Well, this makes more than a few things makes much more sense. Via David Corn at Mother Jones.
In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump's dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project's financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) "It started off as a fairly general inquiry," says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, "there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit."
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, noted, "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance." It maintained that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals." It claimed that Russian intelligence had "compromised" Trump during his visits to Moscow and could "blackmail him." It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on "bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls."
The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was "shock and horror." The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump's inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. "It's quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on," he says.
"This is something of huge significance, way above party politics," the former intelligence officer comments. "I think [Trump's] own party should be aware of this stuff as well."
And this isn’t the only big problem that Trump now has.
Corn appeared on MSNBC to discuss this.
Corn has a followup piece which looks at he likelihood that Trump was spied on while in Russia.
During Trump's stay in Moscow, US intelligence experts note, he would have been a natural and obvious target for Russian intelligence. At the time, Trump was a prominent American, an international businessman, and a celebrity. He was also deeply involved in US politics. He had almost run for president in 2000 and nearly did so again in 2012, and he had been a leading foe of President Barack Obama, having pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama had been born in Kenya.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, points out, "It's safe to assume that high-profile public figures and billionaires attract the attention of the Russian security services, including bugging any hotel rooms." And Malcolm Nance, a terrorism and intelligence expert and author of The Plot to Hack America, says the Russian version of the National Security Agency, the Spetssvyaz, manages specialized technical teams that would have been all over Trump:
“These communications intercept units are designated for high-importance personages of political and diplomatic standing, such as Donald Trump. These units would've employed the most advanced intelligence collection systems in the nation. Anything short of a highly encrypted communications suite using military-grade technology would be simple for Russian intelligence to exploit. Donald Trump's mobile phone would be among the easiest to exploit. His mobile phone, Bluetooth, and laptops were most likely not shielded and could have been intercepted and exploited any number of ways. This means virtually everything he said, everything he texted, everything he wrote, and every communication he had in the electronic spectrum would be in the possession of Russian intelligence then and now. His guest rooms in Moscow could have had virtually undetectable voice and video communications intercept devices planted in such a way that nothing could be done by Trump in private and would defy detection. The Spetssvyaz would also employ Russian military intelligence subunits as well as Federal Security Service (FSB) surveillance units which could follow him anywhere that he goes with seemingly normal people and detect, document, and provide a record of anything and anyone he met.
Trump could have attempted to take countermeasures to defeat any surveillance. "About the only way to ensure against electronic surveillance," the former CIA official says, "is to use a burner phone—one you're not going to use again—stay off your normal personal email (use a one-time address you will not use again), and keep [communications] on that one to routine, non-sensitive messages…That was my practice in Moscow…during which all I sent were innocuous text messages on a phone I never used again." And Lewis remarks, "If you used a mobile phone with an encrypted app and kept that phone in your possession for the entire trip, you could make it harder for them. A lot of people use Signal or Telegram [for encrypted texting], but the Russians could still have many ways around this when you are in Moscow."
But Trump didn’t use a burner phone, he sent out several tweets from his normal Android phone while in Russia so if he said or did anything compromising — Russian intelligence probably has it.
ln addition to significant ties to the Kremlin and having met with Russian supporters to discuss Syria during the campaign Trump has a brewing problem with various Apprentice tapes which are in the possession of actor/comedian Tom Arnold which also overlap with the Russia issue.
On a Seattle radio program earlier this month, Arnold said that he had access to the footage but decided not to release it because he believed that Trump’s followers would only be emboldened by the offensive remarks.
“I think if the people that like him saw him saying the N-word, matter-of-factly saying this stuff, I think they would have liked him more for being politically incorrect,” Arnold explained at the time.
According to Arnold, he received access to the video via a time-limited password to a system that is designed to share work within the entertainment industry while preventing piracy.
Things became serious, Arnold said, when “Alt Right nuts” began to threaten his family during the election. But Trump’s connection to Russia and Vladimir Putin made Arnold take his case for exposing the GOP nominee to “7 powerful Hollywood people who have everything.”
It appears that those “big shots” refused to release information about Trump.
“They hate me now,” Arnold wrote. “Terrible career move but I believe if Russia has something they can blackmail our president with its worth the risk to me. Plus I’m a 57 year old father of 1 & 3 yr olds. I want to do all I can so there’s a safe America for them.”
After Arnold’s initial tweet mentioning the tapes he says he received a call from a lawyer threatening a defamation suit.
On Twitter Wednesday, Arnold claimed to have received a voicemail from someone in Trump’s camp threatening him with a defamation suit over his claims that he has tapes of Trump spewing racial slurs and calling his own son a “retard.”
This is actually a fairly dumb move for Trump because Arnold’s primary defense would be to release the tape which he hadn’t done so far because of a $5 Million NDA that would impact the producers who provided it to him in the first place as reported by the LATimes.
"When the people sent it to me, it was funny," Arnold said, explaining that hundreds of people have seen the footage that was sent around years ago as a Christmas video.
"He wasn't going to be president of the United States. It was him sitting in that chair using the N-word, using the C-word, calling his son [intellectually disabled]," Arnold said.
Arnold then went on to recount the Sunday before the election, allegedly being called by good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger's CAA agent and Hillary Clinton, asking for him to release the tapes.
But at that point, Arnold asserted that the people originally responsible for the distribution of the footage, two editors and an associate producer, were "scared to death."
"They were scared of his people. They're scared they'll never work again," said Arnold. "There's a $5-million confidentiality agreement."
"If that had gotten released, it absolutely would have finished him," Monson told Arnold.
Now apparently Arnold is gung-ho to release the tape and again, part of the reason is the fact that Trump has lied about Russia and Putin.
So that’s all bad. And the 2013 timeline is consistent with when Trump took the Miss Universe Contest to Moscow.
Trump has said his understanding of Russia is based in part on the 2013 Miss Universe event in Moscow, where the Manhattan mogul watched 86 contestants don shimmering evening gowns and skimpy swimsuits for what he would call “the world’s biggest and most iconic beauty contest.”
“I know Russia well,” Trump told Fox News on May 6. “I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, which was a big, big incredible event.” Asked whether he had met with Putin there, Trump declined to say, though he added: “I got to meet a lot of people.”
At the heart of the episode is Trump’s relationship with Aras Agalarov, a billionaire Russian real estate mogul with ties to Putin, and Agalarov’s rakish son, Emin, 36, a dance-pop singer with ambitions to international stardom who got Trump to appear in one of his music videos.
The father and son are two of several ultra-wealthy Russians to whom Trump is connected and with whom he has pursued real estate deals. “I have always been interested in building in Russia,” he told the New York Post just after his return from Moscow. He also boasted upon his return from the pageant that “almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”
And yet there’s more bad news, as Trump attempted to shut down his charity Foundation to eliminate “conflicts” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told him not so fast.
Donald Trump cannot move ahead with his plan to dismantle his charitable foundation because state prosecutors are probing whether the president-elect personally benefited from its spending, the New York attorney general's office said Tuesday.
"The Trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The admissions by the Donald J. Trump Foundation were in a 2015 tax filing made public after a presidential election in which it was revealed that Trump has used the charity to settle lawsuits, make a $25,000 political contribution and purchase items, such as a painting of himself, that was displayed at one of his properties.
The 2015 tax filing was posted on the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar on Nov. 18 by someone using an email address from the foundation's law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, said GuideStar spokeswoman Jackie Enterline Fekeci.
In the tax filing, the foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of the regulations not only during 2015, but in prior years. But the tax filing doesn't provide details on the violations.
So Trump is apparently being looked at by the FBI, the New York Attorney General and if he and his deplorables keep trying to intimidate Arnold he may find himself spewing the N-word on tape all over a California court room. With all this at stake you might think someone wouldn’t go around poking all these bears with a sharp stick.
Yeah, of course not.
Yeah, the media didn’t report that because it’s not true — this is.
I’m not sure which of these stories is going to explode in his face first like big black bomb from Acme, but when they finally do — it’s going to be really really ugly.Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016 · 10:30:17 PM PST · Frank Vyan Walton
Via Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald.
Officials from two European countries tell Newsweek that Trump’s comments about Russia’s hacking have alarmed several NATO partners because it suggests he either does not believe the information he receives in intelligence briefings, does not pay attention to it, does not understand it or is misleading the American public for unknown reasons. One British official says members of that government who are aware of the scope of Russia’s cyberattacks both in Western Europe and America found Trump’s comments “quite disturbing” because they fear that, if elected, the Republican presidential nominee would continue to ignore information gathered by intelligence services in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.
Trump’s behavior, however, has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy. For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.
There isn’t a question of whether Russia has tried to help Trump, hurt Clinton, and/or influence our election. They have. The question of whether Trump has been part of the Russian intellgence propaganda pipeline is already answered, he is.
Mr Trump told his supporters that a leaked email from Sidney Blumenthal, a close aide to both Hillary and Bill Clinton, showed that he thought the Benghazi embassy attack had been "preventable".
In reality, Mr Blumenthal was forwarding on a Newsweek article by journalist Kurt Eichenwald which included the following phrase: "One important point has been universally acknowledged by the nine previous reports about Benghazi: the attack was almost certainly preventable."
He had sent the article to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.
Trump quoted the above phrase verbatim clearly stating it belonging to Mr Blumenthal rather than its correct author, Mr Eichenwald.
The misappropriation of the statement to Mr Blumenthal was first made in an article by Sputnik, a right-wing Russian news agency sponsored by Vladimir Putin's regime. The article has since been removed.
The only question is how long they’ve been at this behind the scenes and whether Trump himself is fully cognizant of how deeply he’s been manipulated and used by a foreign power. Chances are, he has no idea or worse, even when he’s been specifically told about Russia’s influence by the intel community he remains in deep denial. Again, that’s not good.