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The Duran’s Editor-in-Chief, Alexander Mercouris, on RT’s CrossTalk (VIDEO)

Alexander Mercouris, Editor-in-Chief of The Duran, discusses topics ranging from Syria, Ukraine, Russia, and the US presidential race on RT’s most acclaimed debate program, CrossTalk.

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“The Syrian quagmire: What are Washington’s goals and who exactly are the moderates? In Ukraine, now all journalists are a target – so much for western values. Also, the US Army will have you believe America is in danger of being ‘outgunned’ by Russia. And the soap opera known as the US presidential race.”

Fellow guests include Mark Sleboda and Timofei Bordachev.

Via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXWQocOywcg

 

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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Republicans call Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British Spy Steele? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 78.

Alex Christoforou

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Representative Mark Meadows tweeted Friday…

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+ contacts with dossier author Chris Steele, as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth.”

Lawmakers believe former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr is a central figure to finding out how the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid PR smear firm Fusion GPS and British spy Christopher Steele to fuel a conspiracy of Trump campaign collusion with Russians at the top levels of the Justice Department and the FBI.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Sunday to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo…

So here you have information flowing from the Clinton campaign from the Russians, likely — I believe was handed directly from Russian propaganda arms to the Clinton campaign, fed into the top levels of the FBI and Department of Justice to open up a counter-intelligence investigation into a political campaign that has now polluted nearly every top official at the DOJ and FBI over the course of the last couple years. It is absolutely amazing,

According to Breitbart, during the 2016 election, Ohr served as associate deputy attorney general, and as an assistant to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. His office was four doors down from Rosenstein on the fourth floor. He was also dual-hatted as the director of the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Ohr’s contacts with Steele, an ex-British spy, are said to date back more than a decade. Steele is a former FBI informant who had helped the FBI prosecute corruption by FIFA officials. But it is Ohr and Steele’s communications in 2016 that lawmakers are most interested in.

Emails handed over to Congress by the Justice Department show that Ohr, Steele, and Simpson communicated throughout 2016, as Steele and Simpson were being paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to dig up dirt on Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the role Bruce Ohr played in Hillary Clinton’s Deep State attack against the Presidency of Donald Trump, and why the most central of figures in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, British spy for hire Christopher Steele, is not sitting before Congress, testifying to the real election collusion between the UK, the Obama White House, the FBI and the DOJ.

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Via The Washington Times

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

 

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How Russia will respond to America’s latest sanctions… (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 77.

Alex Christoforou

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With no evidence produced, in what has been an international embarrassment for the Theresa May government, the US is joining in on the UK’s Skripal poisoning lie by imposing new sanctions on Russia.

The new sanctions issued as punishment for a “highly likely” chance that Russia poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal, are scheduled to go into effect on or around August 22, according to the US State Department.

“The United States…determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Wednesday.

News of the sanctions left London delighted as the UK Foreign Office issued this giddy statement…

“The UK welcomes this further action by our US allies.”

“The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behavior will not go unchallenged.”

This latest sanctions row helps distract the public, if only for a few moments, away from the UK’s meddling in the US elections courtesy of “super spy” Christopher Steele, who was paid by the FBI and the Clinton campaign to derail Trump’s presidency with a ridiculous ‘dossier’ packed full of fiction.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle, Editor-in-Chief of The Duran Alexander Mercouris, and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine what effect, if any, the latest US sanctions set to placed on Russia will have, and what tools does Moscow have in its arsenal to deliver some hurt back towards the DC swamp that is pushing this financial war.

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Via RT

Washington’s reported plans to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow have sparked heated debates both in the US and in Russia over which country will be hurt more.

The US has hinted that it would target exports of sensitive national security goods to Russia, stop flights by Russia’s Aeroflot airlines to the US, and could go as far as banning all US exports to Russia. According to the US State Department, the proposed measures come in response to the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. Russia has denied the accusation and has repeatedly called for an objective international inquiry.

Considering the fact that Washington has sanctioned pretty much everything Russian there is to sanction and that Moscow has refrained from using its big guns against the US, Russia has some interesting options if it needs to respond this time around.

So far, Russian lawmakers have warned that the new punitive measures might be met with tough retaliation that would target some sensitive areas of cooperation between the countries. RT decided to look deeper into the list of potential reciprocal measures Moscow could deploy to hurt the Americans.

RT highlights five way in which Russia could respond to the latest round of US sanctions.

Titanium

In case of an all-out sanctions exchange, the Russian government could place either a ban or some other kind of restriction on exports of titanium to the US. Russian titanium monopoly VSMPO-Avisma produces a third of the world’s titanium parts for the aircraft industry. The company delivers 70 percent of its products to the global market. Avisma provides 40 percent of titanium components for Boeing and 60 percent for Airbus, and covers all titanium components for Brazil’s Embraer.

Replacing Russian titanium would be next to impossible for Boeing. Industrial work with titanium began simultaneously in the US and USSR in the 1950s. However, only Russia has been successful in producing high-quality titanium alloys.

Using other materials is also not an ideal option for Boeing. Titanium has major advantages over other alloys. Aircraft construction requires the use of materials that can withstand the severe pressures of flight at high altitudes, as well as constant exposure to the elements. Traditionally, aircraft were made of steel, but lighter, more durable materials are now used to extend the life of aircraft and make them more energy-efficient. Titanium is as strong as steel but 45 percent lighter. It can withstand long periods of exposure to salt water in marine atmospheres. The strength of titanium makes it difficult to weld, which contributes to its high price compared to steel and aluminum.

Airspace

Situated strategically between Europe and Asia, Russia could introduce higher tariffs for the transit use of its airspace for all US cargo and passenger planes, or could ban the flights altogether.

In best-case scenario, American carriers would either have to pay the higher tariffs or choose alternative air routes. But losing shorter Russian routes from Europe to Asia also means losing to the competition from European and Asian airlines.

At worst, there would be no choice but to fly around the world’s biggest country, which would significantly add to fuel costs. Either way, American carriers would bear heavy financial losses which would be a disaster for the US airline industry.

LNG & other energy

Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other energy products from Russia to the US could also be banned. Russia’s reported exports of oil and petrochemicals to the US makes up just $8 billion worth, which is just 4.6 percent of Russia’s entire energy exports. The ban would be relatively painless for Russian producers who could easily re-channel those shipments to Asian buyers.

But it could be a different story for the US, which is trying to become a major player in energy exports. Unable to produce enough for domestic consumption and exports and not having enough LNG tankers, the US reportedly resells Russian LNG to European countries. If Russia cuts off energy supplies, American plans of becoming a major energy exporter would have to be put on hold.

US companies in Russia

Despite worsening relations between Moscow and Washington, many American corporations are continuing to work in Russia without interference from the Russian government. In retaliation to any new US sanctions, Russia could make life difficult for such corporations as PepsiCo, Procter&Gamble, McDonald’s, Boeing, Mondelez International, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Cargill, Alcoa, General Electric and many other companies. In August 2014, Russia’s consumer watchdog shut down four McDonald’s restaurants in central Moscow over “administrative violations,” launching investigations into more than 430 Russian franchises of the company.

On the other hand, there are very few Russian companies in the United States. Washington would find it difficult to respond with mirror measures. The only consideration for the Kremlin in targeting American businesses in Russia is domestic employment, since these companies provide jobs for Russian citizens.

Russian rockets

Supplies of RD-180 rocket engines are seen as one of Russia’s trump cards in retaliation to US sanctions. The engines are crucial for the US space program as NASA and the Pentagon use them to launch American satellites. Attempts to stop buying them from Russia have failed because the US has been unable to produce a domestic alternative.

The engines are used to power Atlas V rockets. Apart from RD-180 engines, the US buys Russian RD-181s. The RD-181 engine is used to power the Antares rockets that launch Cygnus cargo tugs to the International Space Station for NASA. Earlier this week, a senior Russian lawmaker said that Moscow could ban the sale of RD-180s as retaliatory measure.

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