Tag Archives: Russia

Jon ‘DRJ’ Najarian looks at the current financial market, CNN Correspondent Karin Caifa talks about the White House, Russia, and Trump, PLUS a new Nutella store, what happens after you die, and a look at Late Night talk shows, and more! – 5/17/17

Jon ‘DRJ’ Najarian looks at the current financial market,  CNN Correspondent Karin Caifa talks about the White House, Russia, and Trump, PLUS a new Nutella store,  what happens after you die, and a look at Late Night talk shows, and more!

St. Petersburg metro explosion: 10 dead in Russia blast

By Tim Lister and Angela Dewan, CNN

Ten people have been killed in an explosion on the metro in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, state-run TASS reported.

The explosion took place on a subway car at the Sennaya Ploshchad station.

“According to the very first preliminary information, about 10 people were killed in the explosion,” a source told TASS, noting the exact number of victims was still being established.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the victims and is talking to the FSB security services about the investigation, according to state media.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was in St. Petersburg speaking at an event earlier Monday but that he was now in the nearby city of Strelna.

Seven of St. Petersburg’s metro stations have been closed. Victory Park, Electrosila, Moscow Gate, Frunzenskaya, Technological Institute, Sennaya Ploshchad, Gostiny Dvor have been shut at the entrance and exit points.

St. Petersburg is Russia’s second city.

Developing story – more to come

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Russian Shooter with String Quartet

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Manafort’s plan to ‘greatly benefit the Putin Government’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Manafort wrote a 2005 strategy plan that he said “can greatly benefit the Putin Government.” At the time, U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush were growing worse.

Manafort’s arrangement was with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally. Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006 and maintained a business relationship until at least 2009. The work was described in interviews with people familiar with it and confidential business records obtained by the AP.

Manafort confirmed to the AP that he worked for Deripaska but said the work was being unfairly cast as inappropriate.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Comey confirms FBI investigating Russia, Trump ties

By Stephen Collinson, CNN

FBI Chief James Comey said publicly for the first time Monday that his agency is investigating alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign and whether any crimes may have been committed during last year’s election campaign.

“That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” Comey said in his opening statement to a dramatic hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

But Comey said that while an investigation was going on he would be unable to give few details about its progress or whether anyone in particular was being targeted.

The hearing, which also features testimony from National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration. But Democrats say there is circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing that needs to be probed.

Comey is also expected to publicly reject President Donald Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Republican Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said the hearing would have several areas of focus — the extent to which Russian intervened in the US election and whether any campaign officials conspired in those efforts. He restated that there was not a wiretap against Trump Tower, but did not rule out other kinds of surveillance against the Trump campaign. Nunes also said the hearing would seek information about who has leaked classified information linked to the issue or Russian election interference.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said it was not yet known whether the Russian operation was aided by US citizens, “including people associated with the Trump campaign.”
“Many of Trump’s campaign personnel, including the President himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime,” Schiff said.

“On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history.”

Schiff related alleged links between people close to Trump and Russia, including his former campaign aide Paul Manafort, using the President’s words during the campaign and publicly available information contained in a dossier drawn up by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, large portions of which have yet to be corroborated by CNN.

“Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated. … Yes, it is possible,” Schiff said.

“It is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt US persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.”

Trump tried to shift attention away from the wiretapping claims in a series of Monday morning tweets.

“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” Trump wrote shortly after 6:30 a.m. ET, followed by: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”

The controversy over the wiretapping claims was unleashed by stunning early morning tweets from the President at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida two weeks ago. He drew parallels to Watergate and McCarthyism and said Obama was a “Bad (or sick) guy!” for ordering surveillance of his New York residence — allegations the former president quickly denied through a spokesman.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Russia testing Trump with spy ship, missile

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Moscow deployed a cruise missile on Tuesday, which is an apparent violation of a 1987 nuclear forces treaty. The move is a challenging provocation for Trump, who has clearly pushed for a better relationship with the Russians. Other recent shady dealings, like the positioning of a Russian spy ship off the coast of Delaware and a tangle with a US Navy warship in the Black Sea, are not necessarily unprecedented but may muddle already-complicated US-Russia relations.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

Russia deploys missile in apparent treaty violation

By Ryan Browne, Jim Sciutto and Barbara Starr, CNN

Moscow has deployed a cruise missile in an apparent treaty violation, a senior military official told CNN Tuesday.

The move is just the latest in a string of Russian provocations in the early days of the Trump administration, which has called for warmer relations with the Kremlin.

The traditional US adversary has also positioned a spy ship off the coast of Delaware and carried out flights near a US Navy warship, concerning American officials. The administration has not officially drawn any links between the three events.

The ground-launched cruise missile seems to run counter to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the senior military official said. The New York Times first reported is deployment.

While declining to speak on intelligence matters, a spokesman for the US State Department did draw attention to Russian violations of the treaty.

“The Russian Federation remains in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Russia is believed to have tested one such missile in 2014.

“We have made very clear our concerns about Russia’s violation, the risks it poses to European and Asian security, and our strong interest in returning Russia to compliance with the treaty,” Toner added.

Just last week, a US navy warship in the Black Sea had three encounters with Russian aircraft Friday that were deemed to be unsafe and unprofessional because of how close the Russian planes flew to the US, according to a senior defense official.

The USS Porter, a destroyer, was operating in the Black Sea when it was approached three times by Russian aircraft, including one IL-38 and two SU-24s. The Navy calculated the Russian planes may be have flown as close as 1,000 yards laterally from the ship and 1,000 feet over the water, but did not cross the deck of the Porter.

Meanwhile, a US defense official told CNN that the Russian spy ship, the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov, is sailing in international waters off the coast of Delaware. The vessel is outfitted with a variety of high-tech spying equipment and is designed to intercept signals intelligence. Fox News first reported on the ship’s location.

The official noted that this is not the first time the ship has been deployed off the coast of the US. Similar patrols were carried out by the Leonov in 2014 off the coast of Florida and in 2015, adding that such missions were much more common during the Cold War.

The Russian cruise missile would be capable of threatening NATO’s European members. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is due to visit NATO’s headquarters to meet with his counterparts Wednesday.

“The INF Treaty eliminated an entire category of weapons that threatened Europe, in particular the threat of short-warning attacks. The treaty remains a key component of our security, and any Russian non-compliance is a serious concern for the alliance,” a NATO official told CNN.

“NATO allies have the capabilities in place to ensure that Russia will not gain any military advantage from disregarding the INF Treaty,” the official added.

The Kremlin’s moves come the day after Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after failing to fully disclose conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the US concerning US sanctions while he was not yet in office.

Trump has in the past expressed interest in arms reduction talks with the Kremlin and indicated he would seek a new opening with Moscow.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, however, said Tuesday that the administration’s stance on Moscow, saying, “The president has been incredibly tough on Russia.”

Spicer pointed to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s recent remarks on the Russia’s actions in east Ukraine and occupation of Crimea, adding that Trump “expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.”

“At the same time he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia unlike previous administrations,” he added.

Asked about sanctions against Russia, newly minted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that sanctions were an important tool but would not specify any intentions towards Russia.

“Our current sanctions programs are in place, and I would say sanctions are an important tool that we will continue to look at for various different countries. But it’s a very important program within the Treasury Department,” Mnuchin said.

In contrast, Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, called for a strong response to the cruise missile.

“If the last administration showed us anything, it’s that ignoring these kinds of provocations simply means they will proliferate,” he said in a statement. “I’ve said before we need to set firm boundaries for Russia’s behavior — and enforce them to the hilt. I take this news as evidence that the US should build up its nuclear forces in Europe.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Russia denies having compromising material on Donald Trump

Jill Dougherty, Emma Burrows and James Masters, CNN
The Kremlin denied it has compromising information about US President-elect Donald Trump, describing the allegations as “pulp fiction”.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said reports that Trump was the subject of “Kompromat” — a Russian term for compromising information intended to be used against someone — were an “attempt to harm our bilateral relationship.”
CNN reported Tuesday that intelligence officials last week presented Barack Obama and Trump with a two-page synopsis of memos about the President-elect compiled by a former British intelligence official.
Multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings told CNN that the synopsis included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Trump.
It also contained allegations of a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.
Trump rejected the claims. In a Twitter post Tuesday night, he said: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
‘Complete fiction’
During a conference call on Wednesday, Peskov said the claims were false. “No, the Kremlin does not have ‘Kompromat’ on Trump,” he said in response to a question from CNN. “The information does not correspond to reality and it is complete fiction.”
Peskov added: “The fabrication of such lies in terms of the previous open part of the report, and this one which is a comparable lie, it’s called pulp fiction in English.”
“Clearly there are those who are creating hysteria, who are trying to support this witch hunt, and President-elect Trump himself described it like this.”
FBI investigation
CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos from which the two-page synopsis was drawn. The memos originated as opposition research, first commissioned by anti-Trump Republicans, and later by Democrats. CNN is not reporting the details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the allegations. But, in preparing this story, CNN has spoken to multiple high ranking intelligence, administration, congressional and law enforcement officials, as well as foreign officials and others in the private sector with direct knowledge of the memos.
Buzzfeed on Tuesday night published the full set of documents on which the briefing was based.
The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of the allegations, but has not confirmed many of the essential details in the memos about Trump.
In the conference call, Peskov also denied that the Kremlin had compromising material on Hillary Clinton.
“The Kremlin and the Russian president tries to build relationships with our foreign partners in the interests of the Russian Federation and the Russian people and for the world in the interests of stability and security,” he added.
‘Explosive information’
Sources tell CNN that the allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to contact FBI Director James Comey.
He wrote in a letter in October: “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.”
At a senate hearing on Tuesday, Comey refused to comment on whether the agency was investigating any potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I would never comment on investigations,” Comey told Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who repeatedly pushed the FBI director to release any information it had before Inauguration Day.
Sen. Angus King of Maine, an Independent, alluded to Comey’s decision to go public on the FBI’s additional investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails in the closing stages of the 2016 campaign. “The irony of you making that statement I cannot avoid,” King said.
After the hearing, Wyden tweeted: “Director Comey refused to answer my question about whether the FBI has investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Putin ally tells Americans: vote Trump or face nuclear war – from Reuters.com

From Reuters.com: Americans should vote for Donald Trump as president next month or risk being dragged into a nuclear war, according to a Russian ultra-nationalist ally of President Vladimir Putin who likes to compare himself to the U.S. Republican candidate.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric, told Reuters in an interview that Trump was the only person able to de-escalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.

Read the full article discussed on the John and Ray morning show here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-russian-trump-idUSKCN12C28Q

MH17 shot down by Buk missile brought in from Russia, say investigators

By Tim Hume and Lindsay Isaac, CNN
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over eastern Ukraine by a Buk missile brought in from Russia to a pro-Russian area of eastern Ukraine, the head of the Dutch National Detective Force, Wilbert Paulissen said Wednesday.
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Speaking at a press conference in the Netherlands, Paulissen said there was conclusive evidence that the Buk, a Russian-made missile, shot down the passenger flight, and was subsequently returned to Russian territory.
He made the comments at the release of a report by the Joint Investigation Team, a Dutch-led group of prosecutors gathering evidence for a potential criminal trial.
The findings are the first released by the group, comprised of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, in its criminal investigation into the downing of Flight MH17.
The Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch citizens.
Last year, a civilian investigation conducted by the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the Boeing aircraft was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile. But the investigation was not required to assign blame for the missile strike, and did not say who was responsible.
The widely accepted theory is that the aircraft was shot down from within territory held by Russian-backed separatists, who were engaged in heavy fighting with Ukrainian forces at the time.
On Monday, Russia’s defense ministry released radar data which it claimed refuted that theory, saying it showed that if the plane was shot down, it was done so by Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian officials have not responded to the allegation.
In July, Malaysia Airlines settled damages with the families of most of the passengers killed on Flight MH17, an attorney representing some of the families confirmed.
Developing story – more to come

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.