The Underreported Stories You’ll Need To Know Going Into This Week
We know it’s Monday, but there are some stories from last week that you can’t let die. Some that you need to take with you into this week and the weeks to come.
In this sensationalized media landscape, the news cycle moves fast and not every important story gets the attention it deserves.
As the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia gets more intricate and the Trump administration continues to move full speed ahead, it’s important to keep these stories alive, and pressure our lawmakers to do the same.
The Story: On Wednesday, an AP report revealed Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort had signed a $10 million annual contract with Russian oligarch, and close Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska. In 2005, Manafort pitched a plan outlining a campaign to assert pro-Russia influence in politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics. In 2006, Dreipaska and Manafort came to a $10 million a year deal. It reportedly lasted until 2009. 2006 was the same year Paul Manafort moved into Trump Tower.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: We were already aware of Manafort’s efforts to push a pro-Russia agenda in the Ukraine, but this is direct evidence that Manafort has worked in the past to promote Russian interests within the United States. The timing of the deal is also important, because Manafort moved into the same building where Donald Trump lives the very same year he began working for Oleg Deripaska.
Trump has known Manafort for quite some time. In the 1980s, the Trump Organization hired Manafort’s lobbying firm. During this time, Trump also became close with Roger Stone (Trump campaign advisor being investigated for communications with Russian operatives), who was also working with Manafort at the firm. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to distance themselves from Manafort, Trump has not only worked closely with him during his presidential campaign, but long before. Both Roger Stone and Paul Manafort have volunteered to testify before Congressional Intelligence Committees.
Since President Trump Came Into Office, The US Has Been Killing More Civilians In The Middle East
The Story: The New York Times is reporting: “The American-led military coalition in Iraq said Friday that it was investigating reports that scores of civilians — perhaps as many as 200, residents said — had been killed in recent American airstrikes in Mosul, the northern Iraqi city at the center of an offensive to drive out the Islamic State.” Airwars, a civilian casualty monitor in Syria, is stating that there have been increased civilian casualties since Trump has taken office. So many in fact, that they have to divert their resources from monitoring Russia’s activities to solely focus on the US:
“Currently, for March, we’re tracking more than 100 alleged [civilian casualty] events for the Coalition so far, and around 50 alleged incidents from Russia this month. That’s been the consistent pattern since January. By all accounts, Coalition strikes have been killing more civilians than Russian strikes. That trend is continuing”
Why We Can’t Let It Die: When the US is killing more civilians in Syria than Russia, you know there’s a problem. The US insists the rules of engagement have not changed, but the increased number of casualties tell a different story. If the US military begins to become careless in their approach to the Middle East, it will only further perpetuate extremism.
“Mike Flynn Is Apparently The Gift That Keeps On Giving”
The Story: The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell last Friday. They reported that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn met with Turkish officials during the transition and discussed the possible expulsion of Turkish cleric and Erdogan rival Fethullah Gulen from the United States.
The kicker isn’t that Flynn discussed Gulen with foreign representatives, it’s that illegal methods of expelling the legal U.S. resident (aka kidnapping) were reportedly considered at the meeting. This astonishing revelation was relayed to the Journal by former Clinton CIA Director and Trump campaign advisor James Woolsey. According to Woolsey, he entered the meeting mid-conversation and found the “possibly illegal” actions being discussed “alarming.” Woolsey abruptly left the Trump transition in early January, ostensibly over then President-elect Trump’s disparagement of the intelligence community. Representatives for Flynn have pushed back on Woolsey’s claims and the Journal’s reporting. Both stand by their accounts.
Why We Can’t Let it Die: Michael Flynn is already facing an avalanche of scrutiny regarding his contacts with foreign governments. This Wall Street Journal report comes two weeks after the Associated Press revealed that Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent for lobbying that “principally benefited the Republic of Turkey” during his time as a Trump campaign advisor. On Election Day, Flynn published an op-ed in The Hill criticizing Gulen for exciting “the animus of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.” This raises further questions regarding Flynn’s motivations and loyalties during his time with the Trump campaign and administration.
That a foreign agent was the National Security Advisor of the United States for 24 days is highly disturbing and the revelations made since Flynn’s departure have exacerbated those concerns. Furthermore, what does it say about the Trump Administration that Flynn didn’t immediately end the meeting with Turkish officials the moment talk of illegality came up?
Another layer to this story is the source. Most stories regarding Flynn’s shady activities have been anonymously sourced. Not this time. James Woolsey went on the record with the Wall Street Journal and then promptly found CNN’s cameras after the story broke. Remember, Woolsey resigned in early January. Why did he wait until now to break his silence and publicly distance himself from Flynn? Its also worth mentioning that The National Enquirer (which killed at least one damaging story on behalf of Trump during the campaign) ran a cover story branding Flynn a “Russian spy” on the same day the Wall Street Journal account dropped. Flynn meet bus.
This IS odd. Not because the Enquirer is a reliable source of info in any way (it's NOT) but that Trump ally Pecker would push this — https://t.co/De0Dtpq8iT
There’s one final detail of this story that is just simply bizarre:
I… This is just so damn weird. Woolsey just claimed on CNN Flynn registered him as a foreign agent w/o his permission. https://t.co/yy9ihNUxrq
Watch this space.
Republicans Move To Gut Privacy Rules
The Story: In less than 24 hours, congress will vote to end the Obama-era internet privacy rules, put in place by the FCC, that required your Internet Service Provider (ISP’s) to protect your personal data.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: Now regardless of what side you land on in the privacy debate, it’s important to understand what rights you’re giving up if these rules are rolled back. In extremely plain terms, the federal government is voting to allow companies to share your personal browsing history with third parties, as well as sell it to other companies without you ever knowing.
Koch Brothers Bankrolling GOP
The Story: In a last minute effort to kill “Trumpcare,” the notorious conservative billionaires, Charles and David Koch, promised to protect Republicans who voted ‘No’ on the bill via campaign donations. Two Koch Groups, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, are setting aside a seven figure reserve fund to support the congressmen who may have lost political capital by thwarting the President’s and Speaker’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: This is a showcase to the American people of how a pair of individuals’ wealth, and corporate interests as a whole, influence our lawmakers and in turn — our laws.