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Mueller’s questions to Trump: more those of a prosecuting attorney than of an impartial investigator

Mueller’s proposed questions to Trump show that Trump remains Mueller’s ultimate target

Alexander Mercouris

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Ever since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rostenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Special Counsel to investigate the Russiagate collusion allegations, there has been a huge amount of speculation about what if any information Mueller may have which he has not publicly divulged.

Mueller has however succeeded in running an exceptionally tight ship, with no leaks from his investigation to speak of.

The situation has now changed with the leak – possibly by someone in the Trump administration rather than the Mueller’s team – of the questions Mueller apparently wants to ask Donald Trump.  These provide a fascinating insight into the state of his inquiry.

Here is my take on these questions:

(1) Robert Mueller is in possession of no facts which have not previously been made public. 

Every single one of the questions is obviously drawn on information which has already been made public and which has been widely discussed.

The New York Times claims one exception.

What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?

Concerning which question The New York Times has this to say

This is one of the most intriguing questions on the list.  It is not clear whether Mr. Mueller knows something new, but there is no publicly available information linking Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, to such outreach.  So his inclusion here is significant.  Mr. Manafort’s longtime colleague, Rick Gates, is cooperating with Mr. Mueller.

(bold italics added)

As with so much of The New York Times’s reporting of the Russiagate scandal, I find this claim astonishing.

I have no idea whether Rick Gates has told Mueller’s investigators anything about any outreach by Paul Manafort to Russia, though I have to say that I think it extremely unlikely.

However it is simply not true that there has been “no publicly available information linking Manafort to outreach to Russia”.

On the contrary that “publicly available information” has existed since the summer of 2016, was made “publicly available” in February 2016, and has been the subject of exhaustive discussion ever since.

It is of course the Trump Dossier, in which Manafort plays a starring role as the mastermind of the supposed conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It seems that now that the Trump Dossier is publicly discredited The New York Times – Stalinist style – treats it as if it doesn’t exist.

An interesting approach from the “paper of record”.

(2) Donald Trump continues to be Robert Mueller’s target

Recently there have been media reports that Robert Mueller’s investigators have informed Donald Trump that he is not a target of the Mueller investigation.

The highly aggressive questions Mueller wants to ask Trump however tell a very different story.  The consistent theme behind them is of a Donald Trump who is very much at the centre of all sorts of nefarious activities.

Frankly they do not look like the sort of questions an investigator asks if he searching for the truth.  Rather they look like cross examination by prosecuting Counsel.

In light of this Trump’s hesitation in submitting himself to an interview by Mueller in which these sort of questions are asked is fully understandable.

I suspect his lawyers are advising him against it.

(3) Obstruction of Justice has replaced collusion with Russia as the focus of the Mueller probe

When around the time of former FBI Director James Comey’s admittedly botched dismissal the issue of obstruction of justice first arose, it seemed to me so farfetched that I could not bring myself to believe that Mueller or anyone else would seriously entertain it.

As I pointed out at the time the Russiagate investigation was at that point in time still a counterespionage inquiry rather than a crime inquiry, as had recently been confirmed by no less a person than James Comey himself in his March 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.

As it happens it is a moot point when exactly the Russiagate investigation did become a criminal inquiry and not just a counterespionage inquiry.

My guess is that no such formal decision was ever taken, but that Mueller himself simply decided as soon as he was appointed Special Counsel that he was conducting a criminal inquiry as well as a counterespionage inquiry.

The point is apparently being pursued by Paul Manafort’s lawyers in the case Mueller has brought against him.  It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Irrespective of this, the fact that the Russiagate investigation was apparently still a counterespionage inquiry as opposed to a criminal inquiry when Comey was sacked made it impossible for me to see how Comey’s sacking could amount to an obstruction of justice.

What I was of course at that time completely unaware of was of the discussions which had previously passed between Trump and Comey about General Flynn.

A memo Comey wrote up after one of these discussions has been seized on by Trump’s critics as evidence that he attempted to block the FBI’s investigation into whether or not General Flynn had committed an offence under the Logan Act by talking whilst a member of the Trump transition team to Russian ambassador Kislyak, and that this amounts to an obstruction of justice.

When early accounts of the contents of this memo appeared I expressed my strong doubt that its contents as they were being reported showed that there had been any obstruction of justice by Donald Trump of the investigation of General Flynn

……..since Comey’s note shows Trump neither instructing Comey nor requesting Comey to drop the investigation against Flynn, nor of Trump putting pressure on Comey to do so, but merely shows Trump expressing the “hope” Comey would do so, in any sane world no charge of obstructing justice or of perverting the course of justice brought upon it could possibly stick.

The redacted text of this and of Comey’s other memos has now been published, and the relevant sections of the memo read as follows

He [Donald Trump – AM] began by saying he “wanted to talk about Mike Flynn”.  He then said that although Flynn “hadn’t done anything wrong” in his call with the Russians (a point he made at least two more times in the conversation), he had to let him go because he misled the Vice-President and, in any event, he had concerns about Flynn, and had a great guy coming in, so he had to let Flynn go…..

…..He then referred at length to the leaks relating to Mike Flynn’s call with the Russians, which he stressed was not wrong in any way (“he made lots of calls”), but that the leaks were terrible.

I tried to interject several times to agree with him about the leaks being terrible, but was unsuccessful.  When he finished, I said that I agreed very much that it was terrible that his calls with foreign leaders leaked.  I said they were classified and he needed to be able to speak to foreign leaders in confidence…..

He then returned to the subject of Mike Flynn, saying that Flynn is a good guy, and has been through a lot.  He misled the Vice-President but he didn’t do anything wrong in the call.  He said, “I hope you can see your way to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.  He is a good guy.  I hope you can let this go.”  I replied by saying, “I agree he is a good guy”, but said no more.

(bold italics added)

The entirety of the memo in fact shows that the main subject of the conversation and Donald Trump’s major concern as of the time when the conversation took place was not General Flynn or the case against him but the systematic campaign of leaks which were undermining his administration.

The memo shows Trump putting pressure on Comey to investigate the leaks and Comey resisting doing so.  Whilst Comey purported to agree with Trump that the leaks were terrible and that the leakers should be punished, he resisted Trump’s suggestion that the most effective way to go after the leakers was to go after the reporters they were leaking to.

The reason Trump brought up the subject of Flynn was because his case was a particularly egregious example of a career that had been destroyed by unauthorised and illegal leaking.

In this Trump was undoubtedly right.

Over the course of this discussion – and obviously so as to emphasise the point -Trump made the further point – which is no longer disputed by anyone – that Flynn had done nothing wrong in his conversations with Kislyak, and had done nothing to deserve having his career and reputation destroyed by illegal leaking.

The memo shows that it was in the context of these observations about the way Flynn was brought down by illegal leaking that Trump made his comments about the investigation of Flynn.

Trump’s point was that the investigation of Flynn for committing an offence under the Logan Act (initiated by former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates). coming on top of the illegal leaks which had destroyed his career, was tough on Flynn given that he had done nothing wrong.

Accordingly Trump said to Comey that he hoped Comey would be able to find a way to “letting [the case against Flynn] go”.

It was a minor aside and it is unlikely Trump gave much thought to it.  Certainly it was not intended as any sort of instruction to Comey to drop the inquiry, and the entirety of the text of the memo shows that Comey never thought it was.

In fact the memo shows that Comey agreed with Trump.

The words in the memo which I have highlighted (“I agreed very much that it was terrible that his calls with foreign leaders leaked. I said they were classified and he needed to be able to speak to foreign leaders in confidence”) have attracted remarkably little attention.  However they show clearly that Comey also thought that Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was lawful.

No other explanation for his words as he himself has reported them in his memo – “he needed to be able to speak to foreign leaders in confidence” – is possible.

In other words the memo shows that not only did Trump not instruct or request Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn or put pressure on Comey to do so, but on the contrary he and Comey had what was essentially a consensual conversation in which they both agreed with each other that (1) leaks are terrible; (2) Flynn had been appallingly treated by having his career and reputation destroyed by leaks; and (3) in his conversation with Kislyak Flynn had done nothing wrong.

Given that this is so it is simply impossible to see how an obstruction of justice charge can be put together from this material.

Nonetheless the drift of Mueller’s questions to Trump suggests that this is still what Mueller is trying to do.

A disproportionate number of Mueller’s questions concern Trump’s various interactions with Comey.  These include but are not limited to Trump’s interactions with Comey which concerned Flynn.

In addition Mueller wants to ask Trump questions about his thoughts about Comey and his reasons for dismissing Comey, all of which suggest an attempt to catch Trump in some sort of obstruction of justice charge in relation to the circumstances of Comey’s dismissal, about which however see above.

There is also a number of questions concerning Trump’s sometimes fraught relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the clear implication of which is that Trump’s widely known and publicly expressed anger about Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russiagate inquiry stems from anger that Sessions would no longer be able to protect Trump from it.

Even if that is so – which it probably is – I cannot see how it amounts to obstruction of justice.  Anger that Sessions had recused himself from the Russiagate inquiry and would no longer be able to protect the President is surely no more than a thought crime even if it were true, which it probably is.

Last I heard thought crimes are not actionable in America.  However,judging from his questions, Mueller still seems intent on pursuing this one.

(4) The collusion narrative has collapsed

By comparison with the disproportionate number of questions devoted to the obstruction of justice allegations, the questions about the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia – the investigation of which was supposed to be the object of the Mueller inquiry – look threadbare.

All of them cover old ground, in which all the facts are known.

The first two questions concern the now notorious meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 between Donald Trump Junior and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

The lack of substance to this meeting, and the extent to which it is truly a non-story, has been brilliantly explained by Ronald Kessler in The Washington Times

When it comes to President Trump and the question of collusion with Russia, there is indeed a smoking gun. But it’s not the June 2016 meeting that Donald Trump Jr., along with campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, held in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

The lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, duped Don Jr. into setting up the meeting by claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. In fact, the meeting was a bait and switch. It turned out the lawyer had no meaningful information to offer on Mrs. Clinton. Rather, she wanted to interest the Trump team in a Moscow initiative to allow American families to adopt Russian children.

The meeting, which lasted 20 minutes, was the sort any political campaign or media outlet would have agreed to. Like investigative reporters, political operatives want to obtain tips, even if most of the time the proffered information turns out to be of no value. In this case, nothing came of the meeting. In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s campaign actually helped pay for a dossier of almost entirely false accusations about Mr. Trump, some of which a British former intelligence official obtained from Russian contacts.

According to journalistic standards that existed decades ago, the fact that such a meeting took place would not have even been a story. The pretext for the meeting was a hoax, and nothing resulted from it. To suggest by running a story that there was something nefarious about it was unfair. But in today’s politically charged media world, the meeting became an immediate sensation as part of a narrative — pushed by the media and Democrats — suggesting that the Trump campaign illegally colluded with Russia.

I have nothing to add to this masterful analysis save to say that the fact that Mueller is continuing to ask questions about a meeting at which exactly nothing happened is testimony to the hollowness of the whole collusion narrative the investigation of which Mueller’s inquiry is supposed to be about.

Summary

When Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel I welcomed his appointment.

What I had heard about Mueller suggested that he would be a safe pair of hands who would put the whole preposterous Russiagate conspiracy theory to bed.

It is with frank embarrassment that I repeat what I wrote about him at the time of his appointment

…….it is essential that with Comey gone the Russiagate investigation is put in the charge of a safe pair of hands, and of someone who will not be seen as the President’s defender, and whose eventual findings are accepted, and Mueller seems by most accounts to be the sort of person to do that…..

Mueller appears to be a good choice for the job.  He was a well regarded FBI director, staying in post from 2001 – when he was appointed by George W. Bush – until his retirement in 2013, when Comey replaced him.  During that period he resisted the George W. Bush administration’s attempts to introduce interrogation methods since characterised as torture as part of the so-called ‘war on terror’.  As someone well known to the staff of the FBI, he looks like the obvious person to do the job, and to steady the ship, and – hopefully – to bring some sanity to this investigation.

Mueller’s job will now be to bring order to the mess Comey has created, and to bring the various investigations into Russiagate that Obama’s Justice Department initiated to a proper close.  If he does his job properly – and if he is left alone to do it – it should all be over by the summer.

It has long since become clear that far from Mueller being the safe pair of hands I took him for, he is someone who sees his task as protecting the Justice Department and the FBI (which he largely built up) from someone who he obviously considers to be an angry and potentially vengeful President.

His proposed questions show that he still has the President in his sights, and that Mueller is pulling out all the stops to bring him down.

Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to Mueller’s investigation as a witch-hunt, and he is right.

The questions Mueller is seeking to ask Trump confirm as much.

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Crimea: The Geopolitical Jewel Russia Continues to Polish

As Putin continues to polish his Black Sea jewel, Europe has to decide if it is going to continue playing the U.S’s games over Ukraine or begin the next phase of its independence.

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Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


With all that is happening in the world Crimea has taken a bit of a backseat recently. Yes, the US, EU and Canada just added more sanctions on Russia via the odious Magnitsky legislation but this is inconsequential.

There’s been a flurry of good news coming out of Crimea and the Black Sea recently that bears discussion. Let’s start with the most important. President Vladimir Putin was in Crimea earlier this week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. There he also officially inaugurated two major upgrades to Crimea’s power grid.

Located in Simferopol and Sevastopol, two new power plants will produce 940 megawatts and secure Crimea’s energy needs for now and into the future.

Power has been Crimea’s Achilles’ heel since breaking off from Ukraine in 2014. It received almost 90% of its power from the mainland. In November 2015, the trunk lines into Crimea were sabotaged by Ukrainian nationalist radicals, encouraged by President Petro Poroshenko plunging it into darkness as winter took hold.

Does this sound familiar? A place that defies US edicts geopolitically is first hit with a full trade embargo, sanctions and threatened militarily by proxies before having its electricity shut off?

*Cough* Venezuela *Cough*

And there are reports that the US has game-planned a similar fate for Iran as well. For Crimea it was easy because of the single-point-of-failure, the trunks from the mainland. For Venezuela it was as well, with the Guri dam, which affected nearly 70 percent of the country.

So, Putin timing the fifth anniversary of reunification with the announcement of the plants moving to full operational status was yet another smooth bit of international political maneuvering.

A not-so-subtle poke in the eye of the Gang Who Can’t Sanction Straight in D.C. as well as lame duck Poroshenko. Elections are at the end of the month and this celebration by Russia and Crimea will not sit well with many Ukrainians, especially the diaspora here in the US which is virulently anti-Putin in my experience.

Secure and stable power generation is a hallmark of a first world territory. Without that economic growth and stability are impossible. This is why to first help stabilize the situation in Crimea after the blackout Russia brought in 400 MW of power across the Kerch Strait from Krasnodor.

Tying Crimea to the mainland via the Kerch Strait bridge was a masterstroke by Putin. The initial power lines were simply a necessity. For those that complain he isn’t doing enough to counter US and European aggression need only look at the Kerch Strait bridge.

Not only did the Russians not seek international approval given the nearly universal refusal to recognize Crimea as Russian they built the thing in a time frame that defies description.

Imagine if this had been an EU project. They would still be debating the initial engineering plans and the political effects on some protected minority.

Not only does it open up the Eastern Black Sea to trade via Crimea but it ends the use of the Sea of Azov as a potential staging ground for naval provocations as last fall’s incident proved. Ukraine is cut off from acting aggressively and cannot count on any help from the US and Europe.

Moreover, Crimea is now permanently Russia’s. And every bit of infrastructure Russia builds there ties the two further together and weakens any bonds Crimea had with Ukraine. The resultant growth and modernization will make its way, economically and culturally back into southern Ukraine and erode the hard border over time.

This is far more important than striking out and metaphorically punching Poroshenko in the mouth, that many of Putin’s detractors wish for.

Presidents change, after all. Patience and attrition is how you beat an aggressive, distant enemy like the US

To remind everyone just how insane the Trump White House has become on matters international, no less than Vice President Mike Pence lobbied Germany to provoke another naval incident at the Kerch Strait.

If there was ever an example of how little Trump’s gang of moldy neocons think of Europe it is this bit of news. In effect, Pence was saying, “We can’t start a war with Russia because it would go nuclear, but you can because Russia can’t live without your trade.”

This coming after the US unilaterally pulled out of the INF treaty and is now flying nuclear bombers to eastern Europe. The message is clear. If the EU doesn’t get with this open-ended belligerent program against Russia and China of John Bolton’s they will be the ones paying the price when chaos breaks out.

On the other side there is Putin; building bridges, pipelines, power plants and roads.

He’s making it clear what the future holds not only for Europe but the Middle East, central Asia and India. We will defend Crimea at all costs, develop it not only into a tourist destination but also a major trade hub as well.

You are more than welcome to join us. But, we don’t need you.

These power plants will raise Crimea’s power output well beyond its current needs, allowing first export of power as well as providing the foundation for future growth.

And as if it weren’t coordinated in any way, the Chinese, on the morning of Putin’s speech, announced that Crimea would be an excellent fit for investment projects attached to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

That’s according to the head of the association of Chinese compatriots on the peninsula, Ge Zhili. “Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges and friendly contacts with the Crimean society,” he said at an event dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, which was held in the Russian Embassy in Beijing on Monday.

It is also ready to contribute to the establishment of “reliable partner ties” and the explanation of legal details of business cooperation with Crimea, Ge Zhili said. “The Chinese society hopes for the development of friendly cooperation with Crimea; we are ready to overcome difficulties for fruitful results.”

Again this is a direct challenge to the US who has Crimea under strict sanctions in the West. China is happy now to move forward with integrating Crimea into its plans. It’s just another example of how Russia and China simply ignore Trump’s fulminations and move on.

I can’t wait until I get to write this article all over again, this time about North Korea, now that Bolton has thrown Russian and Chinese assistance in getting North Korea to the negotiating table back in their face by destroying the Hanoi talks.

This announcement is not to be underestimated given that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is in Rome this week to open up relations with the new Italian government. Five Star Movement’s Leader Luigi Di Maio said he would welcome becoming a part of BRI, much to the consternation of Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as his coalition partner Lega Leader Matteo Salvini.

It’s already well known that Salvini is interested in ending sanctions on Crimea and re-opening trade with Russia. Italy is desperate for new markets and opportunities, currently stifled under the euro itself as well as Germany’s insistence on austerity hollowing out Italy’s economy and its future prospects.

These issues as well as energy security ones are coming to a head this year with Brexit, the European Parliamentary elections in May and the completion of the Nordstream 2 pipeline later this year.

As Putin continues to polish his Black Sea jewel, Europe has to decide if it is going to continue playing the U.S’s games over Ukraine or begin the next phase of its independence. Salvini will lead a Euroskeptic revolt within the European Parliament in May. It may be big enough to finally defy Merkel and end EU sanctions on Russia over Crimea.

At that point the US will also have a choice, burn down the world economy with even more sanctions, tariffs and acts of war or accept the facts on the ground.

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Moment of Truth on Second Referendum: The Plan All Along or a Head Fake?

If we assume a third meaningful vote goes ahead next week that included the provision for a second referendum, and that it passes with a majority, the motivation for extending Article 50 would then be clear.

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Authored by Steven Guinness:


The news that Theresa May has officially requested an extension to Article 50 until the end of June has been in the making since the European Court of Justice announced in December 2018 that the UK has the right to unilaterally revoke the article at any point prior to the UK leaving the EU.

In an article published at the time, I argued that the ECJ’s decision was designed to begin the process of the government legislating for a second referendum. To quickly summarise what has happened since, in the past three months the Brexit withdrawal agreement was rejected twice by the House of Commons, Theresa May survived a series of no confidence votes, parliament stated its opposition to both a no deal scenario and holding a second referendum before supporting an extension to Article 50, and finally speaker John Bercow announced that the government would only be allowed to put the Brexit withdrawal agreement to parliament again if it contained a ‘new‘ proposition.

Regular readers will know that since last year my position on Brexit has been consistent, in that I believe a no deal exit from the EU is the most likely outcome and that a ‘People’s Vote‘ could be used to facilitate this eventuality.

One explanation for why the Prime Minister has requested only a three month extension to Article 50 is that it would avoid the UK having to take part in upcoming EU parliamentary elections. Whilst this is possible, I do not think it is the primary reason.

Last week, Independent MP Sarah Wollaston tabled an amendment that called for Article 50 to be extended and for a second referendum on Brexit to be held. The amendment was comprehensively defeated, with the majority of the opposition Labour party abstaining from the vote. Elements of the party and The People’s Vote campaign went on record as saying that the timing of the amendment was too soon, and so as a result they did not rally behind it.

As with other supposed set backs to another vote, critics rounded on the news believing that the result killed off any prospect of another referendum from materialising. As I have stressed before, this interpretation is I believe premature.

On the same day as Wollaston’s defeated amendment, parliament voted by a majority to take no deal ‘off the table‘. But this was only in relation to the exit date of March 29th. It did not account for an extension of Article 50 and with that a new exit date.

It also needs to be stressed that the motions against a no deal and a second public vote were non-binding on the government. What neither did is definitively rule out the possibilities.

A month ago I wrote how on March 23rd a ‘Put it to the people‘ march is taking place in London that will call for a referendum on the government’s Brexit withdrawal agreement. With just a couple of days to go, the line from the European Union is that a request to extended Article 50 would only be granted by its 27 member states for a specific purpose. To extend in order to just give more time for negotiations on an non-negotiable deal would not be acceptable.

Tied in with this was House of Commons speaker John Bercow’s announcement that he would dismiss a motion for a third meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement unless it was markedly different from what has already been rejected.

Asked by MP Geraint Davies if a meaningful vote would be ‘intrinsically different‘ if it included the provision for the final say going to a public vote, Bercow responded by saying that he would look at the specifics but would ultimately abide by the principle that the proposition should be ‘different‘ and ‘not the same or substantially the same‘.

In other words, Bercow has left open the possibility. It is highly unlikely that either he or the European Union would reject a proposal that would legislate for an act of ‘democracy‘.

With the last ‘People’s Vote‘ march this Saturday, it appears to now be designed to move sentiment in favour of a second referendum prior to the original exit day of March 29th. Potential evidence for this comes from EU Commission President Jean Claude Junker, who has strongly intimated that a decision on whether to grant an extension to Article 50 will not be taken until next week,which means after the referendum march. Assuming an extension is approved, the EU may then go on to state that it is a one time deal to accommodate a public vote and that it cannot be extended for a second time.

As for Theresa May’s proposal of extending Article 50 until June 30th, EU Council President Donald Tusk has said a short extension is possible but would be ‘conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons‘.

Many parliamentarians who twice rejected the withdrawal agreement have indicated that they would support it a third time round if it included the proposition for the public to have the final say. This seems to be the direction of travel and the only way in which the deal would be accepted by the speaker as a new proposition.

Of more interest to me, though, is the motivation behind an extension to Article 50 that would only last until June 30th.

It was a few of weeks prior to Donald Trump securing the U.S. presidency that I first mentioned how when the 2016 EU referendum took place, it occurred at the same time central bank chiefs were gathering in Basel for the Bank for International Settlements annual conference. This is a conference that always takes place in the latter part of June.

At the start of January I raised the suggestion that a June referendum could become a reality. My suspicion is that if a second vote goes ahead, it would take the form of a streamlined campaign, one that would offer the public the options of supporting Theresa May’s deal (assuming it still stands), remaining in the EU or leaving on World Trade Organisation terms. This would mean a second referendum taking place in around twelve weeks time.

Should this be the case, then the vote would likely coincide with the movements of the BIS once more. And if my prediction of a no deal exit from the EU is proven correct, the economic fallout from this scenario would require close coordination between central banks, given that currency and equity markets would be heavily impacted.

What Brexit and Trump’s victory showed is that in the background key globalist institutions were convening. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that moves to extend Article 50 are coinciding with the EU Council Summit on March 21st and 22nd – the same two days where a meeting in Cambridge is scheduled between the BIS, the Bank of England, Cambridge University and the University of Basel. The topic? ‘New Economics of Exchange Rate Adjustment‘. The Bank of England and the Federal Reserve also meet this week to decide on interest rates.

If we assume a third meaningful vote goes ahead next week that included the provision for a second referendum, and that it passes with a majority, the motivation for extending Article 50 would then be clear.

Something else to consider is that under this scenario, those in parliament who want to remain in the EU would have to vote in support of leaving the union just so they can secure a referendum for which they would campaign to remain in the bloc. The sense of betrayal already felt by swathes of the electorate would only be heightened if they witnessed MP’s using the deal as nothing more than an opportunity to cancel Brexit altogether.

The next round of theatrics would be over the question on the ballot paper. Recall that in previous weeks the likes of Lord Kerr (author of Article 50 and a member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission), Chuka Umunna, founder of Best for Britain Gina Miller and ex Prime Minister Tony Blair have all raised the prospect of the ballot containing three options – one of which would be for a ‘hard‘ Brexit.

The popular consensus is that another referendum would offer just two options, to either leave with the negotiated deal or remain in the EU. This would eliminate from the campaign the possibility of a no deal Brexit, something which I have reasoned is beneficial to globalists as they would use it to scapegoat the vehicles of resurgent nationalism / protectionism as being responsible for a major impending economic downturn, but also as an opportunity to further centralise power.

For this reason, I expect a no deal option would be presented to the British public. As in 2016, opinion polls all point to the electorate wanting to remain in the EU. They were wrong then and I believe would be wrong again.

A new leave or ‘hard‘ Brexit campaign would play upon the desires of many to ‘take back control‘ of the United Kingdom from the ‘elites‘ and to talk up the prospects of the country, whereas a remain campaign runs the risk of being condescending to the public by pushing the narrative that they were conned the first time round, or worse were ignorant in their societal outlook.

In the middle would sit Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. If indeed it was carried forward to a referendum, it is feasible that it would become a theatrical tug of war between hard ‘Brexiteers‘ and remainers to convert those minded to support the deal over to their side.

Growing public sentiment is that the establishment have been doing everything it can to overturn the first referendum result. Faith in politicians has never been lower than it is today. In such a febrile atmosphere, if you give voters the option of voicing their discontent through the ballot box, the chances are that they will deliver in kind.

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Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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