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Robert Mueller should resign

Indictments and conflicts of interest arising from FBI’s conduct call into question Special Counsel Mueller’s fitness to head Russiagate inquiry

Alexander Mercouris

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As readers of The Duran will know I have until recently given Special Counsel Robert Mueller the benefit of the doubt.  The events of the last few weeks make it impossible to go on doing so.

The reason for this is only partly connected to Mueller’s own actions.  Rather it arises mainly from what is now known of the conduct during last year’s Presidential election of the FBI, the agency which Mueller headed for twelve years, and of which he was director just four years ago.

Extraordinary as the fact still seems to me, the FBI never carried out its own independent investigation of the claimed hacks of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers.  Instead the FBI accepted in their entirety the opinions of a private company – CrowdStrike – which was privately commissioned to carry out the investigation into the alleged hacks by the DNC itself.

As I have said on many occasions, I have never come across a situation where a police agency instead of carrying out its own investigation into an alleged crime relies on the opinions of a private investigator paid for by the alleged victim.  That seems to me both extraordinary and ethically dubious in the extreme.  Yet that in relation to the alleged hacks of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers is what the FBI has done.

However it gets worse.

It has now also been established that the FBI over the course of last year also took on trust the Trump Dossier, a concoction also paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Moreover it seems that it actually sought and obtained FISA warrants to undertake surveillance during the election of members of the Trump campaign and of friends and associates of Donald Trump on the strength of this Dossier.  Despite earlier denials, it now seems a virtual certainty that Donald Trump’s own conversations were picked up and monitored as a result of this surveillance.

However the single most incendiary disclosure relating to the Trump Dossier is that in the weeks following the US Presidential election the FBI apparently took over the payments to Christopher Steele – the compiler of the Trump Dossier – from the DNC, and therefore acted as Christopher Steele’s client.  Presumably that means that the final entry of the Trump Dossier, which is dated December 2016, was paid by the FBI.

In other words instead of arriving its suspicions of Russian meddling in the Presidential election on its own investigations the FBI chose to rely on the work of two private contractors – CrowdStrike and Christopher Steele – both of whom were found and paid for by the DNC, and one of whom – Christopher Steele – was then passed on by the DNC to the FBI so that he could be paid by them as well.

That makes the FBI look more like an accomplice of the Democrats and the DNC than an impartial and objective police agency.

I would again refer to Joe Lauria’s excellent article, which thoroughly discusses the very disturbing implications of all this,

It appears moreover that it was the FBI which arranged for the Trump Dossier to be included in the ODNI report provided to President Obama and to President elect Trump in January 2017, and it seems likely that many of the leaks that drove the Russiagate scandal in its first months – including the illegal leaks which forced the resignation of President Trump’s first National Security Adviser General Flynn – originated from within the FBI.

Compounding the concerns which naturally arise from all this are the FBI’s apparent attempts to protect Hillary Clinton from the legal consequences of her use of a private server for her emails whilst Secretary of State, even though this was clearly contrary to the law.

Though the offence Hillary Clinton is alleged to have committed was an offence of strict liability – which is to say that it is irrelevant what her intentions were when she committed the offence – and though Hillary Clinton failed to provide the FBI with all the emails that passed through her private server, apparently deleting 30,000 of them – which ought at the very least to have raised the question of a possible obstruction of justice – the FBI’s Director James Comey took it on himself in breach of procedure to close down the investigation into her actions and to give her in effect a clean bill of health.

No investigation of the Russiagate scandal which fails to look into these activities by the FBI can be considered impartial or complete.

However Mueller, because of his long association with the FBI – whose director he was for twelve years, with his directorship ending just four years ago – is far too close to the FBI to conduct such an investigation.

This precise point was recently made – though in a convoluted and over-complicated way – by an editorial in the Wall Street Journal which last week called on Mueller to resign.  To my knowledge this is the first occasion that a major media institution in the US has called Mueller’s conduct into question and called on him to resign.

Though the Wall Street Journal editorial muddied the waters by insinuating that there might have been collusion between the Democrats and the Russians to discredit the US electoral process (this obviously refers to the Democrat-funded Trump Dossier which is supposed to be based on Russian sources) its underlying point is valid, and it is one which I suspect more and more people in Washington are thinking.

That Mueller himself is increasingly feeling the pressure is shown by the strange series of indictments he issued this week.

As I have previously pointed out, neither indictment – neither the one against Manafort and Gates nor the one against Papadopoulos – in fact touches on the central claim of the Russiagate conspiracy theory: that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton by publishing stolen emails in order to discredit her.

The indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates does not touch on the Russian collusion allegations at all but is concerned solely with Manafort’s complex business activities, especially as these relate to Ukraine.

The indictment against George Papadopoulos does not touch on the Russian collusion allegations either but is based purely on Papadopoulos’s telling of falsehoods to the FBI over the course of an interview he had with them in January 2017.

What has been overlooked in all the discussions of these two indictments is the shaky ground upon which they rest.

Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are – in the vivid language of today – ‘swamp creatures’ ie. longstanding insiders operating as privileged members of the US political and business elite.  I for one am perfectly willing to believe that the allegations against them are in essence true.

However that does not change the fact that the indictment which has been brought against them looks under-prepared.

Usually it takes years of painstaking investigation to issue an indictment of this sort.   This indictment was however issued just seven months after Mueller was appointed Special Counsel.

The result is that it contains obvious errors which one would not expect to find in an indictment of this sort, such as its mistaken claim that Viktor Yanukovych’s predecessor as President of Ukraine was Yulia Tymoshenko whereas in fact it was actually Viktor Yushchenko.

The impression one is left with from reading the indictment is that Mueller has simply accepted the truth of the current Ukrainian government’s claims of corruption by Manafort, and has combined them with the fact that Manafort operates a large number of foreign bank accounts, to cook up a case of Manafort being corrupt.

That may of course turn out to be so.  However past experience shows that one should be very slow to accept Ukrainian allegations of corruption on trust, whilst it is not illegal – and is in fact very common – for an international lawyer and business consultant like Manafort to operate a large number of foreign bank accounts both for himself and for his clients.

One would expect to find in an indictment of the sort more evidence of the source of the money in the bank accounts than in fact appears, and it is difficult to avoid the impression that in the rush to issue the indictment corners have been cut.

The risk is that Manafort and Gates at their trial will be able to provide a full account of where the money came from or will at least be able to give an account for the origin of the money that will satisfy a jury. In that case the whole case could collapse.

Judging from the submissions Manafort and Gates have made for their bail applications that is precisely the approach they intend to take.

I would add that the fact that Manafort has more than one US passport is not proof of the fraud claims which have been made against him, whilst he and his lawyers are already pouring scorn on the part of the case against him which is based on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, pointing out – apparently correctly – that only six prosecutions under this Act have been brought since the 1960s, of which only one has ended in a conviction.

However if the indictment against Manafort and Gates looks rushed and under prepared, Manafort and Gates nonetheless do have a case to answer.  By contrast I cannot see the logic of the prosecution which has been brought against Papadopoulos at all.

The picture of Papadopoulos which has emerged over the last few days – including from the indictment against him – is of a young man (he is only 30) who was seriously out of his depth, and who was either deceived by Professor Misfud and the various Russians he was dealing with or – more likely – was someone who got carried away by his own fantasies that he was a great diplomat who would single-handedly bring Putin and Trump together so as to bring about a rapprochement between Russia and the US and secure world peace.

None of his activities – which centred on his attempts to set up a meeting before the election between Putin and Trump – however fantastic they might have been, were however in the least unlawful or can be said to have done any harm.

His bosses in the Trump campaign seem to have been skeptical of his efforts to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump, and in the event that meeting never took place, with the Russian government probably completely unaware of Papadopoulos’s activities.  It seems all the Russians he dealt with – including the Russian woman he either took for “Putin’s niece” or said was “Putin’s niece” – were not Russian government officials but the staff of a Moscow think-tank he was introduced to by Professor Mifsud.

As for the notorious comment which Papadopoulos attributes to Professor Mifsud – that the Russians had “dirt on Hillary Clinton” and “thousands of her emails” – Professor Mifsud denies that he ever made the comment, there is no record or independent corroboration that he ever made the comment, there is apparently no record of Papadopoulos informing his bosses at Trump headquarters about the comment, there is nothing about Professor Mifsud’s background which suggests the Russians would trust him with the information he would need to make the comment, and the comment – if it was made at all – anyway unquestionably refers to Hillary Clinton’s own emails – the ones which passed through her private server whilst she was Secretary of State – and not to the Podesta and DNC emails, which are the ones that the Russiagate scandal is all about.

As to the last point – that Professor Mifsud’s alleged comment was about Hillary Clinton’s own emails and not those of Podesta or the DNC – the wording of paragraph 14 of the indictment puts this beyond doubt

The Professor told defendant PAPADOPOULOS, as defendant PAPADOPOULOS later described to the FBI, that “They [the Russians] have dirt on her”, “the Russians had emails of Clinton“; “they have thousands of emails”

(bold italics added)

In my previous articles about the Papadopoulos indictment I had overlooked the fact that the wording of paragraph 14 of the indictment clearly identifies the emails that Professor Mifsud is supposed to have talked about as Hillary Clinton’s emails, and not as the DNC’s or John Podesta’s emails.

In other words the Papadopoulos indictment not only fails to provide any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, but the comment about the emails about which so much has been said is – if it was said at all – a total red herring, of no relevance to the Russiagate inquiry.

This of course begs the question of why in that case is Papadopoulos being charged?

If Papadopoulos’s activities were harmless – which they were – and if he engaged in no collusion with the Russians – which he didn’t – and if the comment about the emails which he passed on to the FBI (during it should be noted his first meeting with the FBI in January 2017) is wholly irrelevant to the Russiagate inquiry – as it is – why is he being charged?

Does mixing up the dates of his first meeting with Professor Mifsud and downplaying the extent of his contacts with people who were actually of no importance really justify bringing charges against him and forcing him into a guilty plea?

Not for the first time I find myself in wholehearted agreement with the sentiments of The Duran’s reader André de Koning, who has written the following comment on a thread to one of my previous articles about the Papadopoulos indictment

Good to know that the FBI and/or CIA are so particular about somebody lying: they are such wonderful guardians of truth.

In truth the charges against Papadopoulos seem ludicrously disproportionate to what he is supposed to have done, especially given the fact that he was already fully cooperating with the FBI and had gone to some lengths to set the record straight before the charges were brought against him.

For the record I think the treatment of him is cruel.

It is impossible to avoid the impression that the charges against Papadopoulos have been brought and were made public together with his guilty plea – a few days moreover after the Wall Street Journal called for Mueller’s resignation – in order to create an impression that the Russiagate inquiry is making progress, when in reality it is making none.

As for the indictment against Manafort and Gates, Mueller is acting here more like a policeman trying to build a case than as an investigator seeking to find out what actually happened.

That is a lamentable state of affairs, and one which has surely arisen because of the conflict between Mueller’s loyalty to the FBI – the organisation he headed for twelve years and of which until just four years ago he was director, and whose reputation he therefore has a vested interest in wanting to protect – and his duties as an impartial investigator.

The Russiagate investigation should not be closed down.  On the contrary its scope needs to be expanded to look into the conduct of the FBI and the rest of the US intelligence community during the Presidential election.  Enough is already known about this to give cause for serious concern.

That certainly does require Special Counsel to head this investigation.  However that person quite clearly cannot be Robert Mueller.

It is time for him to go and for the investigation to be taken over by someone else who is not just more distant from the agencies which will have to be investigated if the job is to be done properly, but who also has a better grasp of the political and legal issues.

A senior lawyer or a retired Judge willing to listen to the evidence of experts – including historians and genuine Russia experts – would seem to be what the situation requires.

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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The Ukrainian President Signs a Pact With Constantinople – Against the Ukrainian Church

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via Strategic Culture:


Increasingly tragic and violent events are taking their toll on the plight of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine . After several fights over control of the church’s property, prohibitions and blacklists are starting to spread, affecting respected church figures coming from Russia to Ukraine. The latest news is that the head of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Amvrosyi Yermakov, was deported from Ukraine back to Russia. Amvrosyi’s name popped up on the black list of Russian citizens who are not deemed “eligible to visit” Ukraine. Obviously, this happened right before his plane landed in Zhulyany, Kiev’s international airport. After a brief arrest, Amvrosyi was put on a plane and sent back to Moscow. This is not the first such humiliation of the Orthodox Church and its priests that has taken place since the new pro-Western regime came to power in Kiev in 2014. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been declared persona non grata throughout Ukraine since 2014. That decision was made by humiliatingly low-level officials. A department within the Ukrainian ministry of culture published a ruling stating that Kirill’s visit to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev “would not be desirable.”

Since the ancestors of modern Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians were first baptized in 988 in Kiev, the Patriarchs of the Russian Church have never had problems visiting Kiev, the birthplace of their church. Not even under the Bolsheviks did such prohibitions exist. So, for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be denied permission to visit Kiev can only be compared to a possible prohibition against the pope visiting Rome. Since 2014, there have also been several criminal cases filed against the priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC MP) because they have called the hostilities in eastern Ukraine a “civil war” and have discouraged the faithful from supporting that war. This has been interpreted by the Ukrainian state authorities as a call for soldiers to desert the army.

Why Poroshenko’s meeting with Bartholomew is ominous

Despite the fact that the UOC MP has become used to all sorts of trouble since 2014, things have been looking even worse for the canonical church lately, as 2018 draws to a close. In early November 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko broke the wall of separation between church and state in the most overt manner possible — he signed “an agreement on cooperation and joint action” between Ukraine and the so called Constantinople Patriarchate, the oldest institution of Orthodox Christianity, which is now based in Turkish Istanbul.

Rostislav Pavlenko, an aide to Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that the agreement (not yet published) is premised on the creation of a new “autocephalous” Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a development that the official, existing Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine view with foreboding as a “schism” that they have done all they can to prevent. Why? Because Poroshenko’s regime, which came to power via a violent coup in Kiev in 2014 on a wave of public anti-Russian sentiment, may try to force the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine to merge with other, non-canonical institutions and to surrender to them church buildings, including the famous monasteries in Kiev and Pochai, as well as other property.

President Poroshenko was visibly happy to sign the document — the contents of which have not yet been made public — on cooperation between the Ukrainian state and the Constantinople Patriarchate, in the office of Bartholomew, the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Poroshenko smiled and laughed, obviously rejoicing over the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate is already embroiled in a scandalous rift with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian sister church over several of Bartholomew’s recent moves. Bartholomew’s decision to “lift” the excommunication from two of Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic “priests,” in addition to Bartholomew’s declaration that the new church of Ukraine will be under Constantinople’s direct command — these moves were just not acceptable for the canonical Orthodox believers in Russia and Ukraine. Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), as well as Onufriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, are protesting loudly, viewing this situation as a breach of two basic principles. First of all, the Ukrainian state has interfered in the church’s affairs, asking Constantinople to give the Ukrainian church “autocephaly,” which that church never requested. Second, Constantinople itself has interfered in the affairs of two autonomous national churches, the Russian and the Ukrainian. In the eyes of Ukrainian and Russian clergy, Bartholomew is behaving like the Roman pope and not as a true Orthodox leader who respects the autonomy and self-rule of the separate, national Orthodox Churches.

The Russian President sympathizes with the believers’ pain

Two days before Poroshenko made his trip to Istanbul, Russian president Vladimir Putin broke with his usual reserve when commenting on faith issues to bitterly complain about the pain which believers in Russia and Ukraine have experienced from the recent divisions within the triangle of Orthodoxy’s three historic capitals — Constantinople, Kiev, and Moscow.

“Politicking in such a sensitive area as religion has always had grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who engaged in this politicking,” Putin said, addressing the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an international organization that unites millions of ethnic and cultural Russians from various countries, including Ukraine. Himself a practicing Orthodox believer, Putin lauded Islam and Judaism, while at the same time complaining about the plight of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, where people of Orthodox heritage make up more than 80% of the population and where the church has traditionally acted as a powerful “spiritual link” with Russia.

Despite his complaints about “politicking,” Putin was careful not to go into the details of why exactly the state of affairs in Ukraine is so painful for Orthodox believers. That situation was explained by Patriarch Kirill. After many months of tense silence and an unsuccessful visit to Barthlomew’s office in Istanbul on August 31, Kirill has been literally crying for help in the last few weeks, saying he was “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” in order to prevent the destruction of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Politics with a “mystical dimension”

Kirill said the attack against the Orthodox Church in Ukraine “had not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.” Speaking in more earthly terms, there is a danger that the 1,000-year-old historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — which now owns 11,392 church buildings, 12,328 parishes, and two world-famous monasteries in Ukraine — will be dissolved. The roots of the UOC MP go back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire and even further back to the era of Kievan Rus, the proto-state of the Eastern Slavs in the tenth-twelfth centuries AD, when the people who would later become Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were adopting Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It is by far the biggest church in Ukraine, as Mikhail Denisenko’s non-canonical “alternative” church has only 3,700 parishes that include church buildings (fewer than a third of what is owned by the UOC-MP, despite the fact that Denisenko enjoys official support from the Ukrainian state).

What many Russian and Ukrainian believers fear is that the Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew will eventually grant Kiev what is being called autocephaly. In that event, the UOC-MP may be forced to merge with two other, non-canonical churches in Ukraine that have no apostolic liaison. The apostolic succession of the UOC-MP consists in the historical fact that its first bishops were ordained by medieval bishops from Constantinople, who had in turn been ordained by Christ’s disciples from ancient Israel. Apostolic succession is crucial for the Orthodox Church, where only bishops can ordain new priests and where the church’s connection to the first Christians is reflected in many ways, including in the clergy’s attire.

Metropolitan Hilarion (his secular name is Grigory Alfeyev), the Russian church’s chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity, accused the patriarch of contributing to the schism by officially “lifting” the excommunication from Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic church leader — the defrocked former bishop Mikhail Denisenko. That clergyman stands to gain most from the “autocephaly” promised to Poroshenko by Patriarch Bartholomew. A hierarchical Orthodox Church is considered to have autocephalous status, as its highest bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated that for Ukraine to be granted autocephaly from Istanbul, this would mean a complete “reformatting” of the country’s religious status quo and the severing of all links to Orthodox Russia and its “demons.”. Most likely, the new “united” church won’t be headed by the UOC MP’s Metropolitan, but by Mikhail Denisenko, who was excommunicated by both the UOC MP and the Russian church back in 1997 and with whom real Orthodox priests can only serve against their will and against the church’s internal rules.

Constantinople’s first dangerous moves

On October 11, 2018, the Constantinople Patriarchate made its first step towards granting autocephaly by repealing its own decision of 1686 that gave the Moscow Patriarch primacy over the Kiev-based Metropolitan. This 17th-century decision reflected the political reality of the merger between the states of Russia and Ukraine and established some order in the matters of church administration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow gave the Ukrainian church complete independence in financial and administrative matters, but the two churches retained their cherished “spiritual unity.” “Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying that unity,” the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill explained. “We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod made the decision to end eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

How Moscow “excommunicated” Bartholomew

The end of eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates (based in Moscow and Istanbul) won’t be able to hold church services together. It will be maintained as long as the threat of autocephaly continues. The Western mainstream media, however, interpreted this decision by the Russian church as a unilateral aggressive act. The NYT and the British tabloid press wrote that it simply reveals Putin’s “desperation” at not being able to keep Ukraine’s religious life under control.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew seems undeterred by the protests from the Russian faithful and the majority of Ukraine’s believers. Bartholomew said in a recent statement that Russia should just follow the example of Constantinople, which once granted autocephaly to the churches of the Balkan nations. Bartholomew’s ambassadors in Kiev do not shy away from communicating with the self-declared “Patriarch” Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko’s adopted religious name from back when he was the UOC MP’s Metropolitan prior to his excommunication in 1997). For true Orthodox believers, any communication with Denisenko has been forbidden since 1992, the year when he founded his own so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Unfortunately, Denisenko enjoys the full support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and recently the US State Department began encouraging Denisenko, by giving its full support to Ukraine’s autocephaly.

The lifting of Denisenko’s excommunication by Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul both upset and embittered the Orthodox believers in both Ukraine and Moscow, since Denisenko was excommunicated by a joint decision of the Russian church and the UOC MP in 1997, after a five-year wait for his return to the fold of the mother church. So, by undoing that decision, Constantinople has interfered in the canonical territory of both the Ukrainian and the Russian churches.

The UOC-MP protested, accusing not only Patriarch Bartholomew, but also the Ukrainian state of interfering in the church’s affairs. “We are being forced to get involved in politics. The politicians do not want Christ to run our church; they want to do it themselves,” said Metropolitan Onufriy (Onuphrius), the head of the UOC-MP, in an interview with PravMir, an Orthodox website. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been independent. Our church did not ask for autocephaly, because we already have independence. We have our own Synod (church council) and our own church court. Decisions are made by a congress of bishops and priests from all over Ukraine. We have financial and administrative independence, so autocephaly for us will be a limitation, not an expansion of our rights.”

Poroshenko’s premature jubilation

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko did not conceal his jubilation about Constantinople’s moves. “This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Poroshenko said when the news about the lifting of Denisenko’s excomnmunication came from Istanbul in early October.

Poroshenko said he wanted a “united Orthodox Church” for his country, and he openly pressured Patriarch Bartholomew to provide autocephaly to Kiev during his visits to Istanbul in the spring of 2018 and in November of the same year. Meanwhile, Denisenko said that the provision of autocephaly would mean the immediate dispossession of the UOC MP. “This Russian church (UOC MP) will have to cede control of its church buildings and famous monasteries to the new Ukrainian church, which will be ours,” Denisenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying. “These monasteries have been owned by the state since Soviet times, and the state gave them to the Russian church for temporary use. Now the state will appoint our communities of believers as the new guardians of this heritage.” Denisenko also made a visit to the US, where he met Undersecretary of State Wess Mitchell, obtaining from him America’s active support for the creation of a “unified” Ukrainian church.

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring. Poroshenko’s presidential aide, Rostislav Pavlenko, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual “tomos” (a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate allowing the creation of an autocephalous church) will be delivered only IN RESPONSE to a request from a “unifying convention” that represents all of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers in at least some sort of formal manner. This new convention will have to declare the creation of a new church and elect this church’s official head. Only then will Constantinople be able to give that person the cherished “tomos.”

Since the UOC-MP has made it very clear that it won’t participate in any such convention, the chances of the smooth transition and easy victory over the “Muscovite believers” that Poroshenko wants so badly are quite slim. There are big scandals, big fights, and big disappointments ahead.

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Trump DEMOLISHES Macron; Tweets ‘Make France Great Again’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 16.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at US President Trump’s tweetstorm aimed at French President Macron, who just days ago used the WW1 ceremony in Paris to ridicule and talk down to the US President in front of world leaders.

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Via Zerohedge

Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France..

…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…

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