Newsvine did a great job covering the Comey firing and its aftermath. No need for more here. So far, though, none of the stories below have shown up, including our first story from last month.
✂ Links and Excerpts
April 4, McClatchy: A birthday video call captures a telling moment in Trump’s Russia connections
Several businessmen and celebrities from the former Soviet Union gathered on the Turkish Riviera in June 2005 to celebrate the grand opening of what was billed then as the country’s most luxurious hotel.
The owners were from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and it was the birthday of one of them, Tofik Arifov, a former Soviet official turned real estate developer with offices in Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
There was food, drink and song. There was also a video conference call from a well-wisher from America who couldn’t attend but who, according to a Russian news account, urged the celebrants to raise their glasses.
“Tofik is my friend!” Donald Trump said through the phone. “Let’s toast Tofik!”
That moment, revealed in sealed documents obtained by McClatchy that were part of a British lawsuit involving several Russians, captures Trump in a milieu that has since cast a cloud over his presidency. The court documents focused on what law enforcement calls Russian “OCGs” – organized criminal groups.
May 8, Buzzfeed: US Officials Are Warning About A Russian Cybersecurity Company's US Government Ties
Concern over Kaspersky’s role in US government contracts has been amplified in recent months as intelligence officials grapple with Russia’s continued efforts to meddle in US affairs...
Kaspersky’s use within the US government has been of concern — particularly by the FBI — for at least a year, the three intelligence officials said. But it wasn’t until recently that the wider intelligence community began paying attention, once the scope of its multiple US government contracts became clear...
“What we're looking at is a company that is ingrained across almost 3,500 different products,” one GSA official said of Kaspersky, requesting anonymity to explain why it’s been so difficult to determine the extent of Kaspersky’s use on US systems.
May 9, Politico: Burr threatens subpoenas if Trump aides ignore his deadlines
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr on Tuesday threatened to subpoena Trump campaign aides if they ignore deadlines to turn over records to his panel, explaining that he had received just two responses to an initial request for information.
“I think all options are on the table, and I think you can envision what those options are,” the North Carolina Republican told reporters. “The most severe would be subpoena.”
May 11, The Guardian: FBI refuses to disclose documents on Trump’s call to Russia to hack Clinton
Senior DoJ officials have declined to release the documents on grounds that such disclosure could “interfere with enforcement proceedings”. In a filing to a federal court in Washington DC, the DoJ states that “because of the existence of an active, ongoing investigation, the FBI anticipates that it will … withhold all records”.
The statement suggests that Trump’s provocative comment last July is being seen by the FBI as relevant to its own ongoing investigation.
May 11, Slate: Clint Watts, Testifier Extraordinaire
[Audio Interview] We’re zooming out on Russia’s influencing machine with the help of Clint Watts, the national security expert who had a star turn in March with his soundbite-ready testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Watts explains why the partisan skew on fake news is “kind of garbage.” Plus, he has tips for testifying—just in case you get a call from Congress. Watts is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
May 12, DC Report: Uncovering More Trump Ties To Mobsters And Shadowy Oligarchs
[Intro] Threats by a longtime business partner and “senior adviser” to Donald Trump to spill the beans about the president’s connections to a Russian oligarch have opened the door into a vast network of murky relationships involving the president, our latest exclusive report shows.
Richard Behar, a veteran investigative reporter and now Forbes magazine’s contributing editor of investigations, pursued facts in a little-noticed report last month in The Wall Street Journal. The Journal told of a threat by longtime Trump associate Felix Sater, a twice-convicted felon, to expose negative information about Kazakhstan-born oligarch Tevfik Arif and his “past relationship with President Trump and the Republic of Kazakhstan”...
Behar dug through court filings, internal emails, and other documents from Cincinnati to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, for our report.
The Justice Department has requested the banking records of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as part of its investigation into possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian operatives working to influence the 2016 election...
The GOP operative and lobbyist has intimate ties to pro-Russian politicians and business leaders, and is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny from the FBI...
The New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney also recently opened investigations into Manafort’s real estate holdings, the Journal reported.