Sweden is telling its citizens to prepare for crisis or conflict — and it's 'becoming a bit of a trend' in Europe
- It is "yet another signal that the security situation in Northern Europe has changed dramatically since 2014," when Russia intervened militarily in Ukraine, said Magnus Nordenman, director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
- The country's location — 200 miles from the Russian Baltic Sea outpost of Kaliningrad — and geography, especially its long, rugged coastline, make military assault a particular concern.
- Sweden is redeveloping the "total defense" concept, which emphasizes both military and civil defense, the latter drawing on government and civil society for resiliency in the case of war or disaster.
- Finland has what Nordenman called "the most robust" total-defense plan, which it kept in place after the Cold War. In Lithuania — which has expressed concern about potential Russian "kinetic operations" — citizens were issued an updated civil-defense booklet at the end of 2016, with warnings of the potential for Russian invasion and descriptions of survival techniques.
Mueller team indicates it is ready for George Papadopoulos to be sentenced
- Washington (CNN) - Special counsel Robert Mueller's office appears ready to send George Papadopoulos to his sentencing and may be done using his help in the Russia probe, according to a court filing Wednesday.
- A filing by prosecutors from the special counsel's office in DC District Court asks the judge overseeing Papadopoulos' guilty plea to begin preparing for his sentencing.
- Previous delays from prosecutors related to Papadopoulos' sentencing and in Michael Flynn's and Rick Gates's cases largely have been read as signals that Mueller's probe into possible Russian coordination with the Trump campaign continued.
- Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI, about his contact with three people who pressed him to help set up a meeting between Trump and Russian government officials during the campaign.
- Updates due from the Special Counsel's Office on Flynn's and Gates' status and sentencing have also been delayed several times since their guilty pleas.
Trump calls the special counsel's probe a 'witch hunt,' but his links to Russia go back a long time
- Trump calls it "a witch hunt." When a new report revealed that Robert Mueller was also examining alleged offers by Middle Eastern countries to help the Trump campaign, the president said that was only because the Russia probe came up empty.
- And evidence on public display already paints the jarring picture of an American president who has embraced Russian money and favors while maintaining rhetoric and policies that benefit Russia and undercut his own country's national security officials.
- Democratic Party emails — stolen by Russian operatives, according to U.S. intelligence officials — were released by front groups later that month.
- Before Trump took office, Flynn secretly discussed sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. He later admitted lying to investigators about those discussions.
- When the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians became public last year, the president himself helped draft a false public statement concealing its purpose.
Daughter of ex-spy poisoned in nerve agent attack says the first she knew of it was when she woke up 20 days later
- Yulia and her father Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.
- It was the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since World War Two. Allies in Europe and the United States sided with May's view and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War. Russia retaliated by expelling Western diplomats.
- Skripal, recruited by British spies while in Spain, ended up in Britain after a Cold War-style spy swap that brought 10 Russian spies captured in the United States back to Moscow in exchange for those accused by Moscow of spying for the West.
'World War III' worries me more than economic sanctions do, Russia's VTB Bank chief says
- Diplomatic tensions and the "aggressive policy" of the U.S. toward Moscow are of more concern than economic sanctions, the president and chairman of one of Russia's largest lenders said Tuesday.
- Among the sources of tension are Russia's support for the authoritarian regime in Syria, a suspected Moscow-directed nerve agent attack on U.K. soil, and alleged meddling in elections in the U.S. in 2016, alongside accusations of state-sponsored cyber warfare.
- Russia is already experiencing ongoing Western-led economic sanctionsfor its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its perceived support for a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine that same year.
- Moscow denies having any part in the U.K. spy nerve agent attack or in political interference in the U.S. Nonetheless, in April, the U.S. Treasury announced more sanctions on Russian individuals — including VTB's Kostin — who it deemed to be government officials, as well as oligarchs and entities that it said wereclose to President Vladimir Putin.
4 wild conspiracy theories about Melania Trump
- First lady Melania Trump's reserved public persona has been the target of a slew of conspiracy theories since her husband's 2016 election, all of which her staff have been quick to shut down.
- Trump took longer than usual to move to the White House after her husband took office, spending the first five months of his presidency in New York City while Barron finished school in Manhattan.
- The theory first sprang to life when some thought Trump had been replaced by a look-alike for a public appearance, and continued when she was pictured alongside a Secret Service agent with similar hair and complexion.
- Business Insider's Kate Taylor dug into the mystery, and noticed the secret service agent was always wearing heels in photos of her with the first lady.
- Trump's life inside the White House reportedly includes very little time in the West Wing with her husband, a claim her staff attributes to the couple's independently busy schedules.
One of Michael Cohen's business partners — known as 'the Taxi King' — just reportedly agreed to cooperate with the government
- One of Michael Cohen's business partners, known as "the Taxi King," agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness as part of a plea deal, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
- The Times wrote that his cooperation could be used as leverage to get Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, to work with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign engaged in any collusion with Russian officials.
- Cohen is currently under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York.
- Mueller initially reviewed Cohen's conduct prior to referring it to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
- As The Times wrote, Trump's lawyers know there is a strong chance that the investigation into his businesses leads to Cohen cooperating with the government.
White House official: Not clear how much sensitive info GOP lawmakers will get from DoJ in meeting on FBI informant
- A meeting scheduled for Thursday will include negotiations over how much sensitive information GOP lawmakers will see regarding an FBI informant who reportedly spoke to members of the Trump campaign about possible Russian attempts to breach the campaign, according to a White House official.
- It is unclear how much information the lawmakers – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy – will actually get access to at the meeting with Justice Department officials, the official told CNBC on the condition of anonymity.
- The meeting, which is set to take place at the Justice Department on Thursday, will also include FBI Director Christopher Wray, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O'Callaghan and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
- While some perceived that the meeting Trump's way of demanding that the DoJ turn over everything to Nunes and Gowdy, that isn't necessarily the case, according to the official.
John McCain describes how he received the Steele dossier that contains the most salacious allegations about Trump and Russia
- The Republican senator was attending an annual security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia shortly after the presidential election in November 2016 when retired a British diplomat approached him.
- Chris Brose, a staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and David Kramer, a former assistant secretary of state with Russian expertise, joined McCain and Wood in a room off the main conference hall.
- After discussing Russian election interference for a few minutes, Wood explained why he'd approached McCain in the first place.
- After further discussion, the group agreed to send Kramer to London to meet Steele.
- When Kramer returned from the meeting and told McCain that Steele seemed to be a reputable source, the Republican senator agreed to receive a copy of the dossier.
- McCain ultimately turned the dossier over to Comey in a meeting on December 9, 2016 that he said lasted about 10 minutes.
The Syrian government has taken control of Damascus from the Islamic State
- The Syrian military said it has taken an enclave in Damascus from Islamic State (IS) militants that gives it full control of the capital for the first time since the civil war began in 2011.
- The recapture of IS-held pockets in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk and the nearby Hajar al-Aswad district in southern Damascus on May 21 came after a massive bombing campaign that decimated the remains of the residential area where about 200,000 Palestinian refugees used to live.
- The gains by President Bashar al-Assad's forces also allowed allied militia groups to secure areas outside the city near the border with Israel.
- The Iranian-backed militias, including the Lebanese group Hizballah, have been key — along with Russian air power — in aiding Syrian government forces to recapture huge areas around Damascus and in the country's northern and central areas.