One year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, Mueller is on the Trump money trail – Trending Stuff

In response to this CNN story, the President’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said, “President’s outside counsel has not received any requests for documentation or advice relating to this. Any query from the special counsel that goes beyond the mandate specified in the appointment we would object to.”

In 2015, the FBI began investigating cyber breaches targeting US political organizations, including the Democratic National Committee.

In the summer of 2016, US intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former US officials briefed on the investigation. James Comey, in his Senate testimony, said the FBI opened an investigation into Trump campaign-Russia connections in July 2016. The strands of the two investigations began to merge.

In the months that followed, investigators turned up intercepted communications appearing to show efforts by Russian operatives to coordinate with Trump associates on damaging Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, officials said. CNN has learned those communications included references to campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

A year later, the FBI is reviewing financial records related to the Trump Organization, as well as Trump, his family members, including Donald Trump Jr., and campaign associates. They’ve combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump-branded real estate properties and scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower reaching back more than a half-dozen years. They’ve looked at the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump surrounding the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. CNN could not determine whether the review has included his tax returns.

In recent weeks, investigators have also started looking into the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower and how the White House responded to news of that meeting. The session included Trump Jr., Manafort, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Russian attorney.

Trump has denied any collusion and maintains that his business empire has “no involvement with Russia” and that he has “no loans, no nothing” from Russia. His lawyers have detailed a few exceptions, including the Miss Universe pageant he held in Moscow and the Florida mansion he sold to a Russian oligarch in 2008. Trump earned more than $100 million from those deals, according to his lawyers.

“This is similar to any investigation,” says one person briefed on the probe. “You start at the core and then proceed into the periphery. You need to learn more about the finances. Where this is going is no different from any investigation.”

The Mueller Team

Since his appointment in May, Mueller has quietly gathered a team of more than three dozen attorneys, investigators and other staff in a nondescript office in Washington. Officials familiar with the probe describe it as akin to a small US attorney’s office, with FBI agents and prosecutors assigned to separate groups looking into various aspects of the investigation.

These include groups of investigators and lawyers focused separately on Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, as well as the investigations focused on Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a US official briefed on the investigation. Some of the investigators have been pulled from field offices across the country to join the Mueller team in Washington. Others left high-paying jobs at law firms. Many of the investigators have backgrounds in investigating fraud and financial crimes. There are 16 attorneys assigned to the probe, according to a spokesman for Mueller.
The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn the ire of Trump and his loyalists, who claim that the team has conflicts of interest. Trump has tweeted about the “witch hunt” more than a dozen times since Mueller was appointed. Some members of the team previously contributed to Democratic campaigns.

Mueller reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but there’s a measure of separation from Justice Department headquarters to keep the probe independent.

CNN has learned some of the investigators involved in the probe are buying liability insurance out of concern they could become targets of lawsuits from those who are being investigated, according to one of the people familiar with the probe. The Justice Department covers legal fees for employees sued in the course of their duties, but some of the lawyers want extra protection.

The Justice Department and special counsel’s office both declined to comment on the liability concerns.

Bait and Switch

The possible financial ties between Trump and Russia were part of the concerns for US intelligence and law enforcement officials from the beginning, according to one current law enforcement official and one former US intelligence official.

Over the decades, the Trump real estate business and its financial dealings have come under scrutiny by the FBI and the Justice Department multiple times.
In some cases, the FBI was pursuing others who did business with the Trump organization, including alleged mobsters who controlled key contractors used by many real estate developers in New York during the 1980s. The flow of Russian money in real estate — and concerns that some buyers were making the purchases to illegally launder money — had also drawn some attention by US authorities to the Trump business.

The international real estate business is a part of the global economy where foreigners can still use cash with fewer questions asked about the sources of money. Terrorism financing concerns long ago put more stringent rules on banking and other businesses. But the rules are looser in the business of buying and selling high-end real estate, US officials say.

Investigators are looking both at whether financial laws were broken and whether there are any dealings that could put the President or his associates in a compromising position.

“There’s always been a concern about his exposure to blackmail in his financial dealings,” says the person briefed on the investigation.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he has no enduring financial ties to Russian interests.

But some of the people who are now under scrutiny by Mueller see a bait and switch. Instead of collusion, many believe the Mueller probe will instead end up being about past financial troubles.

“They launch an investigation into collusion in the election,” says one person whose client is among those being scrutinized by the Mueller investigators. “Then they go after people because of old business matters that have nothing to do with collusion.”

Missing Links

Even at the FBI, there’s a measure of frustration over the investigation.

After a highly contentious year investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email servers and being accused of swinging the election against her, the FBI finds itself again where officials tried not to be: amid a politically treacherous investigation that has hobbled a new President.

Worse yet, some FBI officials fear the question of whether there was any criminal coordination or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia may never be answered.

One challenge is that tantalizing pieces of intelligence are missing key links because they did not develop long enough for investigators to determine their significance. These include intercepts monitored by US intelligence that showed suggestions of illegal coordination but nothing overt.

Those missing links mean that the FBI and Mueller’s prosecution team may not have enough evidence to bring charges related to possible illegal coordination with a foreign intelligence service. Instead, prosecutors could pursue financial crime charges unrelated to the election.

Investigators also face a big hurdle: those participating in the intercepted communications were foreigners, outside the reach of the FBI, who may be exaggerating or lying about events.

Some FBI officials also blame media coverage dating back to last summer for prompting some communications to cease, and making it more difficult for investigators to monitor the interactions of Russians and campaign associates.

Scrambling to react

By last July when Russian intelligence began releasing troves of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, the FBI had been aware of the DNC intrusion about a year.

Until the stolen emails were weaponized in their release via WikiLeaks and the Russian intelligence’s own site DCLeaks, intelligence and law enforcement officials believed the cyber-intrusion was an intelligence-gathering effort, like many of those that occurred before past elections.

Over the next four months, the Obama administration officials and law enforcement and intelligence agencies debated how to respond.

“You had a government that didn’t want to appear heavy-handed” in favor of Hillary Clinton, one senior former US official involved in investigation said.

At the White House, Obama officials scrambled last summer for a strategy on how to respond to what they already knew were Russian actions, well before the administration was willing to point the finger publicly.

Michael Daniel, the White House cyber-security coordinator, ordered staff in August to draw up a list of possible retaliatory measures, according to a former administration official briefed on the matter. These included planting malware in Russian infrastructure that could be activated if the Russian actions escalated, according to the former official.

But shortly after Daniel gave the order, White House officials raised other concerns. Top officials including Susan Rice, national security adviser, and Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser, led efforts by the White House to make sure the government could prevent any move by Russian intelligence to tamper with the voting infrastructure and sow chaos on Election Day.

Daniel, in an interview, declined to discuss specifics about measures considered in response, because much of the information remains classified. But he said one top concern for White House officials was “it not appear we were trying to be partisan in what we were doing.”

The partisan concerns were exacerbated by interactions between the White House and congressional leaders. Monaco traveled to Capitol Hill to try to get top leaders of both parties to send a letter to state governors to urge shoring up of their defenses of election infrastructure. But they were rebuffed by Republican leaders, who viewed the request as partisan, according to current and former officials briefed on the discussions.

Daniel told CNN he and his cyber-response group worked quietly, reducing the number of people allowed in meetings to avoid leaks. “We didn’t have to do the Russians work for them,” Daniel said. “We needed to create diplomatic options first, and we [put] the alternatives on the back-burner.”

After the election, the Obama administration unveiled a series of measures, including expulsion of diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds allegedly used for espionage. The technical staff also released a trove of information on Russian cyber-intrusion techniques and malware that current and former officials say forced the Russians to spend time and money coming up with new methods.

Four Targets

Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI investigators focused on four Trump associates: Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, Carter Page, cited by Trump as a national security adviser, and Roger Stone, a Trump friend and supporter who openly engaged with hackers calling themselves Guccifer 2.0, which US intelligence says was an online persona created as a cover for Russian intelligence agents.

The approach to the Manafort and Flynn probes may offer a template for how investigators’ focus on potential financial crimes might help gain leverage and collaboration in the investigation.

CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that US intelligence agencies gathered among suspected Russian operatives discussing their attempts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, the US officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.

Manafort faces possible real troubles from the probe, according to former and current officials. Decades of conducting business with overseas regimes with reputations for corruption, from the Philippines to Ukraine, had led to messy finances.
The focus now for investigators is if Manafort was involved in money laundering or tax violations in his business dealings with pro-Russia parties in Ukraine. He’s also been drawn into a related investigation of his son-in-law’s property business dealings, some of which he spent in.

Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In response to questions about CNN’s reporting, his spokesman, Jason Maloni, says it “is becoming increasingly apparent that there was no collusion between the campaign and the Russian government.”

Flynn drew suspicions in late 2016 when US spy agencies collecting the communications of Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak found Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, discussing the subject of US sanctions on Russia. This appeared to contradict White House claims that Flynn hadn’t discussed sanctions in his talks with Kislyak.

On January 24, Andrew McCabe, then the deputy FBI director, called Flynn in his White House office. He told the lieutenant general that he sent a few FBI agents to discuss a matter according to individuals. Flynn spoke to McCabe with no attorney present.

At the FBI, the decision to approach Flynn was debated in the highest levels, such as by Comey, according to sources familiar with those discussions. FBI officials considered the visit by representatives a “duty to warn” matter, a not-uncommon effort by the FBI to warn a US official that foreign spies could be trying to target them.

The representatives asked Flynn about the Kislyak calls, in part out of concern that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail over the content of the conversations. Flynn gave a wobbly explanation of events. The sanctions discussions were denied by him, then later claimed he couldn’t remember.

Despite the conflicting accounts, FBI investigators have leaned against seeking charges over the Kislyak discussions. The investigators do not consider Flynn’s answers to be intentionally dishonest.

Flynn’s lawyers have criticized media reports about his connection to the Russia investigation as peddling “unfounded allegations” and “outrageous claims.”

More troublesome for Flynn, researchers have focused on his lobbying work for the Turkish authorities, which the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief did not initially disclose as required by legislation. Flynn’s lawyers have since retroactively registered his lobbying.

Page had become the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant because 2014, sooner than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.

When data emerged last summer indicating that the Russians were attempting to cultivate Page as a approach to acquire an entre into the Trump campaign, the FBI renewed its interest in him. Originally, FBI counterintelligence investigators saw the campaign as potential victims being targeted by Russian intelligence.

Page denies working with any Russians within the Kremlin’s election meddling, though he admits interacting with some Russians throughout the campaign.

Stone denies collusion and says his conversations with Guccifer 2.0, which he since posted on the internet, were innocuous.

Categories CNN

Video shows Trump with associates tied to email controversy – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)Video obtained exclusively by CNN offers a new look within the web of relationships now in the center of allegations of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

The movie shows the future President Donald Trump attending a dinner with an Azerbaijani-Russian family who became Trump’s business partners in Las Vegas in June 2013. It also shows their publicist, Rob Goldstone, who would later send Donald Trump Jr. the mails which have brought the eldest Trump son to the center of the controversy over potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

Goldstone, who is also observed in the movie talking with Trump, claimed from the 2016 emails that damaging information against Hillary Clinton surfaced following a meeting between somebody Goldstone described as “the Crown prosecutor of Russia” and Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Goldstone then offered to establish a call between the younger Trump and Emin Agalarov, the billionaire’s son and a pop star Goldstone signifies, to discuss the information.

The video, obtained by CNN in the wake of the email disclosures, offers fresh insights into the warm relationship between Trump and the Agalarovs, which has been widely reported since Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov inked a multi-million dollar deal with Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.

The movie was shot on June 15, 2013 at Las Vegas on the eve of the Miss USA pageant where Trump would officially announce the deal to bring the Miss Universe competition to Moscow. The footage, a set of clips from the eve of the Miss USA pageant, documents more than three minutes of connections between Trump, the Agalarovs and Goldstone.

Donald Trump Jr. does not appear in the video obtained by CNN, but several other top Trump associates do — including Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his long-time aide and current director of Oval Office operations, Keith Schiller, who are both from the movie.

The clips show Trump engaged in animated conversation with the Agalarov guys and Goldstone.

During dinner, Trump is seated across from Aras Agalarov and beside Emin Agalarov — who in turn is seated next to Goldstone. At one point in the clip, Trump and Goldstone engage in a conversation while the younger Agalarov leans into the table.

Another clip shows a conversation between Trump and the Agalarovs prior to the dinner, where Emin Agalarov introduces Trump to his mother and sister — prompting the future US president to remark on their looks.

“Whoa, look at this! Now I’m glad we’re going to dinner,” Trump says after meeting the mother and sister. “What a beautiful mother you have! Well, you produce good looking stuff, right? Beautiful stuff.”

In one conversation captured on the video, Trump discusses how he came to own the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, noting that the previous owners “didn’t know what they were doing,” prompting laughter from the Agalarovs.

“Miss Universe now is, in the whole world, because you know it’s, like the Super Bowl is a watched, but outside the United States, nobody watches it, it’s one of the largest, I think top three broadcasts in the world,” Trump says, prompting Emin Agalarov to suggest that just the Olympics earn more viewership.

The next day, Trump lavishes praise on the Agalarovs in the Miss USA 2013 red rug, calling them “the most powerful people in all of Russia.”

“These are the most powerful people in all of Russia, the richest men in Russia,” Trump says during the public red carpet ceremony, which was included in the clips obtained by CNN.

In another clip from the Miss USA pageant that year, Trump discusses the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. He lavishes praise on Russia and says he hopes the pageant will help enhance the US-Russia relationship.

“It really is a great country. It’s a very powerful country that we have a relationship with, but I would say not a great relationship, and I would say this can certainly help that relationship. I think it’s very important,” Trump says in response to a query.

“I have great respect for Russia. And to have the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, in the most important location, the most beautiful building, in your convention center, with such amazing partners, I mean it’s going to be fantastic for detente, or whatever you want to say,” Trump continues. “I think it’s a great thing for both countries, and honestly they really wanted it in Russia — badly. … Politically they wanted it.”

Donald Trump Jr. has stated that his relationship with Goldstone did not arise from the Miss Universe pageant.

The younger Trump instead suggested in an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, an ardent Trump supporter, that he met Goldstone through a golf course tournament where Emin Agalarov performed.

“I met him through the golf program. I wasn’t even in the Miss Universe pageant, but I met him through out there, so I had a casual relationship with him,” Trump Jr. told Hannity, describing Goldstone later in the interview as “an acquaintance.”

Trump Jr. maintained in the interview that he agreed to the meeting “as a courtesy” to Goldstone.

Trump Jr. said he had only met Emin Agalarov “once or twice and maintained a casual relationship there, spoke about some possible deals, and then to this — the extent of it. They really did not go anywhere.”

Aras Agalarov told Russian radio station BFM that he doesn’t know Trump Jr. personally, though he acknowledges that they “did Miss Universe” together. But Agalarov told BFM that his son Emin Agalarov does know him. Agalarov told BFM he “does not really know” publicist Rob Goldstone either and he says the notion that Goldstone asked Trump Jr. to contact him about some dirt on Hillary Clinton is a “tall tale”.

Scott Balber, an attorney for the Agalarovs, also did not deny the closeness of the relationship between the Trumps and Agalarovs, instead raising a question about Goldstone’s credibility.

“It’s simply fiction that this was a effort to make a conduit for information from the Russian federal prosecutors into the Trump campaign,” Balber said on CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s just dream world since the fact is if there was something significant that Mr. Agalarov wanted to convey to the Trump campaign, I guess he might have called Mr. Trump straight instead of getting his son’s pop music publicist function as intermediary.”

Categories CNN

Challenges to Silicon Valley wont just come from Brussels – Trending Stuff

Eric Schmidt, Googles previous executive chairman. Picture: Getty

Silicon Valley is a truth distortion field whose residents think about it as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0. (Rapidly gotten wealth has effective imaginary impacts on individuals.) In a weird method, they share the previous United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfelds view of our continent as old Europe, a civilisation whose time has actually reoccured. When German people object intensely to having their houses photographed by Google Street View, or the Bundestag thinks about a law that would enforce swingeing fines on social media business that do not without delay eliminate hate speech from their services, or the European commission enforces a great equivalent to 3% of Googles international profits, they fume into their almond-coconut Frappuccinos and vow vengeance.

If thats how they see things, then its time they recalibrated. They are all kids of a hegemony thats started to deteriorate. When Europeans and their federal governments quailed prior to American business power might be ending, the age. The French were constantly a bit resistant to it (however then, being French, they would be, wouldnt they?) Now even the Germans have actually concluded that Europe can no longer rely on the United States (or the UK) and should battle for its own fate. In such a way, the US-based digital giants ought to thank their fortunate stars that Europe, for the many part, still includes societies where the guideline of law counts for something. Even when the business do not like the result of our legal procedures, they ought to be grateful that a minimum of we follow them.

The very same can not be stated for other parts of the world that Google &co wish to control. China and Russia do things their own method, for instance, and are completely untroubled by legal niceties. As far as China is worried, in 2010 Google was offered the option of following federal government needs or closing down its Chinese online search engine; it picked the latter alternative and is needing to consent to federal government controls if it is to be permitted back. In Russia, Google reached a settlement with the regional regulator to loosen up limitations on online search engine constructed into its Android mobile os, to enable Russian rivals a share of the pie. Comparable concessions will be needed to run in Iran and other Middle Eastern states. These programs are the genuine opponents that United States paranoids need to fear. While the 2.4 bn fine might be unpalatable (though quickly cost effective) for Google, it ought to thank its fortunate stars. A minimum of it got a hearing.

John Naughton is teacher of the general public understanding of innovation at the Open University. He composes a weekly column in The New Review.

How Americas Aircraft Carriers Could Become Obsolete – Trending Stuff

President Donald Trump has actually corresponded in his argument that the United States Navy has actually diminished to a woefully insufficient size. The Republican has actually consistently stated he desires the service to broaden, consisting of a fleet of a lots carrier. That strategy isn &#x 2019; t in the Pentagon &#x 2019; s present budget plan, however on July 22&#xA 0; the Navy will officially commission CVN-78 , the, its most recent, most advanced nuclear-powered provider.

The, struck with hold-ups and technical problems, is anticipated to end up being functional in 2020. One concern about its official preparedness, nevertheless, rests on whether the Navy will #x &carry out 201C; full-ship shock trials, &#x 201D; a test where the service detonates dynamites neighboring&#xA 0; to show its physical fitness. Some in Congress &#x 2014; which has actually mandated a provider fleet no smaller sized&#xA 0; than 11 &#x 2014; wish to move the into task faster to lower stress on the remainder of the provider fleet.

These huge mobile airports, which can haul as lots of as 90 airplane concurrently, are created to predict U.S. diplomatic and military power worldwide. Previously this month, for instance, the Navy published 2 providers, the and the, and their strike groups&#xA 0; in the Sea of Japan for joint workouts with Japan &#x 2019; s Maritime Self-Defense Force as a preventive signal to North Korean aggressiveness.

The is the very first of 4 prepared -class providers, the Navy &#x 2019; s initially brand-new provider style in 42 years, although only 3 of them have names and financing . A shock trial would be deferred till the 2nd provider, CVN-79, the, gets here in 2020, inning accordance with defense financing language being pressed in your home seapower and forecast forces subcommittee.

The -class vessels are crafted to release one-third more sorties daily than their predecessors, utilizing a selection of innovations brand-new to the flattop field, which dates to 1922 when the Navy introduced its very first airplane from its very first provider, the. The Navy &#x 2019; s earliest serving provider , the, got in service in 1975 and is arranged for retirement by 2025 at the current. The Navy prepares to keep its fleet of 11 providers in coming years by utilizing the brand-new -class providers to change retiring boats.

The strike group runs, foreground, with the strike group in the Sea of Japan in May.

Source: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/&#xA 0; U.S. Navy

Beyond the concern of what does it cost? field checking a brand-new provider requirements, the military-industrial complex is most likely to challenge a more existential concern in the coming years: Is the attack aircraft carrier defensible, both physically and in monetary terms? For the Navy, the future function of its provider fleet is an important problem. Do these vessels maintain their main function in U.S. foreign power, or will Congress and military leaders discover more attractive methods to release the enormous budget plans a provider group needs?

At approximately $13 billion, the is the Navy &#x 2019; s most costly ship and shows up with important efficiency kinks that professionals are working to correct by 2019. 2 developments that have actually so far caused Navy headaches: an electrical catapult launch system that changes steam &#x 2014; a choice Trump derided in a publication interview &#x 2014; and a landing system to detain airplanes that saw its expense triple to $961 million, Bloomberg News reported. The catapult can not yet release an F/A -18 Super Hornet totally filled with fuel, which restricts the variety and efficiency of the Navy &#x 2019; s workhorse fighter airplane.&#xA 0;

The Navy is investing$24.3 billion for the and, with another $17 billion anticipated for the 3rd -class provider, the. A General Accountability Office report this month blasted the service over expenses on the, which has to do with half completed. The report concluded that the expense quote doesn &#x 2019; t address lessons gained from the efficiency of the lead ship.&#xA 0;

When it pertains to provider releases, the most instant issue&#xA 0; is the security of the more than 7,000 team members who&#xA 0; travel &#xA 0; with a provider strike group, an armada created to secure the ship&#xA 0; and its airplane along with to work as &#x 201C; a primary aspect of U.S. power forecast ability , &#x 201D; as the Navy terms it.

But this development is most likely to deal with higher threats due to brand-new rocket innovation in the coming years. China and Russia are both improving more advanced rocket styles, and both are thought to be establishing hypersonic move cars (HGVs), weapons that take a trip faster than Mach 5, inning accordance with a Pentagon report acquired by Bloomberg News.

China currently fields a ballistic rocket, the Dong Feng-21D, which has actually been called a &#x 201C; provider killer &#x 201D; due to its 900-mile variety and lethality. With time, these kinds of weapons are most likely to keep U.S. providers further from coast, which will need higher refueling abilities for their airplane matches.

The towers of the decommissioned (CVN 65), left, and (CVN 78), right, at Huntington Ingalls Industries &#x 2019; Newport News Shipbuilding shipyard in Virginia in 2014. A later -class provider will likewise be called the.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

For numerous years, the Pentagon has &#x 201C; appreciated the issue &#x 201D; of how long-range opponent rockets impact its provider fleet however has actually prevented hard choices about ways to increase the fleets &#x 2019; airplane variety and offer more unmanned airplane, stated Paul Scharre, senior fellow and director of the innovation and nationwide security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a not-for-profit think tank. The Navy &#x 2019; s strike variety from its provider wings has really dipped by 50 percent, listed below 500 miles , according to Jerry Hendrix, another CNAS expert.

Last year, the they&#xA 0; suggested ditching the Ford-class providers after the &#x 2019; s conclusion and increasing the Navy &#x 2019; s offending variety with a higher dependence on unmanned airplane, consisting of a long-range attack platform. The Navy &#x 2019; s submarine fleet would likewise grow to 74, from 58, under the author &#x 2019; s suggestions , which showed a 2 percent yearly boost in Pentagon financing.

&#x 201C; One of the important things we wished to show is that you might reorient the force towards future risks, &#x 201D; stated Scharre, a previous Army Ranger&#xA 0; who studies future warfare.

More costs for unmanned platforms, from electronic devices jamming to security and reconnaissance, would offer pilots&#xA 0; in F/A -18 s along with the more recent F-35Cs more variety and efficiency. Since the Pentagon hasn &#x 2019; t established unmanned platforms, &#x 201C; marine pilots … are accepting a world where the provider has less importance in higher-end battles, versus high-end foes, &#x 201D; Scharre stated.

One example of the Navy &#x 2019; s muddled view on variety, states Scharre, is the MQ-25 Stingray, an unmanned aerial refueling tanker, that &#x 2019; s thought about an important element of future provider operations. The Stingray might be released as early as 2019 on 2 providers. The Navy hasn &#x 2019; t defined whether the MQ-25 &#x 2019; s accurate function would be as an objective tanker to accompany fighters on battle strikes, or simply as a healing tanker loitering near providers for pilots who miss out on&#xA 0; techniques and are low on fuel, Scharre stated.

Despite these tactical imperfections, there &#x 2019; s still a political truth to battle with: The Navy &#x 2019; s biggest ships stay politically untouchable. The provider maintains a mystique throughout the military and Congress; it &#x 2019; s an 1,100-foot giant that &#x 2019; s end up being a distinctively American sign of controling military power. Amongst the fixed-wing carrier-equipped countries, Italy has 2, while Brazil, China, France, India, and Russia each field one. The United Kingdom is constructing 2, consisting of the, which started sea trials today.

An F-35C Lightning II provider alternative joint strike fighter gets ready for launch aboard the carrier (CVN 69) in October 2015.

Source: U.S. Navy

The most recent -class vessels have a life span of 50 years, however the Pentagon might discover itself challenged more powerfully by China and Russia by the 2030s, inning accordance with a January 2017 report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a not-for-profit think tank that promotes for a Navy reconfiguration.

&#x 201C; The ability and desire of excellent powers such as China and Russia to challenge the status quo are increasing, and the United States will have to move the focus of its military operations from preserving security versus these workable dangers to discouraging hostility by extremely capable enemies, &#x 201D; inning accordance with the comprehensive&#xA 0; report .

The Navy &#x 2019; s existing size is likewise insufficient for the needs military leaders position upon it, with implementations growing longer and more regular, inning accordance with the CSBA &#x 2019; s report. &#x 201C; For example, in 1998 just 4 percent of the Navy &#x 2019; s releases were longer than 6 months; today all are. &#x 201D;

In this view of a more robust, reconfigured Navy, the provider fleet will likewise have to develop to presume brand-new responsibilities, from increasing their own logistics and refueling abilities to extending their strike variety to brand-new monitoring and reconnaissance objectives.

&#x 201C; It &#x 2019; s never ever great when we have any part of our military or force structure that is sacrosanct, &#x 201D; Scharre stated. &#x 201C; We have to want to assess all the various elements of our military force and our financial investments in a goal, analytical method. &#x 201D;

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What wrapping Helmut Kohl’s coffin in flags can’t do – Trending Stuff

One can expect a public spectacle that will exemplify a post-Brexit and Trump-era Europe trying to overcompensate for its dire, lonely position in the world by displaying an outburst of symbolic assertions of its brilliant present and future.

Politicians from around the world will speak — most likely about Kohl’s vision for a truly united European Union, his role in establishing the euro, his rather heroic fight for German unification.

Officially, it was Kohl’s European spirit that made European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker push for the funeral to be accompanied by this ceremony he called a “European act of state,” the first of this kind ever to take place.

But the scene, which will be live-streamed on the Internet, seems too powerful of a move to be only about Kohl’s impressive legacy. Instilling the importance of a “European state” could be the other objective.

At a time when Europe is in fact further away than ever from inspiring a belief of anything like statehood, it seems like a desperate attempt to save a vision that is trembling.

The resilience against a more integrated European Union that we saw displayed in 2005 in the French and Dutch referenda on a shared constitution has today turned into resentment.

It’s true that the EU might “only” be crippled by the departure of the UK, but will survive, and France and the Netherlands did not elect hard-core right-wing nationalist state leaders.

However, a Europe where there is even the slightest possibility for figures like Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders to become leaders of European states — and create more of the governments that we see in Hungary and Poland — must urgently ask itself how it can inspire trust in a European path.

Wrapping the coffin of an influential creator of Europe in European flags won’t do. Perhaps demonstrating its ability to tackle issues of importance like the economy, migration and security, would be better. But in this, Europe is failing.

Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus are only slowly recovering from the debt crisis that began 2009 when these countries successively began to announce their inability to repay or refinance their government debt or to bail out over-indebted banks under their national supervision.

Greece is still on the brink of leaving the single currency and lived through its worst-ever recession over the past several years.

In a sense the EU has been very unlucky in terms of how hard it has had to prove itself and how embarrassing its failures have been.

On top of its bleeding economy, which was already shattered by the global economic crisis of 2006 before the credit crisis, unprecedented external pressures kicked in.

When the influx of refugees hit European borders in 2015 — reportedly the biggest influx since World War II — the border agency Frontex was understaffed and resourceless. Coastal nations like Italy and Greece were left to fend for themselves.
While some efforts at easing their lot succeeded, some countries still simply refuse to take the refugees allocated to them by European institutions, while others, such as Germany, take on a disproportionate share of the responsibility.

If the EU managed to act collectively in taking in refugees, then the refugee crisis would be less of a crisis.

The same would hold true if the renewed confrontation between Russia and Europe were ever to escalate. While there is a lot of talk about military integration from the EU, the reality looks different.

Again it is Germany that is left to put forth the greater effort. This time it is to form a European army under the label “Framework Nations Concept.”

So far, this has meant only announcing the integration of its armed forces with the Czech Republic and Romania — not exactly the most powerful armies in the EU. And since the well-equipped UK military is also leaving Europe, the military heavyweights like France might be stepping up to help Germany form a more unified defense. But that hasn’t happened yet

After President Donald Trump’s meeting with G7 and NATO leaders, this integration has seemingly become more crucial. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe could no longer completely rely on its allies, and must take its fate into its own hands.
It’s a sentiment that is shared by other allies of the US. Polls show that the confidence in Trump as an ally has diminished.

So while there is a populist outburst against the EU, people also understand that America might not be there to help.

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That lonely place might in fact be a moment to call for greater collective commitment to European institutions that will be necessary for it to act effectively.

But emotional funerals and processions won’t be enough to win people over. New suggestions for an economic and defense strategy are required.

Happy Asteroid Day! A conversation about peaceful, global scientific collaboration – Trending Stuff

Today is the 3rd yearly Asteroid Day, and the very first to be provided under the auspices of the United Nations, with live worldwide broadcasts raising awareness about asteroids

Today, more than 1,000 regional occasions in around 200 nations are being arranged to commemorate Asteroid Day. Approved by the United Nations in 2016, it is a worldwide day of education to raise awareness about asteroids.

In addition to the regional occasions, a day-long broadcast will be sent from all over the world, with a six-hour live stretch originating from Luxembourg. This is where I will be, sharing the hosting responsibilities with Professor Brian Cox from 11am BST. You can see the entire thing in the video ingrained above.

My association with Asteroid Day started with a telephone call from film-maker Grig Richters one afternoon in 2014. I understood Grig and had actually dealt with him on his movie, 51 North, drama about the destructive accident of an asteroid with Earth.

On the phone that afternoon, he informed me that he wished to establish a day to smartly interact the risk of asteroids and why it required an international reaction. This resonated with me since the UK Governments Asteroid Task Force, from 2001, had actually suggested structure worldwide partnership to take on the concern.

Grigs co-founders for Asteroid Day were Brian May, Queen guitar player and astrophysicist, Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut, and Danica Remy of B612, a non-profit organisation that looks for to harness the power of science and innovation to safeguard the future of our world.

Thanks to their efforts, Asteroid Day was a success from the start however this year the variety of occasions is double that from one year earlier, and 4 times as lots of as throughout the inaugural Asteroid Day in 2015.

Asteroid Day happens on 30 June due to the fact that on this day in 1908, a little heavenly body struck an unoccupied location of Siberia, Russia. The blast ravaged 770 sq miles (2,000 sq km) of forest. Thats ample to ruin an entire city ought to one be struck.

Around the world, area firms and other organisations are working to understanding and ultimately safeguarding Earth from this risk. This growing international partnership is exactly what is being commemorated today.

Space has constantly had an astonishing capability to unify individuals no matter their political, spiritual or nationwide departments. Asteroid Day take advantage of that, promotes it and ideally boosts it.

To participate in Asteroid Day, anywhere you are, view the live feed in the audience above and publish any pertinent concerns for the specialists in the remarks listed below. We will be scanning them throughout the day.

Stuart Clark is the author of The Search for Earths Twin (Quercus). He will be providing the Guardian masterclass on Is there life beyond Earth?

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Three journalists quit CNN in fallout from retracted Russia story – Trending Stuff

Three CNN reporters who dealt with a now-retracted story about Russia and a leading Trump consultant are leaving the network.

CNN is casting their departure as resignations in the wake of the mess, however the network has actually come under significant criticism because excusing the story. The relocation would likewise assist CNNs legal position in case of a claim.

Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump consultant who is the target of the story, informed me that he has no strategies to take legal action against. He stated he has actually accepted CNNs apology and wishes to carry on.

But Scaramucci likewise informed me in an earlier interview, I was dissatisfied the story was released. It was a lie.

Lex Harris, managing editor of CNNs investigative system, was the highest-ranking authorities to resign. Thomas Frank, who composed the story, and Eric Lichtblau, who modified it, likewise kipped down their resignations. Lichtblau is an extremely concerned press reporter who invested almost a years and a half at the New York Times.

The story attempted to draw a link in between Scaramucci and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Scaramucci was a Trump shift staff member who has actually been chosen to an ambassadorial-level post based in Paris.

The post stated that Scaramucci, back in January, held a secret conference with an authorities from the Russian fund. Inning accordance with an unnamed source, Scaramucci talked about the possibility of raising U.S. sanctions at the conference.

But Scaramucci informed me there was clear conference. He stated he had actually provided a speech on Trumps behalf at Davos, and fund authorities Kirill Dmitriev approached him in a dining establishment to state hey there and they had a short discussion, without any conversation of sanctions.

In the retraction, the network stated the story did not fulfill CNNs editorial requirements. The network is now needing approval from 2 leading editors prior to any Russia-related story can be released.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News expert and the host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of 5 books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here to learn more on Howard Kurt z.

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President Stephen Colbert in 2020? – Trending Stuff

He included ,”If anybody wishes to deal with my project in an informal capability, please simply let me understand.”
Yes, Stephen Colbert was joking, however there’s frequently fact in jest. And all joking aside, Colbert might be a powerful prospect: he is undoubtedly well notified on the concerns, as we see from his nighttime monologue, has high name acknowledgment, and hosts the most-watched late night program in America.
Colbert likewise has a couple of other essential things had to beat Donald Trump. Individuals running versus him much better have the ability to take a joke– and more notably, provide an amusing, cutting resurgence. Look exactly what occurred throughout the GOP primaries as Donald Trump buffooned opponents like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, calling him a”choker, “a”light-weight, “and a “clown. “How did Rubio react? He made an uncomfortable joke about Donald Trump moistening his trousers. Yikes, that was dreadful. On the other hand, Stephen Colbert has actually revealed us for many years he has the abilities to utilize funny to damage political leaders and their arguments.
Another huge plus for Colbert is that he’s extremely reliable at utilizing Donald Trump’s weapon of option, Twitter, to troll him. On Thursday, President Trump tweeted that he didn’t personally tape-record his discussion with previous FBI Director James Comey, however included he didn’t understand if “tapes” existed. In reaction, Colbert tweeted an image of himself in Russia worn a trenchcoat appearing like an investigator: “. @realDonaldTrump Don’t stress, Mr. President. I’m in Russia. If the ‘tapes’ exist, I’ll bring you back a copy!” (That tweet went viral.)
Colbert likewise provides an intangible quality that makes him distinctively appropriate to handle Donald Trump: his jibes get under the President’s skin. Simply last month, after Colbert made a unrefined joke about Donald Trump’s “love” for Vladimir Putin, President Trump (the man who is expected to be concentrated on things like keeping the country safe, producing tasks, and so forth) took time out of being President to blast Colbert, calling the late night host a “no-talent man” and venting that without him, Colbert would be absolutely nothing in the scores.
Did Colbert react with an uncomfortable, unfunny joke, like a lot of political leaders? Nope. Rather, he opened his program the following day completely, specifying , “The President of the United States has actually personally followed me and my program, and there’s just one thing to state: yeah!” Colbert then discharged a self-congratulatory laugh while blowing kisses to the audience. Colbert included, “Don’t you understand I’ve been pursuing a year to obtain you (Donald Trump) to state my name? And you were really restrained– very well limited– now you did it.” Colbert stopped briefly and after that jubilantly included, “I won!”

Perhaps those last 2 words are exactly what a prospect Colbert would be saying come election night in 2020. Any of the late night comics who focus on politics, such as Samantha Bee or Seth Meyers, might likewise be efficient prospects versus Donald Trump. (While John Oliver and Trevor Noah would likewise be terrific, unlike President Obama– who President Trump incorrectly declared was born outside the United States– Noah and Oliver were really born in foreign nations and are hence disqualified to run for President.)

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But Colbert is the very best of the lot. He is amusing, knowledgeable, thoughtful and pleasant– whatever Donald Trump isn’t really. Plus, would not it be terrific to have a President we laugh with, rather of at?

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Rosenstein warns Americans to ‘exercise caution’ about anonymous reports – Trending Stuff

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated Thursday night that Americans ought to “work out care” prior to thinking anonymously sourced reports, an evident recommendation to continuous leakages surrounding the examination into supposed connections in between Russian authorities and President Trump’s project.

“Americans must work out care prior to accepting as real any stories any stories credited to confidential ‘authorities,’” Rosenstein stated in a declaration, “especially when they do not determine the nation not to mentioned the branch or firm of federal government with which the supposed sources apparently are associated.”

Though Rosenstein’s declaration did not reference the Russia examination particularly, it was launched hours after the Washington Post reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining Jared Kushner Trump’s senior consultant and son-in-law over his financial resources and company negotiations.


Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Mueller, did not talk about the Post report when reached by Fox News, however did state that the unique counsel’s workplace “has actually carried out strict controls to restrict unapproved disclosures that deal badly with any member who participates in this conduct.”

Trump and his advocates have actually consistently grumbled about dripped reports about the development of Mueller’s examination, a lot of which have actually appeared in either the Post or The New York Times.

On Wednesday, the Post reported that Mueller was analyzing whether Trump has actually aimed to block justice and was looking for interviews with 3 administration authorities: Dan Coats, the director of nationwide intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the previous NSA deputy director.

Mark Corallo, a spokesperson for Trump’s individual legal representative, reacted Wednesday night to the Post report by stating: “The FBI leakage of details relating to the president is outrageous, prohibited and untenable.”

The Post report pointed out confidential sources who were informed on demands made by private investigators. It was not instantly clear whether the FBI was the source of the info.


The president himself required to Twitter Wednesday early morning to grumble about the “counterfeit story” in the Post, then did so once again in the afternoon to question why Hillary Clinton’s conduct throughout the probe of her personal e-mail server was not under more examination.

Rosenstein, who designated Mueller unique counsel in the Russia examination last month, affirmed to legislators Tuesday that he has actually seen no proof of excellent cause to fire Mueller which he is positive that Mueller will have “the complete self-reliance he requires” to examine completely.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and the Associated Press added to this report.

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Comey testimony leaves questions unanswered about anti-Trump dossier – Trending Stuff

While Thursdays testament by James Comey concentrated on his personal conversations with President Trump, the fired FBI director still deals with concerns postured months back over links in between the bureau and a British ex-spys unproven and mystical anti-Trump file.

Comey was inquired about the file, prepared by previous British spy Christopher Steele, early in his testament on Thursday early morning by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. But Comey decreased to respond to in open session, pointing out issues about the level of sensitivity of a few of the product in the report.

His choice not to talk about the concern a minimum of not openly follows his action to this day. Since Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has still not gotten any respons e from Comey in the matter of Steele , and his London-based business, Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. Steeles company was worked with by Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. company, to gather opposition research study on then-candidate Donald Trump throughout the 2016 project.

For months, in letters and hearings, a disappointed Grassley has actually slammed Comey for the bureaus failure to offer files asked for and respond to concerns about Steele. Grassley likewise called out Fusion today for supposedly not complying with his committee, sending out a June 7 letter looking for all responsive files and details by June 14 and cautioning that he might think about an obligatory procedure if needed.

As formerly reported by Fox News , Comey thought about the unproven file prepared by Steele to be so crucial, he insisted it be consisted of in January’s last intelligence neighborhood report on Russian meddling in the election. The FBI used Steele $50,000 to substantiate the file, inning accordance with released reports, though the bureau has actually rejected making any payments.

The Steele file became part of the proof the FBI utilized to get a FISA warrant for Carter Page, a peripheral consultant in the Trump project the file called as a figure in Trump project negotiations with Russia. In interviews with Fox News, nevertheless, Page consistently has actually rejected he was the Trump project’s point individual for Moscow, and stated he thinks he was a target of unmasking efforts by the Obama administration.

Questions stay over precisely how the unproven file was circulated on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in between June and December 2016, as it was displayed in parts to a range of political leaders, reporters and intelligence companies prior to being brought formally to the FBI by Sen. John McCain on Dec. 9.

The individual who brought the file to the attention of McCain last fall, previous British Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, now highlights to Fox News that, Intelligence constantly requires assessing of courseIt is constantly silly to put yourself in a position to pretend to understanding that you do not have.

In an e-mail exchange, Wood stated while he informed McCain about the product, he had not check out and might not attest it. Still, he stated, the product was produced by accountable individuals.

I comprehended that its basic contents were understood to others in the United States. The Senator then scheduled the documents to be given him, he composed, including: “It depended on the Senator to choose exactly what action if any he took throughout the entire procedure. He is understood to me regarding numerous others as a bold patriot. I believe that he functioned as he believed fit because capability.”

Serving as Britain’s ambassador to Moscow from 1995-2000, Wood’s name and his relationship with Steele emerged in British Court files acquired and examined by Fox News as part of Steeles defense in a suit brought versus him by Russian innovation master Aleksej Gubarev. Gubarevwhose business are discussed in the dossierhas likewise submitted a suit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida versus Buzzfeed for releasing the unproven 35 page file completely.

The April 2017 files recognize Wood as “an Associate of Orbis” ( Page 1-Item 5 ), and state he knew the Second Defendant’s [Steeles] intelligence event for the pre-election memoranda. ( Page 2– Item 11 )

But in e-mail exchanges with Fox News on June 6, Wood informed a various story.

“I have actually had no expert relationship with Orbis, he composed. You describe me as an Associate (capital A) and draw some conclusions regarding my function, which exceed exactly what it has actually been, that of a pal to Christopher Steele and an individual to name a few with whom I have from time to time talked about Russian affairs.

When inquired about the function of Fusion GPS in Washington D.C., Wood composed that “I do unknown Fusion apart from that it exists.”

McCain’s workplace has actually not reacted to Fox News most current ask for talk about the file. In a Jan. 11 news release , McCain specified, “Late in 2015, I got delicate details that has actually given that been revealed. Upon assessment of the contents, and not able to make a judgment about their precision, I provided the info to the Director of the FBI. That has actually been the degree of my contact with the FBI or other federal government company concerning this concern.”

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has actually been acknowledged with a number of awards. Browne initially signed up with FOX in 1997 to introduce the news publication Fox Files and later on, War Stories.

Cyd Upson is a Senior Producer at Fox News in the Investigative Unit and of the well-known military history series War Stories.

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