President Donald Trump, on the defensive for staff contacts with the Russian government before he was sworn in as president, said the only scandal is the unsecured server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state when Barack Obama was president.
“You have 30,000 emails that could have been compromised because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server,” said Trump, who continues to use an unsecured phone for conversations and tweeting and who has taken national security briefings in public locations, including the main dining room at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “We must get to the bottom of her use of a private server when she was communicating with foreign leaders.”
To that end, he is directing the Department of Justice to open up an investigation into what Clinton did, and didn’t do, with her server. “Nothing less than our national security is at stake,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump’s White House is reeling from the resignation of MIchael Flynn as his national security advisor after it became known that Flynn had lied about discussing the lifting of sanctions on Russia before Trump had been sworn in as president.
The shake-up has renewed concerns over the amount of sway Russia holds over the Trump White House. Flynn is the third Trump advisor to resign because of involvement with the Russians (former campaign manager Paul Manaport and aide Carter Page were the other two), and questions are still being asked about money Trump received from Russian oligarchs when his company was fending off bankruptcy in the 1990s.
“What you have here is an administration that is, from top to bottom, potentially beholden to one of our country’s sworn enemies,” says Alfred Bond, professor emeritus of foreign affairs and national security at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Jeff Session, Trump’s newly confirmed attorney general, said he would make the Clinton email investigation his department’s top priority. “Our nation could be at unprecedented risk because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal and potentially treasonous use of a private email server several years ago,” he said. “This matter is too urgent to put on the back burner. We must know whether Russia or some other government gathered sensitive information about our government because of her careless disregard for our country’s security as she pursued millions of dollars in contributions to her husband’s ‘charitable’ shake-down operation. President Trump promised to lock her up and that could very well be the result after our objective investigation into her illegal actions.”
Meanwhile, Trump says Adele was the right choice to win album of the year at the Grammys and that Beyonce is “overrated, a b-talent.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): pd, jcs (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
President Donald Trump was overheard singing the Russian national anthem rather than the American national anthem during the opening ceremony of the NCAA football championship game between Alabama and Georgia universities Jan. 8. “От южных морей до полярного края,” the President was heard singing, while those around him were singing, “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.” Commentators have remarked that the President didn’t appear to know the words to the national anthem, but it wasn’t until a recording surfaced in which his voice could be heard that it became clear it was the Russian national anthem that he was singing. More.
It’s Plan B time at Time magazine. The editors of the once-important news publication are going back to their discard pile to select their Person of the Year for 2017 now that their first choice, Donald Trump, has spoiled the surprise. “I can’t confirm or deny that we were planning to name Donald Trump Person of the Year but I can say that we never tip our hand about who it’s going to be,” says Nancy Gibbs, editor of the storied magazine that’s now searching for relevance in today’s news-saturated world. Magazine sources say Trump was indeed going to be named Person of the year for the second time in a row, an unusual but not unprecedented editorial decision for the magazine, but no longer. “Our end-of-the year issue, in which we name the year’s most significant person, is one of the few remaining chances we have to be relevant, so of course we would never dilute this moment by naming Trump now that he’s blurted out our plan,” said one editorial source, who asked not to be named so he could speak frankly. More.
President Donald Trump said his brain has performed as well as he had expected and often better over the first four weeks of his presidency. “It’s given me great advice on so many things, important national security maters,” said Trump, who spoke to Fox News in an interview Wednesday night. Trump said his brain gave him “particularly good advice” when he learned Michael Flynn, his national security advisor until he resigned earlier this week, had been talking to Russian officials while Barack Obama was still president about lifting sanctions. “My first instinct was to fire him, but my brain told me to wait until the press found out,” said Trump. More.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former prosecutor who led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, says he is ready to “pull out all the stops” to learn whether laws were broken when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn held talks with Russia about lifting sanctions while Barack Obama was still president. “If the contacts were in fact about the lifting of sanctions, then that would be a clear violation of U.S. law and appropriate steps would have to be taken,” says Gowdy, who earned a reputation in Congress for his tough prosecutorial approach when he led the special committee on what Hillary Clinton knew and didn’t know about the raid on the U.S. embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens. More.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week are tweaking 2017 budget legislation to allocate money for construction of the Mexican border wall, a priority of incoming president Donald Trump, but the budgetary maneuver faces a high hurdle to get past Democrats—and might not even be necessary. A consortium of Russian businessmen, including one who is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has come forward with a proposal to create a private fund that would pay for the wall, enabling Trump to meet his highest-profile campaign promise without taking money away from other U.S. priorities or adding to the federal deficit. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what is not that any compromising information the Russians could reveal about him would not hurt his political standing among his supporters. “If Russian hackers were to reveal that I, say, participated in a golden shower with prostitutes, no one who supports me would believe it,” Trump said today at Trump Tower in New York City. “I’m not saying I participated in that on any of my tips to Moscow when I was seeking Russian money to bail my company out of bankruptcy. But even if I did and the Russians released a video of me doing it, it wouldn’t affect me. Everything is doctored, everything is fake. More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he will move U.S. spy operations to Russia, which has “terrific” surveillance and “fantastic” intelligence gathering. “Our spy operations are a disaster,” Trump said after meeting with Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who is in line to head up the CIA. Trump said his “good relationship” with Russia president Vladimir Putin makes the partnership with Russia’s spy agency, known as the KGB, a “fantastic opportunity to get the best intelligence, the best knowledge of what’s going on in the world.” More.
The Democratic National Committee has been hacked. Colin Powell has been hacked. The NSA has been hacked. The American Olympic Committee has been hacked. So many opportunities. So many directions. When you can get into any email you want, whose email do you get into next? That’s the question Russia’s state-supported hackers have been asking themselves and now they want to get your input. In a first for Russia’s hackers, they’ve put out a call on their Facebook page to get ideas from you on whose lives they should turn upside down next. “Tom Brady? Beyonce? Barbra Streisand? It’s just so hard to know,” said the group, which calls itself Анонимный, or “anonymous” in Russian. “It’s impossible to keep up with who’s trending. “Drake is big. But you already know what his emails are going to say. There has to be a surprise factor.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Analysts say pro-Russia remarks appear to be sprinkled into the presidential nomination acceptance speech that Hillary Clinton gave on the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and they wonder if the remarks were added at the last minute by Russian hackers who’ve infiltrated the servers of the DNC. “The speech was more pro-Russia than we expected, and that makes you wonder what the Russians have done now that we know they’ve hacked the DNC servers,” says Jon Brighton, cyber security branch chief at the National Security Agency. One line that might have been added, Brighton says, comes about halfway through Clinton’s speech, when she’s talking about the bonds of trust that appear to be fraying in the United States. “America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” she says. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. Luckily, we maintain strong bonds of trust with Russia and our good friend Vladimir Putin.” More.