“Trump and Putin spoke for one hour and vowed to join forces to fight terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, according to the White House and the Kremlin, signaling a potential shift in U.S.-Russian relations that have been marked by high tension.
Meanwhile, Trump signed a presidential memo directing the Pentagon to submit a plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State, an effort to make good on his campaign promise to more aggressively confront Islamist terrorism than his predecessor did.”
“”The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, WikiLeaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity and merits full examination,” he wrote.
He also said there have been concerns about the Russian government attempting to influence the Trump campaign and use it as a “vehicle for advancing the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.””
Russia has reportedly been moving artillery units to parts of northern Syria populated by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, a move that could indicate that Russia is readying to bolster its ally should full-scale fighting resume.The Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. officials, reported that some Iranian forces have also returned to areas controlled by Syrian government forces. “Hundreds” of Iranian troops have been witnessed in Syria, according to a report in Fox News, which also indicated that Russia has relocated the bulk of its weapons, including rocket-propelled artillery, near Aleppo.Officials reportedly began detecting the artillery movements approximately two weeks ago.Russia and Iran, both allies of Assad, have propped up the controversial leader’s regime as it has clashed with opposition groups.
Source: Russia Moves Artillery Units to Northern Syria
Lagarde said more global cooperation is needed to stop tax avoidance and to ensure “the net does not have little loopholes here and there”. “A lot of things have gone global but there is one thing that has not gone global and that is tax. It is still very much a local affair,” she said. “International cooperation really has to be significantly improved and we are happy to play our part.”
Almost lost among the many revelations is the fact that Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Though hardly a household name, this firm is well known inside the Beltway, not least because its CEO is Tony Podesta, one of the best-connected Democratic machers in the country. He founded the firm in 1998 with his brother John, formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, then counselor to President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta is the very definition of a Democratic insider. Outsiders engage the Podestas and their well-connected lobbying firm to improve their image and get access to Democratic bigwigs.Which is exactly what Sberbank, Russia’s biggest financial institution, did this spring. As reported at the end of March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. Government as a lobbyist for Sberbank, as required by law, naming three Podesta Group staffers: Tony Podesta plus Stephen Rademaker and David Adams, the last two former assistant secretaries of state. It should be noted that Tony Podesta is a big-money bundler for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign while his brother John is the chairman of that campaign, the chief architect of her plans to take the White House this November.
Source: Panama Papers Reveal Clinton’s Kremlin Connection | Observer
In a recent article in the Observer, John Schindler, a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst, examined one of the U.S.-related connections associated with the Panama Papers: Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, uses The Podesta Group as its lobbying arm in Washington, D.C. The Podesta Group’s CEO is Tony Podesta, brother of John Podesta. Of course, John Podesta served as former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, was an adviser to President Barack Obama and is currently chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Podesta Group is helping Sberbank (“Savings Bank” in Russian) improve its public image, so to speak. As Mr. Schindler points out, Sberbank is functionally controlled by the Kremlin—in other words, it’s controlled by Mr. Putin. “Funds moving through Sberbank are regularly used to support clandestine Russian intelligence operations, while the bank uses its offices abroad as cover for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service,” Mr. Schindler noted.So, is Sberbank a compromising client for The Podesta Group? You bet. What the Podesta Group is really providing is political access. Based on current revelations, what the group is doing is technically legal. However, this technically legal activity is profoundly disturbing, for it is essentially access routed through the global sewer in order to avoid scrutiny. Unidentified hackers filched the Panama Papers from Mossack Fonseca’s computer system, the firm says. Ms. Clinton, during her tenure as secretary of state, allegedly mishandled classified national security information by transmitting it through her private email system and computer server. Panama Papers controversy aside, one wonders if the mainstream media will ever address a speculative but logical and intensely ironic possibility: Did a Russian intelligence operation financed by Sberbank hack Clinton’s illegal and ill-defended private system?
Source: Hacking Hillary: Panama Papers Show Danger of Clinton’s Secret Server | Observer
The official described the incident as one of the most aggressive acts in recent memory.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington,a perceived snub that President Obama addressed.
“Because of the vision that he’s been pursuing of emphasizing military might, we have not seen the type of progress that I would have hoped for with Russia,” Obama said.