NEWSLINK: “Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence; The unprecedented allegation that the Kremlin ‘attacked America’ and ‘colluded’ with its president in order to elect him is based on two documents devoid of facts or logic” – The Nation/Stephen F. Cohen

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

“… Cohen reminds listeners that the Russiagate scandal, which first leaked into the media in mid-2016, has already done immense political damage during these two years. …”

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NEW BOOK NEWSLINK: “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Wilson Center

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Please join us for an exclusive look at The Perfect Weapon … In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee …    

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Agent Said F.B.I. Would Stop Trump From Becoming President” [Excerpt] – New York Times/Michael S. Schmidt

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“New texts released … by the Justice Department’s inspector general show that the F.B.I. agent overseeing the investigation into … Trump’s campaign pledged to stop … Trump from becoming president. ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?’ asked a top F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, in one text. ‘Right?!’ Peter Strzok, the agent overseeing the F.B.I.’s investigation into links between […]

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NEWSLINK: “THE EARLY CHAPTERS; Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history” – Washington Post/Carlos Lozada

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

“… None of the works on Trump and Russia is comprehensive; the appeal of one or another depends on the angles you obsess over and the blind spots you ignore. …” * * * THE FUTURE IS HISTORY How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia By Masha Gessen. Riverhead. 515 pp. $28 COLLUSION Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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Amid ‘Russiagate’ Hysteria, What Are the Facts? We must end this Russophobic insanity

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

(Jack F. Matlock Jr. – June 2, 2018) Jack F. Matlock Jr., Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended and Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-And How to Return to Reality. [Short Version: thenation.com/article/amid-russiagate-hysteria-what-are-the-facts/] [Longer version: jackmatlock.com/2018/06/musings-russiagate-hysteria/#more-982] Whom the gods would destroy, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It” – New York Times Editorial

Kremlin and River

“… Russia’s reaction to all accusations of foul play [has been consistent], whether … [to] well-documented charges by the Netherlands, Australia and other nations that [Russia] was responsible for downing a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 … the British accusation that Russia was most likely behind the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in England […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “It’s Time To Admit The Russia Investigation Was Illegitimate From The Start” – The Federalist/Margot Cleveland

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

“… DOJ intentionally failed to inform the [FISA] court that the [DNC] … paid for the Christopher Steele dossier. That unverified and mainly false dossier formed a significant part of the government’s application for a wiretap …. I … spent nearly 25 years reviewing challenges to warrants based on claims of withheld (or false) evidence. … unlike the typical criminal […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Ridiculous To Say FBI Spying Meant To Protect The Trump Campaign; The decision to use Stefan Halper as an informant instead of a messenger cannot possibly be considered a favor to the Trump campaign. It’s as insulting as it is ridiculous to assert.” – The Federalist/Jason Beale

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Jason Beale (a pseudonym) is a retired U.S. Army interrogator and strategic debriefer with 30 years experience in military and intelligence interrogation and human intelligence collection operations. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “The Definitive Story Of How Trump’s Team Worked The Trump Moscow Deal During The Campaign” – Buzzfeed

Donald Trump

“… Talks to construct the 100-story building continued …. The tower — a sheer, glass-encased obelisk situated on a river — would have soared above every other building in Moscow …. the sharply angled skyscraper would have climaxed in a diamond-shaped pinnacle emblazoned with the word “Trump,” putting his name atop the continent’s tallest structure. …”    

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NEWSLINK: “Approval of Russia investigation slips as Trump’s ramped-up attacks solidify his base against it” – Los Angeles Times/Chris Megerian, Noah Bierman

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One year into the Russia investigation … Mueller … works away, mostly silent. … Trump and his allies have been anything but, and they’ve had some success in undermining public confidence in the sprawling inquiry. Though the investigation has reached deeper into his inner circle, Trump’s approval ratings lately have ticked slightly higher, despite remaining at historic lows for a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Never-ending Russia probe could fuel GOP’s midterm message” – Fox News/Alex Pappas

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“As … Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark … Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage … appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.  Candidates in some GOP primaries this year already have worked to woo Trump supporters by arguing it’s time to end the Russia probe. Other […]

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NEWSWATCH: “John McCain: ‘Vladimir Putin Is an Evil Man'” – Wall Street Journal/The Saturday Essay/John McCain

John McCain file photo

[note from JRL web editor: warning, contains mild profanity] “… Sir Andrew Wood, a retired British diplomat … told me he knew a former MI6 officer … Christopher Steele ….  * * * I agreed to receive a copy of … ‘the dossier.’ …. The allegations were disturbing … I had no idea which if any were true. I could not […]

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NEWSLINK: “Senators: Extent of Russian election intrusion still unknown” – Washington Post/AP, Mary Clare Jalonick, Christina A. Cassidy

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

“The United States still doesn’t know — and may never know — the extent of Russian interference in state election systems in 2016, according to bipartisan findings released Tuesday by the Senate intelligence committee. … The committee found that in at least six states ‘Russian-affiliated cyber actors’ conducted ‘malicious access attempts on voting-related websites’ that went beyond routine scanning previously […]

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NEWSWATCH: “I will say once again: 1) There is not a shred of evidence for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. …” – Leonid Bershidsky/Twitter

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

(Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg) – Twitter @Bershidsky – April 27, 2018) [embedded tweet should load below] I will say once again: 1) There is not a shred of evidence for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. 2) There are few Americans who know anything about how Moscow works, who’s important and who’s connected to whom, and these few have largely kept out of […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: Five Reasons Democrats Are Suing Over Their Russia Collusion Narrative; The Democratic National Committee just filed a civil suit in the Southern District of New York against the Russian government, members of the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks” – The Federalist/Willis L. Krumholz

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

“The … DNC[], still trying to cope with Hillary Clinton’s defeat, just filed a civil suit … [against] the Russian government, members of the Trump campaign … and WikiLeaks. The [66-page] complaint … contains nothing you haven’t heard from the media …. The lawsuit … extensively recount[s] Democrats’ conspiracy-theorist and still-unproven version of the 2016 election. … the mainstream press […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia likely targeted all 50 states in 2016, but has yet to try again, DHS cyber chief says” – ABC News/Mike Levine

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

“… even with the campaign season underway the U.S. government has yet to detect any new cyber activity from Russia targeting election systems … Nevertheless … it’s likely every single U.S. state was targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election – far more states potentially impacted than the public may have realized. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Beginning of the End of the Russia Hoax” – Rush Limbaugh

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

“… my answer was, ‘Before I get into that, Chris, I just want to tell you, this whole idea that the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of the presidential election is absurd. The idea that they colluded or tampered or worked with Donald Trump to do it is doubly absurd. There is nothing to it.’ …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

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

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Arizona Election Database Targeted in 2016 by Criminals, Not Russia: Source” – Reuters

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

“A hack on an Arizona election database … [in] 2016 … was carried out by suspected criminal actors … not the Russian government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters …. responding to a report on … ’60 Minutes’ citing an internal government document that Russian hackers … infiltrated computer systems associated with at least four U.S. states, including Arizona, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Is the FBI Hiding? The bureau still won’t comply with an eight-month-old subpoena from Congress” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Bit by bit, congressional investigators have wrested [information] from a recalcitrant [FBI regarding] its suspect 2016 election dealings. … one secret … jealously guard[ed]: how central that Steele dossier was from the start. … House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes … has demand[ed compliance] … with an August 2017 subpoena … [requiring] among other things … electronic communication [] ‘EC’ … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

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

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How the U.S. Can Play Cyber-Offense; Deterrence Isn’t Enough” – Foreign Affairs/ Michael Sulmeyer

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The United States has been the victim of repeated cyberattacks by foreign powers, and it seems to have little power to stop them. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers and made more general efforts to influence the election’s outcome, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s wishful thinking to blame Clinton’s loss on Cambridge Analytica; Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, leaving the real reasons unexamined” – The Independent (UK)/Patrick Cockburn

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

“… Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is satisfactory for Democrats as it shows that they ought to have won, and delegitimises Trump’s mandate. In the Russian and Cambridge Analytica scandals, dodgy characters abound who claim to have a direct line […]

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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: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin Blames U.S. Election Interference On ‘Jews,’ Ukrainians” – Huffington Post

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

“Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any accusations that he meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly. During the tense interview, Putin appeared defensive and even suggested Jewish people were to blame for the United States’ election breach. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Confronting Putin” – NBC

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“In this NBC News Special, Megyn Kelly travels to Russia for a rare exclusive sit-down interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Megyn grills Putin on the Kremlin’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Interview to American TV channel NBC [Complete Transcript]” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57027) Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. The interview was recorded in the Kremlin on March 1, 2018, and in Kaliningrad on March 2, 2018. Part 1. The Kremlin, Moscow, March 1, 2018 Megyn Kelly: So, thank you very much for doing this, Mr President. I thought that we’d start with […]

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NEWSLINK: “We’re All Russian Bots Now; Americans don’t need help from Moscow to tear each other apart on social media” – Politico/Howard Axelrod

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

“… To call us all unwitting pawns isn’t fair, of course, as there’s no grand conspiracy at work here. Just an ongoing degradation of public discourse, which poses an ongoing and deepening threat to democracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier; How the ex-spy tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia” – The New Yorker/Jane Mayer

Strobe Talbott file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“Strobe Talbott, a Russia expert who served as Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, and who has known Steele professionally for ten years, has watched the spectacle in Washington with regret. Talbott regards Steele as a ‘smart, careful, professional, and congenial’ colleague who ‘knows the post-Soviet space, and is exactly what he says he is.’ Yet, Talbott said, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “External Interference Narratives in Russian and U.S. Politics: Conspiracy Theorizing Meets Whataboutism” [Excerpt]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Serghei Golunov – February 2018) Serghei Golunov is Professor at the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University, Japan. [Full text ponarseurasia.org/memo/external-interference-narratives-russian-and-us-politics-conspiracy-theorizing] (PONARS Policy Memo) Conspiracy theories about covert external interference play significant roles in the political discourses of many countries worldwide. In Russia, conspiracy theorizing about U.S. clandestine interference is a long-time, long-term […]

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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: “Democrats for Eavesdrop Abuse; Their intel memo confirms the FBI used Clinton research to spy on Carter Page” – Wall Street Journal Editorial

“… the memo confirms … the FBI used an opposition-research document paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee as part of its application to surveil Carter Page … associated with the Donald Trump campaign. … the Democrats do not dispute that the Steele dossier was the FBI’s only source in its initial FISA application for its […]

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Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem; If there were no Russian “influence operations” in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

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

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – February 22, 2018) [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-junes/russian-interference-in-virtual-world-is-not-problem] Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist […]

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NEWSWATCH: “State Department launches $40 million initiative to counter Russia election meddling” – USA Today/Oren Dorell

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“The State Department … unveiled a new program to counter Russian meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The $40 million initiative will battle state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda targeting the U.S. and its interests …. run from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) … starting with a new $1 million Information Access Fund, that on Monday issued a request […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “Countering Adversary Threats to Democratic Institutions: An Expert Report” – Center for Strategic and International Studies

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

“American democracy is under attack from Russia. This is a long-term campaign that did not begin or end with the 2016 election. Putin’s objective is to weaken us by sowing chaos and discord, and to undermine the appeal of democracy itself. If he can show that American-style democracy, both in the United States and in other liberal democracies, is incompetent, […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn” – New York Times/MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CHARLIE SAVAGE, MICHAEL WINES

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

“Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats: ‘We’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country.’”  

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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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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: “Release the FISA Documents; The public deserves to see the full record on the FBI wiretap request” – Wall Street Journal editorial

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… Trump … refused to declassify the Democratic memo on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)[sic; the court abbreviates itself as FISC, and deals with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)]… , sending it back for negotiation with the Justice Department over intelligence sources and methods. … Trump claimed … that Democrats laid a […]

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NEWSLINK: “What We’ve Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate; The relentless pursuit of this narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences” – The Nation/Aaron Maté

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“As high-level officials and investigators have repeatedly acknowledged, there is still no evidence so far of coordination between the Trump orbit and the Russian government over the release of stolen e-mails or any other campaign matter. There is only a curious cast of characters that makes for an unlikely conspiracy. …”

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