A Russian military jet flew over the US Capitol and Pentagon at a low altitude

Daniel Brown
Business InsiderAugust 9, 2017

A Russian surveillance aircraft flew over multiple federal buildings in Washington DC at a low altitude on Wednesday afternoon, according to CNN.

The Russian Air Force plane passed over the US Capitol, Pentagon, Joint Base Andrews, CIA, Camp David, and a secret government bunker called Mount Weather, CNN said.

The flyby, however, was completely legal and in accordance with the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, which lets countries that are part of the agreement to surveil the other member countries from the air, Politico reported, citing the State Department.

In the last 15 years, the US and Russia have done this a combined 165 times, Politico said.

“The missions happen on a semi-routine basis,” a Pentagon official told Politico. “They usually come in and they list out what locations they want to fly over … We put together the flight plan and with a few exceptions — safety-wise or weather-wise — they are allowed to fly over pretty much the entire territory.”

The Russian plane, a Tupolev Tu-154M, which is akin to civilian airliner, flew at about 3,700 feet and has the ability to take aerial photographs, conduct thermal imaging, and can even gather intelligence signals, CNN said.

The flyby happened as tensions between the US and Russia continue to deteriorate.

The US recently approved another round of sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The Kremlin later responded to the sanctions by expelling 755 US diplomats, and even locking them out of one embassy building before they could get their stuff.

The same plane is also scheduled to fly over where Trump is vacationing in Bedminster, NJ between 5 pm and 6 pm, CNN said.

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FBI conducted predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home

FBI agents raided Manafort’s home in predawn search

FBI agents raided the home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort without warning on July 26 with a search warrant, and seized documents and other records, say people familiar with the special counsel investigation. (Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)
By Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman August 9 at 7:15 PM
FBI agents raided the home in Alexandria, Va., of President Trump’s former campaign chairman, arriving in the pre-dawn hours late last month and seizing documents and other materials related to the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The raid, which occurred without warning on July 26, signaled an aggressive new approach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team in dealing with a key figure in the Russia inquiry. Manafort has been under increasing pressure as the Mueller team looked into his personal finances and his professional career as a highly paid foreign political consultant.

Using a search warrant, agents appeared the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a day after he met voluntarily with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members.

The search warrant requested documents related to tax, banking and other matters. People familiar with the search said agents departed the Manafort residence with a trove of material, including binders prepared ahead of Manafort’s congressional testimony.

Investigators in the Russia inquiry have previously sought documents with subpoenas, which are less intrusive and confrontational than a search warrant. With a warrant, agents can inspect a physical location and seize any useful information. To get a judge to sign off on a search warrant, prosecutors must show that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.

Four controversial figures Paul Manafort did business with

As a lobbyist and political consultant in the 1980s, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with international clients that included two dictators who were then allied with the United States. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
“I think it adds a shock and awe enforcement component to what until now has followed a natural path for a white-collar investigation,” said Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor. “More so than anything else we’ve seen so far, it really does send a powerful law enforcement message when the search warrant is used. . . . That message is that the special counsel team will use all criminal investigative tools available to advance the investigation as quickly and as comprehensively as possible.”

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, confirmed that agents executed a warrant at one of the political consultant’s homes and that Manafort cooperated with the search.

Manafort has been voluntarily providing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s election interference. The search warrant indicates that investigators may have argued to a federal judge that they had reason to think Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.

The raid also could have been intended to send a message to Trump’s former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller’s team members, who already have begun combing through Manafort’s complicated financial past.

[Why is the FBI so interested in Paul Manafort that they were at his door before dawn?]

The documents seized in the raid include materials Manafort already had provided to Congress, said people familiar with the search, and the significance of what was obtained remained unclear Wednesday evening.

“If the FBI wanted the documents, they could just ask [Manafort] and he would have turned them over,” said one adviser close to the White House.

A jogger makes her way past a building in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday that contains a unit listed to Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Josh Stueve, spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment, as did Reginald Brown, an attorney for Manafort.

“Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” said Maloni, the Manafort spokesman.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. attorney, called the search “a significant and even stunning development,” noting that such raids are generally reserved for “the most serious criminal investigations dealing with uncooperative or untrusted potential targets.”

“A federal judge signing this warrant would demand persuasive evidence of probable cause that a serious crime has been committed and that less intrusive and dramatic investigative means would be ineffective,” he said in a statement.

Mueller has increased legal pressure on Manafort, consolidating under his authority unrelated investigations of various aspects of Manafort’s professional and personal life.

Manafort’s allies fear that Mueller hopes to build a case against Manafort unrelated to the 2016 campaign, in hopes that he would provide information against others in Trump’s inner circle in exchange for lessening his legal exposure.

Manafort has provided more than 300 pages of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate and House intelligence committees. The information includes notes Manafort took while attending a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

[Manafort turns over notes from Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer]

Emails show that Trump Jr. accepted the meeting and invited Manafort after he was told that the Russian lawyer would provide damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to assist his father’s campaign.

The special counsel’s office has subpoenaed records and testimony related to the Trump Tower meeting, people familiar with the investigation said.

Last week, the Trump campaign turned over more than 20,000 pages of documents to congressional investigators examining Russian efforts to influence the election. Manafort and Trump Jr. separately turned over hundreds of documents requested by congressional committees.

Manafort had been subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 26, the day of the raid. Ultimately, however, the subpoena was withdrawn, and he did not testify. The committee chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, said in a joint statement that they had dropped the demand after Manafort began producing documents.

Manafort, an experienced political operative who was once a business partner of Trump confidant Roger Stone, was hired to professionalize the Trump campaign at the recommendation of another Trump friend, Tom Barrack, an international real estate investor.

As a political consultant, Manafort traveled the world, at times offering advice to despots and dictators.

His decade of work in Ukraine on behalf of a Russia-friendly political party has drawn attention from the FBI. In Kiev, he advised the Party of Regions, helping to elect former president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from power amid public protests in 2014 and fled to Russia.

A few days after attending the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 at the urging of Trump Jr., Manafort was named chairman of Trump’s campaign, following the ouster of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Manafort remained in that role through the Republican National Convention and into August, when he resigned amid growing scrutiny of his work in Ukraine. The New York Times reported at the time that his name was found in a ledger of off-the-books cash payments made by the Party of Regions. Manafort has denied receiving any improper payments from the party.

Still, the work was lucrative. In June, Manafort filed Foreign Agents Registration Act paperwork with the Justice Department providing new details about his work in Ukraine. The documents showed that his firm was paid $17.1 million for its work in Ukraine over two years before expenses.

Manafort’s retroactive filing about his Ukraine work came as investigators scrutinized his foreign lobbying and began to aggressively probe his financial past.

During the spring, prosecutors issued subpoenas seeking information about his income sources and financial transactions. One subpoena reviewed by The Washington Post sought information “concerning contracts for work . . . communication or other records of correspondence” related to about two dozen people and businesses that appeared to be connected to Manafort or his wife, including some who worked for Manafort while he was a political consultant in Ukraine.

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The subpoena was issued by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Manafort’s consulting business has been located. Also named in the subpoena were various corporations formed in Cyprus. Manafort appeared to have routed money he earned in Ukraine and in business dealings with a Russian business magnate through Cyprus-based bank accounts.

After Mueller was appointed, his team took over the Manafort investigation that was underway in Virginia.

State authorities in New York also have issued subpoenas seeking information about Manafort’s real estate loans.

And Mueller’s office has taken over an investigation of financial dealings that involved Manafort and his son-in-law, a real estate investor, including real estate transactions in California.

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The Most Trusted Name In News? It’s Not Who You Think

The American public is more skeptical of traditional and mainstream media outlets now than at any point in modern US history. So that leaves the question, in the era of “fake news,” which outlets do Americans trust most?

Here’s a hint: Cable news is not doing so hot.

In fact, while CNN still runs with the moniker, “the most trusted name in news,” the results of a new survey from the Trusting News Project reveals this to be far from the truth.

While it has been easy to pick on CNN lately, Fox News and MSNBC rank worse in the cable news sphere. However, the new survey found that none of these channels have a net positive trust rating.

According to the survey, the top ten most trusted news sources are:

  1. The Economist
  2. Public television
  3. Reuters
  4. BBC
  5. NPR
  6. PBS
  7. The Guardian
  8. The Wall Street Journal
  9. Los Angeles Times
  10. The Dallas Morning News

This is not the first survey either that found The Economist at the top or near the top of the most trusted news sources.

According to its Wikipedia page:

“The Economist takes an editorial stance of classical and economic liberalism that supports free tradeglobalisationfree immigration, and cultural liberalism (such as supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage or drug liberalization). The publication has described itself as ‘…a product of the Caledonian liberalism of Adam Smith and David Hume‘”

The top ten least trusted sources for news, according to the survey:

  1. Occupy Democrats
  2. BuzzFeed
  3. Breitbart
  4. Social media
  5. Trump
  6. Infowars
  7. Yahoo
  8. Internet
  9. Huffington Post
  10. The Blaze

It is interesting that they include the president as a news source in the survey.

Social media is listed as the fourth least trusted source for news. However, Pew Research found in 2016 that two-thirds of Americans get their news from social media — the biggest source being Facebook.

It will be interesting to see how consumer habits shift; especially, with the escalation of fake news from all over.

According to the Trusting News Project, over two-thirds of Americans have a paid subscription or “provide financial support” to at least one news source. Liberal respondents, according to the survey, are more likely to trust and pay for news than conservative respondents.

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