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There’s A Second Russian Collusion Scandal and It’s Breaking Wide Open

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There’s A Second Russian Collusion Scandal and It’s Breaking Wide Open

 

There were so many extraordinary occurrences that took place with respect to the Brexit referendum in Great Britain and the United States presidential election, that taken as a whole, simply cannot be coincidences. First and foremost both events ultimately were determined in a manner which was advantageous to Vladimir Putin. Second, both Brexit and the U.S. election featured Cambridge Analytica and its founders Robert and Rebekah Mercer as key players. Cambridge Analytica harvested over 50Million Facebook files and interfaced with members of the Trump campaign and Russian bots that showed up in crucial rust belt states masquerading as politically aware next door neighbors. Now yet another piece in the puzzle of Russian dominion over the two elections is fitting into place. UK financier Aaron Banks financed Brexit with the largest donation in British history after he just happened to have been offered a “sweetheart” deal on Russian gold and diamond mining projects which were only offered to a “restricted number of investors.” New York Magazine:

In both countries, the right-wing pro-Russian populists indignantly insist there is no more incriminating information to be found beyond what was known at any given moment, even as the bounds of what is known at any moment continues to expand. In Britain, billionaire businessman Arron Banks financed the Brexit referendum with the largest donation in British history. Initially, he copped to having one meeting with Russian officials. After the Guardian obtained secret documents blowing up this claim, he admitted there were actually three meetings. Now the Times has even more information, and Banks concedes the number of covert meetings has grown to four. […]

Banks’s defense of his behavior to the Times is so absurdly suspicious it almost reads like a winking, dada joke: “The idea that things were dangled as some sort of carrots for me to be involved with the Russians is very far-fetched,” he said. “I wonder what the Russians wanted from me?” What they wanted was perfectly obvious: Banks funded a political referendum in which Russia had a strong interest in passing. Russia could not directly finance the referendum, but Banks could. Therefore, what they would want is for him to use some of the money they were dangling before him to support Brexit, which he did. At this point, it seems virtually certain that Russia did use Banks, perhaps in conjunction with Mellon, as a pass through to covertly finance the Brexit referendum.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Donald Trump and many members of his inner circle have a long trail of financial ties to Russia. The overt behavior looks remarkably similar. Trump and his cronies refuse to disclose their precise financial connections (by, for instance, following the established norm of a presidential candidate publishing his tax returns.) They continuously lie about the number and nature of their covert contacts with Russian officials, then keep insisting with each new disclosure that there is no more to disclose and the whole question is a witch hunt. Meanwhile, they continue to deliver a policy outcome payoff to Putin.

There’s an old aphorism, first time is happenstance, second time is coincidence, third time is enemy action. There is no happenstance or coincidence with Vladimir Putin. He cuts straight to the chase all the time, every time. With respect to both Brexit and the US election, Occam’s Razor is the only tool you need. What is your gut reaction to hearing that Aaron Banks has a Russian-born wife and a vanity license plate, “X MI5 SPY,” a reference to the British intelligence agency, MI5? Or this:

On Nov. 12, 2016, Mr. Banks met President-elect Trump in Trump Tower. Upon his return to London, Mr. Banks had another lunch with the Russian ambassador where they discussed the Trump visit.

“From what we’ve seen, the parallels between the Russian intervention in Brexit and the Russian intervention in the Trump campaign appear to be extraordinary,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Thought so.

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SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he would ‘put the nail’ in independent counsel ruling

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SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he would ‘put the nail’ in independent counsel ruling

In a 2016 video, Judge Kavanaugh argued that he would overturn Morrison v. Olson, a Supreme Court ruling that underpins the appointment of independent counsels. The ruling largely fell out of favor after Ken Starr’s turn in the Clinton era. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver points out, however, Kavanaugh volunteered the example by himself, revealing something about his views on Supreme Court precedent.

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Sarah Sanders: We’re working on “bold reforms” to stop Russian election interference

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Sarah Sanders: We’re working on “bold reforms” to stop Russian election interference

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration is working on “bold reforms” to ensure Russian interference in US elections never happens again.

Sanders was asked if Trump sees Russian meddling in the 2016 election as “an attack on democracy.”

The President has faced continued furor over his remarks about election meddling made alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

Here’s what Sanders said today:

The President thinks that we have to focus on securing our election integrity and our election systems, which is why he has spent so much time with his administration making sure that this doesn’t happen again. Let’s not forget this didn’t happen under President Trump’s watch. This happened under the Obama administration. We’re taking steps, we’re making bold reforms to try to fix this and make sure it never happens again.

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Here’s what Sarah Sanders says Trump and Putin talked about in their private meeting

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Here’s what the White House says Trump and Putin talked about in their private meeting

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders listed a number of topics that were included in President Trump’s private one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Sanders listed Syrian humanitarian aid, Israeli security, North Korea, denuclearization, Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea, reducing Russian and US nuclear arsenals, and “your favorite topic” Russian interference in elections.

Sanders said the meeting reflected the “beginning of the dialogue with Russia and our administration and theirs and we’re going to continue working through those things.”

Sanders also said Putin’s proposal of having Russian prosecutors question US officials, including former US ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul, arose in Trump’s meeting, but she said no agreements were reached.

“He said it was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything,” Sanders said. “We’ve committed to nothing.”

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