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Trump and Putin, behind the scenes
Quote:Russia says it stopped former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from becoming President Trump’s secretary of State, according to The New Yorker. The magazine, in a report about Christopher Steele, says the former British spy authored a separate dossier with “a senior Russian official” as its source. That source said individuals inside Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed to have stopped Romney from becoming head of the State Department.  Steele’s memo said Russia used “unspecified channels” to request that Trump choose a secretary of State who would remove “Ukraine-related sanctions,” according to the report. The Kremlin also reportedly wanted the department's head to accommodate Russia in regards to Syria, where the Russian government has been backing President Bashar Assad in a years-long civil war. Romney was reportedly under consideration for the State Department post, and met with Trump during the transition period. But the president ultimately chose current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Russia says it stopped Mitt Romney from becoming secretary of State: report | TheHill
Much of it is simply hidden in plain sight:

Quote:But whatever the special counsel concludes legally about "collusion," evidence on public display already paints a jarring picture. It shows an American president who has embraced Russian money and illicit favors, while maintaining rhetoric and policies benefiting Russia and undercutting national security officials of his own country. That in-plain-sight reality gets obscured by the Trump news avalanche. So it's worth reviewing what's been established so far.
Closer look at Trump's in-plain-sight embrace of Russia

Pretty convincing opinion, simply adding up what we already know.
Quote:It sounds utterly absurd. And, to be clear, Anastasia Vashukevich (who also goes by the name Nastya Rybka) may not actually have anything close to what she claims she does. She’s clearly self-interested — she’s trying to avoid deportation back to her home country of Belarus and is asking the US to extradite her in exchange for her information. She also has a history of bizarre self-promotional stunts. But Vashukevich’s claims have been getting a surprising amount of attention from mainstream media sources — and for some understandable reasons.

For one, that wasn’t just any oligarch she traveled with. It was Russian aluminum magnate and former Paul Manafort employer Oleg Deripaska. That’s the oligarch whom Manafort wanted to privately brief and with whom he seems to have surreptitiously communicated, through an intermediary, while he chaired Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. For another, it wasn’t just any top Russian government official who accompanied them on Deripaska’s yacht — it was Sergei Prikhodko, Russia’s deputy prime minister, a longtime Putin ally who has a foreign policy portfolio and is a very high-ranking official indeed.

Finally, the idea that Vashukevich might have secretly taped their conversations isn’t just hypothetical. At least once, she clearly did it, recording the two men as Deripaska discussed US-Russia relations. She later posted the video on her public Instagram account, where it sat for many months, essentially unnoticed, until anti-corruption political activist and Putin critic Alexei Navalny discovered it and explained its import in a YouTube video, accusing the deputy prime minister of accepting bribes from the oligarch..
Nastya Rybka: escort claims her tapes prove Russian interference in US election - Vox
Quote:Special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence showing that a meeting in the Seychelles last year between the founder of a private security company and a Russian official was intended to set up a back channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators that the meeting was set up in advance, apparently contradicting what Erik Prince, the founder of the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater, has told lawmakers about the meeting..
Mueller evidence shows Blackwater founder held meeting to create Trump-Russia back channel: report | TheHill
Quote:Skripal and his daughter appear to be have been poisoned using a nerve agent at or near his home in Salisbury, a quiet cathedral city roughly 90 miles southwest of London. May asserted in her Monday statement that the nerve agent used was “military grade” and “of a type developed by Russia.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not endorse the British government’s de facto position that Russia was responsible for the attack during Monday’s White House briefing. Sanders did call the attack “an outrage,” “reckless” and “indiscriminate,” but did not offer clarity on whether Trump shares the British assessment of Russian responsibility. “That’s par for the course,” said retired FBI special agent Frank Montoya Jr. "In terms of any kind of direct criticism of Putin or the Russian government, we don’t see that from this government. … There is always this deflection.”

Later Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was more forceful in his denunciation, saying the U.S. has "full confidence in the U.K.'s investigation and and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible."
The Memo: British spy drama echoes through Washington | TheHill

So the Brits blame the Russians, the White House doesn't share that (how typical..), but wait, Rex Tillerson did. And then, the very next day, this happened:

Quote:The State Department said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was informed of his own firing by President Donald Trump's Tuesday morning tweet announcing the news. The secretary said that he was "unaware of the reason" for his firing, which he did not discuss with Trump before the president announced his ouster on Tuesday morning.
Tillerson found out he was fired when Trump tweeted about it - Business Insider

Trump can't stomach his Foreign Minister being critical about Russia..
So, lets add a few things up. Individually, most of this stuff can (and has) be explained away. A much more damaging picture emerges when it's all added up. And mind you, this list is by no means complete, as it's just from memory:

  1. They all denied any contacts with the Russians.. Trump Jr. Kuchner, Papadopoulos, Flynn, Sessions

  2. Flynn lying to the FBI about content of talks with Russians and White House having been warned about he could be blackmailed Sally Yates

  3. Carter Page

  4. Papadopoulos boozing with diplomat, who was so alarmed he warned the Fed

  5. Kuchner's meeting with a Russian bank under sanctions

  6. Trump calling for Russia for the missing Hillary emails

  7. Trump never criticizing Putin, often praising him

  8. Putin not retaliating for Obama sanctions just before handover of power

  9. Trump fuming about Sessions recusing himself, despite Sessions being one of his earliest and most loyal supporters

  10. Russia did hack the DNC and 

  11. Trump never really acknowledging what his intelligence agencies say, it was the Russians

  12. When Kuchner, Don Jr. and Manafort went to meet the Russians, did they really not tell Trump Sr.?

  13. That meeting was about adoptions. No it wasn't. Trump's involvement in writing that fake excuse. 

  14. Trump firing Comey, the fake excuse Rosenstein letter, Trump admitting to Russians the next day and ABC that it was about the Russia thing.

  15. Trump wanting to fire Mueller, only held back by White House lawyer threatening to resign

  16. Conspiracy guy contact with the hackers

  17. Changed Republican platform on Ukraine

  18. Manafort well known Russian connections

  19. Nunes midnight run supposedly confirming Trump's claims about Obama spying on Trump tower

  20. Hope Hicks allegedly wanting to destroy evidence

  21. Nunes memo

  22. Steele is a respected MI6 ex Russian desk researcher

  23. Some parts of the dossier have been corroborated

  24. Fusion started off being financed by Republicans, Steele might not even have known who financed it

  25. Timeline, especially with regard to Trump Jr. meeting, release of hacked emails

  26. FBI private text messages proves exactly nothing

  27. Trump's tax returns

  28. Timeline of obstruction
Quote:The FBI has tried to meet with two self-proclaimed "sex coaches" held in a Thai jail who claim to have information about Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, CNN reported Tuesday. FBI agents contacted Thailand's Immigration Bureau last week to try to set up a meeting with Anastasia Vashukevich and Alexander Kirillov, both Belarusian citizens, CNN reported, citing a high-level Thai official. Thai officials turned down that request, however, because only the detainees' lawyers and family members are permitted access to them. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok referred CNN's questions about the matter to Thai law enforcement. Vashukevich and Kirillov sent a handwritten letter to the U.S. Embassy last month offering to provide evidence of Russian meddling to U.S. authorities in exchange for asylum.
FBI tried to contact jailed ’sex coaches’ who say they have proof of Russian interferences: CNN | TheHill
Quote:President Donald Trump's personal defense lawyer, John Dowd, reportedly said it's time for the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to be shut down. Dowd initially said he was making the statement in his official capacity as Trump's attorney and representative, but later walked that back. Dowd's statement came after a Trump associate confirmed the Trump Organization — which Mueller has subpoenaed — was negotiating a deal with a sanctioned Russian bank during the election. One legal expert said Dowd's statement could be an "unintentional tell" that investigators are close to uncovering bombshell evidence of a crime in the Russia investigation.
Trump lawyer John Dowd calls for end to Mueller investigation - Business Insider

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