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The New York Times is trying to hijack the Russia investigation and steer it to its own ends

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Either this leads somewhere, or the New York Times has painted itself into a corner.

Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

This indicates a few things:

  1. The NYT does not possess the email. If they had it, they’d have said so.
  2. The “three people with knowledge of the email” don’t have it either or they’d have given it to the NYT.
  3. The specific language in the email may or may not be indicative of some government effort.

The email was sent by someone with only tenuous connections to Russians. Rob Goldstone was familiar with the lawyer who ultimately met with Trump Jr.

NYT’s byline includes Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman. They are all capable reporters but they are following the same leaky leads they’ve used in the past which have been refuted in various forums.

Based on the absence of facts here, it appears that the NYT is trying to steer the investigation in directions it would like to see it move. This is a kind of baiting, using counterfactual claims, to get Robert Mueller’s investigators, or the Senate Intelligence Committee, to demand the email. They’ve already asked to speak with Trump Jr., who wisely retained an attorney.

Then the NYT reported on the attorney as if there was a patina of guilt or a criminal aura about him.

Other than the “three people” the NYT cited, every single party to the email exchange and the meeting itself, have denied charges of Russian government involvement or a hint of collusion. The NYT is creating an atmosphere of “guilty because you deny it” around their claims.

They even had the temerity to claim that the story itself has taken the wind out of the president’s sails.

News of the meeting involving the younger Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort blunted whatever good feeling the president’s team had after his trip to Europe for the Group of 20 economic summit meeting.

Putting words into administration officials’ and Trump family members’ mouths, selectively including statements, leaks and descriptions that fit their pre-determined narrative, and then framing statements by named official White House and Trump persons as responses is dangerous journalism.

We should expect more of the New York Times.

Foreign Affairs

Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

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Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

The foreign relations mess stemming from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder continues to grow more chaotic despite Saudi Arabia’s attempt to cover it up with regularly changing stories. The latest attempt at damage control comes from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Fox News’ Bret Baier him, pressing multiple times about Mohammad bin Salman’s role in or knowledge of the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder. The blame is being placed on the individuals who carried out the operation; as much space is being created between the direct actors and Saudi leadership as possible.

One important note in the interview was when al-Jubier said they do not believe the entire 15-man “kill team” was at the consulate where when Khashoggi was killed there. He admitted he did not know whether Turkey really had a recording of what happened during the incident, nor whether the United States had intelligence that contradicted the Kingdom’s story.

The responses from the foreign minister were in stark contrast to the indignation exuding from the Kingdom for two weeks following the initial report of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

My Take

As I wrote last week, Saudi Arabia gravely underestimated the international response to this incident. They thought they could get rid of a dissident as they have done in the past and the response would be muted. They didn’t take into account his American ties and the desire of the Turks to expose them at every turn.

How is this going to end? It won’t, at least not for a while. Unlike other international news stories of similar magnitude, this one has multiple forces bent on keeping the story going until a satisfactory resolution is reached. It won’t be reached. The White House and the Kingdom will do whatever they can to sweep this under the rug and make people forget.

This stinks, but here’s the sad reality: “Justice” will not be delivered the way it should and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States will return to the status quo in a few months.

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Foreign Affairs

Pulling out of the INF treaty isn’t just about Russia

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Pulling out of the INF treaty has very little to do with Russia

Russia has broken the treaty already, according to this administration as well as its predecessor. That’s enough to prompt President Trump to put out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, famously signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in 1987.

President Trump to pull US from Russia missile treaty

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45930206The US will withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, President Donald Trump has confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said Russia had “violated” the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

My Take

This isn’t about Russia. Their actions are the excuse for pulling out, but the reason for doing so is because China has no such restrictions. They’re advancements in weaponry have prompted the United States and our allies to explore means of warfare that have been prohibited.

Until now.

This is a counter to China’s continued aggressive actions. Russia will keep doing what Presidents Obama and Trump already acknowledged. No we can step up our missile program as well.

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The cover up begins: 18 Saudis arrested in death of Jamal Khashoggi

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The cover up begins 18 Saudis arrested in death of Jamal Khashoggi

The cover up has begun. Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people in connection to the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. This is the first step in an alleged plan to separate the top levels of Saudi government, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from any involvement in the journalist’s murder.

Soon, we will hear that “rogue killers” were responsible for the death. It will be positioned as a simple argument that escalated until Khashoggi was “inadvertently” killed. Once dead, the people responsible reacted by trying to cover up the incident, choosing to dismember his body for easier transport from the consulate.

This has been the dominant story in the West and Middle East since his disappearance on October 2nd. He went to the consulate with his fiancee to finalize his divorce. He went in and hasn’t been seen since.

The Turkish government obtained a plethora of circumstantial evidence against the Saudis to the point that any flat denial was no longer tenable. This is the best course of action in their opinion, to cover up an obvious hit against a Saudi dissident and harsh critic of the Crown Prince. It will be interesting to see how those charged with the crime treat their situation.

The story doesn’t end here. America and the world must watch closely as this perversion of justice unfolds.

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