Don Jr. Subpoenaed
The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, who met with Russians in June 2016 after being promised political dirt on Hillary Clinton. He is the first of President Trump’s children to be subpoenaed in the current congressional investigations into Russia’s 2016 election interference. The committee, led by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, is interested in the younger Trump’s account of the Trump Tower meeting, and in the president’s efforts to build a tower in Moscow. The committee will also compare Trump Jr.’s new testimony to the one he gave Senate investigators in 2017.
Giuliani Cancels Ukraine Trip
On Friday night, Rudy Giuliani cancelled his planned trip to Kiev after harsh criticism accusing him of looking for foreign assistance for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Giuliani hoped to go to Ukraine in order to coax the incoming Ukrainian government into continuing investigations that he hopes would benefit Trump.
The day before, Giuliani explained that he hoped to meet in the Ukrainian capital with the nation’s president-elect and persuade him to pursue inquiries that could potentially surface some important information — specifically concerning the origin of the Mueller investigation and the involvement of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
The president's personal lawyer, Giuliani said in a statement that he felt as if he was being “set up” by Ukrainians opposed to his motive behind the visit. He also blamed Democrats for attempting to put a negative “spin” on the trip.
Russia Targets Europe’s Elections
Two weeks before crucial elections for the European Parliament, a large number of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups are spreading false and misleading information, creating distrust and frustration in the centrist parties that have governed for decades. European Union investigators, academics and advocacy groups say these discord efforts have digital traces and tactics similar to those used in recent Russian cyber attacks, including the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
For example, fringe political commentary sites in Italy have the same electronic signatures as pro-Kremlin websites. In addition, several German political groups – such as Antifa West Berlin and Antifa Nord Ost – use the same servers used by the Russian hackers who infiltrated the Democratic National Committee.
Though Russia is the main source for the dissemination of disinformation, researchers have discovered numerous far-right copycats. These groups often peddle Kremlin talking points and propaganda.
The European Parliament elections will be held between May 23-26, and the results are considered a bellwether for the rise of populism throughout the EU.
Pentagon Prepares for Iranian Attack
The Pentagon is set to deploy a Patriot anti-missile battery to the Middle East to support current defenses against Iranian threats. On Friday, the Pentagon stated that this is the latest in a series of carefully planned deployments to the area intended to deter attacks from both Iranian forces and their proxies. According to Pentagon officials, these preparations are being made in light of intelligence received by the Trump administration, showing that Iran is mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack U.S. forces.
Recent intelligence analyses by both American and allied spy services conclude that the Iranian government, declining in popularity, is attempting to goad the US into a military overreaction to strengthen its power.
Larry Kudlow, the president’s chief economic advisor, said on Sunday that American consumers will pay heavily for Trump’s escalating trade war with China. That contradicts a previous statement by the president saying that his tariffs would directly and immediately add billions of dollars to the United States Treasury. Kudlow’s comment comes just two days after negotiations for a new trade deal with China ended unsuccessfully, with Trump following through on his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports.
In an interview with Fox News, Kudlow claimed that both sides of the trade war “will pay.” Kudlow’s interview and remarks contradict one of Trump’s often repeated arguments: that trade wars are easy to win, and the negative effects fall disproportionately on U.S. trading partners.