Live Blog

Here is your live blog for the day.

If you tried to shop for Amazon Prime deals today, you may have seen this:


A few seconds ago Amazon finally acknowledged that there's a problem:

The internet is, predictably, furious that Amazon is unable to take their money today.

But it's not just the main Amazon site that's experiencing problems. It appears there are issues with AWS as well:

Which calls into question the reliability of the company's famed cloud services.

Will be interesting to hear how they spin this once everything is back up and running. In the meantime, our bank accounts are breathing a sigh of relief today.

Some interesting biographical information is coming out on disgraced counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok. His dad, it turns out, was a longtime member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who spent many years living in Iran. The elder Strzok appeared to be somewhat sympathetic to the Iranian mullahs during the time of the revolution in 1979.

From the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire), February 21, 1979:

I don't come to the same conclusions Wictor does in his Twitter thread (that Strzok senior was an Iranian spy) but it is interesting.

After his retirement, Strzok senior apparently did some work in Haiti through Catholic Relief Services:

From the Bismark Tribune, August 19, 1983:

Here is an article Strzok Sr. wrote in the Fayetteville Observer: Our 50-year difference in Iran.

Strzok's brother, James, is a Jesuit priest performing missionary work in east Africa, according to Wikipedia. 


Trump fist-bumps Erdogan.

According to Ian Bremmer, when other NATO countries hesitated to pledge more money to mutual defense, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not. Trump thanked him, and even fist-bumped him.

I understand Trump's desire to encourage allies to contribute more funding, but Erdogan isn't good news. He turned the Hagia Sophia — one of the oldest churches in the world, which the Ottoman Empire turned into a mosque before the secular government of Turkey turned it into a museum — back into a mosque. He has a rather authoritarian rule in Turkey, and Congress is pressuring him to release American pastor Andrew Brunson.

This is the man Trump hails as an example in front of NATO...

Russian NRA infiltrator arrested on espionage charges.

Maria Butina, a Second Amendment supporter with the National Rifle Association, has been charged with spying in the U.S. for Russia.

The Guardian has the story:

Maria Butina was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian federation within the US without prior notification to the attorney general.

Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday and appeared before a magistrate in Washington on Monday, according to the US justice department.

She is known as a protege of Alexander Torshin, a Russian former state banker, who met Donald Trump Jr for dinner at the NRA’s 2016 convention. Torshin was placed under sanction by the US in April this year.

A Justice Department press release said Butina had been “developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian federation.”

Now, this does not mean Trump's campaign colluded with Russia or that the NRA is a Russian puppet, only that one particular alleged Russian spy may have infiltrated the NRA to spy on and influence American politics. This story is developing.

President Trump is now trying to smooth things over with the intel community after suggesting that he trusts Putin's word regarding election meddling over theirs: