TRUMP, RUSSIA COLLUSION PROBE; ‘plot to frame Special Counsel Robert Mueller’

Women Allegedly Offered Money to Make ‘False Claims’ Against Special Counsel Mueller

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller said cyber security will be the number one future threat in the country, but for the time being, “counterterrorism and stopping terrorist attacks” is more important. (Photo: Kit Fox/Medill Flickr)

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|MSNBC anchor Ari Melber on Tuesday reported on the FBI investigating a “smear plot” against special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Our top story is breaking news unlike anything we’ve seen this year, the FBI is probing a credible plot to frame Bob Mueller,” Melber noted.

Image result for Vermont Law School Professor Jennifer Taub
Law professor Jennifer Taub

“This sounds big and unusual, because it’s big and unusual,” he noted.

“Multiple news outlets reporting tonight on a plot by a Republican-linked operative trying to frame Mueller on what appeared to be made-up allegations of either harassment or sexual misconduct that would be pushed against Mueller,” he reported.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told the FBI that women were allegedly offered money to make “false claims” about him, CNBC reported Tuesday.

The news comes just as conservative commentator Jack Burkman claims to have information about a number of women who were sexually assaulted by Mueller. In a Twitter post Tuesday morning, Burkman said he will reveal the identity of “the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims” on Thursday.

“While the fallout from this quite strange story is obviously still reverberating because this is all brand-new, legal experts and some White House veterans already noting that if the order of what I just told you had been reversed — if, for example, the world first learned about this kind of accusation in theory against Mueller before these leaks about its potentially illegal framing — well, it could have upended his career and the probe into the heart of the Trump presidency,” Melber noted.

“I think this is very important for the public to know,” explained former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman.

“I mean, this is a situation where everything has been thrown at Robert Mueller, they have tried to undermine him through the Congress, they have tried to undermine the Manafort jury deliberation — you had one juror even referring to the whole investigation as a witch hunt, copying basically what [Rudy] Giuliani and Trump have been saying.”

“They have tried everything, so it does not surprise me that they would go to this length of trying to obstruct this entire investigation by going directly after Mueller,” Ackerman concluded.

Vermont Law School Professor Jennifer Taub called-in to the show to explain how she was personally targeted by the scheme.

“What did you make of that inquiry?” Melber asked.

“I found it really creepy, to be honest with you,” she noted. “And immediately upon reading it, I went on the internet to try to find a phone number or some other method to contact the special counsel’s office. And all I could find was an email, so I immediately forwarded the email.

“I have never met Robert Mueller, had no encounters, no phone calls, I don’t know him at all,” she noted. “I have no idea why they came to me.

Vermont Law School associate professor Jennifer Taub spoke with MSNBC anchor Ari Melber

GERMANY CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel: EU May Jointly Stop Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|The leaders of Russia, France, Germany, and Turkey met in Istanbul on October 27 to discuss issues of the Syrian peace settlement. They also discussed the case of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the European Union might make a collective decision to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. At the same time, she agreed with her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that the decision should be made after more is known about those responsible for his death.

Turkish President on Khashoggi’s Case

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier during the Istanbul Summit on Syria that Turkey has shared the results of the investigation into the murder of the Saudi journalist with other leaders in attendance.

While Erdogan praised the results of the discussions between Turkish and Saudi prosecutors working on the Khashoggi case, he also called for Saudi Arabia to reveal the individuals that issued the order to send the 18 people responsible for murdering the journalist.

RUSSIA PRESIDENT Vladmir Putin Signs Counter Sanctions Against Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office at an inauguration ceremony held at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on May 7, 2018. (SPUTNIK PHOTO)

Putin signs decree allowing Russian counter-sanctions against Ukraine – Kremlin website

Putin signs decree allowing Russian counter-sanctions against Ukraine - Kremlin website

US Scrapping The ‘Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces’ Treaty Makes World More Dangerous, Russia Forced To ‘Restore balance’ – Kremlin

The IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their IntermediateRange and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union now Russia

US scrapping INF would make world more dangerous, force Russia to ‘restore balance’ – Kremlin
US Army’s Pershing ballistic missile is ready for firing, Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 21, 1962 © Getty Images

If indeed Washington turns its back on the landmark agreement, the ban on the production of short and intermediate range missiles would be lifted.

Such steps [US quitting the deal], if they are undertaken, will make the world a more dangerous place

US President Donald Trump sent shock waves over the weekend, promising to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Using the evergreen ‘Russia violated agreements’ argument, he called the accord “unacceptable.”

READ MORE: ‘Disastrous decision’: Berlin warns Trump against dismantling INF deal with Russia

Then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the deal in 1987 and it went into effect the next year. It is considered a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers, the USSR and the US.



Withdraw first, ask later: He nuked Russia-US relations, now Bolton arrives in Moscow to talk 

The agreement, in particular, envisioned the elimination of nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Dismissing the allegation that Russia has violated the terms of the deal, Peskov said Moscow is committed to the accord. Notably, he added, Washington has not undertaken any official steps to quit it, which includes a formal notification of withdrawal.

What is the scrapping of the INF Treaty? This means that the US not only discreetly, but openly starts to develop these systems in the future.

Moscow in turn will not sit idly, but will be forced to “restore the balance in this area,” Peskov said.

READ MORE: Moscow to take ‘military-technical’ measures if US goes on breaking treaties – Russian deputy FM

Tensions over the Cold War-era treaty will be on the table during the ongoing visit of US National Security Adviser John Bolton to Moscow. Reiterating that Kremlin has never considered the decades-old pact a relic of the past, Peskov acknowledged that some countries still have started to develop what can be viewed as intermediate- and short-range missiles.

However, Russia and the US “remain two key powers who hold responsibility for the world’s stability and security.”

Trump’s decision raised eyebrows among some of America’s key allies – France and Germany. Paris issued a reminder that the treaty is essential for European stability, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called it “an important pillar of European security architecture.” China also took a hit at Washington insisting that the accord eased international relations and maintained “a global strategic balance.”

On Sunday, top Russian lawmakers denounced Washington’s threats to dump the INF deal, calling it “blackmail.”Scrapping it, would bring the international community closer to nuclear war and “complete chaos” in the field of nuclear weapons. Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet,” Leonid Slutsky, who chairs the International Relations Committee in Russia’s lower parliament house argued.

Trump announces US withdrawal from nuclear arms treaty with Russia

US President Donald Trump accuses Russia of violating the 31-year-old nuclear weapons agreement which prohibits Washington and Moscow from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

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ABCUS President Donald Trump addresses a press conference.
|AIWA! NO!|US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will exit a landmark arms control agreement the US signed with the former Soviet Union, saying that Russia is violating the pact and it’s preventing the US from developing new weapons.
The 1987 pact, which helps protect the security of the US and its allies in Europe and the Far East, prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 483 to 5,472 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).

“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,” Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

The agreement has constrained the US from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said. China is not currently party to the pact.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

Moscow later said that the US withdrawal from the Cold war-era nuclear arms deal is a ‘dangerous step.’

“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.

Bolton heads to Russia

National Security Adviser John Bolton was headed on Saturday to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. His first stop is Moscow, where he’ll meet with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. His visit comes at a time when Moscow-Washington relations also remain frosty over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and upcoming US midterm elections.

There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin or the Russian Foreign Ministry on Trump’s announcement.

Trump didn’t provide details about violations, but in 2017, White House national security officials said Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the treaty. Earlier, the Obama administration accused the Russians of violating the pact by developing and testing a prohibited cruise missile. Russia has repeatedly denied that it has violated the treaty and has accused the United States of not being in compliance.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has previously suggested that a Trump administration proposal to add a sea-launched cruise missile to America’s nuclear arsenal could provide the US with leverage to try to convince Russia to come back in line on the arms treaty.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in February that the country would only consider using nuclear weapons in response to an attack involving nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or in response to a non-nuclear assault that endangered the survival of the Russian nation.

“We are slowly slipping back to the situation of cold war as it was at the end of the Soviet Union, with quite similar consequences, but now it could be worse because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin belongs to a generation that had no war under its belt,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent Russian political analyst.

“These people aren’t as much fearful of a war as people of Brezhnev’s epoch. They think if they threaten the West properly, it gets scared.”

Controversial decision 

Trump’s decision could be controversial with European allies and others who see value in the treaty, said Steven Pifer, a former US ambassador to Ukraine and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on nuclear arms control.

“Once the United States withdraws from the treaty, there is no reason for Russia to even pretend it is observing the limits,” he wrote in a post on the organisation’s website. “Moscow will be free to deploy the 9M729 cruise missile, and an intermediate-range ballistic missile if it wants, without any restraint.”

US officials have previously alleged that Russia violated the treaty by deliberately deploying a land-based cruise missile in order to pose a threat to NATO. Russia has claimed that US missile defences violate the pact.

In the past, the Obama administration worked to convince Moscow to respect the INF treaty but made little progress.

“If they get smart and if others get smart and they say let’s not develop these horrible nuclear weapons, I would be extremely happy with that, but as long as somebody’s violating the agreement, we’re not going to be the only ones to adhere to it,” Trump said.

Putin’s Cyber Terror Attacks Are Just ‘Pilot Projects’; Former UK National Security Adviser

‘Putin’s attacks are drills; practice’ – Diplomat

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia ( REUTERS )

|JOE MURPHY|The Evening Standard|AIWA! NO!|Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spies are mounting cyber attacks as “pilot projects” in readiness for full-blooded attempts to create chaos in the west, the Government’s former chief security adviser warned today.

Lord Ricketts, a senior former diplomat who served as UK National Security Adviser until 2012, spoke out after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused Mr Putin’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU, of a wave of cyber attacks across the globe.

Mr Hunt warned of a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber strikes targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

This morning, Lord Ricketts said he believed the motives varied, but the pattern suggested some were practice runs to test out new cyber warfare  technology.

He said: “I think some of the other attacks look very random and I wonder there whether we are not looking at a kind of pilot project, a ‘proof of concept’, where they were seeing what they could do against the occasion when they want to use it more seriously.

“All of these points of the need to call it out.” The GRU is the same intelligence agency which is accused of carrying out the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury in March.

It is said in intelligence circles to have been encouraged by Mr Putin to adopt a more aggressive approach in recent years.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said that a number of hackers known to have launched attacks have now been identified as members of the GRU.

He added: “I think for the anti-doping agency, Russia was trying to distract from the very serious allegations about Russian athletes, so they were trying to create smoke and obfuscation at  a time when Russia was under  pressure.

“In Ukraine I think it is clear that Russia were trying to destabilize Ukraine.”

Trump Takes U.S. Case To Isolate Iran Before UN Security Council

Trump speech isolates Iran Before UN Security Council; denigrates globalism while promoting isolationism2018-09-26

CRIMSON TAZVINZWA (AFP, AP,AIWA! NO!) U.S. President Donald Trump goes before the United Nations Security Council on September 26 to make his case against Iran, one day after urging all nations at the UN to work with him to isolate Tehran’s leaders.

But with key Iranian allies Russia and China sitting on the 15-member council, and Washington’s European allies at odds with Trump over his decision to walk away from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, the meeting may do little more than highlight the significant divisions over Iran among the world’s powers.

Trump will be wielding the gavel because the United States this month holds the presidency of the Security Council, the top UN body dealing with pressing global security issues.

During his address to the General Assembly on September 25, Trump assailed Iran’s leaders, accusing them of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction” throughout the Middle East and calling on world governments to join him in isolating Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani shot back in a speech hours later, denouncing what he called Washington’s policy of disregarding international agreements and pursuing “might makes right” around the world. He also slammed the planned council meeting as a “preposterous and abnormal act.”

The meeting will show a rift between the United States and its European allies over the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned in May, claiming it would not prevent Iran from eventually developing nuclear weapons.

READ MORE: Rohani Calls U.S. Sanctions ‘Economic Terrorism’

The United States has moved to reimpose sanctions that had been lifted under the landmark deal and has vowed to punish foreign firms that do business with Iran.

On September 24, the five remaining parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — announced that they would set up a special payment system to continue trade and business ties with Iran.

The United States initially said the council meeting chaired by Trump would focus on Iran but later broadened the agenda to include nuclear nonproliferation and weapons of mass destruction.

That opens the door to addressing allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria and Britain this year, as well as Trump’s and the council’s efforts to curb North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The usual practice is for the chair to speak last at council meetings, but in this instance Trump will be the first to address the chamber, followed by other heads of state.

French President Emmanuel Macron will address the council, as will British Prime Minister Theresa May. Russia and China will be represented by their foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi.

Iran has not requested to speak at the council meeting, diplomats said, although Rohani will hold a press conference soon after it is due to end.

It will be only the third time in UN history that a U.S. president will chair a Security Council meeting. Barack Obama presided over two meetings in 2009 and 2014.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said she expects Trump’s appearance “to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever.”

Trump is one of around 130 world leaders attending the UN General Assembly in New York, which formally began on September 25.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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