Last week the “hysteria” around the alleged Russia’s meddling into the US presidential election continued to dominate the headlines. Firstly it was said in the media that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is responsible for overseeing the US intelligence community, did not fully embrace the recent CIA findings that the Russia’s aim was to help Trump win. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also declined to accept the CIA analysis due to lack of evidence, which can be presented to court. But later the week the press published the information that both are in agreement with the CIA assessment. Meanwhile, the situation aggravated when “two senior officials with direct access to the information” told the media that Russia’s President was directly involved in Russia’s alleged interference with Vladimir Putin pursuing multifaceted purposes including a vendetta against Hillary Clinton and discrediting the US democracy and its global leadership. The information was said to be given to the US by diplomatic sources and spies working for US allies. Moscow, which has already repeatedly denied the accusations, called this information “laughable nonsense”.
However, the situation clearly gave a boost to Hillary’s camp, which openly supported the calls to give an intelligence briefing for the electors on Russia’s alleged meddling as the camp hopes it could change their decision to vote for Trump. Moreover, many urged the intelligence to make the results of their analysis public, but some US experts think that it is impossible as it will give the Kremlin information about the CIA sources and methods. Meanwhile, on Thursday President Obama in his interview with NPR pledged retaliation against Russia and said “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our election, we need to take action. And we will – at the time and place of our choosing”. What the response will be is a secret, bit it potentially could include new economic sanctions or covert attacks on the cyberspace. Moscow’s reaction was harsh. Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov commented that Washington should either stop talking about the Russia’s meddling or eventually produce some evidence. Otherwise, it looks rather obscene”.
The current situation in the US domestic arena is quite complicated now as President-elect Donald Trump still disagree with the US government and intelligence findings. He wondered: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Moreover, his nominee for secretary of state Mr.Tillerson was almost immediately blamed for close ties with Russia, which seems quiet funny given he is an ExxonMobil’s CEO and, of course, have big business projects with Russia’s oil giant Rosneft.
In addition, last week Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan was also widely covered. Anticipating the meeting between the leader of Russia and Japan, the media tried to predict whether the parties could resolve the territorial dispute and a bilateral peace treaty, which will formally end World War II. While experts were not optimistic about that since Russia’s officials tried to dampen the expectations ahead of the summit, it seemed to them that it was the first time in decades when settlement was at least conceivable. The reasons for that are as follows: the softening of Japan’s demands, Russia’s interest in Japanese investment and the parties’ geopolitical aims, with Tokyo seeking to prevent Russia-China axis and Moscow willing to drive a wedge between the US allies over sanctions. The breakthrough predictably did not occur, but Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe personally worked out an agreement on launching experts’ talks on joint economic activities on the Kuril Islands, which is an extremely positive sign. Moreover, following the summit the Japanese PM in an exclusive interview to TASS emphasized that the visit will give a big boost to Russia-Japan relations.
By Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
The New York Times
What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop.
By Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Landay
The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.
By Brad Plumer
On Tuesday, Donald Trump tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state. And one eyebrow-raising aspect of this pick is that Exxon could potentially have billions of dollars at stake in one of the biggest foreign policy decisions Trump will consider over the next few years — whether to maintain sanctions on Russia.
By William M. Arkin, Ken Dilanian and Cynthia Mcfadden
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and David E. Sanger
The New York Times
President Obama said on Thursday that the United States would retaliate for Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential election, asserting that “we need to take action,” and “we will.”
By Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima
The Washington Post
FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the White House, officials disclosed Friday, as President Obama issued a public warning to Moscow that it could face retaliation.
By Dominic Tierney
The famed deal maker seems intent on giving away American leverage for nothing.
By Leon Aron
How Trump Can Reshape Russian Foreign Policy.
By Max Boot
President Obama has been shamefully derelict in making Putin pay a price for his aggression. It’s time to give Vladimir a taste of his own medicine.
By Mark Galeotti
The New York Times
Welcome to 21st-century conflict, more Machiavellian than military, where hacks, leaks and fake news are taking the place of planes, bombs and missiles. The Russian interference in the United States presidential election is just a taste of more to come.
By Anne Applebaum
The Washington Post
In Europe right now, there is one prediction that everyone is happy to make: In 2017, the Russian government will mount an open campaign to sway the German elections.
By Robin Harding and Kathrin Hille
The Financial Times
Abe and Putin seek to end the 70-year-old territorial dispute over the Kuril archipelago.
By Tomohiko Taniguchi, Daniel Bob
The National Interest
By Jay Solomon and Maria Abi-Habib
The Wall Street Journal
The Assad regime’s recapture of Aleppo shows Washington’s pullback in the Middle East.
By Areg Galstyan
The American Thinker
Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the popularity rating of President Vladimir Putin among Russians.
By Henry Meyer, Stepan Kravchenko and Irina Reznik
A political outsider may be able to storm into the White House — but not Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.
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