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2018 Feels Ripe for Big Unexpected Crisis, Eurasia Group Says

This year could see a geopolitical crisis on the scale of the financial crash a decade ago, Eurasia Group warned in its annual outlook. Describing global political challenges as “daunting,” the New York-based political risk consultancy said that “if we had to pick one year for a big unexpected crisis — the geopolitical equivalent of the 2008 financial meltdown — it feels like 2018." The biggest uncertainty surrounds China’s move to fill a vacuum as U.S. influence continues to decline, stoking tensions between the two powers, it said. That’s likely to…

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FBI investigates Russian-linked Cyprus bank accused of money laundering

Request for financial information may be connected to inquiries into possible conspiracy between Trump and Kremlin The FBI has asked officials in Cyprus for financial information about a defunct bank that was used by wealthy Russians with political connections and has been accused by the US government of money laundering, two sources have told the Guardian. The request for information about FBME Bank comes as Cyprus has emerged as a key area of interest for Robert Mueller, the US special counsel who is investigating a possible conspiracy between Donald Trumps…

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Odds and Ends 

Exclusive: Rex Tillerson, in Meeting With U.S. Diplomats, Says Russia Interfered in Election

Beleaguered Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged in a closed-door meeting with U.S. diplomats on Tuesday that Russia interfered in democratic processes here, something President Trump still describes as fake news intended to delegitimize his presidency. Its a precarious position for Tillerson to take, even privately. Tillersons job is on thin ice, as rumors swirl that he will be swapped out for CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Within the department, Tillersons support is wafer-thin, as diplomats have come to see his purpose as hollowing out U.S. diplomacy. Publicly, Tillerson has been…

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Trump Says Investors Should Sue ABC for Market-Moving Report

President Donald Trump called on investors to sue ABC News after a false report about him caused the stock market to briefly plunge Friday. ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross told viewers Friday morning that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump, then still a candidate, had told him to contact Russian officials. The implication that the president himself was connected to his campaign’s dealings with Russia sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 350 points before it recovered. “People who lost money…

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James Comey’s on Instagram now, and his first post shades Trump and Flynn

Former FBI Director James Comey smiling at the thought of justice.Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images As hellfire prepares to rain down on the White House, former FBI Director James Comey is chillin’, you know, just getting his Instagram on. After news broke that Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia, Comey responded by posting his first Instagram and trolling the men with a biblical verse about justice. SEE ALSO: Yeah, that secret Twitter account actually does belong to James…

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‘Guilty, your honor’: Michael Flynn, who led the ‘lock her up’ chants, enters his plea

In a dark suit and striped tie, Flynn stood before a federal judge and pleaded guilty and for Hillary Clinton, the sense of schadenfreude may be irresistible When the crowd chanted Lock her up! about Hillary Clinton, Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP Was this helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Flynn was once Trumps favourite general, who warmed up the Republican candidates rallies with fiery speeches and bolstered his unlikely credentials as a potential commander-in-chief of the worlds most powerful military. He was rewarded with the job of national security adviser at…

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Russia sent election meddling payments with painfully obvious memo lines

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting outside Moscow.Image: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images Bad news, America: The terrifying 2016 election meddling plot continues to thicken in such a way that’s sure to make you bang your head against your desk and scream “HOW?” In the saga’s latest installment, a Buzzfeed News report alleges that over 60 payments were sent from the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies with not-so-subtle descriptions like, quite literally, “to finance election campaign of 2016.” SEE ALSO: The NFL protest debate is a great example of…

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Trump Scraps Possible Formal Meeting With Putin

President Donald Trump will not meet formally with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam this week due to a scheduling conflict, the White House said Friday, amid U.S. concerns that the meeting wouldn’t create genuine progress on key issues. “Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate that there will be one.” Any Putin-Trump meeting…

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Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate

Institutions with close links to Kremlin financed stakes through business associate of Trumps son-in-law, leaked files reveal Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of US politics and the role played by social media in last years presidential election. It may also raise new questions for the social media companies and for Kushner. What are the Paradise Papers? The Paradise Papers is a special investigation by the Guardian and 95 media partners worldwide into a leak…

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Three Trump Associates Charged in Russia Collusion Probe

The federal investigation into whether President Read the full indictment here The accusations arrive after a months-long probe into possible crimes including obstruction of justice by Trump and other crimes by his associates. The Read more: Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga Manafort, 68, has been targeted by Mueller for months. A top Republican strategist who also worked extensively for foreign politicians, he left Trump’s campaign after only a few months in 2016. He departed after information surfaced about his work in Ukraine for a pro-Russian party, which intensified…

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Odds and Ends 

Twitter bans Russia Today and Sputnik from advertising on its service

Twitter has banned Russian media companies Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik from advertising on its service after it found that both had “attempted to interfere with the [2016 U.S.] election on behalf of the Russian government” using the social network. “This decision was based on the retrospective work we’ve been doing around the 2016 U.S. election and the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government,” the company said. Twitter confirmed that the two media firms are the…

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North Korea Warns That Nuclear War Could Break Out Any Moment

North Korea warned that a nuclear war “may break out any moment” as the U.S. and South Korea began one of the largest joint naval drills off both the east and west coasts of the peninsula. Kim In Ryong, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said on Monday that his nation had become a “full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges” and warned that “the entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range.” He also called North Korea “a responsible nuclear state.” “As long…

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Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?

The popular Blacktivist account claimed to be a force for community organizing. Now it looks to have been part of Russias effort to influence politics When longtime Baltimore activists first saw a Facebook account called Blacktivist organizing a local police brutality march, they were immediately suspicious. The page honoring died in police custody a year earlier, quickly acquired a sizable following, but no one knew who was running it. Heber Brown III, a pastor and community organizer, messaged Blacktivist asking if the person lived in Baltimore. No, replied Blacktivist on…

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