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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 
Billionaires and Blackwater to drain the swamp?

by digby












The hits just keep on coming. Trump named wingnut extremist Betsy DeVos for Department of Education. She the Amway heiress (figures Trump would admire a successful "multi-level marketing" billionaire) who has devoted her life to privatizing the public education system.

There are also rumors that her brother Erik Prince is being considered for a role in the administration. He was the CEO of Blackwater, the ugly, criminal mercenary enterprise that was banned from Iraq for killing innocent civilians.

He's a big Trump supporter, touting Trump's sympatico approach to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, naturally.

Which brings me to this startling revelation:
Donald Trump’s eldest son, emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings.

Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank. The founder of the think tank, Fabien Baussart, and his wife, Randa Kassis, have worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict.

Ms. Kassis, who was born in Syria, is a leader of a Syrian opposition group endorsed by the Kremlin. The group wants a political transition in Syria—but in cooperation with President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow’s close ally.

The disclosure of a meeting between the younger Mr. Trump and pro-Russia figures—even if not Russian government officials—poses new questions about contacts between the president-elect, his family and foreign powers. It is also likely to heighten focus on the elder Mr. Trump’s stated desire to cooperate with the Kremlin once in office.

President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation engaged in self-dealing in 2015 and prior years, the foundation said in an Internal Revenue Service filing.

In an interview, Ms. Kassis said she pressed the younger Mr. Trump during the meeting on the importance of cooperating with the Russians in the Middle East.

“We have to be realistic. Who’s on the ground in Syria? Not the U.S., not France,” Ms. Kassis said from Moscow. “Without Russia, we can’t have any solution in Syria.”

Of the president-elect’s son, she said: “I think he’s very pragmatic and is flexible.”

No, he's not "pragmatic" and "flexible" he's a fucking moron just like his father. It's these other folks who have an agenda.



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