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WSJ.com: World News: Gulf Allies Draw U.S. Into Mideast Rift

Americas closest Gulf allies have entangled the Trump administration in a longstanding rift in the Mideast as a group of Saudi-led nations pursues a realignment that risks further destabilizing the region and complicating the fight against Islamic State.

WSJ.com: World News

 

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WSJ.com: World News: The New Cold War Pits a U.S. General Against His Longtime Russian Nemesis
mueller – Google News: Robert Mueller is expanding the Russia probe. Here’s how – PBS NewsHour
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WSJ.com: World News: The New Cold War Pits a U.S. General Against His Longtime Russian Nemesis

President Trumps national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has battled wits for years with Putin ally Gen. Valery Gerasimov, in a contest of American force and resolve against Russian cunning and diversion.

WSJ.com: World News

mueller – Google News: Robert Mueller is expanding the Russia probe. Here’s how – PBS NewsHour


PBS NewsHour
Robert Mueller is expanding the Russia probe. Here’s how
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mueller – Google News: Special Counsel Mueller Is Reportedly Investigating Kushner’s Financial Dealings With Russia – Slate Magazine (blog)


Slate Magazine (blog)
Special Counsel Mueller Is Reportedly Investigating Kushner’s Financial Dealings With Russia
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The Washington Post reported Thursday that Jared Kushner, in particular Kushner’s financial dealings, are under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The president’s son-in-law is one of Trump’s closest advisers and met with Russian …

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mueller – Google News: Why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner’s Finances? – The Atlantic


The Atlantic
Why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner’s Finances?
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mueller – Google News: Special counsel Mueller reportedly probing finances, business deals of Trump aide Jared Kushner – CNBC


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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining the finances and business deals of White House aide and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Washington Post reported, citing officials familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office declined to comment and warned …
Washington Post: Mueller

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Washington (CNN) The business dealings of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and trusted aide Jared Kushner are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, The the Washington Post reported Thursday, citing officials familiar …
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mueller – Google News: Mueller faces ‘unique hurdles’ if he wants to press obstruction case against Trump – Washington Times


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Mueller faces ‘unique hurdles’ if he wants to press obstruction case against Trump
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Special counsel Robert Mueller could have a tough time making an obstruction of justice case stick against President Trump, according to legal analysts, who said he will have to overcome a number of unique hurdles not the least of which is a …
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Federal Bureau of Investigation: Mueller, Known for Being Above the Fray, Is Now in the Thick of It

His appointment as special counsel has thrown him into a political brawl, especially since his early hires include several prosecutors who have donated to Democrats.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Andrew McCabe – Google News: Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls for more testimony from Comey, Sessions – Washington Examiner


Washington Examiner
Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls for more testimony from Comey, Sessions
Washington Examiner
Among other “steps” she recommended the Senate Judiciary Committee take is hearing from the individuals Comey said he had spoken to about his interactions with President Trump; those individuals include FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and four …
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mueller – Google News: Stephen Colbert Reacts to Robert Mueller Bombshell: ‘This Is a Huge Moment’ – Daily Beast


Daily Beast
Stephen Colbert Reacts to Robert Mueller Bombshell: ‘This Is a Huge Moment’
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“But who knows who Trump really fired Comey?” Colbert asked, before playing the clip of the president saying on television that it was because of the Russia investigation. “Mueller is not kidding around here!” Colbert said. “To find out what happened

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mueller – Google News: Trump allies on the offensive against Mueller – The Hill


The Hill
Trump allies on the offensive against Mueller
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President Trump’s legal team and political allies have launched a preemptive strike against special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s backers are furious about a story that appeared Wednesday in the Washington Post, in which five anonymous sources …
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Andrew McCabe – Google News: Trump Faces Yet Another Senate Probe as Judiciary Panel Gears Up – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
Trump Faces Yet Another Senate Probe as Judiciary Panel Gears Up
Bloomberg
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fbi – Google News: Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers – CNN


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Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers
CNN
The Post reported that the interviews represent a widening of the probe to include looking into whether the President obstructed justice in suggesting to his former FBI Director James Comey that Comey drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s

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mueller – Google News: Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers – CNN


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Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers
CNN
Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, according to a source, who said they have also sought information from recently
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mueller – Google News: The Daily 202: Prospect of Trump firing Mueller keeps becoming more untenable – Washington Post


Washington Post
The Daily 202: Prospect of Trump firing Mueller keeps becoming more untenable
Washington Post
THE BIG IDEA: If Donald Trump thought he could intimidate Bob Mueller, he thought wrong. A person who spoke with Trump on Tuesday told the New York Times that the president was pleased by the intentional ambiguity of his position on firing Robert S.
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mueller – Google News: A Source Familiar with White House Thinking: ‘Mueller Is Moving Quickly’ – National Review


National Review
A Source Familiar with White House Thinking: ‘Mueller Is Moving Quickly’
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This person said that the news from earlier this week about Mueller’s investigation now turning to obstruction of justice is not necessary terrible news. The Washington Post reported that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence

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fbi – Google News: Trump Confirms FBI Probe, Blames ‘Witch Hunt’ on ‘Man Who Told Me To Fire’ Comey – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Trump Confirms FBI Probe, Blames ‘Witch Hunt’ on ‘Man Who Told Me To Fire’ Comey
NBCNews.com
President Donald Trump appeared to confirm in a tweet on Friday that he is under investigation for firing former FBI Director James Comey and blamed what he called a “Witch Hunt” on “the man who told me to fire” Comey a possible reference to the
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Andrew McCabe – Google News: Judicial Watch seeking documents ‘unlawfully removed’ by Comey – Fox News


Fox News
Judicial Watch seeking documents ‘unlawfully removed’ by Comey
Fox News
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch is calling on Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to recover and release federal records and memos it claims were unlawfully removed by former Director James Comey, threatening the FBI with a lawsuit should the …

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Andrew McCabe – Google News

mueller – Google News: Did this tweet suggest Trump could fire Rosenstein to oust Mueller? – MarketWatch


MarketWatch
Did this tweet suggest Trump could fire Rosenstein to oust Mueller?
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President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to suggest a path toward getting rid of special counsel Robert Mueller by first ousting the man who put Mueller there, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Published reports have indicated thatMueller is …

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fbi – Google News: Trump decides to ‘go on the attack’ over FBI probe – Politico


Politico
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I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt, Trump tweeted on Friday, apparently referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel
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mueller – Google News: Ken Starr warns Trump against firing Mueller – CNN International


CNN International
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mueller – Google News: OPINION: If Rod Rosenstein recuses himself, Robert Mueller may be next – The Hill (blog)


The Hill (blog)
OPINION: If Rod Rosenstein recuses himself, Robert Mueller may be next
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A news report today sent Washington into another spasm when it appeared that ABC and other news outlets reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein confirmed that he might have to recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russian …

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mueller – Google News: Feinstein says she’s increasingly concerned Trump will try to fire Mueller, Rosenstein – Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times
Feinstein says she’s increasingly concerned Trump will try to fire Mueller, Rosenstein
Los Angeles Times
Trump was likely referring to Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein, and to a Washington Post story Wednesday that Robert S.Mueller III, the special counsel leading the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is looking at whether

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fbi aclu report – Google News: Today’s Headlines and Commentary – Lawfare (blog)


Washington Post
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fbi aclu report – Google News

Andrew McCabe – Google News: Pro-Trump media push conspiracy theory that acting FBI director is a ringleader in plot to take down Trump – Media Matters for America (blog)


Media Matters for America (blog)
Pro-Trump media push conspiracy theory that acting FBI director is a ringleader in plot to take down Trump
Media Matters for America (blog)
An alt-right-affiliated outlet and fake news purveyors are pushing a highly dubious conspiracy theory from a fringe blog that acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is a ringleader in a plot against President Donald Trump. Big League Politics, a fringe

Andrew McCabe – Google News

 

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Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers
CNN
Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, according to a source, who said they have also sought information from recently
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The New Cold War Pits a U.S. General Against His Longtime Russian Nemesis | Lux Libertas

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 By Nathan Hodge in Moscow and

A quarter-century after the Cold War ended, U.S. and Russian tank formations are once again squaring off.

This spring, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization moved armored forces to the Russian border, where they are conducting daily drills from Poland to Estonia. Less than 100 miles away, Moscow’s forces are preparing for large-scale maneuvers in the autumn, a demonstration of the country’s revitalized might, including new equipment and improved tactics meant to keep the West guessing in the event of a clash.

Facing off behind these front lines and shaping each side’s grand strategy are two of this generation’s most influential officers in Washington and Moscow: U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

The two men’s lives have evolved in parallel. Both began their careers as junior armor officers at the height of the Cold War. Both were tested in irregular warfare against separatists and militant groups. Both have coped with the rise of disruptive battlefield technologies including drones, precision bombs and sophisticated new forms of propaganda.

 H.R. McMaster and Valery Gerasimov have never met, but the careers of the two generals have moved in parallel since the Cold War. PHOTOS: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS; METZEL MIKHAIL/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

They haven’t ever met. But each—like Patton and Rommell or John Le Carré’s fictional Smiley and Karla—has made a career of studying his opponent’s moves.

Their dynamic sheds light on the evolving military competition between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers at a time of rising diplomatic tension. Moscow has narrowed a yawning gap in the quality of its conventional forces, but the U.S. remains far more powerful in that category. It is this imbalance that has shaped the strategic thinking of the two generals. It’s American force and resolve against Russian cunning and diversion.

Gen. McMaster, now President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has emphasized that America’s true strength lies not in shadowy commando raids or pinprick drone strikes, but in well-equipped land, air and naval forces working together to clearly demonstrate overwhelming superiority.

Military officers who know Gen. McMaster said they believe he will help shape the Trump administration strategy and influence the Pentagon’s spending. Already the administration, which has been critical of allied defense budgets, has proposed a 40% increase in U.S. military spending in Europe, money that will pay for additional forces—from Army helicopters to Navy sub-hunters—to deploy there.

Gen. McMaster was a hero of the first Gulf War’s most important tank battle. He later honed his reputation in Iraq, implementing one of the first counterinsurgency campaigns in the city of Tal Afar, which later became a model for the 2007 troop surge. More recently Gen. McMaster has overseen two critical Army initiatives to prepare America for wars of the future and counter Russia’s military advances.

Gen. Gerasimov, by contrast, has always looked for American weaknesses and how Russian prowess can overcome American power. The chief of Russia’s General Staff, he has been the most articulate proponent of Russia’s emerging vision of conflict, something Western observers dub “hybrid warfare.” In conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, he has pioneered new approaches to hybrid war by combining traditional military weaponry with powerful nonlethal tools such as cyberwarfare, fake news and elaborate deception.

Gen. McMaster, shown at a meeting in Belgium with President Donald Trump, and Gen. Gerasimov, here preparing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, are both known as deep military thinkers. PHOTOS: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS; BOBYLEV SERGEI/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

Both men obtained outsize reputations as military thinkers, lauded for their studies of the other side’s strategy and tactics. Each was assigned by his military to predict the contours of future conflict. Perhaps more than anyone else on either side, the two men have delineated the strategy now playing out in Europe.

Gen. McMaster, who declined to speak for this article, in essence rejected prevailing wisdom that viewed the Taliban’s toppling in Afghanistan by U.S. special-operation forces as the future of warfare. Instead he focused on the Cold War, when conflict was avoided by ensuring adversaries understood America’s conventional might. That means honing force-on-force war-fighting skills that had been neglected at the Army’s main training ranges.

“This is one officer who has done his homework over the years,” said retired Army Gen. B.B Bell, a former senior military commander in Europe and Korea. “H.R. spent the last couple years pointing the path forward for the Army to put it on a strong path to relearn the capacities it must have to defend the nation.”

Gen. McMaster is the author of a secret study compiling lessons of Russia’s strategies in Ukraine. The work, according to officials, drew on front-line reports by Ukrainian troops and U.S. officers, analyzing how Moscow used advanced jamming techniques, electronic surveillance and drones to make its artillery more lethal than ever. Army officials say the research is continuing and the report remains classified.

He has also influenced a generation of officers—including those serving on NATO front lines in the Baltics—with a talk on what he dubbed “Four Fallacies.” The lecture argues that technology alone cannot deliver quick, clean military victories; commando raids don’t amount to a military strategy; proxy forces aren’t enough to win a conflict; and deterring war by demonstrating the presence, strength and capability to defeat an enemy is vital.

His idea underpins NATO strategy in Europe: the move to eastern and central Europe of four battle groups led by the U.S. and its allies, plus America’s deployment of a 3,500-soldier heavy brigade.

NATO’s maneuvers are also a response to the Russian gambit devised by Gen. Gerasimov, who has overseen Russian military modernization and its innovative use of its armed forces in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Line of Tension

AS NATO BUILDS UP ITS MILITARY FORCE IN POLAND IN THE BALTIC STATES, RUSSIA IS BOLSTERING ITS STRENGTH NEARBY. BOTH SIDES, AND NATO PARTNER SWEDEN, ARE PLANNING MILITARY DRILLS THIS SUMMER AND FALL.

The Russian general’s most influential article—an often-quoted but little-understood 2013 essay in a military journal—reflects close study of U.S. regime-change operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and argues Russia must master similar methods.

Those ideas have been implemented in the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and are now seen as textbook examples of Russian hybrid warfare. While the Russian strategy was designed specifically to beat Ukraine’s army, American officers studying the fight see Russian techniques that would also undermine U.S. military advantages, such as control of the skies and superior surveillance through drones and satellites.

Equally worrying for the U.S. and its allies is Russia’s mastery of what the Russians call “information war.” The genius of Gen. Gerasimov, according to NATO and U.S. officials, is that he has paired the technological advances in military hardware with new strategies of disinformation. His insight was that Moscow could practice deception operations not just on a battlefield but on a global scale.

Writing last year in a leading Russian defense journal, Gen. Gerasimov extolled the virtues of nonmilitary means to defeat or contain an adversary. “Indirect and asymmetric actions…allow you to deprive the opposing side of de facto sovereignty without seizing any territory,” he wrote in a review of the lessons learned from the Russian military’s combat role in Syria.

U.S. and other Western strategists scrutinize Gen. Gerasimov’s writings. “The important point is that while the West considers these nonmilitary measures as ways of avoiding war, Russia considers these measures as war,” wrote Charles Bartles, an analyst at the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Gen. Gerasimov, a 62-year-old native of Kazan, Russia, had a conventional military background. He trained at the Kazan Higher Tank Command school during the Cold War and rose through the ranks as an armor commander. For a time he was stationed in Eastern Europe, preparing for the clash of armor and infantry that both the Soviet and U.S. militaries long saw as a real possibility.

Gen. McMaster’s first overseas post was also to Europe, in the final years of the Cold War. In 1989 he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the same unit that recently sent a battle group to a NATO force to Poland.

As commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in 2005, then-Col. H.R. McMaster gave first aid to an Iraqi soldier injured when he entered a booby trapped house in Tal Afar, Iraq.PHOTO: JACOB SILBERBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The careers of Gens. Gerasimov and McMaster both took dramatic turns in 1991. Gen. McMaster’s first brush with fame was in the Gulf War, and he took part in the Battle of 73 Easting, the decisive tank clash that helped quickly win the war. In the battle, then-Capt. McMaster’s company destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks in 23 minutes with no American casualties. Gulf War victory was a fillip for the U.S. military, showing its prowess against the forces of Saddam Hussein and shaking off humiliation that had lingered after the disastrous end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

For Gen. Gerasimov, 1991 was also life-changing. The U.S.S.R. collapsed and Moscow lost its global superpower status almost overnight.

Russia’s first post-Soviet decade was tumultuous. Russian troops found themselves fighting separatist insurgents during a brutal conflict in Russia’s predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya. Then military leaders such as Gen. Gerasimov watched as revolutions swept through former Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine from 2000 to 2004, further eroding Russian power in what it viewed as its rightful sphere of influence. Those upheavals, along with the social media-driven popular revolts of the Arab Spring, informed his concepts of hybrid warfare, according to military analysts.

An early test of those ideas came in 2008 during Russia’s brief conflict with Georgia, which provided an opportunity for experimentation in cyberwarfare. Before combat started, the Georgian government faced a concerted campaign to hack and disable websites, which it blamed on Moscow. Russia denies involvement in any hacking.

That experience presaged what analysts say is Russia’s relentless focus on information operations, which range from planting fake news stories to directly interfering in the elections in the U.S. and Europe through cyberattacks. Russia denies such meddling.

Mark Galeotti, senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations, a foreign-policy think tank in Prague, said Gen. Gerasimov saw the tools of hacking and disinformation as a way for Russia’s military to set the conditions on the conventional battlefield, sowing chaos behind the lines before the shooting started.

“The West doesn’t get that what Gerasimov has described—hybrid war—is how you prepare the ground before you send in the men with guns,” he said.

Moscow’s conventional military has closed the gap in quality in recent years. The Russian special operations and airborne units have proven themselves adept at a range of operations—from working with proxy forces to actual combat. Russian cruise missiles, used during the Syrian war primarily to demonstrate Moscow’s might, have earned the wary respect of American military planners. The latest Russian tanks, allied officials say, are likely more powerful and survivable than anything the West can field.

Gen. Gerasimov’s approach now emerges wherever the Russian military deploys, either overtly or covertly.

“Their drones work around the clock,” said Col. Vyacheslav Vlasenko, a Ukrainian battalion commander deployed recently in the country’s east, referring to forces opposing him. “They correct their artillery fire. They also started using precision weapons.”

Col. Vlasenko said the Russians have brought a formidable array of electronic-warfare systems to the battlefield that disrupt communication and command-and-control equipment. The new advances, U.S. military officers believe, could obviate American military superiority.

Gen. McMaster and other U.S. military officers have studied Ukraine closely, including sending officials on low-profile trips to the front lines to watch the Gerasimov strategy in action.

After starting as junior armor officers during the Cold War, the two adversaries have risen far: Gen. McMaster is U.S. national security adviser and Gen. Gerasimov is chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces and first deputy defense minister. PHOTOS: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS; BOBYLEV SERGEI/TASS/ZUMA PRESS

“What we learned from Ukraine is the importance of Russian [drones], Russian electronic warfare, precision fires, all those things together,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the top U.S. Army commander in Europe. “Unlike the last 15 years, we have to worry about what is above us.”

Like Gen. Gerasimov, Gen. McMaster burnished his reputation through his writing. His 1997 book, “Dereliction of Duty,” focused on the failure of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security establishment to prevent strategic errors of the Vietnam War. The book, originally his Ph.D. dissertation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, remains required reading at America’s war colleges.

In his role at the national security council, has also asserted his influence, driving forth proposals to strike government targets in Syria after the Assad regime used chemical weapons and pushing for a troop buildup in Afghanistan.

U.S. allies now also implement Gen. McMaster’s approach. In Lituania, Germany leads a 1,022-soldier battle group. Last month they were reinforced by a company of American tanks, all blanketed in freshly cut evergreen boughs for camouflage. The real mission of their drills to hide from enemy forces was in fact the opposite: to be seen.

In Vilseck, Germany, Col. Patrick Ellis, the commander of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, recently gathered soldiers from his unit who were going to form the heart of NATO’s Battle Group Poland around a huge map of Eastern Europe, showing the alliance’s border with Russia—the land his troops were to defend.

Col. Ellis had heard Gen. McMaster’s Four Fallacies talk twice. The lesson Col. Ellis drew is that successful deterrence requires that the U.S. military demonstrate it is powerful enough to win a war.

“Your enemy has to believe you have the means to do what you absolutely say you are going to do,” Col. Ellis said after his talk to the troops. “You train to that and you demonstrate that by conducting these exercises.”

<a href=”https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-cold-war-pits-a-u-s-general-against-his-longtime-russian-nemesis-1497623852″ rel=”nofollow”>https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-cold-war-pits-a-u-s-general-against-his-longtime-russian-nemesis-1497623852</a>

Special counsel is investigating Jared Kushners business dealings

mikenova shared this story .

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, as part of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Carter Page, who was listed as a foreign-policy adviser for the campaign.

The Washington Post previously reported that investigators were scrutinizing meetings that Kushner held with Russians in December — first with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and then with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian development bank. At the time of that report, it was not clear that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s business dealings.

The officials who described the financial focus of the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

At the December meeting with Kislyak, Kushner suggested establishing a secure communications linebetween Trump officials and the Kremlin at a Russian diplomatic facility, according to U.S. officials who reviewed intelligence reports describing Kislyak’s account.

What Jared Kushner still owns

The White House has said that the subsequent meeting with the banker was a pre-inauguration diplomatic encounter, unrelated to business matters. The Russian bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been the subject of U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, has said the session was held for business reasons because of Kushner’s role as head of his family’s real estate company. The meeting occurred as Kushner’s company was seeking financing for its troubled $1.8 billion purchase of an office building on Fifth Avenue in New York, and it could raise questions about whether Kushner’s personal financial interests were colliding with his impending role as a public official.

Mueller’s investigation is in a relatively early phase, and it is unclear whether criminal charges will be brought when it is complete.

“We do not know what this report refers to,” Jamie Gorelick, an attorney for Kushner, said in an email. “It would be standard practice for the Special Counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to ­Russia. Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about ­Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Kushner has agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Kushner rarely speaks publicly about his role in the White House, but he has become a major figure in the administration with a sprawling list of policy responsibilities that includes Canada and Mexico, China, and peace in the Middle East.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment for this article but said that “the Special Counsel’s Office has undertaken stringent controls to prohibit unauthorized disclosures and will deal severely with any member who engages in this conduct.”

[Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice]

Untangling the web of Jared Kushner

What you need to know about Jared Kushner’s ties to Russia. What you need to know about Jared Kushner’s ties to Russia. (Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

(Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on May 17, is investigating possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters. The inquiry has expanded to include an examination of whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice, The Post reported Wednesday.

Trump on Thursday tweeted that the investigation was “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history — led by some very bad and conflicted people!”

Trump compared his position with the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in another tweet.

“Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, ‘bleached’ emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared — & they talk about obstruction?” he wrote.

After Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump said that Comey had told him three times that he was not under investigation. Comey confirmed that in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. The first time he told Trump was in his first meeting with the then-president-elect before the inauguration, on Jan. 6.

Before he met with Trump, Comey gathered his leadership team at the FBI to discuss whether he should be prepared to assure the president-elect that the FBI was not investigating him personally.

Comey testified that not everyone on his team agreed he should. Comey did not name the dissenter, but The Post has learned it was FBI general counsel James A. Baker. Comey testified that the member of his leadership team said that although it was true at the moment that Trump was not under investigation, it was possible that could change.

“His concern was, because we’re looking at the potential — again, that’s the subject of the investigation — coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was President Trump — President-elect Trump’s campaign, this person’s view was, inevitably, his behavior, his conduct will fall within the scope of that work,” Comey said.

“And so he was reluctant to make the statement that I made,” Comey said.

Baker’s views did not change, even as Comey told Trump a second and third time that he was not being investigated.

“His view was still that it . . . could be misleading, because the nature of the investigation was such that it might well touch — obviously, it would touch the campaign, and the person at the head of the campaign would be the candidate. And so that was his view throughout,” Comey said.

Baker declined to comment.

In the days following Trump’s firing of Comey on May 9 and before Mueller’s appointment, the obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began, according to people familiar with the matter.

Discussing the firing of Comey, Trump said in an interview with NBC, “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’”

Comey took notes after each of his nine meetings or phone calls with Trump, including one alone with the president in the Oval Office on Feb. 14, the day after Flynn was forced to resign. Comey testified that Trump said to him, “I hope you can let this go.” The president has denied that he told Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

Comey told lawmakers he gave his notes to Mueller.

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Two senior intelligence officials, Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller as early as this week.

Trump spoke to Coats and Rogers about the Russia investigation, according to officials. Coats told associates that Trump asked him whether he could intervene with Comey to get the FBI to back off its focus on Flynn, the officials said. Coats later told lawmakers he did not feel pressured to intervene.

Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence]

Trump later telephoned Coats and Rogers to separately ask them to issue public statements denying that there was evidence of coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the president’s requests, officials said.

Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

Pences balancing act as Trumps No. 2 shows signs of strain amid WH turmoil

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Vice President Pence turned 58 on the same day that two senior intelligence officials fielded questions before a Senate committee about the FBI’s ongoing Russia probe — and one day before fired FBI Director James B. Comey appeared before the same committee to discuss why he believed President Trump had acted inappropriately.

The back-to-back rounds of testimony were merely the latest signs of a presidency in the grip of tumult. But flying down to Houston that morning for an astronaut event, Pence didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

His staff had decorated the middle cabin of Air Force Two with a festive tableau of balloons and streamers, and greeted him with a warbling rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

“What are you all doing?” the vice president asked with a smile, opening his arms wide and taking in the scene with a combination of faux-surprise and subdued delight. “This is out of control.”

Donald Trump’s administration did seem to be spiraling out of control, but Pence was — literally and figuratively — 1,400 miles away from the maelstrom in Washington, projecting his de facto stance of serene confidence or willful oblivion, depending on one’s perspective.

3 times Pence’s statements have been discredited

From the Michael Flynn scandal to James Comey’s firing, Vice President Pence has repeatedly had his official statements defending the Trump administration contradicted – sometimes by the president himself. From the 2016 presidential campaign to Comey’s firing, here are three instances when Trump contradicted Pence. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

(Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Such is life for Pence, who has earned his boss’s support and confidence one laudatory and skim-milk utterance at a time. On Monday, when the president held his first full Cabinet meeting, Pence set the tone by describing working for Trump as “the greatest privilege of my life” — setting off an avalanche of obsequiousness as the remaining officials took turns lavishing praise on their leader.

But Pence’s political balance-beam routine is showing signs of strain, according to a portrait of the vice president culled from interviews with 17 aides, advisers, friends, allies and Republican operatives. The vice president himself declined requests for an interview.

[Pence hires outside counsel to deal with Russia probe inquiries]

As the Russia investigation continues to expand, for example, Pence took steps this week to protect himself, hiring former U.S. attorney and Virginia attorney general Richard Cullen as his own outside legal counsel, just as Trump has retained attorney Marc Kasowitz.

The vice president’s advisers are also discussing bringing on an additional aide to help with strategy — likely either Nick Ayers, a senior strategist to Pence who is chairman of the vice president’s newly launched super PAC; Marc Short, who currently heads up legislative affairs in the White House; or Marty Obst, the former manager of Pence’s Indiana gubernatorial campaign who is executive director of the super PAC.

The moves seemed aimed, in part, at returning the vice president to his most comfortable role — supporting and defending the president — while also helping to insulate him from the turmoil that has enveloped the White House. Some believe that the vice president is being ill-served by the chronic chaos inside the West Wing and could benefit from a more forceful advocate on his staff.

“It’s tough to be Donald Trump’s vice president, because Trump says flamboyant things and then if you’re the vice president, you have to go on TV and defend things that are hard to defend,” said Stephen Moore, an economist for the Heritage Foundation who served as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. “He does it incredibly skillfully.”

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, look over their pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, as they speak during a May 9 event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month in Washington. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

But one senior White House official cautioned against the “toxic brew of a vice president who’s happy to be the No. 2.”

“One of his greatest strengths is that he never says no — but it’s important that he not be a ‘yes’ man,” this official added, speaking anonymously to offer a more candid assessment.

[Karen Pence is the vice president’s ‘prayer warrior,’ gut check and shield]

Pence suffered two high-profile embarrassments that have served to define his role in the administration’s early months: First, when he was misled about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russians, and again last month when Trump publicly contradicted him about the reasons for firing Comey.

One Pence loyalist described himself as at his “wits’ end,” adding, “There are some organizational gaps.”

One senior White House adviser said Pence was exasperated with the West Wing communications shop, which sent him out with a half-baked talking point to explain Comey’s ouster. But Pence’s office argues that Trump never undermined Pence with his public comments suggesting he fired Comey over the Russia probe; the president, the Pence team said, was simply adding more context to his decision and that it is not the vice president’s place to explain Trump’s decision-making process.

“The vice president stands by his comments and enjoys a great working relationship with all departments within the White House,” said Jarrod Agen, a Pence spokesman.

Although Trump and Pence enjoy a warm personal relationship, Pence allies say he faces two stark challenges. First, in a West Wing filled with competing factions vying for supremacy, the best interests of the vice president sometimes get lost. Perhaps more importantly, they say, Pence is simply too loyal and willing to parrot the White House message, even at his own potential peril.

One former Pence adviser described the vice president’s role within the White House as more of a “super senior staffer” than an empowered executive. Pence, who has an office in both the West Wing and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, is often seen floating in the hallways that connect to the Oval Office, not unlike other staffers. Another former aide mentioned Pence’s almost “military-style orientation toward authority.”

Faced with the revelation that Flynn had misled him over contacts with Russians, for instance, Pence had to be urged by staff to forcefully voice his frustrations with Flynn to the president, according to two people with knowledge of the incident.

And while aides said Pence does give Trump his honest and unvarnished counsel in one-on-one meetings, some Pence allies privately wish he would be bolder in asserting his opinions in the group debates the president enjoys.

The flip-side, of course, is that by publicly keeping his opinions close, the vice president — who, for instance, urged the president to withdraw from the Paris climate accord but did not crow about his victory — has not only engendered good will with Trump, but also managed to often steer clear of the sniping and power struggles that plague the administration.

“Pence has found a way to execute the balance between having enormous influence and being an honest broker, which is a hard thing to pull off,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

[Shadow president or mere shadow? Pence seeks to reassure allies unnerved by Trump]

The vice president — who routinely tamps down talk of a future “President Pence” — raised suspicions among Trump loyalists when he launched his super PAC, “Great America Committee” in mid-May, just a week after Trump fired Comey and during a moment of particular political danger for the president. Though the group had been long-planned and approved at the highest levels of the White House — the outside group can, for instance, help pay for travel expenses related to campaigning — the timing was inauspicious.

Some in the West Wing wondered if the vice president was trying to position him at the expense of Trump, and Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of the president, took to Twitter. “No Vice President in modern history had their own PAC less than 6 months into the President’s first term,” Stone wrote. “Hmmmm.”  

Pence’s super PAC team had originally planned a bigger rollout, which they quickly scrapped, and both Ayers and Obst stressed to Trump aides that the group had been in the works for several months and was intended solely to help the vice president push the administration’s agenda across the country.

“People can’t have it both ways,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, in defending Pence. “They can’t say he’s loyal to a fault and then also say he’s somehow competing with the president.” 

This summer, Pence will ramp up his fundraising efforts for various Republican Party committees and will begin helping individual GOP candidates campaign and fundraise during the August recess and into the fall. He is expected to campaign with Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee for governor in Virginia.

He will also focus on outreach to various conservative groups, and in August is planning a four-country trip to South America to focus on trade and security issues.

Trump initially chose Pence, in part, because he looked like a vice president out of central casting — a sort of generically handsome politician, with a close-cropped helmet of white hair and a compact physique that seemed to recall an iconic, Republican male from a bygone era.

But under Trump, Pence, who heaps plaudits on Trump and frequently refers to his “broad-shouldered leadership,” has in some ways become a parody of a deferential vice president — a servant in waiting, eager to serve his master’s whims.

One Republican operative remembers a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room, to which Pence arrived late. Though there was an open seat at the table reserved for Pence near Trump, the operative recalled, the vice president stood alongside the outskirts of the room like a staffer before waiting for a break in the conversation to take his seat.

Others say differences in background and temperament have also prevented Pence from ever becoming a true Trump confidant. The president, after all, habitually evaluates others based on their personal wealth and Pence — who joked on the campaign trail that he and Trump were separated by “a whole bunch of zeros” — can never compete with Trump’s mogul friends.

People familiar with the interactions between the two men say the president often finds ways to remind Pence who is the ultimate boss. He jokingly yet repeatedly ribs Pence for, as Indiana governor, endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) over him in the state’s primary and often teases Pence about his far smaller crowd sizes — a quip Pence himself has deployed.

[Pence remains above the fray, but is he outside the inner circle?]

One person recalled that sometimes, when Pence speaks in a meeting, the president offers him a verbal pat on the head. “Wasn’t he a great pick?” Trump will say, with the tone of a dad whose kid finally said something useful.

Joel Goldstein, a vice presidential expert and law professor at St. Louis University, noted that Pence seems to enjoy significant face time with Trump and serves as a liaison to Capitol Hill, but added that he can come off as “sort of a sycophant-in-chief.”

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“He runs a real risk in that so often his celebration of Trump is focused on how great Trump is, and not on the substance of the specific policies he’s trying to sell, and so I think that can end up making him look like he’s just sort of weak and not presidential and not dignified,” Goldstein said.

But Pence so far has accepted the rigors and challenges of his job with a serenity that some friends and aides attribute to his Christian faith.

Pence’s official portfolio includes a commission to investigate voter fraud, the National Space Council, and serving as president of the Senate. Allies say he was instrumental in helping Trump settle on Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and in a number of key Cabinet picks, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. He also helped revive the stalled House health-care legislation after it imploded on the first try.

During a frenzied day when it looked like Trump might withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Pence served as a conduit to the business community, many whom called to voice their alarm. “I hear you,” he told the worried executives. “I’ll be right back to you.”

And once Trump had decided to remain in the trade agreement, Pence again reported back, telling them matter-of-factly, “It’s been taken care of.” Pence, one Republican operative noted, never tried to claim any credit for the president’s reversal.

Donald Trump | The Guardian: Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch: inside the billionaire bromance

mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump from mikenova (185 sites).

Trump has been good business for the media mogul, but their association goes back decades and stems from one thing: These men value only power

The alliance between Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch has never been stronger. In April, the Australian-born media mogul topped the New York Times list of Trumps key advisers outside the White House, identified as someone the president speaks to on the phone every week. Last month the paper revised that upward to almost every day, although the White House denies this.

At a recent speech in New York to mark a second world war battle in which the US fought alongside Australia, Trump was welcomed on stage by the News Corp chief.

Related: Roger Ailes’ greatest legacy at Fox News? Donald Trump

Trump’s a pathological liar. Ive said that repeatedly and Ive been saying it since the 80s

Everyones focused on Russia. Fox News played a large role in Trumps election too, and theyre both under investigation

Among the gifts to Murdoch from Reagan was the elimination of the ‘fairness doctrine’, requiring balance in broadcasting

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

trump russian money – Google News: Special Counsel Mueller is now following the money. Trump should be terrified. – The Week Magazine

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The Week Magazine
Special Counsel Mueller is now following the money. Trump should be terrified.
The Week Magazine
After former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump and his allies strained hard to claim victory. As they saw it, Comey’s testimony that Trump himself wasn’t a focus of the Russia probe was a

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trump russian money – Google News

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): CNN’s YouTube Videos: Putin offers Comey political asylum

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From: CNN
Duration: 00:46

Russian President Vladimir Putin offers former FBI director James Comey political asylum in Russia if he faces any charges in the US.

CNN’s YouTube Videos

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites)

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: ‘Too Long On Your Throne’: Was Putin’s Big Phone-In Show Massively Trolled?

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Some surprisingly blunt remarks trickled in on-screen as Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual, carefully scripted marathon call-in program.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

fbi – Google News: Ex-FBI Head Comey Gave No Proof Russia Meddled in US Election: Putin – U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report
Ex-FBI Head Comey Gave No Proof Russia Meddled in US Election: Putin
U.S. News & World Report
Former FBI Director James Comey pauses as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst …
Vladimir Putin offers fired FBI director James Comey asylum in RussiaThe Independent

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fbi – Google News

Putin and Putinism – News Review: Comey, Snowden, Grandkids and Gaffes: Putin TV Gets Personal – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Comey, Snowden, Grandkids and Gaffes: Putin TV Gets Personal
Bloomberg
The Kremlin says Russians aren’t interested in Donald Trump any more, but Vladimir Putin couldn’t resist using his annual call-in TV show to poke the U.S. over a scandal that’s transfixed Washington, offering fired FBI director James Comey the same

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Putin and Putinism – News Review

putin’s face – Google News: Putin Invites Comey To Follow Snowden to Russia If Politically Persecuted – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Putin Invites Comey To Follow Snowden to Russia If Politically Persecuted
Newsweek
Regardless, Putin’s arms, at least rhetorically, are wide open as he said if Comey were to face political persecution, Russia is ready to accept him too. Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov was quick to congratulate Putin on his brilliant trolling. I
Putin Apologist Oliver Stone’s Son Works for Russian Propaganda NetworkWashington Free Beacon
Stephen Colbert and Oliver Stone spar over Vladimir PutinLos Angeles Times
Oliver Stone’s Response to Being Laughed at for Defending Putin: Blame the JewsGatestone Institute
WQOW TV News 18 –Reuters –Showtime
all 313 news articles »

putin’s face – Google News

US – Russia relations – Google News: Berlin hits back at US move to tighten sanctions on Russia – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Berlin hits back at US move to tighten sanctions on Russia
Financial Times
Proposed new US sanctions targeting Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe have sparked a war of words over EU energy security, after Germany and Austria described the threat as illegal and condemned Washington’s opposition to …

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US – Russia relations – Google News

Defense One – All Content: Iranian lasers and other dangerous games; Trump is under investigation; NSA links WannaCry to North Korea; Why feds are still installing Russian apps on PCs; and just a bit more…

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Defense One – All Content

In Homeland Security: Violence Against Members Of Congress Isnt New

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Throughout the first half of the 19th century, legislative violence was far more common. State legislatures and Congress sporadically erupted into violence.

In Homeland Security

NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Columnist: The Indigenous American Berserk Strikes Again

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Blaming one side in the political debate for the acts of individuals wont get us anywhere.

NYT > Opinion

Opinions: New Foreign Emoluments Clause lawsuits against Trump are up against history and standing

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Opinions

(47) Trump Offers Prayers For Shooting Victims – YouTube

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Published on Jun 14, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump called for unity after a shooting that injured a top House Republican leader.
Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/washington-tr…

(47) Putin Compares Comey To Snowden, Offers Asylum – YouTube

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Published on Jun 15, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin said former FBI Director James Comey’s claim that he gave his account of a conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump to a friend to leak to the media is “odd.”
Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-comey/2…

Senate Judiciary to probe political interference in FBI

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National Security: Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say

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Mueller is interviewing senior intelligence officials as Russia probe widens.

National Security

Voice of America: Multiple Victims at UPS Center Shooting in San Francisco

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A shooting Wednesday at a sprawling UPS warehouse and customer service center in San Francisco sent multiple victims to a hospital, officials said.   Brent Andrew, spokesman for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, said the hospital had received the victims, but he did not know exactly how many people or their conditions.   San Francisco police confirmed a shooting at the facility in the Potrero Hill neighborhood but didn’t release information on injuries or the shooter.   Auto shop owner Robert Kim said he heard about five to eight rapid gunshots. The next thing he knew, he said, there’s a mob of UPS drivers running down the street screaming shooter, shooter.   Uniformed UPS employees were led out in a line by officers next to a highway. They walked away calmly with emergency vehicles nearby and gathered nearby outside a restaurant.   The shooting led to a massive police response and a shelter-in-place warning for the surrounding area.   The building is on the eastern edge of San Francisco, about 2.5 miles from downtown San Francisco. Police are advising people to avoid the area.

Voice of America

NYT > Home Page: The Virginia Shooting: The Scene and Reaction

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Witnesses describe the scene of the shooting that injured Representative Steve Scalise and others Wednesday morning. President Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders made statements.

NYT > Home Page

Europe: At the London inferno: Someone is jumping!

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Children pounded on windows high above the street. Then they were gone behind a curtain of smoke.

Europe

NYT > Home Page: The London Fire: What We Know

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A blaze consumed the 24-story Grenfell Tower, killing at least six people. The cause is under investigation, but here is whats known.

NYT > Home Page

Stars and Stripes: What the Comey hearing confirmed about Washington

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It was the kind of empty spectacle Americans are used to from Washington, entertaining perhaps in a gossipy sort of way, but signifying and changing nothing.

Stars and Stripes

Trump and FBI – Google Search

Trump Denounces FBI Over Leaks, Demanding InvestigationNew York Times-4 hours agoPresident Trump on Wednesday. “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long …Trump turns his fire on the FBIThe Hill-37 minutes agoFBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump …Highly Cited-CNN-Feb 23, 2017Reince Priebus Needs to Leave Trump’s White House. Today.Featured-Esquire.com-8 hours agoTrump tweets anger at FBI while White Hou

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