Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Report: Boris Epshteyn was running Russian counterintelligence op within Trump White House by Bill Palmer


Who is to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss? A lot of people are — James Comey included.

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The Democratic Party posted a video message from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who encouraged members to keep fighting for the party's ideals. (Reuters)
The Democratic Party posted a video message from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who encouraged members to keep fighting for the party's ideals. The Democratic Party posted a video message from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who encouraged members to keep fighting for the party's ideals. (Reuters)
The discussion over who is to blame for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump has suddenly flared up again. A New York Times report this weekend reveals new details about FBI director James Comey’s decision to reveal newly discovered emails that ultimately proved irrelevant — yet had a large impact on the election’s outcome.
The Times report makes Comey’s intervention look even more suspect, particularly in light of his refusal to divulge anything about the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian efforts to tip the election to Trump. The chatter about the Clinton campaign’s failures has also escalated with the publication of “Shattered,” a new book about the election.
I tried to parse out some of what happened, and who is to blame for it, in a piece I wrote for a new collection of essays about Campaign 2016. A slightly-edited excerpt from the essay is below.
What happened?
Most people agree on one thing about the 2016 election: That the simplest way to describe what happened is that demographics did not deliver for Democrats. The party and the Clinton campaign had good reason to be confident that the vaunted “Obama coalition” — the nonwhites, young voters, single women, and college-educated whites who powered majority victories in the two previous national elections — would come through one more time, as Republicans had shown no signs of even trying to evolve culturally in sync with the preoccupations of those groups. But demographic destiny fell short of swamping Trump’s margins among blue-collar and middle-income whites.
Some critics now argue that this was the result of a crucial mistake on Clinton’s part. Clinton, goes this argument, failed to connect with the economic anxieties of these white voters precisely because overconfidence in her demographic advantage led her campaign to get lost amid micro-targeted cultural appeals to various groups in the Obama coalition, thus neglecting a broader economic and reform message. The oft heard refrain is that Clinton’s initial economic push — for shared prosperity and an economy that works for all — got overtaken by “identity politics,” which is to say, by the Clinton team’s decision to spend a great deal of time and resources on attacking Trump’s racially charged campaign, rather than on beating him in the argument over the economy and the need for political reform.
There may be some truth to the notion that Clinton de-emphasized her economic message in a damaging way. Although Clinton’s convention speech was heavily laden with a programmatic economic agenda, political scientist Lynn Vavreck conducted a post-election analysis of the TV advertising by both campaigns and concluded that more than three-quarters of the appeals in Clinton’s ads were about character traits. Only 9 percent were about jobs or the economy. In contrast, more than one-third of the appeals in Trump’s ads were focused on economic issues, such as jobs, taxes, and trade. And some Democratic operatives have groused that the Clinton camp was overly confident of victory in reliably Democratic Rust Belt states like Wisconsin and Michigan — meaning, perhaps, that Trump’s economic message had even more resonance in them than the Clinton team had anticipated.
But Comey did matter.
Yes, Comey mattered — a lot
It’s strange that people are even debating this point. After all, just after the election, it was widely established that top officials in both the Clinton and Trump campaigns saw Comey’s announcement of newly-discovered emails as a “game changer.” For instance, see this piece from Politico’s Glenn Thrush, which reported that to be the case. Thrush noted that Clinton’s chief data analytics guru saw her numbers tank among a crucial demographic: educated white voters who had been alienated by Trump’s videotaped boasts of lewd groping and subsequent allegations of unwanted advances.
Meanwhile, elections analyst Nate Silver concluded that without Comey and the Russia hacking, states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — which Trump won by excruciatingly tight margins — might have tipped to Clinton. “Comey had a large, measurable impact on the race,” Silver said.
In other words, if Comey had never taken that step, we might currently be discussing the staying power of the Obama coalition and the success of the Clinton strategy — in particular, the emphasis on attacking Trump’s dangerously unhinged temperament, and his campaign of racism, hate, and abuse directed at Mexican immigrants and women — in driving college-educated whites into the Democratic camp.
It is often argued that Comey is not responsible for Clinton’s loss, because he did not force her to set up a private server, or de-emphasize her economic message, or neglect the Rust Belt. But this argument is weak. It can be true that Clinton was a very flawed candidate who made mistakes, even as it is also true that Comey’s letter had a major impact on the outcome — and potentially a decisive one — without which the Clinton strategy might have prevailed. Given that the Comey revelations ended up amounting to nothing in substantive terms, the fact that his decision did have such a large impact reveals his handling of the whole mess to be indefensible and reflects terribly on our political process. Clinton’s real failings should not be permitted to minimize the significance of that.
It was not unreasonable for the Clinton team to conclude that the strategy of casting Trump as temperamentally unfit to handle national security — and too hateful and divisive to lead our diverse country — was going to succeed. Polls indicated for months that Clinton was on track to become the first Democrat to win a majority of college-educated whites in over half a century. Many analysts across the spectrum had concluded that such an outcome would probably cripple Trump’s ability to prevail by running up enormous margins among white voters.
And whatever the Clinton team’s motives in making a big issue out of Trump’s race-tinged campaign, it was the right thing to do. For all the talk about Clinton playing “identity politics,” the candidate who played “identity politics” to a far greater extent was Donald Trump. His campaign — which fused the relentless scapegoating of Muslims and undocumented immigrants with revanchist appeals to “Make America Great Again” — was all about encouraging and playing to a sense that white identity and white America were under siege. It was important for the country that Clinton call out Trump’s white nationalist appeals for what they were — and that she defend the minority groups that he had targeted for vilification. Not doing so would have been an abdication.
None of this, however, should absolve the Clinton campaign and the Democratic establishment figures who rallied to her side from facing a reckoning over the ways in which they are responsible for the outcome.
Here’s where Clinton, her campaign and Democratic officials failed
One of the Clinton campaign’s official public explanations for her loss is that she ultimately came to be seen as a creature of the establishment at a moment when the electorate craved change. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook has described this as a “head wind” that could not be overcome.
Of course, if that is true, then Clinton herself — and Democratic establishment figures — are partially complicit in creating that perception. In retrospect, the early decision to limit the number of debates — a decision, as I reported at the time, that the Democratic National Committee made in part out of deference to the Clinton campaign, which apparently wanted to limit her exposure — may have been an early signal of an unhealthy establishment faith in Clinton’s chances. So too was the lack of more primary challengers, which appeared premised on the sense that she could not be beaten precisely because she was the pick of so many party leaders.
To be sure, it was reasonable for many leading Democrats to suspect that Clinton — with her deep knowledge and experience — gave the party a very good shot at winning the White House. Whether this assumption was subjected to rigorous enough scrutiny — and whether a failure in that regard represented a more systemic problem with the party establishment, such as overconfidence in its ability to win national elections — should be topics of debate in coming months.
Another question that must be settled is whether the Clinton campaign — and establishment Democrats — reckoned seriously enough with polling that revealed abysmal public perceptions of her on trust and honesty, and widespread concern with her handling of her emails and the Clinton Foundation. Taken together, all of this amounted to a red flag — a warning that Clinton might not be seen as a credible messenger if the campaign became a battle over who would shake up our corrupt political system, as Trump sought to turn it into. Clinton rolled out a detailed political reform agenda, but it’s not clear whether she conveyed a gut sense that she really wanted to shake things up. As one Democrat sighed to me in August: I wish Clinton would show more discomfort with our political system and with how business is done in Washington.
This possibility — that Clinton did not show a gut level of discomfort with our current arrangements — is worth mulling. Trump’s numbers were even worse than Clinton’s on honesty, and his promises to bust up the system were crude and laughably absurd — he actually argued that he was well qualified to reform our corrupt system because he had milked it himself from the inside to great effect. But it’s worth asking whether he somehow conveyed a visceral disdain for the way business is done in Washington that Clinton simply did not.
Of course, even if one accepts that Clinton failed to marshal effective enough messages on the economy and political reform, it’s hard to know how much that mattered. The polling evidence is mixed on whether Clinton’s economic message even failed — exit polls showed she won among voters most concerned about the economy in many swing states. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, and her extremely close losses in multiple states might not have happened if turnout had shaped up differently even on the margins.
Some of the post-election debate has been framed around a false choice
Beyond this, if the party is going to work to sharpen up its economic and reform message — to working-class white voters in particular — the crucial challenge is how to do this without backing off of its commitment to being the party that fully embraces cultural and demographic change. Much of the post-election debate is on some basic level framed around a false choice — one pitting the need to minister to the Obama coalition versus the need for economic appeals to working-class whites. But these things needn’t be in conflict with one another. The challenges faced by the nonwhites, young voters, and women who make up the Obama coalition are also in many respects economic ones. Debates over systemic racism, over how to create more opportunity and mobility for minorities and young people, over how to integrate undocumented immigrants who have been contributing to American life for years but remain consigned to the shadows, and over how to foster economic equality for women — all of these are, at bottom, about the need for reforms that make the economy fairer and render prosperity more inclusive, for everyone.
Most early indications are that senior Democrats are not falling into the trap that this false choice debate presents. Most of the chatter among Democrats is how to refocus the party’s message on economic fairness in ways that have appeal across diverse constituencies. That will likely continue.
The Democratic Party is a diverse party. It should not weaken its commitment to defending minority rights, particularly in an age of resurgent Trump Era white backlash. The party must not back off of its defense of undocumented immigrants — both for substantive and strategic reasons. If Trump makes good on his promises, the plight of undocumented immigrants could worsen into a genuine humanitarian crisis, one that Democrats must resist. The GOP will continue alienating the fast growing demographic of Latino voters, potentially hastening Democratic gains in Sun Belt states, which, over time, could reconfigure the map in advantageous ways in future national elections.
This time around, demographic destiny did not materialize for Democrats. But demographic change marches on. While that is by no means alone a guarantee of future success, the party’s big challenge going forward will be to work to maintain its position on the right side of it — while also speaking more effectively to the anxieties of those who feel it is leaving them behind.
Excerpted from “Trumped: The Election that Broke All the Rules” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without further permission in writing from the publisher.
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Yates, Clapper To Testify In Senate...

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Yates, Clapper To Testify In Senate Hearing On Russian Election Meddling

NPR - ‎1 hour ago‎
Two Obama administration officials will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia attempted to help ...

Sally Yates to testify at May 8 Senate hearing

<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> - ‎Apr 25, 2017‎
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is set to testify May 8 before a Senate judiciary investigation into Russia's interference in last year's elections, her second congressional hearing at which she's scheduled to testify within the span of a week.

Former US officials to testify at May 8 Senate hearing on Russia probe

Reuters - ‎Apr 25, 2017‎
FILE PHOTO: James Clapper testifies to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on “Russia's intelligence activities' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts. 1/2. left. right. FILE PHOTO: Sally Quillian ...

Sally Yates to Testify Before Senate Panel

U.S. News & World Report - ‎Apr 25, 2017‎
The hearing before members of the Judiciary Committee will focus on Russian interference in last year's presidential election. By Matthew Cella, Staff Writer | April 25, 2017, at 12:02 p.m.. MORE. LinkedIn · StumbleUpon · Google +; Cancel. Sally Yates ...

Sally Yates to testify May 8 in Russia probe

The Boston Globe - ‎Apr 25, 2017‎
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former acting attorney general Sally Yates is scheduled to appear at a congressional hearing next month on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a Senate committee announced Tuesday. Yates is to appear May ...
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WATCH: Trey Gowdy Gives Update On Michael Flynn Probe

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Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) gave an update on the investigation into former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, on "The First 100 Days."
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said Flynn was under investigation for possibly breaking the law and failing to disclose lobbying work for foreign organizations. 

He said his committee is getting some assistance from the Trump administration, but will need them to provide more documents on Flynn to be of maximum help.
Gowdy and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have reportedly spoken to former CIA Director John Brennan and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates about Flynn.
"At some point, the American people will learn everything we've learned," he said.
Martha MacCallum asked if the Senate probe-- led by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.)-- is being "slow-walked."
"I don't judge the efficacy of an investigation based on length-of-time," Gowdy responded.

Commentary: Russia investigation teeters, but Trump’s strategy of stonewalling does not

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Signed in as mikenova
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Russia investigation teeters, but Trump´s strategy of stonewalling does not

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By Tim Weiner
April 26 (Reuters) - Admit nothing. "You´re the puppet!" Deny everything. "Trump Russia story is a hoax!" Make counteraccusations. "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process." That´s Donald Trump reacting to the Kremlin´s malevolent meddling in the 2016 election.
The net effect of these comments can be summarized by one word: stonewalling, the tactic of the Confederate Civil War General Stonewall Jackson, whose motto was "mystify, mislead, and surprise." Jackson died after he was shot accidentally by his own troops - and Trump needs to watch his right flank in days to come.
His allies in Congress have tried to defuse the explosive Russia affair, and to confuse the citizenry with wild charges. That tactic isn´t working. Some Republicans now want a hearing in the Senate. The congressional intelligence committees cannot stay silent. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will not retreat. The stone wall surrounding the White House may not stand.
Whether Americans conspired with Russian spies to disrupt democracy is one of the thorniest questions the FBI ever has confronted. Its investigation will hover over the White House for many months.
Two weeks before Trump was inaugurated, the leaders of every major U.S. intelligence service told him they had concluded that his election had been supported by the Kremlin. Russia worked to damage Hillary Clinton and help Trump - in part by purloining Democratic party emails and weaponizing them through WikiLeaks, a publisher of stolen secrets.
"I love WikiLeaks!" candidate Trump had proclaimed when his opponent was wounded. But WikiLeaks was a "hostile intelligence service" abetted by Russian spies, who used it "to release data of U.S. victims...obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee," Trump´s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said on April 13.
He added: "Russia´s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks." Love WikiLeaks or hate it, Russia used it to great effect, injecting poison pills into the American mainstream.
Was Trump´s campaign allied in any way with this warfare? Trump himself egged on Russia´s hacking. He praised President Vladimir Putin while Putin was making war on the American political system.
His first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, lost his job for longstanding ties to Russian-aligned oligarchs; these included a political consultancy intended to "greatly benefit the Putin Government." His first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, served as a paid mouthpiece for RT, then was fired for lying to his superiors about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
The FBI is following a trail in cyberspace. It will seek evidence of ties - personal, political, financial - between members of Team Putin and Team Trump. Farther down that path, the FBI may reach a crossroads.
Will its counterintelligence case, the pursuit of spies, evolve into a criminal case, with charges presented for prosecution? Will Trump himself become a subject of the investigation? A sitting president cannot be indicted, but he can, as Richard M. Nixon was, be named as an unindicted co-conspirator by a federal grand jury.
He can also, in the Nixon tradition, cloud the political landscape with lies and inventions. "President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!" Trump proclaimed in an early-morning tweetstorm last month. "This is Nixon/Watergate." It was, but only in the sense that the president was blowing smoke in the eyes of the American people.
This particular falsehood set the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes of California, careening down a blind alley. He cancelled scheduled committee hearings while setting off in futile search of evidence to support the president´s lie.
He made a dead-of-night trip to obtain secret documents from two National Security Council staffers (one his former aide, the other Flynn´s hand-picked intelligence officer). He proclaimed they showed that Team Trump was wrongly targeted by Obama´s spies - a charge as baseless as Trump´s tweet. This bizarre charade forced him to recuse himself from the investigation of the case. He is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for his conduct.
Nunes cancelled House Intelligence Committee hearings and knocked his committee out of business for five weeks. On May 2, it restarts - in a closed-door hearing - to learn more from FBI Director James Comey, who gave reticent but resonant testimony on camera in March, when he confirmed that the FBI was on the case.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has been seemingly somnolent since shortly after Trump´s inauguration. Behind closed doors, its unusually small staff is reviewing top-secret documents that led the American intelligence establishment to conclude that Russia was disrupting democracy. The American public knows next to nothing about these records.
The committee clearly intends to summon Flynn. But Flynn´s failure to disclose payments from RT has left him in legal jeopardy, and he wants immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Whether the Senate committee can compel his appearance is dubious. So is its immediate future: it has issued no subpoenas, scheduled no public hearings, and set no scope for its inquiry.
But the secrecy of the intelligence committees soon will be pierced. News broke Tuesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing - entitled "Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election" - on May 8.
Two crucial figures will appear. Both were set to testify at the House hearings before Nunes went off the reservation. They are the former National Intelligence Director James Clapper - the top American spymaster under Obama - and the former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Remember Sally Yates? She was running the Justice Department when Trump fired her in January. She had warned the Trump White House that Mike Flynn´s deceptions about his talks with Putin´s ambassador made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Her successor, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has recused himself from the Russia affair due to his own undisclosed chats with Moscow´s envoy.
Someone at the Justice Department has to oversee the FBI investigation - but exactly who is an open question. Someone in Congress has to carry out public hearings - but the will to do so has wavered in past weeks. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of the American people want someone to get to the bottom of this mess. Public trust in government being what it is, those same polls show a desire for a politically independent inquiry.
Expect a social-media groundswell to erupt next month: Sally Yates for special prosecutor. Stranger things have happened in this epic spy story. (By Tim Weiner)
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Trump's greatest single achievement...

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Russia investigation teeters, but Donald Trump's strategy of stonewalling does not

Financial Express - ‎4 hours ago‎
Admit nothing. “You're the puppet!” Deny everything. “Trump Russia story is a hoax!” Make counter accusations. “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process.” By: Reuters | Published: April 27, 2017 2:46 AM.

Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein on Trump-Russia investigation: 'Oh my god, there's a cover-up going on'

The Independent - ‎5 hours ago‎
Famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein says that the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could end up revealing a “cover-up” of alleged connections between President Donald Trump's team and Russia. “There, he is central ...

Retired Army colonel: Michael Flynn is either 'one of the dumbest individuals who ever lived' or had some 'nefarious ...

Business Insider - ‎2 hours ago‎
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is either "one of the dumbest individuals who's ever lived or ... he really had some nefarious purposes" in failing to disclose payments he received from Russia on his 2016 security-clearance application ...
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The Guide To Becoming Jared Kushner

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The Guide To Becoming Jared Kushner
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official science howls at the moon

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We're talking about psychiatrists sitting in a room and arbitrarily deciding that a cluster of behaviors adds up to an official mental disorder.

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrixclick here.)
My readers are familiar with my extended refutation of psychiatry as science. Here I’ll focus on the latest piece of non-logic from professional know-nothings.
The Daily Mail: “A group of leading psychiatrists told a conference that Donald Trump has clear hallmarks of mental illness that compromise his role as president. Twenty-five researchers made a drastic break away from ethical standards by meeting at Yale University on Thursday to discuss evidence questioning the commander-in-chief’s mental health.”
Psychiatrist Allen Frances, who has played a central role in defining mental disorders, disagrees. He wrote in the NY Times: “Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled [Mr. Trump as having] narcissistic personality disorder. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill.”
Dr. Frances makes an interesting point. He distinguishes between behavior and earning a badge for having a particular mental disorder.
For example, a person can be sad, but that alone doesn’t make him a candidate for the label, “clinical depression.” A person can take aggressive actions against authority, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is suffering from Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
If that were all there was to this story, I wouldn’t bother writing about it. There is another layer, however. The press isn’t discussing it, because the press is clueless.
Consider the accusation that Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). What does that mean? What is the official definition of NPD? Here is an excerpt from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official bible of the American Psychiatric Association. Go ahead, plow through it, it’ll only take a minute:
“The definition of NPD states that it comprises of a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes
Another model, characterizes NPD as having fair or superior impairment in personality functioning, apparent by characteristic troubles in at least 2 of the following 4 areas (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
  • Individuality
  • Self-direction
  • Empathy
  • Closeness
No actual physical characteristics are seen with NPD, but patients may have concurrent substance abuse, which may be seen in the clinical examination.”
No blood test, urine test, saliva test, brain scan, genetic assay. Nothing.
What you’ve just read is a collection of behaviors. This collection was assembled by a committee of psychiatrists, who decided that, taken together, they added up to a mental disorder.
There is no defining diagnostic test for NPD.
We’re talking about psychiatrists sitting in a room and arbitrarily deciding that a cluster of behaviors adds up to an official mental disorder.
Continued below...

These psychiatrists are playing word games. They’re inventing so-called mental disorders

These psychiatrists are playing word games. They’re inventing so-called mental disorders.
Underneath this story about Trump and the shrinks, there is a far more important truth. Psychiatrists are world-class purveyors of fake news. They always have been. Because you see…
None of the roughly 300 officially certified and labeled mental disorders has a defining diagnostic test. None.
If you have the tenacity, read through the whole DSM and you will see for yourself.
Or read this brief exchange. In a PBS Frontline episode, “Does ADHD Exist?”, Dr. Russell Barkley, an eminent professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, spelled out the fraud clearly.
Here it is.
PBS FRONTLINE INTERVIEWER: Skeptics say that there’s no biological marker—-that it [ADHD] is the one condition out there where there is no blood test, and that no one knows what causes it.
BARKLEY: That’s tremendously naïve, and it shows a great deal of illiteracy about science and about the mental health professions. A disorder doesn’t have to have a blood test to be valid. If that were the case, all mental disorders would be invalid…There is no lab test for any mental disorder right now in our science. That doesn’t make them invalid.
Oh, indeed, that does make them invalid. Utterly and completely. All 300 mental disorders. Because there are no defining tests of any kind to back up the diagnosis.
Psychiatrists can sway and tap dance all they like and they won’t escape the noose around their necks. We are looking at a science that isn’t a science.
That’s called fraud. Rank fraud.
Imagine this. You walk into a doctor’s office, you talk with him for a few minutes, and then he says: “You have cancer. You need to start chemo at once.”
After you recover, you say, “You didn’t give me a test.”
And he says, “Well, we don’t need a test. We know what the symptoms are because we convened a high-level meeting of oncologists last year, and we listed the answers to the questions I just asked you. You gave those telltale answers. So we start chemo tomorrow. We may also need to surgically remove an organ or two before we’re done.”
That’s psychiatry. That’s the way it works.
Those boys have quite a con going. And now, from a few hundred miles away, they’ve diagnosed a sitting president.
Well, why wouldn’t they? They’ve been shucking and jiving all the way to the bank for the entirety of their professional lives.
Jon Rappoport -- Bio and Archives
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The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALEDEXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29<sup>th</sup> District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails hereor his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

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Group of Psychiatry Experts Claim Trump Has 'Dangerous Mental Illness'

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Last week at a conference at Yale’s School of Medicine, a group of more than 30 mental health professionals warned that President Donald Trump is unfit to serve. Members of the group said they had an “ethical responsibility” to warn others, and called President Trump “paranoid and delusional.”
Mental health professionals have largely refrained from speculation regarding the mental health of President Trump due to the “Goldwater rule,” which asserts that psychiatrists should not give statements speculating about the mental health of people they have not personally assessed. The rule was first implemented in 1973, and just last month, the American Psychiatric Association released a statement confirming its ethical commitment to the policy. 
However, Dr. John Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School until 2015, said at the conference that mental health professionals have an "ethical responsibility to warn the public about the dangers posed by Donald Trump’s mental health."  
Gartner is a founding member of Duty to Warn, a group of mental health professionals who view it as their ethical obligation to let the public know about what they see as a potentially dangerous situation. The group takes its name from mental health professionals’ “duty to warn,” which refers to the freedom from legal repercussions if a professional breaks confidentiality to warn about a patient’s potential for violence.
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Gartner is not the only mental health professional who has gone on record as believing that Donald Trump is not mentally fit for the presidency.
In a Letter to the Editor at the New York TimesDr. Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Joseph Schachter, a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association, and 33 other professionals in the field of mental health wrote, “silence [from the country’s mental health organizations] has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.”
At the Yale conference, James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, said, “I’ve worked with some of the most dangerous people our society produces, directing mental health programs in prisons. I’ve worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognize dangerousness from a mile away.” He continued, “You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend 50 years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.”
Gartner has also started an online petition to have President Trump removed from office, citing article 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The petition currently has over 52,000 signatures.
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US Probes Into Trump's Russia Links,...

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US Probes Into Trump's Russia Links, Kremlin Meddling Gain Two Heavyweights

Foreign Policy (blog) - ‎8 hours ago‎
The flagging U.S. probes into the Trump administration's ties to the Kremlin are about to get an injection of fresh blood. Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats have tapped April Doss, a former NSA lawyer, to join the committee's investigation of ...

Why It's Impossible for Republicans to Investigate the Trump-Russia Scandal

Mother Jones - ‎15 hours ago‎
On Monday, Yahoo News broke an important—but unsurprising—story: the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal has made little progress, with its Republican chairman, Richard Burr of North Carolina, refusing to sign ...

COLUMN-Russia investigation teeters, but Trump's strategy of stonewalling does not

Daily News & Analysis - ‎5 hours ago‎
Admit nothing. "You're the puppet!" Deny everything. "Trump Russia story is a hoax!" Make counteraccusations. "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process." That's Donald Trump reacting to the Kremlin's ...

Russian Ties Continue to Haunt Trump Administration as FBI, Congressional Probes Persist

Atlanta Black Star - ‎8 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON (AP) — An FBI investigation and congressional probes into the Trump campaign and contacts with Russia continue to shadow the administration, each new development a focus of White House press briefings and attention on Capitol Hill.

Saul Ewing partner appointed to Senate's Russia investigation

Maryland Daily Record (subscription) - ‎7 hours ago‎
A Baltimore attorney will serve as special counsel to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. April F. Doss, partner at Saul Ewing LLP and chair of the firm's cybersecurity and privacy ...
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President Trump Voters Not Enough to Win 2020: Analysis

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Approaching the 100-day mark, Donald Trump's administration has struggled to accomplish anything meaningful, other than outraging huge swaths of the electorate, spawning an instant-classic "SNL" sketch and horrifying most of the Western world. So the results of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week came as a shock: Almost every Trump voter doesn't regret their vote, and if the election were held today, Trump would beat Hillary Clinton by three points — and actually win the popular vote (although Trump believes he won it the first time).
But the results are not as they seem. This doesn't bode well for Trump in 2020, because those Trump voters simply don't matter anymore, contends Matthew Yglesias in a statistics-heavy new analysis for Vox.  If every Trump supporter votes for Trump in 2020, he'd still lose, "perhaps devastatingly so," writes Yglesias.
The math: Trump only won 46 percent of the popular vote — only half a point more than Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. What did those Republican candidates have in common? Oh yeah — they lost. In McCain's case, he lost in a landslide. Forty-six percent is not traditionally enough to win.
Trump's victory in 2016 was an outlier, more about quirks in the Electoral College than a sweeping mandate. For example: While 96 percent of Trump's voters were die-hard, estimates are that 4 percent were swing voters. If only those voters had swung the other way or stayed home, Trump would have lost the all-important Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania votes, and Hillary Clinton would be president today.
Yglesias points out that Trump has made no effort to play to anyone but his base, or bring others into his tent. Simply put, that base isn't enough to win in 2020.
"The primary political question of 2018 and 2020 isn’t whether Trump’s voters will abandon him and the GOP, but whether Democrats will manage to field candidates and messages that inspire Trump’s critics to unite and vote for the same person. It’s not an impossible task, but it’s not a trivial one either," writes Yglesias.
In America, you can still dare to dream.

White House unveils dramatic plan to...

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White House unveils dramatic plan to overhaul tax code in major test for Trump

Washington Post - ‎2 hours ago‎
President Trump's call for a dramatic overhaul of the tax code sets in motion his most ambitious legislative initiative to date, testing whether he can cut the deal of his life on an issue that has long bedeviled Washington. On Wednesday, Trump issued ...

Seven Takeaways from the White House's 'Massive' Tax Plan

<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> - ‎2 hours ago‎
The White House unveiled its principles for tax reform on Wednesday, headlined by big tax cuts for individuals and corporations. Here's what's known about the plan, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn ...

Trump Administration Proposes 'Massive' Tax Overhaul And Tax Cut Plan

NPR - ‎6 hours ago‎
Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET. The Trump administration Wednesday put forth a proposal that it labeled a "massive" tax overhaul, which would give big tax cuts to individuals and corporations and reduce the number of tax brackets and deductions.

Trump's tax proposal: What it means for the rich, for the world and for you

Washington Post - ‎7 hours ago‎
President Trump on Wednesday offered a glimpse into his approach to tax reform, with the White House announcing that he wants to reduce rates — especially on corporations and businesses — as well as provide new breaks for working-class households ...
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Page 3

Who is evil now? How Russia came back to haunt Trump's America

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Published on Monday, 24 April 2017 08:03
Category: Articles and Commentary
Written by Patryk Babiracki

trumpCasting aside a longstanding tradition of American exceptionalism, Trump is remaking the United States into a more consumer-friendly version of autocratic Russia. This is alarming and deeply demoralising. But it could also suggest that the American and Russian societies now simply share the same underlying plight.
Historically, Americans talked and thought about Russia a great deal, but the process often served to articulate and define a vision of America. Especially during the Cold War, in an effort to understand the USSR, many scholars and journalists have gotten used to the Manichean premise about Russia as America's other. There was rarely room for grayscale in talking about the two superpowers. Western academics and commentators of Russia more generally saw themselves living on the more enlightened side of the Enlightenment: of capitalism and respect for private property, of truth, of freedom, of individualism and choice, of higher spiritual values that were often linked to God. Those Americans who were looking up to the heavens, and those looking down on Russia had many reasons to believe that the US was a simply a better place than the USSR.
That America was a place palpably different from the spaces that the Kremlin ruled over: a communist world powered by coercion and deception, disrespect for the individual and private property coupled with materialism that implied spiritual void; all undergirded by the assumptions about Russians' innate propensity for tyranny, their unrealised craving for democracy, free markets and consumer goods. Get over the contradiction, if you will.
Of course, such clear distinctions were not always true; nor were they understood as such by everyone at all times. Scores of Westerners revered Stalinist Russia for its extraordinary economic performance in the 1930s, when Stalin's industrialisation drive left the depressed Western economies in the dust. The numerous Western intellectuals who were so impressed by the feat often knew about Stalin's mass murder that accompanied and paid for the amazing growth. But they chose to ignore them on the grounds that the price was still worth what they thought they were getting in return: the good society that communism had promised, and which Stalin claimed he began to build.
A more nuanced version of this inverted Manicheanism arose in the academe. In the 1960s, a wave of social historians came to see the USSR more sympathetically; driven by their reaction to the systemic inequities in the United States, and by the US government conduct of the Vietnam war, they set out to correct the apparent exaggerations of the Cold Warriors, often by describing the USSR as merely a different incarnation of the norm. All things considered though, that debate remained somewhat arcane, confined to historiographic debates and radical journals. The official terms of the Cold War was what largely defined the popular thinking about Russia and America, also shaping the Americans' popular imagination of their country. And if Ronald Reagan's "evil empire" speech clearly spoke to that high-contrast understanding of the world, then the East European revolutions of 1989 and subsequent dissolution of the USSR have helped to solidify it ever since.
America's post-Cold War triumphalism failed to shake up the terrain of Russia-mediated US self-indulgence throughout the 1990s and the 2000s. The evident bankruptcy of the Soviet system fed into that sense of confidence. So did Western scholars who peered into the "newly declassified documents" of the former communist regimes. Singling out Stalin's peculiar understanding of security as territorial expansion, his paranoid personality and his near-absolute political power as the sine qua non of the Cold War, those historians concluded that Russia was to blame for the outbreak of the global conflict. And outside of the ivory tower, the interesting scholarly discussions of Soviet Union's own ultimate economic and social suicide remained overshadowed by the powerful imagery of Reagan's challenge to his Soviet counterpart: "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Subsequently, as Russia turned inward to cope with the legacy of communism and the chaos of reform, the Cold War itself became history, thus helping to decouple the Russian past from the American present. In 1998 eminent historian John Lewis Gaddis quoted Groucho Marx to underscore the benefits of the new vantage point: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend," he wrote, whereas "Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read." Humour also served to convey Russia's irrelevance in America's post-Cold War popular culture. Remember Linda Litzke (played by Frances McDormand), from the 2008 Cohen brothers' film Burn After Reading? When she turns over classified CIA documents to the Russian embassy, the CIA chief himself seems taken off-guard upon finding out about whom she approached. "To the Russians?" he confirms, squinting from incredulity. "To the Russians?" "The Russians" themselves were utterly unconvinced, sending a lowly assistant cultural attaché to meet the unexpected guest. All this is to say that new evidence and fresh perspectives about Russia energised the discipline of history, but in removing the distance from the present, it also reduced Russia's role in defining America.
Aiming to restore Russia's great-power status and heal the injured sense of pride, Vladimir Putin has been doing much to recover that role. After 1991, many in the West, if they gave it a thought at all, had assumed that the pains of transition notwithstanding, Russia was on its way to becoming a liberal democracy. But, as Putin's regime began to clamp down on the opposition movements, parties and media outlets, and to use the courts and the police to political ends, much of that optimism began to wither away. Under his administration, heavy anti-liberal rhetoric laced with sharp anti-Western, anti-American overtones began to creep out of Russia, forcing the contrasts and comparisons back into the minds of those who followed what was going on. The media and government officials resented America's real and imagined interferences in Russian affairs, from fomenting anti-government protests in Russia or Ukraine to funding NGOs, to efforts to expand NATO. In the official discourse, America became once again Russia's archenemy. And Americans, most ostensibly President Obama, angered Russians by refusing to recognise Russia as an equal partner that Russia so desperately craved to be.
We take Russia more seriously now. We do because in the last two years the Kremlin made clear its commitment to empire, and to the disruption of the Western liberal-democratic order. We pay more heed especially because Russia's shadow looms so large over Donald Trump's presidency, from allegations to the Kremlin's cyber interference on his behalf to numerous connections between Trump's campaign and Russia, links which range from inacceptable to unclear. It is no longer a Cohen brothers’ comedy flick that comes to mind as a cinematic backdrop to these developments; it's the chilling 1962 picture The Manchurian Candidate.
Yet Russia's presence in US politics and its impact on our future go beyond the obvious. Lost in the daily news cycle of Trump-related controversies and tweets, as well as this president's constant reiterations of "America first" may be his persistent, historic, and profoundly troubling redefinition of America as Russia-lite. Surely, all too often US politicians evoked American exceptionalism to justify imperialist policies in many parts of the world. But let's not forget that the country's sense of uniqueness and special mission has also served to define America's political “best practices”, official values, standards and aspirations against those of various authoritarian regimes. In abandoning that tradition, Trump tells the American people and the world that we no longer care.
Donald Trump rejects that tradition in his own words. Take his bizarre equivocation of America and Russia in a recent interview with Bill O'Reilly. Responding to the host's comment that "Putin is a killer”, the president changed the tables around, announcing that “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers”, adding “well, you think our country is so innocent?” True. Nevermind that odd leap into the critical history of the United States by someone who rose to power by uncritically portraying Americans as victims of the world. Nevermind even the moral equivocation between two governments that suffer from different sorts of imperfections: one that regrettably abandons humanitarian principles to protect its citizens (and regularly faces push-back from human rights organisations, advocacy groups and the media); the other relies on such methods to intimidate its citizens and to shut down any person or institution that dares to speak out.
Trump further redefines America through his actions, by imitating Putin's style of governance. That style favours centralisation and personalisation of power at the expense of the other branches of the government and formal structures more generally; both phenomena have a long tradition in Russia but are unprecedented in scale in the United States. It also involves insulting and intimidating critics, a practice that's regrettably normal by Russian standards, but which constituted an exception to the rule in the American democracy; secretiveness; an intense reliance on anti-liberal populism that feeds off of economic woes of the masses, racism, xenophobia, and their injured sense of pride; and a profound hypocrisy. Though claiming to fight for the common man, both Putin and Trump merely buy him off, while turning the state into a machine for generating personal gain. Putin profits as a curator of an entire corrupt, kleptocratic state. By refusing to divest himself of his businesses, Trump turns the state into a marketing office for his own brand. Not to belabour the point, but Russian rulers often viewed state property as their own. In failing to acknowledge his fundamental conflicts of interest, Trump violates the long-established rules, becoming, to use his language, the worst presidential "deal" America has ever had.
In US foreign policy Trump directly enables Putin and furthers his authoritarian agenda; that "deal" is even worse for America and for the world. So far Trump sowed confusion with his heavy-handed tweets, phone calls and public statements about the most delicate aspects of international relations, including longstanding conflicts in East Asia and the Middle East; questioned NATO, empowered European far-right set on dissolving the EU; and frightened others by, to quote the letter by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk to EU leaders "putting into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy." He insulted at least one staunch US ally, Australia. Moreover, he validated ISIS claims about the alleged clash of civilisations by bashing Muslims and trying to ban them from the United States. As he continues to bewilder staunch US allies in Europe and create new enemies in the Middle East, Trump is playing directly into Putin's hands. Instead of defending democracy and international cooperation, as American leaders tried to do for much of the twentieth century, Trump is playing a Russian roulette with the world.
Yet Trump reframes America in ways that go beyond his synergism with Putin's Russia. His administration's modus operandi evokes methods of America's chief Cold War enemy, the Soviet party state.
After the revolution in October 1917, the Bolsheviks went on ferociously to annihilate the old world in the name of a better, newer, braver one they vowed to build. To that end, they destroyed monuments, symbols, institutions and people who stood in the way. Then, from the 1930s on, under Stalin, they transformed rural and urban landscapes throughout the Soviet Union, they assaulted religion and arts, and they also launched an attack on entire classes of people who opposed their regime, who were considered enemies, or who were simply treated as such solely so that the bureaucrats responsible for "unmasking" wreckers or saboteurs could meet the desired quota.
Above all, the Bolsheviks aimed to destroy the conventional meaning of truth. They monopolised cultural production and the mass media, which allowed them to cover up their own mistakes and crimes, to gloss over the suffering of millions, and to mobilise the masses to sacrifice themselves even more in the name of a better tomorrow. All politicians bend the truth, but in Soviet Russia, mendacity was systemic. This is what John Le Carré meant when he wrote of "the classic, timeless, all-Russian bare-faced, whopping lie."
Historians of Russia have made careers by juxtaposing two Soviet realities, the virtual and the real. It is important to give at least one example to understand our professionally motivated panic about 2017 America. Consider the ruthless drive to collectivise Soviet agriculture, which started in 1929-30. By spring 1930, hundreds of thousands of peasants suffered from violence sanctioned, encouraged or tolerated by the state, such as murder, deportation, rape, and stigmatisation as so-called "kulaks," or peasant exploiters. Yet writing in Pravda in March, Stalin described the initiative as a great success. He cited impressive statistics about the rate of collectivisation and amounts of procured grain, leaving out any references to the accompanying death and despair. He used figures to claim that "a radical turn of the countryside towards socialism may be considered as already achieved". Anyone who questioned that assumption faced imprisonment or death. And many, way too many failed to question. Some because Stalin empowered them, made them the beneficiaries of the crime – in part because millions firmly believed that happen what may, "the Party is always right."
One cannot help but feel that Trump is also out there to destroy. Riding a wave of anger against the deeply flawed status quo, he dismantles the mechanisms that would have made possible the required repairs. He incapacitates government institutions, appointing their leaders from among those who are incompetent, or who don't believe in their missions. He destroys society by exacerbating the deep divisions that sadly came to define it, by injecting it with vitriol, venom and hatred at a time when people should talk and heal. He vulgarises the public discourse, often attacking his critics and even judges personally; by violating diplomatic protocol and by insulting directly foreign leaders and nations he also imperils America's relationships with the rest of the world.
Crucially, just like the Soviets, Trump aims to kill the traditional, evidence-based idea of truth. In that virtual reality that he, his advisors and spokespeople tirelessly craft, Donald Trump did win the popular vote, it did not rain during his inauguration speech, and the crowds in front of the Capitol on November 8th surpassed in size the showing for any of the previous forty four presidents. Sounds banal? Far more is at stake! In that imaginary space, the climate change is a Chinese hoax, Muslims are terrorists, independent judges who rule against Trump's executive orders put the nation at risk, while any news networks that fail to perpetuate the outpouring of White House falsehoods are themselves instantly branded as "fake news." Incidentally, that last move reminds of a mirroring strategy that the Soviets brilliantly employed during the Cold War. Think of Grigorii Aleksandrov's 1949 film The Meeting on the Elbe which portrays the US troops liberating Germany as an undisciplined, drunken motley crew. In fact, as is well known, it was the Red Army soldiers who notoriously indulged in inebriation, theft and rape.
Astounding and troubling in all this is the Trump team's consistency in spreading the untrue; their extreme sensibility to a slightest critique, their impulse to respond to satire with rage, rather than deflect it with self-generated humour, their persistence in defending false claims when confronted with evidence that belies them, the omnipresent exaggeration – more, a pronounced tendency to define our complex reality in absolute terms. As in: “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington", just before the inauguration day, or "I alone can fix it”. There is nothing understated about Trump's apocalyptic vision of today's America outlined in his inaugural speech, crowned with the hyperbolic reference to: "this American carnage”. Sealing off America from the world with blanket immigration bans and a border wall likewise implies a range of references to the absolute; they can feel comforting in these uncertain times, but are highly misleading. Taken individually, these could be figures of speech, excusable errors, or slips of the tongue. But together, they form a pattern, a "bare-faced, whopping lie" akin to the one that Le Carré ascribed to the Soviets.
So what to make of this newly reconfigured Russian-American nexus? At least two tentative conclusions could be drawn.
First, we must recognise that with its firm democratic and individualistic traditions, America may be immune to many of Russia's ills. Yet it must also be acknowledged that given Trump's determined destruction of this country's legal and political norms, it seems complacent and dangerous to give him the benefit of the doubt, as many educated Americans seem to be willing to do. If only, because there is a reason to fear that if all things fail for Trump, he might try boost his popularity by rallying the nation around a war – just like Putin did when his approval ratings began to sink after the oil prices started to fall.
Second, we should ask: could Trump's retreat from longstanding American exceptionalism vis-a-vis Russia mean that the Americans and the Russians who support their homegrown strongmen no longer really inhabit those antipodes that we continue to imagine?
The answer is that they do not, in many ways. True ideological or economic differences no longer divide the two societies as much as they used to. Quite the opposite, many Russians and Americans hold decades-long common grudges against democracy and capitalism that betrayed them.
In Russia, former communist elites and criminal gangs robbed the society of its capital, savings and social safety net, leaving the weak to fend for themselves in the new "free-market" ecosystem. In the US, scores fell victim to decades of economic deregulation, Wall-Street recklessness, gung-ho globalisation, fundamentally anti-democratic pay-to-play practices such as lobbying or political campaign funding, all justified by an overarching faith in trickle-down economics, the magically mobilising power of "incentives", the utterly rational movements of the invisible hand, as well as the exceptional resilience and entrepreneurial instincts of the rugged American individual.
The Russian authorities use the law arbitrarily to sustain the country's bandit capitalism, corruption and social inequality. In America, neoliberal economic principles have enabled special interest and legislators to enshrine selfishness and inequality in law. It is the resulting hopelessness here and there that, in big part, shapes the political choices of so many Americans and Russians. Which also is why the Russian word "Putin" translates so easily as US-English "Trump."
It hardly matters that neither Putin nor Trump are fighters for the downtrodden; all that matters is that the masses see them as their best bet. Donald Trump the president is but a symptom of a larger American malady; empowered by popular desperation, he feels emboldened to court and copy Vladimir Putin at will.
Let's, then, pose a question that Russians have often asked in troubled times: What is to be done? We must certainly push back forcefully against Trump's rapprochement with Russia on Putin's undemocratic terms. We need to resist vigorously his attempts to redefine America around practices and values historically embraced by this country's authoritarian anti-hero, the Soviet Union. But as we struggle against Trumpism, we should also try to understand something else, namely: why do millions of Americans feel so at ease with this president's blurring of the lines between formerly opposing sets of values, identities and ideals?
The reason may be that the American and Russian societies, inhabiting the same capitalist space, share similar social and economic structural problems. In short, Trump's effort to do away with US exceptionalism may be rooted in the fact that on a deeper level, America simply is no longer as exceptional as it used to be.
Patryk Babiracki is an Associate Professor in Russian and East European history at the University of Texas at Arlington and editor of the University of Edinburgh-based journal Cultural History. He earned his PhD at the Johns Hopkins University in 2008. His book, Soviet Soft Power in Poland: Culture and the Making of Stalin’s New Empire, 1943-1957 was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015. He also co-edited two collections of essays devoted to transnational history of socialism, and authored several articles on the subject. Babiracki's work has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Program, IREX, SSRC, Mellon and Volkswagen Foundations, and by residential fellowships from the Kennan Institute in Washington, DC, CEU Institute for Advanced Studies in Budapest and the IWM in Vienna. Most recently, he won the Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers to be undertaken at the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies in 2017-18.
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Authoritative Putin Think Tank Could Not Choose Between Clinton And Trump

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to chair a meeting of the Pobeda (Victory) Organising Committee at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 20, 2017. The meeting focuses on developing humanitarian cooperation at government and public level with other countries in order to promote objective information on Russias history and present, including its role in the victory over Nazism. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A Reuter’s exclusive cites seven anonymous “informed sources” with access to the confidential reports of the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). Reuters claims that these reports “provided the framework and rationale” for the Kremlin’s “intensive effort …. to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system.” My own reading of RISS's published reports (in Russian) finds that RISS’s experts were ambiguous on which candidate to favor, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that “Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference [my italics] for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton,”
Putin’s spokesman denied the Reuters claims during a regular press briefing and cautioned that “seven anonymous sources are not worth one real one.”
RISS is indeed an authoritative Russian think tank, headed by top security veterans and staffed by qualified senior researchers. RISS maintains an active working paper and publication series and has its own TV interview network. RISS’s evaluation of candidates Clinton and Trump could therefore provide a glimpse into Putin’s own thinking.
I do not have the confidential RISS documents leaked to Reuters, but I do have RISS’s published reports (in Russian) leading up to the U.S. election (September 2015June 2016October 2016, and October 2016) written by senior specialists on U.S. politics. These reports are consistent in their content and tone and would be unlikely to diverge from any classified or confidential report it issued to the Kremlin.
The report of Senior Researcher, Sergei Mikhailov, entitled “The Presidential Race in the U.S. and Its Implications for U.S.-Russian Relations,” dated September 16, 2016, sheds most light on RISS’s thinking on the U.S. election. At the time, the campaign was more than a month old, and Clinton had a solid lead, with one and a half months to go.
Mikhailov opines that Russian-American relations would have taken a back seat in the campaign if Trump had not bucked the two-party establishment consensus that Russia’s reemergence was the reverse side of the coin to America’s declining influence. In the 2016 race, Clinton, with her animus towards Russia, represented the liberal interventionist wing of her party and could attract Neocons from the other side. As President, Clinton would attempt to restrain Russia in its immediate neighborhood (Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic States), while seeking opportunities for cooperation elsewhere (Middle East). This approach would bear little fruit, per Mikhailov. If such opportunities had existed, they would have been exploited by President Obama. With limited economic ties with Russia and a reluctance to directly challenge the Kremlin militarily, Clinton’s ability to “press” Russia would be restricted to sanctions, which have already been pushed to their limits in Europe. So goes the RISS evaluation of a Clinton presidency.
Turning to Trump, the RISS report welcomes Trump’s wish for better relations with Russia based on mutual self-interest and appreciates his lack of attention to the Ukraine crisis. However, “it is necessary to note that Trump’s intentions are not wholly positive with respect to Russian interests.” His declarations about rearming the U.S. military, modernizing U.S. nuclear potential, and creating an anti-missile system could provoke an arms race and disrupt existing strategic agreements. (Note that RISS is focusing only on political issues and not Trump’s expansive energy policies that would hurt Russia in its pocketbook).
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Ivanka Trump is engineering Steve Bannon's White House downfall: report - Raw Story

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Raw Story

Ivanka Trump is engineering Steve Bannon's White House downfall: report
Raw Story
“Ms. Trump has never been close to Mr. Bannon, although she appreciated the ferocity of his work. She puts him in the category of colorful, rough-hewed characters her father collects, with the likes of Roger Stone, a longtime Trump operative,” the ...

and more »

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of a family-driven West Wing - MyAJC

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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of a family-driven West Wing
Ivanka Trump has never been close to Bannon, although she appreciated the ferocity of his work. She puts him in the category of colorful, rough-hewed characters her father collects, with the likes of Roger Stone, a longtime Trump operative. In recent ...

and more »

'There's Nothing Yet': Kremlin...

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'There's Nothing Yet': Kremlin Spokesman on Rumored Putin-Trump Summit in May

Sputnik International - ‎2 hours ago‎
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman denied on Wednesday reports a meeting between the Russian leader and his US counterpart Donald Trump could take place in late May. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adjusts his sunglasses as he ...

At 100 days, Donald Trump's no Russian puppet or fascist

Chicago Tribune - ‎10 hours ago‎
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, during the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Days of Remembrance ceremony. (Carolyn Kaster / AP). Eli LakeBloomberg View.

Donald Trump's Russian riddle

Yahoo News - ‎15 hours ago‎
After last fall's presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials received intriguing reports about Russian officials talking to each other about the surprise election of Donald Trump. The conversations were piecemeal and ambiguous but to some ...

Message to Vlad: British Tabloids Go Wild as UK Sends Destroyer to Russian Shore

Sputnik International - ‎10 hours ago‎
The UK's tabloid press was unable to contain its excitement in covering the news that a Royal Navy destroyer had entered the Black Sea for exercises with the Romanian Navy. London, the papers said, was sending a special message to Moscow and to ...
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'There's Nothing Yet': Kremlin Spokesman on Rumored Putin-Trump Summit in May - Sputnik International

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Sputnik International

'There's Nothing Yet': Kremlin Spokesman on Rumored Putin-Trump Summit in May
Sputnik International
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman denied on Wednesday reports a meeting between the Russian leader and his US counterpart Donald Trump could take place in late May. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adjusts his sunglasses as he ...
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Vladimir Putin, world's most powerful leader | OpinionSun Sentinel
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Page 4

Boris Epshteyn - Google Search

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Story image for Boris Epshteyn from Variety

Trump Spokesman Boris Epshteyn Joins Sinclair Broadcast Group ...

Variety-Apr 17, 2017
Boris Epshteyn, a Trump campaign spokesman whose brief stint in the White House ended last month, has joined Sinclair Broadcast Group as ...
Sinclair Broadcast Group Deepens Its Trump Administration Ties ...
Media Matters for America (blog)-Apr 17, 2017

Report: Boris Epshteyn was running Russian counterintelligence op within Trump White House 

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One month ago Boris Epshteyn quietly resigned from a high ranking position in Donald Trump’s White House, at the end of a week which had seen Congressman Devin Nunes trying to alert Trump that someone from the transition team had been caught on surveillance. It’s led to a number of questions about why Epshteyn suddenly bolted. Now comes a report that asserts Epshteyn was caught running a Russian counterintelligence operation within the White House.
The intel community source belongs to Claude Taylor, a veteran of the Bill Clinton administration. The assertion is that Boris Epshteyn had been requesting raw data from the National Security Council in order to carry out a mole hunt on behalf of Russian counterintelligence (link), meaning an agency such as the FSB or GRU. If this proves correct, it would tie together a number of lingering questions about Epshteyn’s role in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga.
For instance it’s widely suspected, though never confirmed, that Boris Epshteyn is the infamous “Source E” in former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s Trump-Russia dossier (link). Much of the dossier itself has been confirmed since first leaked out. Source E is alleged to have set up Donald Trump with Russian prostitutes for the purpose of allowing the Kremlin to blackmail him, which in turn would mean that Source E was a Russian agent all along.
Epshteyn never had a clearly defined role in the Donald Trump campaign, leading to the question of why he was really there. He was regularly used as a campaign surrogate on television, despite being so ill suited at it that other pundits would make fun of his ineptness to his face. He listed himself as a “Senior Adviser” to the Trump campaign on his own social media pages, despite seemingly not being in charge of anything. And he was one of the very few public faces of the Trump campaign who went on to also become a member of the transition team and a member of the Trump White House team.
Earlier this month, other intel sources asserted that Epshteyn had been caught on surveillance discussing a plan to court Russian election collusion, along with Paul Manafort and Carter Page (link). There is also the fact that Epshteyn went off the grid for three key days in August which saw the Trump campaign allegedly wrapped up in everything from secret meetings to Russian hackers (link). And as was pointed out by reporter DeAnn Smith today (link), Epshteyn quit the White House just one day after FBI Director James Comey had visited the White House. This in turn was just a few days after the Devin Nunes meltdown about surveillance on a transition team that Epshteyn had been on.
The essential question is whether or not Boris Epshteyn, who was born in the Soviet Union, has been a Russian counterintelligence agent all along. Is there publicly available proof of this? Absolutely not. But there is more than enough circumstantial evidence, combined with a growing list of assertions from various sources, to merit asking the question of whether or not Boris is Russian FSB. We’ll keep digging. Contribute to Palmer Report
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The Resistance, Wednesday April 26th: here’s who to call today and how to protest Donald Trump 

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Since Donald Trump took office, he’s delivered none of the things he’s promised he’d accomplish in his first hundred days. That’s because you, The Resistance, have been actively pushing back against him every step of the way. In order to make it easier to coordinate these efforts, Palmer Report advises you on which politicians to call each day, along with upcoming protest marches and events. Here’s your homework for today, Wednesday April 26th:
The House Oversight Committee finally sprung into action on Donald Trump’s Russia scandal yesterday (link), and the actions of chairman Jason Chaffetz must be scrutinized closely. But for today we’re going to continue to focus our phone dialing skills on the leaders of two other congressional committees.
Multiple reports over the weekend asserted that Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is refusing to sign off on documents that would allow the committee’s bipartisan Trump-Russia investigation to go forward. So let’s all call his Senate office at (202) 224-3154 and firmly but politely let his staffers know that you want Trump-Russia thoroughly investigated. And yes, his office has to take your calls whether you live in his state or not. Members of the Senate and House indirectly represent all Americans.
Now that the scandalous Devin Nunes has stepped away from his own House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Trump-Russia, the leading Republican in that probe is Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas. He hasn’t yet shown his hand one way or the other, but let’s all call him today at (202) 225-3605 and politely remind his staff that America is watching to see whether he’s going to play it straight or try to pull a Nunes.
In terms of real world protests, there is a march this evening in Cleveland to save the Affordable Care Act; you can find more details here. And this Saturday the People’s Climate March is taking place in numerous cities; you can find the details of Washington DC march here.

Senate Intel Chairman Richard Burr has financial investment in Russia-tied oil drilling company 

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Over the past few days various reports have surfaced asserting that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr is sabotaging his own committee’s investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal by refusing to sign off on vital documents. It’s led some to ask if Burr is strategically trying to protect Trump and/or Russia. Now comes the revelation that Burr has an investment in an oil drilling company that partners with a major Russian oil company.
This was discovered by political pundit Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump. He’s posted documents drawing a line between National Oilwell Varco Inc. and Russian oil giant Rosneft (link). The size of Senator Richard Burr’s investment looks to be just over $20,000, whereas his overall net worth is estimated at more than two million dollars (link), meaning it’s a small fraction of his overall fortune. But it turns out Burr has far more lucrative indirect financial ties to Kremlin.
Dworkin points out that Burr was the beneficiary of $8.1 million in campaign money that came from a Mitch McConnell Super PAC, which in turn took millions of dollars in donations from a pro-Putin Ukrainian (link). So his $20,000 direct investment appears to be just a starting point for Burr’s far larger indirect financial ties to Kremlin, which could be in the millions, depending on how that PAC money was divided up.
Considering that Richard Burr is now acting in a suspicious manner, refusing to sign documents that would allow the investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal to proceed, his monetary ties to Russia must be considered as at least a possible motivation. And in light of how Burr’s House Intelligence Committee counterpart Devin Nunes tried to sabotage his own committee’s Trump-Russia investigation so blatantly that he ended up having to recuse himself, Burr’s behavior here must be watched just as closely. Contribute to Palmer Report

Trump and the CIA - Foreign Affairs (subscription)

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Foreign Affairs (subscription)

Trump and the CIA
Foreign Affairs (subscription)
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell even went on record to say that “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin had recruited Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” Throughout the presidential transition, and during the early days of his ...

Trump's Lawyer Threatens Legal Action Against BuzzFeed Over Published Dossier - Sputnik International

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Sputnik International

Trump's Lawyer Threatens Legal Action Against BuzzFeed Over Published Dossier
Sputnik International
Last month, former advisor to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former acting CIA Director Michael Morell asserted that he does not believe that Trump colluded with Russia, and that the dossier is bogus. "Unless you know the sources ...

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Page 5

Pressure builds for Michael Flynn to testify without immunity - CBS News

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CBS News

Pressure builds for Michael Flynn to testify without immunity
CBS News
WASHINGTON -- Pressure continues to mount on former national security adviser Michael Flynnto testify before Congress about possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia even without protection from prosecution, CBS News ...

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It's Not 'McCarthyism' to Demand Answers on Trump, Russia and the Election -

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It's Not 'McCarthyism' to Demand Answers on Trump, Russia and the Election
President Donald Trump waves as he walks toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, January 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images). This post originally appeared at The Nation. I was a small child in the early ...

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Senate investigation into Russia scandal faces GOP resistance - MSNBC

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Senate investigation into Russia scandal faces GOP resistance
Nearly a month ago, the top two officials on the Senate Intelligence Committee held a press conference to discuss their probe of the Russia scandal, and one could almost hear the sigh of relief from the political world. Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C ...

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Senate Republican in charge of the Trump-Russia probe is ruthlessly obstructing his own investigation - Shareblue Media

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Shareblue Media

Senate Republican in charge of the Trump-Russia probe is ruthlessly obstructing his own investigation
Shareblue Media
Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is ostensibly leading the intelligence committee's investigation into Donald Trump's possible collusion with Russia, but he has thus far failed to subpoena any documents or witnesses or even bother to ...

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Report: The Senate's investigation into Trump's Russia ties has descended into a 'standoff' - Business Insider

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Business Insider

Report: The Senate's investigation into Trump's Russia ties has descended into a 'standoff'
Business Insider
Richard Burr Mark Warner Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, right, and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner. AP Photo/Susan Walsh. The Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and ...

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GOP senator hits back at criticism of Russia probe - The Hill (blog)

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The Hill (blog)

GOP senator hits back at criticism of Russia probe
The Hill (blog)
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) is defending the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the White House race amid allegations of dysfunction among the panel. "Reports about #Russia probe are wrong. Don't confuse silence ...

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Page 6

Three months in, this Senate Intelligence Committee investigation sounds like it's falling apart -

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Three months in, this Senate Intelligence Committee investigation sounds like it's falling apart
No interviews. Not a single subpoena. No scheduled public hearings. No interviews. No records from the Trump campaign and a chairman who won't sign any letters requesting them. Not a single full-time staffer dedicated to the probe. For something that Sen.

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Huge majority of Americans demand an independent commission to investigate Trump–Russia connections - Daily Kos

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Daily Kos

Huge majority of Americans demand an independent commission to investigate Trump–Russia connections
Daily Kos
When it comes to investigating the Trump-Russia connection, the House Intelligence Committee has been successfully driven into the weeds by Devin Nunes. The Senate Intelligence Committee has been slowed to a stop by Richard Burr. While an ...

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Senate Russia investigation to add 2 more staffers after pace criticized - CNN

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Senate Russia investigation to add 2 more staffers after pace criticized
(CNN) The Senate Intelligence Committee is hiring two new staffers for its investigation into Russian interference in the US election, the top Democrat on the Senate Russia investigation told CNN on Monday. The additional staffers -- including one ...

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Senate Intel Dem has 'serious concerns' on Russia probe - The Hill

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The Hill

Senate Intel Dem has 'serious concerns' on Russia probe
The Hill
A Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he has “serious concerns” about how his panel is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "For weeks I've called for the committee to move more quickly and more ...

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Senate Russia investigation to add 2 more staffers after pace criticized - 4029tv

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Senate Russia investigation to add 2 more staffers after pace criticized
The Senate Intelligence Committee is hiring two new staffers for its investigation into Russian interference in the US election, the top Democrat on the Senate Russia investigation told CNN on Monday. Advertisement. The additional staffers -- including ...

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Is Senate's Trump-Russia probe going anywhere? This panel member is doubtful - News & Observer

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Is Senate's Trump-Russia probe going anywhere? This panel member is doubtful
News & Observer
A prominent member of the Senate panel that's investigating Russia's meddling in the U.S. election and possible links to the campaign of President Donald Trump is expressing “serious concerns” about the probe's speed, transparency and direction.

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Page 7

Senate Democrats Have Serious Concerns About Trump-Russia Probe - Daily Beast

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Daily Beast

Senate Democrats Have Serious Concerns About Trump-Russia Probe
Daily Beast
The Senate Intelligence Committee has not conducted any interviews with figures in President Trump's orbit, or begun looking into possible Trump-Russia ties. Tim Mak. 04.24.17 5:15 PM ET. Spurred by a Daily Beast report pointing out the deficiencies of ...

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Senate Gives Limited Resources to Russia Election-Meddling Probe - U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report

Senate Gives Limited Resources to Russia Election-Meddling Probe
U.S. News & World Report
FILE PHOTO -- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), accompanied by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), vice chairman of the committee, speaks at a news conference to discuss their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 ...

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Massive US Bomb Death Toll Rises to 94: Afghan Official - NBC 7 San Diego

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NBC 7 San Diego

Massive US Bomb Death Toll Rises to 94: Afghan Official
NBC 7 San Diego
The Department of Defense released a video of its GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon it has ever used in combat, strike a target in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13, 2017. ISIS forces were believed to be in tunnels ...

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All in the Family: Trump's Potent Mix of Blood, Business - NECN

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All in the Family: Trump's Potent Mix of Blood, Business
Did you tune in to Barack Obama's first public talk since being out of office? Yes; No. Privacy policy · NEWSLETTERS. Receive the latest politics updates in your inbox. Email. Privacy policy | More Newsletters. UP NEXT. X. Poll: Majority of Americans ...

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Do Trump's Murky Financial Ties to Russia Connect to Money ... - Mother Jones

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Mother Jones

Do Trump's Murky Financial Ties to Russia Connect to Money ...
Mother Jones
Federal investigators continue to dig into Russia's cyberattack on the US election and the Trump administration's possible involvement—but as bad as that ...

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Donald Trump's Russian riddle - Yahoo News

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Yahoo News

Donald Trump's Russian riddle
Yahoo News
The story of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion by associates of Trump, has produced a series of revelations that have dominated the headlines and cable television coverage of the Trump White House. .... As Yahoo News first ...

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Page 8

Trump's 'huge tax cut for the rich' would slash taxes for businesses and wealthy


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