Russia Monitor

Russia Monitor: Trumputin’s Fixer & Redefining ‘Normal’ In America

“And people wonder why Putin is “popular” with total control of Russian politics, civil society, and the media? One year of Trump & one cable channel and half the GOP happily attacks the FBI!” — Garry Kasparov, April 18 tweet By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/19/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Before we jump into the most important Trump-Russia news of the cycle, we’ll lead with a conclusion. It has long been clear that the simplest case to be made against Trump is criminality of his business dealings over decades. So what is the biggest Trump-Russia topic over the last few…

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Russia Monitor: From Bombings To Trump’s Booby Trap Lawyer — A Pivotal Week

  “We don’t know the precise path the next few months will take. There will be resistance and denial and counterattacks. But it seems likely that, when we look back on this week, we will see it as a turning point. We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.” — Adam Davidson writing for The New Yorker.   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/16/18) Dear Fellow Readers, It’s not possible to walk past the U.S., U.K., France strike against Syria without comment. We will look at this from a Trump-Putin perspective to stay within guardrails. Friday…


Russia Monitor: Trumputin’s Lawyer On The Griddle As Former FBI Director Comey Hits The Book Promotion Circuit

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/2/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Former MI6, head of Russia desk, author of the Steele dossier, Christopher Steele offered the case that Trump was susceptible to blackmail over his sexual exploits. For some weeks now it seems we’ve been watching confirmation, not in Moscow, but in the lead-up to the U.S. election with what we continue to learn about porn star Stormy Daniels, former Playmate Karen McDougal and the Access Hollywood “I grab her by the pussy” video. Given all the threads of Trump-Russia and the investigations of special counsel Robert Mueller this might…


Russia Monitor: Sanctions & Scotty Walker’s Campaign Financing T’rubles

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/9/18) Dear Fellow Readers, At long last, the Trump administration has finally issued serious sanctions against Russia. The sanctions cover a combination of Russian oligarchs, related companies and Russian officials. These sanctions are issued under previous censure of Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria. Congress overwhelmingly passed bipartisan sanctions meant to punish Russia for election interference in August 2017, while these latest additions are not part of that legislation, these are certainly aimed squarely at Russian influence in the 2016 election. More specifically, these latest sanctions punish many Russians directly linked to Trump and…


Inside The Decade-Long Russian Campaign To Infiltrate The NRA & Help Elect Trump

Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia played the National Rifle Association. By Tim Dickinson The  Rolling Stone (4/1/18) In November 2013, the president of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, was introduced as an honored guest at the conference of the Right to Bear Arms, a gun lobby in Moscow. “There are no peoples that are more alike than Americans and Russians,” Keene said. “We’re hunters. We’re shooters. We value the same kinds of things.” Keene underscored his friendship with Alexander Torshin, a top politician in the ruling party of Vladimir Putin; for the past three…


Russia Monitor: Trump Makes His Case For Top Billing In Worst Leadership

  Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI. The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred … Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) Tweet, 7:50 PM April 3, 2018 By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Even though the last few days has rained Trump-Putin and Trump news, Gov. Scott Walker gets top billing for his astute political assessment with his typical, cynical, overstatement of liberals as boogeymen. The above tweet was issued shortly after the election for Wisconsin Supreme Court was called in favor of Rebecca Dallet. Congratulations to all the winners…


Russia Monitor: From Chess To High Stakes Trumputin Pinochle, Investigation Grows

  “In the typical weasel words, “strategic considerations.” The truth is, if they acknowledged what Putin has done on their soil, they would have to act far more seriously then they could bring themselves to.” — Garry Kasparov (3-28-18)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/2/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The above quote was a March 28th tweet by Russian dissident and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63). He has long been an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as Trump. Kasparov had this to say about the recent Russian election while appearing on ABC ‘This Week’…


From The Fertile Soil Of Our Complacency

  “But evil does not die, just as history does not end. Like a weed, evil can be cut back but never entirely uprooted. It waits for its chance to spread through the crack of our vigilance. It can take root in the fertile soil of our complacency, or even the rocky rubble of the Berlin Wall.”  — Garry Kasparov, “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and The Enemies Of The Free World Must Be Stopped”, 2015 (p.xxii).


Russia Monitor: From Bag Money To Murder To What Putin Most Fears

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/29/18) Dear Fellow Readers, We need to get big money out of politics. Trump-Russia is fueled by Kompramat, the compromising information on Trump and associates used as blackmail by Russia. But big money has a similar influence. Let’s use Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as an example. In late February CNN held a town hall, “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action”. Rubio debated Cameron Kasky, a Parkland shooting survivor. As part of this exchange Kasky challenged Rubio to no longer accept political donations from the NRA. In response, Rubio said, “There’s money…


Russia Monitor: The Chronic Chaos Of Trumpland & Russpublicans

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/26/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Congratulations and thank you to the Parkland students and March For Our Lives. Millions across the nation marched FOR something, for positive change, and they inspired many more millions. Meanwhile, in between television appearances of former Playmate Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels the New York Times reports After Another Week of Chaos, Trump Repairs to Palm Beach. No One Knows What Comes Next. The overall atmosphere of those around Trump is described as: “Inside the West Wing, aides described an atmosphere of bewildered resignation as they grappled with the…



Book Review: ‘Russian Roulette’ Documents Decades-Long Relationship Between Trumputin & Russian Interests

  By Charles Kaiser The Guardian (3/20/18) Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion between the Russians and Donald Trump? Like Collusion, a comprehensive volume by the Guardian’s Luke Harding, this narrative by investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn leaves the reader nearly overwhelmed by evidence that Trump and Vladimir Putin have been striving to collaborate for years. It was 2013 when Trump first tweeted that he wanted to be Putin’s “best friend”. Later he told Fox Putin looked “like a great leader”. Putin’s constant goals…


Russia Monitor: The Many, Many Faces Of Trumputin-Russia Deceit Can Fill A Book

    Art by Seth L. Taylor, 2017. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, As expected, the news of the Trump campaign illegal voter data initiative has even elbowed adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal out of the way for top billing. Let’s start by acknowledging the main players in this web of data theft and federal election law violations. Keep in mind, once something blows up around Trump, anyone or anything connected becomes explained away, like former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos who pleaded guilty, now a “low-level…


Russia Monitor: From An FBI Firing To Facebook … Our Nation At Risk

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/19/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump had the Department of Justice fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe late Friday evening. McCabe had previously announced his intent to retire which would have been official on Sunday. If there were questions or alternative theories about ‘why’, Trump made his rationale clear with ranting tweets on Saturday and Sunday mornings: Trump Rails Against Mueller Investigation, Dismisses McCabe’s Notes As ‘Fake Memos’. Trump has only just started referring to special counsel Robert Mueller by name and with that, “witch hunt” Mueller gets top billing over former FBI Director James…


Depth Of Russian Politician’s Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed

  “NRA leaders still haven’t explained their close relationship with Russian officials in Putin’s orbit. Until they do, people will continue to wonder what the NRA is hiding.” By Tim Mak NPR (3/1/18) A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics, NPR has learned. Russian politician Alexander Torshin claimed his ties to the National Rifle Association provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election…


Russia Monitor: Russpublican Loyalties Do Not Include The Nation

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/15/18) Dear Fellow Readers, In the last edition of the Russia Monitor we reported on Putin’s attempt to kill a turncoat former Russian military intelligence colonel, Sergei Skripal, along with his 33-year-old daughter. This being one of more than a dozen such attacks on Russians in Britain by Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent years. Theresa May Points to Russia while Trump Says “or whoever it might be”… British Prime Minister Theresa May declared it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on Skripal that “also poisoned a British…


Russia Monitor: The Inconvenience Of Trumputin And Life In Mueller’s Barrel

Who is next in Mueller’s barrel? By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/12/18) Dear Fellow Readers, With Trump-Russia corruption news, there are sometimes the easy to understand news items like former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg’s almost six hour meeting with a grand jury convened by special counsel Robert Mueller. We previously cited Nunberg’s statement that he would ignore a subpoena to appear. “Nunberg said his testimony focused on the campaign aides surrounding the president who were mentioned in the subpoena, like White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, former White House aide Steve Bannon, former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and Carter Page, Trump’s personal attorney…


AUDIO — Christopher Steele: The Man Behind The Dossier

  By David Remnick The New Yorker Radio Hour (3/6/18) The dossier—a secret report, made public after the 2016 election, alleging various corrupt dealings between Donald Trump, his campaign, and the government of Russia—is one of the most hotly debated documents in Washington. The dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, a former British spy working on contract, went into hiding after its publication. “The Man Behind the Dossier,” Jane Mayer’s report on Steele, was just published in The New Yorker. She reports that Steele is in the “unenviable predicament” of being hated by both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin—and that he documented more evidence…


Russia Monitor: If You Have Enough Lines You Have Trumputin In A Red Square

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/8/18) Dear Fellow Readers, SO MUCH NEWS! Even staying within the Trump-Russia corruption guardrails and avoiding the distractions of a porn star suing a sitting president it would be a challenge. But to focus on Trump-Russia corruption it’s necessary to not stray into the Stormy Daniels’ suit showng Trump retaining all intellectual property including a specific provision for “certain still images and/or text messages”. It would be fine if Trump’s cult bails on him because they hear he is sad in the sack and small in the genitals. Not a victory based on facts over Trumputin…


“On Tyranny” Author Timothy Snyder Pulls The Trumputin-Russia Story Together & Explains The History Of Our Present National Crisis

With all chaos and change swirling through Washington DC and tugging back and forth with Moscow it is easy to feel lost and confused and uncertain as to just what the hell is going on. In this series of short video talks Yale historian Timothy Snyder brings sense out of chaos and knits together an understanding of the patterns and personalities redefining our world and lives. Snyder is an expert on 20th century totalitarian regimes. His 2017 book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century” is an essential owners manual for anyone living in Trump’s Amerika. You can link…


Russia Monitor: The Steady Drip, Drip, Drip Of Jarvanka’s White House Shakedowns

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, White House chaos is a constant news stream but more important, Trump-Russia corruption, is… well, corruption. Corruption even in the form of selling out our foreign policy commitments for personal financial gain and fortune. There are two layers to this story. Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has used his position in the White House to seek new sources for funding to save the Kushner family business. We’ll come back to Kushner’s abuse of his government responsibilities but an even bigger outcome of his malpractice is the stick…


Russia Monitor: Trumputin’s Clown Prince & The Useful Idiot

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/1/18) Dear Fellow Readers, In a busy news cycle, the nod for most significant story goes to head of U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency Admiral Michael Rogers. Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner made a good (bad) case for himself, but priority of risk over noise of failure wins out. Rogers’ comment are a stunning indictment of Trump’s lack of leadership: Cyber Chief Says Trump Has Given Him No New Authority To Strike At Russian Interference Threat. In a damning portrait of Trump’s abject failure and dereliction of duty. Only the…


Russia Monitor: Democratic House Intel Memo Slam Dunks GOP’s Sketchy Nunes Memo

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/26/18) Dear Fellow Readers, We’ll start by nominating four candidates for top story since the last edition of the Russia Monitor… Sen. Diane Feinstein loses the endorsement of the California state Democratic party to Kevin de Leon, a more liberal candidate. Leadership by Parkland shooting survivors knocks back the NRA and drive down Trump’s approval rating matching his lowest level (35%; CNN). Former Trump campaign deputy chair Rick Gates enters guilty plea and agrees to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee see their memo on government surveillance during…


Russia Monitor: There’s A Reason The Word Treason Makes More & More Sense For Trumptin

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Russia attacks the U.S., interfering in U.S. elections for the benefit of Trump, and this president offers no condemnation, no warnings against future attacks and offers absolutely no steps to protect us. It’s as if Trump is in bed with the Russians. This can’t be said with enough emphasis: Trump Is Ignoring The Worst Attack On America Since 9/11. This from Max Boot writing for The Washington Post: “Imagine if, after 9/11, the president had said that the World Trade Center and Pentagon could have been attacked by “China” or “lots of…


Russia Monitor: A Growing Collusion Collision And The Question Of Treason

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Some Americans need Trumputin and Russpublican corruption to be as black & white as Saturday’s Russia 4-0 shutout of the U.S. hockey team at the Olympics. Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has published the 2015/2016 year book for the Russian troll farm, at the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, we now have it in black & white. To be clear on just what happened we’ll put the events in context of Trump and associate denials to date. On Friday afternoon Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictment  of 13…


Russia Monitor: Russpublican Party Complicit In Trump-Russia Betrayal

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/15/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There is maturity to reporting on Trump-Russia corruption. With maturity comes breadth – it’s not just Trump-Russia corruption, the entire Republican party and leadership is now clearly and heavily implicated: Republican Party Leaders Conceal Russian Efforts to Undermine Government. Elliott Cohen, writing for Buzzflash at Truthout, offers that Russia is doing to the U.S. what it has done to Ukraine and other former Soviet states. “In fact, there are signs that Russia has implemented the strategy of “financing people in our governments to undo our governments,” not merely in Ukraine…


Russia Monitor: A Looooong Line Of Dominoes

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/12/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There are two threads that warrant attention for this edition of the Russia Monitor. There is a flurry of mixed news related to:  1) The court of public opinion or possible prosecution routes forward for Trump-Russia corruption, which we’ll come to second. We’ll begin with 2) a more complex story showing how challenging it is to prove Trump-Russia corruption specifics. Life would be easier if there was a group photo taken at Donnie Trump Jr.’s June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians holding up a hand-written, signed agreement saying…


Russia Monitor: Our Future Hinges On Three Important Questions For Our Future…

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/8/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Are we all on board with getting to the bottom of what happened during our 2016 election? Is everybody as cooperative as Trump when he says he’s “looking forward” to meeting with Special Counsel Mueller? Is there more to learn with Russian influence in our election or with Trump-Russia corruption? Do we face any risk of interference in our 2018 elections? Three questions for the nation: 1) Do we risk interference in the 2018 elections? 2) Is there more to learn about the 2016 elections 3) Are we all…


The Russia Monitor: From Trump To Nunes To Paul Ryan To Russian Pal Carter Page, The GOP Is All About ‘Party Over Country’

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, House Intelligence Cahir Rep. Devin Nunes’s (R-CA) memo is a belly-flop, not a blockbuster. The entire exercise was designed to give Hannity and FOX News a piece of paper to wave around as some kind of vindication for all things Trump-Russia. It was a piece of paper, and Hannity did wave it. Beyond that it was an embarrassment … a joke. Sadly it’s not that simple. The entire exercise was meant to undermine the investigation of Trump-Russia corruption, Trump money laundering and obstruction of justice by attacking the credibility of…


Russia Monitor: Trump White House Gang Has Become The Nation’s “Normalizer Of Corruption”

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/1/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Which are we – a country where rule of law applies? Or a country ruled by loyalty oaths to Trump? Trump-Russia Obstruction of Justice is now a full-on GOP initiative. Is this important? Let’s answer this question and also Trump responses to Russia, GOP efforts to shield Trump and understand what happened as well as steps to protect future elections: Pompeo: ‘I have every expectation’ Russia Will Meddle In 2018 Midterms. Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, offered this: “”I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes: Enough With Trump-Russia, Already!

Dan Peak’s piece on Trump’s so called “obstruction of justice”  reads to me like just one more lame edition of the sour grapes tradition of the fading Democratic Party who just can’t seem to believe that Hillary Clinton, all by her little self, destroyed her chances of winning the White House, with no need for foreign interference, thank you. But how convenient for Hillary and the totally corrupt DNC to pull Russia meddling out of their vast bag of tricks to avoid the obvious conclusions: The Party is rotten, corporate controlled, and failing. Mr. Peak’s piece also conveniently ignores the…


Russia Monitor: Where Oh Where To Begin? It’s Another Full Deck!

  By Dan Peak Commoner Call (1/29/18) Dear Fellow Readers, What is the biggest news of the cycle? Where to begin? This is easier to decide if the question is what was the biggest category of news? The answer would be Trump-Russia corruption obstruction of American justice. In addition, maybe we can cover other categories and news like confirmation of the U.S. intelligence services statements of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Maybe an update about new sanctions against Russia imposed by Congress and finally ready for enactment. Maybe we could cover the latest on House Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes’s…


Russia Monitor: A Bumper Year For Lawyers As The Noose Around The White House Tightens

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/24/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia corruption is a very good thing for one group of people – lawyers. This cycle has been a torrent of legal news; first up – Mueller to question Trump in Trump-Russia corruption investigation. The Washington Post reported: Mueller Seeks To Question Trump About Flynn And Comey Departures. While there is much discussion about how Mueller’s questioning of Trump might happen, let’s start with the discussion of the intent. “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national…


Russia Monitor: Rub-A-Dub-Dub … Scrubbing The Dirt From Russian Money Deals

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump obstruction of justice or corruption in concert with Russia? Looks like it. Trump money laundering? Certainty. Money laundering is about taking money earned illegally and scrubbing the taint and origin so the money can be used within the legitimate business and banking world. Money laundering isn’t just about the complex mechanics, it’s about the criminals that are the source of the money – narcotics, arms dealing, pornography and human trafficking and yes, corruption. Corrupt governments are one source for money laundering as in the revelations in the last…


Russia Monitor: Bannon Bluster, Mafia Money & Coming Mid-Term Stink Bombs

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/18/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Congratulations to Democrat Patty Schachtner who won a special election to fill the Wisconsin State Senate Seat District 10 on Tuesday. Schachtner won her race 55-44 in a district won by Trump by 17 points. Special election results bode well for Democrats. Recent Trump-Russia corruption news further tips events against Republicans and it is now expected Trump-Russia corruption will be headline news in the lead-up to 2018 mid-term elections. We’ll explain this once we cover the news. Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Is Subpoenaed … Twice Tuesday, January 16, 2017…


Russia Monitor: Get Ready – Putin Has Plenty More Up His Sleeve, But Trump Can’t Be Bothered

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/15/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Either the Russians have decided to leave us alone or Trump’s personality frailties keep him from confronting Vladimir Putin or safeguarding the US from further intrusions. What do you think? We have this story from The Hill: Russia-Linked Hackers Targeting US Senate. Using the same approach employed to hack French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in May 2017, Russian hackers are targeting the U.S. Senate: “Russian hackers from the group known as “Fancy Bear” are targeting the U.S. Senate with a new espionage campaign, according to cybersecurity firm Trend Micro….


Russia Monitor: Good For Her – Sen. Feinstein Lets The American People See For Themselves

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/11/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The Trump-Russia collusion news of this cycle is dominated by the release of the transcript of the Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) unilaterally released the transcript on Tuesday. The testimony – 312 pages long – is the result of Simpson’s appearance before committee investigators for ten hours in August 2017. Now you can be an active citizen and read it for yourself. There are many news outlets offering access to the full document. The best resource I’ve found so…


Russia Monitor – Bannon Sums It Up: It’s Treasonous, Unpatriotic Bad Sh*t

  “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh*t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.” — Steve Bannon referring to Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2106 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower. (From Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury”.)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/8/8) Dear Fellow Readers, Oh my! It’s the family gathering where everything comes out by way of yelling, screaming and finger pointing. All the slights, hurts and disagreements that have been collected, held onto and nurtured for years come pouring…


Russia Monitor: Time For Rascally Republicans To Stop With The Wabbit Chasing

  “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” — Martin Luther (Quote highlighted by former-FBI Director James Comey.) ***** “A generation ago, Republicans sought to protect President Richard Nixon by urging the Senate Watergate committee to look at supposed wrongdoing by Democrats in previous elections. The committee chairman, Sam Ervin, a Democrat, said that would be “as foolish as the man who went bear hunting and stopped to chase rabbits.”” — Glenn Simpson, founder Fusion GPS Op-Ed for NY Times, January 2, 2018   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call…


Russia Monitor: On To 2018 … And Continued Trump-Russia Investigation

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/1/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Happy New Year! Out with 2017, in with 2018 – and in spite of Trump’s lawyers’ assurances, the Trump-Russia investigation continues. Maybe in spite of… There are a lot of Trump apologists. We’ll end with questions of the Republican grand Faustian bargain, but first, let’s take a look at some of the anti-Mueller (Special Counsel Robert Mueller) push back. Where better to start than with the Clyde Crashcup of the Republicans, a character so partisan that even his own party doesn’t understand his actions – Rep. David Nunes (R-CA;…