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What We Learned in the Trump-Russia Investigation: Week of Jan 7 – 13, 2018

Talks continue between Mueller’s team and Trump’s lawyers about setting up an interview with the president. This is despite Trump’s claims that it is “unnecessary” for him to give an interview. Mueller has also indicated he would like to call back several White House staffers who were interviewed early on to ask about additional information he has received. source

Mueller added a veteran cyber prosecutor to his team, potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes. source

Senator Feinstein released the Senate testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, without the support of Sen. Grassley (who the previous week had recommended Steele for criminal charges). source

  • Among the revelations in the transcript are that someone has already died as a result of the publishing of the dossier. Some speculate that this could be related to suspicious death of ex-KGB and FSB chief Oleg Erovinkin in January 2017, who was a key aide to Rosneft head Igor Sechin. Sechin is mentioned numerous times in the dossier. source
  • According to Simpson, Trump was doing business all over the former Soviet states of Georgia and Azerbaijan. source
  • Christopher Steele insisted on contacting the FBI because he believed Donald Trump was being blackmailed. source

A cybersecurity firm is sounding the alarm that Russian government-aligned hackers are about to attempt an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate. The same ones who penetrated the Democratic Party are now targeting senators’ emails and documents. source

Trump administration has extended existing policies that waived punishment for convicted banks, including Deutsche Bank — which Trump owes $130 million and has been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme. source

A member of Trump’s National Security Council staff, Kevin Harrington, proposed withdrawing U.S. troops close to Russian borders to please Putin. source

In 2015 a conservative group led by Bannon shopped around a document tying Trump to mobsters. The document reportedly details years of alleged deals between Trump companies and figures in organized crime. source

Bannon has obtained a lawyer in preparation for an interview with the House intelligence Committee. Despite the obvious obstruction by Republicans on the Cmte., Dems can still release their own independent report on their findings. source

Rep. Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, stated that he wants to call Ivanka Trump to testify as a witness in the Russia probe. source. This comes a week after we learned that Mueller would also like to interview Ivanka. source

A judge is reviewing Comey’s memos, in order to decide if they should be released to the public following a FOIA request. The Trump administration & DOJ do not want these memos released as they would lend more credence to Comey’s accounts. source

Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has filed lawsuits against Buzzfeed News for publishing the Steele Dossier and Fusion GPS for creating it. source

Of note: Eric Trump’s charity has been up to shenanigans. It has paid nearly $150,000 to Trump Organization companies in 2016. NY Attorney General is looking into whether the “charity” has been improperly benefitting the Trump family. The charity is also accused of diverting funds meant for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to other organizations, including one particular one that stands out: Tikva Children’s Home. A non-profit based in New Jersey, Tikva Children’s Home cares for children in Odessa, Ukraine. There is nothing that publicly indicates a Russian connection (that I can find), but it seems odd that out of all the charities in the world, this one was chosen. source

An investigation of condos Trump has sold reveals possible money laundering. For example, 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders. The article does not note any firm Russian ties, but I think it’s only a matter of time until more are found. source and more about the dictators Trump rented/sold to