AF Check

The News is that part of communication that keeps us informed of the changing events, issues, and characters in the world outside. Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed. On April 4th, we honor the 4th Estate for its vigilant and courageous reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and beyond.



It does read like an action/suspense novel – American Intelligence Officials say that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” and turned from seeking to “denigrate” Hillary Clinton to developing “a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” And, the 4th Estate are showing up each day to play their role in the rescue of our democracy.

The story proceeds…. the President’s newly appointed National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn lied about compromising conversations he had with a
Russian Ambassador prior to the President being sworn into Office.  The acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned that Mr. Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by the Russians, and three weeks later was fired for an unrelated, but principled stand on the President’s travel ban.  Mr. Flynn was forced by the administration to resign and is now seeking immunity because “he has a story to tell“.

During the same period of the transition, Erik Prince, the future Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother and Trump campaign contributor, held a secret meeting in the Seychelles to establish a Trump-Putin back channel.  Enter Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also met in December with Sergei Gorkov of VneshEconomBank, or VEB, at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador.  This same bank is named in an article showing how Carter Page, a former campaign adviser for Donald Trump met with and passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013.

In January, the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified estimate that found “with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … relayed material to WikiLeaks.” As questions swirl around possible connections to President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, his friend, Roger Stone, has retraced the line between himself and WikiLeaks.  Just last month, there was much confusion when Trump supporter, Nigel Farage was spotted leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London — the residence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In mid-March, the head of the FBI, James Comey announced to the House Intelligence Committee, during its open hearing, that he’s been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm that “the FBI, as part of our counter-intelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and is looking into potential coordination.  Newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. This comes after the Justice Department acknowledged Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the campaign.

It has been shown that Trump’s ties to Russia go back 30 years.  There are so many that Politico has 7 charts that map all of the ties and the Washington Post has an interactive map/timeline.  The intrigue doesn’t seem to end, with many wondering what is happening now that Trump is in Office. Just last week, Forbes reported that the Russian billionaire tied to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former Campaign Chairman, is $1.6 Billion richer since Trump’s election win . Like, Republican Senator John McCain stated, there are a “lot of other shoes to drop”.

On April 4th, let us honor the 4th Estate.

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