NEWSWATCH: “Susan Rice Keeps Her Mask On; The press corps buys her story that ‘unmasking’ was no big deal” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Susan Rice and Barack Hussein Obama in St. Petersburg Russia, with Mural of St. Petersburg Scene in Background, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Susan Rice returned to the friendly confines of MSNBC … to respond to softball questions about the news that the #Obama national security adviser had ‘unmasked’ the identity of at least one member of the #Trump transition team … surveilled by U.S. #intelligence. … all the more imperative to hear her under oath before #Congress. … Rice didn’t deny that she had sought […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Obama Think of the Russia Story? The only reasonable conclusion: Not much.” – Wall Street Journal/JAMES FREEMAN

File Photo of Michael McFaul Standing and Barack Hussein Obama Sitting at Desk, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Schiff … and Maddow are convinced [of] … more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the … Trump campaign and the Russian government. But … Obama doesn’t see it that way, judging from … comments before and after leaving the White House. It’s a reasonable guess [Obama] has seen more relevant intelligence on this issue than they have. * * * … the Trump White House […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia-gate’s Unasked Questions; Comey’s testimony settles nothing” – The American Conservative/Philip Geraldi

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… If the #FBI began its investigation of team #Trump in late July – after the nomination process but before the election – and the Trump campaign office was located in Trump Tower, doesn’t that confirm that Donald Trump is right when he insists that his office was ‘wiretapped’ during the summer even if his word choice was not apt? […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Down the conspiracy rabbit hole” – Washington Post/Charles Krauthammer

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

“We learn … from Tuesday’s spectacular WikiLeaks dump that among the CIA’s various and nefarious cybertools is the capacity to simulate intrusion by a foreign power, the equivalent of planting phony fingerprints on a smoking gun. … Washington [is] caught up in one of its periodic conspiracy frenzies. Actually, two. One, anti-Trump, is that he and his campaign colluded with Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia ready to take its part of road towards restoration of relations with US”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“Moscow is ready to take its part of the road towards restoration of relations with Washington, which suffered major damage at the previous head of the U.S. administration Barack Obama, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Austria’s Profil weekly. Moscow is watching closely statements made by President Donald Trump about Russia, he said.”

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Deconstructing Obama’s failure with Russia: What went wrong?”

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

“Barack Obama began his presidency calling for an improvement in Russian-U.S. relations, but deep-rooted suspicions and vastly different national interests prevented a closer rapport. As the Obama era ends, relations between the countries are at their lowest point since the mid 1980s. RBTH explores what went wrong. …”

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Russia Fears That Trump Won’t Be Such a Great Deal After All

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer , Ilya Arkhipov, Irina Reznik – January 19, 2017) Russia is giving Donald Trump the kind of fawning television coverage usually reserved for Vladimir Putin, with its most popular propagandist hailing the president-elect this week as “a man of his word.” But inside the Kremlin, the initial euphoria over having a Putin admirer in […]

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Remarks by the President in Final Press Conference. (excerpt re: Russia)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – January 18, 2017) Q Mr. President, thank you. The President-elect has said that he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if they substantially reduced their nuclear stockpile. Given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that’s an effective strategy? Knowing this office and Mr. Trump, how would you […]

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NEWSWATCH: “FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers” – The Hill/KATIE BO WILLIAMS

FBI Headquarters Building file photo

“… The DNC told Buzzfeed in a statement published Wednesday that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. … a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization … ‘The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Statement by the President of Russia

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Kremlin.ru – December 30, 2016) We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy Magazine/Oliver Carroll: “Putin’s Masterstroke of Nonretaliation. In refusing to expel U.S. diplomats in response to President Obama’s sanctions, the Russian leader pulled another fast one on the White House.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“It was one of the most heavily anticipated diplomatic moves of the year, but when it came down to it, the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 embassy staff, close two compounds, and impose sanctions on top intelligence chiefs caught Russia off guard. The move was virtually unprecedented in the post-Cold War world. But that was the point. It was […]

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Trump Has Tough Choice After Obama Sanctions on Russia Hack

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nick Wadhams, Justin Sink – December 30, 2016) President Barack Obama is forcing his successor, Donald Trump, into a difficult choice: reverse the sanctions the departing president just imposed on Russia for hacking e-mails in the U.S. election or put at risk his campaign vow to improve relations with Vladimir Putin. Hours after Obama imposed penalties […]

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Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – December 29, 2016) Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election. These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary […]

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Obama Options on Russian Hacks Range From Covert to Military

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Nafeesa Syeed – December 28, 2016) President Barack Obama has vowed that the U.S. will respond to Russian hacking undertaken during the U.S. presidential campaign. Yet the public may never hear about it. During his presidency, Obama favored a policy of deterrence when it came to responding to cyber attacks, in what U.S. officials call “naming […]

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NEWSLINK AFP: “Obama wants Ukraine deal ‘before term is up'”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“US President Barack Obama said he told Vladimir Putin … that he wants to reach a settlement that solves the Ukraine crisis before he leaves office in January. ….”

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Russian Foreign Ministry has concerns about worsening of relations with U.S. up until Obama Administration’s last day in office

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Moscow is of the view that Barack Obama’s outgoing administration will be seeking a worsening of relations with Russia until its last day in office. “There are also concerns that the White House will be consistently worsening the atmosphere of relations [with Russia] until its last day,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy [excerpt re Russia]

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House Office of the Press Secretary October 18, 2016 Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy (excerpt re Russia) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’m going to be a little more subdued in my discussions of the Republican nominee in this context than I might be on the campaign trail. But let me […]

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NEWSLINK Daily Beast/Michael Weiss: “Barack Obama’s Wrong: The New Cold War’s Only Just Begun. From propaganda to missile deployments, Russian leader Vladimir Putin is testing Obama’s resolve-while claiming to be America’s victim.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Recently, a Russian weatherman on state-owned Rossiya-24 outlined ways in which a Russian nuclear strike in Nebraska could strategically cripple U.S., Canadian, and Mexican communications. Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations has announced that 40 million citizens will take part in a “fire drill,” popularly and traditionally seen as precautionary measures (such as they are) in the event of a nuclear […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Five myths about Russia” – Washington Post/Masha Gessen

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

During the 2012 presidential debates, President Obama mocked challenger Mitt Romney for identifying Russia as the ‘No 1. geopolitical foe’ of the United States. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,’ Obama quipped. Four years later — after Russian aggression in Ukraine and Crimea, along with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The scary truth about what Putin really wants (and Obama’s willful ignorance)” – Fox News/Judith Miller

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

What is Vladimir Putin up to? Evidence of Russian ambition seems to mount by the day. Seizing its neighbor’s territory. Russian bomber overflights of NATO member states. Sophisticated cyberattacks aimed at influencing America’s presidential election. Missiles fired at civilian aircraft. Devastating air strikes on hospitals and relief convoys in Aleppo as the ink dries on a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement for […]

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NEWSLINK Los Angeles Times/Max Boot: “Who’s better for his people? Putin or Obama? The answer is obvious.”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“… I am no defender of President Obama. I was a foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, and I have been very critical of Obama’s weak foreign policy. I think the Iran nuclear deal, the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and the hands-off policy toward Syria, in particular, have been catastrophic mistakes. I am […]

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NEWSWATCH: Michael McFaul and Barack Obama share insights about Russia

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Michael McFaul on Twitter, Sept. 9, 2016: [tweet will appear below, yet might take some extra time to load for some users] If Obama seized control of Fox, allowed only supporters in Congress, closed the NRA & arrested Trump, he too might have 80% approval rating — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 9, 2016 Barack Obama, Speech in Philadelphia, Sept. 13, […]

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Russia, America, it’s time to talk face-to-face

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

During the late 1980s, superpower leaders demagnitised international confrontation by speaking directly to the other side. Why shouldn’t we do this again? (opendemocracy.net – Vasily Gatov – July 18, 2016) Vasily Gatov is visiting fellow at the Center of Communication Leadership and Policy at USC Annenberg, and is a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston. He has more […]

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RBTH: Moscow and Washington consider expanding cooperation in Syria

Syria Map

U.S. President Barack Obama made an offer to Russia to begin joint combat operations against the Al-Nusra Front militants. Some Russian experts believe that this overture has been made in order to strengthen the Democrat Party’s position in the presidential election race. Yet this step also could have positive implications for Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Former U.S. diplomat criticizes Canada’s ‘weakness’ on Russia” [Michael McFaul] – The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

… Obama’s former ambassador to Russia says Canada is showing a ‘sign of weakness’ by not pushing ahead with a promised U.S.-style Magnitsky Act that would punish Russians deemed to be human-rights violators with visa bans and asset freezes. … McFaul, who served as the U.S. envoy to Moscow from 2012 to 2014 and before that was … Obama’s special […]

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Putin: Obama ‘Personally’ Invited Russian President to Nuclear Summit

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 8, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. President Barack Obama had “personally” invited him to attend the nuclear summit held in Washington last week, but he declined over insufficient prominence offered to Russia at the event, and Moscow’s complaints about implementation of a disarmament deal. “Yes, I was invited, and […]

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TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT: Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony [excerpt re: Putin]

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(White House – March 28, 2016) The White House Office of the Press Secretary March 28, 2016 Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony. (excerpt re Putin) THE PRESIDENT: I’ll tell you — I probably maybe shouldn’t do this, but what the heck, I’m in my last year. (Laughter.) I had an in-depth conversation with President Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Could Make Russia Great Again” – Newsweek.com/William Courtney, Donald Jensen

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

After Russia annexed Crimea … Obama dismissed it as a regional power that acts ‘out of weakness.’ [ ] Russia is more … but a penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens its stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.  … Putin’s announcement of a military drawdown in Syria hints that Russia […]

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Obama: ‘Putin is Not Completely Stupid’

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 11, 2016) Vladimir Putin wants to be seen as the peer of U.S. leaders and remains businesslike during top-level meetings, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview published in the April issue of U.S. magazine The Atlantic. Despite the Kremlin’s official rhetoric, Obama said Putin “understands that Russia’s overall position […]

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Hawks See Obama’s NATO Pick as Soft on Russia

File Photo of Rose Gottemoeller Gesturing, Sitting Behind Placard Reading United States of America

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 11, 2016) At a crucial moment in the U.S. relationship with Europe, President Barack Obama has chosen a No. 2 for NATO whom some Republican lawmakers see as the face of a wrongheaded approach to Russia. On Tuesday, the Obama administration informed NATO allies that it will recommend the undersecretary of state […]

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Obama: Ukraine ‘Vulnerable’ To Russian ‘Military Domination’ No Matter What U.S. Does

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 10, 2016) U.S. President Barack Obama said that Ukraine “is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what” the United States does. In one of a series of interviews published on March 10 that formed the basis of an article in The Atlantic magazine, Obama said that Ukraine was clearly a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s address following adoption of a joint statement by Russia and US on Syria

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Kremlin.ru – February 22, 2016) The President made a special address following the adoption of a joint statement by the Russian Federation and the United States of America, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), on the cessation of hostilities in Syria. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, I just had a telephone conversation with President of the […]

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RBTH: U.S. to spend $4.3 billion on ‘countering Russian aggression’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House has announced that a special sum allocated to fighting Russian influence in Europe and the former Soviet space will be included in the country’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA KARPOVA, RBTH – February 11, 2016) The U.S. fiscal year 2017 budget will include $4.3 billion allocated “for political, […]

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Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

From: John Evans <EvansinAmerica@aol.com> Date: January 5, 2016 To: letters@washpost.com Subject: Putin’s Crude and Desperate Propaganda To the Editor: With all due respect to Paula Dobriansky and David Rivkin, and with prior apologies for engaging in “Whataboutism,” I question the authors’ one-sided excoriation of Russian media and officials (Op-Ed, Jan. 5) for some racist and decidedly off-color remarks and representations, […]

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After Minsk, Another Munich has Now Taken Place in Moscow, Illarionov Says

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 17, 2015) Russian commentators across the political spectrum, from the most liberal to the most nationalistic, agree that Vladimir Putin achieved a significant victory for his policies in Syria and Ukraine in the course and as a result of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow. One Moscow analyst […]

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NEWSWATCH International New York Times/Maxim Trudolyubov: “Putin’s Emergency Politics”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The International New York Times, Maxim Trudolyubov comments upon Russia’s relationship with Europe and the United States, and policies towards Syria and Ukraine, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in France. Much has changed for Vladimir Putin since the terror attacks in Paris. The trope that aggressions in Crimea and Ukraine show that he is more of a […]

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Putin Goes From G-20 Pariah to Player at Obama Turkey Talk

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 15, 2015) The sidelines of summits are full of talks between leaders, their ministers and aides, but the huddle between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 in Turkey Sunday was heavy with significance. The meeting on Syria lasting more than 30 minutes was the first since the Russian […]

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G20 summit in Turkey: What were the 4 major events for Russia?

Turkey map

Following the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on Nov. 15-16, RBTH presents an overview of the four most interesting events and statements concerning Russia made at the meeting of world leaders. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 17, 2015) 1. Unplanned meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents Russian President Vladimir Putin and his […]

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