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(RepublicanWire.org) – The former senior FBI counterintelligence official who played a lead role in the Trump-Russia investigation has been arrested and charged over his own alleged ties to a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

“Charles McGonigal, the former Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Counter intelligence Division in New York, who retired in 2018, is accused of violating U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch. He is charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, through a five-count indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court Monday,” Fox News reported.

“McGonigal and Shestakov both were arrested Saturday. The indictment is a rare move by federal prosecutors to bring charges against a senior former FBI official before a federal grand jury. Though not referenced in or related to the indictment, McGonigal, while serving as chief of the cybercrimes section at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., was one of the first bureau officials to learn of allegations George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for Donald Trump, boasted that he knew Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, launching the investigation into alleged Russian election interference known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane,” the outlet added.

McGonigal and Shestakov “both previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine in order to line their own pockets.”

Fox News reported: “Both men are charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), one count of violating the IEEPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Shestakov is also charged with one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said.”

It was then-President Barack Obama who in 2014 issued Executive Order 13660, which declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea.

On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated Deripaska as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”), sanctioning him for acting on behalf of a senior official of the Russian Federation’s government and for operating in the Russian energy sector.

In 2021, the two defendants agreed to and did investigate a rival Russian oligarch of Deripaska in return for concealed payments from Derispaska, in violation of sanctions the United States imposed in 2018, the indictment says. McGonigal and Shestakov allegedly knew their actions violated U.S. sanctions because, among other reasons, while serving as special agent in charge, McGonigal received then-classified information that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs considered for sanctions.

“The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said. “Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence.”

“After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful,” Driscoll added. “There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal. Supporting a designated threat to the United States and our allies is a crime the FBI will continue to pursue aggressively.”

(RepublicanWire.org) – Retired Marine Paul Whelan is speaking out after the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russian prison.

Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 after Russian authorities claimed he was involved in an intelligence operation.

“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said in an exclusive phone call with CNN from the Russian penal colony where he is being held.

Whelan added, “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

While Whelan said he was happy for Griner’s release, he explained he was “led to believe that things were moving in the right direction, and that the governments were negotiating and that something would happen fairly soon.”

When asked whether it surprised him that he was not included in the swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Whelan said he was.

According to Whelan, he was told because the Russians claimed he was a spy, “They’ve put me at a level higher than what they did with Trevor (Reed) and Brittney.”

He explained, “That raises a lot of concerns because none of it is true. And they’re trying to get out of United States, what the United States may not be able to provide, but this is basically political extortion.”

Acknowledging he has been placed in a different category than Griner, Whelan said, “They’ve always considered me to be at a higher level than other criminals of my sort and for whatever reason, I’m treated differently than another individual here from a Western country that’s also on a charge of espionage. So even though we’re both here for espionage, I’m treated much differently than he is, and my treatment is also much different than others held for espionage at other prisons.”

Additionally, Whelan expressed his hope that President Joe Biden and his administration “would do everything they could to get me home, regardless of the price they might have to pay at this point.”

He added, “I would say that if a message could go to President Biden, that this is a precarious situation that needs to be resolved quickly.”

Twitter users expressed disappointment and felt Whelan should have been included in the trade.

(RepublicanWire.org) – New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got more than she bargained for at a recent town hall where she was confronted by furious constituents. The constituents hammered her for voting to send funds to Ukraine and, in their opinion, push the United States closer to nuclear war.

“None of this matters unless there’s a nuclear war, which you voted to send arms and weapons to Ukraine,” one of the protesters said on Wednesday. “You ran as an outsider, yet you’ve been voting to start this war in Ukraine. You’re voting to start a third nuclear war with Russia and China. Why are you playing with the lives of American citizens?”

“Tulsi Gabbard has shown guts where you’ve shown cowardice,” another protester said. “I believed in you, and you became the very thing you sought to fight against.”

“I believed in you, and you became the very thing you sought to fight against. That’s what you’ve become,” he said. “You are the establishment.”

The representative argued back but it is tough to hear in the video. But she did vote to send $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in May.

Being “war hawks” was one of the reasons that former Democrat Rep. Gabbard left the Democrat Party, but not the only one.

Gabbard, who has been critical of the party in recent times, has finally had enough of the “wokeness” and “warmongers” in the party, calling it an “elitist cabal.”

“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are hostile to people of faith & spirituality, demonize the police & protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war,” she said on Twitter while not elaborating on whether she would join another Party.

“I believe in a government that is of, by, and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not. Instead, it stands for a government of, by, and for the powerful elite,” the former representative said.

“I’m calling on my fellow common sense independent-minded Democrats to join me n leaving the Democratic Party. If you can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country, I invite you to join me,” she said.

It was a brutal statement that took down the entire Party and its leaders.

(RepublicanWire.org) – On Thursday, at a Democrat fundraiser in New York City, President Joe Biden claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “not joking” about his “potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”

Biden suggested the reason for Putin’s alleged willingness to risk a nuclear confrontation with the West is that “his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”

The president told Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee donors at James Murdoch’s house, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Biden on Friday, literally, ran away from reporters asking about his ominous warning that the US is on the brink of nuclear Armageddon with Russia over Ukraine.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre felt the need to clean up President Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ comment from Thursday night’s fundraiser speech.

“Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible, and there’s no way to use them without unintended consequences. It cannot happen… We won’t be intimidated by Putin’s rhetoric,” Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One during President Joe Biden’s short flight to Hagerstown, Maryland, where he is to speak about the economy.

KJP also downplayed Joe’s talk of armageddon.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture, nor do we have indications they are preparing to use them, but Putin can de-escalate this at any time and there is no reason to escalate.”

In his September 22 speech to the United Nations, Biden condemned Russia, suggesting it stood as the chief threat to global peace. He characterized Putin’s previous warnings as “irresponsible nuclear threats.”

Biden stated, “A nuclear war cannot be won … and must never be fought.”

On September 21, Putin stated, “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries.” Putin may have been referring to Russia’s hypersonic missiles, which can fly up to fifteen times faster than the speed of sound, its quiet-running submarines or its modernized nukes.

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” he said.

Putin added, “This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”

Putin’s emphasis that he was not bluffing was likely in reference to the following remarks made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in March: “I think that the threat of nuclear war is a bluff. It’s one thing to be a murderer. It’s another to commit suicide. Every use of nuclear weapons means the end for all sides, not just for the one person using them.”

On Thursday, Zelenskyy told an Australian policy-focused think tank that NATO should “eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons,” recommending “preemptive strikes, so that they’ll know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around.”

Zelenskyy added, “Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!'”

Zelenskyy’s office later indicated that the Ukrainian president was not calling for a “preemptive” nuclear strike on Russia. Nevertheless, the Kremlin interpreted that to have been his meaning.

A Kremlin spokesman said Zelenskyy’s comments “are nothing but a call to start a world war,” which would result in “unforeseeable disastrous consequences.”

A subsequent statement from Zelenskyy’s office reiterated “only the terrorist state Russia can afford to blackmail the world with explosions … and hint at the use of nuclear weapons, and Ukraine will never make such calls.” The statement also indicated that “the US administration, together with its partners, is discussing a response plan in the event of the use of nuclear weapons by the Russian federation.”

The U.S. government is taking preparatory steps in the event diplomacy fails. On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was purchasing a supply of the drug Nplate, which has been FDA-approved to “treat blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome in adult and pediatric patients.”

Acute radiation syndrome occurs when a person’s “entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation” — the kind resulting from a nuclear explosion or a dirty bomb. Nplate serves to reduce radiation-induced bleeding by stimulating the body’s production of platelets. The drug can reportedly be used in both adults and children.

Ukraine is similarly preparing in the eventuality that nuclear weapons are used in the war. Its capital city of Kyiv is readying evacuation centers and ensuring sufficient stock of potassium iodine pills are on hand. Such pills help protect against radiation absorption.

(RepublicanWire.org) – Three deep-water explosions destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea last week on Monday.

Swedish seismologists reported that one of the three explosions measures 2.3 on the Richter Scale of earthquake intensity, but this was no earthquake. It was explosion, like a gigantic undersea mine.

The explosions guarantee Germany and the EU won’t go wobbly with regard to sanctions against Russian energy imports. The damage to pipelines will take months repair, and repairs are unlikely to begin until next summer. Even if Germany were to cry “uncle” as civil unrest intensifies over lack of heat and energy, even if Russia decided to turn the power back on, the conduit for Russian gas to Europe is broken.

No country has yet taken responsibility for the blasts that took out the Nord Stream pipelines to Europe. Only one country benefits. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines that connect Russia to Germany offer a “tremendous opportunity” to end Europe’s dependency on Russian energy.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

“That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come,” Blinken added.

Blinken made the comments when asked what the US and Canada are doing to ease Europe’s energy crisis in the wake of the Nord Stream sabotage. Blinken said that Washington had been working for some time to provide Europe with more energy, and as a result, the US is now Europe’s biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“And we’re now the leading supplier of LNG to Europe to help compensate for any gas or oil that it’s losing as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” Blinken said.

Trump reminds the nation what Biden said before suspicious Nord Stream explosion in a recent Truth Social post.

His post included a video of Biden in February saying, “If Russia invades … then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

“How will you do that, exactly, since the project and control of the project is within Germany’s control,” the reporter who asked Biden the original question queried.

“We will, I promise you, we will be able to do it,” Biden responded, with a small smirk.

Trump headlined his post with the question, “World War III Anyone?”

Seven months after Biden’s ominous statement and a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines suffered from an apparent sabotage attempt.

(RepublicanWire.org) – Special prosecutor John Durham is winding down his probe into the origin of the Trump Russia claims that rocked the country for years with no further charges according to media reports.

Durham could call another grand jury but according to the report, there are currently no plans to do so. Durham and his team are working on finishing a final report by the end of the year.

But Merrick garland will determine if it is released, in what form it is released, and what will be redacted so don’t expect much. In another sign Durham is wrapping it up, one of the lead prosecutors on his team is leaving for a job with a prominent law firm.

Durham and his team used a grand jury in Washington to indict Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity lawyer with ties to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign.

Sussman was indicted last year on a charge of making a false statement to the FBI at a meeting in which he shared a tip about potential connections between computers associated with Trump and a Kremlin-linked Russian bank.

Sussmann was acquitted of that charge at trial in May.

A grand jury based in the Eastern District of Virginia last year indicted a Russia analyst who had worked with Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was the author of a dossier of rumors and unproven assertions about Trump.

The dossier played no role in the FBI’s decision to begin examining the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. It was used in an application to obtain a warrant to surveil a Trump campaign associate.

The analyst, Igor Danchenko, who is accused of lying to federal investigators, goes on trial next month in Alexandria, Virginia.

In the third case, Durham’s team negotiated a plea deal with an FBI lawyer whom an inspector general had accused of doctoring an email used in preparation for a wiretap renewal application.

The plea deal resulted in no prison time.

Durham has one case outstanding. From Just the News:

In a bombshell revelation, Special Prosecutor John Durham revealed Tuesday in court filings that the FBI paid a Russian businessman as a confidential human source in the investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign even though it had prior concerns that businessman was tied to Moscow’s intelligence services.

Durham persuaded the federal judge in the upcoming trial of Igor Danchenko to unseal a motion revealing that Danchenko, the primary source of the now-discredited Steele dossier, was paid by the FBI as a confidential human source for more than three years until the fall of 2020 when he was terminated for lying to agents.

Danchenko is charged with five counts of lying to the bureau during that relationship and faces trial next month in federal court in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C.

(RepublicanWire.org) – The latest from Hunter’s laptop shows that his father, President Joe Biden, paid for Hunter’s sexcapades with Russian escorts, and he kept his son afloat with five months of loans totaling $100,000. Hunter needed all that money despite having a salary of more than $40,000 a month from Burisma Holdings, the energy outfit in Ukraine and nexus of the Biden-Burisma influence-peddling scheme.

The laptop has revealed more than Hunter’s habit of spending $600 an hour for sex with prostitutes. It also contained a video of an apparently concerned Hunter wondering whether he harmed one of the exploited women.

What went on between Hunter and the escort we don’t know. We do know that the sex fiend was mighty worried he physically harmed the woman.

“Is anything hurt on you?” Hunter asked the woman:

Anything? I was literally saying I’m sorry that it took so long to give you $10,000,” he can be heard saying. “Do you have any bruise? Anything? Have I ever touched you in a bad way? Ever? Have I asked you every time if I could touch you? Every time.

Sweetheart, look at me. You cannot talk to me that way and say things like that. Because I’m more respectful than anyone you’ve ever met. Are you OK?

“President Joe Biden apparently unwittingly financed his son’s participation in an escort ring tied to Russia, records from a copy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show,” the Washington Examiner reported:

Hunter Biden spent over $30,000 on escorts, many of whom were linked to “.ru” Russian email addresses and worked with an “exclusive model agency” called UberGFE during a 3 1/2 month period between November 2018 and March 2019.

He managed to do so thanks in part to Joe Biden committing to wiring him a total of $100,000 to help pay his bills from December 2018 through January 2019.

In one instance, Joe Biden wired his son $5,000 while he was actively engaged with an UberGFE escort. In another, texts indicated Hunter Biden convinced his father to wire him $20,000 to finance his stay at a New York City drug rehabilitation program that he never checked into.

“What’s wrong with you?” Hunter told the Washington Examiner shortly after this story was published.

It was also revealed that Hunter had to confide in a woman named Eva that “his accounts were temporarily frozen at one point because his attempted payments to her ‘girls’ with Russian email accounts were too much of a ‘red flag’ for his bank. Eva refers to him as Robert in the messages, which is his birth name.”

As well, Biden senior, who pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the company that employed his son, wired $5,000 to the sex-crazed lad “less than three hours before he filmed a dispute with an escort over a $10,000 payment at a cottage in Boston, Massachusetts.”

Hunter Biden requested Eva send one of her escorts to his cottage during the early hours of Jan. 18, 2019. A few hours after the escort arrived, he texted Eva asking how much it would cost for another 8 hours of the escort’s time.

Eva said the total charge for 16 hours would be $9,500. At 5:17 p.m. that day, Eva directed that he wire the funds to a bank account linked to a woman with a Russian email address.

Less than 90 minutes later, at 6:31 p.m., Hunter Biden received an email informing him that “Joseph R Biden Jr.” had sent him $5,000 through Cash App. Joe Biden’s then-assistant Richard Ruffner texted Hunter Biden that same minute informing him he “was only able to do $5,000 because the weekly limit is $7,500.”

(RepublicanWire.org) – New evidence has been made public that Hunter Biden reportedly met a Russian oligarch and Putin ally who is now wanted for the murder of two corporate rivals.

Biden met Telman Ismailov on Feb. 17, 2012, at the Moscow headquarters of Ismailov’s AST Group holding company, according to the New York Post.

His father was vice president of the United States at the time of the meeting, where the shady first son prompted Ismailov to invest money in a company he ran.

Baku-born businessman was accused of paying $2 million in 2017 to have mall owner Vladimir Savkin and car scion Yury Briley murdered on the Novorizhskoye highway in Moscow.

According to the Russian investigation committee, the men had a business quarrel with Ismailov.

Ismailov, who has been granted asylum in Montenegro since February, told Radio Free Europe that the charges “were the result of political and economic persecution by the Russian Federation.”

Ismailov used to own and operate a publishing house, as well as companies providing tours and telecom.

Biden apparently spent two days with Ismailov and other members of Russia’s wealthy aristocracy, reportedly as part of talks with Biden’s investment firm Rosemont Realty.

Hunter met his father, then Vice President Joe Biden, on February 22, 2012, less than a week after meeting Ismailov and at least three other Putin-affiliated oligarchs.

Experts suggest that people like Ismailov wanted Hunter Biden to vent influence for them with his powerful father in exchange for the money needed.

“The only reason anyone—other than a crack dealer or a hooker—would want to meet Hunter Biden is to go see their father,” Jim Hanson, chairman of the Security Studies Group, told The Post. “They sold access, it was their business model. The Biden family was involved in cashing in on Joe’s political career.”

Biden apparently spent two days with Ismailov and other members of Russia’s wealthy aristocracy, reportedly as part of talks with Biden’s investment firm Rosemont Realty.

Experts suggest that people like Ismailov wanted Hunter Biden to dole out influence for them with his powerful father in exchange for the needed funds.

This is far from the first time Biden’s son has been accused of corruption.

Hunter’s firm raised $11 million over five years from his work as a lawyer and board member of Ukrainian energy company Burisma and his work with a Chinese businessman now accused of fraud.

The findings raise questions about national security and corruption as well as potential legal issues, as some question why the president’s son accepted work at power companies despite having no experience in the field.

Documents indicate Biden blew the money even faster than it came in — expenses found on his hard drive show the president’s son spent a dazzling $200,000 a month on things like luxury hotel rooms, Porsche payments, dental work and cash withdrawals from February 2017 to October 2018, according to an analysis of Hunter Biden’s abandoned hard drive by NBC news.

In a February 2017 divorce filing, attorney for Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen Buhle called the couple’s outstanding debts “shocking and overwhelming” and revealed they owed $313,000 in back taxes. According to the report, the couple had returned checks to their housekeeper and owed money to doctors and therapists.

In his memoir Beautiful Things, Hunter admits that the Burisma money financed his bad habits. He writes the extra money “turned into a major factor during my steepest slip into addiction” and “hunted me to spend recklessly, dangerously, destructively.” Humiliating. So I did.’

According to a report, Hunter Biden hired Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris to help him pay a $2 million tax bill — more than double what was previously reported — while under investigation for tax fraud by a Delaware Grand Jury.

Hunter Biden’s tax investigation began when his father was still serving as vice president during the Obama administration.

But investigations were opened in 2018 into possible tax fraud, money laundering and lobbying law violations after it emerged that heBiden may have used political clout to influence business deals.

In October 2020, the New York Post revealed the existence of the now infamous Hunter Biden laptop — a damaged MacBook Pro that took the president’s son to a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, but was never recovered.

Since then, more than 20,000 emails have been recovered from the laptop’s hard drive, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, which are believed to provide extensive evidence of Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings.

Former Justice Department official Chuck Rosenberg told NBC that paying what he owes could be seen as an admission of guilt by Biden. Rosenberg said not paying taxes for years, rather than one or two, helps establish intent.

Biden denies any criminal wrongdoing and told CBS News that he is “fully cooperating” with the Delaware investigation.

“And I’m absolutely sure, 100 percent sure,” he said, “that I will be acquitted of any wrongdoing at the end of the investigation.”

A September 2020 Senate report revealed that Hunter Biden brought in $6 million over nine months from his Chinese business dealings, including a $5 million payment from a Chinese energy company with ties to the Communist Party and $1 million for work with an associate later was jailed for bribery.

(RepublicanWire.org) – President Joe Biden struck a defiant tone on Monday while facing questions from White House reporters about his apparent call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to lose power.

“I’m not walking anything back,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is, I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing, and the actions of this man, which is just brutality.”

But Biden clarified that his comments did not represent a shift in US policy.

“But I want to make it clear: I wasn’t then, nor am I now, articulating a policy change,” he said. “I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel, and I make no apologies for it.”

Biden also rejected claims that his comments were escalatory, or that he had weakened or divided NATO by making them.

“No, I’m not. I’m not at all,” he said. “NATO has never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been as strong as it is today. Never.”

Asked why he made the remarks at all, Biden said he was talking to the Russian people directly.

“The last part of the speech was talking to the Russian people, telling them what we thought,” he said. “I was communicating this to not only the Russian people, but the whole world. This is  just stating a simple fact, that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”

At the end of a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, Biden veered off script and declared that “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” referring to Putin.

The White House quickly moved to clarify that Biden was not calling for a regime change or articulating a shift in US strategy.

“The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” a White House official told reporters.

Biden has made harsh remarks about the Russian president following his invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Biden has called Putin a “war criminal” and “a murderous dictator.” He also described Putin as a “butcher” earlier in the day on Saturday.

The president’s remarks drew condemnation over the weekend from French President Emmanuel Macron, a NATO ally, who suggested the comments would make it more difficult to achieve a ceasefire.

“If we want to do that, we can’t escalate either in words or actions,” Macron told France 3.

As tensions have risen to historic heights between Washington and Moscow in recent years, which has been closely tied to events in Ukraine, Russia has often accused the US of seeking regime change. 

A 2017 report on Russia from the Pentagon’s intelligence arm said, “The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia.” The Defense Intelligence Agency report also said, “Moscow worries that US attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.”

Along these lines, some experts expressed serious concerns that Biden’s speech would lead Putin to escalate the war in Ukraine. 

“The comments by @potus made a difficult situation more difficult and a dangerous situation more dangerous,” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a veteran diplomat, said in a tweet on Saturday. 

Some GOP critics of Biden have also accused the president of fueling Kremlin propaganda with his remarks in Warsaw. Asked about this at Monday’s news conference, Biden said he was not concerned that he’d aided Putin’s propaganda machine. “I don’t care what he thinks,” Biden said of Putin. “He’s going to do what he’s going to do.”

Responding to Biden’s remarks on Putin in Warsaw, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov over the weekend told Reuters, “That’s not for Biden to decide. The president of Russia is elected by Russians.”

Following up on this on Monday, Peskov said Biden’s comments were “certainly alarming.”

“We will continue to track the statements of the US president in the most attentive way,” Peskov added, per Reuters. 

(RepublicanWire.org) – A group of Russian elites are allegedly conspiring to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin and “restore economic ties” with the West, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

“Poisoning, sudden illness, accident — Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin,” declared a Sunday Facebook post from the Chief Directorate of Intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The ministry claimed that a group of “influential people” has been forming in Russia who want to “remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, which were destroyed by the war in Ukraine.”

The intel alleges that the group has already been eyeing Alexander Bortnikov, the Russian director of the Federal Security Service and a member of Putin’s inner circle, as a successor to the president.

Many Russian elites allegedly are willing to do whatever they can to get Putin out, even assassination.

The directorate claimed Bortnikov and Putin had a falling out after Putin blamed him for “fatal miscalculations” in the slow-going and costly invasion of Ukraine.

“Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analyzing the mood of the population of Ukraine and the capacity of the Ukrainian army,” the directorate said.

The directorate said its intelligence came from Russian sources, who are “considering various options for removing Putin from power,” including a potential assassination.

The leadership change may also “be an attempt to establish cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities” as the war drags on, the post said.

The Russian economy has been strangled by sanctions imposed by the United States and its NATO allies.

The sanctions have put increasing pressure on Putin, who believed his Ukraine invasion — now in its third week — would be over in a matter of days. 

Across the globe, influential Russian oligarchs have had their valuable assets seized by Western countries, and many have fled back to the motherland or to friendlier nations.

US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was rebuked earlier this month after he called for the assassination of Putin from the inside.

“If [Putin] continues to be their leader, then he’s going to make you complicit with war crimes,” Graham said, addressing the Russian people. “You’re a good people, you’ll never have a future, you’ll be isolated from the world, and you’ll live in abject poverty.

“So I’m hoping somebody in Russia will understand that he’s destroying Russia, and you need to take this guy out by any means possible.”

He later tweeted, “Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service.”

Graham was slammed by politicians from both sides of the aisle for the suggestion. White House press secretary Jenn Psaki denounced Graham’s inflammatory comments.

“That is not the position of the United States government. And certainly not a statement you’d hear from — come from the mouth of anybody working in this administration,” she said.