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Merkel survives as German Chancellor as SPD backs ‘Grand Coalition’

SPD grassroots agree to coalition rather than face an election which threatens disaster for their party

Alexander Mercouris




German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains Chancellor of Germany after a vote by the SPD’s grassroots gave the SPD’s leadership the mandate it needed to continue its “grand coalition’ with her.

The majority of 66% for the “grand coalition” amongst SPD members was decisive.

I have written previously how this is the worst possible result for Germany, perpetuating a “grand coalition” government which in the September parliamentary elections visibly lost support, and which is unwanted by the German public.

In the event the very unpopularity of the decision to continue with the “grand coalition” seems to have worked in its favour.

Ever since it became know that the SPD’s leadership was looking to revive the “grand coalition” with Angela Merkel the SPD’s popularity has sunk like a stone.  Not only has it fallen to a simply calamitous 15-16% in recent opinion polls – down from an already disastrous 20.5% in the September election – but two opinion polls have even placed it behind the AfD.

Unsurprisingly the SPD’s collapsing poll rating appears to have spooked its membership, which accordingly rallied to the “grand coalition” proposal in order to avoid another election in which the SPD risked annihilation.

That the result will not provide Germany with the strong government it needs is not just my opinion.

It is also that of the Times of London with which for once I find myself in complete agreement.  I reproduce what it says in its editorial commenting on the revival of Germany’s ‘grand coalition’ today

Mrs Merkel is a diminished presence in a diminished coalition. At the general election almost half a year ago, the CDU and CSU bled votes as disappointed conservatives either stayed at home or headed for the far-right anti-immigrant party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD). The Social Democrats recorded their worst postwar result. The centre is shrinking and there is nothing very grand any more about the grand coalition. The AfD, seen only recently as an upstart protest party, is now Germany’s chief political opposition.

The respect for Mrs Merkel over the past 12 years derived from her durability and her skill in forging a political consensus at home and abroad. It would be foolish to bet on those qualities seeing her through another full term. She is ruling on borrowed time. Six months of her four-year term have been gnawed away in coalition negotiations. The 177-page coalition agreement indicates that her position could be reviewed in two years’ time. The pressure will be on her party to come up with a credible successor, one that can shift the CDU back to the centre right rather than some ill- defined middle ground. The Social Democrats, meanwhile, will be subject to intense lobbying from the youth wing to move the left and start carving out alternatives to marriage with Mrs Merkel.

The resuscitated Merkel coalition is attractive to the EU because it seems to promise stability. In fact, instability is built into its genes. Social Democrats voted to preserve the alliance not out of enthusiasm but out of fear of new elections. Its miserable 20 per cent share of the vote has shrunk even further according to pollsters; a fresh election risked the humiliation of being beaten into third place by the AfD.

In passing, I should say that one person who I suspect is looking upon the revival of Germany’s ‘grand coalition’ with a measure of quiet relief is Russian President Putin.

Though it is no secret that Putin and Merkel do not get on well with each other, and that Putin would be delighted to see the back of her, the political party in Germany with which Putin has the strongest contacts is the SPD.

Not only are he and former SPD leader Gerhard Schröder close friends, but Putin has forged close ties with other prominent SPD figures such as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

The SPD is also the strongest supporter within Germany of Nord Stream 2.

By contrast Putin has no close contacts with the Free Democrats with whom Merkel was originally seeking to go into a so-called ‘Jamaica coalition’ with, whilst the Greens – the third party in the proposed ‘Jamaica coalition’ – are straightforwardly hostile to him.

Moreover it seems that the Free Democrats are unenthusiastic about Nord Stream 2, whilst the Greens straightforwardly oppose it.

Revival of the ‘grand coalition’, whatever harm it may do to Germany, at least provides Putin with people in the German government he can talk and work with, whilst it provides at least some guarantee that Nord Stream 2 will be built, with completion of the project due next year.

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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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