The Cease Fire That Wasn’t

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Russia, Syria, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

So Trump sent this embarrassing letter a couple days ago: Oh my God. A “deal”??? It didn’t go over well in Turkey either Wow. #Erdogan tells news conference the letter sent by @realDonaldTrump telling him not to be a ‘tough guy’ wasn’t in line with diplomatic or political customs. He said they wouldn’t forget the lack of respect. “When the … Read More

Yup. Sure Looks Like Trump’s Entire Ukraine ‘Anti-corruption’ Team Was Corrupt—And Funded By An Unnamed Russian Source

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Russia, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

It was already clear that the whole scheme that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani had cooked up in Ukraine was to extort an entire nation and grossly distort U.S. foreign policy merely for the purpose of smearing Joe Biden. But a series of arrests and grand jury indictments on Thursday drove home the point that Giuliani wasn’t alone in his shuttle-shakedown between … Read More

Document Dump: Senate Report On Russian Interference In 2016 Election

Ken AshfordCongress, Election 2016, L'Affaire Russe, RussiaLeave a Comment

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian ratfucking in the 2016 election was released today and it didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, or hadn’t already intuited, but it told us a lot more about what we already knew or already had intuited. What is significant, of course, is that this comes from the Republican-majority Senate. From the report itself: … Read More

Document Dump: Senate Report On How NRA Became A Russian Asset

Ken AshfordGun Control, RussiaLeave a Comment

The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria … Read More

Trump Destroying National Security Apparatus As CIA Loses Critical Asset Due To Trump

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & Administration, White House SecrecyLeave a Comment

The Washington Post has the goods on the spy who came out of the cold: In 2017, the United States extracted from Russia an important CIA source who had provided information about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to current and former officials. The operation, known as an exfiltration, followed mounting concerns among U.S. officials that the individual could be … Read More

What’s Up With The Russian Explosions?

Ken AshfordDisasters, RussiaLeave a Comment

There have been two notable explosions in Russia this past week. First, an arms storage depot exploded at Achinsk, near Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia. Every summer, a couple of arms storage depots explode in Russia. They have a lot of them, and their safety measures leave something to be desired. Explosions have continued for a week. Once they start, it’s dangerous … Read More

Coats Replaced As National Intel Director And Replaced With Trump Toadie

Ken AshfordElection 2020, L'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Coats out as national intel director, clashed with Trump: WASHINGTON (AP) — Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, will leave his job next month, President Trump announced Sunday, after a turbulent two years in which Coats and the president were often at odds over Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump announced Coats’ departure as Aug. 15 in a tweet … Read More

Breaking: Russian Gun Rights Activist Maria Butina Sentenced To 18 Months After Conspiring To Infiltrate The NRA

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Crime, Gun Control, L'Affaire Russe, RussiaLeave a Comment

Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina was sentenced to an 18-month prison term Friday in Washington after failing to register as a foreign agent for conspiring to infiltrate conservative U.S. political circles for the Kremlin. Butina, 30, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring with a senior Russian official to access the National Rifle Association among other groups from 2015 until she was … Read More

Exhausting Futility Continues

Ken AshfordGubmint Shutdown, Immigration and Xenophobia, L'Affaire Russe, Polls, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Shutdown Day Number 23 and there is no sign of movement. Trump apparently has little to do but tweet all day — childish attacks on Elizabeth Warren (racist attacks there) and on Jeff Bezo’s personal life. But that is kind of the point that Trump wants to make — he’s ready to work on a deal and Dems are off … Read More

Trump’s Ignorance Of Afghanistan Is Scary And Curious

Ken AshfordAfghanistan, Military Issues, Russia, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

At a press briefing at the end of a cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump took questions from the press, and went on for 90 minutes in a rambling monologue festooned from end to end with falsehoods on a variety of subjects. But one particular statement he made has stood out: But then Trump went right off the deep end with a disquisition on … Read More

Trump Undermines Military Intelligence — This Time On Syria

Ken AshfordRussia, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

On Monday, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement publicly pledged that the U.S. commitment to Syria would not waiver. The very next day, Trump reportedly decided to rapidly withdraw all U.S. troops there.  Today he tweeted this: Trump appears to be discarding his entire Syria and Iran strategy at a single stroke, giving up any and all U.S. influence in the … Read More

Update On The OTHER Russia Scandal

Ken AshfordGun Control, L'Affaire Russe, Political Scandals, RussiaLeave a Comment

In a week of political scandals, it is important that this one doesn’t get lost because, although it doesn’t implicate Trump, it implicates the Republican Party as well as the Republicans’ source of campaign income, the NRA. I’m talking of course about Marina Butina.  I’ve talked about her here and here. Butina was arrested in July after the FBI raided … Read More

It’s Not Just Trump Anymore

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Republicans, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Michelle Goldberg asks “Are Republicans Covering for Trump, or for Themselves?” Of all the interlocking mysteries of the Trump-Russia scandal, one that I’ve found particularly perplexing is the utter servility of congressional Republicans before a president many of them hate and believe to be compromised by a foreign power. Yes, I know they’re thrilled about tax cuts and judges. Given … Read More

More Cleanup On Aisle Trump

Ken AshfordCybersecurity, L'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Yesterday, the day after Trump’s unconvincing walkback of believing Putin over the US intelligence community, this happened at a press pool spray: The exact exchange that just occurred in the White House 👇 REPORTER: Is Russia still targeting the US, Mr. President? TRUMP: Thank you very much. No. (Shakes head) REPORTER: No? You don’t believe that to be the case? … Read More