Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Articles - 4.18.17 - Page 1 | Changing Trump views toward Russia, China worry some allies - Asahi Shimbun Tuesday April 18th, 2017 at 8:14 A

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Changing Trump views toward Russia, China worry some allies - Asahi Shimbun

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Asahi Shimbun

Changing Trump views toward Russia, China worry some allies
Asahi Shimbun
Photo/Illutration U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrives before dinner at Mar-a-Lago resort, in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 6. (AP file photo). WASHINGTON--Once soft on Russia and hard on China, ...

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US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails

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Some see Russian president as natural ally on social issues

US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails - Financial Times

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Financial Times

US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails
Financial Times
That meeting was cancelled at the last minute when Trump aides became aware that Spanish authorities suspected the Russian official of having ties to organised crime, Bloomberg and Yahoo News reported. Mr Torshin denies the charges. US Christian ...
Understanding all those Donald Trump Russian connectionsMovie TV Tech Geeks News
Media should show skepticism over Syrian chemical weapons attack claimsThe Sydney Morning Herald
Trump says US-Russia relations may be at all-time low - AP NewsAP News
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Donald Trump's refusal to release tax returns emerges as roadblack to wider reform - The Australian Financial Review

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The Australian Financial Review

Donald Trump's refusal to release tax returns emerges as roadblack to wider reform
The Australian Financial Review
As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge ...

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US won't draw red line on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue - Telangana Today

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US won't draw red line on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue
Telangana Today
Spicer cited the US decision to bomb a Syrian military airfield early this month as an indication that Trump would take action when necessary. By IANS | Published: 18th Apr 2017 10:20 am. Korean Peninsula White House. Source: Internet. Open. Washington ...

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Trump effect on French election: Anything is possible - New Jersey Herald

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New Jersey Herald

Trump effect on French election: Anything is possible
New Jersey Herald
A man walks past electoral posters displaying the presidential candidates, Benoit Hamon, left, Emmanuel Macron, center, and Marine Le Pen in Paris, France, Monday, April 17, 2017. French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le ...
Who are the candidates vying to become president?Aljazeera.com

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Page 15

Trump is tarnishing Republicans: Jesse Ferguson - USA TODAY

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USA TODAY

Trump is tarnishing Republicans: Jesse Ferguson
USA TODAY
Trump's approval rating is tanking for the same reason that association with him is so dangerous for the GOP: He is losing on the key traits and qualities that matter most to ordinary people. He's considered not honest by 27 points (61% to 34 ...
Donald Trump's Tilt Toward ConventionThe Atlantic
Why the demise of Steve Bannon won't necessarily change the current trajectory of Trump's Republican PartyWDEL 1150AM (blog)
Trump group's ads bolstering GOP Obamacare repeal driveABC News
Toronto Star -New York Magazine
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Coast to coast, resistance from California to Connecticut - Yale Daily News (blog)

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Coast to coast, resistance from California to Connecticut
Yale Daily News (blog)
Whether or not citizen activism was the driving force behind the failure of the AHCA, Democrats believe it can have an influence in Washington. “At the end ... Introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, the proposed ...

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[Investigation] Sex and lies: Russia's EU news - EUobserver

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EUobserver

[Investigation] Sex and lies: Russia's EU news
EUobserver
They also claimed, without evidence, that German courts were “inundated” by migrant sex crimes and that German police could not keep up with migrant crime statistics. ... They made hollow claims of mass rapes by migrants in Belgium and in Sweden, which ...

America's New 'Anxiety' Disorder - New York Times

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New York Times

America's New 'Anxiety' Disorder
New York Times
In 1947, W.H. Auden published a very long poem that, despite winning a Pulitzer Prize, is now remembered less for its contents than for its title: “The Age of Anxiety.” Something about the idea that an age can be anxious must resonate deep in America's ...

Trump's strategy? It's doubtful he has one - Las Vegas Sun

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Trump's strategy? It's doubtful he has one
Las Vegas Sun
So much for Donald Trump, the “America First” populist champion of the forgotten working class. The president now sounds pretty much like a garden-variety globalist, defending the “rigged” system he denounced during the campaign. Then again, who knows ...

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Trump's Unreleased Taxes Threaten Yet...

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Trump's Unreleased Taxes Threaten Yet Another Campaign Promise

New York Times - ‎11 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON — President Trump's promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign ...

These Politicians Think They've Found a Way to Get Donald Trump's Taxes

Mother Jones - ‎2 hours ago‎
President Donald Trump, however, appears set to end this tradition. He refused to produce his tax returns during the presidential campaign, claiming that he couldn't do so because he was under IRS audit. Trump has never produced a letter from the IRS ...

Trump Won't Release His 2016 Taxes, Still Hiding Behind The Bogus Audit Excuse

Huffington Post - ‎16 hours ago‎
President Donald Trump has no plans to release his 2016 tax returns, still inaccurately claiming that he can't do so because he is being audited by the IRS. “The president is under audit. It's a routine one. It continues. And I think that the American ...

All the things Donald Trump has said about releasing his tax returns

CNNMoney - ‎14 hours ago‎
More than a year before he announced his presidential campaign, Trump told an Irish television station that he would "absolutely" release his tax returns if he entered the race. "If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns, absolutely ...

The big thing Trump gets wrong about his taxes and the 2016 election

CNN - ‎21 hours ago‎
(CNN) On Easter Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted this: I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, ...
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trump taxes - Google Search

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Story image for trump taxes from New York Times

Trump's Unreleased Taxes Threaten Yet Another Campaign Promise

New York Times-11 hours ago
Protesters rallied near President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday to demand that he release his tax returns.
Protesters demand Trump release his returns at tax marches
Highly Cited-New York Daily News-Apr 15, 2017
Enough excuses. Release your taxes, Mr. President
Opinion-Los Angeles Times-1 hour ago
Why Trump cannot brush off demands for his tax returns
Blog-Washington Post (blog)-21 hours ago

Trump’s Unreleased Taxes Threaten Yet Another Campaign Promise

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With Republicans sharply divided on a path forward and the administration unable to come up with a plan of its own, the Democratic resistance is only the newest impediment.
As a candidate, Mr. Trump declared that he understood America’s complex tax laws “better than anyone who has ever run for president” and that he alone could fix them. But it is becoming increasingly unlikely that there will be a simpler system, or even lower tax rates, this time next year. The Trump administration’s tax plan, promised in February, has yet to materialize; a House Republican plan has bogged down, taking as much fire from conservatives as liberals; and on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The Financial Times that the administration’s goal of getting a tax plan signed by August was “not realistic at this point.”
A tax overhaul could be the next expansive Trump campaign promise that falters before it even gathered much steam.
“If they have no plan, they can’t negotiate,” said Larry Kudlow, the economist who helped Mr. Trump devise his campaign tax plan. “In that case, tax reform is dead.”
The first pitfall for Mr. Trump was the debacle of his health care plan, which burned political capital and precious days off the legislative calendar. But his administration saw repealing the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act as an important step that would allow for deeper tax cuts later. Mr. Trump even suggested last week that he might return to health care before tax cuts.
Republican leaders in Congress also failed to create momentum. Speaker Paul D. Ryan built a tax blueprint around a “border adjustment” tax that would have imposed a steep levy on imports, hoping to encourage domestic manufacturing while raising revenue that could be used to lower overall tax rates. But it has been assailed by retailers, oil companies and the billionaire Koch brothers. With no palpable support in the Senate, its prospects appear to be nearly dead. Heading into a congressional recess, Mr. Ryan admitted that Republicans in the House, Senate and White House were not on the same page.
The president’s own vision for a new tax system is muddled at best. In the past few months, he has called for taxing companies that move operations abroad, waffled on the border tax and, last week, called for a “reciprocal” tax that would match the import taxes other countries impose on the United States.
But it is Mr. Trump’s own taxes that have provided the crucial leverage for his opponents. More than 100,000 of his critics took to the streets over the weekend in marches around the country, demanding that the president release his returns. Tax legislation, they say, could be a plot by Mr. Trump to get even richer.
“When they talk about tax reform, are they talking about cutting Donald Trump’s taxes by millions of dollars a year?” asked Ezra Levin, a member of the Tax March executive committee. “We don’t know.”
Beyond the politics of Mr. Trump’s returns, lawmakers do not want to pass an overhaul of the tax code that unwittingly enriches the commander in chief and his progeny. Those who are worried about conflicts of interest point to the potential repeal of the estate tax or elimination of the alternative minimum tax as provisions that would enrich Mr. Trump.
Perhaps the most consequential concern relates to a House Republican proposal to get rid of a rule that lets companies write off the interest they pay on loans — a move real estate developers and Mr. Trump vehemently oppose. Doing so would raise $1 trillion in revenue and reduce the appeal of one of Mr. Trump’s favorite business tools: debt.
In the halls of Congress, Democrats are employing procedural maneuvers to drive home their point on the tax returns and possibly compel Republican lawmakers to join their effort to force Mr. Trump to release them. And Democratic aides say more tricks are coming.
More than a dozen Republicans — from recognizable names like Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina to backbenchers like Representatives David Young of Iowa, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Ted Yoho of Florida, Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and Justin Amash of Michigan — have agreed that Mr. Trump should release his returns.
That list grows almost daily. On Monday, former Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, a conservative firebrand and Trump loyalist, said the president should release his tax returns. “I do think this issue will come back and bite him on the butt,” he said on MSNBC.
Republicans argue that Democrats are putting politics ahead of an opportunity to fix a broken tax system. Mr. Trump shot back at his critics on Twitter on Sunday, suggesting that the protesters had been paid and that they were sore losers. On Monday, Mr. Spicer said that Mr. Trump remained under audit and that, breaking with 40 years of presidential tradition, his tax returns would not be made public.
“I think the president’s view on this has been very clear from the campaign, and the American people understood it when they elected him in November,” Mr. Spicer said.
Polls show that a majority of Americans, including most Republicans, would like Mr. Trump to release his tax returns, according to the Republican pollster Frank Luntz. However, the issue is a low priority for voters.
“You’re not going to change someone’s opinion of Trump merely by what’s in his tax returns,” Mr. Luntz said.
It remains unclear what impact the emphasis on Mr. Trump’s taxes will have on his aspirations of tackling the tax code.
Mr. Schumer said he had had no communication with the president about tax legislation and only minimal outreach from his economic advisers. While Mr. Trump signaled that he would like to reach a bipartisan tax deal, potentially including an infrastructure plan, the focus on his tax returns suggests that any legislation will happen along party lines. That would mean that a more limited bill, requiring a simple majority, would need to pass the Senate through complicated budget rules that create a new set of problems.
With little appetite for bipartisanship, many veterans of tax fights and lobbyists in Washington expect that Mr. Trump will ultimately embrace straight tax cuts, with some cleaning up of deductions, and call it a victory. Even that would be difficult, with a narrow Republican majority in the Senate and a widening budget deficit.
Former Representative Dave Camp of Michigan — a Republican who, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, released a tax plan in 2014 — said that if they wanted to get something done, lawmakers needed to brace for a more intense series of battles over the details of tax legislation than they faced during the failed health care effort.
“Obviously, there is a lot at stake here,” Mr. Camp said. “Health care is 20 percent of the economy, but tax reform is 100 percent of the economy.”
Continue reading the main story
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These Politicians Think They've Found a Way to Get Donald Trump's Taxes - Mother Jones

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Mother Jones

These Politicians Think They've Found a Way to Get Donald Trump's Taxes
Mother Jones
President Donald Trump, however, appears set to end this tradition. He refused to produce his tax returns during the presidential campaign, claiming that he couldn't do so because he was under IRS audit. Trump has never produced a letter from the IRS ...
Why Donald Trump can't ignore demands to release his tax returnsChicago Tribune
Protesters facing off in Berkeley over President Donald TrumpKGO-TV

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Trump getting hot and bothered by...

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Trump getting hot and bothered by protesters

Politico - ‎13 hours ago‎
President Donald Trump has tangled with House Freedom Caucus members opposed to his health plan, with Democrats eager to see him flop and with foreign leaders skeptical he has the chops to be a commander in chief. But there's one group that really ...

Everything Trump has said about releasing his tax returns

KVIA El Paso - ‎2 hours ago‎
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - So far, President Trump has refused to release his tax returns while in office, breaking with a 40-year tradition. He has claimed that ongoing IRS audits prevent him from doing so, even though such audits wouldn't restrict anyone ...

Cotton blitzed by constituents at rowdy town hall

Politico - ‎11 hours ago‎
Sen. Tom Cotton came under fire at a raucous town hall Monday, as constituents pelted the Arkansas Republican on topics ranging from Donald Trump's tax returns and possible ties to Russia to the GOP push to repeal Obamacare. It was the latest in a ...

Trump administration is least transparent admin. in decades, ethics experts say

CBS News - ‎12 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON -- Protesters from coast to coast called on President Trump over the weekend to release his tax returns. He responded on Twitter, saying: “The election is over!... Now tax returns are brought up again?” Someone should look into who paid for ...

Donald Trump's refusal to release tax returns emerges as roadblack to wider reform

The Australian Financial Review - ‎7 hours ago‎
As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge ...
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Trump and the Russia Money

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So [Dearlove’s] seen it all before. But the allegations that members of Trump’s staff had illegal contact with the Russian government during the election campaign are “unprecedented,” said Dearlove. As for the president’s personal position, he said, “What lingers for Trump may be what deals—on what terms—he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.”
This is quite an interesting comment, to say the least.
But there are a few caveats to consider. Dearlove hasn’t been in government since 2004. Former top spies tend to remain fairly in the know, at least informally. But Dearlove was not in office during either of the key points, not in 2008 or 2016. More importantly, the interview as a whole is only partly about Trump and to the extent it is about him it’s about him as part of the ‘nationalist’ wave sweeping the EU and US, not about the Russia story itself. Finally, is Dearlove sharing some authoritative information, things he’s seen suggested or simple speculation?
I don’t have answers to any of these questions. It’s all rather unexplained, just put out there. Still, it’s relatively specific on 2008 as a crisis point. We are now led to believe that British intelligence was the first to get wind – in late 2015 – of questionable contacts between members of the Trump entourage and Russian intelligence operatives. So what are we to make of this suggestion?
First, it broadly lines up with a lot that we know. Before the ties between Trump and Russia became a story in 2016, it was already widely known that Trump had been effectively blackballed by all the big US banks for years. Deutschebank, which is of course a German bank, has been the only major bank to continue loaning Trump money for about twenty years. So we know most big banks wouldn’t lend to Trump well before 2008. So that part largely checks out.
We also know that in the decade before he ran for President, Trump became increasingly reliant on money out of the former Soviet Union. This was both for purchases of apartment units, to fund major projects like Trump Soho, in Lower Manhattan, in addition to many other projects.
We are close to adding the first members of our expanded investigative team to dig into stories just like this. And high on my list is putting together a comprehensive timeline of the myriad Russian connections Trump managed to put together over the last two decades. You can know almost countless individual stories, nuggets of information, clues and pieces of evidence. But sometimes seeing it all visualized is key to really understanding what’s going on. I’m eager to see that visualization.
Dearlove points to 2008, an economic crisis when lots of individuals and companies teetered on the edge of bankruptcy or collapse. My impression however, is that Trump starts really building up the big Russia ties a few years earlier – in the 2003-2006 period. Lots of the stories and connections you’ve likely heard about, they trail back to those years. There are some that come long before and others that come after. But it’s in that period when lots of different deals, connections, business partnerships and so forth come together. In other words, Trump seems to have had a lot of the relationships and partnerships and money flows in place a good couple years before 2008. Of course that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have drawn on those connections to weather 2008 too.
Of course, this may end up coming back to projects like Trump SoHo itself. It was happening during the financial crisis and seemed to get various infusions of money out of Russia to keep it moving forward. Quite a lot more digging is required to get to the bottom of Trump’s business dealings with Russia sources of money during the W. Bush and Obama eras. We still only know the outlines. Perhaps Dearlove knows more.
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The Emerging Worldwide Alliance of Rightwing Parties, Led by Putin and Trump - Huffington Post

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Huffington Post

The Emerging Worldwide Alliance of Rightwing Parties, Led by Putin and Trump
Huffington Post
In the United States, Donald Trump won a startling victory in his run for the presidency, employing attacks on Mexican migrants, Islamophobia, and promises to “make America great again.” In Russia, Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party solidified ...

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Page 17

Actually, It's Comey Wot Won It - Mother Jones

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Actually, It's Comey Wot Won It
Mother Jones
I'm not quite sure what prompted this, but who cares? I will never forget that FBI Director JamesComey was responsible for Donald Trump, and here's yet another example that illustrates this. It's the basic Pollster chart showing Trump's favorability ...

Trump and the Russia Money - TPM (blog)

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TPM (blog)

Trump and the Russia Money
TPM (blog)
Folks following the Trump/Russia story have been talking about this article in the British Prospect, an interview with Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 (1999-2004), the UK's analogue to the CIA. The attention has been on this passage of the ...

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Prince documents unsealed: Opioid prescriptions written in manager's name - CNN

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CNN

Prince documents unsealed: Opioid prescriptions written in manager's name
CNN
(CNN) Opioid painkillers -- some in prescription bottles with the name Kirk Johnson on them -- were found in several places in Paisley Park following Prince's death last year, court documents unsealed Monday showed. Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg said he ...

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One crew member dead, two injured in Black Hawk helicopter crash in Maryland

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A U.S, Army helicopter crashed on the golf course at Breton Bay Golf Course in Leonardtown Monday. (Rebecca Updegrave Cline/Rebecca Updegrave Cline)
LEONARDTOWN-One crew member was killed and two others injured when a U.S. Army Black Hawk military helicopter crashed landed Monday afternoon on a golf course in St. Mary’s County in Southern Maryland, according to military officials.
Authorities with the Army said a UH-60 aircraft with the 12th Aviation Battalion stationed at Davison Airfield, Fort Belvoir, was on a routine training flight when it went down at the Breton Bay Golf Course just before 1:40 p.m. Officials described it as a hard landing.
Rebecca Cline said she was riding her bike with her 9-year-old and her 6-year-old about 150 yards from the helicopter when it went down. They saw it flying very low, she said, and then it “kind of tipped to one side a little … did a nose-dive and spun out a little bit,” hitting the ground with a cloud of dust.
“My kids started freaking out,” she said.
The two injured crew were airlifted to the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. One was in critical condition, the other was in serious condition, according to a statement from the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. The names of the injured and of the crew member who died were not immediately released.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Army Combat Readiness Center based at Fort Rucker in Alabama. They will be on site Tuesday, the Army said in its statement.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss within our community,” said Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.”
The member-owned semi-private golf course and country club is on Society Hill Road along Breton Bay, 61 miles south of Washington.
Kevin Bowen, the assistant golf pro at Breton Bay said the helicopter went down between the third and fourth fairways and that the course has been closed. He said two additional military helicopters have landed on the course with crews and appear to be assisting in the investigation.
St. Mary’s County sheriff’s deputies put up crime scene tape near one hole where it appears debris had fallen from the helicopter as it came descended. Some residents living nearby said they saw something fall off the craft. At first the debris looked like paper, they said in interviews, but it then became evident to them that it was parts of the aircraft.
One person said it sounded like the helicopter was struggling and other residents said they heard a loud boom but did not see an explosion.
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This is the second time this month a military aircraft has gone down in Maryland. On April 6, an F-16 crashed near Joint Base Andrews near a residential area after a pilot parachuted out, with no major injuries reported.
The twin-engine UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, made by Sikorsky Aircraft, has been a workhorse for the Army since it was first fielded in the 1970s. It has been flown in numerous combat environments, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and is used as both a utility aircraft and in aerial assault missions. The cockpit typically holds two aviators, with at least one crew chief in the back. The helicopter can carry at least a dozen more people and supplies.
U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement that he is monitoring the incident and added, “My thoughts and prayers are with three crew members on board when the accident took place.”
Peter Hermann and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.
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cascade mall shooting - Google News: Washington Mall Shooting Suspect Found Dead in Jail Cell - TIME

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TIME

Washington Mall Shooting Suspect Found Dead in Jail Cell
TIME
Cetin was charged with killing a teen, three women and one man in a September 2016 shootingat a Macy's store at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash. The New York Times reported in September that Cetin had a history of violent behavior and had been ...



 cascade mall shooting - Google News

Why Trump Is Going to Be Unable to Hide His Deep Connections to Organized Crime Figures from Investigators

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Photo Credit: Image by Shutterstock
As President Trump discovers the prerogative of unilaterally making war, the media gaze has turned away from the ongoing FBI, House and Senate investigation of his Russia ties to the simpler dramas of cruise missilesbig bombs, and tough but loose talk on North Korea.
Yet even "the mother of all bombs" cannot obliterate the accumulating body of evidence about his relationship with Russian organized crime figures and the not unrelated question about whether he and his entourage colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 presidential election. The story, notes TPM's Josh Marshall, is “Hiding in plain sight.”
The evidence of pre-election collusion between Trump and the Russians, while growing, is far from definitive. The evidence on Trump’s organized crime ties is stronger. Says Marshall:
 If we'd never heard about Russian intelligence hacking of the 2016 election or Carter Page or Paul Manafort or Sergei Kislyak this [Trump’s organized crime connections] would seem like an extraordinarily big deal. And indeed it is an extraordinarily big deal.
Chronologically speaking, Trump’s ties to organized crime figures came first. Mutually beneficial transactions dating back to the 1990s led to closer relations in the 2000s and culminated in the contacts during the 2016 campaign. It all began with Russians who wanted to get their money out of the country.
Hot Money
As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):
[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
For example, David Bogatin. In the 1990s, the FBI considered Bogatin  one of the key members of a major Russian organized crime family run by a legendary boss named Semion Mogilevich. According to the late investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, Bogatin owned five separate condos in Trump Tower that Trump had reportedly sold to him personally.
Vyacheslav Ivankov, another Mogilevich lieutenant in the United States during the 1990s, also resided for a time at Trump Tower, and reportedly had in his personal phone book the private telephone and fax numbers for the Trump Organization’s office in that building.
Cyprus
A lot of this Russian organized crime money flowed through Cyprus, and one of its largest banks, the Bank of Cyprus. The bank's chairman Wilbur Ross, is now Secretary of Commerce. When senators considering Ross’s nomination asked about Cyprus, Ross said Trump had forbidden him from answering questions on the subject.
Not coincidentally, Illinois congressman Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, recently travelled to Cyprus to investigate, according to the Daily Beast.
“The fact that Turkey, the U.S and Russia and other countries are really interested in Cyprus, because of its strategic location … the fact that Russians launder their money there to avoid sanctions, and the fact that key U.S. and Russia players were there—all make it really important for the Russia investigation,” Quigley explained in an interview.
Cyprus is also a focus of U.S authorities investigating Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, whose curious real estate transactions in New York are drawing attention, according to the WNYC radio station.
Nine current and former law enforcement and real estate experts told WNYC that Manafort’s deals merit scrutiny. Some said the purchases follow a pattern used by money launderers: buying properties with all cash through shell companies, then using the properties to obtain “clean” money through bank loans. 
According to the Associated Press, the records of Manafort's Cypriot transactions were requested by the U.S. Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which works internationally with agencies to track money laundering and the movement of illicit funds around the globe.
Meetings and Plans
Trump White House officials, skittish about such reports, balked when Russian banker Alexander Torshin was scheduled to meet President Turmp in February. Torshin is the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. He has cultivated Washington conservatives such as Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) and former National Rifle Association president David Keene.
Torshin has also been targeted by a long-running Spanish police investigation into a Russian organized crime syndicate known as the Taganskaya. The White House cancelled Torshin’s meeting with Trump rather than “exacerbate the political controversy over contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin,” reported Yahoo News' Mike Isikoff.
Also in Feburary, Trump received a proposed peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, offered by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and two Russians with organized crime convictions: Felix H. Sater, a business associate who once helped Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Manafort. The plan also would have lifted U.S. sanctions on Russia, a prime goal of the Putin government.
Sater pleaded guilty to a role in a stock manipulation scheme decades ago that involved the Mafia.  Artemenko spent two and a half years in jail in Kiev in the early 2000s on embezzlement charges, later dropped, which he said had been politically motivated.
Big Picture
The sheer proliferation of such contact indicates, at a minimum, that Russian organzied crime figures felt comfortable in the Trump milieu.
Jonathan Winer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for law enforcement in the Clinton administration, says that he was investigating Semion Mogilevich twenty years ago when "the brainy don" (as he was known) pioneered the laundering criminal proceeds through quasi-legitimate companies in the United States, especially in high end real estate.
Winer finds it "disturbing" that Mogilevich's associates have done business with Trump. He told a Washington conference earlier this month.
Imagine you’re a foreign government and you want to launder money for domestic espionage operations in the United States. [High end real estate] would be a great way to do it. It was the method used by Colombian drug traffickers all over Latin America and Miami in the 1980s and 1990s. Its a form that Russian organized crime has used... All of sudden we’re starting to see the same kind of patterns involving some criminal people and some Russian officials showing up in current investigations with Trump properties."
The story right now, he says, is "confusing as hell." The key, he explains, is the pattern:
"These ties link up, coalesce, organize and resolve," Winer says. These are "relationships that make some sense. So we need to get below what we can see on the surface and see what actually happened. ....I don't know who's going to be indicted but boy, do I know this: the American people needs to be to get the facts, and then justice can be done."
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Why Trump Is Going to Be Unable to Hide His Deep Connections to Organized Crime Figures from Investigators

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Photo Credit: Image by Shutterstock
As President Trump discovers the prerogative of unilaterally making war, the media gaze has turned away from the ongoing FBI, House and Senate investigation of his Russia ties to the simpler dramas of cruise missilesbig bombs, and tough but loose talk on North Korea.
Yet even "the mother of all bombs" cannot obliterate the accumulating body of evidence about his relationship with Russian organized crime figures and the not unrelated question about whether he and his entourage colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 presidential election. The story, notes TPM's Josh Marshall, is “Hiding in plain sight.”
The evidence of pre-election collusion between Trump and the Russians, while growing, is far from definitive. The evidence on Trump’s organized crime ties is stronger. Says Marshall:
 If we'd never heard about Russian intelligence hacking of the 2016 election or Carter Page or Paul Manafort or Sergei Kislyak this [Trump’s organized crime connections] would seem like an extraordinarily big deal. And indeed it is an extraordinarily big deal.
Chronologically speaking, Trump’s ties to organized crime figures came first. Mutually beneficial transactions dating back to the 1990s led to closer relations in the 2000s and culminated in the contacts during the 2016 campaign. It all began with Russians who wanted to get their money out of the country.
Hot Money
As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):
[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
For example, David Bogatin. In the 1990s, the FBI considered Bogatin  one of the key members of a major Russian organized crime family run by a legendary boss named Semion Mogilevich. According to the late investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, Bogatin owned five separate condos in Trump Tower that Trump had reportedly sold to him personally.
Vyacheslav Ivankov, another Mogilevich lieutenant in the United States during the 1990s, also resided for a time at Trump Tower, and reportedly had in his personal phone book the private telephone and fax numbers for the Trump Organization’s office in that building.
Cyprus
A lot of this Russian organized crime money flowed through Cyprus, and one of its largest banks, the Bank of Cyprus. The bank's chairman Wilbur Ross, is now Secretary of Commerce. When senators considering Ross’s nomination asked about Cyprus, Ross said Trump had forbidden him from answering questions on the subject.
Not coincidentally, Illinois congressman Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, recently travelled to Cyprus to investigate, according to the Daily Beast.
“The fact that Turkey, the U.S and Russia and other countries are really interested in Cyprus, because of its strategic location … the fact that Russians launder their money there to avoid sanctions, and the fact that key U.S. and Russia players were there—all make it really important for the Russia investigation,” Quigley explained in an interview.
Cyprus is also a focus of U.S authorities investigating Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, whose curious real estate transactions in New York are drawing attention, according to the WNYC radio station.
Nine current and former law enforcement and real estate experts told WNYC that Manafort’s deals merit scrutiny. Some said the purchases follow a pattern used by money launderers: buying properties with all cash through shell companies, then using the properties to obtain “clean” money through bank loans. 
According to the Associated Press, the records of Manafort's Cypriot transactions were requested by the U.S. Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which works internationally with agencies to track money laundering and the movement of illicit funds around the globe.
Meetings and Plans
Trump White House officials, skittish about such reports, balked when Russian banker Alexander Torshin was scheduled to meet President Turmp in February. Torshin is the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. He has cultivated Washington conservatives such as Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) and former National Rifle Association president David Keene.
Torshin has also been targeted by a long-running Spanish police investigation into a Russian organized crime syndicate known as the Taganskaya. The White House cancelled Torshin’s meeting with Trump rather than “exacerbate the political controversy over contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin,” reported Yahoo News' Mike Isikoff.
Also in Feburary, Trump received a proposed peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, offered by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and two Russians with organized crime convictions: Felix H. Sater, a business associate who once helped Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Manafort. The plan also would have lifted U.S. sanctions on Russia, a prime goal of the Putin government.
Sater pleaded guilty to a role in a stock manipulation scheme decades ago that involved the Mafia.  Artemenko spent two and a half years in jail in Kiev in the early 2000s on embezzlement charges, later dropped, which he said had been politically motivated.
Big Picture
The sheer proliferation of such contact indicates, at a minimum, that Russian organzied crime figures felt comfortable in the Trump milieu.
Jonathan Winer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for law enforcement in the Clinton administration, says that he was investigating Semion Mogilevich twenty years ago when "the brainy don" (as he was known) pioneered the laundering criminal proceeds through quasi-legitimate companies in the United States, especially in high end real estate.
Winer finds it "disturbing" that Mogilevich's associates have done business with Trump. He told a Washington conference earlier this month.
Imagine you’re a foreign government and you want to launder money for domestic espionage operations in the United States. [High end real estate] would be a great way to do it. It was the method used by Colombian drug traffickers all over Latin America and Miami in the 1980s and 1990s. Its a form that Russian organized crime has used... All of sudden we’re starting to see the same kind of patterns involving some criminal people and some Russian officials showing up in current investigations with Trump properties."
The story right now, he says, is "confusing as hell." The key, he explains, is the pattern:
"These ties link up, coalesce, organize and resolve," Winer says. These are "relationships that make some sense. So we need to get below what we can see on the surface and see what actually happened. ....I don't know who's going to be indicted but boy, do I know this: the American people needs to be to get the facts, and then justice can be done."

Russian Intelligence, organized crime and war on police - Google News: Why Trump Is Going to Be Unable to Hide His Deep Connections to Organized Crime Figures from Investigators - AlterNet

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Why Trump Is Going to Be Unable to Hide His Deep Connections to Organized Crime Figures from Investigators
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As President Trump discovers the prerogative of unilaterally making war, the media gaze has turned away from the ongoing FBI, House and Senate investigation of his Russia ties to the simpler dramas of cruise missiles, big bombs, and tough but loose ...



 Russian Intelligence, organized crime and war on police - Google News

Huge spider web blankets field in New Zealand

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Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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The looming showdown over North Korea is a “Cuban missile crisis in slow motion,” the New York Times reports. A ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Sunday morning following a military parade exploded shortly after being fired, a failure which the Times reports may have been affected by U.S. hacking. But Pyongyang did not conduct a nuclear test, as many had been expecting. Visiting South Korea on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence declared that, “the era of strategic patience is over,” saying, "President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change.” And in a remark today, President Trump warned the North Korean regime had to “behave,” Politico writes.
Meanwhile, in a press briefing during which China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman asked all parties involved to maintain calm in the region, Beijing also emphasized its continued opposition to the deployment of the THAAD missile system in South Korea, Reuters reports. And former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was formally indicted on corruption charges following her impeachment early this March.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gained expansive new powers after declaring victory in an unexpectedly close referendum vote, the Times tells us. Support for the proposal to grant increased power to the president narrowly edged out opposition in a vote tally that came out to 51.3 in favor and 48.7 against. Onlookers and those who opposed Erdogan’s proposal fear that the referendum will cement Turkey’s turn toward authoritarianism and away from liberal democracy in recent years. The Washington Post reports that Turkey’s main opposition party is demanding the vote to be annulled due to irregularities during the voting and ballot-counting. Election monitors did not report any instances of fraud but were concerned by a last-minute government decision to allow the counting of ballots lacking an official seal. Reuters has more.
126 Syrian civilians, including 60 children, were killed in a bombing attack on buses carrying evacuees away from two Shiite villages besieged by rebel fighters, Reuters writes. The bombs hit as the buses were waiting to cross from rebel territory into a government-controlled area pursuant to a deal reached between the rebels and the regime. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
The AP reports that Syrian government forces are advancing on the rebel-held town of Tibet al-Imam in Hama province, in what appears to be an effort to consolidate government control of the area north of the city of Hama. Russian airstrikes are supporting the offensive.
Diplomats from Russia, the United States, and the United Nations may meet in Geneva as soon as next week to discuss the Syrian civil war, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. The Kremlin is awaiting confirmation from Washington that the meeting will go forward, Reuters tells us.
Fighting between ISIS militants and local tribes injured three people in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula after local residents attempted to smuggle cigarettes into an ISIS-controlled area, the AP reports. The clashes point to rising tensions in the region over the Islamic State’s imposition of a strict vision of Islamic law.
The battle for Mosul has now entered its seventh month as Iraqi forces continue fighting for control of the Old City. Troops are nearing the al-Nuri Mosque where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014, the capture of which would mark a major symbolic victory. Several hundred thousand civilians remain inside Mosul. Reuters has more.
Over a thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons are participating in a major hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti, a detainee widely considered to be a potential replacement for the Palestinian Authority’s embattled President Mahmoud Abbas. Barghouti set out the prisoners’ demands in an editorial in the Times on Sunday.
National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster met with Afghan leaders this weekend only days after the United States dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon against a network of ISIS caves in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province, the Times writes. In an interview with Afghanistan’s ToloNews, McMaster reiterated that, “The Taliban must be defeated” and emphasized U.S. commitments to support the Afghan government and security forces. He also sharply criticized the Pakistani government’s “selective” approach to cracking down on the Taliban’s presence within Pakistan, saying, “The best way to pursue their interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through the use of diplomacy, and not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.”
Surveillance reports flagged by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes as potentially demonstrating misconduct by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice do not show any evidence of foul play on the part of Rice or other Obama administration officials, NBC reports. The “unmasking” of names of U.S. persons contained within the reports, which Nunes alleged may have taken place improperly, was “completely normal,” according to one official.

ICYMI: This Weekend, on Lawfare
Quinta Jurecic posted the mother of all Lawfare Podcasts, on a new book on “cyber insecurity.”
Kenneth Anderson gave us some suggestions on how to declare war.
In the Foreign Policy Essay, Erik Gartzke considered Trump’s airstrike in Syria as a potentially welcome defense of international norms against chemical weapons.
Julian Ku and Chris Mirasola reminded us that China has promised to defend North Korea from armed attack.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
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Pentagon's Mattis discussing war aims in Mideast this week

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is looking to the Middle East and North Africa for broader contributions and new ideas to fight Islamic extremism as the Trump administration fleshes out its counterterrorism strategy.
His trip to the region this week includes stops with longstanding allies Israel and Saudi ...

Mike Pence altered his security plan at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It's not as strange as it sounds. 

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Visitors are warned that there has been violence there in the past.





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Page 19

Trump warns North Korea: 'Gotta behave'

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PANMUNJOM, South Korea (AP) -- A day after a failed North Korean missile test, U.S. President Donald Trump had a message Monday for the North's ruler: 'Gotta behave." At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence warned at the Korean Demilitarized Zone that America's "era of strategic patience is over."...