Don’t really know what a grand jury is? Here you go.

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The new grand jury is a sign that the investigations are ramping up—it shows that the Russian investigation has expanded beyond Flynn to several of Trump’s family members and current and former aides and will possibly continue for many more months. It also means that criminal charges are possible (and that Mueller has evidence of possible criminal activity). It is as yet unclear who the targets of the investigation are.

pub. 08/2017

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You should read at least something about Bill Browder’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee

The video is here.

A few choice quotes:

“What you need to understand about the Russians is there is no ideology at all. Vladimir Putin is in the business of trying to create chaos everywhere.”

“First, since 2012 it’s emerged that Vladimir Putin was a beneficiary of the stolen $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky exposed. Recent revelations from the Panama Papers have shown that Putin’s closest childhood friend, Sergei Roldugin, a famous cellist, received $2 billion of funds from Russian oligarchs and the Russian state. It’s commonly understood that Mr. Roldugin received this money as an agent of Vladimir Putin.”

“There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property. Before the Magnitsky Act, Putin could guarantee them impunity and this system of illegal wealth accumulation worked smoothly. However, after the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Putin’s guarantee disappeared. The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy.”

all from 07/2017

A written version, from the Atlantic:

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NPR’s coverage:

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The light Huff Po version, in part focusing on the administration’s probable attempts to distract the public from the testimony:

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The similar Metro version:

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In case you missed this gift to Russia

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“This is an extraordinary example of the dysfunction that is ripping through the State Department,” said Brett Bruen, a former U.S. diplomat in contact with State employees involved in the funding fight. “What we’re seeing is a small group of people with very thin knowledge making all the decisions in a very centralized and isolated process. It causes unnecessary delays and confusion.”

pub. 08/2017

A short history of Trump’s political ambitions and personality

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Trump has, in fact, been involved politics for over thirty years. But it has been crucial for Trump to position himself as a neophyte – initially, to gain an audience as he ran as a “political outsider” tapping into disillusionment with the two-party system; and now, to dodge prosecution, as he feigns ignorance to excuse his disregard for law.

pub. 07/2017

What is the special counsel doing, anyway?

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Possible financial crimes

We know less about this prong than the other two. The Post reported last month that “in addition to possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, investigators are also looking broadly into possible financial crimes — but the people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not specify who or what was being examined.”

pub. 06/2017