Russia becomes first country to register a coronavirus vaccine, but testing reportedly incomplete | Euronews

Russian president Vladimir Putin has claimed his daughter has been inoculated against COVID-19 after the country became the first in the world to register a vaccine for the disease.

Source: Russia becomes first country to register a coronavirus vaccine, but testing reportedly incomplete | Euronews

Putin criticised for ending ‘non-work period’ amid record Russian COVID-19 figures | Euronews

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to end what he describes as the ‘non-working period’ is drawing sharp criticism from his political opponents.Putin said orders to remain at home would end this week for most of the country’s workforce – despite a record increase in new coronavirus figures.

Source: Putin criticised for ending ‘non-work period’ amid record Russian COVID-19 figures | Euronews

Trump repeats debunked Ukraine claim a day after Hill’s tough testimony | TheHill

President Trump on Friday repeated his debunked claim that Ukraine is connected to a hacked Democratic server from the 2016 election, the same assertion that he raised on his call with the Ukrainian

Source: Trump repeats debunked Ukraine claim a day after Hill’s tough testimony | TheHill

After Cohen’s testimony, how much longer can Ivanka Trump play dumb? |

After Michael Cohen’s incendiary congressional hearing, is it finally time to start asking hard questions about Ivanka Trump’s role in the sprawling corruption in Donald Trump’s empire?

So far, the “first daughter” has mainly been the subject of negative press for her clueless princess persona, and the way she holds herself out as a model businesswoman and a mother while her father wreaks havoc on the lives of working women and families. But during his day-long testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Cohen — who worked closely with Donald Trump for 10 years as his personal attorney and professional fixer — implicated Ivanka in the sprawling story of her father’s seedy and hidden Russian dealings, which may also be tied to the criminal conspiracy to steal emails from Democratic officials and influence the 2016 election.

Midway through the hearing, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., asked Cohen, “Who were the family members that you briefed on the Trump Tower Moscow project?” referring to Trump’s efforts to get a favorable real estate deal from Russia’s oligarch class at the same time that Russian intelligence was orchestrating a criminal conspiracy to manipulate the presidential election.

“Don Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump,” Cohen replied, adding that he had spoken with both of them “approximately 10 times” about it.


Source: After Cohen’s testimony, how much longer can Ivanka Trump play dumb? |

Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

President Donald Trump has fulfilled almost all of Vladimir Putin’s dreams and plans to expand the global power of Russia by diminishing the power, respect and influence of the United States.

The New York Times reported this week that during the past year Donald Trump repeatedly and in private expressed the desire to withdraw the United States from the NATO alliance. Beyond an almost heretofore unthinkable betrayal of one of the most successful alliances in modern history — and one founded by the United States after World War II to counter the influence and power of the former Soviet Union in a war — such a move could be seen as surrendering Europe to Vladimir Putin and Russia.

This is one more example of Donald Trump’s behavior that validates the logic and reasoning behind the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in 2017, in order to determine whether the president of the United States, is actually a Russian asset.

This may all seem unimaginable. However, a nightmare scenario where a foreign country could buy (or otherwise install) an American president to do its bidding was anticipated by the framers of the Constitution.

Is Donald Trump an agent of Russia? What impact is the revelation that Donald Trump may be a foreign asset having on members of the FBI and those others charged with protecting the United States from foreign threats? How was the “emoluments clause” and the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural-born citizen intended as a protection against foreign control of the United States government? With the mountains of public evidence that Donald Trump is doing the bidding of Putin, why are both Democrats and Republicans reluctant to remove him from office?

In an effort to answer these questions I recently spoke with Richard Painter. A longtime Republican until his recent decision to quit the party, Painter was White House chief ethics counsel under George W. Bush and is a frequent political commentator and analyst on CNN, MSNBC and other news networks. He is also a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota and the author of several books, including “Getting the Government America Deserves.


Source: Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

Republicans seek to temper fallout from latest Russia bombshells | TheHill

Republican lawmakers on Sunday sought to temper the impact of the latest bombshell reports involving President Trump and Russia, while their Democratic colleagues renewed calls to protect special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation.

The responses came after both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported new details over the weekend involving allegations of Trump’s close ties with Moscow, sparking renewed concerns about the fate of Mueller’s probe.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on NBC criticized Washington, D.C.’s, focus on the Mueller investigation as out of touch with the rest of the country.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of the president, raised doubts about some of the reporting’s accuracy.

The New York Times reported Friday that the FBI was so concerned about Trump’s firing of former bureau chief James Comey that it opened an inquiry into whether the president was working on behalf of Russian interests.

And the Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump has kept details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin from top officials in his administration, including withholding notes from an interpreter.


Source: Republicans seek to temper fallout from latest Russia bombshells | TheHill

What’s in the mind of a megalomaniac? — The Secular Jurist

Whatever it is with Trump, then we all need to know and know soon, before any further damage is done in world relations.

Does Trump even know what day it is and where he is.


By Robert A. Vella Donald Trump has been in the White House for a year and a half, yet the turmoil surrounding his presidency began from his first day in office and has grown into a perpetual firestorm that has singed every continent on the face of our planet. That’s quite a feat for one […]

via What’s in the mind of a megalomaniac? — The Secular Jurist

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Potsdam II: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet to divide Europe : Daily Kos

The upcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin may be held in Helsinki, but the shape of that meeting brings up another location: Potsdam. Because, as is already clear, both Russia and the United States are working to divide Europe—not into the clear East-West regions that marked the period of the Cold War, but into factions that weaken the continent militarily and economically.

Fresh off a Singapore visit that gifted Kim Jong Un a halt to U.S.–South Korea joint preparedness exercises—which was one of North Korea’s top demands—in exchange for no visible movement on any U.S. goal, Trump is eagerly rushing to a meeting with Vladimir Putin. As noted by the New York Times, foreign policy experts are worried that Trump will provide a repeat of Singapore by rewarding Putin while generating little or no benefit for the United States.

After all, that’s Trump’s pattern. He traded off military exercises to Kim for a photo op. Trump handed Chinese Communist Party Chair Xi Jinping his support in exchange for a few nice words over cake. And he’s long been a fan of Putin because the Russian autocrat made favorable statements about Trump … and because, even as Trump continues to backpedal from the idea, Russian operatives provided key assistance to his campaign in 2016. Traditional U.S. concerns for alliances and human rights don’t even enter into Trump’s thinking.

What these three leaders have in common is that they are autocrats, whom Mr. Trump admires and believes he can win over with a brand of personal diplomacy that dispenses with briefing papers or talking points and relies instead on a combination of flattery, cajolery and improvisation.

For Trump, the flattery isn’t a tool. It’s the goal. It’s his primary objective. But while Trump is happy to collect very nice words from very bad men, he’s already doing what he can to be sure that the damage he’s done to the United States is spread around the world. As reported in the Washington Post, Trump is working hard to break up not just the NATO alliance, but the European Union.

In a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump asked Macron to leave the EU. As an incentive, he offered Macron a favorable trade deal, one “with better terms than the E.U. as a whole gets from the United States.” That’s Donald Trump attempting to use trade with the world’s largest economy as a lever to crack open the EU. And that’s not a wild conjecture. That’s real. That’s something that already happened.


Source: Potsdam II: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet to divide Europe : Daily Kos

Protests, arrests rock G-20 summit as police clash with activists

‘Around 1,000 members of that march were black-clad anarchists, though the demands and politics of the protesters in Hamburg range wildly. Many said they were demonstrating against globalization and capitalism. Others protested the policies of certain leaders, like Trump, who has targeted immigrants and Muslims, in addition to withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, and authoritarian leaders like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Others expressed dissatisfaction with the outsized importance of the summit, which brings together the world’s 20 most powerful economies and attracts wide-scale protests virtually every year.’

‘The protests also kept some summit attendees indoors. Spouses of world leaders typically attend a host of events during the summit, but U.S. First Lady Melania Trump was unable to leave her accommodations as protesters gathered outside her guest house. “The Hamburg police could not give us clearance to leave,” Stephanie Grisham, a spokesperson for the First Lady, said. “She was prevented from participating in today’s spousal program, which she was looking forward to.”

Trump herself tweeted her concern for those injured in the clashes, while making no connection between the demonstrations and her husband’s policies:’

Source: Protests, arrests rock G-20 summit as police clash with activists

Russia Compiles Psychological Dossier on Trump for Putin – NBC News

The attempt to get inside the U.S. president’s mind is aimed at helping Vladimir Putin plan for their first meeting. Among the dossier’s preliminary conclusions is that Trump is a risk-taker who can be naïve, a senior Kremlin adviser told NBC News.

Source: Russia Compiles Psychological Dossier on Trump for Putin – NBC News