Russia Monitor

Russia Monitor: From Natural Disaster To National Disaster

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/18/7) Dear Fellow Readers, Irma missed Miami but slammed the Keys. The neighbors were happy but it’s hard to feel good about any of it. Miami is mostly back to normal though a few houses in this part of Miami are still without power. No air conditioning reminded me of the ‘good ole days’ – I’m not really sure what that is or was, but we didn’t have air conditioning then either. As I get ready to head from Miami back to the real world I’ll offer a quick update and stick with…

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Russia Monitor: Enough Threads To Knit A Straight Jacket

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/13/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Irma is headed to the west coast of Florida and not Miami, my prayers go out to everyone in the Keys and on the west coast. Miami may have dodged another bullet or at least a direct hit. Today (Sunday) is the big day for South Florida so we’ll see. There have always been multiple threads to Trump-Russia. Donnie Jr. and Facebook bring more validation to the main three:  Trump-Russia collusion;  Trump obstruction of justice; and Trump-Russian manipulation of the election. On Thursday Donnie Jr. sat for five hours…


Russia Monitor: All Kinds Of Hurricanes Headed Toward National Disaster Trump

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/7/17) Dear Fellow Readers, From Miami and waiting for Hurricane Irma. Speaking of Irma – which I believe to be real in spite of international meteorological expert Rush Limbaugh’s assurances to the otherwise – is just one of a whole freight train of record breaking storms heading Trump’s way. Hurricane Irma Just Slammed Into Trump’s Caribbean Estate — And Is Headed Toward His Florida Properties I take no pleasure in this but Trump’s property on St. Martin may have taken quite a hit. And Mar-A-Lago, his resort in West Palm Beach, is currently on target…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Russia Problem Goes From Drip, Drip To Deluge

  By Dan Peak The Daily Call (9/4/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia; there are a range of opinions and possible outcomes. Last edition I showed the Slate Trump Impeach-O-Meter and it shows ‘chances’ increasing from 60-62%. The Gallup daily Job Approval poll showing Trump favorability/un-favorability is running at all time lows (34-35% favorability) and consistent highs (holding at 60% un-favorability). Polls in general for Trump are trending slowly and consistently against him. For perspective or reinforcement look no further than The Washington Post. The Bad News About ‘this Russia thing’ Keeps Pouring In For Trump This stands as a pretty…


Russia Monitor: Watch Him Do A Con Man’s Waltz With A Stone In His Shoe

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/31/17) Dear Fellow Readers, If you were going to write a spy thriller, what would be a good setting, how might you create tension, what are the ‘tricks of the trade’ for such a book? Let’s start with plausibility, you can stretch a reader’s imagination, but not launch so far past credulity that readers won’t bite. Trump-Russia: Putin and Russia stealing the U.S. election, that might be a bridge too far? Then again, The Manchurian Candidate didn’t lose us. A few years ago we might have viewed The Americans (FX Networks) as an…


Russia Monitor: That Investigator Case Wall Is Filling Up Fast!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Our prayers for the people of Houston and east Texas, the flooding is horrific. It was only two weeks ago we were saddened by the death of Heather Heyer and the violence in Charlottesville. Each news cycle feels like an assault. Trump-Russia was more in the news this week. The two main threads were the reports on Trump’s ongoing efforts to ‘call off the dogs’ of investigation into his Russia ties and the Trump Dossier is back in the news. Before I jump in, if you are reading this…


Russia Montior: Will Mueller Investigation Eclipse Trump Sooner Or Later?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/24/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is like a total eclipse regularly elbowing aside all other news as all media is drawn like moths to his billowing fires. Trump rallies the faithful in Arizona and spins on and on about neo-Nazis, threatens shutting down government, rants about fake news, a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and on and on … and on. Meanwhile, Special Counsel Mueller continues quietly doing his work undistracted. Trump Resignation Game-Ender? That said, Keith Olbermann, on Tuesday’s The Resistance, gets credit for pulling together important clues behind more obscure headlines to come to an…


Russia Monitor: This Will Not End Quietly

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/21/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Charlottesville, Boston, New York, Bannon’s resignation, business and arts councils ended – Trump should not be our president. Some have predicted he will resign, including “Art of the Deal” author Tony Schwartz. That would be great, the sooner the better. Even though his legislative agenda is compromised his administration continues to do damage daily across many fronts. Personally, I don’t think he will go quietly – his nature is to double-down and attack; he is doing all of that and will do more, much more. Michael Moore predicted Trump as…


WDRT Interview: ‘Commoner Call’ Editor Mark Taylor & Contributing Columnist Dan Peak Talk Politics & Current Events

WDRT (7/22/17) The Commoner Call editor and web site’s “Russia Monitor” columnist Dan Peak have a wide-ranging conversation about a variety of political and current events topics on the appropriately named “Conversations” WDRT 91.9 weekly broadcast. WDRT is a local community based and supported alternative radio station, and located on Main Street in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Link to 59-Minute Audio  


Russia Monitor: The Explosive Magnitsky Testimony You Probably Missed

      By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/7/17) It’s predictable and, to a certain extent, understandable that congressional republicans and diehard Trump fans dismiss the growing Russia investigation as some kind of Clinton-excusing witch hunt. Despite an ever growing, constantly evolving list of witnesses, secret meetings, Trump/Russia business ties and embarrassing ‘coincidences’, the Trumpsters wave it all away as simply democratic party sour grapes. Partisanship is a kind opaque blinkered view of reality that, to a certain extent – even if morally wrong – is understandable. What is not understandable is the number of lefties I have…


Russia Monitor: A Never-Ending Blizzard Of Syllables & New Russiagate Leads

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/31/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Initially, Russiagate, was hard to write about. Who is Sergei Magnitsky, or Yury Chaika? Who the heck is Natalia Veselnitskaya – or as Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says, Natalia “Agent XYZ” after struggling to pronounce her name at the beginning of the Thursday Senate judiciary committee meeting. More importantly, who cares? It was hard to connect dots with such broad territory, timing and blizzard of syllables. I knew enough to know that ‘adoptions of Russian orphans’ was synonymous with the Magnitsky Act, which are sanctions against Russia. I knew the sanctions…


Russia Monitor: We Gotta’ Do Two Things Well At The Same Time

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/27/17) Dear Fellow Readers, First, a note on a domestic issue that affects everyone of us: Health Care – Urgent and Important.  Time to make calls… President Donald Trump: (202) 456-1111 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: (202) 224-2541 Speaker Paul Ryan: (202) 225-3031 Senator Ron Johnson: (202) 224-5323 Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 Governor Scott Walker: (608) 266-1212 ***** Russiagate updates Russia put forward a great effort to influence our election. There are so MANY ties between the Russians, their influence and the Trump administration and new ones keep spilling out daily. The topic is BROAD and DEEP. Health care…


Russia Monitor: Pardon Me, Mr. Mueller … Please!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, I will let Donald Trump conduct his own news roundup to start this edition; here’s one of his tweets from Saturday morning: Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS 6:35 AM – 22 Jul 2017 When Trump tweets or comments on such things he is often foretelling things to come. It’s always an indication of his focus, often described as a distraction from all…


Russia Monitor: Turns Out What Was Fake Wasn’t The News But All The Trump Denials

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/20/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Adam Schiff (D-CA) and senior Dem member of the House Intelligence committee summarizes the Trump-Russia history this way: Evolution of a Defense: No meetings w/ Russians Yes, meetings No collusion We tried to It’s not illegal Everybody does it I didn’t know. And that’s where we are. Trump and Donald Jr. denials no longer sell so well. I will offer a bit of breaking news then let the headlines tell the story and paint the picture of where we now stand with Trump-Russia. F.B.I. Nominee Answers Questions on Donald…


Russia Monitor: Rip Tides & Hidden Currents Challenge Corporate America’s Role In Russia

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/17/17) Dear Readers, With all the news, rumors and jack-in-the-box surprises regarding the multiple Russian roles and characters popping up in the Trump White House one can’t help but wonder about the role and relationships of American corporations moving into the growing Russian market. It’s an issue Forbes Magazine recently explored in a provocatively titled story American Companies Thriving In Russia: Is There Something To Be Ashamed About? “Ever since the Democratic National Committee decided to turn their disdain for Bernie Sanders into disdain for Russians and Donald Trump, the New York billionaire…


Russia Monitor: The End Of The Beginning

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/13/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill  The week’s very big news, starting on Saturday and continuing through Monday, was a series of articles released by the New York Times that can be summarized by this headline: Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said The dialog of Trump-Russia has changed from ‘no meetings with Russians’ to ‘nothing illegal’ and per White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “There…


Russia Monitor: Oh, The Tangled Webs & Trip Wires Of Trumplandia

  *****   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/6/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Someone following the Trump Russia story closely commented on how it took a few days to fully digest implications of the Wall Street Journal articles on Peter W. Smith’s efforts to build a team to find the missing Clinton emails and his ties to Michael Flynn. Peter W. Smith Linked to Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis If you want a quick review, check out The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians by Matt Tait, CEO and founder of UK-based Capital Alpha Security, for an excellent first-person view…


Russia Monitor: Now He’s Colluding With Fox News?!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call. (7/3/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Why did Fox News start a week ago with their ‘collusion is not a crime’ slant? Maybe Trump’s vicious and unhinged Tweets are meant to keep all eyes on him while hoping for new news to change the narrative. If you can ignore carnival sideshow of Trump’s tantrums there is real news that deserves our attention. COLLUSION: Trump Campaign Colludes With The Russians? Two articles by Shane Harris of The Wall Street Journal this past week on the issue of collusion have grabbed a lot of attention. The Wall Street Journal…


Russia Monitor: Let The Country Burn Or Put Out The Fire?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The health care legislative process in the Senate has mostly pushed Trump Russia collusion off the front page – rightfully so and more resistance is required as ‘it will be back’. Important Versus Urgent: Is That A Real Choice? One comment I see in the media is that Russian involvement in our election doesn’t deserve the attention it gets and it pushes other important issues out of the limelight. This is wrong given the potential seriousness of the issue – up to and including had we ‘known’ we might we…


Russia Monitor: Beyond Anyone’s Expectation – The Political Crime Of The Century

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/26/17) Dear Fellow Readers, The Political Crime Of The Century The Russians hacked the election, Valdimir Putin directed the effort and the intent was to help Donald Trump and damage Hillary Clinton. As reported previously, the intrusion worked beyond anyone’s expectations – most likey even Putin’s. I start with this because on Friday the Washington Post released a lengthy description of what transpired between August 2016 and January of 2017. There are two important narratives of this story: 1) the Obama administration was ineffectual in both stopping the interference and in retaliation for…


The Russian Montior: Where Will The High Flying’, Flippin’, Flapjack Flynn Land?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/22/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Flynn Flips, Flippin’ Flynn, Flynn The Flipper, Flynn Flips On Trump, Flynn Tries Not to Lock Himself Up, Flynn Belly Flop, Flippin’ Lyin’ Flynn Cuts Deal – Gets To Keep Gonads (purportedly) I believe this to be the biggest story of the last few days. I appreciate Charles Pierce and his column for Esquire. Pierce references this report from CNN saying Senators Warner (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Blumenthal (D-CT) ‘signal’ that Flynn is cooperating with investigations. Pierce says: “Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut—have come…


The Russia Monitor: Emperor Nero Had His Violin. Trump Has Twitter … And On He Plays

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/19/17) Dear Fellow Readers, If Donald Trump is guilty of nothing, he will create his own scenario to be found guilty. Trump is fighting Washington and the media and losing. He fights the way he’s always fought and that is now working against him. He is his own enemy. Is Trump guilty of colluding with the Russians? Is the Trump campaign guilty of colluding with the Russians? I don’t know; maybe not. Maybe Kushner’s alleged quid pro quo with Gorkov was simply to save his shaky investment in his 666 5th Avenue property. Maybe Manafort’s…


Russia Monitor: As True Patrons Of The Arts, Republicans Gave Russian Hackers An Assist

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/14/17) Dear Fellow Reader, Patrons Of The Arts – Russians Get Republican Assist Over at Esquire, Charlie Pearce reports the news that Illinois is described as ‘Patient Zero’ with investigators able to watch hackers at work. President Barack Obama and the Department of Homeland Security tried to declare state election systems part of national infrastructure but this was shot down by Congressional Republicans and resisted by some states leaving the electoral system more exposed to the whims and wiles of Russian hackers. (This article is well worth reading in full.) Russian top boss-of-bosses…


Russia Monitor: Many, Many More Doors To Be Investigated

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Thursday, June 8, 2017 former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence committee. Here is an excellent New York Times Page One summary of his remarks. Trump Tried To Sink Inquiry, Comey Says “‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’ ‘I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I thought it really important to document.’ ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes.’ ‘I mean, the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this’ – I took it…


Russia Monitor: Here It Is Folks – The Trump Era

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/8/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “This Is The Trump Era”… And THAT Attitude Will Be His Undoing “This is the Trump Era”, so says Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard  Sessions III. Sessions is complicit with Trump in flouting and politicizing the law. Trump sees himself as above the law, the courts are at his command as he demonizes any sources of information that don’t fit his desired outcome and the next shiny object that commands his limited focus. What better example than his firing of then FBI Director James Comey. But he has overplayed his hand…


Russia Monitor: The Story Is Much Bigger & Broader Than Tampering With The Election

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/5/17) Dear Fellow Reader, I am 100% confident that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Russia tried to influence the outcome of the election and the connections run deeper and are far broader than the election as an isolated event. As with any significant moment in history, this election is an intersection of many different forces that have coalesced around this event but the full story is both broader and more significant. And I trust the story will come out. This week offered three key moments that add up to and underscore this…


Russia Monitor: Go To The Mattresses, You Flaming Turds!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, BREAKING NEWS May 31, 2017: Comey Will Testify – Trump Pressured To End Russia Investigation Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and will confirm that Trump pressured him to end his investigation into Trump associate ties to Russia. Comey will not testify about any details regarding Trump campaign collusion with Russia. MORE Persons Of Interest: Trump Personal Lawyer and Boris Epshteyn The growing list of persons of interest includes Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Caputo, Roger Stone, Carter Page, Jared Kushner…


Russia Monitor: Jared & Donald

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Jared Kushner Had Undisclosed Contacts With Russian Envoy So what you say? We’ve been hearing news about previously undisclosed contacts between Kushner and others for some days now; why lead with this? The Washington Post broke a story on Friday talking about a secret back channel for communication with Putin, again, so what? National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster assures us that governments do this all the time and, heck, isn’t this all about fighting terrorism? I encourage you to read the article, much of this sounds like old news –…


Russia Monitor: Ex-CIA Chief Confirms The Election Was Clearly Under Attack By Russian Hackers

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, OUR ELECTION WAS UNDER RUSSIAN ATTACK: John Brennan, Former CIA Director: Suspicious Contacts Between Russians and Trump Campaign John Brennan was the CIA Chief for the final four years of the Obama administration. “As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday. “In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American…


Russia Monitor: Which Side Are You On?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/22/17) Dear Fellow Readers, First, quick review of the most significant news stories from the last few days before allowing for reflection. Russia Probe Reaches Current White House Official; Probe Expected To Accelerate In Coming Weeks Most significant was the story published by the Washington Post on 5/19/17 saying: “The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the…


Russia Monitor: Trump Loses In Trump vs Trump Matchup

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/18/17) Dear Fellow Readers, President Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. I have not witnessed a more one-sided political night short of election results in my lifetime. Look at the front page of the NY Times or the Washington Post – you may never see any developing this laid out this starkly again. Remember Wednesday, May 17, 2017 … A devastating night for Trump, everyone in or near the White House and the GOP. What rises from the ashes – because that is the discussion we will now all be having – is unknown….


The Russia Monitor: Many More Shoes To Drop From This Centipede

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/15/17) Dear Fellow Readers, John McCain said this week, “…the Russian/election story is a centipede and (to) expect another shoe to drop every few days”. As Colin Jost said on Saturday Night Live Weekend Update, “Well, I know most of us think this every week, but this week was crazy.” It’s the clarity of the presentation and it’s well done. Trump fired FBI Director Comey and we know it took him only a matter of hours to undo the rationale cooked up for him by his Justice Department, most notably the memo put…


The Russia Monitor: Now We Know… This Is What A White House Cover-Up Looks Like

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/11/17) What does a cover-up look like? A Cover-Up Looks Like a Tuesday Night Massacre. A Cover-Up Looks Just Like This… This just in (Tuesday evening), a headline from the Financial Times: US President Donald Trump has fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a White House official. “The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued by the White House press office….


The Russia Monitor: Could Sally Yates’ Testimony Today Be A Breakthrough?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/8/17) Dear Fellow Readers, FBI Director James Comey testified last Thursday [5/4] before the House Intelligence Committee and as expected, there were no fireworks. Comey is not going to offer breaking news in such a forum, we’ll only ever know what the FBI has learned should they bring charges. The hearing on Thursday was more for enthusiasts, much of the discussion revolved around whether Comey’s 2016 announcements of Clinton and Trump investigations were handled fairly and without political advantage – deliberate or not. Today’s A Big Day Today former Acting Attorney General Sally…


The Russian Monitor – Things Are About To Get Interesting

  By DanPeak The Commoner Call (5/4/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough!” – Richard Nixon’s 1974 State of the Union Address. And one week later the US House of Representatives authorized the Judiciary Committee to investigate impeachment charges against Nixon. Over at MSNBC Rachel Maddow predicts, “Things Are About to Get Really Interesting.”  By the time you are reading this we may have more to chew on. As I type FBI Director James Comey is speaking…


The Russia Monitor: The Time Of The Lying Liars

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Here’s where we find ourselves. “In the ‘Golden Age of Lying’; Now is the Time to be a Liar. Hasan Minhaj offered the above statement as part of his remarks at the 2017 White House Correspondent’s Dinner this past weekend. He also offered that people trust Trump, they don’t trust the media. The fact is, as Politico points out in What the Press Still Doesn’t Get About Trump, the media does not understand Trump or how to deal with him. I’ll wheel us back within the guardrails of focus…


The Russian Monitor: Sure Looks, Smells And Seems To Be Unfolding As A Cover-up

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/27/17) Dear Fellow Readers, As the news becomes more confusing by the day, the actual story line becomes clearer. Whatever the veracity of the allegations we are now experiencing Keith Obermann says one thing is becoming clear, It Sure Looks Like a Russian Cover-Up. As Olbermann points out, Nixon was forced to resign because of the cover-up, not the Watergate break-in. Olbermann cites Carl Bernstein of Watergate investigation fame to note, “the cover-up itself might be impeachable”. With a circle of people firing guns into the center of the circle, someone is going to…


The Russia Monitor: Finding The Way Through The Forest, The Trees To Treason?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/24/17) Dear Fellow Readers, With a free-ranging flurry of news items the past few days, it’s a good time to reconcile forest and trees. The first link I’ll use is Trump And Russia, The Never-Ending Story, from The Economist and the single best round-up I’ve seen to date even, though it’s a few weeks old. Whispers of treason is the forest; Sean Spicer and GOP distortions are the trees. Trump has spent his first 100 days with a daily run through the china shop smashing as much as possible to distract. Every day…


The Russian Monitor: From Tame To … WOWSER!!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/20/17) Dear Fellow Reader, There are two points I’d like to share. I’ll start with the tame; it’s simple and not so controversial. I’ll save the fireworks for the second point. We begin with Sunday in The New York Times, Mike Conaway Emerges From Relative Obscurity To Lead House Russia Inquiry David Nunes stepped down as co-chair of the House Intelligence investigation into election influence by Russia. You might remember Nunes running circles around Washington DC to receive and deliver and report on classified information that might benefit President Trump. His replacement is Mike…


The Russia Monitor: No I Didn’t … Um, Yes I Did!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/17/17) Dear Fellow Readers, I want to start with two quotes from Paul Manafort. Now remember, Paul Manafort was Donald Trump’s campaign manger at the time the initial story of secret payments from the Ukrainian government to Manafort broke in August 2016. To be fair, the first quote is from Richard Hibey, Manafort’s lawyer, “(Mr. Manafort had not received) any such cash payments”. That quote comes from a New York Times article “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief”, one of a series for which the New York Times…