RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin cool on U.S. cooperation overtures” – Interfax

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

(Interfax – April 24, 2018) The Kremlin has responded coolly to US statements about President Donald Trump’s reported readiness to cooperate with Russia. Commenting on US ambassador to Russia John Huntsman’s recent statement that Trump is “aiming to lessen tensions” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “As of now, the reality, the real state of affairs, real steps which we see […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Midwestern Democrats Want The National Party To Stop The Trump-Russia Talk; ‘The only ones who want to do this are Democratic activists who are already voting Democratic.'” – BuzzFeed/Molly Hensley-Clancy

United States Map, adapted from image at epa.gov

“In battleground states in the middle of the country, some Democrats watched with frustration … a splashy new lawsuit alleging a vast conspiracy between … Trump and Russia.  The Democratic National Committee’s drumbeat … is wearing thin with some Democrats … particularly in the Midwest, where people on the ground say voters are uninterested and even turned off by the […]

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[SATIRE] NEWSLINK: “Bezos Says That When Pee Tape Is Released It Will Be Free for All Amazon Prime Members” – The New Yorker/Andy Borowitz

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Satire from The Borowitz Report: … Bezos’s offer drew a mixed response from Prime members, with some begging Amazon not to offer the … tape to them. …”

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Bolton, New U.S. National Security Adviser, Tells Russia Conditions For Better Ties

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – WASHINGTON, April 20, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) The new U.S. national security adviser has told Russia’s U.S. ambassador that Moscow must address U.S. concerns on election meddling, the “reckless” nerve-agent attack in Britain, and the situations in Ukraine and Syria before relations can substantially improve. A White House […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Trump trying to walk back Syria strike and sanctions tensions” – bne Intellinews

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“The U.S. surprised (and relieved) the market by not following through on a threat to impose even more sanctions … the day after western allies carried out limited missile strikes on suspected chemical weapons industrial targets in Syria. The U.S. administration is split over how to react to Russia’s increasing aggression … both … Trump and … Putin were actively […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost” – Washington Post/Greg Jaffe, John Hudson, Philip Rucker

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“‘If you’re getting briefed by the CIA director on all this stuff, there’s a point where, even if you’re Donald J. Trump, you think, “Hmm [Putin’s] a really bad guy,”‘ said former House speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser.”

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NEWSLINK: “Trump Scraps New Sanctions Against Russia, Overruling Advisers” – New York Times/Peter Baker

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump rejected, for now at least, a fresh round of sanctions set to be imposed against Russia on Monday, a course change that underscored the schism between the president and his national security team. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Market Fundamentalism’ Tested as New Economic Storm Hits Russia” – Bloomberg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia is gambling that a policy mix born amid its confrontation with the West four years ago is good enough to carry it through an even worse standoff …. allowing its ruble to trade freely  …. that flexible currency provides support for the Russian economy as … Putin faces the fallout of the most punitive U.S. penalties yet and … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A few cruise missiles from Trump won’t stop Syria’s war crimes” – Washington Post Editorial

Syria Map

“Having declared that Syria will pay a ‘big price’ for its latest use of chemical weapons … Trump will deal another blow to U.S. global leadership if he does not follow through. But a few cruise missiles won’t change anything in Syria. What’s really needed is a concerted strategy …. the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are […]

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NEWSLINK: “In Syria, Trump Faces the Limits of Bluster” – New York Times Editorial

Syria Map

“A world grown numb to the slaughter of civilians in Syria has been roused in the last 48 hours by photographs on social media of lifeless men, women and children in the rebel-held town of Douma, many with white foam coming from their mouths and nostrils, victims of chemical weapons. Outraged Western nations blame President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and demand […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For John Bolton, Russia is part of a new ‘axis of evil'” – Washington Post/Josh Rogin

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

“The Trump administration seems to be hardening on Russia, but not fast enough for its incoming national security adviser. John Bolton wants President Trump to go on the offensive against Moscow – and not just when it comes to … American democracy. Speaking last month … Bolton said … Putin must pay a heavy price …. ‘I don’t think the […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Will Trump Punish Russia Next? When it comes to sending messages to bad actors, presidents have a standard bag of tricks to choose from.” – Politico/Samantha Vinograd

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

“… I spent a lot of time in the situation room debating how to respond to naughty global players ….”

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Orders Expulsion of 60 Russians Over Poison Attack in Britain” – New York Times/KATIE ROGERS, EILEEN SULLIVAN

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain …. The mass expulsion of Russian personnel stationed in the United States was the largest ever, eclipsing even the darkest days of the global showdown with the Soviet Union. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Q&A: Tillerson Out, Pompeo In. What Does It Mean for Russia and Ukraine?” – Atlantic Council/Melinda Haring/ Anders Åslund/ Michael Carpenter/ Ariel Cohen/ Jeffrey Gedmin/ John Herbst/ Adrian Karatnycky/ Alina Polyakova/ Alexander Vershbow

File Photo of Mike Pompeo Seat at Table During Congressional Testimony, with Specators in the Background

“… Tillerson was sacked. … Trump plans to replace him with former CIA director Mike Pompeo. UkraineAlert ask[s] … What does Pompeo think about … Putin and his aggressive foreign policy? What does the leadership change mean for US policy toward Ukraine and Russia? Do you expect any changes? Will he support US Special Representative for Ukraine Ambassador Kurt Volker’s […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN ON U.S. ELECTION MEDDLING: ‘SO WHAT?’ AND OTHER KEY QUOTES FROM MEGYN KELLY’S INTERVIEW” – Newsweek

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said he ‘doesn’t care’ about the alleged meddling of Russian nationals and companies in the U.S. presidential election on 2016 that saw the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. Putin discussed the indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller last month as part of an exclusive interview to NBC’s Megyn Kelly aired […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Probe Has Turned The News Into ‘Ancient Aliens’; The news media’s rush to judgement on the Russia probe has left them looking like ancient astronaut theorists: entertaining but wrong.” – The Federalist/David Marcus

Satellite Dishes

“… Trump is absolutely aware of how eager the news media is to bring him down. … he has made … ‘Fake News’ his number-one nemesis. …. When indictments against Russian nationals came down last week for interfering with the election, it came with the caveat that no Americans had any knowledge of it. Even so, many in the news […]

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NEWSLINK: “A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy; Is it possible to express skepticism about the impact of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election without the Internet turning you into a pro-Trump propagandist?” – The New Yorker/Adrian Chen

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… The thing is, I don’t really want to be an expert on the Internet Research Agency and Russian online propaganda. I agree with my colleague Masha Gessen that the whole issue has been blown out of proportion. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power; From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.” – The National Interest/George Beebe

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Few questions have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government’s national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. … particularly … in the United States, where … the Intelligence Community (IC) ha[s] grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions […]

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Why Trump’s Bid to Improve U.S.-Russian Relations Backfired in Congress

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – PONARS Policy Memo – Mikhail Alexseev – February 2018) Mikhail Alexseev is Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. One of Donald Trump’s 2016 keynote foreign policy pledges was to improve relations with Russia. Few would have predicted that after a year in office, his plan would not only stall or fizzle out, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Carter Page, Useful Idiot; The demonization of Carter Page highlights the most alarming aspect of our recent domestic political turmoil – a disturbing conviction that basic standards of truth or fairness must not be allowed to deflect from the paramount objective of toppling Trump” – The American Interest/Kirk Bennett

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Reading some of the recent hyperventilating headlines (‘Carter Page admits to advising the Kremlin’), one could be forgiven for wondering whether Page’s years in Moscow were spent working from an office adjoining Putin’s. The reality is disappointingly pedestrian. What Page actually wrote in a 2013 letter is that, ‘over the past half year, I have had the privilege to […]

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Moscow Far More Worried about Trump than Many in the West Think, Shevtsova Says

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 12, 2018) Many Russian and Western analysts dismissed “the Kremlin list” the Trump Administration released two weeks ago as a bad joke or worse and thus failed to recognize the extent to which its contents in fact have made Moscow far more afraid of the US president than they were before, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “GOP Focuses on Russia Allegations That Reached Steele; Notes by freelance journalist Cody Shearer got to writer of dossier via Clinton associate” – Wall Street Journal/Byron Tau

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Republicans on Capitol Hill are probing a collection of unverified and salacious allegations against … Trump … compiled in late 2016 by … freelance journalist and researcher … Cody Shearer, who … passed his work along to an associate of Hillary Clinton. … eight pages of raw and unverified notes … purportedly drawn from interviews with two prominent journalists and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Biased FBI and DOJ Officials Broke The Law And Tried To Decide The Election – an Annotated Timeline” [excerpt] – Forbes/Thomas Del Beccaro

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President. Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other. Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why does Trump hate Russia?” – The Hill/Frank R. Gunter

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… has Trump helped Russia? The economic, political and diplomatic evidence supports a negative view – Trump’s actions have severely damaged Putin’s Russia. The collapse of energy prices since 2014 devastated the Russian economy. It is generous to call Russia an industrial state. It is more like a developing country in that its exports are dominated by raw materials such […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling” – The Hill/STEPHEN BLANK

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Stephen Blank is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “The Nunes memo and Putin’s long game; As the president and other Republicans directly question the integrity of the FBI and DOJ, analysts and some in the GOP say it only furthers Russian objectives. [Excerpt]” – Politico/Matthew Nussbaum

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Putin might get tired of winning. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community discovered the Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election … some Republicans have been laboring to undermine investigations into the attack and discredit the intelligence agencies that discovered it. … [O]n Friday … House Republicans released a partisan memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Did The FBI Vouch For The Crazy Russian Deal From The Steele Dossier?” – Forbes/Paul Roderick Gregory

“The media’s promotion of an unverified dossier against … Trump[] failed to cement Hillary Clinton’s expected victory …. If that were the whole story, the dossier would have faded from public view … Trump would not have spent his first year fighting off charges of treason, and a much bigger story would not be getting ready to break. What we […]

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Interfax: Trump would like to see relations with Russia improved – U.S. ambassador to Russia

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) – U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has said he believes that President Donald Trump would like to spend more time on relations between Russia and the United States. “I know that the President would like to see this relationship improved. I think he would like to spend more time on the relationship itself, as he […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Contrary to Expectations, US-Russian Relations Deteriorate Under President Trump” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

  “… Trump’s presidency began … with widespread expectations of improvement in U.S.-Russian relations [yet now they are] in worse shape than he found them. … the National Security Strategy … identified Russia (along with China) as a strategic adversary intent on undermining U.S. primacy … [Additionally, consider] Trump’s decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine to help deter Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Steele boasted to friends of his ‘professional’ work on Russia-Trump dossier” – Washington Times/ Rowan Scarborough

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… On Friday, two Republican senators made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. An investigation revealed that … Steele misled the FBI, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The FBI told lawmakers that the bureau had not confirmed the dossier’s core collusion charges since … Steele’s first briefing in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Relations With the West One Year After the U.S. Presidential Elections” – NYU Jordan Center/PONARS Eurasia

File Photo of Manhattan and Manhattan Bridge, adapted from image at loc.gov, from photo by Carol M. Highsmith

“On Wednesday November 8th, the NYU Jordan Center and PONARS Eurasia hosted a joint conference entitled, “Russia’s Relations with the West one Year after the US Presidential Elections.” Taking place on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president, the panel brought together scholars from a range of countries to consider the current state of U.S.-Russian/Eurasian relations and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “[Putin] Telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump” – KremlinRu

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from […]

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Jack Matlock: Current tension in U.S.-Russia relations is result of political mistakes on both sides

Jack Matlock file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

(Interfax – November 7, 2017) Famous diplomat and political analyst, last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the first year of U.S. President Donald Trump in power and relations between Russia and the United States. Question: Mr. Ambassador, you have been following Russia-U.S. relations for almost 60 […]

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Trump was ‘Russia’s Friend’ in Russian Media for Only a Very Brief Period, New Study Says

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 7, 2017) Many assume that Donald Trump was portrayed in the Russian media as Russia’s friend until last summer when it became clear that he would not be willing or at least able to deliver any improvement in Russian-American relations; but that view is incorrect, according to two scholars at Moscow’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “Flynn Flipped. Who’s Next?” – New York Times editorial

Michael Flynn file photo

“… Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the F.B.I. about his communications with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the transition period in December 2016. … The president has repeatedly denied that he or his campaign had any involvement with Russia, and he has mocked the investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’ …”

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: COLLUSION [re Luke Harding]” – Irrussaianality/ Paul Robinson

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding … * * *  I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Red mist; How the Russia investigation looks from Moscow; Hyperventilating about Vladimir Putin infuriates Russian liberals, but it has led to a better Russia policy” – The Economist

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Buzzfeed recently broke an explosive story about Russia’s meddling in America’s elections. On August 3rd 2016, it reported, just as the presidential race was entering its final phase, the Russian foreign ministry wired nearly $30,000 through a Kremlin-backed bank to its embassy in Washington, DC, with a remarkable description attached: ‘To finance election campaign of 2016’. … only one of 60 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For Some Russian Oligarchs, Sanctions Risk Makes Putin Awkward to Know” – Reuters

“The threat of new U.S. sanctions has spread anxiety among Russia’s wealthiest people that their association with … Putin could land them on a U.S. government blacklist …. drawn up by early next year … part of a sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress …. Although those included on the list would not automatically be sanctioned, six people … part of the […]

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