Vladimir V. Putin,’” the Times reported. “The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a ‘strategic partner,’ along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt.”

Trump Soho was so complicated that Bayrock’s finance chief, Jody Kriss, sued it for fraud. In the lawsuit, Kriss alleged that a primary source of funding for Trump’s big projects with Bayrock arrived “magically” from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan whenever the business interest needed funding.

There are other Russian business ties to the Trump organization as well. Trump’s first real estate venture in Toronto, Canada, was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs, Toronto Life reported in 2013.

“The hotel’s developer, Talon International, is run by Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider, two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. Levitan made his fortune manufacturing slot machines and creating bank note validation technology, and Shnaider earned his in the post-glasnost steel trade,” it reported.

Finally, for all of his denials of Russian ties lately, Trump has boasted in the past of his many meetings with Russian oligarchs. During one trip to Moscow, Trump bragged that they all showed up to meet him to discuss projects around the globe. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room” just to meet with him, Trump said at the time.

And when Trump built a tower in Panama, his clients were wealthy Russians, the Washington Post reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008, according to a trade publication, eTurboNews.

The only instance that Trump acknowledges any sort of Russian financial connection is a Florida mansion he sold to a wealthy Russian. “What do I have to do with Russia?” Trump said in the wake of the DNC hack. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida… for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions.”

But it should be obvious to anyone trying to pay attention to these moving targets that Trump is saying one thing and doing something else. When it comes to Trump and Russia, the truth may take awhile to emerge.

Bloomberg reported in June that the Clinton Foundation was breached by Russian hackers. “The Russians may also have acquired the emails that Hillary Clinton sent as secretary of State. Putin might be holding back explosive material until October, when its release could ensure a Trump victory,” it reported.

In the 1970s, burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex. President Richard Nixon, a Republican, was forced out of office for the White House cover up of its involvement in the DNC break in.

Now, a generation later, a digital break in to the national headquarters of one of our two major parties by a foreign adversary in order to leak information that benefits the other national party’s presidential candidate seems to be just the normal course of doing business. The Trump era, it is safe to assume, is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

http://time.com/4433880/donald-trump-ties-to-russia/

The news below came out on May 7th, 2017

President Trump’s son Eric once said that his father got funding for his golf courses from the Russians, according to a report.

Golf writer James Dodson said he hit the links with Eric and Donald at the Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C., in 2014 when he raised the question of how they found the money to keep developing golf courses when financing was tight during the Recession.

Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million,” Dodson told WBUR-FM, a Boston public radio station, in an interview that aired Friday.

Later, Dodson, who wrote a biography of Ben Hogan, among other golf books, said he asked Eric the same question as they rode in a golf cart.

Dodson said Eric Trump replied: “ ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’”

Dodson said, “Really?”

Eric continued: “’Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’”

http://nypost.com/2017/05/07/eric-trump-said-dads-golf-courses-were-funded-by-russia/

That time a Russian billionaire paid Trump $95 million for a mansion

The Maison de L’Amitie is a massive beachfront estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The 81,738 square foot mansion sits on 6.2 acres — with 475 feet of sandy beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. It belonged to Abraham Gosman, a millionaire who owned health care properties across the country — until he went bankrupt.

In a 2004 auction, Trump snapped up the property from Gosman’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Estate for $41 million, according to property records.

Four years later, Trump sold the mansion for $95 million.

The official deed on that deal says that Trump Properties sold the property to County Road Property LLC. But that’s just a front. The real buyer of the property was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Rybolovlev admitted it through a spokesman in 2008, and his real estate agent on the deal reaffirmed it to CNNMoney this week.

Carol Digges, the South Florida broker who gave Rybolovlev a tour of the luxurious estate two years before he bought it, said the Russian billionaire never moved in. In fact, she doubts he ever moved in.

“He bought it and never lived in it,” she said.

The Russian is now planning to tear down the mansion, according to Palm Beach planning and zoning records.

There’s reason for Rybolovlev to keep valuable assets at a distance. He was involved in what’s been called “the divorce of the century,” a seven-year battle his wife won when a Swiss court awarded her $4.5 billion — and later settled quietly.

Trump pointed to this deal because it clearly involved him getting richer from Russian money — but this doesn’t exactly tie him to Vladimir Putin, as the Democratic Party would like to portray.

Rybolovlev is a Russian oligarch. He made his billions by keeping a major stake in the Russian fertilizer company Uralkali just after the fall of the Soviet Union. But he wasn’t beloved by the Russian government. He spent nearly a year in Russian prison in the mid-1990s on charges he hired an assassin — until he was proven innocent and released.

And it’s clear Trump is starting to get irked over questions about Russians.

“That was a number of years ago,” Trump said at the press conference, talking about the deal with Rybolovlev. “I guess probably I sell condos to Russians, okay?”

http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/27/news/donald-trump-russian-deal-mansion/

More Rybolovlev Connections

Trump’s ties to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev are drawing new attention amid speculation that the tycoons may have an undisclosed secret alliance.

Yachts owned by Rybolovlev and Trump financier Robert Mercer were anchored near each other Friday in the British Virgin Islands, according to records obtained by the Palm Beach Post. The report was highlighted on Tuesday’s episode of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” along with details of Trump’s 2005 tax filing.

Reports have surfaced in recent days that Rybolovlev’s jet was parked near Trump’s in North Carolina a few days before the election. A few days earlier, the two were both in Las Vegas for separate events.

Swiss court slashes richest divorce payout to $604 million

A representative for Rybolovlev told McClatchy last week that it was “pure coincidence” that the two planes were parked next to each other. Rybolovlev, 50, has also never met the President personally, either, the representative told McClatchy, and “has no connection whatsoever to Mr. Trump or his team of advisers.”

Even if they’ve never met, the pair do have some history together.

Russian Elite Invested Nearly $100 Million in Trump Buildings

(And those are just the transparent ones, doesn’t count numerous LLCs that could be shell corporations)

A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.

MIAMI/MOSCOW – During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump downplayed his business ties with Russia. And since taking office as president, he has been even more emphatic.

“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” President Trump said at a news conference last month. “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.

The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.

People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well. One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.

Uglanov

FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK: Pavel Uglanov, right, a Russian buyer in a Trump building, posted a picture of himself with Alexander Zaldostanov, the head of a Russian motorcycle gang sanctioned by the U.S. government for its role in Russia’s seizure of Crimea. Via Facebook

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-trump-property/

Trump’s Russian Ties in 7 Charts

These charts illustrate dozens of those links, including meetings between Russian officials and members of Trump’s campaign and administration; his daughter’s ties to Putin’s friends; Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant; and his short-lived mixed martial arts venture with one of Putin’s favorite athletes. The solid lines mark established facts, while dotted ones represent speculative or unproven connections.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/connections-trump-putin-russia-ties-chart-flynn-page-manafort-sessions-214868

Michael Flynn and Jill Stein in Russia

It was a (red) star-studded affair, the December 2015 dinner celebrating the 10th birthday of Russian TV network RT. At a luxe Moscow hotel, President Vladimir Putin and a host of Russian luminaries toasted a state-backed news channel that U.S. intelligence calls a Kremlin mouthpiece.

And next to Putin at the head table, in the seat of honor, was an American. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would later become Donald Trump’s national security adviser, was already advising Trump’s presidential campaign when he was paid $45,000 to speak at the gala.

“It is not coincidence that Flynn was placed next to President Putin,” said Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 2012 to 2014 and now an NBC News analyst. “Flynn was considered a close Trump adviser. Why else would they want him there?”

Flynn’s Moscow jaunt, like his oddly timed phone chats with the Russian ambassador, has been well reported. But who else came to dinner on Dec. 10, 2015? An NBC News review of video and photos from the RT gala shows a healthy serving of ex-spies, cronies and oligarchs, with a side of friendly journalists and another American.

Flynn was one of 10 people at the head table, including the Kremlin’s top leadership. Three of the Russians, including Putin, were under U.S. sanctions at the time for their role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Dmitry Peskov and Sergey Ivanov
Sergey Ivanov (right), then Putin’s chief of staff, sat directly across the table from Flynn at the gala. To his left, is Putin’s nominal spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, who U.S. officials say is really the Russian president’s de facto national security adviser. RT

Sergey Ivanov, then Putin’s chief of staff, sat directly across the table from Flynn. A former KGB general who at one point ran KGB operations in Africa, he has also served as Russian defense minister and deputy prime minister. Ivanov had been under U.S. and European sanctions for a year and a half by the date of the dinner.

Next to Ivanov was Dmitry Peskov, nominally Putin’s spokesman, but more importantly his de facto national security adviser, say U.S. officials. Like almost everyone at the head table that night, he speaks perfect English.

Flanking Putin on his right, two seats from Flynn, sat Alexey Gromov, Putin’s deputy chief of staff. U.S. intelligence considers Gromov to be Putin’s head propagandist. According to the January 6 Intelligence Community report on Russian interference in the U.S. election, “Gromov oversees political coverage on TV, and he has periodic meetings with media managers where he shares classified information and discusses their coverage plans.”

He’s also been accused by U.S. intelligence of “ordering media attacks on opposition figures.” He has worked directly for the Russian president, first in the Press Office, then as press attache and, since 2008, as deputy chief of staff. He too was on U.S. and European sanctions the day of the dinner.

Margarita Simonyan
Margarita Simonyan is a personal friend of Putin, and worked in one of his presidential campaigns before being chosen to head RT. She took Putin’s seat next to Flynn when Putin went to the stage to speak. RT

After Putin got up to make his speech, his place at Flynn’s side was taken by Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief. She is also editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya, a state-owned and operated Russian news agency created by Putin. A personal friend of Putin, she worked in one of his presidential campaigns before being chosen by Gromov to head RT. The U.S. intelligence assessment of RT paints Simonyan as the lead person, along with Gromov, engaging in “information warfare” against U.S. policies. She is described as “closely tied to, controlled by the Kremlin.”

In his dinner speech, Putin praised RT for its objectivity, disclaiming any influence on its coverage.

Next to Simonyan was the night’s biggest global cultural celebrity, acclaimed director Emir Kusturica, who has twice won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Born a Muslim in Bosnia, he converted to Orthodox Christianity and is a Putin booster. Putin awarded him the Russian Order of Friendship in 2016. Of Putin, Kusturica once said, “If I was English, I would be very much against him. I was an American, I would even fight with him. But if I was Russian, I would vote for him.”

Kusturica’s wife, seated next to him, was the only spouse at the head table.

Also at the head table were three western politicians. Willy Wimmer, a former member of the German Bundestag who is often critical of U.S. foreign policy; Cyril Svoboda, former deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, and interior minister of the Czech Republic, and two-time U.S. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, the only American besides Flynn at the head table.

Willy Wimmer, Jill Stein
Willy Wimmer, left, is a former member of the German Bundestag who is often critical of U.S. foreign policy. Two-time U.S. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the only American besides Flynn at the head table. RT

Stein’s 2016 campaign was heavily promoted by RT. She hasn’t spoken much about the RT dinner, but in an interview with NBC News last fall, she deflected questions about her appearance, instead chastising the U.S. media for not paying attention to her campaign while RT gave it a lot more attention.

“And my own connection to RT, you know ironically, it takes a Russian television station to actually be open to independent candidates in this country and that is a shame. A shameful commentary on our own media,” she told NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald.

(Stein did well enough to help Russia achieve its aims. Her vote totals in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan were all greater than Clinton’s margin of defeat, and arguably denied Clinton an Electoral College victory.)

Beyond the head table, Russia’s oligarchs filled many of the seats.

Seated at a corner table was Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets who ran against Putin as the designated liberal candidate in 2012 (and whose offices were raided by Russian security last April). Prokhorov is now on the outs with Putin. Next to him was Viktor Vekselberg, whose billions are in oil and aluminum and who is a business partner of Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the owner of the world’s largest collection of Faberge eggs.

Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets
Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, ran against against Vladimir Putin as the designated liberal candidate in 2012. To the right of Prokhorov is fellow billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, an oil and aluminum magnate who is a business partner of Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. RT

At the table behind Putin’s was Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist Party ruler of the Soviet Union, along with Artur Chilingarov, polar explorer and federal senator. Nearby, there was Arkady Mamontov, a famous TV host who said that a massive meteor strike that injured nearly 1,500 people in 2013 was God’s vengeance on Russia’s gay rights movement.

There was Tina Kandelaki, a socialite and award-winning TV host who’s appeared on the covers of the Russian versions of Playboy, InStyle, and Maxim — and ran an international marketing operation for the AK-47, calling it an instrument of peace.

Unable to attend in person was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who formerly hosted his own show on RT. Instead, he appeared via satellite as host of one of the 10th anniversary event’s seminars, where he lamented the end of privacy.

Tina Kandelaki has appeared on the covers of the Russian versions of Playboy, InStyle, and Maxim and ran an international marketing operation for the AK-47, calling the gun an instrument of peace. RT

‘A Great Learning Opportunity’

Flynn had already been a frequent guest on RT in the months prior to the dinner.

In an interview with Dana Priest of the Washington Post in August 2016, Flynn talked about why he accepted such a starring role. He said he didn’t ask for it, that the Russians sat him next to Putin.

“I was one of the guests there. … Some interesting characters. I found it a great learning opportunity. One of the things I learned was that Putin has no respect for the United States leadership. Not for the United States, but the leadership.”

When Putin finished his speech that night, Flynn was among the first to leap to his feet and offer a standing ovation.

In the year following the dinner, RT was part of the Putin government’s overt attempt to influence the U.S. election, according to the U.S. Intelligence Community. In the January 2017 report on Russian interference, the IC discussed the network’s role at length.

Mikhail Gorbachev sat a table behind Putin’s. RT

“RT’s criticism of the U.S. election,” said the report, “was the latest facet of its broader and longer-standing anti-U.S. messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers’ trust in U.S. democratic procedures and undercutting U.S. criticism of Russia’s political system. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan recently declared that the United States itself lacks democracy and that it has ‘no moral right to teach the rest of the world.'”

Jill Stein declined an NBC News request for comment.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/guess-who-came-dinner-flynn-putin-n742696

Flynn and Manfort

Former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have emerged as key figures in the FBI’s investigation into Russian campaign interference, which has just been taken over by a special counsel, four law enforcement officials told NBC News.

Officials say multiple grand jury subpoenas and records requests have been issued in connection with the two men during the past six months in the ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian attempts to influence the election, an inquiry that will now be overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The FBI, with the help of the Treasury Department, the CIA and other agencies, is examining evidence of possible contacts, money transfers and business relationships between a variety of Trump associates and Russian officials, the sources say. The investigation goes well beyond Flynn, Manafort and a possible American connection, to include how Russian intelligence services carried out the campaign of fake news and leaking hacked emails that intelligence officials say was meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/flynn-manafort-are-key-figures-russia-probe-mueller-will-lead-n761256

ADDED on May 19,2017 – If the news below isn’t enough to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice I don’t know what is…

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

 

I am obviously not the first to suggest that Trump is a Manchurian Candidate. Brent Budowsky, who wrote a similar article in August of 2016 was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics.
http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/290869-brent-budowsky-donald-trump-a-real-life-manchurian-candidate

Storm 

Storm Wolf Words