I swear, these days I check the news like the bomb squad picking through an armed explosive. Anyway, today’s articles cover Russia and the NRA, Carter Page’s FISA warrant being released, Iran, North Korea, and Trump’s conspiracy theories.
5 Things to Read Today
🇷🇺 Washington Post: Russian billionaire with U.S. investments backed alleged agent Maria Butina, according to a person familiar with her Senate testimony
Maria Butina is a Russian spy who was recently indicted and arrested for infiltrating the NRA and compromising the organization. And as far as anyone can tell at the moment, the NRA was happy to be compromised. Willing to be compromised? Do you even call it “compromised” when the entity in question was totally, gleefully DTF when the spies showed up? Anyway, we just found out she was bankrolled by Konstantin Nikolaev, one of those Russian billionaires. This dude invests in energy and technology companies in the US. Nikolaev’s never met Trump, supposedly, but his kid, Andrey, volunteered for the Trump campaign.
⚖️ New York Times: Carter Page FISA Documents Are Released by Justice Department
This weekend the Trump administration released the FISA warrant for Carter Page because they think the warrant somehow exonerates Trump. Spoiler: It does not. Also? This is the first time a FISA warrant has been released like this. Like, we never see these things. That’s actually been a huge complaint about FISA courts – the fact that everything is so secretive and no one ever sees what they’re up to. People have FOIA‘d FISA warrants many times before, and the FISA courts always tells them to bugger off due to national security concerns. (Here’s a national security and information security expert livetweeting his read through the FISA documents.)
🇮🇷 Reuters: Iran’s Rouhani warns Trump about ‘mother of all wars’
Hassan Rouhani, Iranian President, told the Trump administration to back off with their hostile bullshit or there could be war. This is over Trump pooching the Iran nuclear deal and dropping harsh sanctions on Iran again, of course.
Update: Trump tweeted, “To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
🇰🇵 Washington Post: In private, Trump vents frustration over lack of progress on North Korea
So, you remember that Trump solved North Korea, right? Turns out, he did not. Shocking, I know. Anyway, soon as the NK/Trump summit was over, North Korea was back on their old garbage, refusing to communicate further, blowing off meetings, demanding more money, all their usual crap that they always do and that literally every single expert on North Korea warned the Trump administration they’d do.
💩 Reuters: Trump tweets it looks like his campaign spied upon illegally
Trump tweeted his conspiracy theories again this weekend. Same drivel, different day. The FBI spied on him illegally, the Mueller investigation is rigged and run by Democrats, blahblahblah. It’s all crap. You can read it here if you’ve been bad and need to punish yourself: 1, 2, 3. Pretty sure this twaddle happens when he’s livetweeting whatever’s happening on Fox News. I’d love to be able to roll my eyes at this crap, but you have to keep in mind that he’s not tweeting this junk at us, he’s tweeting it at his base, and they believe it unconditionally. Which is terrifying.