Kushner and Back Channel to Russians

Back Channel: As the water-torture of leaks continues for the Trump administration, The Washington Post reported late yesterday that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner during the transition tried to set up a secret shielded channel of communications that could not be monitored. Kushner is now Senior Adviser to the president.

The paper says Kushner proposed using Russian secure facilities in the US. The Post reports that, “Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials.”

No Hoax: World leaders spent yesterday trying to pressure and convince President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris Climate Accord, the worldwide pollution-reduction agreement signed by 195 countries.

American negotiators were trying to protect the US coal industry, and the use of so-called “clean coal,” which is no more than a slogan created by the industry. As the world’s largest economy and second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the US is the keystone in the Paris Accord. Pulling out could kill the whole thing.

Trump continued to insist that he will do only what is best for the United States and that he would dump out of the accord if it hurts the US economy. “If those things collide, growing our economy is going to win,” said Gary Cohn, the president’s economics adviser. Cohn also said, though, that the president’s views on climate are “evolving.”

A Word to the Graduates: Delivering the graduation speech at her alma mater Wellesley College, Hillary Clinton lashed out at President Trump and his regime without actually naming him. “You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason,” Clinton said. “When people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society,” she said. “That is not hyperbole. It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. They attempt to control reality.”

Nation: A man is in custody in Portland, Ore., accused of slashing to death two men who tried to stop him from harassing a woman wearing a Muslim head dress. The assailant was reported to have been shouting, “Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here.” When the two men intervened, he cut their throats.

Permawar: Egyptian forces struck what they described as terrorist training camps in Libya in retaliation for an attack on a bus that killed 28 Coptic Christians and wounded another 25.

The Obit Page: Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died yesterday Virginia at age 89.

His death was announced by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”

Born in Poland, Brzezinski was a Democrat with a right-winger’s hatred and distrust of the Soviet Union. He encouraged giving weapons to Islamic militants in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and engineered maneuvers all over the world, from Africa, and Cuba, and Asia to thwart the Russians.

Photo Op: President Trump’s tour of the Middle East and Europe has produced a series of unfortunate pictures and videos of the president and his wife. Yesterday, Melania was lined up in a photo of the NATO leaders’ spouses right next to the wife of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mrs. Trump was in a black, off-the-shoulder dress while Emine Erdogan was bundled in a long brocade coat with a tight Muslim head scarf, looking like Woody Allen in a sperm costume.

Of course, Melania made First Lady history getting off Air Force One in Israel and slapping away the president’s hand when he attempted to hold hands. Melania knows where those hands have been. She gave him the brushoff again in Rome.

Among other notorious moments of the tour were Ivanka and Melania Trump, a converted Jew and a Catholic, appearing in Saudi Arabia without head coverings but wearing them for the Pope. They looked like they were attending a funeral, and so did the Pope. And, of course, there’s the President himself shoving aside the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the front row for a photo. The prime minister of Montenegro said he took no offense, demonstrating how a world leader actually behaves.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

"One of the things that actually Trump has benefited from is that, on a daily if not hourly basis, there are things he says that you could never have imagined any other American president -- left, right, up or down -- saying, and they kind of bleed into each other. And you sort of forget, 'Oh, yes, 72 hours ago, he said this...'"

-Jeff Greenfield on CNN’s "Reliable Sources"

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