Stories We’re Watching
Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina Pleads Guilty
Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges of acting with a Russian official to infiltrate the US conservative movement on behalf of the Russian government. She has agreed to cooperate with US investigators but still faces up to a five year prison sentence. Butina admitted that she and her American boyfriend, a Republican operative, worked under the direction of a Russian government official to establish bonds with conservative leaders, 2016 US presidential candidates, and officials at the National Rifle Association. Butina is the first Russian national convicted of seeking to influence US policy in the 2016 general elections.
- Salon: Maria Butina’s plea is the worst news ever for Trump
- CNN: Russian government claims accused spy Maria Butina was ‘tortured’
- BBC: Maria Butina: Russian activist pleads guilty in US
Theresa May Survives Tory Challenge, Vows to Push Brexit Deal
Prime Minister Theresa May has survived the vote of no confidence triggered earlier this week by her own Conservative Party. Although she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year, PM May confirmed earlier today that she step down from her leadership role. PM May also vowed to push ahead with the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU. Analysts now say that a Brexit Commons vote before Christmas is unlikely.
- POLITICO.eu: Brexit Britain: Small, boring and stupid
- BBC: Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs
- The Guardian: Theresa May confirms she will not lead Tories into next election
- Irish Times: Decent middle England should reassert itself over Brexit
Ceasefire Reached in Yemen Port, UN Finds Iranian Missiles in Yemen
A week of UN Peace talks have produced an immediate ceasefire in Yemen’s Red Sea Hudaydah port, the country’s main gateway for humanitarian aid. This isn’t the first ceasefire in Hudaydah—just last month Saudi-led forces violated a ceasefire, cutting off aid to nearly two-thirds of Yemen’s population. Tomorrow the UN security council is expected to discuss the terms of possible troop withdrawal agreements. Since 2014, the violent conflict has killed thousands and pushed millions more to starvation. Yesterday, US senators advanced a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen despite President Trump’s support of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
- Reuters: Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis in Yemen
- Voice of America: UN Reports More Suspected Iranian Missiles Found in Yemen
- The Guardian: Yemen: ceasefire agreed for port city of Hodeidah
- UPI: Yemen peace talks produce cease-fire for relief aid in key port city
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Huawei Updates: Chinese Detain Another Canadian, DOJ Says US Will Leave Matter to Law Enforcement
Following the arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, China has detained two Canadian citizens. Meng was arrested at the request of US law enforcement earlier this month as she was changing planes in Vancouver. On Tuesday she was released on bail and is now fighting extradition to the US, where she would be tried for sanctions evasion. President Trump has indicated his willingness to intervene in Meng’s legal case to help secure a trade deal. Following the president’s remarks, Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a US Senate hearing on Chinese espionage that “What we do at the Justice Department is law enforcement. We don’t do trade.”
- Reuters: After Trump comment on Huawei, official says Justice Dept. sticks to law enforcement
- Quartz: A second Canadian missing in China is one of the few foreigners who has met Kim Jong Un
- Wall Street Journal: ‘No Coincidence’: China’s Detention of Canadian Seen as Retaliation
- Bloomberg: Trump can stop Huawei extradition, but not without consequences
- The Australian Financial Review: Why the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will backfire
Pentagon Calls Turkey’s Military Plans in Northeast Syria ‘Unacceptable’
The Pentagon has called President Erdogan’s planned military operation targeting Kurdish militia in Northern Syria ‘unacceptable.’ President Erdogan seeks to contain the YPG forces, whom he has accused of undermining the Turkish state. Human rights experts caution that Turkey has a history of ethnic violence with neighboring Kurds, Armenians, and Greeks. The Pentagon reaffirmed its commitment to Turkish border security but stressed that the YPG forces were a “committed partner” in the fight against Daesh.
- Reuters: Unilateral military action into northeast Syria ‘unacceptable’: Pentagon
- The Economist: Turkey’s president finds a new enemy: “the famous Hungarian Jew”
- Defense One: US warns Turkey on Syria
- Al-Monitor: Iraqi Kurdistan bans pro-PKK party amid Turkish pressure
FBI Says Chinese Cyber Espionage Is ‘Severe’ Threat to National Security
Yesterday, federal investigators warned US Senators that Chinese cyber espionage is a severe threat to national security and that state-sponsored hackers exploit American technology to boost their own economy. American trade and economic officials have long complained of China’s state-led economic model. Experts point to the breadth of China’s targets and conclude that China likely has personal data on nearly every adult American. China has been responsible for hacking insurance databases, security clearance data, US research institutions, military technology, and countless other US technology firms. The DOJ is expected to announce indictments of Chinese hackers, to declassify intelligence related to China’s attacks, and to impose sanctions on those responsible.
- Politico: Grassley: Russia ‘hysteria’ overshadows China threat
- Wall Street Journal: FBI Says Chinese Espionage Poses ‘Most Severe’ Threat to American Security
- Foreign Policy: Senate Bill Targets Chinese Economic Espionage
From Deep State Radio
ICYMI: U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IN THE POST TRUMP ERA: A CONVERSATION WITH JAKE SULLIVAN
Relax. Keep your champagne on ice. Donald Trump is still president of the United States. And his foreign policy–which is a crudely mixed cocktail of racism and greed with a twist of incompetence–is still what America is serving up to the world. But that won’t always be the case. In fact a New Democratic House of Representatives may start changing some of it pretty soon. Which begs the question, where do we go from here? What about the tariffs and the transactionalism and the attacks on international institutions and the distrust of our allies and alliances is going to outlast Trump and what will change the day he leave the White House? We discuss in a great and wide-ranging conversation with one of the Democratic Party’s foremost foreign policy thought-leaders, former National Security Advisor to V.P. Joe Biden and chief advisor to the Hillary Clinton Campaign, Jake Sullivan. You won’t want to miss it.