Natasha Bertrand Profile picture
National security correspondent @politico. @MSNBC contributor. Send tips: nbertrand@politico.com nbertrand@protonmail.com. Signal: 202-751-9269.
Bill Jackson III 🖥 🦅🌊🗽 🇺🇸 ✊🏽🌊 Profile picture Oy Vey Profile picture Becky Werner Profile picture Ross Grayson, MPH, CIH Profile picture Trump has made normal his DEMOCIDE against us. Profile picture 38 added to My Authors
31 Jul
NEWS: Pelosi admonished top counterintel official Evanina during private briefing this a.m., accusing him of withholding info about Russia. Evanina ultimately acknowledged that Russia is trying to boost Trump’s reelection; Dems want him to say it publicly. politico.com/news/2020/07/3…
Asked for comment, an ODNI official said that "Unlike some, we don’t comment on the content of classified briefings," but said Evanina was “quite clear that the intel community will continue to update the American public ... on threats to the election and steps for mitigation.”
During the private briefing Evanina said he expected Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to reveal more about the Russians' activity during the Worldwide Threats hearing, but whether that hearing will even happen is still in doubt. politico.com/news/2020/07/3…
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29 Jul
New: A new bipartisan congressional report released today following a two-year investigation alleges that powerful Russian oligarchs have been using the secretive and largely unregulated U.S. art industry to evade sanctions. politico.com/news/2020/07/2…
The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by GOP Sen Rob Portman, says it traced $18 million in high value art purchases from US auction houses & private sellers back to 3 shell companies linked to Russian construction and energy tycoons Arkady and Boris Rotenberg.
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27 Jul
National Guard whistleblower says Park Police told him tear gas would not be used to clear protesters at Lafayette square, but says based on his army training he recognized the chemical used as "CS or 'tear gas'" and found spent tear gas canisters nearby. naturalresources.house.gov/imo/media/doc/…
"It was my observation that the use of force against demonstrators in the clearing operation was an unnecessary escalation of the use of force," says Adam DeMarco. "From my observation, those demonstrators were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights."
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6 Jul
Asked how briefers accommodate different intelligence customers (i.e., the president), Beth Sanner, Trump's briefer, says: "For me, it's about competence--being totally on top of your material but not doing it in a way that becomes off-putting. Watch your audience and pivot 1/
2/ when they're done, you're done. Listening to be heard -- you have to really hear people and then adjust yourself. And do not be afraid...if every time I went in and talked to the president I was afraid, I'd never get anything done."
Recall: The WH's insistence that Trump wasn't orally briefed on Russia bounty intel has thrust Sanner into an uncomfortably public position. NSA O'Brien claimed last week that Sanner was the person who decided not to mention that intelligence to Trump. politico.com/news/2020/07/0…
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1 Jul
New: The WH is zeroing in on Trump’s intel briefer as the reason why Trump wasn’t told orally about Russia bounty intel (despite it being in PDB). Former officials, though, say “using the excuse that the briefer didn't tell him is just that: an excuse.” politico.com/news/2020/07/0…
O’Brien said briefer chose not to raise intel w/Trump bc it was unverified. But intel would not be included in the PDB while simultaneously being too unreliable to brief the president about, because the assumption is that the president will read the PDB, former officials said.
Moreover, uncorroborated intelligence that the IC has not yet reached a consensus on “is included all the time” in the PDB if it is deemed important enough to be on the president’s radar, said @DavidPriess.
@kyledcheney and I unpack:
politico.com/news/2020/07/0…
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26 Jun
Holy cow. “The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said...the White House has yet to authorize any” response. nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/…
The GRU unit, unit 29155, was behind an attempted coup in Montenegro in 2016, the poisoning of an arms manufacturer in Bulgaria in 2015, and has been linked to the Skripal poisonings in 2018.
Read 2 tweets
19 Jun
NEWS: Intelligence analysts warned law enforcement this week that far-right extremist “boogaloo” members live in—and may be setting sights on—D.C. And a separate DHS memo sent to LE today is focused entirely on threat of boogaloo violence. My latest: politico.com/news/2020/06/1…
The NTIC assessment is first known government confirmation that suspected “adherents of the boogaloo ideology” reside in DC, where they "have an increased number of targets given the concentration of law enforcement agencies in the region,” the memo reads. politico.com/news/2020/06/1…
The assessment is striking given public emphasis Trump and Barr have placed on alleged violence carried out by antifa, while refusing to specifically identify far-right groups like boogaloo that have been charged in recent weeks for acts ranging from felony murder to terrorism.
Read 3 tweets
4 Jun
New: Over the last week, DOJ has charged more than two dozen people w/federal crimes coinciding w/protests, raising questions about whether fed authorities are overcharging behavior that would not typically be treated as a federal crime. w/@woodruffbets politico.com/news/2020/06/0…
Some former federal officials said DOJ should leave these cases to state and local authorities for prosecution. Others said the assistance may be welcome at a time when law enforcement resources are stretched, and praised the symbolism of aggressive federal enforcement.
Federal sentences, though, are typically lengthier. And Trump told governors this week: “You’ve got to arrest these people and you’ve got to judge them, and you can't do the deal where they get one week in jail. These are terrorists...They’re antifa and they’re radical left.”
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4 Jun
.@PierreTABC asks why Barr names antifa but doesn’t explicitly name other groups like the right-wing Boogaloo. Barr says he did “make that point” when he said “other groups” aside from antifa were committing crimes, says “we’re dealing with a witches’ brew” of extremist orgs.
FBI director Chris Wray says “exactly who these people are varies widely sometimes from city to city...we’re about the violence, not the ideology.”
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1 Jun
NEWS: DHS has warned law enforcement of white supremacists encouraging followers to shoot protesters. And on Friday, “suspected anarchist & militia extremists allegedly planned to storm and burn the Minnesota State Capitol,” per DHS intel note we obtained.
politico.com/news/2020/06/0…
The memo is at least the fifth DHS has sent out to law enforcement officials in the last two months warning of the mobilization of domestic terrorists and violent extremists in the context of a national crisis. with @woodruffbets: politico.com/news/2020/06/0…
Despite the DHS intelligence note -- which warns of far-right extremists like white supremacists and militias exploiting the protests -- Trump and administration officials, including Bill Barr, have focused overwhelmingly on alleged left-wing violence. politico.com/news/2020/06/0…
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20 May
Wow. POMPEO: "In this case, I recommended to the president that [State Dept IG] Steve Linick should be terminated. Frankly, it should have been done a long time ago."
He says he won't discuss personnel matters when asked why he asked for Linick to be fired.
Pompeo says he has "no sense" of what investigations were taking place inside the IG office--with "one exception", which is the probe he answered written questions for in the Saudi arms emergency declaration inquiry.
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16 May
Breaking: State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has been fired. Linick, a DOJ veteran appointed to the role in 2013 by Obama, is the latest of a slew of inspectors general to be ousted in recent months. politico.com/news/2020/05/1… via @meridithmcgraw @nahaltoosi
Linick during the impeachment process requested an urgent meeting with lawmakers to show them the trove of documents Giuliani had given to State about Hunter Biden. Linick also faulted State officials last summer for retaliating against those deemed politically disloyal to Trump.
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14 May
New: One year after the Russia investigation ended and 6 months before he faces re-election, Trump is getting his revenge—and his most trusted advisers, some newly installed throughout DOJ and the IC since his impeachment acquittal, are helping him do it politico.com/news/2020/05/1…
This is only the beginning of the revenge tour, Trump’s allies say, pointing to the ongoing Durham probe. And they are increasing pressure on the IC to declassify a memo written by HPSCI Rs in 2018 outlining supposed evidence that Russia wanted Clinton, not Trump, to win in 2016.
Read 2 tweets
7 May
Breaking: DOJ dropping Flynn case, per AP
"In court documents being filed Thursday, DOJ said it is dropping the case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” The documents were obtained by The AP." apnews.com/ae1ad252bb1349…
The U.S. attorney reviewing the Flynn case, Jeff Jensen, recommended the move to Barr last week, per AP.

“Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case,” Jensen said in a statement. apnews.com/ae1ad252bb1349…
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6 May
NEW: Democratic lawmakers are asking the administration to share with Congress the allegedly “enormous” evidence showing that Covid-19 came from the Wuhan lab. People who have seen the intelligence say that as of this week no such evidence has emerged. politico.com/news/2020/05/0…
"It is our expectation that on a subject this important the IC and the admin will absolutely share everything with” Senate Intel and if possible, the public, Sen. Warner said. “And we continue to discuss their collection and what they're seeing pretty much on a daily basis.”
Those who have seen the intel say they haven’t seen a smoking gun that would rule OUT the lab theory, either. “I’ve seen no evidence that connects the virus to the lab,” Sen. Murphy said. “I’ve also seen no evidence that 100% rules out that it could have escaped from the lab.”
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21 Apr
Just out: The 4th installment of Senate Intel's Russia report, examining the IC's January 2017 assessment of Russian interference and Putin's motives.
"The Committee found no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions," Sen. Burr said. intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/…
Here's what Senate Intel was told about the FBI's decision to include Steele's reporting in Annex A of the highly classified version of the intel community assessment:
The entire report is highly, highly redacted. Including this section on "Putin's role":
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16 Apr
Scoop: The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency warned contractors this week that a China-linked hacking group has targeted 38 cleared facilities--i.e. those w/access to classified info--including those specializing in healthcare technology. politico.com/news/2020/04/1…
Cleared contractor facilities often receive warnings about hacking attempts from the FBI and DCSA, but the notices rarely attribute the malicious activity to a specific group or nation-state as the DCSA did with Electric Panda/China. politico.com/news/2020/04/1…
The warning comes as tensions rise between the US and China over the spread of Covid-19, with U.S. intel agencies examining the possibility that the virus was accidentally leaked from a lab. There is currently no evidence to support that theory, per sources familiar w/the matter.
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13 Apr
.@kaitlancollins to Trump: "You said when someone is President of the United States, their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that?"
Trump responded: "Okay, you know what we're going to do? We're going to write up papers on this. It's not gonna be necessary. Because the governors need us one way or the other." Then told Kaitlan "enough."
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7 Apr
Scoop: A sailor assigned to the USS Nimitz tested positive for Covid-19 last week after experiencing symptoms while on board, making the Nimitz the 4th carrier to report a positive case. The positive case comes as the ship is getting ready to deploy. politico.com/news/2020/04/0…
The Nimitz has been conducting an onboard quarantine of sorts since April 1, with all crew being ordered onto the ship "to minimize potential COVID exposure" and "maximize warfighting readiness and ensure the health of the force," per a spokesman. Screenings underway, but...
some are concerned about a potential repeat of disaster on the Roosevelt, which now has more than 150 positive Covid-19 cases and is working to evacuate thousands of sailors and quarantine them in hotels in Guam.
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6 Apr
Audio of Modly's remarks about Crozier here, via @PaulSzoldra soundcloud.com/paul-szoldra/a…
a loud, "what the fuck?!" around the 1:57 mark.
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1 Apr
Breaking: The administration has placed a moratorium on USAID’s overseas shipments of personal protective gear. Move comes after US asked Thailand for help last week only to be told that a US shipment of the same supplies was already on its way to Bangkok. politico.com/news/2020/03/3…
The government has yet to curtail exports by US companies, however—roughly 280 million masks in US warehouses were purchased by foreign buyers on Monday alone, per Forbes. FEMA told us it “has not actively encouraged or discouraged U.S. companies from exporting overseas.”
FEMA is now asking USAID to send back most of the reserves of protective gear that USAID has stored in warehouses in Dubai and Miami for use in the U.S. More here from me, @GabbyOrr_ @dlippman @nahaltoosi: politico.com/news/2020/03/3…
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