Russia

Russia Already Interfering In Midterm Elections

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News that Russia is already trying to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

But he said there are few ways to stop it.

Said Tillerson: “The point is, if it’s their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps, but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to preempt it.”

Senator Seeks Documents on Russia Links to the NRA

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) “is seeking documents from the National Rifle Association and the Treasury Department following reports of an FBI investigation into whether a Russian central banker funneled money to the group during the 2016 presidential campaign,” the AP reports.

Said Wyden: “I am specifically troubled by the possibility that Russian-backed shell companies or intermediaries may have circumvented laws designed to prohibit foreign meddling in our elections.”

Trump Administration Cribbed List of Oligarchs

“The striking similarity between a newly-released Treasury Department report of Russian oligarchs and a 2017 list of wealthy Russians published in Forbes Magazine is no coincidence,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“On Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed… that the unclassified annex of the report was derived from Forbes’ ranking of the ‘200 richest businessmen in Russia 2017.'”

Putin Says U.S. List of Oligarchs Is ‘Hostile Step’

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Trump administration’s list of top officials and businesspeople is a “hostile step” that harms relations between Russia and the United States, the AP reports.

“Just 12 minutes before the deadline, the administration late on Monday released a long-awaited list of 114 Russian politicians and 96 ‘oligarchs’ who have flourished under Putin, fulfilling a demand by Congress that the U.S. punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.”

Russia Accuses U.S. of Meddling In Election

“The Kremlin said that a new U.S. sanctions report expected to be released imminently was an attempt to influence Russia’s presidential election in March, but predicted it would fail to impact the vote,” Reuters reports.

“The United States could release reports as early as Monday detailing the possibilities for expanding sanctions against Russia, including a list of oligarchs and potential restrictions on the holding of Russian government debt.”

Members of Russia’s Elite Attended Trump Inauguration

Washington Post: “The attendance of members of Russia’s elite at Trump’s inauguration was evidence of the high anticipation in Moscow of a thaw in U.S.-Russia relations, following a campaign in which Trump stunned U.S. foreign policy experts by repeatedly praising Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.”

“As questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election were beginning to percolate publicly, prominent business leaders and activists from that country attended inaugural festivities, mingling at balls and receptions — at times in proximity to key American political officials.”

“Their presence caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI.”

Trump Says Russia Helping North Korea Skirt Sanctions

President Trump said that Russia is helping North Korea get supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang is getting “closer every day” to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States, Reuters reports.

Said Trump: “Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea. What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”

New Russian Payments Are a Focus of Investigation

“Officials investigating the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are scrutinizing newly uncovered financial transactions between the Russian government and people or businesses inside the United States.”

“Records exclusively reviewed by BuzzFeed News also show years of Russian financial activity within the U.S. that bankers and federal law enforcement officials deemed suspicious, raising concerns about how the Kremlin’s diplomats operated here long before the 2016 election.”

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, charged with investigating Russian election interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign, is examining these transactions and others by Russian diplomatic personnel.”

Russian Women Flock to the U.S. to Give Birth

“A growing number of pregnant Russian women have been traveling to Miami to give birth, with the wealthier ones buying birth tourism packages and those of more modest means putting together DIY packages. Giving birth in the U.S., and Miami in particular, is a status symbol in Moscow, NBC News reports, and the big draw is birthright citizenship. All children born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens.”

“The child gets a lifelong right to live and work and collect benefits in the U.S. And when they turn 21 they can sponsor their parents’ application for an American green card.”

Bannon Lawyers Up

“Steve Bannon is lawyering up as he gets ready to face investigators looking into the Trump-Russia nexus. The Daily Beast has learned that the former top White House strategist has retained Bill Burck, of the firm Quinn Emanuel. Two sources tell us Burck is helping Bannon prepare for an interview with the House intelligence committee, which is currently scheduled for next week. Sources also said Bannon plans to “fully cooperate” with investigators.”

“Burck also represents White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the purposes of the Russia probe.”

Report Finds Russia’s Election Meddling Fits Pattern

New York Times: “Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election fits into a nearly two-decade pattern of meddling with governments around the world, and the United States’ response to its brazen attack is being hindered by President Trump, a new report prepared by Senate Democrats concludes.”

“The report, which is to be released on Wednesday, is one of the most extensive to date on foreign interference by Russia and President Vladimir Putin. It tracks Russian efforts in 19 countries, chronicling misinformation campaigns, the funding of far-right political causes and the manipulation of energy supplies long before 2016 in an attempt to glean lessons for American officials considering how to counteract similar efforts here.”