Trump era: Fascist dawn, or road to liberation?


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrived at the US District Court for the District of Columbia for a procedural hearing about his sentencing, according to the CNN.

10.07.2018 - Trump's Ex-Advisor Flynn Arrives in Court for Sentencing - Reports
Trump's Ex-Adviser Flynn Arrives in Court for Sentencing - Reports

Flynn returned to the court after seven months since he pleaded guilty to providing wrongful information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), CNN reported.

The former National Security Adviser agreed to cooperate with the FBI in the investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Previously, Flynn misinformed federal investigators about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during the transition period of President Donald Trump assuming office. Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the US election, with the Kremlin and Trump both rejecting the accusations of collusion.

10.07.2018 - Manafort Transferred to Alexandria Detention Center Near DC Ahead of Trial
Manafort Transferred to Alexandria Detention Center Near DC Ahead of Trial

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been sent from a jail in Warsaw, Virginia to a detention center in Alexandria, which is closer to the DC area, where he will remain until his July 25 trial, a court document revealed on Tuesday.

Manafort’s lawyers have argued that his confinement two hours away from the Washington, DC area was complicating trial preparations. The defense lawyers representing Manafort have offices in Washington.

It is hereby ordered that the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia shall promptly transport the defendant from Northern Neck Regional Jail to the Alexandria Detention Center where he shall remain pending trial," the document said.

In response to Manafort attorney's petition, District Court Judge T. S. Ellis ruled in favor of Manafort to make sure that he has access to counsel and prepare for the hearing to an acceptable extent, the court document said.

The request to be transferred to the Alexandria detention center comes after Manafort’s legal team has asked to move their client’s case from the city of Alexandria to Roanoke, Virginia.

A US judge sent Manafort to jail on June 15 to await his trial on charges that he tried to influence two witnesses after he was granted bail.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had previously charged Manafort with conspiracy to commit money-laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for work he did for the Ukrainian government.

Mueller is also probing allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as accusations that Trump's campaign team colluded with Moscow.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied allegations of interference, calling the accusations absurd and intended to deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud and corruption as well as other issues. Trump has called the probe into the allegations a witch hunt and has pointed out the investigation has not revealed any evidence of collusion after well over a year.

10.07.2018 - Two Top US Navy SEALs Dismissed from Duty After Sexual Assault Investigation
Two Top US Navy SEALs Dismissed from Duty After Sexual Assault Investigation

The US military has found itself again embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal, the latest in a string including the high-profile nude photo sharing ring busted in the Marine Corps last year. This time, two top Navy SEALs have been relieved of duty for sexual assault and harassment.

Commander Jarrod Donaldson and Master Chief Jon Franklin, the former the commander of one of nine US Navy SEAL units and the latter the force's highest-ranking enlisted officer, were administratively discharged on Tuesday after an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct.

The two Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALS were deployed in East Africa in May when they were charged, but were called back to the US for an investigation after one was alleged to have inappropriately touched a female service member while deployed overseas. Both SEALs also faced allegations of sexual harassment.

The two service members kept their positions in the unit while the investigation was underway, and now could face administrative discipline, according to Business Insider.

"The Navy will follow due process," Lt. Jacqui Maxwell, spokesperson for the Naval Special Warfare Group Two, told ABC News in a story published on Monday.

The news follows the revelation that sexual assaults across the various US military branches saw an increase in 2017. "Both the US Navy and the Air Force saw increases greater than 9 percent in reported sexual assaults in 2017, while the Army saw an 8 percent rise. The overall surge of 10 percent is the biggest increase the Department of Defense has recorded since 2015," Sputnik News reported in April.

2017 was the same year a private Facebook group called Marines United was uncovered as a hub for sharing naked photographs of female service members. Some 131,000 nude photos were shared in the 30,000-person group, many apparently without the knowledge or consent of those depicted.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) found 700 active US Marines and 150 Marine reserves participating in the group.

About 32 percent, nearly one-third, of female US military members have reported being sexually assaulted and 80 percent say they have been sexually harassed.

Back-dated 10.01.2016 - Reports of Sexual Assault on the Rise at Military Academies in US
Reports of Sexual Assault on the Rise at Military Academies in US


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Seth Rich was Partying with Wasserman Schultz’s IT Guy the Night he was Murdered, According to Reports
TDW News
August 1, 2017

Disclaimer: This shocking information was given to The Gateway Pundit this weekend. We decided to report this news and will post an update following Tuesday’s press conference.

July 9, 2018 - Report: Witness Prepared to Identify Two Killers of Seth Rich

The Washington, D.C. lobbyist who has been on the hunt for Seth Rich’s killer found a “credible” witness who will identify the two men he believes murdered the DNC staffer.

Jack Burkman, a Washington-based attorney and lobbyist who has worked with a private investigative team to solve the Seth Rich murder mystery, told The Gateway Pundit that the witness has conclusive evidence that will bring Rich’s killers to justice within a month.

“We believe that we have reached the beginning of the end of the Seth Rich murder investigation,” Burkman told The Gateway Pundit in an exclusive interview Sunday. “After two long hard years of work, we have a witness who is prepared to identify the two killers of Seth Rich. One is reportedly a current DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent, the other is reportedly a current ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agent”

The witness, who “fears for his life,” will be accompanied by armed guards and disguise his identity as he details how two employees of the United States government killed Seth in a press conference slated for Tuesday.

Jack Burkman @Jack_Burkman

All press should attend my press conference TUESDAY at 1:00PM at the HOLIDAY INN Rosslyn Key Bridge. We will present a witness who brings us close to resolution in the Seth Rich case. #SethRich
3:39 PM - Jul 8, 2018

Frank Whalen, a retired NYPD Detective Sergeant NYPD who served as the head of NYPD Homicide for 23 years, found the witness, Burkman explained.

“We found him through working with a retired New York City detective, who found him and brought him to us. We have thoroughly vetted this witness and we believe in this witness,” he said. “He has evidence that substantiates his claims but it will be revealed slowly. This witness is in great fear of his life – that’s why we are going with disguising him, disguising his voice and everything about him.”

Burkman, who has viewed surveillance footage from the night Rich was killed, says the witness’ testimony confirms two men involved in the shooting.

“What the witness says matches what the police say and matches what we know from the surveillance videos,” he said. “The police let me see the video. The police said the video clearly identifies the pant legs of two men. So, there were two men involved in the killing that night. I now believe that in the next 3 to 4 weeks the entire matter will be resolved. It’s the beginning of the end.”

Rich, 27, was a DNC voter expansion data director for two years and had accepted a position with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He was murdered in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016, near his apartment in an affluent neighborhood. Rich was shot twice in the back with a handgun, and his wallet, credit cards, watch and phone were left in his possession. The Metropolitan Police Department has described it as a “botched robbery.”

Private investigators have claimed there is evidence Rich was the source who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of bombshell emails that rocked the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2016 just ahead of its convention and the 2016 election. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has also insinuated Rich was the source WikiLeaks used to obtain the emails.

Julian Assange on Seth Rich
Published on Aug 9, 2016 (2:02 min.)

The emails indicated the Democrat Party was manipulating the primary race in favor of Hillary Clinton and sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign, led to the resignation of then-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death and days before the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from DNC officials.

As Gateway Pundit reported, Burkman was shot at and run over by the former U.S. Marine Kevin Doherty on March 13 who he hired to help him get to the bottom of the case. Doherty – who claims he worked as a special agent and criminal investigator in the intelligence community – was subsequently arrested by Arlington County police on charges of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

The witness informed Burkman that Doherty was well acquainted with the two government employees that killed Rich, but he was unaware Doherty worked as Burkman’s lead investigator and tried to kill him earlier in the year.

The witness himself didn’t know that I had been shot by Kevin Doherty. Before we even told him that, he told us that Doherty was friends and palled around with the ATF agent and the DEA agent who shot Seth. That’s why we think the witness is credible,” he said. “There wasn’t much coverage of my shooting. The witness didn’t see the coverage and didn’t know. We didn’t tell him, he told us before we told him.”

“We believe that Kevin Doherty may have been a plant in my organization, to kill me and stop my investigation,” he added. “He was carefully playing the role.”

Despite nearly getting killed while investigating the Rich case, Burkman says he doesn’t “live in fear”and neither should the witness.

“I now have armed guards all the time. And we will have even more armed guards at the press conference the place will be surrounded with private armed security,” he said. “But once we start living in fear we might as well have Adolph Hitler in power. Once you live in fear, there’s no reason to have won World War II.”

Following the press conference, Burkman will hold a candlelight march to the spot where Rich was killed.

“I promised the Rich family that I would find their son’s murderer. Their son was a great patriot and a great young man and it is for that reason that I want to solve this murder,” Burkman said. “His heart was in the right place and I want to honor him. We are one big political fraternity. This could have happened to any of the young people who work for me, Republican or Democrat, I employ both. This could happen to anyone of those young people.”

Burkman has created, paid for and erected billboards in the neighborhood where Rich lived and died; built the website and canvassed the neighborhood with Seth Rich’s parents. Last year, he sued the Democratic National Committee for the release of the hacked DNC server he claimed will reveal key information in solving the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

The DC-based attorney has also offered a $130,000 reward of his personal money for information leading to the arrest of Rich’s killer. WikiLeaks is offering $20,000, One America News Network $100,000, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department $25,000 and Businessman and investor Martin Shkreli $100,000.

The DNC has yet to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderer of its own young staffer. The DNC honored its murdered employee by dedicating a bike rack outside its headquarters to Rich’s memory.

The press conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn @ Key Bridge Hotel in Virginia at 1:00PM est. Attendees of the candlelight march will meet in the lobby of the hotel at 6pm est.

(Comment section -
OneWorldUnity scoripowarriora day ago
Google is trying to suppress news of the press conference. Can't find any references in their SERPS... mostly links from 2016 )


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Disclaimer: This shocking information was given to The Gateway Pundit this weekend. We decided to report this news and will post an update following Tuesday’s press conference.

July 9, 2018 - Report: Witness Prepared to Identify Two Killers of Seth Rich
LA Times Gate Keepers

George Webb Streamed live 9 hours ago

Judicial Watch Published on Jul 10, 2018
This week, FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok is slated to give testimony regarding his actions described in the IG report on how the FBI handled the Clinton email investigation. If he refuses, what are the consequences?

Judicial Watch Published on Jul 10, 2018

JW President Tom Fitton: Implicit Threat of Violence from the Left Has Been Happening 'For Years'
Judicial Watch Published on Jul 10, 2018
In encouraging individuals to create “crowds” who will “push back” on President Trump’s Cabinet members at private business establishments and in seemingly trying to prevent these Cabinet officials from obtaining basic necessities without fear of assault and violence, Representative Maxine Waters seems to be violation of House rules


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Things could get very interesting regarding NATO's presence in Europe. Trump's recent demands for NATO countries to live up to the requirements of paying 2% of their GDP – and now even suggesting that they should double up to 4% – is surely making the European leaders quite bewildered. I'm still a bit on the fence regarding Trump's 'geniusness', but you got to love the way he rattles the cages around the world.

Putting the conspiratorial Qanon-tin foil hat on for a second, one could argue that this move by Trump is '4D chess' where he is actually trying to abolish the whole NATO-alliance. There are some signs that people in the European countries are now starting to be in favor of getting rid of their NATO-troops, e.g. this:

Germans favor withdrawal of US troops, not paying more for US ‘protection’ – poll
Germans favor withdrawal of US troops, not paying more for US ‘protection’ – poll

Almost every second German favors the withdrawal of US forces based there, according to a poll taken prior to the NATO summit, at which Donald Trump accused Berlin of relying on Washington’s protection and not contributing enough.
Some 42 percent of Germans are ready to see 35,000 US troops return home, a new YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of the German Press Agency, revealed. Only 37 percent wanted to see US troops stay in Germany in some capacity. The remaining 21 percent did not decide.

The call for withdrawal is especially strong among left-leaning voters, with 67 supporting the move. Some 55 percent of Alternative for Germany (AfD) right-wing backers also called for the removal of US forces. The Greens stand 48 percent in support of ending the US presence in Germany.
I don't know what a similar poll would have indicated before, but to me this sounds quite astonishing. The 'fear of Russia' seems not to be working anymore. People are more fearful for a decline of their living standards than Putin. Plus, it's interesting, that the hate for trump in the leftist camp seems also to be fueling anti-NATO sentiments among them. Makes you wonder if this is just a happy coincidence...?


FOTCM Member
I've been checking Twitter regularly, and I came across tweets by an actor who is actually not a crazy lefty, and supports Trump! I think some of his tweets are good and make sense. 90s kids may remember the TV show Hercules that aired alongside the show Xena. The guy who played Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, is who I'm talking about. His tweets mostly link back to his FB page, and here are two that I found interesting:

On illegal immigration:



FOTCM Member
I don't know what a similar poll would have indicated before, but to me this sounds quite astonishing. The 'fear of Russia' seems not to be working anymore. People are more fearful for a decline of their living standards than Putin. Plus, it's interesting, that the hate for trump in the leftist camp seems also to be fueling anti-NATO sentiments among them. Makes you wonder if this is just a happy coincidence...?
Well, I think (and remember some polls in the past pointing in that direction) that the majority of people in Germany (and probably elsewhere in the West) have always been against war, US troops etc. But as we know, popular opinion doesn't affect the elites much unless it coincides with its own interests.

My current take on it is that the whole Trump thing, together with the general decline of US power, slowly forces some of the European elites into a different mindset or "movie": it's easy to be "against American policy" if a demonized president is at the helm. And it's even easier if you simply cannot ignore the real world of economic interests anymore, especially the economic interests of the elites themselves.

In other words, the relentless pro-Americanism of the European elites that went on for so long may have been a combination of self-interest (it was profitable for them to bet on the US empire) and ideological possession (full denial of all the negative actions of said empire). With Trump and the US losing influence, both get under attack. There seems to be a lot of chaos and confusion among Western elites as a result of these paradigm shifts - some might want to cling on to the former world with might, while others strategically and slowly are entering the new, multipolar world...



FOTCM Member
Well, I think (and remember some polls in the past pointing in that direction) that the majority of people in Germany (and probably elsewhere in the West) have always been against war, US troops etc. But as we know, popular opinion doesn't affect the elites much unless it coincides with its own interests.

My current take on it is that the whole Trump thing, together with the general decline of US power, slowly forces some of the European elites into a different mindset or "movie": it's easy to be "against American policy" if a demonized president is at the helm. And it's even easier if you simply cannot ignore the real world of economic interests anymore, especially the economic interests of the elites themselves.

In other words, the relentless pro-Americanism of the European elites that went on for so long may have been a combination of self-interest (it was profitable for them to bet on the US empire) and ideological possession (full denial of all the negative actions of said empire). With Trump and the US losing influence, both get under attack. There seems to be a lot of chaos and confusion among Western elites as a result of these paradigm shifts - some might want to cling on to the former world with might, while others strategically and slowly are entering the new, multipolar world...

The above would be pretty much my take on it as well. A lot of things are in the move right now and changing fast. It is actually no surprise that large numbers of Germans don't like NATO, it is like that for a longer time actually, as far as I can see. The recent developments with Trump might indeed add more to that stands against this "mighty coalition" though, even if that is just coincidence resulting from Trumps politics.

I also think that there is a good chance the alternative media on the internet did a pretty good job the last couple of years in exposing lie after lie that was coming out from Western/NATO states via their media outlets and politicians. I think that contributed quite a bit to the situation now, where mainstream media is loosing ground fast, not only in Germany, but all over the western world.

The interesting thing is, that those same outlets and elites don't seems to have learned a thing through all of this and still pull out the old tricks again and again, with the result that ever larger number of people see through their BS.

If Hillary would have won the election, most, if not all of this wouldn't have happened. Fake News, mainstream lies, conspiracies, the deep state etc. is all mainstream talk now. Things that were just "wonky stuff" of some "conspiracy theorists" a couple of years ago, are now widely talked about.

All pretty interesting actually, although all this could be just "the calm before the storm." Quite a number of the old elites are probably more pissed then ever and one must expect everything from them, especially if they get desperate. Dying imperial tyrants can get pretty ugly!

We also have the quite frightening state of affairs to consider concerning society at large and especially western society that is getting more and more agitated for or against "left" or "right" and the postmodern lefty version of fascism taking over the globe step by step.

It all seems to be up in the air at this point and could go in either direction. I keep thinking that since Trump got into office, things seemed to have calmed down quite a bit in certain aspects, like new wars etc., and that this just might be the calm before the storm.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thirty six minutes with Trump on Shnato. And thanks for the interesting perspectives on the NATO situation.

"Trump damages NATO more than USSR" - Russophobe Michael McFaul - Fort Russ
STANFORD, California – US President Donald Trump has done more damage to NATO within 18 months of his presidency than Soviet and US leaders in the past 70 years, said former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Trump is attending a two-day NATO meeting in Brussels, which began on Wednesday.

“Trump has done more damage to NATO in 18 months than Soviet & Russian leaders achieved in 7 decades. Why?” McFaul wrote on his Twitter page.

The former ambassador also pointed out that Trump’s attacks on NATO were profitable for Russia and China, which benefit from the weakening of the organization on the international scene.

“Trump’s attacks on NATO benefit both [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping]. Our allies in the Pacific are following these events in those countries,” added McFaul.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has been pushing for other NATO members to increase spending, stating that several other states in the world must meet their annual defense spending obligations in the alliance.

He believes that the US is hurt by paying off most of the expenses. The same discourse has been applied to other international organizations, such as the UN, and repeats the jargon of “America first”, the hallmark of its government in trade relations.

FRN reveals, however that McFaul has been repeatedly noted for his Russophobic chauvinism and levels of hate speech and bigotry not allowed in the Western world’s mainstream press unless directed at Russia.

As a public representative of the Deep State and Neo-conservative foreign policy, McFaul’s attacks on Trump either mean that Trump is legitimately at odds with the Neo-conservative foreign policy, or a very convincing psychological operation is underway upon the American people, and foreign leaders, in order to placate their real urging for a winding down of the US Empire.

However, many NATO members are also beginning to question why the alliance still exists as its purpose was to counter communist efforts, particular the Soviet Union, from expanding in Europe. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and therefore many members, and critics of the alliance, continually question why it should continue to exist, let alone commit 2% of its GDP towards it.

Trump certainly is up to ‘something‘ – what that is, is a matter of hot debate. His insistence that other NATO members increase their share of spending at times seems very much like an attempt to call attention to the 800 pound Gorilla in the room: namely, that NATO is largely unpopular among European masses, and many even consider it to be essentially a US occupational force under the pretext of ‘liberation’ and later ‘protection from Communism’ which simply hasn’t left since WWII, or since the collapse of the USSR.

Is Trump trying to troll European media to point out, more and more publicly, that the EU also doesn’t care very much for NATO? Meanwhile, the EU has made increasingly bold moves to establish an EU Army independent of NATO, as FRN has covered in real time.

More McFaul: Deep State Operative
May 6, 2018 :pinocchio:
Last edited:
I've been checking Twitter regularly, and I came across tweets by an actor who is actually not a crazy lefty, and supports Trump! I think some of his tweets are good and make sense. 90s kids may remember the TV show Hercules that aired alongside the show Xena. The guy who played Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, is who I'm talking about. His tweets mostly link back to his FB page, and here are two that I found interesting:

On illegal immigration:

The points raised in the tweet are made corrupted because the "house" analogy starts everything off on the wrong foot because its a disingenuous analogy. A house is a personal living space made up of DIRECT inter-personal relationships; a comprehensive landmass drawn up by existential borders is not. A house is either just that: A house! Or... the whole world is everybody's house.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The current media commentary after President Donald Trump's conduct in international forums, such as at the G7 meeting in Quebec and not least the NATO meeting in Brussels, is that Trump is so "unpredictable." NRK's Tove Bjørgås in Washington apparently has not yet come across the grief that her favorite Hillary Clinton was not chosen to say this on her intake and exhaustion. But she is far from alone. This is the review tone from the so-called experts.



The Living Force
FOTCM Member
While all eyes are fixated on "Trump's Baby Balloon" in London and political posturing on domestic affairs - an interesting article has surfaced on Vice President Mike Pence.

July 13, 2018 - Vice president’s family’s failed gas stations cost taxpayers $20m+
Vice president’s family’s failed gas stations cost taxpayers $20m+ - The Boston Globe

GARDEN CITY, Ind. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence turns nostalgic when he talks about growing up in small-town Columbus, Indiana, where his father helped build a Midwestern empire of more than 200 gas stations that provided an upbringing on the ‘‘front row of the American dream.’’

The collapse of Kiel Bros. Oil Co. in 2004 was widely publicized. Less known is that the state of Indiana — and, to a smaller extent, Kentucky and Illinois — are still on the hook for millions of dollars to clean up more than 85 contaminated sites across the three states, including underground tanks that leaked toxic chemicals into soil, streams and wells.

Indiana alone has spent at least $21 million on the cleanup thus far, or an average of about $500,000 per site, according to an analysis of records by The Associated Press. And the work is nowhere near complete.

The federal government, meanwhile, plans to clean up a plume of cancer-causing solvent discovered beneath a former Kiel Bros. station that threatens drinking water near the Pence family’s hometown.

To assess the pollution costs, the AP reviewed thousands of pages of court documents, tax statements, business filings and federal financial disclosures, as well as federal and state environmental records for Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. The total financial impact isn’t clear because Indiana officials have yet to release cost figures for 12 contaminated areas. Other records are incomplete, redacted or missing.

The public cleanup of more than 25 former Kiel Bros. sites in Kentucky and Illinois — where officials have done a better job keeping costs down — has been much less expensive, totaling about $1.7 million, according to an analysis of records obtained under each state’s public records law.

Kiel Bros. has paid for only a fraction of the overall effort. In court documents , the company cited payment of $8.8 million in ‘‘indemnity and defense costs,’’ but also noted that $5 million of that amount came from the states.

Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management, which regulates gas stations, did not respond to a detailed list of questions from the AP. Spokesman Ryan Clem said the agency is working to provide records requested under Indiana’s public records law that could shed some light on how much former Kiel Bros. sites have cost the state.

Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah called the findings ‘‘a years old issue’’ that the vice president has addressed before. She did not elaborate.

In a statement, Pence’s older brother Greg Pence — who was president of Kiel Bros. when it went bankrupt and is now running for Congress as a Republican — distanced himself from the cleanup costs.

‘‘Greg Pence has had nothing to do with Kiel Bros since 2004. This is another attempt by the liberal media to rehash old, baseless attacks,’’ campaign spokeswoman Molly Gillaspie said.

The fact that the company stuck taxpayers with the lion’s share of the cleanup bill rankles some observers, especially in light of the family’s reputation as budget hawks critical of government spending.

The Pence family, especially Greg Pence, has ‘‘some answering in public’’ to do, said A. James Barnes, an environmental law professor who served in high-ranking posts at the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald Reagan.

Mike Pence, then a third-year congressman, lost more than $600,000 when the company went under. He later became Indiana governor and now has assets worth between $532,000 and $1.13 million. Greg Pence, who is seeking the vice president’s old congressional seat, has total assets worth $5.7 to $26 million.

Nearly a decade after going under, Kiel Bros. sites still ranked among the top 10 recipients of state money for such cleanups in Indiana in 2013, the last year for which the petroleum industry has reliable spending data for the company. That was out of more than 230 companies seeking cleanup money that year, including major gas station chains with a substantially larger presence in the state.

Founded as an oil distributor by businessman Carl Kiel in 1960, the company expanded into the gas station business. Pence’s father, Edward, joined in the early years and, by the mid-1970s, rose to corporate vice president.

Mike Pence says he worked for the business — which mostly operated under the name Tobacco Road — starting at age 14. But it was his brother who took over after Edward Pence’s 1988 death and eventually became president.

By the early 2000s, Kiel Bros. was swimming in debt as industry consolidation and low gas prices stretched profit margins to the brink. The business racked up environmental fines and closed stores. In June 2004, Greg Pence resigned as the company filed for bankruptcy.

‘‘The oil and gas industry changed rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s, and many small, independent companies like Kiel Brothers were not able to survive,’’ said Gillaspie, Greg Pence’s spokeswoman.

Not long after, Pence also resigned from the board of a local bank that loaned $16 million to the company. He and Ted Kiel, whose father founded the company, had personally guaranteed the loans, promising to repay outstanding debts with their own assets, records show.

Ted Kiel settled. The bank fought Greg Pence in court and obtained a $3.8 million judgment, which he later settled for pennies on the dollar, according to records and interviews.

Gillaspie said Pence reached a ‘‘satisfactory settlement agreement with all parties.’’

Many of the gas stations were sold off and are still operating. But some sites were abandoned, including a graffiti-covered storage tank facility that once towered over an Indianapolis neighborhood. Nearby residents cheered last December as a crew tore down the tank, which was sold by the company for $10 in 2005 and has been an eyesore ever since. The cleanup will cost an estimated $260,000 , according to the city.

Elsewhere in the city, business continues as usual at a gas station that has been in continuous state of cleanup since 1990. Pictures taken in 1992 show standing pools of black sludge where two underground storage tanks were removed. At the time, Greg Pence and state environmental regulators pledged to work together on the cleanup. Since then, it has become one of the most expensive Kiel Bros. sites, costing the state $1.7 million.

In the immediate aftermath of the bankruptcy, the state sought about $8.4 million from the company for cleanup and fines. After a new Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, assumed office in 2005, the state dropped that claim , which had been filed under Daniels’ Democratic predecessor, Gov. Joe Kernan. The justification for the change is a matter of debate.

Citing the complexities of bankruptcy law, experts said there was no guarantee a judge would approve Indiana’s claim.

‘‘Bankruptcy court is the last refuge of environmental scofflaws,’’ said Pat Parenteau, a Vermont Law School professor who specializes in environmental and natural resource issues. ‘‘This is one of the more fiendishly complicated areas of crossover between environmental law and bankruptcy law that you can imagine.’’

But Tim Method, a former deputy commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said the state’s approach to business regulation changed abruptly with the new administration.

‘‘Daniels felt we ought to work for business rather than be a hindrance,’’ said Method, who was among a handful of administrators forced out after Daniels took over.

Greg Pence wasn’t out of work for long. Within months, Daniels appointed him deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Management, the same agency fighting Kiel Bros. in court. Pence stepped down after only a few months, however, and returned to the petroleum business.

Daniels spokesman Jim Bush said the Pence family’s political influence played no role in Greg Pence’s hire. He declined to comment on the state’s decision to drop its claim against Kiel Bros. in bankruptcy court.

For some families living near Columbus, the Kiel Bros. business left behind more than debt. They smelled oil in water drawn from private wells. Nearly three decades later, the unincorporated area known as Garden City is a federal Superfund site, a designation reserved for the nation’s most heavily polluted locations. Investigators initially determined Kiel Bros. was the source of the oil, along with a plume of trichloroethylene detected decades ago under a gas station. The chemical called TCE is a solvent used to degrease metal parts. The EPA says the plume is drifting toward the aquifer that is Columbus’ primary source of drinking water.

State officials seesawed over whether the company was responsible for the TCE before concluding in 2002 that it was not.

‘‘Why did we absolve the company that we think the problem started with?’’ said Kevin Butler, a former teacher whose father was one of the first to smell the oil. ‘‘It just doesn’t seem very logical that this problem would be centered to this area, and confined to this area, if it wasn’t the responsibility of that company.’’

Indiana has since spent more than $860,000 cleaning up the petroleum. The EPA estimates it could cost $320,000 to $1.6 million to take care of the TCE, which taxpayers will likely foot the bill for.

After Kiel Bros. filed for bankruptcy, more than 500 creditors sought more than $150 million from the company, with the state of Indiana filing one of the largest claims, records show .

In dropping its claims against the company for more than $8.4 million, state officials stated in a 2007 court filing that ‘‘significant cleanup activity has occurred.’’ They also said they were ‘‘satisfied’’ with the company’s plan for future cleanup, which relied on the state paying much of the cost.

The decision likely made more money available for other creditors, including businesses the company was in debt to, said John A. E. Pottow, a bankruptcy expert and University of Michigan Law School professor.

‘‘You don’t normally drop your claims in a bankruptcy case, so that’s kind of weird,’’ said Pottow. ‘‘If I’m a creditor, I am elated if one of my peers drops their claim.’’

When an underground tank leaks, companies are liable for the damage, but Indiana has been especially amenable to using public money to pay for heavily contaminated soil to be excavated and for high-powered pumps to suck toxic liquid and vapor from the soil.

The state’s payout limit was $2 million per site until Mike Pence signed a 2016 law as governor, increasing it to $2.5 million. In 2016, Indiana paid out nearly two-and-a-half times the national average per incident, according to records.

Historically, Indiana has been somewhat ambivalent toward environmental enforcement, said David M. Uhlmann, an environmental law and policy professor at University of Michigan Law School.

The decision to drop the court fight with Kiel Bros. could have been ‘‘Indiana being Indiana,’’ Uhlmann said. But another plausible explanation ‘‘is Pence and his family having outsized influence,’’ he said.

Farah, the vice president’s spokeswoman, said Pence did not use his political position to gain favorable treatment for his brother or the company, saying any suggestion otherwise is ‘‘simply not grounded in fact.’’

Just outside the Pences’ hometown, the state installed elaborate water-filtration systems decades ago at several homes and businesses that are closest to the service station above the chemical plume.

Mike Musillami, owner of a drive-in restaurant, said he’s fortunate to have the equipment, which is maintained by state officials. But many of his customers aren’t as lucky, he said. They rely on bottled water or paper cartridge filters or simply take the risk of drinking from the tap without an elaborate filtration system.

‘‘Long term, this cannot be good for them,’’ he said. ‘‘These are people who are our daily customers. We want them around a long time.’’


The Living Force
FOTCM Member

2018-07-14 - Kremlin expects Putin-Trump meeting to be first step in improving bilateral relations
Kremlin expects Putin-Trump meeting to be first step in improving bilateral relations

The Kremlin hopes the upcoming meeting between Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, will be the first step towards normalizing relations between the two nations, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said on Friday ahead of the Putin-Trump meeting in Helsinki on July 16.

“The goal of the upcoming meeting, as we see it, is to finally begin efforts to improve the negative situation in the Russian-US relations, to take concrete steps to normalize them, to rebuild a more or less acceptable level of trust, to try to outline steps that will make it possible to resume mutually beneficial cooperation on matters of mutual interest,” he said.

“There are a lot of spheres where interests of our countries are either close or identical,” he noted. “First of all, it is international security, the disarmament dossier, joint efforts against international terrorism, joint work to settle regional conflict situations, as we see a lot of them now, and, finally, a very important topic for both countries – improving bilateral relations.”

“We are ready for this meeting,” Ushakov said. “We are ready to discuss absolutely all key issues of the bilateral and international agenda.”

2018-07-13 - Syria to dominate Putin-Trump summit, presidential aide says
Syria to dominate Putin-Trump summit, presidential aide says

Syria will dominate the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, Yuri Ushakov, the Russian presidential aide, told reporters on Friday.

“There are very many [issues] in the context of Syria, and if we mention regional conflicts, as I personally see it, Syria will be a focus of the talks between Putin and Trump,” the Kremlin official said.

Ushakov pointed out that other crises would be also on the table of the talks, namely North Korea, the Iran nuclear deal and eastern Ukraine.

As for North Korea, “positive shifts can be seen in the Korean issue, in particular US president’s personal efforts,” he noted.

Sat Jul 14, 2018 - Top National Security Council Official Forced out

A top National Security Council (NSC) official was forced to leave the group on Thursday, the most recent departure since national security adviser John Bolton joined the administration earlier this year.

Jennifer Arangio, a senior director in the NSC who worked with global groups, was escorted off White House premises and told that she was no longer needed in the administration, according to Politico.

An NSC Spokesman told the newspaper that the group doesn’t comment on personnel issues, and Arangio didn’t return the publication’s request for comment.

A former White House official told the outlet that Arangio is “fiercely loyal” to US President Donald Trump, but that she clashed with White House aide Stephen Miller.

She has fought to correct misleading information about refugees and migrants provided to the president by Miller and the DPC," the former White House official said.

The publication also reported that two other top NSC officials, Joel Rayburn and Michael Bell, left the group’s Middle East sector this week.

Rayburn is expected to join the State Department while it’s unclear what the other official, Michael Bell, will do, according to Politico. Rayburn didn't return the publication's request for comment and Bell couldn't be reached.

Several officials have left the NSC since Bolton began officially overseeing the group in early April. Former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert and spokesman Michael Anton are among the officials who have left the NSC.

Bolton has said that he wants to reshape the council.

Sat Jul 14, 2018 - ‘Europe Will Not Be Destabilized’: French, German FMs Slam US President

With the NATO summit barely finished foreign ministers from France and Germany have spoken out against the antagonistic conduct of Donald Trump, accusing the US President of trying to destabilize European unity with his antics.

While an interview with the commander-in-chief featured in the UK’s Sun newspaper on Friday, German newstands were filled by news of an attack on the President from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He told Der Spiegel that Trump’s verbal outburst against Germany endangered the West's security.

"Europe can't accept that what's been built up over many years is intentionally damaged for the thrill of being provocative," Maas told the German weekly.

This sentiment was picked up by his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, who told French BFMTV on Friday that Trump had already threatened the 2015 Paris agreement on tackling climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, and undermined the UN’s operating model.

“He [Trump] jeopardized the climate agreement, he jeopardized the agreement on Iran, jeopardized the UN operating model. And he does not tolerate the fact that there is a unity called the European Union,” Le Drian said.

Moving on to the President’s lifting of a tariff suspension on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico, Le Drian accused Trump of taking the measures to destabilize European unity, stating that “he is taking initiatives with respect to Europe, in particular in the field of trade, which are aimed at destabilization”.

Announced on May 31 by United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a 25% tax on steel and 10% levy on aluminum imports was brought in by the Donald Trump administration, with Ross attributing the move to slow progress with Canada and Mexico on renegotiating NAFTA and disagreements with the EU on a revised trading relationship.

While South Korea, Brazil, Argentina and Australia have remained exempt from the tariffs, they have been given place quotas or volume limits on imports. Europe, led by France and Germany, has since responded with retaliatory measures as the EU branded US trade practices “illegal”.

Le Drian’s comments come after a highly-anticipated NATO summit in Brussels saw the US President on the one hand reaffirm his commitment to the alliance – but also threaten that the US would “do our own thing” if partners did not do more to raise defense spending to the agreed upon two percent of GDP.

He also used the summit to take shots at Germany for its willingness to buy Russian energy through the Nord Stream pipeline. However he indicated that if “everybody” has a good relationship with Russia, it may be less of a burning concern.

Rebuking Trump over his claims that German reliance on Russian gas had left Berlin “captive” to Moscow, Mass told Speigel that “we aren't prisoners, neither to Russia nor to the US”.

Despite Trump’s bellicose talk there seemed to be little radical policy change after the summit, with French President Emmanuel Macron and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisting that members were on track to reach their two percent targets as per the 2014 agreement.

“Europe will not allow itself to be destabilized,” Le Drian concluded.

Sat Jul 14, 2018 - UK’s Labour Party Rips US President’s Behavior: ‘What Did His Mother Teach Him?’

The Spokeswoman for the United Kingdom's Labour Party slammed US President Donald Trump's behavior on Friday after he criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for leaving the European Union and attacked mass immigration as a source of terrorism in Europe.

Labour Party foreign affairs Spokeswoman Emily Thornberry appeared on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" on Friday and slammed Trump's remarks to British newspaper The Sun as evidence of poor parenting, according to The Associated Press.

"She is his host. What did his mother teach him? This is not the way you behave,” she said, adding that it was “extraordinarily rude of Donald Trump to behave like this”.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the Labour Party's leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that Trump's policies were "dangerous and inhumane".

"Theresa May has invited President Trump to our country at a time when his dangerous and inhumane policies are putting the lives and wellbeing of millions of people at risk," Corbyn said of May, who leads the Conservative Party.

“The theory that if we are nice to Trump he’ll be nice to us doesn’t seem to be going brilliantly," former Labour leader Ed Miliband said, according to The Guardian.

“Trump is a racist and disrespects our nation. Why does he get to meet our Queen? And those Tories saying we should respect him simply because he is elected President — by that logic shouldn’t he respect our prime minister and London’s mayor?” Anna Turley, a member of Parliament with the Labour Party, added.

Trump surprised many in British media with his attacks on May's Brexit plan during the Thursday interview, in which he chastised the struggling Conservative leader for not following his advice just days after she faced major resignations in her government.

“I would have done it much differently,” Trump said of May's Brexit plan, adding that “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me”.

“She should negotiate the best way she knows how,” Trump continued, stating that “but it is too bad what is going on”.

The White House later clarified Trump's remarks in a statement, noting that the President had called May a "very good person" in the same interview.

“As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her’,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, adding that “he thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person".

“He is thankful for the wonderful welcome from the Prime Minister here in the UK,” she stated.

14.07.2018 - US Pentagon Chief Shoots Down Report of Damage Control After Heated NATO Summit
US Pentagon Chief Shoots Down Report of Damage Control After Heated NATO Summit

US Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis struck down a recent report that suggested Pentagon officials were engaged in “damage control” following US President Donald Trump’s heated remarks at NATO allies.

"I just heard about this story that the Pentagon is in damage control," Mattis told reporters on Friday. "That was fascinating. I love reading fiction."

"It was stimulating to read. I've found out while I've been with you with full transparency on the airplane, you watching what's going on; that I've been in damage control," he continued. Mattis spoke with reporters during his flight from Croatia to Norway.

The 67-year-old Washington State native went on to joke that "it must have been the most pleasant damage control in the A-5 I ever could have imagined with the level of unity, of purpose we experienced there."

"So anyway, people are entitled to their own opinion, even if it's not fact-based," he said.

Mattis' comments came after NBC News published an article on Thursday that stated Pentagon officials went in "full-scale ‘damage control'" after Trump left the NATO headquarters in Belgium.
The publication goes on to explain that the directive was meant to "reassure… that America will abide by its defense commitments in the region."

Throughout his time in Belgium for the NATO summit, POTUS repeatedly criticized the organization and urged member countries to increase their defense spending contributions to 2 percent, with the ultimate goal of 4 percent.

"Many countries are not paying what they should," Trump told reporters present at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary Jen Stolterberg "And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them."

"So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up. It's massive amounts of money is owed. The United States has paid and stepped up like nobody," he added.

According to the Department of Defense, Mattis had departed from Croatia after meeting with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to discuss the country's NATO defense spending commitments.

13.07.2018 - Trump 'Acting Like Tony Soprano' By Demanding NATO Members 'Pony Up' on Spending
Trump ‘Acting Like Tony Soprano’ By Demanding NATO Members ‘Pony Up’ on Spending

US President Donald Trump is tapping into his inner mobster by demanding that NATO allies fork over more money to the organization, anti-war activist and former British parliamentarian George Galloway told Radio Sputnik Thursday.

POTUS landed in London Thursday for his two-day visit that includes talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May as well as an audience with Queen Elizabeth II. Prior to his arrival in the UK, the president shrugged off the notion of anti-Trump protests and declared that he was actually popular among Britons, thanks to his stance on immigration.

"They like me a lot in the UK," he told reporters. "I think they agree with me on immigration… I think that's why Brexit happened."

Trump's declaration comes days after he stated that the UK was in "turmoil" following the resignation of both Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Galloway told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday that if the UK is really in turmoil, "it's partly thanks to his huge motorcade, which just held me up on the way home for an hour." "He's overpaid, oversexed and over here," Galloway told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "He's turned the country upside down, not just physically, because it's a rare state visit that is preceded by a root-and-branch destabilization attack on the government he's come to visit — and that's what he has done."

"The bigger point is that he's over here in Europe acting like Tony Soprano, demanding everyone pony up and double the money on their defense budget, expanding NATO into new countries and generally swaggering around like a thug," he continued.

"No one has ever quite seen anything like it before."

Although much hasn't been confirmed regarding Trump's talking points, Galloway told Kiriakou that the issue of the UK's contribution to NATO, along with Brexit, the UK's departure from the European Union, are likely on the agenda.

"[Trump's] openly stated… that Theresa May's Brexit proposals are not Brexit at all and that that casts doubt over whether Britain can make a trade deal with the United States, because under her proposals we'll remain tied to the apron strings of the European Union for the rest of time," Galloway said. "So, in one way that makes his visit odious, but he will, I'm sure, double down on his double up demand that Britain, which struggles to pay 2 percent of its [GDP] on defense… should be doubled to 4 percent."

But while Trump believes that he's loved in the UK, he should realize that his fanbase could dwindle if he pushes the idea of doubling the country's NATO contributions to 4 percent of its GDP, Galloway quickly warned.

"I tell you this, there are no takers for that in Britain… where people have gone through a full decade of cuts to real wages, massive degradation of public services," he said. "The idea that we should double our expenditure on weapons of war is simply preposterous."

"He's saying that if you don't, we won't protect you anymore. Most people's attitude is that… we don't actually need your protection… you are the biggest danger to the peace of the world and the idea that you want money from us to ensure your protection of us is just about the most unpalatable plate anyone was ever served."

After wrapping up his tour of England, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will head over to Scotland for the weekend, from which The Donald's family originally hails on his mother's side, and which will also greet him with protests.

12.07.2018 - Circus’ at US Congress as FBI Agent Accused of Anti-Trump Bias Testifies
‘Circus’ at US Congress as FBI Agent Accused of Anti-Trump Bias Testifies

Testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok in front of the US House Judiciary and Oversight committees Thursday set off a firestorm in the chamber, leading one congresswoman to call the proceedings a circus. Strzok, in his opening remarks, characterized the hearing as a win for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The agent was at the center of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server and then moved on to the investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign's potential collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 US presidential race, which pitted Trump and Clinton against each other in competition for the nation's highest office.

In a fiery exchange, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) reminded attendees that Strzok was "lead investigator, you originated the [Russia] investigation, you're the point of contact, you drafted the document, and here you are before you interviewed a single solitary witness saying ‘F Trump.'"

"Then, that same day, your, um, ‘colleague' Lisa Page wrote, ‘Maybe you're meant to protect the country from that menace [Trump.]' And you responded saying, ‘I can protect the country at many levels,'" Gowdy said.

Republicans generally suggest that the collusion investigation and the FBI's recommendation that criminal charges not be filed against Clinton were both politically motivated.

Democrats throughout the hearing objected to its happening in the first place. In their view, it was an attempt by Republicans to cast doubt on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Mueller on May 17, 2017, took over the FBI counterintelligence investigation started by Strzok the previous summer, on July 31, 2016. Mueller did so under the authority of investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the [Trump] campaign," as well as "any other matters [that] arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

So far, the latter mandate has resulted in criminal charges against 19 individuals, mostly for money laundering and other financial crimes and mostly unrelated to the election, and the prospect of collusion remains as dubious as ever. Things remain equally opaque after Strzok's public testimony, as he refused to comment on anything related to the Russia probe since it is an ongoing investigation. In the hearing, he likened Russian interference into the 2016 US election to a "direct attack" on a "military base."

Strzok came into the public spotlight last month following a June 11 report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) focusing on text messages on FBI-issued devices between he and fellow agent Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair at the time.

Strzok revealed in testimony on Thursday that he was able to strike a deal with the IG over the information on his personal phones and emails and did not turn them over to be reviewed. Instead, he reviewed them himself with the intent of turning over any messages pertaining to FBI business, but said that there was none. He admitted during the hearing that he himself made the call on what was personal and what was professional.

While the report's author IG Michael Horowitz, as well as Strzok himself, maintain that there was no bias at work, they admit that the text messages "gave the appearance of bias." Strzok was removed from Mueller's team after the special counsel became aware of them.

In particular, we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations," the OIG report says. "Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review." The report instead focused primarily on bias around the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Such messages included Strzok's infamous promise to Page on August 8, 2016, that "We'll stop" Trump from becoming president.

During the hearing, Rep John Ratcliffe (R-TX) highlighted a message sent from Strzok to Page on May 9, 2017, the day that Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. "We need to open the case we've been waiting on now while [Andrew McCabe] is acting [director]." It is likely that he was referring to a criminal case, since the investigation into collusion had long been underway, but Republicans pushed back on the notion that FBI leadership should influence such a decision.

Republicans have been distrustful of Strzok's actions in the Russia investigation because of the text messages that have been uncovered. One was highlighted by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on June 18 while Horowitz was facing his own congressional hearing. A week after promising Page he'd stop Trump, Strzok texted her, "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's] office, that there's no way he gets elected, but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

Page, for her part, refused to comply with a House subpoena on Wednesday, claiming that she needed more time.

Neither side was swayed by the hearings. On Twitter, some have become only more impressed with the FBI's work, calling for Strzok to run for president, while those skeptical of the Mueller investigation are more emboldened in their belief that Strzok's bias against Trump lies at the heart of the Russiagate narrative.

July 12, 2018 - FBI's Peter Strzok testifies in explosive House hearing on anti-Trump bias

Transcript of events in Strzok's testimony - video's.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
14.07.2018 - Summit's Mobile App Reveals Details of Putin-Trump Direct Talks in Helsinki
Summit's Mobile App Reveals Details of Putin-Trump Direct Talks in Helsinki

Direct talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki will start at 1:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. GMT) on Monday and will last for three hours, including a press conference on the outcome of the talks, according to the official schedule of the event, published on Saturday.

"A face-to-face meeting between Putin and Trump will begin at 1:15 p.m., while the meeting between Putin and [Finnish President] Sauli Niinisto will start at 4:30 p.m.," the schedule, released by the summit's mobile app HELSINKI2018, said.

The US president, when previously addressing the upcoming summit, told reporters that Putin was not a friend or foe, but "a competitor,
noting that the talks with his Russian counterpart might be easier than negotiations in London or Brussels.

10.07.2018 - Flights Over Helsinki to be Limited Due to Putin-Trump Summit - Police
Flights Over Helsinki to Be Limited Due to Putin-Trump Summit - Police

For security reasons, all flights, except commercial ones, over the center of Helsinki will be grounded from July 15 to July 17 because of the scheduled talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in the Finnish capital on Monday, the Finnish police said on Tuesday.

"The flights will be limited over Helsinki and surrounding areas due to the US and Russian presidents' meeting. These restrictions apply to both air transport and drones," the police said in a statement.

The restriction will come into force at 6 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT) on Sunday and will be lifted at 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday. During this period, flights close to the Helsinki city center and near the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport will be grounded, the police said, adding that this measure did not concern commercial flights.

The same day, officials said that during the Putin-Trump summit Finnish mobile network operators were preparing to provide a smooth network service, refuting a Monday report by Russia’s Kommersant newspaper saying that the mobile networks would not be operating in Helsinki during the meeting.

In Finland, the Criminal Code prohibits the [deliberate] disruption of the mobile phone networks’ service, and the jamming of the cellular network is not allowed," the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper quoted Kati Heikkinen, the deputy director at Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.

Moreover, during the summit, Finnish police, emergency medical services, border guard, defense forces and customs will be interconnected by the nationwide public safety network dubbed VIRVE, Finland’s Yle national public broadcasting company reported.

According to the broadcaster, in order to boost the signal, additional mobile network base stations have been deployed in the capital.

Putin and Trump are expected to discuss bilateral relations and various international issues in Helsinki on July 16. It will be their first standalone bilateral meeting. The two leaders only talked on the sidelines of international summits before.

15.07.2018 - Finnish Newspaper Publishes Open Letter to Putin, Trump Ahead of Summit
Finnish Newspaper Publishes Open Letter to Putin, Trump Ahead of Summit

On Sunday Finland's largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat released an open letter addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump ahead of their upcoming summit in the Finnish capital Helsinki scheduled for July 16.

The letter was published in three languages — English, Finnish and Russian. The letter's authors recalled that Finland had earlier hosted summits between the leaders of the world powers in the midst of international tensions, adding that "the spirit of Helsinki" always made them leave the city with a smile.

The letter, nevertheless, stressed that it was difficult to predict the outcome of the meeting in this case as things have been "quickly changing both in Russia and the United States."

Despite all the existing challenges, the authors underlined the importance of the summit as such and stated that no party benefited from the constant deterioration of US-Russian relations.

Putin and Trump are expected to meet in the Finnish capital on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and various international issues. The summit will be their first full-fledged meeting since Trump took office in January 2017.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm not sure what to think about Trey Gowdy right now, as he recently has said that he does not think the Russia collusion is a witch hunt. Or, maybe he's just playing it safe, not taking sides. In the same article he says that he's not in favor of impeaching Rosenstein, because Trump could 'fire him with a tweet' if he'd want to. That last part kinda makes sense, but instead of all the talking and hearings, I'd wish that some heads would finally start to roll. But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

It could of course be, that Washington Examiner is twisting the contents of what Gowdy said to suit their agenda.

Trey Gowdy dismisses a House effort to oust Rod Rosenstein: 'Impeach him for what? No'
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