Biden ‘Grumpy’ Over Ukraine, Sidelines NSA Adviser Sullivan

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Joe Biden is “grumpy” these days, a White House insider shared with Newsmax.

The high-level Democrat, who has known Biden for years, said the president spends most of his White House meetings complaining about his low approval numbers, bad press, and the fact he’s not getting credit “for what’s going right.”

Notably, Biden sees Ukraine’s success in holding off Russia’s massive invasion as a major “win” for his administration, but feels he’s gotten little to no credit.

Biden is said to be so cranky about the Ukraine matter that he has moved almost all federal oversight of the Russian war from his young national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, to chief of staff Ron Klain.

“This is the same thing that happened with Afghanistan, when Joe and Klain decided to control the flow and looped out State, the Pentagon and even Jake,” the insider said, noting the significant chaos that ensued as a result.

Biden is said to trust Klain, his former vice presidential chief of staff during the Obama years, “like a son.”

Klain is said to return the loyalty. Biden likes making decisions “by the gut,” the source noted, adding he sticks to those decisions even if facts and events prove him wrong.

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“But Ron’s not going to tell POTUS he’s wrong,” the source said.

Another source confirmed that Sullivan has been increasingly sidelined for several weeks from leading administration efforts on the Ukraine, arguably the most important national security issue of the day. 

The White House declined to comment on Sullivan’s status, but last week the national security adviser’s distance from Biden was confirmed obliquely.

Just over a week ago, the White House announced that Sullivan had contracted COVID-19. As for Biden’s possible infection, the White House assured the press there was no risk.

A National Security Council representative, Adrienne Watson, assured reporters that the national security adviser “is asymptomatic, and he has not been in close contact with the president.”

With multiple foreign policy issues dominating the administration, from Ukraine to Iran’s nuclear deal, China’s increasing belligerence toward Taiwan and other matters, several former national security officials from previous administrations were stunned by the White House’s admission that Sullivan had no direct, close interaction with the president.

The national security adviser’s office holds a premium spot in the West Wing near the Oval Office. One-time national security adviser Henry Kissinger noted its importance because of “the geography of power, its closeness to the president.”

National security advisers typically have daily face-to-face interaction with the president ,and they often travel with the president.

“I think the bigger problem is that, from what the White House says repeatedly, there are hardly any advisers who are ‘close contact’ to the president,” John Bolton, who served as former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, told Newsmax. “If he [Biden] really is as isolated as the press office is at pains to tell us, that is a major obstacle to effective decision-making.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Latest Russia-Ukraine war news: Live updates

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the United Nations Security Council to label Russia a terrorist state after Moscow fired more than 60 missiles across Ukraine in recent days, killing scores of civilians, including at a busy shopping mall in central Ukraine. Russia is tearing through long-range weapons for tactical advantage, Western defense officials say, but so far it has made only limited battleground gains in the east, and its forces are increasingly hollowed out.

Here are some updates from across the country:

Erdogan takes vicious aim at Putin as former-ally attacks: ‘End terrorism funding!’ | World | News

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Ukraine pushes Russians back near Kherson in major counter-offensive

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NATALYNE, Ukraine — At a school where Russian forces had set up a base in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, three of their armored personnel cars remained on the property — for now. They were damaged when Ukraine’s military recently forced the occupying soldiers back from this area. Over the weekend, three locals hammered at one vehicle to salvage spare parts.

The ground was still covered in fragments of ammunition. The other two cars were parked behind the building, in a field of lavender, a jarring contrast in the idyllic rural landscape.

The new Russian positions are just some three miles from this spot, but the makeshift mechanics appeared unconcerned. The day had passed quietly. Just one plume of smoke — an indication of an artillery strike — had appeared on the horizon all day. And it was on the Russian side of the front line.

With Moscow concentrating its efforts on taking territory in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region — battering cities, towns and Kyiv’s troops with a near-constant barrage of artillery — Ukraine has been able to make steady gains in the south. Village by village, more of the strategically important Kherson region is returning to Ukrainian control — another sign that Russia’s forces might be overextended with a front line that stretches about 300 miles.

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Regaining control of Kherson, a rich agricultural region with Black Sea access, is critical for Ukraine. It’s the only position the Russians hold west of the Dnieper River, and a prime position to launch any future offensive down the Black Sea coast to the major port city of Odessa. The Ukrainian counteroffensive is squeezing Russian positions from two directions — the west and the north.

“Here, you can hunt them,” said a Ukrainian reconnaissance commander in the region whose call sign is “Makhno.” “They’ve committed everything to the east.”

Residents in the region say they’ve stopped spending every night in their underground hideouts. Shelling from the Russian-controlled side hasn’t stopped, but people have simply grown used to it. Most of the Kherson region has been occupied since the first week of the war — Moscow’s first major land grab after its tanks and troops advanced from the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia invaded and annexed in 2014.

But holding the territory has proved challenging while more Russian forces have been concentrated northeast. Near the school in Natalyne, another village that had been considered a “gray zone” — a status for areas considered not completely controlled by either side — returned to Ukrainian control a week ago.

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For the roughly 75 people who stayed in town, the Russian occupiers went door to door and confiscated their phones, creating an information blackout for most. They didn’t know the Ukrainians were successfully running counteroffensive operations on this front until the night the Russians suddenly pulled out, under pressure from Ukrainian artillery strikes.

The villagers said their daily life hadn’t changed much, even with the Russians gone. Their home was still a war zone. Soldiers still patrolled the streets — only now they were wearing Ukrainian uniforms. The sounds of fighting remained loud and close.

“But I’d rather our guys be here than theirs,” said Alyona Kharaim, who was out for a bike ride to pick up milk on Saturday afternoon with her husband and young daughter.

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Along one gravel road leading here, a group of kids have set up their own pretend checkpoint for cars driving by. A 12-year-old girl playfully asked Washington Post journalists to say a code word — “palianytsia,” a type of Ukrainian bread — before allowing them to pass. Ukrainian soldiers who saw this chuckled that the kids have apparently learned to regularly change the password — for security reasons, of course. One that they previously used was a crude quip about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the town of Novovorontsovka, at the northern boundary of the Kherson region, residents of one bombed-out apartment block covered neighbors’ windows with plastic. The glass was shattered long ago. Most people had left town, but a handful had stayed.

Mykola Kostitsyn, 66, held pieces of shrapnel in the palm of his hand. At first, bits of the artillery destroying his neighborhood were a novelty and people collected them. But now there is so much of it that no one cares anymore.

“Why bother collecting them?” he said. “There is more and more every day. How much of this stuff can you collect?”

Shelling has become such a part of daily routine for Liudmyla Denysenko, 59, and her 86-year-old mother, Anastasia Bilyk, that they wait for their walls to actually rattle from the blasts before they bother moving to their cellar for shelter.

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They also wait for word from Denysenko’s son, fighting for Ukraine somewhere along the vast front. He calls only once a day and he never tells her his location. On Saturday afternoon, she was concerned that he hadn’t checked in yet. Maybe he could be fighting around the Kherson region, she said, aiding the counteroffensive to end the shelling of their home.

“It would be great if they pushed them back even further,” she said. “Because we can’t go on like this.”

Serhiy Morgunov contributed to this report.

Vladimir Putin could face a ‘hammer to the head’ if his inner circle turns on him over Ukraine war, former CIA official says

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Russian President Vladimir Putin could face an assassination attempt from his inner circle if they begin to tire of the war in Ukraine, according to a former CIA official.

Daniel Hoffman, a former CIA Moscow chief of station, told The Daily Beast in an interview that if Putin’s inner circle of top advisers begin to feel on edge about the war, the Russian leader’s position could come under threat.

“Nobody’s going to ask, ‘Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?’” Hoffmann said.

“No. It’s a f****** hammer to the head and he’s dead—or it’s time to go to the sanatorium. They schwack him for it. That’s what they’ll do.”

Hoffmann named Nikolai Patrushev, the chief of Putin’s Security Council, Alexander Bortnikov, the director of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), and Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu as three members of the Russian President’s inner circle who could potentially pose a significant risk to Putin.

“These guys that are going to [oust him] are going to be so secret about it so that Putin doesn’t find them and kill them first,” he added. “It’ll happen all of a sudden. And he’ll be dead.”

Ousting Putin ‘a danger’

Andrew Wood, an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia program and former British ambassador to Russia, told Fortune that losing the war in Ukraine “would be very dangerous” for Putin – but he added that his ousting could create huge instability in the country because “there is absolutely no mechanism for replacing him.”

“There’s no means of saying who it would be,” he said in a phone call. “And if someone replaced him, that ruler would have some ideas or different approaches that might be better or worse.”

However, he added: “This was common when [Soviet leader Joseph] Stalin was approaching his physical end. A lot of people in the West believed someone who was worse would come in after, but that wasn’t the case. Someone with different ideas did come in and produce some change.”

Ronald Marks, a former CIA clandestine service officer, told the Daily Beast that he believed Putin was safe provided that members of Russia’s elite security services remained on his side – noting that Putin has “done a nice job of getting rid of those who aren’t on his side.”

The Russian regime has a history of silencing its critics. Prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is currently incarcerated, and was denied an appeal on Tuesday for his lawyers to be permitted to bring recording equipment when they visit him in jail.

Navalny suffered a near-fatal poisoning in 2020, which UN officials believe happened by the Russian regime’s hand to send a “clear, sinister warning” to anyone wanting to criticize the government.

Russia’s crackdown on critics

Meanwhile, Russia has seen new laws come into force since the invasion of Ukraine in late February that have made it illegal to criticize the war.

Shortly after Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine, Russian media outlets were banned from referring to Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” as an “assault,” “invasion,” or “declaration of war.”

Broadcasters and news websites have faced a crackdown on their coverage of the events in Ukraine, with some of the country’s few remaining independent outlets being taken off air over their reporting on the war.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update earlier this month that, already, “some high profile Russian officials have highly likely been side-lined after criticizing the war.”

While few high-ranking Russians have publicly criticized their country’s invasion of Ukraine, some have spoken out against the war.

Oleg Tinkov, who founded one of Russia’s largest banks, was forced to sell his stake in the bank by the Kremlin after he criticized the war as “crazy” on Instagram, the New York Times reported.

Is Putin a fascist? Is Russia fascist? What is “fascist” and “fascism”?

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Russian Kaliningrad Is a Microcosm of Europe’s Woes – The Washington Post

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Has the FBI become a threat to democracy? – via My answer: Yes, most definitely it did. FBI=KGB! Reform the FBI! Fire the nincompoops!

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Has the FBI become a threat to democracy? – via <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a>. My answer: Yes, most definitely it did. FBI=KGB! Reform the FBI! Fire the nincompoops! | Post Link

Has the FBI become a threat to democracy?
Last month, in the District of Columbia , a jury could not bring itself to find Michael Sussmann guilty of lying to the FBI . Nonetheless, we learned a lot during that trial. An FBI agent testified that he is under investigation for withholding exculpatory material during the investigation of the Trump campaign. Other revelations in that courtroom…
Michael Novakhov @mikenov
Has the FBI become a threat to democracy?
Michael Novakhov @mikenov
FBI Agent Barred From Suing for Security Clearance Reinstatement…


Last month, in the District of Columbia , a jury could not bring itself to find Michael Sussmann guilty of lying to the FBI . Nonetheless, we learned a lot during that trial. An FBI agent testified that he is under investigation for withholding exculpatory material during the investigation of the Trump campaign. Other revelations in that courtroom highlighted the eagerness of FBI brass, “the 7th floor,” to proceed with the investigation of that presidential campaign. Withholding exculpatory information about someone is a threat to that individual’s civil rights; withholding exculpatory material about a presidential campaign is a threat to democracy.

When explaining the FBI in the past, I and others would often stress how blessed the United States was to have as our domestic security service a law enforcement agency, an organization that works within the guidelines of the law, to protect our democracy.

Doubts about this blessed situation first surfaced after the 2016 election with the exposure of the FBI role in the orchestrated Russian collusion hoax. The current FBI director’s response, repeated like the reggae tune “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” is simply, “Those responsible are no longer with us.” Developments are multiplying that call into question that happy assumption.

The federal case concerning an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan ended with zero convictions. The defense of entrapment was discussed for the first time in years with credibility. In the aftermath of the bureau’s famous ABSCAM cases of the early ’80s, guidelines were put in place and strictly followed that eliminated entrapment as a viable defense. Basically, there is no entrapment if the government can show the defendant was predisposed toward the crime. Agents were cautioned and trained not to entice someone, who was “not otherwise disposed,” into committing a crime. Disclosures in the Michigan case likely convinced jurors that informants and undercover agents helped shape the conspiracy.

In the government-recorded conversations in that case, many passages show the Michigan defendants expressing unease with the idea of kidnapping and confusion about what was planned. One agent, in a text to his informant, just before he led a surveillance of the governor’s residence, is quoted: “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.” In the aftermath of ABSCAM, we believed entrapment had become a nonissue. Maybe not.

Only four defendants went to trial in the kidnapping plot. But there were as many as 12 FBI informants and two undercover agents among the plotters. Reminds me of the joke, or the criticism in some quarters, about the FBI and the Communist Party during the 1950s and ’60s. The bureau had so many informants in the party, they were most of the members at the party meetings. The not-so-funny joke was that only the dues of the government-paid informants kept the party going.

What is also not so funny is the alleged kidnapping plot was weaponized by Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. Nor is it funny in our democracy that a couple of ultimately acquitted defendants endured 18 months of imprisonment.

Earlier, in November 2021, the FBI in New York conducted pre-dawn raids at the homes of Project Veritas journalists. This was part of an investigation into the “possible theft” of a diary, belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter. Why use an intrusive search for a mere diary, particularly if Project Veritas had, as claimed, tried to return the diary to law enforcement and Biden’s lawyers. Even left-wing media groups have expressed concern about the violation of a media organization’s First Amendment rights. If the diary belonged to anyone else’s daughter, it is hard to imagine the FBI involved at all. Certainly it is a waste of resources. But to violate a journalist’s rights in the process is a threat to democracy.

On March 11, a redacted internal audit from 2019 became public that showed FBI investigations failed to comply with the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide at least 747 times in “sensitive investigative matter” cases. These involve politicians, candidates, religious groups, or the news media. The review identified over two “compliance errors” per case. Errors included failure to get approval for opening a case, failure to document a legal review before opening a case, and failure to keep prosecutors informed. The subjects of the cases are those that brush right up against specific constitutional rights.

Rather than being blessed to have a law enforcement agency as its domestic security agency, is the United States now cursed to have a domestic intelligence organization with police powers? Has a once-great agency now become a threat to our democracy?

Thomas J. Baker, a former FBI agent, is the author of The Fall of the FBI being released later this year by Bombardier Books.

Michael Novakhov @mikenov

Has the FBI become a threat to democracy?

Michael Novakhov @mikenov

FBI Agent Barred From Suing for Security Clearance Reinstatement…


Ukraine urges civilians to flee the occupied south ahead of a promised counteroffensive.

Ukrainian soldiers in the Kherson region this month.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

FBI reviewing Trump-Russia collusion investigator over role in Papadopoulos FISA case

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WASHINGTON (TND) — New details have been released on the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that sparked bipartisan legislation on gun safety.

The mayor of Uvalde says Robb Elementary School will be demolished after last month’s deadly attack.

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New details have been released on the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that sparked that bipartisan gun bill. School safety expert Kenneth Trump joined The National Desk Tuesday to discuss. (TND){ }

The announcement came just hours after chilling revelations came from Texas Public Safety Chief Steve McCraw.

During a Senate meeting, McCraw told lawmakers that the responding police officers could have stopped the gunman within minutes. Instead, it took more than an hour to confront the killer.

One of the most shocking details from McCraw’s testimony is that officers waited to get a master key to the classroom but no one — not any of the officers or even the breach team — tried opening the door. Turns out, it was unlocked the entire time.

“The classroom door is certainly another concern particularly as it comes to protocols for breaching those doors,” school safety expert Kenneth Trump said. “If the door was not locked to the classroom, why did somebody not simply try to open that door before they waited minutes and minutes that obviously cost lives?”

In the testimony, the head of Texas State Police also called the emergency response an “abject failure” that set law enforcement back a decade.

“I’d go further and say it’s actually a couple of decades. Best practices were established after the Columbine tragedy in 1999. At that time it was set up a perimeter, wait for the SWAT team to come in thereafter,” Trump said.

Officials say the police, armed with rifles, stood outside the two classrooms where 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos had barricaded himself for more than an hour. As police waited in the school’s hallway, Ramos killed the 19 children and two teachers.

Trump says it’s clear that more could have been done in those critical moments.

“Officers are trained that you walk over the injured, the deceased because there is one goal and one goal only: to stop that shooter,” Trump said. “There are so many questions, so many indicators that that was not the practice here. Perhaps it was just the opposite. It’s very concerning and a lot of people are shaking their heads.”

In newly released images from surveillance cameras inside the school, you can see armed police officers taking cover in a hallway and not heading towards the threat. Officers were said to be waiting for more firepower and more protective gear.

Many blame the Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo, who McCraw said decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children.

“[Arredondo] stated publicly that he did not know that he was in charge. That’s a big issue to come under question under the microscope and there are going to be consequences. There will certainly be civil litigation on this,” Trump said. “We’d like to give our police officers the respect and understanding of discretion but this one goes beyond that point where people would say, ‘have some leeway.’”

In his Senate testimony, McCraw outlined a series of mistakes before the committee, detailing missed opportunities, communication breakdowns and other errors.

“This is heart-wrenching for everyone, including police officers around the country and I think the bigger concern in addition to thatis that there’s a cast doubt with it minds of parents across the country about the preparedness level of schools and now police,” Trump said.

He says he believes most police around the country are well prepared but the tragic incident showed the need for good training.

“I don’t think that we would see that response that we’re talking about today in most communities. We want to reassure parents that there are many schools and school police and police officers who work with schools that are prepared but it still points to the need for training, training, training and staying updated with planning, preparing,” Trump said.

AG Garland makes surprise Ukraine visit to throw US weight behind war crime prosecutions

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from Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is making a surprise visit to Ukraine to throw America’s weight behind ongoing war crimes trials against the Russian military, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday.

Ukraine has reportedly opened roughly 16,000 investigations into alleged war crimes by Russian troops since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February. Multiple nations and international organizations have also launched investigations into alleged Russian crimes.

“Attorney General Merrick Garland is making an unannounced visit to Ukraine today, where he will meet with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to discuss U.S. and international efforts to help Ukraine identify, apprehend, and prosecute those individuals involved in war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” the official said.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened its largest investigation ever into alleged war crimes in late May.


The ICC is working in a Join Investigation Team alongside Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian prosecutors. The European Union’s legal branch, Eurojust, is also participating in the effort.

The U.N. Human Rights Council also opened an inquiry into alleged Russian war crimes in mid-May.


The HRC held a special session to address Ukraine’s allegations that Russian troops had committed atrocities against civilians during their withdrawal from areas surrounding Kyiv. The HRC voted 33-2 in favor of opening the inquiry, with 12 abstentions. China and Eritrea were the only nations to vote against the measure.

War crime allegations arose after the Russian withdrawal from around Kyiv revealed that Bucha, a town in the area, saw Russian troops kill as many as 400 citizens and force others to dig mass graves.

The U.S., U.K. and other NATO allies have denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. President Joe Biden called for Putin to face a war crime trial in early April.

“This guy is brutal. What is happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone has seen it – I think it is a war crime,” Biden said at the time, adding that the U.S. needs to “get all the detail, so this can be an actual war crime trial.”