FBI spread claim Trump worked with Russia, declassified document shows

A newly declassified document reveals FBI officials circulated sensational claims that President Trump “worked with” Russia in 2016 and that his campaign was offered “financial compensation” to drop US sanctions, but didn’t disclose that the claims came from an opposition researcher for the Democrats.

The claims were made by former British spy Christopher Steele and detailed by the FBI in a classified annex to an intelligence community assessment on Russia’s role in the 2016 election. CBS News first reported Thursday that the document was partially declassified by intelligence director John Ratcliffe.

Steele was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to find dirt on Trump. He leaned on a network of sources to compile a dossier of allegations including unverified rumors.

An investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller later found no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia including on the distribution of hacked Democratic emails.

Steele’s work and the FBI’s role in investigating Trump remains a subject of intrigue in Washington, with Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans now investigating the FBI’s work, including its use of Steele’s information to acquire surveillance court orders against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, despite widely held doubts about the information’s accuracy.

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The two-page FBI annex to the intelligence community’s assessment on Russia goes beyond the Steele dossier’s claims.

The now-declassified FBI annex says, referring to Steele: “The most politically sensitive claims by the FBI source alleged a close relationship between the President-elect and the Kremlin. The source claimed that the President-elect and his top campaign advisers knowingly worked with Russian officials to bolster his chances of beating Secretary Clinton; were fully knowledgeable of Russia’s direction of leaked Democratic emails; and were offered financial compensation from Moscow.”

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Later, the annex elaborates: “The FBI source claimed that secret meetings between the Kremlin and the President-elect’s team were handled by some of the President-elect’s advisers, at least one of whom was allegedly offered financial remuneration for a policy change lifting sanctions on Russia.”

The FBI says in the document that Steele was paid for his research by “private clients” — revealed in late 2017 to be Clinton and the DNC.

Though the document was secret until this week, federal officials with security clearances and members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Democrats who accused Trump of collusion, can access classified records in secure settings.

It’s unclear if Trump was aware of the extent of Steele’s allegations against him — or that the Clinton campaign commissioned Steele’s work — when he was briefed by then-FBI Director James Comey in January 2017.

According to a memo written by Comey, he told Trump that “the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013.” Trump laughed off the claim, according to Comey’s memo.

Officials briefed both Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama in early January 2017 on Steele’s claim that Russia had compromising information on Trump. CNN then reported on the briefings, and later Buzzfeed published the dossier, saying it had become newsworthy.

The newly declassified document includes a disclaimer that “we only have limited corroboration of the source’s reporting in this case.”

It also says: “The FBI source claimed that the Kremlin had cultivated the President-elect for at least five years; had fed him and his team intelligence about Secretary Clinton and other opponents for years, and agreed to use WikiLeaks in return for policy concessions by the President-elect — assuming he won the election — on NATO and Ukraine.”

Representatives for Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose office assembled the assessment, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Defunding Police Is Not the Answer

There’s legitimate debate to be had about many reform proposals. But increased funding has been key to the decades-long drop in our violent-crime rates.

Bernie Sanders is right, in the way that he sometimes can be: His ideology has led him to the opposite of a trendy conclusion. In an interview with The New Yorker published this week, he was characteristically blunt when asked about the current calls to abolish or defund the police. “Anyone who thinks that we should abolish all police departments in America, I don’t agree” he said.

(Sanders being Sanders, he went on to argue that more spending on health care, including mental health, should be part of the police-reform agenda, as a way of relieving some of the burden placed on police officers whose responsibilities are constantly expanding. He may be on to something there.)

Of course, a whole rash of reforms short of abolishing police departments have been bandied about in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and what’s so odd about some of them is that they’ve already been implemented. Bill de Blasio has indicated support for new legislation that would prohibit police from using chokeholds during their work. But the NYPD Patrol Guide has prohibited chokeholds for 20 years; in reports after the death of Eric Garner it was found that the prohibition simply hadn’t been enforced.

Likewise, talk of new efforts at improving police–community relations in New York often ignores the community-policing agenda the city implemented in 2018, which was arguably the largest shift in police tactics since CompStat. It’s an effort fully in line with the ethos of Sir Robert Peel, the founding father of modern policing, which Kevin D. Williamson has championed on this site. The NYPD has been making real efforts to improve communication between residents and the cops on their beat.

In fact, lots of the big metropolitan police forces have undergone major reforms. Historically, the Los Angeles Police Department was understaffed compared to the population and geography of the territory it policed, and had a more military character. In the two decades after the 1992 riots, the force was expanded, and its performance began winning the approval of overwhelming majorities of African-American and Latino Angelenos. Notably, in New York and Los Angeles, it was William J. Bratton, a vocal disciple of Peel’s system of policing by consent, who spearheaded the push for reforms.

Sanders hits the nail on the head when he champions more training for police, and an emphasis on creating more-professional forces. Critics of police note that the work doesn’t appear very dangerous when you look at the national statistics on workplace-related fatalities. But those statistics tend to obscure the danger faced by cops in major metropolitan areas; the greater number of officers in safer, more rural areas nationwide skews the results. The average policeman nationwide earns $65,000 a year with good benefits. Metropolitan police earn a bit more. But the hazards of the job in big cities are great, and not confined to police work itself; policemen in major metros have seen surges in suicides in recent years. Police work often takes a real toll on officers’ families, and it occasionally comes with political hazards that are not easy to anticipate. Pay increases would help major metropolitan departments attract more applicants and allow them to be more discriminating in their hiring choices, boosting the intelligence, competence, and character of their forces.

There are good arguments for changing the way policing works in America. There’s something to be said for “unbundling” some police duties and dedicating more resources to helping the mentally ill and addressing other social pathologies as Sanders proposes, though there will always be a role for police in confronting those problems. There are other proposals for changing the training that police officers receive. Those should be considered as well. But one of the biggest reasons that police are involved in fewer violent incidents now than they were in decades past is the work of people such as Bratton. Police departments have seen their budgets and manpower grow immensely, and have gotten much better at preventing crime as a result. The answer isn’t to defund them.

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Russia: Putin with more than 66% popular support

Moscow, Jun 11 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin holds 66.6% of support by Russian citizens, while Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s popularity reaches 50.8%, according to the poll on Monday.

In addition, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, has 32.1% in the aforementioned parameter, according to the survey carried out by the All-Russia Center for Public Opinion Studies and the Sputnik agency.

30.4% of more than 11,000 interviewed expressed their confidence in the top leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Guennady Zyuganov, and 27 in that of Just Russia, Sergei Mironov.

At the same time, 61.2% of those questioned approved Vladimir Putin, who held meetings, first directly and then by videoconference, almost permanently with the government and governors to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vladimir Putin promoted the increase and advance of the single payment for the mother’s capital (for each child born), originally planned for July, but which was delivered last April.

Transfers to millions of Russian families were made through bank accounts with apps on mobile phones, to avoid crowds in customer service offices, amid restrictions due to the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus.

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University of Havana ranks QS World University Ranking 2021

Havana, Jun 11 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel praised on Thursday the entry of Universidad de La Habana (University of Havana – UH) for the first time among the first 500 high education centers in the QS World University Ranking 2021.

This result marks a history of efforts for improvement, and educational and scientific contributions, the president posted on his Twitter account, in which he congratulated the professors, students and other workers of that institution.

UH ranked 498 in the survey, which assessed six indicators: Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Faculty/Student Ratio, Citations by Faculty (number of research citations in scientific publications), International Faculty Ratio and International Student Ratio.

According to Cubadebate website, the entry of the University of Havana in the classification was due to improvements in the two indicators related to internationalization of higher education. The almost 300-year-old university ranked 701 from 2014 to 2017, 601 in 2018, 511 in 2019 and 501 in 2019.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the list for the ninth consecutive year.

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Andorran health professional thanks Cuba’s aid to fight Covid-19

Cuban education once more shows is one of the best in the world and cuban doctors the best prepared. They were educated in Cuba and not in Russia. Cuban education was great before and after the revolution.

Madrid, June 11 (Prensa Latina) The health care provider Raul Cerro thanked Cuba for its contribution to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in Andorra.

In a footage sent to Prensa Latina, Cerro, chief nursing coordinator of Nostra Senyora Hospital in Meritxell, expressed his gratitude for being medically aided by a Cuba´s medical brigade.

He told his closest experiences with nurse anesthetist Yaquelin Oliva and the doctor specialized in anesthesia Dariel Romero.

‘They came to help us fight this serious Covid-19 pandemic and have had great devotion and effort,’ Raul Cerro stressed.

We have exchanged knowledge and experiences that have enriched both parties, and together we have overcome, for now, this terrible disease, he said.

‘They will return to their country and routines and we will have a great memory from here for the effort and devotion they have given us during this time,’ Cerro emphasized, after wishing Cuban colleagues good luck in their future work and personal projects.

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