Russia Monitor

Russia Monitor: Trump Pal Manafort Follows 2,000 Innocent Children Into Jail

“I call this a concentration camp for kids because that’s exactly what it’s turning out to.” — Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, 6/15/18 MSNBC Live with Stephanie Rule   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/18/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There is an evil man who presumes to have powers above the law, he believes he can do whatever he wants without consequence, he believes he can punish as he sees fit. Yet somehow, be it DACA or anything related to his Wall – he presents himself as weak and incapable to change the ugly, punitive policies he enacts. ‘Your…

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Russia Monitor: Trump Calling Up His Army Of Trolls, Haters & Racists

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/14/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Good news – Caleb Frostman won the Wisconsin 1st state Senate district special election, winning a seat that had previously voted for Trump by a wide margin. Meanwhile it is clear the GOP is the party of Trump. Before we dive into the specifics, let’s consider why this is important. Trump believes he can get away with it — that Trump-Russia will not stick. He will achieve greatness and rake in the cash along the way – the greatest con in the history of American politics. Trump doesn’t have…


Russia Monitor: Vladimir Cashes In Bigly On His Investment

“Today crystallizes precisely why Putin was so eager to see Trump elected. For Putin, this is return on his investment, and it’s safe to say that his investment has paid off beyond even his wildest dreams.” — Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and the National Security Council spokesman under then-President Barack Obama ***** “With his “no collusion” chant, Trump is like an embezzler who yells, “There was no murder”—and asserts that is the only relevant benchmark.” — Author David Corn writing for Mother Jones, June 2018     By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/11/18) Dear Fellow Readers, In…


Russia Monitor: The Legal Contortions Of ‘Howdy Rudy’ And The Constitutional Crisis Already In Motion

  “In Jan 2017, I gave a Putin’s Wish List” to explain what he most wanted from Trump. Lifting sanctions was #1, but Flynn got caught & blew it up. A trade war with NATO allies was #2.” — Russian dissident Garry Kasparov tweet (6/1/18).   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/4/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump and his lawyer, Giuliani, set out each day to convince us of two things: Trump has now advanced beyond no collusion with Russia, to; Clinton and Democrats colluding with Russia. In complete absence of evidence, Trump tweets: “There was No Collusion with Russia…


Russia Monitor: Tapes? Could There Really Be Tapes? Trump Lawyer May Provide Accidental Public Service

“Trump is like a magician pulling one gaudy illusion after another out of his hat, pockets and possibly bodily orifices.” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Dear Fellow Readers, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, June 2017 Senate Intelligence hearing.  And so there may be. We’ll take a look at: Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s status. Trump’s ever-evolving Trump-Russia corruption self defense. What works for Trump… Let’s start with Cohen: Michael Avenatti Says Trump’s Voice Is On Cohen Tapes That Are Unprivileged: ‘This whole thing appears to stink’ Yes, there are tapes – apparently. Early headlines,…


Russia Monitor: Counting Raindrops In The Downpour

  “Democracy Dies in Broad Daylight.” — Bill Kristol tweet 5/27/18 By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/28/18) Dear Fellow Readers, What each of us believes about Trump-Russia corruption is likely set in stone. Maybe there a few of us that are yet to be convinced in spite of a steady daily downpour. Sometimes the noise is new information; sometimes the noise is hard to sort out – what actually happened, does it matter? Here’s an example where the FBI received requested wiretap transcripts from the Spanish police of Russian oligarch, NRA and Donnie Jr. friend Alexander Torshin. Torshin’s conversations…


Russia Monitor — Taking Us To The Cleaners: Trumputin Steals & Scuzzy Russpublican Deals

  “… they swung the election to a Trump win.” — Former DNI James Clapper from “Facts and Fears” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/24/8) Dear Fellow Readers, Rachel Maddow interviewed former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in two segments. Clapper has a new book out, “Facts and Fears”. Clapper explains that he wrote the book: “…after experiencing the election, the unprecedented Russian interference in our political process, and the behavior by and impact of the Trump administration.” Maddow doesn’t sugar coat the history of James Clapper up to and including Clapper leaving the DNI position the day of…


The Russia Monitor: Russpublican Arsonists In The Trumputin Match Factory

    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/21/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Today we’ll use a few voices to summarize the guilt and corruption of Trump, his campaign and his sycophant administration. The left counts trees while Russpublicans torch the forest. It’s time to switch gears. Trump TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani has gone on the offensive by offering the case that the Trump-Russia debate is now about whether Trump can be indicted. That is a LONG way from “no Russia”. Could it be Giuliani is burning a new fire break in anticipation of even worse news? From a conservative voice we have…


Russia Monitor: Donald Trump Defends Chinese Jobs, Cashes In On Shady Deal And Is Right About One Thing

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/17/18) Dear Fellow Readers, It turns out there are consequences. On good days, when you make decisions based on questionable ethics, someone will be held accountable: Novartis Lawyer To Retire Over $1.2 Million Contract With Trump Attorney Michael Cohen. “The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced Wednesday that a top lawyer who co-signed a $1.2 million contract to hire President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen will step down in June. “Felix R. Ehrat, group general counsel of Novartis, is retiring “in the context of discussions surrounding Novartis’ former agreement with Essential Consultants, owned by Michael…


The Russia Monitor: An Oligarch Or Toady Behind Every Door At Trumputin’s ‘No-Tell-Motel’

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/14/18) Dear Fellow Readers, At the core of Trump’s self measure, manipulations, taint and many of the angles of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is – money. The same can’t be said of his 3,000+ documented lies since landing in the White House; his lies are about everything. Money is what will bring Trump to ground. Sadly for Trump, his ego may have led him to overreach, he and his cronies likely could have laid low and led a very nice lifestyle based on what they already had. Trump’s lawyer and long time…


Russia Monitor: Bombshells, Big Biz In Trump’s Barrel & The Rapidly Spreading Super Fungi

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/10/18) Dear Fellow Readers, On Tuesday, after Trump had what Rudy Giuliani described as his greatest day in office cancelling the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, Trump readies for an early bedtime of cheeseburger and cable news, anxious to watch the accolades and consider whether he might be awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes. He props his pillows, settles in, balances his plate on his belly and turns on the television. And who appears but Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti. He changes to another news provider, Michael Avenatti – again and Michael Avenatti. He…


It’s Too Chaotic To Simply Be Chaos: Is The Trump Crazy Whirlpool A Move From The Kremlin’s Playbook?

(Editor’s Note: This article came out over a year ago but presents the clearest explanation for the non-stop, escalating chaos of the Trump shitstorm. As the headline above notes, ‘ its too chaotic to simply be chaos’. — Mark L. Taylor) By Mikie Mariana Vanity Fair (3/28/17) On March 12, 2014, the Russian author Natan Dubovitsky published a short story titled “Without Sky” in the literary journal Russian Pioneer. In the story, which takes place in a dystopian future, a man recalls the events of the fifth World War, decades earlier. He describes these events as the first “non-linear war.” Instead…


Russia Monitor: The Disaster Twins & Their Multiplying Lies And Lies About Lies

  “What we have is the president inarguably demanding of both the institutions and their leadership that their first priority is personal loyalty to him rather than to the norms that have governed their behavior for a couple of centuries.” — Ret. General Michael Hayden (5/4/18)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/7/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Country over party. Didn’t all of us grow up saying the pledge of allegiance? Even if we didn’t contemplate the meaning, isn’t it self-evident? How can anyone misconstrue, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one…


Russia Monitor: Do The Dems Dare Play The Trump-Russia Card?

  “As far as the presidential race in 2020, the Democrats seem to be repeating the mistake that Hillary Clinton made: counting on the awfulness of Trump to do their work for them.” — New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (4/29/18). By Dan Peak The Connoner Call (4/30/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Let’s give the answer to a question as a way to start. The answer is: Vladmir Putin just broke form and has openly demonstrated he influenced the U.S. election in favor of Trump. There is much competition for the most important news of the latest cycle for Trump-Russia corruption. Maybe your…


Russia Monitor: Russian Lullaby Lies & And Weird Stuff To Keep You Awake At Night

  “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized, and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.” — James Comey, “A Higher Loyalty” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/26/ Dear Fellow Readers, Some days politics seems like something worse than just a dirty word. Certainly, as the Washington Post documents,  Trump and his cronies contribute to such a feeling: The Daily 202: Mick Mulvaney’s Confession Highlights The Corrosive Influence Of Money In Politics. As Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve write about the head of…


Russian Dissident Garry Kasparov’s ‘Winter’ Warning To The West

“‘Winter is coming’ is a warning, not an inevitable conclusion. The good thing about the seasons of political and social change is that we can affect them if we try hard enough. If we rouse ourselves fro complacency and relearn how to stand up to the dictators and terrorists who threaten the modern world we have built, we can alter the course. Anti-modernity is a dangerous virus, and to remove a virus a reboot or re-set is not enough. We have to build a values based system that is robust enough to resist the virus at home, smart enough to…


Russia Monitor: World’s Biglyest Liar Keeps Spinning Them Out. Honestly!

  “The Comey Memo is a distraction from the Michael Cohen scandal which is a distraction from the love child payoff scandal which is a distraction from the Stormy Daniels scandal which is distraction from the Trump U fraud scandal which is a distraction from the election.” — Mikel Jollett tweet from 4/20/18   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/23/18) Dear Fellow Readers, We hope for government and leaders with integrity. We imagine leaders that put the interests of all ahead of their own cramped personal interests. We want our leaders to address real problems – make our world safer,…


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…


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…