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Trump sidesteps impeachment trap in sanctions law and prepares challenge to Supreme Court

President Trump’s Signing Statement makes clear he regards sanctions law as unconstitutional and will challenge it in the Supreme Court rather than have his veto overridden and risk impeachment by trying to veto it.

Alexander Mercouris

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Yesterday I wrote an article for The Duran in which I expressed the view that the Presidential Statement published in connection with US President Trump’s signing of the new sanctions law passed against his wishes by the US Congress clearly pointed to an intention to bring a future challenge against the sanctions law to the US Supreme Court.

The person known as Simon has pointed out on the thread of this article that President Trump’s Signing Statement – the one which is actually attached to the law itself – goes much further, and not only details where the President’s lawyers – which in this case means the White House’s Legal Counsel and the Department of Justice – think the sanctions law falls into outright illegality, but makes the intention to bring a challenge to the US Supreme Court crystal clear.

That is also my view and I enclose the full text of the Signing Statement in order to explain the point

Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.

In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions. For instance, although I share the policy views of sections 253 and 257, those provisions purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds, in conflict with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry.

Additionally, section 216 seeks to grant the Congress the ability to change the law outside the constitutionally required process. The bill prescribes a review period that precludes the President from taking certain actions. Certain provisions in section 216, however, conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in INS v. Chadha, because they purport to allow the Congress to extend the review period through procedures that do not satisfy the requirements for changing the law under Article I, section 7 of the Constitution. I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s extended waiting periods to ensure that the Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.

Further, certain provisions, such as sections 254 and 257, purport to direct my subordinates in the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives, in contravention of the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations. And other provisions, such as sections 104, 107, 222, 224, 227, 228, and 234, would require me to deny certain individuals entry into the United States, without an exception for the President’s responsibility to receive ambassadors under Article II, section 3 of the Constitution. My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations.

Finally, my Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies

(bold italics added)

That this document is drafted by lawyers is obvious from the careful use of legal citations.   The key words are the ones I have highlighted and they make the President’s legal strategy – or rather the strategy of his lawyers – completely clear.

Briefly, the President says that the review periods set out in the law relating to the lifting of sanctions are unconstitutional.  However the President says he “nevertheless expects to honour” this unconstitutional procedure set out in the law out of respect for Congress.

However if the Congress uses this unconstitutional procedure to block actions by the President which have the support of the US business community and of the US’s European allies – such as the lifting of sanctions against Russia – or attempts to meddle in the President’s administration of the law, then the President is clearly reserving his right to challenge these unconstitutional provisions in the US Supreme Court on the grounds that they are preventing him from exercising his constitutional duty to manage the nation’s foreign policy.

No one should be in any doubt that in such a situation the President will exercise his right to make his challenge to the US Supreme Court, and on the strength of the legal citations that are carefully set out in the Signing Statement he appears to have an overwhelmingly strong case and can be confident that the US Supreme Court will set the offending provisions aside.

This is a legally and politically astute strategy.

The alternative – vetoing the bill, either by positively vetoing it or by refusing to sign it (a pocket veto) – would have set the President up for a direct clash with Congress on an issue where he has no support in Congress.

Not only would his veto have been overridden but there is a strongly likelihood in that case that articles of impeachment would have been brought forward.

Whilst the President would have been doing nothing more than exercise his constitutional right if he had sought to veto the law, impeachment is decided purely by Congress and it is Congress alone which decides whether the grounds for impeachment have been made out.  The courts have no say in the matter.

With the President totally isolated in Congress his opponents would be in a position to say that by vetoing the law the President was obstructing action by Congress to protect the integrity of the US electoral process from interference by Russia, and that he was therefore guilty of committing a “high crime or misdemeanour” by preventing action against Russia, the US’s main international adversary, on an issue of fundamental importance to the US.  On those grounds they would say that he should be impeached and removed from office.

Since the Constitution does not say what a “high crime or misdemeanour” is and leaves the definition entirely to Congress, it is not impossible that in the present hysterical atmosphere the President’s constitutional use of his veto to block an unconstitutional sanctions law could be successfully misdefined in that way, and that Congress would accept this mis-definition and would vote for impeachment on that basis.

Perhaps enough Republicans in Congress would rally to the President to prevent impeachment taking place, but with Congress practically unanimous in supporting the sanctions law it would be foolish to count on it.

As to those who say that it is inconceivable that a Republican dominated Congress would impeach a Republican President, to my mind that overlooks the fact that if Trump ever were impeached the person who would replace him as President is Vice-President Pence, who is not only a Republican but who is clearly much closer to the Congressional leadership of the Republican Party than Donald Trump is.

Indeed the more I think about this bizarre sanctions law the more I wonder whether the impeachment scenario I have just outlined may have been the very scenario that it was intended to engineer.

In other words the sanctions law may have been put together by the President’s opponents in Congress – who include Republicans as well as Democrats – with the actual intention of provoking him into vetoing it so as to set up the conditions for his impeachment by Congress on an issue where Congress is united against him.

If so then the President – heeding the advice of his lawyers – has sidestepped the trap whilst putting himself in a strong position to challenge the law in the US Supreme Court when the right moment comes.

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Assessing the Putin-Trump Helsinki summit: neither a breakthrough nor a damp squib but a possible start towards detente

The US and Russian Presidents took the first step towards ending the downward spiral in their countries’ relations but the obstacles ahead remain formidable.

Alexander Mercouris

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The US and Russian Presidents took the first step towards ending the downward spiral in their countries' relations but the obstacles ahead remain formidable.

The summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin has finally taken place in Helsinki to thunderous condemnation on the part of many in the West.

Some talk luridly of the beginning of the end of the West.  Others talk hysterically of treason.

Others see the summit as a damp squib, which will change nothing and which will leave the relationship between the US and Russia and between Russia and the West essentially unchanged, with the current state of hostility continuing indefinitely unabated.

In my opinion both views are wrong (the first obviously so) and both misunderstand, and in the case of the first wilfully misrepresent, what actually happened in Helsinki.

I discussed the background to the summit in an article I wrote a month ago for The Duran at a time when first reports that the summit was in the offing were beginning to circulate.

In that article I said that there was no possibility that Putin would make unilateral concessions to Trump over the status of Crimea or over the conflict in Ukraine and that the idea that he would agree to the US and Ukrainian proposal for a peacekeeping force to be deployed to the Donbass was certainly wrong and that that idea had already been categorically ruled out by the Russians.

I was also skeptical that there would be any sort of ‘grand bargain’ between the US and the Russians over Syria.

On the subject of Syria, in the weeks leading up to the summit there were some media reports suggesting that Donald Trump was coming under pressure from Israel, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates to agree a deal at the summit with Putin whereby Russia would be granted sanctions relief and possibly even recognition of Crimea, US troops in Syria would be withdrawn, and in return the Russians would agree that Iranian forces would be expelled from Syria.

The Russians were clearly concerned about these reports.  Not only did they go out of their way to deny them, but Putin and Lavrov held talks in Moscow on 12th July 2018 with Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s Special Adviser on International Relations, in order to reassure the Iranians that they were not true.

As I explained in my lengthy discussion of Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Moscow on Victory Day, it would in fact be wholly contrary to established principles of Russian foreign policy for the Russians to agree to a ‘grand bargain’ like this.

From the Russian point of view relations between Iran and Syria are relations between two sovereign nations and are none of Russia’s business.

Not only is it not Russia’s business to interfere in whatever relations Iran and Syria have with each other, but Russia lacks the means to do so anyway, with any request from Moscow to Tehran and Damascus to sever or downgrade their relations with each other certain to be refused, and with Russia having no means to force either country to comply with such a request.

All Russia would achieve were it ever to make such a request would be to damage to its relations with Iran and Syri and lose face and face accusations of bad faith from the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel when it failed to follow through.

Here is what I said about how Putin would respond to a demand from Netanyahu to rein in the Iranians in Syria if it were made to him during Netanyahu’s Victory Day visit, and nothing which has happened since would have caused Putin to change his position

Contrary to what some people are saying, I think it is most unlikely that Putin would have given Netanyahu any assurances that Russia would act to rein in Iranian activities in Syria.

If Netanyahu asked Putin for such assurances (which I also think unlikely) Putin would almost certainly have told him what the Russians always say when faced with requests for such assurances: Iran and Syria are sovereign states and Russia cannot interfere in arrangements two sovereign states make with each other.

I suspect that the source of some of the stories about a ‘grand bargain’ between Putin and Trump involving the role of the Iranians in Syria is the regular discussions the Russians have with the Israelis, the Iranians and the Syrians whereby the Russians pass on to the Iranians and the Syrians Israeli concerns about the presence of Iranian forces in Syria in particular locations and about specific actions which the Iranians take.

A good example of these sort of discussions was an exchange between Putin and Netanyahu during Netanyahu’s most recent trip to Moscow on 11th July 2018.  The Kremlin’s website reports Netanyahu and Putin saying the following to each other

Benjamin Netanyahu: ……….Of course, our focus is on developments in Syria, the presence of Iran. This is not new to you. Several hours ago, an unmanned aerial vehicle entered the territory of Israel from Syria and was successfully brought down. I would like to emphasise that we will counter any and all attempts to violate our air or land borders.

Cooperation between us is an essential, key factor that can stabilise the entire region. So, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and discuss these things.

Vladimir Putin: We are aware of your concerns. Let us discuss them in detail.

(bold italics added)

The Russians are not engaged here in discussions over some sort of ‘grand bargain’ to remove all Iranian troops from Syria, which as I have said they would see as counterproductive and impossible.  Rather they are engaged in the classic diplomatic exercise of conflict prevention: keeping the Israelis, the Iranians and the Syrians informed about each other’s moves and red lines in order to prevent an uncontrolled escalation of the conflict between them, which might risk an all-out war, which nobody wants, and which the Russians are doing their best to prevent.

Recent reports of an understanding between the Israelis, the Iranians and the Syrians supposedly brokered by the Russians whereby Iranian forces agreed not to participate in the Syrian army’s ongoing military operations in south west Syria close to the Israeli occupied Golan Heights are a case in point.

The Iranians and the Syrians  agreed to this, not because the Russians forced them to but because it is in their interest to.  The Syrian army does not need Iranian help to defeat the Jihadis in southwest Syria so keeping the Iranians away from the area allows the Syrians to clear the area of the Jihadis without risking a military confrontation with Israel.

Needless to say, just as the Russians were not prepared to make concessions on Crimea and Donbass or on Syria, so they were not prepared to back Donald Trump’s ongoing campaign against Iran.

Not only are the Russians deeply committed to the JCPOA (which they partly brokered) but they are also committed to improving their relations with Iran.   In addition, given that the ongoing US campaign against Iran is clearly intended to achieve regime change there, the Russians are bound to oppose it because they oppose regime change everywhere.

If the Russians were not prepared to make unilateral concessions to Trump on Crimea, Donbass, Syria or Iran, neither was Trump despite all the pre-summit scaremongering going to make unilateral concessions to Russians.

Stories that Trump would announce a cancellation of US military exercises in Europe or even a withdrawal of US troops from Europe had no basis in reality, and needless to say nothing like that happened.  Nor did Donald Trump recognise Crimea as Russian or announce that he would lift sanctions on Russia.

The question of the sanctions and of the recognition of Crimea as Russian requires a little discussion since there is a widespread view that Trump is prevented by the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATS) from either lifting the sanctions or from recognising Crimea as Russian

This is something of a misconception.  In reality, as I discussed last year at the time when CAATS was enacted, CAATS is unconstitutional, as Donald Trump himself carefully explained in his Signing Statement, because of the unconstitutional restrictions it places on the President’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

If and when Donald Trump decides that the time has come to lift the sanctions and to recognise Crimea as Russian, then all he has to do is apply to the US Supreme Court to have CAATS set aside.   His Signing Statement shows that he has had legal advice that it will do so.

That point has not yet been reached for political not legal reasons.  In the meantime it is an error to think of CAATS as the insuperable constraint on Donald Trump’s actions that many appear to believe it is.

Trump did not commit himself to lifting the sanctions on, and he did not recognise Crimea as Russian, not so much because of the legal constraints placed upon him by CAATS but because doing so would risk his political position in the US in advance of November’s mid-term elections, and because – compulsive deal-maker that he is – he is hardly likely anyway to take such radical steps without first agreeing something for him to take back in return.

One of the fundamental problems of the hysterical campaign which is being waged against Donald Trump is that it causes even many of Donald Trump’s supporters to believe that he is more supportive of Russia’s positions on a variety of issues than he really is.  The result is that he is constantly suspected of being prepared to make unilateral concessions to the Russians when in reality  unilateral concessions are precisely the sort of things to which he is most opposed.

Donald Trump is – as he repeatedly says – an America First nationalist, and his overriding priority is to make what he considers to be the best possible deal for the United States.  Unilateral concessions just don’t come into it and it is a fundamentally error to think that they do.

Putin understands all this very well, as he made clear during his joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki.

VladimirPutin: Regarding whom you can believe and whom you can’t, you shouldn’t believe anyone. What makes you think President Trump trusts me and that I fully trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America. I defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We do have converging interests, and we are seeking common ground. We have issues that we disagree on so far. We are seeking options to settle these differences and make our work more constructive.

Which brings me to the fundamental reason for the summit, and why it is also a mistake in my opinion to see it as an empty show or a damp squib.

Donald Trump sought the summit – it is clear that the initiative for the summit came from him – because as he has repeatedly said since before he was elected President, prior to the summit he did not know Putin at all.

The number of times Trump has said this is in fact practically beyond count.  For example, he said it during a news conference in Miami on 27th June 2016

I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. … I never met Putin….

He also said it during the second Presidential debate on 9th October 2016

I don’t know Putin….

Trump has gone on to say the same thing again and again since.  He has also repeatedly said that only time would tell whether he and Putin would get on with each other and would be able to come to agreements with each other.

A fundamental prerequisite for any successful negotiation is for the two parties to the negotiation to know each other’s minds so that a modicum of trust and understanding – essential if any agreement is to be reached – can be established between them.

As a businessman Trump knows this very well.  He therefore needed to meet with Putin in a lengthy one-to-one encounter in order to get to know Putin properly so as to see whether Putin is in fact the sort of person he can negotiate and eventually do a deal with.

That is the reason why Trump insisted that his first meeting with Putin should take the form of a one-to-one encounter.

That by the way is absolutely standard practice in negotiations – both commercial negotiations and diplomatic negotiations – with leaders of negotiating teams often meeting privately in one-to-one meetings in order to get to know each better and to see whether a deal between them is even possible.  Once a proper relationship between them is established the full negotiating teams can be brought in to conduct the negotiations in detail in what in diplomacy are called ‘plenary sessions’.

Not only is this standard practice in negotiations – Putin does it all the time – but it is simply not true as some people are suggesting hysterically that there was no one else present in the room when Putin and Trump met with each other.

Both Putin and Trump obviously had interpreters present.  Trump doesn’t speak Russian and Putin speaks English badly.  The job of the interpreters – who are full time state officials – is not just to interpret what the leaders say to each other but also to prepare a written transcript (a “stenographic record”) of what they said.

Once this transcript is written up – something which normally takes no more than a few days – it is circulated to senior officials including in the US case to the US President’s two most important foreign policy advisers, Bolton and Pompeo.  By now it is highly likely that Bolton and Pompeo have already seen and read through the transcript, and that they therefore know exactly what Putin and Trump said to each other.

Since the one-to-one meeting was first and foremost a “get-to-know” you session, no binding agreements would have been reached during it, and neither Putin nor Trump – each in their own way an experienced negotiator – would ever have imagined that they would be.

In summary, the one-to-one meeting between Putin and Trump is not a sign of some secret understanding between them; far less is it a case of an “intelligence asset” meeting his “controller” as some are crazily suggesting.

On the contrary it is further proof of what each of them has repeatedly said at various times: before the summit they did not know each other, so that the summit finally offered them an opportunity to get to know each other.

The essential point about the summit is that Putin and Trump did find that they could deal with each other and did discover areas of common concern which in time it might be possible for them to build on as they search for areas of agreement between them.  During their joint press conference Putin confirmed as much

We do have converging interests, and we are seeking common ground. We have issues that we disagree on so far. We are seeking options to settle these differences and make our work more constructive.

As for the points of possible convergence, Putin in his usual structured way set them out

I consider it important, as we discussed, to get the dialogue on strategic stability and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on track. We made a note with a number of concrete proposals on this matter available to our American colleagues.

We believe that continued joint efforts to fully work through the military-political and disarmament dossier is necessary. That includes the renewal of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, the dangerous situation surrounding the development of elements of the US global missile defence system, the implementation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, and the topic of deploying weapons in space.

We are in favour of continued cooperation in the sphere of combating terrorism and ensuring cybersecurity. Notably, our special services are working together quite successfully. The most recent example of that is the close operational interaction with a group of US security experts as part of the World Cup in Russia that ended yesterday. Contacts between the special services should be made systematic. I reminded the President of the United States about the proposal to reconstitute the anti-terror working group.

We covered regional crises extensively. Our positions do not coincide on all matters, but nonetheless there are many overlapping interests. We should be looking for common ground and working more closely, including at international forums.

Of course, we talked about regional crises, including Syria. With regard to Syria, restoring peace and harmony in that country could serve as an example of successful joint work.

Of course, Russia and the United States can take the lead in this matter and organise cooperation to overcome the humanitarian crisis and help refugees return to their hearths.

We have all the requisite elements for effective cooperation on Syria. Notably, Russian and American military have gained useful experience of interaction and coordination in the air and on land.

I would also like to note that after the terrorists are routed in southwest Syria, in the so-called “southern zone”, the situation in the Golan Heights should be brought into full conformity with the 1974 agreement on the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces.

This will make it possible to bring tranquillity to the Golan Heights and restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and the State of Israel. The President devoted special attention to this issue today…..

We paid special attention to the economy. Obviously, there is interest in cooperation in the business circles of both countries. The US delegation was one of the biggest at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in May. It consisted of over 500 US entrepreneurs.

To develop trade and investment, President Trump and I agreed to establish a high-level group that would unite captains of Russian and American business. Business people better understand how to go about mutually beneficial cooperation. Let them consider what can be done and make recommendations

The emphasis – as I discussed in my article of a month ago – is on arms control, though Putin also seems to have gone out of his way to reassure Trump that the restoration of the Syrian government’s control over southwest Syria would not put in jeopardy Israel’s position in the Golan Heights.  In addition there also seems to have been a fair amount of discussion about future economic cooperation.

The result was an agreement between Putin and Trump to reopen channels of communication between their governments and to meet regularly with each other as they feel their way towards a rapprochement.

To be clear, that rapprochement will not mean and is not intended to mean that the US and Russia will cease to be adversaries and will become friends.

Instead what is being discussed are steps to bring to a stop the downward spiral in their relations, with each side obtaining a better understanding of the other side’s moves and red lines, so that hopefully geopolitical disasters like the 2014 Maidan coup can be avoided in future.

That would be a major advance over what has existed previously given that since the USSR collapsed in 1991 the US has refused to acknowledge that Russia has any right to any opinions, let alone red lines.

Needless to say the more often Putin and Trump meet the more ‘normalised’ relations between the US and Russia become, with each meeting provoking less controversy than the previous one, with the whole process beyond a certain point becoming routine so that it attracts ever less attention and (hopefully) eventually becomes uncontroversial.

It is because the powerful forces in the US who scorn the idea of a ‘geopolitical ceasefire’ and want ever greater confrontation between the US and Russia do not want to see relations ‘normalised’ in this way that their reaction to the summit has been so hysterical.

As of the time of writing it is these people who in the media and on twitter are making the running.  However it may be a mistake to see in the volume of the noise they are making a true reflection of their influence.

Last February’s Nuclear Posture Review suggests that there is a very powerful constituency within the US and specifically within the Pentagon which might potentially support the sort of ‘geopolitical ceasefire’ with Russia that Donald Trump appears to be gradually working towards.

The Nuclear Posture Review shows that some sections of the US military understand how dangerously overstretched the US has become as it responds simultaneously to challenges from Russia in Europe and from China in the Pacific.  Both Putin and Trump mentioned during their news conference the extent to which their respective militaries are already in contact with each other and are working well together

Donald Trump: Well, our militaries do get along. In fact, our militaries actually have gotten along probably better than our political leaders for years, but our militaries do get along very well and they do coordinate in Syria and other places. Ok? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:……..On the whole, I really agree with the President. Our military cooperation is going quite well. I hope that they will continue to be able to come to agreements just as they have been…..

That may be a sign that there is more understanding of what Donald Trump is trying to do – at least within the US defence establishment – than the hysteria the Helsinki summit has provoked might suggest.

Overall, provided it is clearly understood that what Putin and Trump are working towards is a detente style ‘geopolitical ceasefire’ and not an alliance, and certainly not ‘friendship’ between their countries, it can be said that in their summit in Helsinki they got off to a good start.

What happens from now depends on whether the forces of realism and sanity in the US can prevail over those of megalomania and hysteria.  Given how entrenched the latter now are unfortunately no one can be sure of this.

However some sort of process which may in time lead to detente and an easing of tensions between the nuclear superpowers has begun.  Given the circumstances that is more than might have been expected even a short time ago, and for that one should be grateful.

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Tucker Carlson SLAMS attacks against Donald Trump

“The Cold War is over. The world has changed. it is time to rethink America’s alliances, and to act in our own interest, for once.”

Seraphim Hanisch

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The fallout from the Helsinki Summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has never seemed so dire. Where before the summit Trump had support from many GOP members and even a good proportion of the anchors and reports at Fox and other conservative-leaning news outlets, the last twenty-four hours saw a radical change.

Even the supportive Fox News website is full of criticism that is almost identical to the cries of “Treason!” given by former CIA director and now CNN-hack James Clapper. Very little objective analysis is featured on this network that prides itself on fair and balanced reporting.

The outrage escalated to such a pitch that Mr. Trump actually caved slightly, by making a carefully worded statement that he “misspoke” in Helsinki about the likelihood of Russia committing election meddling. It takes a slightly careful and fully heard listening to his statement to realize that he really isn’t giving up his position, but just stating it differently. However, the optics of being “broken” by the opposition raise for some the spectre of the great power of the American Intelligence community and their ability to make or destroy anyone they wish.

This, alone is a dire thought for America. Our nation was never supposed to be a police state, and yet, the strongest evidence yet that the conspiracy theorists were right is right before our faces in the mainstream media.

However, a few cooler heads do remain in the US media, and here, we give Mr. Tucker Carlson the stage to express his thoughts about what is happening. Mr. Carlson’s introductory monologue is offered here, with some of his transcribed comments below:

“…You know what they’re saying; that’s exactly what happened – [Mr. Trump] buckled. That happens. This is politics, after all. What is amazing and unusual and ominous is who made him buckle.

The people yelling the loudest about how the Russians are our greatest enemy and Trump is their puppet happen to be the very same people who have been mismanaging our foreign policy for the past two decades:

  • the people who invaded Iraq, and wouldn’t admit it was a mistake.
  • the people who killed Muammar Gadhaffi for no obvious reason,
  • and prolonged the horrible Syrian Civil War and then
  • threw open the borders of Europe.
  • The ones still defending the pointless Afghan conflict, and
  • even now planning brand new disasters around the world, in Lebanon, Iran, and yes, in Russia.

These are the people who have made America weaker and poorer and sadder; the group whose failures got Trump elected in the first place.

You would think that by this late date, they would be discredited completely, and unemployable, wearing uniforms and picking up trash by the side of a turnpike somewhere. But, no, they’re not. They are hosting cable news shows; they are holding high positions of influence at the State Department. They run virtually every non-profit public policy institution in Washington. They are still, in some sense, in charge of our national conversation.

And naturally, they hate the idea of rethinking or correcting any of the countless blunders they have made over the years.

And that is one of the reasons they hate Trump. Because he calls them on those blunders.

Now, being Trump, he can’t always explains precisely what he means to say; sometimes he gets the details wrong, or he gets sidetracked with some personal vendetta, as if anybody cares about that ridiculous Jim Acosta guy (nobody does).

But on the big questions, Trump is indisputably right. The Cold War is over. The world has changed. it is time to rethink America’s alliances, and to act in our own interest, for once.

Russia is not a close friend of the United States. But the question is, “why should we consider Russia a mortal enemy?”

Of course Russia spies on us! So do a lot of countries, some of them far more effectively than Russia. The Russian attempt to meddle in our election was comically amateurish: badly targeted Facebook ads that almost nobody saw.

Compare that effort to:

  • the deep penetration of American industry and the defense sector by the Communist government of China.
  • Or compare to the remarkable sway that the Sunni Gulf States have over our political process.
  • Or the fact that Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here, by
  • forcing demographic change on this country at a rate that American voters consistently say they don’t want.

Those are all major challenges from foreign powers to our American democracy. They are real.

And yet somehow, nobody on cable news seems upset about any of it.

Why is that?

Well, here’s one reason: Many in Washington are getting rich from the Chinese and the Saudis. Latin Americans clean their homes and watch their kids. Those countries can’t be our enemies, in their view. But nobody here is getting rich from Russia. So, therefore Putin must be a mortal foe.

That is what the Neo-cons are telling us we are required to believe. Does anyone actually believe it? Well, no sober person who has read the newspaper this year could recite that talking point without laughing, because it’s stupid.

So, the only option, if you want to force the population to accept something ridiculous, is to make sure they don’t think too much about it – that they are quiet; they do what they’re told.”

Put in this context it becomes very clear what the establishment in the USA and the West is trying to do. The only people that oppose change are those who fear to lose something from it. And President Trump has thrown open the doors showing that massive change is called for and necessary.

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Mueller indictment of Russian GRUs 100 percent political theater (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 56.

Alex Christoforou

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United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted there was no collusion between these supposed Russian GRU agents and any Americans.  That is momentous.  It means that even Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein are admitting that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to leak the DNC/Podesta emails.

Mueller claims that Wikileaks got the DNC/Podesta emails from Guccifer 2.0 (the online persona supposedly created by the 12 GRU officers Mueller has indicted) but says nothing about Wikileaks having any knowledge that Guccifer 2.0 had anything to do with Russia.

Of course this indictment will never be tested in Court. For all we know Mueller has combined information about how the DNC/Podesta computers were hacked with names of certain officers known to work for certain departments of the GRU to give the impression of a much stronger case against them than he really has.

The key point is that even on his indictment it is now clear that there was NO collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to leak the DNC/Podesta emails, which calls into question why this investigation is continuing.

Remember that the key bite behind this indictment is the collusion allegation.  With this indictment and with Rosenstein’s words at his news conference, Mueller and Rosenstein have come closer than ever before to admitting that no collusion took place.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize the real motivation an meaning behind Robert Mueller’s Russian GRU indictment. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Meanwhile during the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down with Deep State shill, Fox News’ Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview, where Wallace theatrically proceeded to confront the Russian President with a copy of Robert Mueller’s ridiculous indictment of Russian military officials for the hack of the DNC.

Putin rightly brushed off the silly indictment.

Via Business Insider

“Mr. President, one of the issues that is standing in the way of more progress, as you know, are the allegations of Russian interference in the US election,” Wallace said to Putin. “You have repeatedly said, and you said again today, that this was not the action of the Russian state, that if it was anything it was patriotic Russian individuals.”

Wallace referred to Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence officers on Friday, in which his team named 12 members of the military intelligence unit GRU for conspiring to infiltrate computers that contained election-related software.

Wallace held the stack of papers in full view of Putin: “I have here the indictment that was presented on Friday from the special counsel, Robert Mueller,” Wallace said.

As Wallace continued explaining the contents of the indictment, Putin let out a laugh.

“And they talk specifically about Units 26165 and 74455, they say — you smiled,” Wallace said. “Let me finish.”

Wallace gestured towards Putin with the indictment and asked if he wanted to read its contents: “May I give this to you to look at, sir?”

After a brief pause, Putin gestured for Wallace to drop the documents on a nearby table. The Russian president then went on to deny all of the allegations made by Mueller and the US intelligence community.

“Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections,” Putin said. “Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?”

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