Russia Monitor: A Busy, Busy Week


By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (9/28/17)

Dear Fellow Readers,

So much has happened in the last few days. It’s news, not complicated new connections so I’ll use headlines and let you decide where you’d like to know more. I’ll simply stick to the high notes, just know there is much more.

Let’s start with a milestone. Early on the question was often posed, “where’s the evidence of collusion?”. Well that’s why you investigate, you don’t investigate without suspicion, we are, on our better days, a country of laws. Complex investigations take time. Watergate took years, Whitewater took even longer.

Concrete steps are falling into place:

On Tuesday Politico reported Sen. Blumenthal: ‘99 percent sure’ Of Russia Indictments.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) was one of the first to acknowledge an indictment of former Trump campaign manger Paul Manafort was in the wings. It seemed he off-handedly mentioned it as a fait accompli though I’m not sure he meant it that way. Few can be surprised that Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn is likely to be indicted. If there are indictments they will be for money related matters and not collusion – yet. Look for money related matters with ties to Russia – to lots of Russians. First concrete steps.


Continuing with the busy news day on Tuesday, CNN reported Special Counsel Interviews With White House Staff Could Start Later This Week

There are the stories of White House staff mistrust including concerns about who might be wearing a wire. This can’t help that environment:

“As CNN previously reported, among the people Mueller has expressed interest in speaking with are former and current White House staffers whom investigators consider witnesses, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer, communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, communications adviser Josh Raffel and associate counsel James Burnham.”

Also worth noting, former White House spokesman Sean Spicer has now also “lawyered up”. Imagine the information after his habit of filling “notebook after notebook” during meetings.

The Washington Post reported Ex-Trump Adviser Stone Denies Russian Collusion To House Intelligence Panel.

I’m not sure why the headline isn’t “Stone Refuses To Answer The Important Questions”. I believe he’s earned himself a second opportunity to meet with congress.

“But Stone refused to answer questions about the intermediaries through whom he made contact with WikiLeaks, prompting committee Democrats to threaten future subpoenas if he is not more forthcoming with information.”

After all of his boasts of “what he knew” and “when he knew it” and what was going to happen next he offers remarks like this:

“But he declined to answer members’ questions about the identity of his intermediary with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, explaining that the person “is a journalist and our conversation was off the record.”

Don’t take my word for it, take Stone’s, by his own admission he has a LOT to deny. Do note, this timeline starts only a few days after Donnie Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower with the Russians to discuss ‘adoptions’. Still think everyone walked away from a meeting that was nothing about nothing?

Timeline: Roger Stone, Russia’s Guccifer 2.0 And Wikileaks

A LOT to Deny! Just one example:

“October 12, 2016: The Daily caller reports, “Stone told TheDC that the release was actually delayed by Assange. ‘I was led to believe that there would be a major release on a previous Wednesday,’ Stone said.””

This is a much better headline and more accurate in my opinion: “Roger Stone Claims He Didn’t Collude With Russia. But His Story Doesn’t Add Up.”

The most infamous Republican “dirty trickster” – who sports a huge Nixon tattoo on his back – had a very, very bad day on Capitol Hill.

Reuters goes as far as predicting Stone may have earned himself a subpoena.

If there is a God in heaven…

One LAST update on those surrounding Trump:

CNN brought us the news of The Trump White House’s Colossal Blind Spot On Private Emails.

“At least a half-dozen top Trump administration officials used private email accounts to communicate about White House business, according to the New York Times. That group includes family members / senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner as well as departed top aides including Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.”

Gosh, is there ANYTHING Trumpsters accused Hillary of that hasn’t ended up as something they’ve done themselves?

Meanwhile, Facebook stays in the news and Twitter joins them.


The New York Times has detailed The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election.

This is a great summary of the failures of both companies. This is not new news.

Facebook has been challenged with fake news for at least the last three years. In 2016 while denying the existence or importance of fake accounts and fake news they reached out to the FBI on at least two occasions proving that while it supposedly wasn’t all that important, it was important enough to go on record.


Two final items. If you aren’t familiar with Nigel Farage, former leader of the United Kingdom Ukip (UK Independence Party) and his role in the Brexit vote the humor here won’t be so clear. Farage did spend time post-Brexit in the US campaigning for Trump. If you know of Farage, you’ll really like this…

Nesrine Malik, of The Guardian, had this cheery send-off: So Long, Nigel Farage. America Deserves You

“I can see why Farage is in the US. It makes perfect sense for a man raging against the dying of the light at home. For people like Farage, who occupy that precarious territory where they are ubiquitous but don’t actually do much apart from writing the odd semi-literate column in a tabloid or website, or a brief weekly radio phone-in show, the launch of a US career is the klaxon that things might not be going too well. And if you see them on Fox News then the suspicion is confirmed.”

Farage appeared with Steve Bannon in Alabama campaigning on behalf of Senate candidate Ray Moore:

“Bannon, I get. To him, Trump has been defanged by the new Supernanny, babysitter in chief Gen John Kelly, so he’s getting his kicks by supporting as many agents of chaos as he can. But Farage? What the hell was he doing addressing an Alabama state rally to back some random senate campaign? Who do the Americans think they are getting with Farage? Do they see him as some Churchillian English gent who lives in Downton Abbey and has managed to single-handedly secure Brexit against the efforts of the entire political establishment by sheer force of personality and capital?”

If Monty Python had been political commentary they would have written articles like this. Personally I’d be happy to send Farage home and let him be the joke of the UK again where he learned his craft and art. I mean we have Roger Stone already as an example.

One of the biggest stories about Farage proved – sadly – too damn good to be true: Sorry, The Ikea Toilet Brush Named ‘Farage’ Is Fake.

It just made so much sense!


Over at The New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz had a bit that read like the best of press releases coming straight from Sarah Huckabee Sanders herself: Trump Invites Russian National Basketball Team to White House.

Gee, maybe Trump is winning in his war against the sports world after all. Unlike Oval Office meetings with Russian intel, I wonder if the US media will be allowed to be present.