Flynn and Trump WH Promoted a Nuclear Plant Deal for the Saudis With Sanctioned Russian Companies

by Frank Vyan Walton – Although he’s been off the radar lately, fired former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is back in the news, and that news isn’t very good — for him. First there’s the report that Flynn failed — yet again — to disclose receiving foreign money while working on a $100 Billion nuclear power plant deal involving Russia and Saudi Arabia. Democrats sought information from three American companies in June after Newsweek reported that Flynn traveled to the Middle East in the summer of 2015 to broker a $100 billion deal between the companies, Saudi Arabia and Russia’s nuclear power agency. In response, officials from the US companies provided statements to the Democrats, confirming Flynn’s trip in 2015.   When Flynn returned to the US several months later and reapplied for his security clearance, he never disclosed the trip or the contacts he had with foreign nationals as part of the trip, the Democrats say. It is...

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Congressional Agreement on Russia Sanctions Bill Deals the Trump-Putin Alliance a Blow

by Kerry Eleveld – The efforts of Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin to help Russia get off scot-free after hacking the U.S. election have hit a snag: Congress. As challenged as the GOP-controlled Congress has proven to be, lawmakers appear to have brokered an agreement on a measure strengthening sanctions against Russia and preventing Trump from unilaterally lifting them. Oh, bother. What both Trump and Putin failed to appreciate was that being president in the U.S. isn’t exactly like being president in Russia—the U.S. Constitution actually provides safeguards and checks for a president who would gladly outsource our governance to a foreign entity, all to puff up his wounded ego. This was something that two men who are used to playing by their own rules—the ones they alone set—totally overlooked. Taken together, their complete alignment against the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russian hacked our election is now backfiring. The lockstep...

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Time to Act on Russia Sanctions

by Max Bergmann and Vikram Singh – On June 15, in a remarkable feat of bipartisan cooperation on a critical national security issue, the U.S. Senate passed tough Russia sanctions legislation by a stunning vote of 98-2. By taking this long overdue action, the Senate recognized clearly what the U.S. intelligence community described six months ago as Russia’s “unprecedented” attack on America’s democratic process during the 2016 elections and took the first step to a meaningful response. Action on this issue is vital; without a response, both former and current U.S. intelligence officials warn that the nation is still under attack and that future elections are under threat. Yet President Donald Trump continues to deny Russia’s attack and seeks to reset relations with Russia. With the Senate bill in hand, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other Republicans in Congress should work with their Democratic colleagues to stop Trump’s dangerous accommodation of Putin. The House should rapidly pass the Senate’s Russia...

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Senate Approves New Russian Sanctions 97-2

by Mark Sumner – In a vote that was as close to unanimous as the current Congress is likely to produce on anything more substantial than naming a post office, the Senate passed sanctions designed to punish Russia for interference in the 2016 election. Jamie Dupree   ✔@jamiedupree Senate votes 97-2 to approve new round of Russia sanctions in response to 2016 election interference 2:48 PM – 14 Jun 2017 This bill would put the force of legislation behind the sanctions that President Barack Obama already imposed following the election, making it more difficult for Donald Trump to remove those sactions—which is something Trump planned from his first days in the White House. Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve...

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My Wishes for Obama’s Parting Shots

by Robert Reich – President-elect Donald Trump is accusing President Obama of putting up “roadblocks” to a smooth transition. In reality, I think President Obama has been too cooperative with Trump. In the waning days of his administration, I’d recommend Obama take the following last stands: 1. Name Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President power to fill any vacancy during the recess of the Senate. The Supreme Court is no exception: Justice William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made this way expire at the end of the next Senate session. So if Obama appointed Garland on January 3, the appointment would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress. 2. Use his pardoning authority to forgive “Dreamers.” With a flick of his pen, Obama could forgive the past...

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