Friend Or Foe



Grind for July 20th, 2018

“Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.”

– Elizabeth Bowen


The Headline

Trump now believes Russia meddled in 2016 election

The Grind

President Trump on Tuesday said he accepted the US intelligence community’s claim that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, but suggested there “could be others too.”

The comment, which came one day after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, contrasts sharply with his previous denials about Russia’s involvement in the election.

Trump also told reporters he has a “strong respect” for intelligence agencies and criticized the media’s portrayal of his meeting with Putin.

“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going crazy!”

The Details

Shortly after he spoke with Putin, Trump confirmed that existing sanctions on Moscow would remain in effect and that the Administration was working hard to block interference in future elections.

“We will stop it, we will repel it. We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018.”

Earlier that day, lawmakers from both sides spoke about Russia’s interference in the elections and its status as a US adversary.

“Make no mistake about it…I would say to our friends in Europe, we understand the Russian threat and I think that is the widespread view here in the United States Senate,” said Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

House Speaker Paul Ryan described Moscow as a “menacing government that does not share our interests” and said there should be “no doubt” that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections.

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) called on the Administration to impose “further consequences” on Putin “and his regime” as a result of the meddling.


Told You So

The Headline

Israel gives us more proof that Iran can’t be trusted

The Grind

In January, Israeli intelligence agents conducted an Ocean’s Eleven style raid on a warehouse in Tehran in order to obtain materials related to Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the stolen documents during a presentation in April, but officials this week revealed more details including:

— How the documents were removed from Tehran

— Confirmation that a foreign source provided Iran with design information for a nuclear bomb

— The existence of a secret weapons-testing facility

— Attempts to continue covert nuclear research after inspectors confirmed it had been suspended

The Details

While the stolen documents do not prove that Iran violated the JCPOA, they do suggest that Iran’s weapons development program was far more advanced than we thought and that Tehran for years has lied about the existence of a nuclear program.

Tehran says the documents are fake and has described the heist as an “orchestrated play” designed to convince President Trump to pull the United States out of the JCPOA – which he did less than one month after Netanyahu gave his presentation on the documents.

Israel wanted Trump to pull out of the JCPOA because doing so would result in renewed US sanctions on Iran, a longtime enemy of Israel.

Those sanctions will go into effect in November, but the JCPOA remains in effect for Iran and the deal’s other signatories (China, Russia, France, Germany, and the UK). When the JCPOA’s restrictions expire in a few years, Iran will be allowed to resume work on a nuclear device Israel sees as a threat to its existence.

“This archive explains why we have doubts,” said one Israeli official. “It explains why the [JCPOA] to us is worse than nothing, because it leaves key parts of the nuclear program unaddressed. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”


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