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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment .
Introduction: The first program recorded after the election of Donald Trump, this broadcast updates aspects of the Trumpenkampfverbande covered in past shows and looks ahead to the gathering storm.
(We note that, for a number of weeks to come, we will be reading into the record much of a short, excellent biography  of Trump by David Cay Johnson. We can’t recommend the book strongly enough.)
Beginning with a closing ad  run by the Trump campaign, we note its anti-Semitic nature: “ . . . . From a technical and thematic perspective it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semitic dog whistles, anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Semitic vocabulary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whistles. The four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO). . . . This is an anti-Semitic ad every bit as much as the infamous Jesse Helms ‘white hands’ ad  or the Willie Horton ad  were anti-African-American racist ads. Which is to say, really anti-Semitic. You could even argue that it’s more so, given certain linguistic similarities with anti-Semitic propaganda from the 1930s. But it’s not a contest. This is an ad intended to appeal to anti-Semites and spread anti-Semitic ideas. . .”
This comes as no surprise, as Trump’s campaign manager, Stephen K. Bannon embodies the fascism dominant in the Trump campaign: ” . . . . Trump has electrified anti-Semites and racist groups across the country. His own campaign has repeatedly found itself speaking to anti-Semites, tweeting their anti-Semitic memes , retweeting anti-Semites . His campaign manager, Steven Bannon, is an anti-Semite. . . .”
Much of the program focuses on the evolution of these forces as a Trump administration takes form:
- Previously marginalized fascist and racist groups have moved into the overground, mainstream political arena : “. . . . ‘Trump has shown that our message is healthy, normal and organic — and millions of Americans agree with us,’ said Matthew M. Heimbach, a co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, a white nationalist group that claims to support the interests of working-class whites. It also advocates the separation of the races. . . . ‘For racists in this country, this campaign has been a complete affirmation of their fears, worries, dreams and hopes,’ said Ryan Lenz, the editor of the Hatewatch blog at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups from its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. ‘Most things they believe have been legitimized, or have been given the stamp of approval, by mainstream American politics to the point now where it’s no longer shameful to be a racist.’ . . . .”
- These groups are poised to move into a Trump administration : ” . . . . ‘I have been very surprised that we have not seen attractive, well-spoken, racially aware candidates running for local office,’ Jared Taylor, head of the white nationalist American Renaissance publication and annual conference, told TPM in a Wednesday phone call. ‘I think this will be inevitable, and I think that Trump will have encouraged this. That our people will run for school board, city council, mayor, all that I anticipate certainly.’ . . . .”
- Stephen K. Bannon is being considered for the position  of White House Chief of Staff: “President-elect Donald Trump is strongly considering naming his campaign CEO Steve Bannon to serve as his White House chief of staff, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN on Thursday. . . .”
Returning to subject material covered in FTR #906 , the program also updates coverage of the FBI’s direct interference in the campaign and the story of the propaganda book Clinton Cash, written by Koch brothers protege and Breitbart/Bannon associate Peter Schweizer.
The two focal points of that program have dovetailed–Comey’s last minute interference in the campaign may well have tipped the balance in favor of Trump. Many of the agents serving under Comey have been motivated by the Schweizer text ! ” . . . . In August the F.B.I. grappled with whether to issue subpoenas in the Clinton Foundation case, which . . . was in its preliminary stages. The investigation, based in New York, had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book “Clinton Cash,” according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case. . . .”
Apparently, the Trumpenkampfverbande has penetrated the bureau  to an alarming extent: ” . . . . ‘The FBI is Trumpland,’ said one current agent. . . . The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is ‘the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,’ and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.’ . . .”
Taken in conjunction with the stunning acquittal  of Ammon Bundy and company for their occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the fact of a major portion of the FBI working for the Trumpenkampfverbande should frighten honest citizens.
Such anxiety is particularly well-founded since Trump is apparently compiling an enemies list .
In FTR #930 , we examined links between Alfa Bank and the Trump campaign . Far from being “Putin/Russia/Kremlin,” this is part and parcel to the German Ostpolitik we discussed in FTR #‘s 918  and 919 . PLEASE examine the programs and descriptions to flesh out your understanding. Dismissed as invalid by the FBI and the media, the Alfa/Trump connection not only appears solid, but the links  between Alfa and Marc Rich  on the one hand, and James Comey’s investigations  of Marc Rich and Bill Clinton’s pardon of Rich may well have influenced the FBI’s non-investigation of the Trump/Alfa link. Again some of the main considerations in this regard:
- The unsuccessful attempt  by Alfa subsidiary Crown Resources to buy Marc Rich’s commodities firm: ” . . . A deal to sell the Swiss-based commodities operation of former U.S. fugitive financier Marc Rich to Russia-owned energy trading group Crown Resources is off. . . . Crown is owned by the Alfa Group conglomerate. . . . .”
- The subsequent  successful attempt by Alfa player Mikhail Fridman to purchase the Marc Rich firm: ” . . . Mikhail Fridman: ‘Defendant Mikhail Fridman currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of co-conspirator Alfa Bank and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Defendant Consortium Alfa Group. Fridman further served on the Board of VimpelCom, a NYSE company, and has control over Golden Telecom, a NASDAQ company ... purchased the United States trading firm owned by American, Mark Rich, the one time commodities baron pardoned by President Clinton with much controversy. . . .”
- The FBI’s long-dorman t Twitter account began tweeting files about Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, shortly after the official dismissal of investigations into the Alfa/Trump link: ” . . . . Now, a new interagency mystery is raising questions about whether the F.B.I. has become politicized, just days before the presidential election. On Sunday, a long-dormant F.B.I. Twitter account suddenly sprung to life, blasting out  a series of links to case files that cast the Clintons in a decidedly negative light. . . . Then, on Tuesday, the “FBI Records Vault” account—which had not tweeted at all between October 2015 and Sunday—published a link to records related to the 15-year-old, long-closed investigation into former President Bill Clinton’s pardoning of onetime commodities trader turned fugitive Marc Rich. The post, which was quickly retweeted thousands of times , links to a heavily redacted document that repeatedly references the agency’s “Public Corruption” unit—less-than-ideal optics for Hillary Clinton, who has spent her entire campaign fighting her image as a corrupt politician. . . .”
- FBI Director James Comey was in charge  of the original Marc Rich investigation and the pardon of Rich by Bill Clinton. Is there a connection between the official dismissal of the investigation into the Alfa/Trump link by the FBI, the tweeting by the FBI of the files on the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich and the fact that it was Comey who presided over the Marc Rich investigations? ” . . . . In 2002, Comey, then a federal prosecutor, took over an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s 2001 pardon of financier Marc Rich, who had been indicted on a laundry list of charges before fleeing the country. The decision set off a political firestorm focused on accusations that Rich’s ex-wife Denise made donations to the Democratic Party, the Clinton Library and Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign as part of a plan to get Rich off the hook. Comey ultimately decided not to pursue the case. The kicker: Comey himself had overseen Rich’s prosecution between 1987 and 1993. . . .”
One wonders if the Comey/Rich investigations link may have influenced James Comey’s unconscionable announcement days before the election about a new investigation of the Hillary Clinton e‑mail non-scandal?
Program Highlights Include:
- Former State Department official Richard Burt’s links to the Alfa Bank .
- Burt’s role as a foreign policy advisor  to Donald Trump.
- Burt’s role as a lobbyist  for a natural gas pipeline that had, until recently, been financed in part by major German corporations.
- Burt’s previous position as Ronald Reagan’s ambassador  to Germany in the run-up to German reunification.
1a. Trump’s last major campaign ad was overtly anti-Semitic.
“ . . . . From a technical and thematic perspective it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semitic dog whistles, anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Semitic vocabulary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whistles. The four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO). . . .”
Take a moment to look at this closing ad from Donald Trump.
From a technical and thematic perspective it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semitic dog whistles, anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Semitic vocabulary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whistles. The four readily identifiable American bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clinton, George Soros (Jewish financier), Janet Yellen (Jewish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs CEO).
The Trump narration immediately preceding Soros and Yellin proceeds as follows: “The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington [start Soros] and for the global [start Yellen] special interests [stop Yellen]. They partner with these people [start Clinton] who don’t have your good in mind.”
For Blankfein: “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the [start Blankein] pockets of a handful of large corporations [stop Blankfein] and political entities.”
These are standard anti-Semitic themes and storylines, using established anti-Semitic vocabulary lined up with high profile Jews as the only Americans other than Clinton who are apparently relevant to the story. As you can see by my transcription, the Jews come up to punctuate specific key phrases. Soros: “those who control the levers of power in Washington”; Yellen “global special interests”; Blankfein “put money into the pockets of handful of large corporations.”
This is an anti-Semitic ad every bit as much as the infamous Jesse Helms ‘white hands’ ad  or the Willie Horton ad  were anti-African-American racist ads. Which is to say, really anti-Semitic. You could even argue that it’s more so, given certain linguistic similarities with anti-Semitic propaganda from the 1930s. But it’s not a contest. This is an ad intended to appeal to anti-Semites and spread anti-Semitic ideas. That’s the only standard that really matters.
This is intentional and by design. It is no accident.
Trump has electrified anti-Semites and racist groups across the country. His own campaign has repeatedly found itself speaking to anti-Semites, tweeting their anti-Semitic memes , retweeting anti-Semites . His campaign manager, Steven Bannon, is an anti-Semite. The Breitbart News site he ran and will continue running after the campaign has become increasingly open in the last year with anti-Semitic attacks and politics .
Beyond that, this shouldn’t surprise us for a broader reason. Authoritarian, xenophobic political movements, which the Trump campaign unquestionably is, are driven by tribalism and ‘us vs them’ exclusion of outsiders. This may begin with other groups – Mexican immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims. It almost always comes around to Jews.
1b. In our discussion of the Trumpenkampfverbande, we have noted that what we have called the Underground Reich is now coming into plain view and transformed into a mass movement. That movement has now triumphed. The New York Times had a few thoughts on Trump’s extremist supporters.
. . . . “Trump has shown that our message is healthy, normal and organic — and millions of Americans agree with us,” said Matthew M. Heimbach, a co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, a white nationalist group that claims to support the interests of working-class whites. It also advocates the separation of the races.
Whatever happens on Nov. 8, Mr. Trump’s candidacy has brought groups like Mr. Heimbach’s out of the shadows, and they say they have no intention of returning.
“For racists in this country, this campaign has been a complete affirmation of their fears, worries, dreams and hopes,” said Ryan Lenz, the editor of the Hatewatch blog at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups from its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. “Most things they believe have been legitimized, or have been given the stamp of approval, by mainstream American politics to the point now where it’s no longer shameful to be a racist.”
The biggest beneficiary may well be the so-called alt-right, the once obscure and now ascendant white nationalist movement with close ties to Breitbart News, the website operated by Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Stephen K. Bannon. . . .
. . . . In short, they say they believe that Mr. Trump’s campaign has turned them into a force that the Republican establishment cannot ignore.
“What you can’t say is that we’re just a bunch of marginal loons,” Mr. Spencer said. “The truth is that we have a deeper connection with the Trumpian forces and Trumpian populism than the mainstream conservatives do. They’re going to have to deal with us.” . . . .
. . . . To members of the alt-right, Mr. Trump is a transformative figure. It has been a long time since a mainstream politician, let alone a presidential nominee, talked about the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and warned about “international banks” plotting “the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.” Mr. Trump has given them the legitimacy they long craved. . . .
. . . . “I basically agree with everything Donald Trump advocates,” Mr. Anglin wrote in an email. He went on to say Mr. Trump has made it “socially acceptable” to talk about thing that were once off limits, such as “the globalist Jewish agenda.” . . .
3a. Richard Burt is a member of Alfa’s senior advisory council. He’s also a lobbyist for the Nord Stream II pipeline, which will send natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and Belarus. Burt is crafting Trump’s foreign policy. 
In FTR #930 , we examined links between Alfa and the Trump campaign. Far from being “Putin/Russia/Kremlin,” this is part and parcel to the German Ostpolitik we discussed in FTR #‘s 918  and 919 . PLEASE examine the programs and descriptions to flesh out your understanding.
Why do so many of Trump’s campaign staffers have dodgy ties to Russian energy companies or Russian state clients? . . . .
Richard Burt is the chairman of the advisory council for The National Interest, the in-house journal of the Center for the National Interest, where Trump delivered his maiden foreign-policy speech last April. He is also a member of the senior advisory board of Russia’s Alfa Bank, a major Moscow financial institution which, thus far, has escaped Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Burt was recruited by Paul Manafort to help the Trump campaign write a speech that tried to define his foreign-policy vision. Burt has also repeatedly defended Trump’s foreign-policy ideas, including during periods of time when Trump was under attack for not having enough support from well-respected foreign-policy experts.enough support from well-respected foreign-policy experts 
On Oct. 31, reporter Franklin Foer broke the story that a group of cybersecurity experts had tracked regular internet  communications between Donald Trump’s organization and Alfa Bank.
According to experts interviewed by Foer, Trump’s organization registered a server in 2009 that was mostly responsible for sending mass emails. Recently, however, the server’s traffic was reduced to a suspiciously small amount of data—smaller than what a single person would receive via email in a single day. The server appears to have been designed to allow communications only between Trump’s organization and two other organizations, with 87 percent of those communications taking place with one of two servers belonging to Alfa Bank.
Alarmingly, the communications patterns appeared to many experts who spoke with Foer to be human-to-human communication, rather than automated mail. But the frequency of the messages also seemed to correspond to the news cycle’s focus on the connection between Trump and Russia. Furthermore, after journalists contacted Alfa Bank, Trump’s server was shut down, potentially indicating that Alfa warned Trump’s office that the server was facing scrutiny. Four days later, a new server was set up by the Trump organization.
Both Alfa and the Trump campaign deny that Trump’s computers  were in contact with the Russian bank.
The FBI reportedly spent weeks investigating these allegations but concluded that there could be other explanations for the communications, including mass marketing or spam emails . It remains unclear whether the FBI was able to use the existence of these communications to obtain a warrant. It is possible that this is nothing more than spam emails sent between two large financial institutions.
Burt, however, has other ties to the Russian government that are concerning.
According to Politico, he was paid $365,000 in the first half of 2016 for work he did to lobby for the building of a new natural-gas pipeline, Nord Stream II, which would supply more gas to Europe while bypassing Ukraine and Belarus. The plan is opposed by the Obama administration and the Polish government because it would allow Russia to further interfere in the internal domestic politics of Ukraine without fear that Ukraine could cut off Russia’s gas supplies or take the gas for itself. At the start of 2016, the Russian state energy giant Gazprom owned 50 percent of the company that wants to build the pipeline, but since the European partners have pulled out, Gazprom now owns 100 percent.
All in all, Burt’s major contribution to the Trump campaign is evident in that first major foreign-policy address, which set the stage for greater economic, political, and military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.
3b. As noted above, one of Alfa’s senior advisors is the guy behind Trump’s foreign policy vision. He is also a lobbyist for a major Russian/German pipeline. The pipeline that is currently 100 percent owned by Gazprom, but was 50 percent owned by European investors until they all pulled out of the project in August after a Polish regulatory agency raised antitrust questions about the project . That’s an important point because, while the focus in on Burt’s ties to Russia, he was lobbying for Nord Stream II. In that ontext he was lobbying for European giants like BASF (formerly a member of I.G. Farben), E.ON, ENGIE, OMV, and Shell too. 
It’s also with noting that Burt was a former US ambassador to Germany :
Richard Burt helped shape the candidate’s first foreign-policy speech while lobbying on behalf of a Moscow-controlled gas company.
A Republican lobbyist was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote one of Vladimir Putin’s top geopolitical priorities at the same time he was helping to shape Donald Trump’s first major foreign policy speech.
In the first two quarters of 2016, the firm of former Reagan administration official Richard Burt received $365,000 for work he and a colleague did to lobby for a proposed natural-gas pipeline owned by a firm controlled by the Russian government, according to congressional  lobbying  disclosures  reviewed by POLITICO. The pipeline, opposed by the Polish government and the Obama administration, would complement the original Nord Stream, allowing more Russian gas to reach central and western European markets while bypassing Ukraine and Belarus, extending Putin’s leverage over Europe.
Burt’s lobbying work for New European Pipeline AG, the company behind the pipeline known as Nord Stream II, began in February. At the time, the Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom owned a 50 percent stake in New European Pipeline AG. In August, five European partners pulled out and Gazprom now owns 100 percent.
This spring, Burt helped shape Trump’s first major foreign policy address, according to Burt and other sources. Burt recommended that Trump take a more “realist,” less interventionist approach to world affairs, as first reported by Reuters . Trump’s April 27 speech sounded those themes and called for greater cooperation with Russia.
All the while, Burt continued to be paid for his Nord Stream II lobbying work, which is ongoing. Asked about the simultaneous lobbying and advising, both sides downplayed the relationship.
“We have no knowledge of this,” wrote Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks in an email. “In fact, our team cannot verify his self-proclaimed contributions to Mr. Trump’s speech and, I don’t believe Mr. Trump or our policy staff has ever met Mr. Burt. To our knowledge he had no input in the speech and has had no contact with our policy team.”
For his part, Burt, a former Reagan State Department official and U.S. ambassador to Germany, said he does not consider himself an adviser to the campaign and that he would provide Hillary Clinton with advice if asked. Burt said that while he has discussed Trump with Russian officials, his work for Nord Stream II has only involved contact with the project’s European staff in Zug, Switzerland. He said his firm, McLarty Associates – headed by former President Bill Clinton’s ex-chief of staff Mack McLarty – was referred the Nord Stream II work by a financial PR firm in New York.
According to congressional disclosures signed by Burt and another member of the firm, the lobbying work consists of “monitoring and supplementing Washington discussion of EU energy security.”
Initially, when asked about his input on the Trump campaign, Burt said it was limited to input on the April speech.
Burt’s connections to Russia go back many decades. In 1989, former President George H.W. Bush appointed Burt to negotiate the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the USSR, which was concluded in 1991. In recent years, the 69-year-old Burt said he has advised Russia’s Alfa Bank, and he continues to work with the bank’s co-founder, Mikhail Fridman. Burt has also registered for recent lobbying work on behalf of the Ukrainian construction firm TMM , the Polish government-owned airline LOT and the Capital Bank of Jordan .
Russia’s incursions in Ukraine, as well as its stepped-up efforts to undermine Western democracies and the European Union by funding fringe nationalist parties and disinformation campaigns, have stiffened resistance to Nord Stream II. In American foreign policy circles, Burt’s work on behalf of the pipeline is a source of consternation.
The pipeline would undermine Poland’s hopes of developing its own shale gas sector, and it would strengthen Europe’s dependence on Russia as its main provider of energy. Unlike an existing pipeline, Nord Stream II would bypass Ukraine and Belarus, two former Soviet republics, thus diminishing their importance to Europe and helping to keep them within Moscow’s sphere of influence.
Burt is not alone in his ties to Russia’s state oil giant. Carter Page, whom Trump named as a foreign policy adviser in March, has said he advised Gazprom on some of its biggest deals from 2004 to 2007, when he lived in Moscow. In September, after months of scrutiny from the press, Congress, and American intelligence officials, Page said he had finally divested himself of a stake he held in Gazprom.
In recent years, the Kremlin has made influencing Western think tanks a more prominent component of its soft power strategy. And in recent weeks, Burt has gone to work on the think tank circuit, pitching the pipeline in private sessions in Washington and Europe.
“He’s a tremendously sophisticated operator. He comes across as a tremendously polished, knowledgeable doyen of the foreign service,” said a person who witnessed Burt sell the pipeline at a meeting at the Atlantic Council last month and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was meant to remain private. “There are huge holes in what he’s saying, but I can imagine that to many congressmen, senators and officials, it’s all very convincing.”
Burt described his work on behalf of Nord Stream II as, “Making sure the client understands what’s going on in the debate here and providing information to people in the administration on Nord Stream’s views.”
“If we want to speak to people in the United States, he helps us set up meetings with people,” said Jens Mueller, a spokesman for the pipeline project, who said the meetings were with “the normal stakeholders involved in the debate: think tanks, embassies.” He said only Burt’s firm is working on the pipeline’s behalf in the United States.
3c. Note that the above article described Burt’s work as lobbying Washington DC, presumably because of US opposition to the pipeline, and that, until the recent pull out of European investors, the German government had been a staunch defender of the pipeline over growing criticism as tensions between the West and Russia grew and sanctions were put in place . All in all, it’s not hard to see why he was chosen to be a Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline lobbyist. Burt was Reagan’s ambassador from 1985 to 1989, during the preliminary stages for German reunification .
Summing up: one of the figures crafting Donald Trump’s foreign policy vision is Reagan’s former ambassador to Germany, currently a senior advisor to Alfa and a lobbyist for a Russia-to-Germany pipeline that, until recently, had major Germany energy companies as investors and backing by the Germany government.
Again, we see Trump as a herald of German Ostpolitik. He is not a “Russian/Kremlin/Putin” dupe/agent of any kind.
Richard Burt serves as senior adviser to CSIS. He is chairman of International Equity Partners, a Washington-based investment banking and advisory services firm focusing on development and consulting in major emerging markets. Before leaving government, Burt served as ambassador and chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the former Soviet Union, and as U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from 1985 to 1989, during the preliminary stages of German reunification. Before serving in Germany, he was assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs from 1983 to 1985. Burt has also worked as the national security correspondent for the New York Times and at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
3d. No sooner was Trump elected than Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, renewed his call for an all-EU army. In FTR #‘s 918 , 919 , 929 , we opined that this was a major goal of the Trumpehkampfverbande. Nigel Farage’s “Brexit” removed a major obstacle to the creation of an EU army. Farage is also a supporter of Trump and a colleague of Trump campaign chief Stephen K. Bannon.
Note that Jean-Claude Juncker has deep connections to the Underground Reich, as discussed in FTR #802 .
Donald Trump’s election as US President has sparked fresh call for an EU army, amid a warning that the continent will not always be able to rely on American protection.
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, voiced his concerns after the Republican’s surprise victory was announced.
He said a ‘community of defence’ is required.
Juncker said: ‘We need more security in Europe, and I do not mean just the anti-terror fight.
‘Talking about security we need a different way of organizing a European defense.’
He said that the French National Assembly prevented a proposed European community of defence being created in 1954 – a move that could have seen an army created, but was rejected amid concerns about national sovereignty.
Juncker said: ‘We need it now. The idea that the Americans will eternally see to… European security is not true.
‘Independent of the outcome of the US election, the Americans will not see to Europe’s security forever. We have to do it ourselves.
‘And this is why we need a new approach to the European community of defense, including a European army.’
In July, Trump cast doubts over his commitment to Nato agreements, telling the New York Times: ‘We have many Nato members that aren’t paying their bills.’
And he added: ‘You can’t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments.
‘Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.’
His comments echo remarks made by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has called on the EU should match Nato.
She declared she was in ‘deep shock’ after Trump’s win, saying the President-elect has cast doubt on Nato’s mutual defence pact. . . .
. . . . British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon rubbished the idea of a shared European army last month, stating: ‘We continue to oppose any new military structure that would introduce a second layer of command and control. Command and control is a matter for the military, it is a matter for Nato.
4. In FTR #906 , we noted the use of the book Clinton Cash to stoke the anti-Clinton media fires. We also noted FBI director James Comey’s partisan function as head of the FBI–Comey was a supporter of Mitt Romney in 2012.
It turns out the FBI field agents who have been aggressively pushing the FBI to investigate the Clinton Foundation we’re basing their suspicions on “Clinton Cash”, the discredited book written by Breitbart’s editor-at-large :
The New York Times report on the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation reveals a pretty sketchy information source
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has gone full Breitbart.
OK, not really. But this nugget from a New York Times story  on how the bureau kept two investigations under wraps this summer so as not to appear to be meddling in the presidential campaign could lead you to wonder.
In August . . . the F.B.I. grappled with whether to issue subpoenas in the Clinton Foundation case, which . . . was in its preliminary stages. The investigation, based in New York, had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book “Clinton Cash,” according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.
Oh, neat, “Clinton Cash,” the partisan hit job published last year by Breitbart’s editor-at-large, Peter Schweizer, and later adapted into a documentary  that was executive produced by former Breitbart chairman and current Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon. Next the FBI will tell us that Roger Stone was the special agent in charge of the investigation.
If you have forgotten about “Clinton Cash,” Digby laid out a nice case against it and Schweizer . The short version is that the book was one in a long, long line of thinly sourced tales about the Clintons that have made millions of dollars for various right-wing writers and publishing houses since the early 1990s. For that matter, these tales sold a lot of copies of the Times as well, when it went all in chasing Whitewater stories early in Bill Clinton’s presidency.
“Clinton Cash,” published just as Hillary Clinton was announcing her own campaign for the presidency, is an obvious effort to cash in early to what will likely be four to eight years’ worth of salacious and worthless investigations of her upcoming administration. It immediately ran into the same problem that dozens of anti-Clinton books have encountered over the years: It contained more bullshit  than a waste pond on a cattle ranch. The publisher had to make revisions  to the book’s later editions. Schweizer was forced to admit  in both interviews and in the conclusion of his book that he had not quite made the case he was trying to present.
Senior FBI and Justice Department officials came to the same conclusion, much to the apparent dissatisfaction of some agents, as the Times reported:
In meetings, the Justice Department and senior F.B.I. officials agreed that making the Clinton Foundation investigation public could influence the presidential race and suggest they were favoring Mr. Trump. . . . They agreed to keep the case open but wait until after the election to determine their next steps. The move infuriated some agents, who thought that the F.B.I.’s leaders were reining them in because of politics.
And if it can’t get the GOP what it wants? Just this week Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, mentioned the pressure that Republicans on the committee have been putting on the FBI  to turn up something — anything — on Hillary Clinton regarding her private email server and suggested the GOP is going to start investigating the bureau and its director, James Comey, over the agency’s failure.
This latest blowup is simply the newest chapter in better than two decades of Republicans co-opting the FBI and other investigative agencies in service of chasing whatever dark Clintonian shadows they can conjure from the fever swamps of right-wing media and websites. No charge is too spurious or absurd, which is how the nation wound up with the specter in the 1990s of a Republican congressman shooting cantaloupes in his backyard  to “prove” that Vince Foster could not have committed suicide.
It is not new, of course, for right-wing demagogues to use the FBI  to chase down false and inflammatory garbage. But even with its history, one of the ways the bureau maintains legitimacy as an institution is by giving the appearance of a nonpartisan actor. If its agents are so determined to base investigations on right-wing con jobs that their bosses do have to rein them in, then it will lose whatever moral authority it wants to claim.
5. The FBI is apparently heavily populated with extreme partisans of the Trumpenkampfverbande.
” . . . . The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is ‘the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,’ and that ‘the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.’ . . .”
Highly unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton intensified after James Comey’s decision not to recommend an indictment over her use of a private email server
Thursday 3 November 2016 14.02 EDT Last modified on Thursday 3 November 2016 16.26 EDT
Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.
Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.
“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.
This atmosphere raises major questions about how Comey and the bureau he is slated to run for the next seven years can work with Clinton should she win the White House.
The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”
The agent called the bureau “Trumplandia”, with some colleagues openly discussing voting for a GOP nominee who has garnered unprecedented condemnation  from the party’s national security wing and who has pledged to jail Clinton  if elected.
At the same time, other sources dispute the depth of support for Trump within the bureau, though they uniformly stated that Clinton is viewed highly unfavorably.
“There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician,” said a former FBI official.
Sources who disputed the depth of Trump’s internal support agreed that the FBI is now in parlous political territory. Justice department officials – another current target of FBI dissatisfaction – have said the bureau disregarded longstanding rules  against perceived or actual electoral interference when Comey wrote to Congress to say it was reviewing newly discovered emails  relating to Clinton’s personal server.
Comey’s vague letter to Congress, promptly leaked by Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, said the bureau would evaluate communications – subsequently identified as coming from a device used by disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife Huma Abedin is a Clinton aide – for connections to the Clinton server. Comey’s allies say he was placed in an impossible position after previously testifying to Congress it would take an extraordinary development for him to revisit the Clinton issue. Throughout the summer and fall, Trump has attacked the FBI as corrupt for not effectively ending Clinton’s political career.
A political firestorm erupted, with Comey and the bureau coming under withering criticism, including a rebuke on Wednesday  from Barack Obama. Even some congressional Republicans, no friends to Clinton, have expressed discomfort with Comey’s last-minute insertion of the bureau into the election.
The relevance of the communications to the Clinton inquiry has yet to be established, as Comey issued his letter before obtaining a warrant to evaluate them. Clinton surrogates contend that Comey has issued innuendo rather than evidence, preventing them from mounting a public defense.
Some feel Comey needs to address the criticism and provide reassurance that the bureau, with its wide-ranging investigative and surveillance powers, will comport itself in an apolitical manner. Yet since Friday, Comey has maintained his silence, even as both Clinton and Trump have called for the bureau to disclose more of what it knows.
Leaks, however, have continued. Fox News reported  on Wednesday that the FBI is intensifying an investigation into the Clinton Foundation over allegations – which both the foundation and the Clinton camp deny – it traded donations for access to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. The Wall Street Journal reported  that justice department officials considered the allegations flimsy .
The leaks have not exclusively cast aspersions on Clinton. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is the subject of what is said to be a preliminary FBI inquiry into his business dealings in Russia . Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.
The Daily Beast reported  on Thursday on ties between Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, and the FBI’s New York field office, which reportedly pressed the FBI to revisit the Clinton server investigation after beginning an inquiry into Weiner’s alleged sexual texting with a minor. The website reported that a former New York field office chief, highly critical of the non-indictment, runs a military charity that has received significant financial donations from Trump.
Comey’s decision to tell the public in July that he was effectively dropping the Clinton server issue angered some within the bureau, particularly given the background of tensions with the justice department over the Clinton issue. A significant complication is the appearance of a conflict of interest regarding Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, who met with Bill Clinton  this summer ahead of Comey’s announcement, which she acknowledged had “cast a shadow” over the inquiry.
“Many FBI agents were upset at the director, not because he didn’t [recommend to] indict, but they believe he threw the FBI under the bus by taking the heat away from DoJ [Department of Justice],” the former bureau official said.
All this has compounded pressure on Comey, with little end in sight.
Jim Wedick, who retired from the bureau in 2004 after 35 years, said that if Clinton is elected, she and Comey would probably find a way to work together out of a sense of pragmatism. He recalled both his own occasional clashes with federal prosecutors and Bill Clinton’s uneasy relationship with his choice for FBI director, Louis Freeh.
“Each one will find a way to pick at the other. It’s not going to be good and it’s not going to be pretty. But they’ll both have to work with each other,” he said.
6. The partisanship within the FBI should be viewed against the background of the acquittal of Ammon Bunday and company after their illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Militia groups and anti-government activists rejoiced at the news that seven defendants charged in the armed occupation earlier this year of a remote federal wildlife refuge in Oregon were acquitted of all charges  late Thursday.
The stunning verdict in the high-profile trial has convinced those who see it as their duty to take up arms against what they view as government overreach that their crusade is a just one.
“Tonight we have vindication for the life, fortune and sacred honor we all promised to give and for which many have given already,” Central Oregon Constitutional Guard leader B.J. Soper wrote in a Facebook post , adding that he’d had tears in his eyes all night.
While the Oath Keepers, a so-called patriot group made up of current and former military and law enforcement personnel, criticized the occupiers’ decision to take over a federal building, founder Stewart Rhodes told TPM that the jury’s decision represented “a victory for due process.”
“In the big picture, they’re right,” Stewart Rhodes said of the occupiers in a Friday phone call. “Western lands are being stolen from the American people. It’s not just white ranchers, it’s also the Native Americans too. It’s happening right now at the pipeline. So it’s the entire west.” . . . .
7a. Not surprisingly, fascists are poised to move into both elected and appointed political office under Trump.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s upset presidential win, the small yet vocal cohort of white nationalists who supported his campaign are refocusing their efforts from trolling liberals online to running for elected office.
Their reasoning: If a candidate who appealed to the tide of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment surging on the country’s right could win over voters, why not one who is openly “pro-white”?
“I have been very surprised that we have not seen attractive, well-spoken, racially aware candidates running for local office,” Jared Taylor, head of the white nationalist American Renaissance publication and annual conference, told TPM in a Wednesday phone call. “I think this will be inevitable, and I think that Trump will have encouraged this. That our people will run for school board, city council, mayor, all that I anticipate certainly.”
Others are thinking in the short-term and training their eyes, perhaps more quixotically, on possible positions in a Trump administration.
William Johnson arguably did the most to advocate for the real estate mogul’s campaign through traditional political channels. The Los Angeles-based lawyer and chair of the white nationalist American Freedom Party founded the pro-Trump American National super PAC, bankrolled robocalls on his behalf, and was listed to serve as a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention until media outcry forced the Trump campaign to remove his name and attribute his inclusion to a “data error.”
Johnson told TPM his plan now is to “wheedle my way into a Trump administration.” He said he’d love a position as ambassador to Japan or the Philippines, countries home to many of his legal clients, or under secretary of Agriculture, as he runs a small persimmon farm. These likely remain pipe dreams, given that the Trump campaign has said in the past that it “strongly condemns” Johnson’s rhetoric.
“Right now because the election is over and there’s going to be no election for another two years, we’re not focused on people running for office,” Johnson said. “We’re focused on getting people into the administration and working within the system. But in another year or so when elections start gearing up, we will put our candidates into place.”
Meanwhile, civil rights groups are keeping a wary eye on the slow creep of white nationalists and the alt-right from marginalized conferences and online message boards into walking, waking political life. Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, believes that the “bigotry and anti-Semitism and hatred” that voters saw come out during the campaign was just the beginning. Trump’s extremist supporters, he told TPM, “feel rewarded for their bad behavior.”
“The alt-right in particular which was this very loosely organized online movement, we’re going to see if it tries to become more of a real world movement,” he added.
This normalization effort is already underway. The alt-right held what amounted to a press conference at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. in September, and Segal mentioned an upcoming National Policy Institute event with “known anti-Semites” like California State University professor Kevin MacDonald.
These in-person meet-ups in conventional settings, Segal said, “speak to a development from an online phenomenon to a real-world one.”
White nationalists aspired to office even before Trump launched his campaign. Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke served one term in the Louisiana House in the late 1980s and made several stabs at elected office in the following years. This year, he launched a failed bid for a Louisiana Senate seat and directly tied himself to a Trump ticket.
The younger generation has been known to take the same tack. A recent Washington Post profile of Derek Black, son of the founder of the white nationalist Stormfront website and a darling of the movement until he publicly broke away from it, explained the strategy Black employed when he was still part of that inner circle.
“The way ahead is through politics,” Black told attendees at a 2008 white nationalist conference, according to the Post. “We can infiltrate. We can take the country back.”
He was 19 years old at the time and had already won a GOP committee seat in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Peter Brimelow, the editor of anti-immigration site Virginia Dare, said Trump’s win would make mainstream politicians “see that these are winning issues.” Although Brimelow doubts that any self-described white nationalists will “be allowed into public life,” he pointed to politicians like Rep. David Brat (R‑VA) as “breakthroughs” who he said share very similar views to those of the white nationalist community.
Taylor, of American Renaissance, pointed to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R‑AL), Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former New York City Mayor Giuliani—all of whom are already working closely with the Trump team—as the kind of officials white nationalists would like to see in the next administration.
Civil rights groups are closely monitoring which officials Trump names to key administration posts, and these are the kinds of names that give them pause.
“When [Breitbart Chairman Steve] Bannon is the CEO of your campaign and also someone who has made a place for the alt-right, the prospects are scary,” said Richard Cohen, legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “On the immigration front you’ve got people like Kobach, the architect of the country’s harshest immigration laws, SB1070 in Arizona and HB56 in Alabama, on his transition team for immigration. You have people connected to the Family Research Council, a hard-line anti-gay group, who are playing a role in his transition team.”
“So far we haven’t seen any effort on his part to distance himself from the people who brought him to the party,” Cohen added. “He’s still dancing with them.” . . .
7b. Trump is reportedly strongly considering Steve Bannon to be his chief of staff!
President-elect Donald Trump is strongly considering naming his campaign CEO Steve Bannon to serve as his White House chief of staff, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN on Thursday.
The White House chief of staff is typically tasked in large part with ensuring that all wheels are spinning in the complex White House organization, and the source said that some people in Trump’s orbit do not think Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News who joined Trump’s campaign in August, is the best fit for that position.
Trump’s contemplation of Bannon as chief of staff comes as his presidential transition team is feverishly ramping up its efforts to build out an administration after his surprising win Tuesday. . . .
Bannon has also been a major force behind some of Trump’s more controversial stunts, including when Trump held an impromptu press event with women who had accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault and misconduct. Bannon was spotted in the back of the room smiling as reporters were led in for the debate night surprise.
8. The Trumpenkampfverbande is already keeping an enemies list. a la Richard Nixon.
“If [Graham] felt his interests was with that candidate, God bless him,” Manigault remarked. “I would never judge anybody for exercising their right to and the freedom to choose who they want. But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”
The Trump administration may be pretty vindictive
Foreshadowing the possibility that the worst fears of Donald Trump’s critics have merit, Omarosa Manigault — who met Trump while competing on “The Apprentice” and has campaigned for him in this election — has discussed how the Republican victor has been keeping an enemies list.
“It’s so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand,” Manigault told Independent Journal Review at Trump’s election night party on Wednesday.
She also referenced a tweet sent by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday afternoon.
“If [Graham] felt his interests was with that candidate, God bless him,” Manigault remarked. “I would never judge anybody for exercising their right to and the freedom to choose who they want. But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”