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Putin and Merkel: Europe’s titans meet in Moscow

The key point about the summit meeting in Moscow between Russian President Putin and German Chancellor Merkel is that it signals Merkel’s acceptance that Putin’s hold on power is secure.

Alexander Mercouris

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Angela Merkel met Vladimir Putin for the first time in Moscow in 2 years, her last visit there being a brief visit she made in 2015 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Victory In Europe.

Apart from that one meeting, which it was impossible politically for Merkel to avoid, Merkel’s visit to Moscow today is her first visit there since her negotiation with Putin in February 2015, which took place in the run-up to the signing of the Minsk Agreement.

Merkel has avoided to Moscow since then, and has signalled her disapproval of visits there by other German politicians.

Merkel’s visit to Moscow is supposed to be taking place in the run-up to the G20 summit in July in Germany,which Merkel will be hosting.

This is an excuse than than a reason for the visit.  Even if it is true that Merkel is busy contacting G20 leaders in preparation for the summit, that did not require her to go to Moscow to meet Putin there.

Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel are by a very considerable distance the two most powerful leaders in Europe.  Each of them leads what are by a very considerable distance the two most powerful countries in Europe.  Putin and Merkel are now also the two most long lasting leaders of any of the major European states.  Putin has been de facto leading Russia since Boris Yeltsin appointed him Prime Minister in August 1999.  Merkel has been Germany’s Chancellor since 2005.

Putin and Merkel have met frequently with each other, and have got to know each other very well.  Each speaks the other’s language, making it possible for them to speak directly to each other without interpreters.  Both are exceptionally skilled politicians, with a profound grasp of the politics of their respective countries.  Both are good managers and formidable negotiators with an eye for detail.  Over the years that they have known each other, they have gained a wary respect for each other.

That respect is however coloured by mutual dislike.  In his usual way Putin never speaks of it.  Merkel however has spoken of it often, and Putin is of course aware of some of the deeply unpleasant things she has said about him.

Though the two dislike each other – a fact very obvious in the tense body language of their meetings – circumstances oblige them to work together, though neither finds it a pleasant experience.  Merkel admitted as much during her joint conference with Putin today, when she confirmed she was meeting Putin out of necessity and not from choice

I am always of the view that even if there are serious differences of opinion in some areas, talks must continue. You must carry on, because otherwise you fall into silence and there is less and less understanding

The same Reuters report which reports these words, also refers to their tense body language during the news conference

Their body language suggested tensions: their facial expressions as they spoke to reporters were stern, and the two leaders barely looked at each other.

That Putin and Merkel nonetheless often succeed in achieving common ground on subjects like Nord Stream 2 with each other despite their mutual dislike is a sign of their professionalism, which is of course a reason why they have been leaders of their respective countries for so long.

Underpinning their mutual dislike are profound differences.

Though Putin and Merkel are often referred to as conservatives, in reality that does neither of them justice.

Though he in many of his professed attitudes Putin is a conservative, he is also the leader of a dynamic and purposeful government which in the years he has been in power has transformed Russia, changing it more completely than any other country during the same period apart from China.

Merkel is more truly conservative in the sense that she sees herself as essentially Germany’s caretaker, preserving the German political and economic system unchanged from the way she found it.  Where Putin’s policies are marked by dynamism and change, her policies can be best described as immobilism bordering on stagnation.

However Merkel has also increasingly become the gatekeeper of Europe’s neoliberal order, which in its effects is anything but conservative.

The most important fact about today’s meeting is its venue.

It is barely conceivable that Putin or Merkel – who are in regular communication with each other – were expecting to hear anything from the other which they had not heard before.  Bloomberg has written a colourful account of their joint press conference and of the different positions they took on the Ukrainian crisis.  However these were simply restatements of long established positions, which neither Putin nor Merkel would have expected the other to change.

On the sanctions issue highlighted by Bloomberg, Russian Finance Minister Siluanov had already said before Merkel’s visit in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt that Russia expects the sanctions to stay.

For what it’s worth, on certain contentious points which have arisen recently between Ukraine and Russia, Merkel if anything appeared to side with Russia.  Thus she rejected Ukrainian suggestions that the Minsk Agreement be scrapped or rewritten, or that the OSCE monitors in eastern Ukraine be replaced by UN peacekeepers.  I doubt anyone sees anything of significant in this.

The key point about Merkel going to Moscow to meet with Putin there is that it shows that she now accepts that Putin is there to stay, and will be there for a long time.

It was not to signal any change of policy that Merkel went to Moscow.  It was to acknowledge the reality that Putin’s hold on power is secure.

Amidst the ocean of words the Western media has written about how Putin supposedly meddles in Western politics, and how he supposedly engineered Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 and is trying to engineer Angela Merkel’s defeat this year, it is completely overlooked that in reality it was the West which in 2014 tried to overthrow him.

That was why the West imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014: in the expectation that the hurt the West thought they would cause through the sanctions would provoke a backlash against Putin in Russia, which would lead to his overthrow.

Merkel was fully on board with this agenda.  Back in the winter of 2014 the BND – Germany’s intelligence agency – told her that if sanctions were imposed on Russia Putin would have no choice but to comply with the West’s demands or face being overthrown in an oligarch-led coup.

Three years later no-one any longer believes that.

Since refusing to talk to Russia – as Merkel says – is not an option, that means talking to Putin.  If he insists that means meeting him in Moscow, then Merkel is enough of a realist to know that she has no choice but to go.

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

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

Alex Christoforou

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

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

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

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

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Via Zerohedge

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

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

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

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

Daily Caller reports…

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

Gohmert continued..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via Zerohedge

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Via CNBC

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

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

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

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

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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