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Journal Archives

House Subpoenas Flynn, Cohen, And Unmasking Requests By Obama Trio (Susan Rice, S. Power, J Brennan)

by Alex Moe and Kasie Hunt

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas Wednesday as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, four of them related to the Russia probe and three about any "unmasking" of Trump associates by Obama officials.

The committee issued subpoenas for former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group LLC, and for President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his firm, Michael D. Cohen & Associates.

According to a congressional source, the three subpoenas related to unmasking were seeking information on any unmasking requests by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

When intelligence agencies are surveilling the electronic communications of foreign individuals and come across a U.S. citizen, either as a name mentioned during a monitored conversation or as a participant in the conversation, the identities of the U.S. citizens are protected. Their names are normally redacted in intelligence reports.


Comey Cleared for Takeoff in Public Testimony Next Week

by Ken Dilanian
May 31 2017, 2:09 pm ET

Fired FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify in public before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week after having been "cleared for takeoff" by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a source close to Comey told NBC News.

The source, a former law enforcement official, declined to say whether Mueller had specifically authorized Comey to discuss his interactions with President Trump, but said it was reasonable to expect that subject to come up.

Mueller was named earlier this month by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to be special counsel overseeing the sprawling FBI investigation into Russian election interference.

People close to Comey have said he is eager to testify in public in the wake of his abrupt dismissal, which Comey allies believe was an attempt to thwart the FBI's investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election interference.


This is going to be entertaining, indeed...

The UK Election Just Got Interesting

By Jane Merrick, for CNN
Updated 9:40 AM ET, Wed May 31, 2017

(CNN)Since British Prime Minister Theresa May called her snap election last month, the conventional wisdom was that she would significantly increase her parliamentary majority. That was, after all, the reason she announced the vote.

But on Wednesday the race was electrified when a projection by the polling company YouGov suggested that far from winning a landslide, May's majority would be wiped out -- and that the opposition Labour Party could form a government by partnering with a smaller group such as the Scottish nationalists.

The projection sent shockwaves through Westminster, and rattled May's Conservative Party. In the wake of the news the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, sprung a surprise announcement: that he would attend a televised BBC debate with the other main party leaders. May, who always said she would not debate Corbyn head-to-head, was left backed into a corner.

The projection came with big caveats -- including a vast margin of error. Other polls in recent days predict May's majority is safe. But it was the first time that a so-called "hung parliament" -- where no one party has an overall majority -- has been predicted.



The Conservative Party could be in line to lose 20 seats and Labour gain nearly 30 in next week’s general election, according to new modelling by one of the country’s leading pollsters.

YouGov’s first constituency-by- constituency estimate of the election result predicts that the Tories would fall short of an overall majority by 16 seats, leading to a hung parliament.

The central projection of the model, which allows for a wide margin of error, would be a catastrophic outcome for Theresa May, who called the election when polls pointed to a landslide result. Her support appears to have plunged after the poor reception of the party manifesto, including plans to make more elderly voters pay for home care.

YouGov’s model puts the Tories on course…


Merkel to Macron: We've Got This

*The Franco-German duo has a chance to establish Europe as the global center of soft power.

by Leonid Bershidsky
May 30, 2017, 7:34 AM EDT

Germany wants good relations with both Russia and the English-speaking world, but it can't really trust either, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Such admissions don't advance her re-election campaign as some claim, but her aim is much broader than that anyhow.
Trump, Merkel Trade Barbs in Post-G-7 Dispute

Merkel's remarks that "the time when we could fully rely on others is pretty much gone" and that "Europeans must take their destiny into their own hands" came after President Donald Trump's disastrous European trip. While on the contitent, Trump failed to affirm the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's mutual defense pledge or U.S. participation in the Paris climate change agreement. He also called Germany "very bad" for selling "millions" of cars in the U.S. (which is, incidentally, false). But the domestic context in which these remarks were made is also important.

Merkel made her speech in a beer tent on a sweltering hot day in Munich, during a political event held by the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. The support of CSU leader and Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer, whose views are significantly to the right of Merkel, has been key for her longevity as German leader. Seehofer has repeatedly praised Trump for being faithful to his election promises. Unlike Merkel, he's also a believer in lifting sanctions on Russia.

Merkel's statement -- called historic by some of the German media -- is more in line with the fiercely anti-Trump stand taken by some of the leftist parties. The leaders of far-left Die Linke and the Greens have called Trump a narcissist and a nationalist who cannot be a partner to Germany. Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Merkel's main rival for the chancellorship, angrily defended the chancellor against what he claimed was "humiliating" treatment at Trump's hands. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, an SPD member, also has strong words for anyone who doesn't oppose Trump.


Now There's Another Source of Oil That's Starting to Get Cheap

* Deep-water drilling costs are coming down, Wood Mackenzie says
*Oil at $50 seen sustaining some deep-water projects by 2018

by Serene Cheong, Sharon Cho, and Dan Murtaugh
May 30, 2017, 5:00 PM EDT May 31, 2017, 6:20 AM EDT

Reports of deep-sea drilling’s demise in a world of sub-$100 oil may have been greatly exaggerated, much to OPEC’s dismay.

Pumping crude from seabeds thousands of feet below water is turning cheaper as producers streamline operations and prioritize drilling in core wells, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. That means oil at $50 a barrel could sustain some of these projects by next year, down from an average break-even price of about $62 in the first quarter and $75 in 2014, the energy consultancy estimates.

The tumbling costs present another challenge for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is currently curbing output to shrink a glut. In 2014, when the U.S. shale boom sparked oil’s crash from above $100 a barrel, the group embarked on a different strategy of pumping at will to defend market share and throttle high-cost projects. Ali Al-Naimi, the former energy minister of OPEC member Saudi Arabia, said in February 2016 that such producers need to either “lower costs, borrow cash or liquidate.”

“There is life in deep-water yet,” said Angus Rodger, director of upstream Asia-Pacific research at Wood Mackenzie in Singapore. “When oil prices fell, many projects were deferred, but the ones that were deferred first were deep-water because the overall break-evens were highest. Now in 2017, we’re seeing signs that the best ones are coming back.”


UPDATE: Kabul Blast: Attack Kills 90 Near Diplomatic Area In Afghanistan

By Ehsan Popalzai, Laura Smith-Spark and Faith Karimi, CNN

Updated 12:59 PM ET, Wed May 31, 2017

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of the Wednesday morning rush hour, killing at least 90 people and wounding 400, Afghan officials said.

The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years.

The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace. The streets were packed with commuters, women shopping and children going to school and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll.

Busy shopping street

The bomb, concealed in a water delivery truck, detonated at 8:22 a.m. (local time) outside the offices of a major local cellphone company and a popular TV station. It hit about 400 yards from the German Embassy in one of the busiest parts of town, near big supermarkets and shops.



KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan officials say 50 people have been killed or wounded in a suicide car bombing in Kabul.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan officials say at least 50 people have been killed or wounded in a suicide car bombing in Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish tells CBS News the blast hit near Zambaq Square, which is one the gates of presidential palace.

Police told the Reuters news agency blast happened in an area close to the German embassy, but the area is home to other embassies and government offices. So the exact target was unknown in the explosion's immediate aftermath.

A Health Ministry spokesperson tells CBS News 67 people have been admitted to Kabul hospitals so far.

NEW VIDEO: Madness reigns at Evergreen State College as students take over

A new video has surfaced of students this past week at Evergreen State College yelling and ranting about everything from “racist white teachers” and “white-ass administrators” to “black power!” during a so-called “meeting” with President George Bridges and other college administrators.

Apparently, the activists are not pleased that this recording made its way to the Internet at large.

One of the demands listed by Evergreen students, and addressed by President Bridges, is that something be done to resolve the “theft” of the video:

“We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday.”


Germany Doesnt Want U.S. Intelligence Help With Its Election, U.S. Official Says

May 30 2017, 5:33 pm ET
by Richard Engel

German intelligence officials have told their American counterparts that they don't need support in monitoring or safeguarding Germany's elections in the fall, a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News on Tuesday.

The U.S. official, who asked not to be identified but has direct knowledge of the communications, said Germany doesn't want "any hint of U.S. involvement in any way."

"They communicated, very clearly: 'We got this. We don't need your help,'" the official said.

The official said that Germany has its own robust counter-hacking and intelligence-gathering network and that there isn't much trust in the Trump administration — especially when it comes to elections.


Men Investigating Ivanka Trump Shoe Factory In China Disappear

By ERIKA KINETZ, Associated Press |
Posted: Tue 6:39 PM, May 30, 2017

SHANGHAI (AP) - An advocacy group says a man investigating working conditions at a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-brand shoes has been arrested and two other men are missing.

The wife of Hua Haifeng says he was accused of illegal surveillance. She says the police called her Tuesday afternoon, gave her no details but told her she would not be able to see, speak with or receive money from her husband, the family's breadwinner.

China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang says he assumes the men must be held either by the factory or the police to be unreachable.

For 17 years, his group has investigated working conditions at suppliers to some of the world's best-known companies. But Li said his work has never attracted such scrutiny from China's state security apparatus.

US Shoots Down Mock Warhead Over Pacific

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the U.S. missile defense test (all times EDT):

4:40 p.m.

The Pentagon says it has shot down a mock warhead over the Pacific in a success for America's missile defense program.

The test was the first of its kind in nearly three years. And it was the first test ever targeting an intercontinental-range missile like North Korea is developing.

The military says an interceptor rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California slammed into the warhead as it traveled outside the Earth's atmosphere after being launched from a test range on a Pacific atoll.

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