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Merkel attacks latest US anti-Russia sanctions

German Chancellor Merkel makes clear through her spokesman that she opposes the anti-Russian sanctions bill passed by the US Senate, which threatens Germany’s vital economic interests.

Alexander Mercouris




Shortly after the joint statement of the German and Austrian foreign ministers angrily denouncing the new sanctions against Russia voted on by the US Senate, Angela Merkel has added her voice to the protest and is making her opposition to the latest sanctions clear.

In her usual Sphinx like way Merkel avoided making a statement herself.  However her views have been made known by her spokesman Steffen Seibert in a briefing earlier today

There is considerable assent to the contents of this statement. The chancellor shares fears listed in the text……the case in hand are sanctions for Russia’s steps but which affect European companies.  It is inadmissible.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Foreign Minister who issued the joint statement criticising the Senate’s sanctions with the foreign minister of Austria yesterday, is a member of the SPD, whose Martin Schulz is challenging Merkel in the parliamentary elections in the autumn.  Gabriel moreover is known to be a strong supporter of close ties between Germany and Russia.  There was therefore some doubt about whether yesterday’s statement reflected the united opinion of the whole German government or that of just Gabriel and the SPD.

Seibert’s comment on Merkel’s behalf settles the issue, and makes it clear that yesterday’s statement does reflect the united opinion of the whole German government.

Yesterday’s German-Austrian joint statement makes clear what is the cause of Germany’s anger.  It contains this paragraph

To threaten companies from Germany, Austria and other European states with penalties on the U.S. market if they participate in natural gas projects such as Nord Stream 2 with Russia or finance them introduces a completely new and very negative quality into European-American relations.

In other words, the Germans are willing to support sanctions against Russia provided they do not affect their economic interests.  Since the Germans consider Nord Stream 2 to be essential to their economic interests, they are reacting furiously against what they perceive to be US threats to derail the project by threatening penalties on their companies.

The episode once again shows the trap Merkel led Germany into by reversing the Ostpolitik policy Germany has followed since the 1960s by backing in July 2014 the sanctions US President Obama was pressing her to impose on Russia.

It is often said, quite correctly, that Russia is for Germany a relatively minor trading partner and that the impact of the sanctions on the German economy has been small.  Whilst this is true it ignores the greater truth that – as I had repeatedly heard for myself – the German business community before the sanctions had come to think of Russia as they key to Germany’s economic future: a huge country of boundless economic opportunities, culturally and geographically close to Russia, with a strongly pro-German President, which had the potential to be for Germany what the West was for the United States.

Whether this view was ever realistic is another matter.  However, as I saw and heard for myself, in Germany it was widely held.

Beyond that there is the further factor that with Germany intent on closing down its nuclear and coal industries the obvious source for Germany of cheap energy is Russia.

Merkel’s decision in July 2014 to slap sanctions on Russia brought the first part of this strategy to a grinding stop, whilst as is now clear it has also exposed the second part of this strategy – the part that relates to Germany’s energy security – to the vagaries of the political conflicts currently raging in the US,

It has also left Germany hostage to the political whims of an unstable and extremist Ukrainian government, which it has become increasingly clear Merkel has neither the will nor the ability to control.

Merkel took this step in July 2014 because she was assured by Germany’s intelligence agency the BND that Putin would quickly capitulate in the face of the sanctions or risk an oligarch led coup.  Since it became clear in the autumn of 2014 that that wasn’t going to happen she has looked increasingly at sea, with no clear idea of what to do.

On the one hand Merkel clearly does not want to put herself in a position where before an election she appears to be sacrificing Germany’s economic interests to the political whims of politicians in the US at a time when those same economic interests are being defended by the SPD, and this explains why she has got her spokesman to make the comments he made today.  On the other hand, as her comments during her recent trip to Russia show, she cannot bring herself to admit defeat by agreeing to have the existing sanctions lifted.

Sooner or later patience in Germany is going to snap.   In the meantime by supporting Gabriel’s statement Merkel has once against done what she does best: buy herself time.

Given the weakness of the alternatives to her, it will almost certainly be enough to get Merkel through the election in November.  However if the crises in either Ukraine or the US – over both of which Merkel has no control – escalate, she could find herself in trouble.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko



Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou



A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou



US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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