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Election Interference Page 2

Tracking interference into our elections
In 2016, we had to worry about the Russians interfering in our elections. In 2020 we worried that the Russians would interfere again never did we think that the President of the Untied States would be the one inferring in our elections and attempting to steal the election. Some Republicans are now helping Donald J. Trump interfere with, subvert the law and the will of the people, and steal the election depriving 80,000,000 of their votes. Trump will fail in his attempt to steal the election however, the damage that he and his enablers have done to our democracy will be long lasting.

Donald J. Trump is greatest threat America has ever faced his lies peddle by the right about the election caused millions of Americans to believe the election was stolen because there was mass voter fraud and election fraud. For some those beliefs lead to insurrection, sedition and the sacking of the Untied State capital.

Before the Trump-Ukraine Affair there was the Trump-Russia Affair, Donald J. Trump, his son and an unknown number of people from the Trump campaign may have conspired (colluded) with the Russians to help elect Donald J. Trump. The Trump-Ukraine Affair should make you rethink the Trump-Russia Affair, the lie then was it was about adaptions the lie this time is it was about corruption.

Donald J. Trump used the powers of the presidency to bully Ukraine into digging up damaging information on a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden that is an abuse of power is against the law and the constitution of the United States. Donald J. Trump has asked other countries including China to interfere in our elections by helping him get dirt on his political opponents; that is an abuse of power is against the law and the constitution of the United States.

Jill Filipovic

This is extraordinary: a group of Republicans are asking the court to disenfranchise millions of Americans, just so their guy can stay put. That’s what we’re seeing play out, as 106 Republicans in Congress signed a lawsuit, backed by more than a dozen Republican state attorneys general, asking the US supreme court to overturn the results of a free and fair American election, because a Democrat won. It’s an egregious and unconscionable move, and suggests that the corrosive effects of President Donald Trump will remain even after he leaves the White House.

Trump lost fair and square. But the state of Texas has asked the supreme court to intervene in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan; those four states, in turn, have asked the supreme court not to intervene, and to respect the results of the election and the will of their citizens. This is an extraordinary situation: a group of Republicans, still loyal to a president with waning power, are asking the supreme court to disenfranchise millions of Americans, just so their guy can stay put.

The fact that so many Republicans are going along with this authoritarian and undemocratic charade is clarifying, if depressing. Through four years of Trump, there were two main theories of Republican acquiescence: either Republicans really were supportive of the president, in all of his cruelty and incompetence and authoritarianism, or Republicans were simply scared of him and his hold over the Republican base, but secretly loathed the man and were anxious for a return to normal. Now, we’re seeing which theory was correct. more...

"The Supreme Court has decisively and speedily rejected the latest of Donald Trump and his allies’ attacks on the democratic process," said Biden campaign spokesman Mike Gwin.
By Pete Williams and Dartunorro Clark

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday brushed aside the lawsuit filed by Texas that sought to overturn Joe Biden's election victory in four battleground states. President Donald Trump called the case "the big one," and 126 of the 196 Republicans in the House urged the court to take it. But the justices acted quickly to turn it down. "Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections," the court said in a brief unsigned opinion.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said the court had no authority to refuse a case filed on its original docket, where one state files to sue another. But they said they would not have granted Texas any other relief and expressed no view on any of the issues raised in the lawsuit. So the ruling was essentially a unanimous rejection of the Texas claims. Supporters of the Trump campaign saw the Texas suit as their best hope for derailing a victory for Joe Biden before the actual presidential vote is cast by the Electoral College on Monday.

President-elect Joe Biden's team welcomed the news, calling it an end to the president's baseless legal battle. "The Supreme Court has decisively and speedily rejected the latest of Donald Trump and his allies’ attacks on the democratic process," said campaign spokesman Mike Gwin in a statement. "This is no surprise — dozens of judges, election officials from both parties, and Trump's own Attorney General have dismissed his baseless attempts to deny that he lost the election," he said. "President-elect Biden's clear and commanding victory will be ratified by the Electoral College on Monday, and he will be sworn in on January 20th."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement following the ruling that "it’s time to move forward." “Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important reminder that we are a nation of laws, and though some may bend to the desire of a single individual, the courts will not," she said. "Now it’s time to move forward — not as separate states, red or blue — but as united states in the continuing pursuit of a more perfect union.” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who has clashed with Trump, said in a statement the Supreme Court has finally "closed the book on the nonsense." more...

Texas wants the Supreme Court to throw out Biden’s victory. Don’t cancel the inauguration
By Scott MartelleEditorial Writer

Let’s start off with the obvious: The presidential election is over, Joe Biden won and Donald Trump lost. No matter how many Trumpsters howl, or feverishly embrace conspiracy theories about missing ballots and dead voters, the American people have had their say, and they said, “Joe.” Enter Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, who is suing Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin because, he says, pandemic-inspired rule changes in conducting the November election in those states somehow led to massive voter fraud that has harmed … wait for it … Texas. This sounds like a football team that’s down by 25 points with 15 seconds to go and deciding to launch a Hail Mary pass — after most of its players have already headed off to the locker room. more...

*** The election is over Trump lost by 7 million votes get over it. Trump and his republican enablers need to stop trying to steal the election. If you want to stop the steal, tell Donald J. Trump and his republican enablers to stop trying to steal the election. ***

By Daniel Villarreal

The attorneys general of Alabama and Louisiana have expressed interest in possibly joining a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to have the Supreme Court invalidate election results in four key battleground states—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The suit seeks to have each state's lawmakers decide their electors, rather than having the electors reflect the will of their voting citizens.

"The unconstitutional actions and fraudulent votes in other states not only affect the citizens of those states, they affect the citizens of all states—of the entire United States," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement published Tuesday on Twitter. He pledged to join Paxton's case if the Supreme Court takes it up.

In a separate statement, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote, "Some states appear to have conducted their elections with a disregard to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, many Louisianans have become more frustrated as some in media and the political class try to sidestep legitimate issues for the sake of expediency."

Landry claims that because the Constitution leaves the power of deciding the time, place and manner of holding elections to state legislatures, the four aforementioned battleground states made changes to their elections to prevent further spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic without passing these changes through the legislature. Thus, Paxton's suit claims, the changes were unconstitutional and the states' election results should be invalidated. more...

*** The Trump coup. Donald J. trump is Trying to steal the election he lost by 7 million votes. Trump tried to rig the mail in votes when that did not work he tried the courts, that did not work now he is interfering to get republicans to give him the election. ***

GILLIAN McGOLDRICK

President Donald Trump spoke with Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler twice in the past week, asking one of the state’s highest ranking Republicans to help him reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the state, The Washington Post reported Monday night. Cutler’s office confirmed the calls from the president, The Post reported, but Cutler told Trump the legislature can’t overturn the certified election results. The calls came as Cutler called for the state’s congressional delegation to consider unresolved legal challenges to the state’s presidential election results when the Electoral College vote is tallied early next month. more...

By Joseph Choi

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Tuesday rebuked President Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the election, calling it an “attempted coup.” “This is an attempt to overthrow our government. You may not call it a coup, but this is an attempted coup,” said Clyburn while appearing on CNN’s "New Day." “Now some people said he's trying to steal the election; he's not trying to steal the election. That denotes some kind of unknown activity, when you're stealing. No, that's not what he's doing. He is in your face, trying to overthrow the will of the people.”

As CNN host John Berman noted, Trump has called GOP officials in several states to try to change election results. On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) warned state legislators that they cannot appoint pro-Trump presidential electors. Kemp made this statement less than a week after Trump reportedly called him and asked him to persuade state legislators to overturn the results of the election. In Pennsylvania, Trump asked state House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R) on Monday to “fix” a law that prevented lawmakers from replacing electors. Clyburn pointed out in his interview that he had previously predicted Trump would not leave the White House easily. more...

By Harper Neidig

Texas announced on Tuesday that it would be filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against four battleground states in an effort to halt presidential electors from finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Texas argued that electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots. Biden won all four states.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) alleges that the new voting processes in the battleground states skewed the 2020 election results and asked the Supreme Court to delay next Monday's deadline for the Electoral College to make Biden's victory official. "Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election," Paxton said in a statement. "We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error.” Paxton's 154-page complaint echoes the legal arguments made by President Trump and his allies in courts across the country seeking to overturn election results in Biden's key states. That legal effort, which has failed to notch any meaningful victories so far, has pushed dubious claims of widespread voter fraud and manipulation by elections officials. more...

By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill are urging him not to concede even after President-elect Joe Biden wins the Electoral College vote next week, calling on their party's leader to battle it out all the way to the House floor in January as he makes unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. The view of Trump's defenders is at odds with that of many top congressional Republicans, including leaders of the Senate, who believe the election will be over next Monday when electors cast their votes and make Biden's win official -- even though the Democrat's victory in the presidential race has been clear for weeks.

But conservative House Republicans argue that next week doesn't mark the end of Trump's desperate efforts to overturn the election results, which he has failed to do through scores of fruitless lawsuits and brazen efforts to pressure state and local leaders to subvert the will of voters and appoint new slates of electors to the Electoral College. They said that Congress should engage in a full-throated debate over the results in key states because of their allegations of fraud, which have yet to be borne out in court. Asked if Trump should concede next Monday, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said bluntly: "No. No way, no way, no way."

"We should still try to figure out exactly what took place here. And as I said that includes, I think, debates on the House floor -- potentially on January 6," Jordan, a trusted Trump confidant, told CNN. It is not unusual for a losing candidate's most fervent supporters to take their case to the House floor -- something that occurred after the 2016, 2004 and 2000 presidential races. But it is unusual for the losing candidate to mount a weeks-long public campaign aimed at sowing discord and distrust over a pillar of democracy, something that Trump has done relentlessly since losing the race. Even if Trump loses a bevy of GOP support for his unprecedented quest after next week, the backing of his staunchest supporters is likely to only encourage the mercurial President to continue his barrage of attacks against the integrity of the elections. more...

By Greg Bluestein - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, James Salzer - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Niesse - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s election results have met a wall of opposition from an unlikely source: Republican state officials and GOP-appointed judges who have loudly rejected his calls to undo Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state. As two more of the president’s legal challenges were quashed in court on Monday, Trump’s pleas to top state officials to interfere in the election have been soundly rejected by Republican politicians he once endorsed. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified Biden’s win after a third tally, adding that the president’s “debunked claims of stolen elections is hurting our state.” One of his top aides, Gabriel Sterling, lamented he had to embark on a “disinformation Monday” campaign to correct pro-Trump falsehoods. more...

By Joseph Choi

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said Sunday that calling a special legislative session to overturn the results of the presidential election would amount to “nullifying the will of the people.” “At the end of the day, what they're really trying to say is if they did, if — they would be then nullifying the will of the people. If you look at how the election turned out here in Georgia, President Trump got 10 percent less votes in Cherokee County, which is a rich red county in this election cycle. Whitfield County in northwest Georgia, less than 4.5 percent,” Raffensperger told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."

“The people of Georgia spoke in this election, and, obviously, I’m a conservative Republican disappointed in the results,” Raffensperger also said. “But I said we'll count every legal vote and work hard to make sure that no illegal votes were counted, and that's what we’ve been doing." He added, “I don't believe that there's the will in the General Assembly for a special session.” Reports emerged Saturday that President Trump had called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and asked him to persuade state legislators to overturn the state’s election to favor the president. Kemp reportedly denied Trump’s requests. more...

STATE JOURNAL, ASSOCIATED PRESS

In a pair of stinging rebukes, one from a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and the other from a federal judge President Donald Trump appointed, two courts Friday balked at efforts by Trump and his supporters to toss out the results of the presidential election in the state and have the Legislature decide the winner. Joined by the state Supreme Court’s three liberal-backed justices, conservative-backed Justice Brian Hagedorn called a request to have the court invalidate the November election “unprecedented in American history” and “the most dramatic invocation of judicial power I have ever seen.”

The court rejected the request 4-3. “Judicial acquiescence to such entreaties built on so flimsy a foundation would do indelible damage to every future election,” Hagedorn wrote for the majority. “Once the door is opened to judicial invalidation of presidential election results, it will be awfully hard to close that door again. This is a dangerous path we are being asked to tread. The loss of public trust in our constitutional order resulting from the exercise of this kind of judicial power would be incalculable.” more...

By Natalie Colarossi

During an appearance on Fox News Friday night, President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the campaign doesn't need courts to change the outcome of the election, and accused one Nevada judge of creating "a fantasy out of the law." Giuliani, a key voice in the election fraud fight, went on Sean Hannity's show after several states – including Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan – rejected cases that day.

In Nevada, Judge James Todd Russell said that he saw no clear or convincing proof to nullify the results of the election or to change the outcome in Trump's favor. "Contestants did not prove ... that illegal votes were cast and counted that should have been rejected during the signature verification process, or legal votes were not counted that should have been accepted" in numbers that would have swayed the outcome of the election, the judge said. In response, Giuliani accused the judge of unfairly changing the law. "The reality is, the judge has completely changed the law, he's created a fantasy out of the law," he said. " more...

*** First Lindsey Graham did it now; Donald J. Trump is actively interfering in an election that has already been determined. Lindsey Graham and Donald J. Trump are guilty of crimes and should go to jail. ***

William Cummings and Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY

President Donald Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Saturday morning, urging him to convince the state legislature to overturn the election results, according to multiple media reports. Trump also pushed Kemp to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures, something he has pushed the governor to do on Twitter. Kemp's spokesman Cody Hall confirmed that the president and Kemp spoke. The call, first reported by The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, happened just hours before Trump was supposed to appear at a rally for the state’s two Republican senators.

Kemp said that he told the president that he’s “publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia,” in a tweet, responding to the president. Earlier Saturday, Trump claimed, without evidence, that he would "quickly and easily win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification."

President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by nearly 12,000 votes, according to the state's certified results. A second recount was recently completed and an announcement recertifying Biden's win is expected from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. A Morning Consult poll found that Trump’s attacks on the Georgia governor are affecting his approval ratings. Kemp’s job approval among Georgia Republicans has dropped 9 percentage points since Election Day, going to 86% to 77%, according to the poll. more...

Several of the most devastating opinions, both Friday and in recent weeks, have come from conservative judges and, in some federal cases, Trump appointees.
By KYLE CHENEY and JOSH GERSTEIN

President Donald Trump and his legal allies earned a platinum sombrero Friday, striking out five times in a matter of hours in states pivotal to the president’s push to overturn the election results — and losing a sixth in Minnesota for good measure. It was another harsh milestone in a monthlong run of legal futility, accompanied by sharp rebukes from county, state and federal judges who continue to express shock at the Trump team’s effort to simply scrap the results of an election he lost. Several of the most devastating opinions, both Friday and in recent weeks, have come from conservative judges and, in some federal cases, Trump appointees.

The losses included a rejection in Wisconsin from the state Supreme Court, where the majority was gobsmacked at the effort by a conservative group to invalidate the entire election without any compelling evidence of voter fraud or misconduct. “The relief being sought by the petitioners is the most dramatic invocation of judicial power I have ever seen,” said Brian Hagedorn, a conservative elected justice, in a concurring opinion. “Judicial acquiescence to such entreaties built on so flimsy a foundation would do indelible damage to every future election. Once the door is opened to judicial invalidation of presidential election results, it will be awfully hard to close that door again. This is a dangerous path we are being asked to tread.”

An Arizona county judge, similarly, tossed a suit brought by state GOP chair Kelli Ward. "The court finds no misconduct, no fraud and no effect on the outcome of the election." Ward has vowed to appeal that ruling. A Nevada judge issued a point-by-point rejection of every claim lodged by the Trump team, emphasizing that the facts they presented were sparse and unpersuasive. Carson City District Judge James Russell’s opinion repeatedly emphasized their case would not have succeeded “under any standard of proof.” more...

By Mark Joseph Stern

A former U.S. attorney has asked Georgia to open an investigation into Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s potentially criminal interference in the state’s election. Michael J. Moore, who served as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia from 2010 to 2015, sent his request to the Georgia State Board of Elections on Thursday. Moore cited multiple public interviews given by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, in which Raffensperger said that Graham pressured him to throw out valid mail ballots. According to the secretary of state, Graham asked whether he could toss all mail ballots from any county with a high rate of “signature mismatch”—signatures that don’t match those on a voter’s registration form. (Under a federal court order, Georgia is required to let voters cure a mismatched signature.) Signature mismatch disproportionately affects racial minorities, who lean Democratic overall. Graham requested that even ballots with matching signatures be rejected in precincts with large populations of Black voters. It thus appears that Graham wanted Raffensberger to throw enough Democratic ballots to swing the state toward Donald Trump. more...

Matthew Brown, Nicholas Wu - USA TODAY

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., says he will challenge the tally of Electoral College votes when Congress officially certifies the results of the presidential election on Jan. 6. The move, while unlikely to succeed, has generated praise from the president. In an interview with Politico, Brooks said he'd challenge the election results, calling the process "badly flawed" without evidence and echoed false claims from President Donald Trump that mail-in voting is "unconstitutional." The congressman said he would pursue the effort if a member of the Senate also joined him in challenging the certification, though he noted none have so far come forward. Brooks said he has had "indirect" conversations with Republican senators about the matter. more...

Dan Mangan

A Republican congressman from Pennsylvania on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to issue an emergency order that would block his state from taking further action to certify its election results showing a win for President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. Rep. Mike Kelly’s request comes after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf certified that the Democratic former vice president won the state and its 20 Electoral College votes.

Given that, Kelly asked the Supreme Court to “nullify” Wolf’s certification and all other actions that would legally confirm Biden’s victory. His filing Tuesday also asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his challenge to a change in mail-in ballot rules in the state. The request is related to an earlier case filed in state courts, where Kelly claimed that the Pennsylvania legislature violated the state’s constitution when it allowed no-excuse absentee voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected that claim earlier this week. Biden is currently projected to win 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than he needs to clinch a victory in the White House race. more...

Governor says secretary of state 'cannot be overridden by executive order'
By Brooke Singman | Fox News

President Trump on Tuesday told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to "do something" to overrule state election officials, claiming he would find a "gold mine" of fraud, as the governor's office maintained that Georgia law "prohibits" him from "interfering in elections." "You allowed your state to be scammed," Trump tweeted to Kemp Tuesday. "We must check signatures and count signed envelopes against ballots. Then call off election. It won’t be needed. We will all WIN!"

"Why won't Governor @BrianKempGA, the hapless Governor of Georgia, use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes," Trump tweeted Monday. "It will be a 'goldmine' of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state." The president added that Kemp should “quickly check the number of envelopes versus the number of ballots.” “You may just find that there are many more ballots than there are envelopes,” Trump continued. “So simple, and so easy to do. Georgia Republicans are angry, all Republicans are angry.” He added: “Get it done!” more...

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN) Georgia's Republican lieutenant governor on Tuesday joined a growing list of GOP officials in the state who are publicly rejecting President Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud, saying the misinformation spread by the President and his allies is "alarming" and could jeopardize the party in upcoming Senate runoff elections. Asked by CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day" about a falsehood spread by Trump that election officials in Georgia were "making deals," Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan flatly replied, "certainly not."

"What is alarming is the amount of misinformation that continues to flow. It's alarming to me," Duncan continued. "It's certainly disheartening to watch folks willing to kind of put their character and their morals out there just so they can spread a half truth or a lie in the efforts to maybe to flip an election. ... That's not what democracy is all about." Duncan, along with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, are among the highest-ranking Republican officials who are disputing Trump's claims of voter fraud despite the President's continuing grip on much of the party. The comments by Georgia officials are particularly notable, as the January runoff election could determine the balance of power in the US Senate. more...

by Stephen Cohn, Abby Schinderle

MADISON, Wis. — The Dane County Board of Canvassers certified election results Sunday, concluding the county’s recount. President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner in Dane County. The final results of the recount found a 91-vote reduction for Biden, taking his vote count from 260,185 to 260,094. There also was a 46-vote reduction for President Donald Trump, changing his vote count from 78,800 to 78,754. In essence, in Dane County, Trump gained 45 votes on Biden, but still trails the state by more than 20,000 votes. The disqualified votes were those that were missing voter or witness signatures or addresses, according to the Dane County Clerk. more...

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

Trump is Trump. There's nothing new to say about the man. But there is still lots to learn about his enablers. So many people, from GOP functionaries to Fox News hosts, are helping him to undermine democracy by denying the election and attacking reality. So many people are complicit. People like Maria Bartiromo. Formerly an acclaimed journalist, known around the world for making CEOs tell the truth, now she tees up Trump to recite lie after lie. Her Sunday morning call with Trump on Fox News was his first "interview" since he lost the election, but it wasn't a real interview at all. He wasn't ready to acknowledge that he lost, and neither was she. He displayed delusional weakness. She was complicit. And she's far from the only one.

GOP leaders stay silent
Ron Brownstein on CNN Sunday night: As Trump's conspiracy theory about the "rigged" election "gets more and more fantastical and far-reaching, implicating the DOJ, the FBI, and Republican governors, the silence of Republicans in Congress — Mitch McConnell in particular, Kevin McCarthy in particular, who are allowing this poison to spread in the American political system — looks more and more like a modern analogue to the silence of Republican congressional leaders during the rampages of Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s. I think history will have no trouble finding a parallel between Mitch McConnell's efforts to kind of look the other way and what so many Republican leaders did until Joseph Welch said, at long last, sir 'have you no decency?'"

Trump is backsliding
He lost the election nearly four weeks ago yet he refuses to admit it. Judging by his tweets, he's spiraling even deeper into denial. The Bartiromo interview was a sign that he's prepared to do battle in public -- a disturbing display of weakness that some people interpret as strength. His Thanksgiving evening Q&A with reporters was another sign of the same thing. After holding a call with members of the military, he fielded questions for the first time in three weeks — the "longest gap" of his presidency — mostly by deflecting and deceiving. When he walked out, one reporter asked "Is this the language of a dictator?" and another said, "Mr. President, some people say you're denying reality." more...

By Daniel Politi

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court threw out an order by a lower court that prevented the state from certifying dozens of contests that were part of the Nov. 3 election. The unanimous decision by the state’s highest court effectively ended the last active legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s presidential election results. The case had been brought by Rep. Mike Kelly and other Republicans that sought to disenfranchise around 2.6 million voters, arguing every ballot cast by mail should be thrown out. Alternative, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs also argued that the election results could be tossed out and the Republican-controlled Legislature would pick the state’s presidential electors.

The justices said that the lawsuit had been filed too late, months after the deadline to object to Pennsylvania’s absentee voting procedures and weeks after millions of Pennsylvanians had voted. The justices also appeared shocked that the lawsuit was calling for an entire election to be overturned when “they have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted,” as Justice David Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion. If Kelly and other Republicans really objected to the procedures put in place for voting by mail they would have filed a legal challenge before it was used in a primary and general election rather than wait until after the results were revealed. “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters,” Wecht wrote. “Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.” more...

They refuted conspiracy theories, certified results, dismissed lawsuits and repudiated a president of their own party.
By Peter Baker and Kathleen Gray

The telephone call would have been laugh-out-loud ridiculous if it had not been so serious. When Tina Barton picked up, she found someone from President Trump’s campaign asking her to sign a letter raising doubts about the results of the election. The election that Ms. Barton as the Republican clerk of the small Michigan city of Rochester Hills had helped oversee. The election that she knew to be fair and accurate because she had helped make it so. The election that she had publicly defended amid threats that made her upgrade her home security system.

“Do you know who you’re talking to right now?” she asked the campaign official. Evidently not. If the president hoped Republicans across the country would fall in line behind his false and farcical claims that the election was somehow rigged on a mammoth scale by a nefarious multinational conspiracy, he was in for a surprise. Republicans in Washington may have indulged Mr. Trump’s fantastical assertions, but at the state and local level, Republicans played a critical role in resisting the mounting pressure from their own party to overturn the vote after Mr. Trump fell behind on Nov. 3.

The three weeks that followed tested American democracy and demonstrated that the two-century-old system is far more vulnerable to subversion than many had imagined even though the incumbent president lost by six million votes nationwide. But in the end, the system stood firm against the most intense assault from an aggrieved president in the nation’s history because of a Republican city clerk in Michigan, a Republican secretary of state in Georgia, a Republican county supervisor in Arizona and Republican-appointed judges in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. more...

Language diversity within the AAPI community means misinformation is difficult to track.
By Terry Nguyen Nov 27, 2020, 11:00am EST

Less than a week after Election Day, a spreadsheet titled “Battling Asian American Misinformation” began circulating in progressive Asian American social media circles, primarily among those of Vietnamese and Chinese descent.

The most popular YouTube channels flagged on the spreadsheet accumulated hundreds of thousands of subscribers, in which pundits discussed misleading claims about election fraud, Hunter Biden’s relationship with China (a conspiracy disseminated by pro-Trump figures), and the Chinese Communist Party’s meddling in the presidential election. Below some of these clips, YouTube included a label informing viewers that the Associated Press had called the election for Joe Biden.

But beyond that small disclaimer, most channels were still monetized and still easily discoverable. Flagging it to YouTube, as some soon realized, amounted to doing nothing. The election might be over, but the uphill battle against online misinformation, notably within first-generation immigrant communities, wages on. more...

By Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) A federal appeals court denied the Trump campaign's effort to revive a federal lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania, ruling "the claims have no merit." A panel of three judges for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by the Trump campaign, led by Rudy Giuliani, to amend its lawsuit, which had been previously rejected.

"The Campaign never alleges that any ballot was fraudulent or cast by an illegal voter," the judges wrote. "It never alleges that any defendant treated the Trump campaign or its votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or its votes. Calling something discrimination does not make it so. The Second Amended Complaint still suffers from these core defects, so granting leave to amend would have been futile." The President and some of his allies have been questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election, saying without evidence that it was fraudulent and seeking to use legal battles to overturn results in key states.

The judges also rejected the President's motion to undo Pennsylvania's certification of votes. "The Campaign's claims have no merit. The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters. Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised," the judges wrote.

The President's campaign appealed a scathing ruling last weekend when Judge Matthew Brann threw out the lawsuit ruling it could not be amended and refiled. Brann compared it to "Frankenstein's monster ... haphazardly stitched together," and slammed the request to disenfranchise nearly seven million voters in a complaint littered with "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations." The appeals court referenced the Trump campaign's multiple attempts to alter its lawsuit and praised Brann's handling of the matter. more...

“Calling an election unfair does not make it so,” the court wrote.
Tracy Connor

A federal appeals court has shot down the Trump campaign’s attempt to overturn the election result in Pennsylvania—with a judge appointed by the president writing the scathing decision. “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Stephanos Bibas wrote in a 21-page opinion issued Friday.

The three-judge panel noted that the campaign’s grievances amounted to “nothing more” than allegations that Pennsylvania restricted poll watchers and let voters fix technical defects in their mail-in ballots. “The Campaign tries to repackage these state-law claims as unconstitutional discrimination. Yet its allegations are vague and conclusory,” the opinion says. “It never alleges that anyone treated the Trump campaign or Trump votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or Biden votes.”

The decision comes after Pennsylvania already certified that President-elect Joe Biden was the winner but makes clear that Trump does not have a legal leg to stand on in contesting the outcome. The court said it would not issue an injunction to undo the certification because “the Campaign’s claims have no merit.” “The number of ballots it specifically challenges is far smaller than the roughly 81,000-vote margin of victory. And it never claims fraud or that any votes were cast by illegal voters,” the court found.

“Plus, tossing out millions of mail-in ballots would be drastic and unprecedented, disenfranchising a huge swath of the electorate and upsetting all down-ballot races too. That remedy would be grossly disproportionate to the procedural challenges raised. So we deny the motion for an injunction pending appeal.” “Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide election.” — Judge Stephanos Bibas

By COLLEEN LONG, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday seemed like the end of President Donald Trump’s relentless challenges to the election, after the federal government acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden was the “apparent winner” and Trump cleared the way for cooperation on a transition of power. But his baseless claims have a way of coming back. And back. And back. By Wednesday, Trump was phoning into a local Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers’ meeting that had been orchestrated by his campaign to assert falsely, again, that the election was tainted.

“This election was rigged and we can’t let that happen,” Trump said by phone, offering no specific evidence. The 2020 presidential race is turning into the zombie election that Trump just won’t let die. Despite dozens of legal and procedural setbacks, his campaign keeps filing new challenges that have little hope of succeeding and making fresh, unfounded claims of fraud. But that’s the point. Trump’s strategy, his allies concede in private, wasn’t to change the outcome, but to create a host of phantom claims about the 2020 presidential race that would infect the nation with doubt and keep his base loyal, even though the winner was clear and there has been no evidence of mass voter fraud.

“Zombies are dead people walking among the living — this litigation is the same thing,” said Franita Tolson, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. “In terms of litigation that could change the election, all these cases are basically dead men walking.” It’s a strategy tolerated by many Republicans, most notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who are clinging to Trump as they face a test of retaining their own power in the form of two runoff elections in Georgia in January. “This really is our version of a polite coup d’etat,” said Thomas Mann, senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. “It could end quickly if the Republican Party acknowledged what was going on. But they cower in the face of Trump’s connection with the base.” more...

Experts say pro-Trump lawmakers could try to overturn voters’ will and send an alternate set of electors, but the Democratic governor could block the effort
By Anya van Wagtendonk, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

This article is made possible through Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. When Wisconsin voters took to the polls on Nov. 3, they were not actually choosing among Joe Biden, Donald Trump and third-party candidates. Rather, they were voting for a slate of 10 partisan electors who would pledge their support for the winner of the popular vote at the Electoral College.

The indirect process by which Americans elect a president has been seized upon by some Trump allies hoping to leverage unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in certain key states — including Wisconsin — to push forward a slate of electors who would support President Trump instead of President-elect Biden. The move would be in defiance of the outcome of the popular vote, which Biden won in Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes.

In an emergency petition filed Tuesday with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a group of voters is asking for just that. The group claims that more than 144,000 votes were illegally cast in the Nov. 3 election. That includes an estimated 96,000 from voters who listed themselves as “indefinitely confined” — and therefore not required to present a photo ID — but whom the petitioners claim were not. The petition also alleges that more than 12,000 votes cast for Republicans were not counted.

The Wisconsin Voters Alliance also claims that election officials violated state law by accepting more than $6 million from a nonprofit financed by billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The Center for Tech and Civic Life funded activities including boosting absentee voting and poll worker training in Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine. The group has an ongoing lawsuit against the cities making the same claim.

Days after the election, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ordered an investigation into Wisconsin’s election results, alleging “mail-in ballot dumps and voter fraud.” Republican state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo said the results of that investigation could — and perhaps should — lead the state to nullify its outcome. more...

*** First Trump tried to rig the election by slowing down the mail, and then he tried to steal it before during and after the election using the courts and other methods. ***

By Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey

President Trump is using the power of his office to try to reverse the results of the election, orchestrating a far-reaching pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in what critics decried Thursday as an unprecedented subversion of democracy.

After courts rejected the Trump campaign’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, the president is now trying to remain in power with a wholesale assault on the integrity of the vote by spreading misinformation and trying to persuade loyal Republicans to manipulate the electoral system on his behalf.

In an extraordinary news conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Trump’s attorneys claimed without evidence there was a centralized conspiracy with roots in Venezuela to rig the U.S. presidential election. They alleged voter fraud in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and other cities whose municipal governments are controlled by Democrats and where President-elect Joe Biden won by large margins. more...

Regardless of how you define the word, now is not the time for academic debates.
By Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show"

President Donald Trump is not trying to simply undermine President-elect Joe Biden's presidency, nor is he primarily trying to position himself for a 2024 presidential run, as many have suggested. No, Trump's No. 1 goal is to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It's time for Biden and other Democratic leaders to describe his actions in the most forceful and universally understandable language possible. And that means, in this case, calling them part of an attempted coup to illegally overthrow the Biden presidency.

In the past few days, several experts have noted that Trump's actions do not technically constitute a "coup" in the academic sense. According to Michael Albertus, an associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, for example, a coup "typically connotes a violent takeover of government." Yet these same experts warn that Trump's actions are a threat to our democracy.

New York University history professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of the new book "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present," explained to me that Trump's actions are more aptly described as an "auto-coup" — in which a leader remains in power through undemocratic means. Importantly, Ben-Ghiat notes that this auto-coup should be taken very, very seriously.

Regardless of how you define the word, now is not the time for academic debates. Trump's wildly effective communications strategy proves that sometimes simpler is better. Biden's response, in contrast, has been far too careful and far too polite. On Thursday, Biden called Trump's efforts to undermine the election results "totally irresponsible," adding that his message to immigrants worried about Trump's electoral attacks was "Hang on. I'm on my way." Other leading Democrats have, for the most part, followed Biden's lead.

This message is not surprising given Biden's campaign strategy, which emphasized unity. Such sentiment was also at the heart of Biden's victory speech Nov. 7. But it is nevertheless a very bad strategy. Italy's Benito Mussolini and Russia's Vladimir Putin amassed power through bullying. These types of leaders treat silence or muted responses as a sign of weakness, emboldening them to push further with their authoritarian goals. more...

by Will Bunch

OK, so you haven’t seen so many slam dunks since the USA “Dream Team” won the 1992 Olympics, as Team Trump’s ace legal department actually embraces My Cousin Vinny while racking up a courtroom won-loss record that rivals the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s been more than two weeks since the media and all other reputable observers called the 2020 election as a resounding win for Joe Biden, and yet President Donald Trump and his minions continue to press a case for overturning the result that’s melted faster than the stuff running out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair or his wherever.

Yes, it’s so easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of Trump’s scheme — which he telegraphed for months before Election Day — to somehow get judges, or state legislatures, or the Electoral College to anoint him the victor of an election he couldn’t win by getting the most votes, even in the battleground states that handed him the White House in 2016.

The latest proof of the pathetic nature of the president’s plot to allege widespread voter fraud, with zero actual evidence, came Saturday when a Republican, straight-outta-the-Federalist-Society jurist here in Pennsylvania — U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann — dismissed his campaign’s latest election challenge with prejudice,” using words like a “Frankenstein’s monster” and “unhinged” to describe the case argued by Giuliani last week. Yet as that was happening, the Trump campaign was demanding a reality-defying third recount that will surely ratify his loss in Georgia, much like the quadruple-amputated knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail continuing to insist that “it’s only a flesh wound.”

But it’s time now for all the laughter to die in outrage. Because we need to state in the clearest and most unambiguous terms what is happening in America in November 2020: The president of the United States is using the power of his office to try to overturn, by any means necessary, the fair and democratic election that will remove him from office. In a nation that stakes its claim to “exceptionalism” on 44 peaceful transfers of power (despite one that wasn’t) over 231 years, its current leader is attempting a coup. more...

https://www.npr.org/2020/11/24/938187233/trump-push-to-invalidate-votes-in-heavily-black-cities-alarms-civil-rights-group
Trump Push To Invalidate Votes In Heavily Black Cities Alarms Civil Rights Groups
Juana Summers

When Joe Biden thanked Black voters in his first remarks as president-elect, he credited them with lifting his campaign from its lowest point during the Democratic primaries. "You've always had my back, and I'll have yours," he promised. While Biden won Black voters overwhelmingly across the country, they were key to his victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — places where President Trump and his allies have been targeting ballots in cities with large Black populations in an attempt to overturn the president's defeat and retain power.

Trump's campaign and his allies have presented no real evidence of widespread voter fraud or other impropriety in any of these cities, and they have faced multiple defeats in court. But the persistence of the president and loyal Republicans has alarmed Black leaders, civil rights activists and historians who see an unprecedented attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, many of them Black. The president's campaign has denied racial motivations in its lawsuits, saying that its recount strategy is not targeting Black voters. Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign's senior legal adviser, said in a statement to NPR that "every American deserves to know that our elections are conducted in a legal manner, no matter who they are or where they live."

"That's our only goal: to ensure safe, secure, and fair elections," Ellis added. "That's what our Constitution requires." But Bob Bauer, a senior legal adviser to the Biden campaign, said the Trump campaign's "targeting of the African American community is not subtle. It is extraordinary" and that "it's quite remarkable how brazen it is." more...

Trump and his allies have lobbied for votes in Wayne County, home to majority-Black Detroit, to be thrown out.
By Anya van Wagtendonk

With Michigan’s Monday deadline for certifying its election results looming, attempts by President Donald Trump to overturn the outcome in the state has led to a voting rights lawsuit — and could lead to a criminal investigation of officials there. On Friday, a group of Detroit voters filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the Trump campaign’s legal actions aimed at throwing out some votes in Wayne County, home to Detroit, amounted to a mass disenfranchisement of Black voters. “Repeating false claims of voter fraud, which have been thoroughly debunked, Defendants are pressuring state and local officials in Michigan not to count votes from Wayne County, Michigan,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation’s history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic.”

The city of Detroit is nearly 80 percent Black, and overwhelmingly votes Democratic in national elections. President-elect Joe Biden won Wayne County by about 332,000 votes, and it was critical to his 150,000-vote victory in Michigan, a battleground state that was key to Trump’s 2016 victory. Essentially, as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a Thursday press conference: “It changes the result of the election in Michigan, if you take out Wayne County.” To that end, Wayne County’s election results have been challenged by the Trump campaign and its loyalists throughout the week. more...

As they try to somehow reverse Joe Biden’s victory, President Trump and his allies have targeted heavily Black cities, painting them as corrupt and trying to throw out huge numbers of votes.
By Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti

In Pennsylvania, President Trump and Republicans loyal to him have sought to overturn his defeat by making false claims about widespread voting fraud in Philadelphia. In Georgia, they have sought to reverse his loss by leveling similar accusations against Atlanta. In Michigan, Republicans have zeroed in on Detroit, whose elections system the president has falsely portrayed as so flawed that its entire vote should be thrown out. Lost on no one in those cities is what they have in common: large populations of Black voters.

And there is little ambiguity in the way Mr. Trump and his allies are falsely depicting them as bastions of corruption. “‘Democrat-led city’ — that’s code for Black,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, the president of the civil rights group Repairers of the Breach. “They’re coupling ‘city’ and ‘fraud,’ and those two words have been used throughout the years. This is an old playbook being used in the modern time, and people should be aware of that.”

Mr. Trump’s fruitless and pyromaniacal campaign to somehow reverse President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the election rests on the wholesale disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters, a disproportionate number of them Black Americans living in the urban centers of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Notably absent from the effort has been any focus on predominantly white suburban areas where the president performed better, but where he lost ground compared with four years ago and arguably lost the election. more...

Trump campaign sued for attempting to disenfranchise Black voters
Crystal Hill

The Trump campaign has repeatedly attempted to use the judicial system to overturn the president’s defeat to President-elect Joe Biden, filing more than two dozen unsuccessful lawsuits since Election Day. But the president’s campaign now finds itself on the other side of a legal case in a newly filed federal lawsuit alleging that it violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it sought to “disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters,” particularly African Americans in metropolitan areas of Michigan.

“It’s not even about the success of President Trump and the Trump campaign’s attempts to overturn the election,” Monique Lin-Luse, assistant counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed the lawsuit, told Yahoo News. “The very attempt ... to overturn it by disenfranchising and de-legitimizing Black voters is what we believe is unlawful, and it's also dangerous and corrosive to our democracy.” more...

By James Crowley

A lawsuit by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is challenging President Donald Trump's campaign's claims about voter fraud, saying that the attempts to overturn the results in Michigan are disenfranchising Black voters. The complaint filed on Friday named both Trump and his campaign as the defendants. It claims that the Trump campaign has sought to pressure local and state officials to not count ballots for Wayne County, where Detroit is located. The lawsuit said that the president's efforts violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which rules against disenfranchising Black Voters.

Trump has filed a number of lawsuits, claiming that voter fraud cost him the election. But as the LDF lawsuit pointed out, most of the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign have been unsuccessful. "Defendants are openly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters," said the suit, adding: "Defendants' tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation's history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic." more...

By Kevin Liptak and Devan Cole, CNN

(CNN) A staunch ally of Donald Trump said Sunday it was time for the President to end his futile gambit to overturn the results of the election. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Trump has failed to provide any evidence of fraud, that his legal team was in shambles and that it's time to put the country first. "If you have got the evidence of fraud, present it," Christie said on ABC, where he is a contributor. He decried efforts by the President's lawyers to smear Republican governors who have not gone along with the President's false claims of voter malfeasance.

"Quite frankly, the conduct of the President's legal team has been a national embarrassment," he said, singling out Trump attorney Sidney Powell's accusations against Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp. Georgia will conduct another recount of its presidential ballots following a Trump campaign request Saturday, but the recount is extremely unlikely to change his loss in the state. President-elect Joe Biden, who was declared the winner Friday as the state certified the results, has a 12,670 vote or .2% lead over Trump in Georgia. "This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer," Christie said Sunday, noting Trump's attorneys have levied wild accusations in public but have not, so far, raised them in court, where there are consequences for providing false information.

"They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud," he said. "Listen," Christie concluded, "I have been a supporter of the President's. I voted for him twice, but elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen." "If you are unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn't exist," he went on. "The country is what has to matter the most. As much as I'm a strong Republican and I love my party, it's the country that has to come first." more...

The president’s comment comes after a series of legal defeats, and with his options dwindling.
By KYLE CHENEY

President Donald Trump made explicit Saturday the strategy his legal team has been hinting at for days: He wants Republican-led legislatures to overturn election results in states that Joe Biden won. "Why is Joe Biden so quickly forming a Cabinet when my investigators have found hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, enough to “flip” at least four States, which in turn is more than enough to win the Election?" Trump said, despite refusing to produce any such evidence either publicly or in court cases filed by his attorneys.

"Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself," Trump said. Trump's comment came after a string of legal defeats, including a rejection by a federal judge in Pennsylvania Saturday who said the Trump team presented no evidence of election fraud or misconduct, despite seeking to invalidate millions of votes. Trump's lead lawyer in the case, Rudy Giuliani, said he intends to appeal the case to the Third Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

But with few cases pending in courts, Trump's options have narrowed and he is becoming increasingly reliant on longshot scenarios where election results are not certified and Republican-controlled statehouses in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia intervene to declare him the winner. GOP legislative leaders in those states have not endorsed this approach. Trump summoned Michigan legislative leaders to the White House on Friday, but they later issued a statement indicating they had not seen any reason to intervene on Trump's behalf.

To succeed, Trump's plan would require several unprecedented legal steps. First, Republican-led legislatures in states Biden won would need to move to overturn their state's popular vote and appoint a slate of Trump electors when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, such maneuvers would be certain to meet vetoes from Democratic governors, so the lawmakers would also need to secure a legal determination that they hold the sole power to appoint electors — a disputed legal premise that has never been tested. more...

Kevin McCoy USA TODAY

A Pennsylvania federal court on Saturday denied President Donald Trump's request to block certification of the state's 2020 election results in order to give his lawyers time to find evidence to support their claims of a fraudulent election system and improper ballot counting. In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann criticized the lack of evidence the Trump campaign presented to support its argument to potentially disenfranchise every voter in the commonwealth who cast a ballot in the 2020 elections — nearly 7 million in all.

Brann noted that the less than two-week-old case developed a "tortured procedural history" that included a parade of lawyers for the campaign, shifting legal arguments to avoid clashing with a federal appeals court ruling, and an eleventh-hour motion to delay a hearing. Brann wrote that the lone legal claim left standing — an alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause — was like "Frankenstein’s Monster ... haphazardly stitched together" from two legal theories.

The ruling entirely dismissed the case filed by Trump's campaign and two Republican voters who said their ballots were rejected for technicalities, while those cast by thousands of voters in the state's Democratic strongholds were accepted. The decision specifically denied permission to amend the allegations. "This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated," Brann wrote in the 37-page decision.

"One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption," he wrote. "Instead, this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, ... unsupported by evidence. "In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state." more...

The meeting comes one a day after the Trump campaign dropped its final federal lawsuit in Michigan.
By NICK NIEDZWIADEK

A delegation of Republican state lawmakers from Michigan arrived in Washington on Friday as part of President Donald Trump’s Hail Mary attempt to usurp the results of the election he lost. Trump has baselessly cast doubt on the presidential election in Michigan, which he lost by approximately 150,000 votes, and has waged a campaign over the past two weeks to pressure Republicans in the state to back him in reversing the outcome. It is unclear how many GOP legislators will visit the White House, but the group is expected to include Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

Shirkey and state Sen. Tom Barrett were met by a throng of protesters and reporters outside Reagan National Airport upon their arrival Friday. The pair passed through the airport without talking to the media. Earlier this week Shirkey told Bridge Michigan, a nonprofit news outlet, that the idea the legislature would defy the voters is "not going to happen." It is uncertain whether state House Speaker Lee Chatfield will also be in attendance. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said during a Friday morning CNN interview that she received a text message from Chatfield that he had not committed to going to the White House. Jason Wentworth, who is succeeding Chatfield as speaker, was also spotted at the D.C. airport.

"I know these individuals, who are people who respect the rule of law, and the rule of law is quite clear here,” Benson, a Democrat, said. “And the will of the voters is also quite clear." The meeting comes one a day after the Trump campaign dropped its final federal lawsuit in Michigan and falsely declared victory after local election officials briefly declined to certify the results in the county that includes Detroit. Those election officials quickly relented, voting unanimously to certify the county's results. more...

Rivera blasted the Trump campaign’s allegations of an “international conspiracy,” quipping: “What about Elvis?!”
Justin Baragona

Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera warned Fox News host Jesse Watters on Thursday that he was “giving false hope to people” by lending credence to the unhinged election conspiracies peddled by the Trump campaign as it attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Hours after Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani held an off-the-rails 90-minute press conference in which he and other Trump legal advisers alleged a global conspiracy to steal millions of votes from President Donald Trump, Watters—who has largely backed Trump’s baseless voter fraud allegations—applauded Team Trump’s performance.

“It was a big shot of adrenaline today,” the Trump-boosting host declared during Thursday’s broadcast of The Five, adding that Giuliani says “he has hundreds of sworn affidavits” that allege corruption in the election. After Watters echoed many of the unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud that have recently been peddled by the president and his allies, Rivera threw cold water on the Giuliani claims. “Come on, Jesse,” he exclaimed. “The Clinton Foundation, George Soros, Hugo Chavez! I’m probably the only one in this building who has actually met Hugo Chavez!” more...

You probably guessed it from the headline: It’s truly nuts.
Will Sommer

The Trump campaign presented the public with a cornucopia of bogus new election fraud claims on Thursday, including one that seemed to have its roots in a 2016 conspiracy involving perpetual GOP boogeyman George Soros. The press conference will be remembered best for Rudy Giuliani, who in between trying to wipe up the apparent hair dye dripping down his face, promised that he had over 100 affidavits showing voter fraud, but alas, just couldn’t show them to anyone. But the real star was attorney Sidney Powell, who has been at the vanguard of absolute election nonsense since election night.

On Thursday, Powell declared that she had found the real villains behind Trump’s election defeat: billionaire Soros and deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In Powell’s telling, Chavez had been pulling the strings on American voting software this whole time. “The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software, and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” Powell declared. more...

Opinion by Eugene Robinson

President Trump is trying to cling to power by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Black voters. His desperate legal maneuvering is straight out of the old racist Jim Crow playbook — and the vast majority of elected Republicans, to their eternal shame, are going along with him — whether actively or passively.

In Wisconsin, Trump's campaign has paid for recounts in just two counties, one of which is Milwaukee County. In Michigan, Trump personally called two Republican officials who now want to decertify the vote in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. In Pennsylvania, Trump's legal team has challenged vote-counting procedures and made unsupported allegations of fraud in two cities: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In Georgia, the Trump team filed a lawsuit targeting absentee ballots in Savannah and another suit took aim at the state's ballot-curing process.

The pattern is obvious and appalling: Trump and the Republicans are trying to invalidate votes in cities with large African American populations — cities that happen to have voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. In effect, Trump is arguing that Black people have no right to vote him out of office.

I've seen this movie before. When I was growing up in South Carolina, the segregationist power structure throughout the former Confederacy perpetuated itself by denying African Americans access to the ballot box. Whites used poll taxes and literacy tests to keep Black people from registering to vote; drew jurisdictional boundaries to dilute Black political power; often resorted to physical intimidation at polling places; and, when everything else failed, simply invented reasons not to count African American votes.

All these years later, I've never had the illusion that white supremacy was completely vanquished — not even when the nation twice elected a Black man as president. But I honestly didn't think I would see such an undisguised, unapologetic reassertion of the white-is-right doctrine of my youth as we're witnessing now. more...

*** The two Republicans were willing to certify white arears that had more problems than the black areas that sounds racist. After Trump called them, they are changing their vote’s sounds like election interference by Trump. ***

Both claim they were pressured into agreeing to certify the results.
By Krystle Holleman and Spencer Soicher

DETROIT, Mich. (WILX) - Two members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers are pushing to reverse their decision after certifying the election results Tuesday evening. Wednesday night Monica Palmer, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, and William Hartmann, on of two Republicans on the board, filed signed affidavits demanding to rescind their “yes” votes for certification.

“I fully believe the Wayne County vote should not be verified,” Palmer said in an affidavit. “The Wayne County election had serious process flaws which deserve investigation. I continue to ask for information to assure Wayne County voters that these elections were conducted fairly and accurately.” Tuesday two Republican members of the board initially caused a deadlock. Eventually they agreed to certify the county’s vote on the condition of an audit. more...

By Annie Grayer, Jeremy Herb and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump has invited Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the President and his legal team are mounting an effort to overturn the results of the election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump also called two Republican canvass board members from Wayne County, to Tuesday to offer his support, the person said, after they went back and forth on voting to certify the election results from the state's largest county, which includes Detroit. The board members filed affidavits Wednesday seeking to "rescind" their votes to certify the election result. Trump extended the invitation on Thursday morning to the Michigan lawmakers by calling the state senate's Republican majority leader, the person familiar said.

Certification is usually a formality, but Trump is trying to block or delay the process in key states as part of a long-shot effort to overturn his election defeat through the Electoral College. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other allies have suggested that GOP state legislatures in battleground states Biden won should try to use a delay in certification to appoint their own slate of electors and ignore the states' popular votes for Biden. It comes as Trump's legal team's options to challenge election results in states Trump lost are rapidly evaporating and as states move to certify their election results. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani held a 90-minute news conference Thursday where he and his team laid out dubious legal claims, aired debunked conspiracy theories and brought no specific, credible evidence of voter fraud. "This is very dangerous for our democracy, as it is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters through political pressure from the President," CNN election law expert Rick Hasen wrote in his website. "Even though it is extremely unlikely to work, it is profoundly antidemocratic and a violation of the rule of law. It's inexcusable." more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Fresh off a surprisingly pedestrian election win on November 3, Lindsey Graham has decided to take on a new role: The most aggressive enforcer of the idea that President Donald Trump maybe -- just maybe! -- didn't lose the 2020 election. In recent days, the South Carolina Republican has reached out to election officials in at least three states -- Georgia, Arizona and Nevada -- to inquire about the process by which, among other things, signatures are verified on mail-in ballots. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN that Graham had called him to urge the removal of ballots amid the ongoing hand recount in the state. "I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures," Raffensperger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night. "So that's the impression that I got."

Graham told CNN that Raffensperger's allegations was "ridiculous." But a staffer for the Georgia secretary of state affirmed Raffensperger's version of events to CNN on Tuesday. "What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots and if a potentially ... if there was a percentage of signatures that weren't really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say somebody went to a courtroom could say, 'Well, let's throw (out) all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are separated,' " said Georgia election implementation manager Gabriel Sterling.

Graham, even as he was defending his call to Raffensperger, revealed to reporters that he had also reached out to election officials in two other states where the vote count between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden was quite close -- and where the President has insisted, with zero proof, that there were shenanigans involved in the ballot counting. That claim, however, was almost immediately disputed by Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who said she had not spoken to Graham (or any other member of Congress) about the vote count in the state. Graham told reporters he was not sure who he had talked to in Nevada (uh, OK) and that he had spoken with Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona. more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump escalated his efforts to cast doubt on the integrity of the voting process, outright encouraging supporters to vote twice in a test of election security -- which would be illegal. In his latest assault on mail-in balloting, Trump on Wednesday suggested North Carolinians should try to vote in-person even after casting mail-in ballots. Election authorities responded Thursday by pointing out that trying to vote more than once breaches state law and that it is a felony for a voter to intend to commit fraud by casting more than one ballot. "It is illegal to vote twice in an election," Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said in a message to voters. "Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law."

Trump's North Carolina furor was just one recent example of the administration apparently seeking to tilt the electoral playing field. Previously, it emerged that his Department of Homeland Security withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation about Joe Biden's health, which mirrored the President's own attacks. The report, first revealed by ABC News, followed the Director of National Intelligence's decision to stop in-person lawmaker briefings about election interference -- a move Democrats say could shield foreign actors who want to help Trump. If the story of the 2016 election was a broad meddling operation by a foreign power to favor Trump, the emerging story of the 2020 election increasingly appears to be an attempt by the President to use executive power to swing the election his way. There has never been a modern American election in which a President has so publicly and unashamedly tried to portray the sacred quadrennial exercise in democracy as corrupt. Trump's attempt to discredit mail-in voting got a strong assist from Attorney General William Barr, who declared that changing to such a system would be "reckless and dangerous," in an interview with CNN on Wednesday. more...

Shannon Bond

Someone started posting memes full of false claims that seemed designed to discourage people from voting. The memes were "trying to push this narrative of, 'The system is a mess and there's no point in you participating,' " Bannerman said. She recalled statements such as, " 'Democrats and Republicans are the same. There's no point in voting.' 'Obama didn't do anything for you during his term, why should you vote for a Democrat this time around?' "

Bannerman was alarmed. She had already been on high alert for these kinds of messages, because of her job as deputy director of Election Protection Arizona, a nonpartisan group that helps people vote. Black and Latino voters are being flooded with similar messages in the final days of the election, according to voting rights activists and experts who track disinformation. These tactics echo Russian election interference on social media four years ago when operatives working for the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency focused heavily on America's racial divisions, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference. more...

By Mark Joseph Stern

Texas Republicans have asked a federal judge to throw out at least 117,000 ballots cast in Harris County, a heavily Democratic area that has experienced an unprecedented surge in early voting this month. The brazen effort to undo legally cast ballots in a diverse, populous county is an eleventh-hour attempt to diminish Joe Biden’s chances of carrying the swing state on Nov. 3. Republicans claim that Harris County’s use of drive-thru voting violates the U.S. Constitution, requiring the judge to throw out every ballot cast this way—more than 117,000 as of Friday. This argument is outrageous and absurd. But the case landed in front of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, one of the most notoriously partisan conservatives in the federal judiciary. Democrats have good reason to fear that Hanen will order the mass nullification of ballots as early as Nov. 2, when he has scheduled a hearing.

Because Texas strictly limits mail-in voting, Harris County—which has a population of over 4.7 million people—has sought to make in-person voting safer during the pandemic. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county’s elections, established 10 drive-thru voting locations for the 2020 general election. Drivers pull into a large tent, where election officials confirm their identity, then give them privacy to vote. The process has proved wildly popular.

Harris County raised the idea of drive-thru voting in June, and Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs promptly approved it. The county tested it in July and approved it in August. Yet Republicans did not contest drive-thru voting in court until Oct. 15, two days after the start of early voting. On that day, the Harris County Republican Party, joined by several GOP operatives, asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt drive-thru voting. The court, which is entirely Republican, refused, over a single dissent. Republicans then went back to the Texas Supreme Court, asking it to toss out every ballot cast via drive-thru voting. The court is currently considering that request, though it seems unlikely to side with the plaintiffs given its previous decision. more...

By KEN RITTER

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans asked a state judge on Friday to stop the count of Las Vegas-area mail-in ballots, alleging that “meaningful observation” of signature-checking is impossible in the state’s biggest and most Democratic-leaning county. A lawsuit filed in state court less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 election complains that observers haven’t been allowed close enough to workers and machines at the busy vote-counting center to see whether ballots that get second- and third-step validation should be rejected.

Judge James Wilson in Carson City declined to issue an immediate order to stop the count, but scheduled a hearing next Wednesday on the request. The battle is the latest among court skirmishes across the U.S. amid President Donald Trump’s doubts about issues including voter registration, voter rolls and mail-in ballot deadlines prompted by the pandemic.

“There has been great concern whether the rolls are clean and properly registered voters are the ones receiving ballots, signing them and mailing them back,” Trump for President Nevada co-chairman Adam Laxalt said. “All we want is to be part of the signature verification process and the ability to challenge a mail-in signature.”

Laxalt invoked memories of the legal battle over the 2000 presidential election, which was ultimately decided in mid-December by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. But vote-by-mail “was not really an issue until someone started tweeting about it in a presidential year,” said Amber McReynolds, head of the nonprofit National Vote At Home Institute, which advocates expanded mail balloting. more...

Philip Ewing

Active Russian cyberattacks are targeting a wide swath of American government networks, including those involved with the ongoing election, federal authorities revealed Thursday. The focus of the effort include "U.S. state, local, territorial, and tribal government networks, as well as aviation networks," according to a new bulletin from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

It continued: "As this recent malicious activity has been directed at ... government networks, there may be some risk to elections information ... However, the FBI and CISA have no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised." U.S. officials said separately on Thursday afternoon that systems in two local government jurisdictions had been accessed, granting attackers admission to some limited data about voters. more...

By Jeremy Herb, Brian Fung, Jennifer Hansler and Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) Russian state-sponsored hackers have targeted state and local governments and in at least two instances have successfully stolen election data, US national security officials said Thursday. In addition, Iranian-based hackers appear intent on influencing and disrupting the 2020 election, US officials said. The Treasury Department responded on Thursday by issuing sanctions against five Iranian entities "for attempting to influence elections in the United States," including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The warnings issued Thursday indicate the heightened security posture of the US government days ahead of the presidential election. They come a day after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a hastily arranged news conference that Iran and Russia were interfering in the election and both countries had obtained some voter registration information, though Ratcliffe did not specify what information they had and whether it was publicly available.

Ratcliffe said Iran was responsible for spoofed emails that appeared to come from a far-right group and threatened Democratic voters, adding that they were intended to damage President Donald Trump -- an assertion that drew criticisms from Democrats, who accused the Trump administration of trying to conflate the interference threat posed by Russia and Iran.

CNN reported Wednesday that the government assessed that some of the data the Iranians obtained came from vendor and state systems, and was not just publicly available voter registration information, according to a source familiar with the matter. There is concern that Russia similarly accessed data but it is not clear what its intention is, the source said. Iran and Russia have denied interfering in the US election. The federal warnings about the stolen data were published in two separate alerts Thursday written jointly by the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and provided more detail on what Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray had referred to on Wednesday. more...

By Jeremy Herb and Zachary Cohen, CNN

(CNN) Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday both Iran and Russia have obtained US voter registration information in an effort to interfere in the election, including Iran posing as the far-right group Proud Boys to send intimidating emails to voters. Ratcliffe, appearing alongside FBI Director Chris Wray, said at a hastily arranged news conference Wednesday evening that Iran was responsible for the email campaign, made to look like it came from the Proud Boys, as well as spreading disinformation about voter fraud through a video linked in some of the emails.

"This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said. "We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President (Donald) Trump," Ratcliffe added. "You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours, or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails."

Ratcliffe did not explain what he meant by his statement that the emails -- which were sent to registered voters from "info@proudboys.com" and warned recipients to "Vote for Trump or else!" -- were intended to damage the President. Democrats and a group of former intelligence officials have accused Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman tapped to lead the intelligence community this year, of selectively declassifying intelligence in the run-up to the election to help Trump's campaign, and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee criticized him after the news conference. "DO NOT listen to Ratcliffe. Partisan hack," the committee's Twitter account said Wednesday evening. more...

Dan Mangan, Kevin Breuninger, Spencer Kimball

Iran and Russia have both obtained information about American voter registrations and are trying to influence the public about the upcoming U.S. presidential election, national security officials said Wednesday night. “Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to our elections,” said Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe at a hastily scheduled press conference.

“First we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia,” Ratcliffe said at the briefing, which comes less than two weeks before Election Day. “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.” more...

It wants to cause chaos, again. But it’s also learned some lessons from 2016.
By Jen Kirby

There’s an editor’s note at the top of a recent post on Larry Krakow’s blog.

“Note to my readers: I had this piece published elsewhere and it is no longer online,” it says at the top of his article, titled “The Hidden Corruption of the CARES Act.” “Sadly, it was a victim of a form of censorship that we can discuss at a later date. For now, understand how important it is to protect the right to free speech and a free press.”

The “elsewhere” it was originally published was a little-known website called PeaceData, an upstart progressive global news site, purportedly based primarily in Romania, with a mission “to shed light on the global issues and raise awareness about corruption, environmental crisis, abuse of power, armed conflicts, activism, and human rights.” Krakow, a 48-year-old butcher from Queens in New York, had recently started his own blog as he recovered from Covid-19. Spend five days in hell, with a fever bouncing between 103 and 104 degrees, and a minute passed out on the bathroom floor, and you find you have some things to say.

As Krakow set out to promote his own writing, he came across PeaceData. This spring, he reached out to Jake Sullivan, who identified himself as the site’s editor-in-chief. “‘Great site — kudos, I’m a fellow blogger, here’s my blog,’ Krakow said he told him. “And they got back to me and they said, ‘Wow, this is the kind of content that we’re looking for.’” “Next thing you know,” he added, “we were doing email exchanges and I was started writing for them.” more...

By Ben Wieder

Last October, federal prosecutors brought campaign finance charges against two associates of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had worked with him to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine to benefit President Donald Trump. Those Ukraine efforts contributed to the impeachment charges brought against President Trump in January and put Parnas and Fruman’s messy business history on display.

The two men were accused of using money provided by a then-unnamed Russian businessman for political donations to help their efforts to obtain marijuana licenses. They are scheduled to go to trial next year, along with two co-conspirators. On a pretrial call Thursday, the Russian businessman was identified as Andrei Muraviev by a lawyer for one of Parnas and Fruman’s two alleged co-conspirators, Andrey Kukushkin.

McClatchy was the first to report Muraviev as the likely foreign national last October, days after the charges against Parnas, Fruman and their alleged co-conspirators were unveiled on Oct. 10, 2019. And the Sacramento Bee reported soon after that Kukushkin and Muraviev were partners in multiple Sacramento cannabis businesses with local pot king Garib Karapetyan. more...

*** Russia is once again actively interfering in our elections to elect Donald J. Trump. Trump is Russia’s man in the White House. ***

By Zachary Cohen, Geneva Sands and Alex Marquardt, CNN

Washington (CNN) FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that Russia has been "very active" in its efforts to influence US elections, with the primary goal being to "denigrate" Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray told lawmakers that Russia is primarily interfering through "malign foreign influence in an effort to hurt Biden's campaign" -- echoing the intelligence community's public assessment on Moscow's meddling efforts issued last month. Wray's comments come as President Donald Trump and several other top administration officials have recently attempted to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected, while downplaying well-founded reports that Russia is trying to help Trump win again, like it did in 2016.

Foreign election interference efforts differ from what was observed in 2016, when there was also an effort to target election infrastructure, Wray said. "We have not seen that second part yet this year or this cycle, but we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," he added. According to Wray, Russia is using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow "divisiveness and discord" and "primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment." Intelligence officials have said they have uncovered evidence that Russia is currently interfering in the election to hurt Biden's campaign. Separately, some evidence has already emerged about Moscow's efforts, including Facebook's announcement earlier this month that a troll group that was part of Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election is trying to target Americans again. More...

China is also growing more adept at targeting campaign workers. But contrary to Trump administration warnings, Beijing is mostly targeting Biden campaign officials.
By David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth

The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans. That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies.

The findings come one day after a government whistle-blower claimed that officials at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security suppressed intelligence concerning Russia’s continuing interference because it “made the president look bad,” and instructed government analysts to instead focus on interference by China and Iran. Microsoft did find that Chinese and Iranian hackers have been active — but often not in the way that President Trump and his aides have suggested. More...

Bobby Allyn

Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that they had removed accounts linked to Russian state actors who tried to spread false stories about racial justice, the Democratic presidential campaign of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and President Trump's policies. Researchers who have examined the operation say it attempted to steer left-leaning voters away from the Biden-Harris campaign in an way that echoes the Russian disinformation campaigns that sought to depress progressive and minority support for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Facebook said the the Russian agents set up a site posing as an independent news outlet and managed to recruit "unwitting freelance journalists" to write stories that were shared by dozens of social media accounts created through artificial intelligence. The Russian operatives, according to Facebook, primarily used a website called PeaceData. It billed itself as a news site that aimed to shed light on corruption, abuse of power and human rights. Both Facebook and Twitter detected and removed accounts associated with the the site before any of them had gathered a large following.

The fake news site Peace Data isn’t the first time Russian trolls struck unwitting victims. But for a disabled woman ensnared in the scheme, she almost lost access to vital care.
Adam Rawnsley

For a time, it seemed like a great gig. Jacinda Chan’s job working for the website Peace Data was everything she’d been looking for. It was paid work writing about her favorite subject—human rights and Latin America—and her editors paid on time.

Chan, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and is a quadriplegic, hadn’t been able to get many good jobs in journalism. “I have difficulty finding employment in the USA because people look at me and wonder how I can work if I'm on a respirator,” she wrote to an editor at the site in July. “That is why I like this job. Nobody questioned my ability because I'm disabled. I just got the money.”  But this week it all came crashing down when Facebook revealed that Peace Data was fake. After a tip-off from the FBI and an internal investigation, the company discovered that the site was linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the troll farm responsible for much of the meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Elaborate ruse
The site used a mixture of fake personas and real, unwitting journalists tricked into believing the site was a legitimate outlet for human rights journalism. A number of the contributors have since come forward to share their stories about being exploited. But of all the people who’ve written for the site, Chan appears to have suffered the most from the troll farm’s ruse. The site has since shut its doors, leaving a cartoon of social media executives on a guillotine and a few embarrassed contributors in its wake. But the IRA’s ruse almost cost Chan much more—a lifeline to home caregivers.

The social media giant acted against a small network of pages and accounts that directed users to a fake left-leaning news site called Peace Data
By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg

Facebook removed a network of fake accounts and pages created by Russian operatives who had recruited U.S. journalists to write articles critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, an apparent bid to undermine their support among liberal voters. Facebook said it caught the network of 13 fake accounts and two pages early, before it had a chance to build a large audience — an action that the company said was evidence of its growing effectiveness at targeting foreign disinformation operations ahead of the 2020 election.

The takedown emerged as a result of a tip from the FBI and was one of a dozen operations tied to the Russian Internet Research Agency or individuals affiliated with it that Facebook has disrupted since the last presidential election, when IRA-backed pages amassed millions of views on the platform. The pages had about 14,000 followers. “They’ve gotten better at hiding who they are, but their impact has gotten smaller and smaller,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said of the foreign operations.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Sometimes -- OK, a lot of times -- Donald Trump says the quiet part out loud. Like during an interview on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning when Trump flatly admitted the real reason why he is blocking the inclusion of any money for the United States Postal Service in a coronavirus relief bill in Congress. Here's exactly what he said: "They want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent, that's election money basically. They want $3.5 trillion -- billion dollars for the mail-in votes, OK, universal mail-in ballots, $3.5 trillion. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots... " ... Now, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting, they just can't have it. So, you know, sort of a crazy thing. Very interesting." Let's be very, very clear about what Trump is saying here.

1) Democrats want funding in a coronavirus relief bill for the Postal Service.

2) They want that money so that the USPS can adequately deal with what is expected to be a major surge in mail-in and absentee balloting due to concerns about in-person voting spreading Covid-19.

3) Trump refuses to give them that money -- or include it in any sort of deal -- because, without it, there won't be the ability for the people to cast more mail-in ballots, or -- and this is really important -- for election officials to effectively count them all.

So, yeah. (And that's putting aside the fact that in blocking the coronavirus bill because of the money allotted for the Postal Service, the President is blocking a whole lot of other things, including increased education funding and rent/mortgage assistance, that many people in the country badly need.) This is the President of the United States purposely trying to make it harder for votes to be counted. Why? Because he believes that mail-in balloting is ripe for fraud. The problem with that view is that it is simply not supported by any real data. While Trump likes to focus on 500,000 absentee ballot applications being sent with the wrong return address in Virginia recently, the truth of the matter is that while mistakes like that one can get made, there's just no evidence of widespread purposeful voting fraud.

By Miles Parks

Almost exactly four years after Russian operatives hacked into the email accounts of prominent Democrats ahead of the 2016 election, Google confirmed on Thursday that foreign adversaries are still at it. Chinese-backed hackers were observed targeting former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign staff, and Iranian-backed hackers were seen targeting President Trump's campaign staff. Both were targeted with phishing attacks, according to Shane Huntley, the head of Google's Threat Analysis Group. He said there was no sign the attempts were successful. Huntley made the announcement on Twitter, and also said Google passed the information onto federal law enforcement. "Phishing" is when an attacker sends an email to a target often disguised as one meant to appear from a trusted source. The message can include a link designed to trick the target to click and download malicious software, or point the target to a website controlled by the attacker that might try to capture information. Google's announcement provided a reminder that Russia's interference game plan from the 2016 election is out in the open, and that other countries could attempt to replicate some or all of it this presidential election cycle. In a statement, the Biden campaign said Google had notified it of the attempted intrusions. "We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them," the campaign said in a statement. "Biden for President takes cybersecurity seriously. We will remain vigilant against these threats and will ensure that the campaign's assets are secured."

Government reports indicate a Florida election technology company was hacked in 2016. There’s plenty the public doesn’t know about the incident—but should—going into 2020.
By KIM ZETTER

On November 6, 2016, the Sunday before the presidential election that sent Donald Trump to the White House, a worker in the elections office in Durham County, North Carolina, encountered a problem. There appeared to be an issue with a crucial bit of software that handled the county’s list of eligible voters. To prepare for Election Day, staff members needed to load the voter data from a county computer onto 227 USB flash drives, which would then be inserted into laptops that precinct workers would use to check in voters. The laptops would serve as electronic poll books, cross-checking each voter as he or she arrived at the polls.

The problem was, it was taking eight to 10 times longer than normal for the software to copy the data to the flash drives, an unusually long time that was jeopardizing efforts to get ready for the election. When the problem persisted into Monday, just one day before the election, the county worker contacted VR Systems, the Florida company that made the software used on the county’s computer and on the poll book laptops. Apparently unable to resolve the issue by phone or email, one of the company’s employees accessed the county’s computer remotely to troubleshoot. It’s not clear whether the glitch got resolved—Durham County would not answer questions from POLITICO about the issue—but the laptops were ready to use when voting started Tuesday morning. Almost immediately, though, a number of them exhibited problems. Some crashed or froze. Others indicated that voters had already voted when they hadn’t. Others displayed an alert saying voters had to show ID before they could vote, even though a recent court case in North Carolina had made that unnecessary.

By Rachel Frazin

A new report by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee alleges that the National Rifle Association (NRA) "became a foreign asset" for Russia ahead of the 2016 election. The document published Friday says that the NRA and its officers, board members and donors "engaged in a years-long effort to facilitate the U.S.-based activities of Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin," despite being aware of the two Russian nationals' ties to the Kremlin. "The scope of the NRA’s support for these Russian activities raises concerns about whether the activity in which the NRA, its officers and board members engaged were in furtherance of the organization’s exempt purpose," it said. Last year, Butina pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of the Russian government. Torshin is a Russian banker and former politician. The report cited a series of emails between NRA officials and and interviews conducted during the 18-month investigation. One 2015 email seen by NRA executives said "Many powerful figures in the Kremlin are counting on Torshin to prove his American connections–a last minute important member cancellation could affect his political future." The Senate Democrats also found that over a years-long period, "NRA officers and board members directed organization resources toward facilitating the activities of Butina and Torshin in the United States." The report also raised questions about an NRA delegation's travel to Moscow in December 2015. "The NRA initially reimbursed some trip expenses," it said. "In 2018, after Senator Wyden first asked the NRA about its relationship to Torshin, the organization sought reimbursement ... to get trip expense payments 'off the NRA’s books.' " Democrats said that the report shows wrongdoing by the gun rights organization. more...

By Tim Mak

The National Rifle Association acted as a "foreign asset" for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee's Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin more than previously known — even though the two had declared their ties to the Kremlin. The report, available here, also describes how closely the gun rights group was involved with organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow. Then-NRA vice president Pete Brownell, who would later become NRA president, was enticed to visit Russia with the promise of personal business opportunities — and the NRA covered a portion of the trip's costs. The conclusions of the Senate investigation could have legal implications for the NRA, Wyden says. Tax-exempt organizations are barred from using funds for the personal benefit of its officials or for actions significantly outside their stated missions. The revelations in the Senate report raise questions about whether the NRA could face civil penalties or lose its tax-exempt status. Attorneys general in the state of New York and the District of Columbia are conducting separate probes into alleged wrongdoing at the gun rights organization. These probes have a broader scope than the Senate report, which focuses on Russia. more...

By ERIC GELLER

LAS VEGAS — Democratic lawmakers emerged from the world’s largest hacker conference this weekend with a clear message: Congress must pass legislation to mandate better U.S. election security. In panels and interviews at DEF CON in Las Vegas, where a roomful of hackers demonstrated ways to breach insecure voting machines, those lawmakers focused their fury on the man proudly blocking their bills. “Why hasn’t Congress fixed the problem? Two words: Mitch McConnell,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said during a Friday keynote address to a packed and largely supportive room at DEF CON’s Voting Village. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of a handful of computer scientists in Congress, told POLITICO that when it came to his biggest election security concern, “I have two words: Mitch McConnell.” The Senate majority leader has repeatedly blocked votes in the upper chamber on two House Democratic bills that would require voting machines to produce paper records, mandate post-election audits and impose security requirements on election technology companies. Election security experts overwhelmingly say these provisions are vital for protecting the democratic process. But McConnell has argued repeatedly that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their elections. It’s “stupid to have the view that states have the right to have poor election security,” Lieu told POLITICO.

By Chris Sommerfeldt - New York Daily News

Chuck Schumer is bringing the “Moscow Mitch” moniker to a whole other level. The New York senator speculated Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been blocking election security bills from becoming law because he wants "the Russians to interfere” in 2020. Appearing on Joe Madison’s namesake radio show, Schumer said he could only think of two reasons for why McConnell derailed a couple of proposals last week that would have beefed up election security ahead of next’s year presidential contest — “neither of them good.” “One, they want the Russians to interfere because they think it’ll help them,” Schumer said. “The second, is another reason not so good. Donald Trump in his puerile, babyishness, if that’s even a word, is so upset at the fact that the Russians might have interfered, that it delegitimizes his election, and McConnell is so scared of Trump that he goes along.” Referring to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress last month, Schumer added, “Mueller made this clear: the Russians wanted Trump to win.”

By David E. Sanger and Catie Edmondson

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time. But while the bipartisan report’s warning that the United States remains vulnerable in the next election is clear, its findings were so heavily redacted at the insistence of American intelligence agencies that even some key recommendations for 2020 were blacked out. The report — the first volume of several to be released from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference — came 24 hours after the former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III warned that Russia was moving again to interfere “as we sit here.” While details of many of the hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in Illinois and Arizona, are well known, the committee described “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” intended largely to search for vulnerabilities in the security of the election systems. A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. It concluded that while there was no evidence that any votes were changed in actual voting machines, “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data” in the Illinois voter database. The committee found no evidence that they did so.

By Kathryn Watson

Hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified Wednesday that Russians are still meddling in the U.S. political system, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the advancement of legislation to secure the nation's election system. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also blocked a set of bills on election security Wednesday. In blocking the legislation crafted by Senate Democrats to provide more funding for election security, McConnell declared the effort partisan and insisted the Trump administration has already done much to secure the nation's elections. One bill McConnell objected to would have both required the use of paper ballots and provided funding for the Election Assistance Commission. He also objected to legislation that would have required campaigns and candidates to report offers offers of election-related aid from foreign governments.

By Ted Barrett and Kevin Collier, CNN

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi on Wednesday blocked the advancement of a trio of bills aimed at strengthening election security just hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned of the continued threat that foreign powers interfering in US elections. Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon had advocated for the bills on the Senate floor, asking for unanimous consent to pass the package, but that ask can be halted with an objection from any senator. Two of those bills would require campaigns to report to federal authorities any attempts by foreign entities to interfere in US elections, and the third is aimed at protecting from hackers the personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers. Hyde-Smith objected to each unanimous consent request in keeping with GOP arguments that Congress has already responded to election security needs for the upcoming election. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a tweet Wednesday evening.

By David Jackson, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is getting poor reviews from the Kremlin. The report "does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the U.S," said Dmitry Peskov, top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, the report from special counsel Robert Mueller details how Russian interests hacked prominent Democrats and pushed fake news about President Donald Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton. "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion," the report says. Mueller's team indicted more than two dozen Russian officials in connection with the effort. The report say the Russians wanted to sow dissension within the American public, and that the Kremlin saw advantages in having Trump as president. Even before the 2016 election in the United States, officials in numerous European nations accused the Russians of trying to sabotage their elections. Peskov noted that Putin has repeatedly denied claims of election interference "because there was none.” more...

By David E. Sanger and Catie Edmondson

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time, but at the demand of American intelligence agencies the committee was forced to redact its findings so heavily that key lessons for the 2020 election are blacked out. Even key findings at the beginning of the report were heavily redacted. The report — the first volume of several to be released from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference — came just 24 hours after the former special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, warned that Russia was moving again to interfere “as we sit here.” It also landed hours after Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, personally stepped forward to block consideration of a package of election security bills.

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a "political benefit." The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election "as we sit here." Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had tried to get consent Thursday to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184 with one Republican voting for it. But McConnell objected, saying Schumer was trying to pass “partisan legislation.” “Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell said. Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object. Schumer argued that if McConnell didn’t like that bill “let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments. McConnell also objected to that bill.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday he believes President Donald Trump actually lost the 2016 election and is president only because of Russian interference. Carter made the comments during a discussion on human rights at a resort in Leesburg, Virginia, without offering any evidence for his statements.

McConnell, with GOP Senate leaders, just "stands there and twiddles their thumbs and almost says, ‘Come on Putin, let it happen," the minority leader said.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for blocking legislation that would protect U.S. elections from future interference, including by foreign governments. “It is irresponsible for the Republican leader to declare 'mission accomplished' about the 2018 elections,” Schumer told reporters on Capitol Hill, speaking about McConnell's remark in which he claimed an absence of problems in last year's midterms. “The Republican Senate, Leader McConnell just stands there and twiddles their thumbs and almost says, ‘Come on Putin, let it happen,'” said Schumer, who added that any leader in Congress who doesn’t work to protect the nation’s elections is “abdicating their responsibilities to our grand democracy.” In an effort to push election security measures, Democrats have a three-pronged strategy, Schumer said. First, lawmakers will press McConnell to allow debate on legislation that’s been introduced by holding standalone votes on those bills. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, for example, called for a unanimous consent vote on his legislation last week that would legally require a presidential campaign to notify the FBI about foreign interference, but Republicans blocked it. Second, Democrats plan to press McConnell to allow votes on amendments for the 2020 defense policy bill that the Senate will consider this week that deal with election interference, which Schumer called a “national security issue.” Finally, the Democratic leader said that he will also push for election security funding as part of negotiations for a two-year deal to lift spending ceilings. - If the Russians had helped the democrats during the elections, McConnell and the GOP would be up in arms and passing all kinds of laws to protect election security.

The GOP governor said the incidents took place in 2016 and no election results were compromised. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After an FBI briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the 2016 presidential election. DeSantis said Tuesday the hackers didn't manipulate any data and the election results weren't compromised. The governor said he signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties, but elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions.


By Betsy Woodruff, Erin Banco
One former analyst at the Wikistrat consulting firm called it ‘disturbing.’Days after Donald Trump rode down an escalator at Trump Tower and announced he’d run for president, a little-known consulting firm with links to Israeli intelligence started gaming out how a foreign government could meddle in the U.S. political process. Internal communications, which The Daily Beast reviewed, show that the firm conducted an analysis of how illicit efforts might shape American politics. Months later, the Trump campaign reviewed a pitch from a company owned by that firm’s founder—a pitch to carry out similar efforts. The founder of the firm, called Wikistrat, has been questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as they investigate efforts by foreign governments to shape American politics during the 2016 presidential campaign. Joel Zamel, a low-profile Israeli-Australian who started the firm, has deep contacts in Middle Eastern intelligence circles. There are no known publicly available pictures of him. But he met people in the upper echelons of the Trump campaign. In April 2016, senior Trump campaign official Rick Gates reviewed a pitch produced by a company called Psy Group, which Zamel reportedly owns. The pitch laid out a three-pronged election influence campaign that included creating thousands of fake social media accounts to support then-candidate Trump and disparage his opponents, according to The New York Times. After Trump became the party’s official nominee, Zamel met with Donald Trump Jr. and discussed the plan, which echoed both the real election interference already underway by the Kremlin and the scenario Wikistrat gamed out the year before. Zamel took part in at least two meetings in Washington in 2016 and 2017. And his staff at Psy Group made several connections about their social media manipulation plan with individuals who represented themselves as close to the Trump team.

Russian operations meant to polarize American voters continued during the midterm elections, but did not compromise the voting systems used, according to a study by the intelligence community. The assessment by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, was the result of a request by the White House before the November vote that he examine election meddling by Russia and other powers. The agency did not release that report, but Mr. Coats released a statement on the document. “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests,” Mr. Coats said in the statement.
Russia used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, a report claims. New research says YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal - as well as Facebook and Twitter - were leveraged to spread propaganda. The report, released today by the US Senate, exposes the scale of Russian disinformation efforts. Its authors criticise the "belated and uncoordinated response" by tech firms. The report was put together by University of Oxford's Computational Propaganda Project and the social network analysis firm Graphika. It is the first analysis of millions of social media posts provided by Twitter, Google and Facebook to the Senate Intelligence Committee. While Facebook and Twitter have previously disclosed Russian interference, little has been known about the use of other platforms. The report suggests YouTube, Tumblr, PayPal and Google+ were all affected, with Russia adapting techniques from digital marketing to target audiences across multiple channels. "It's a whole family of social media sites," says Dr Philip N. Howard, director of the Oxford Internet Institute. "We think the goal was to make the campaigns seem more legitimate."

If it had stuck with its original mission — digging up dirt on the rich and famous, without a care for the rules of traditional journalism — The Enquirer would have had the tabloid story of a lifetime. The most powerful print publication in America might just be The National Enquirer. It functioned as a dirty-tricks shop for Donald J. Trump in 2016, which would have been the stuff of farce — the ultimate tabloid backs the ultimate tabloid candidate — if it hadn’t accomplished its goal. The Enquirer’s power was fueled by its covers. For the better part of the campaign season, Enquirer front pages blared sensational headlines about Mr. Trump’s rivals from eye-level racks at supermarket checkout lanes across America. This stroke-of-genius distribution apparatus was dreamed up by the man who made The Enquirer the nation’s biggest gossip rag: its previous owner, Generoso Pope Jr. The Enquirer’s racks, under the current chief, David J. Pecker, were given over to the Trump campaign. This was a political gift even more valuable than the $150,000 that The Enquirer paid in a “catch-and-kill” deal with the former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her story of an affair with Mr. Trump. Wondering what The Enquirer’s covers were worth to the Trump campaign, I called Regis Maher, a co-founder of Do It Outdoors, the national mobile and digital billboard company. He said a campaign with that level of national prominence would cost $2.5 million to $3 million a month. - The National Enquirer interfered with the election by prompting false stories about Trumps opponents, while hiding bad stories about Trump at the same time promoting good stories about Trump and not telling the America people they had made a deal to protect Trump from bad stories.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to release two reports on Monday detailing the breadth of the Russian social media campaign to sow discord in the United States. The reports, both of which were commissioned by the committee, are based on troves of data that Facebook, Twitter, and Google handed over to the committee about the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election and American politics generally. Much of the data has not previously been disclosed publicly. Researchers analyzed more than 10 million tweets, 116,000 Instagram posts, 61,000 Facebook posts and 1,000 videos posted by the Russian government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA), the troll group indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year.

Facebook Inc.’s Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation of U.S. voters than the company has previously discussed, and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections, according to a report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Russian Internet Research Agency, the troll farm that has sought to divide Americans with misinformation and meme content around the 2016 election, received more engagement on Instagram than it did on any other social media platform, including Facebook, according to a joint report by three groups of researchers. “Instagram was a significant front in the IRA’s influence operation, something that Facebook executives appear to have avoided mentioning in Congressional testimony,” the report says. IRA activity shifted there after the media began to write about Russian activity on Twitter and Facebook. “Our assessment is that Instagram is likely to be a key battleground on an ongoing basis.”

The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report adds new details to the portrait that has emerged over the last two years of the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day. “Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” says the report, produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Austin, Texas, along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC. One continuing Russian campaign, for instance, seeks to influence opinion on Syria by promoting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president and a Russian ally in the brutal conflict there.

The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to analyze the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee. A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office. The report, obtained by The Washington Post before its official release Monday, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel also released a second independent report studying the 2016 election Monday. Lawmakers said the findings “do not necessarily represent the views” of the panel or its members.

Shane Huntley has seen every form of state-sponsored cyberattack, first as an Australian intelligence officer and now as director of Google’s most advanced team of threat detectors. So when he was asked what surprised him the most about the 2018 midterm elections, his response was a bit counterintuitive. “The answer is surprisingly little on the hacking front, at least compared to two years ago.” He paused, and added: “And that reassures some people, and it scares some people.”

A new book makes a not very skeptical case for Russia’s impact on the 2016 race. In her new book, Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, Kathleen Hall Jamieson argues that the Russian-government directed interference campaign likely provided Donald Trump with his winning margin in the crucial states that allowed for his 2016 Electoral College victory. But in an election with so many moving parts, how can we really know, or even be confident, that the Russian operation made the difference?

the Justice Department announced that Russia and the world’s most interesting catering company continue to attack the United States online—and that Russian Twitter trolls had even defended the efforts of special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year. Prosecutors unsealed a September criminal complaint against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, a 44-year-old Russian woman from St. Petersburg. According to the charges, Khusyaynova is employed by the Internet Research Agency, the “troll farm” directed by a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s Cook,” Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Those companies, in addition to handling school lunches for Russian children and overseeing the Internet Research Agency, also reportedly supply mercenaries to support Russia’s interests in the Syrian civil war.

The U.S. government warned about the continued threat of foreign interference on Friday as it unsealed a new criminal complaint against a Russian woman described as the paymistress for Moscow's program of information war — a scheme targeting next month's midterm elections in the U.S.

The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming Midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of “Project Lakhta,” a foreign influence operation they said was designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a whole host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control, and the NFL national anthem protests.The charges against Khusyaynova came just as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned that it was concerned about “ongoing campaigns” by Russia, China and Iran to interfere with the upcoming Midterm elections and even the 2020 race — an ominous warning that comes just weeks before voters head to the polls.
Complete coverage of Russia’s campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

Crystal's tweet praising the former first lady's Ivy League education was shared more than 120,000 times and liked by 325,000 users, according to a CNN analysis of data released by Twitter. In fact the post, the day after the awards show, went viral more than any tweet she and her colleagues ever posted. Her colleagues at Russian intelligence, that is. Crystal1Johnson," since suspended form the social media platform, was a fake Russian account run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), according to Twitter. It's one of thousands released this week by Twitter as part of a huge 9-million-tweet collection of the Russian group's activities -- the most comprehensive accounting to date of the so-called IRA's efforts to use fake social media posts to inflame American society and influence its elections.

Here's a look at hacking incidents during the 2016 presidential campaign  and Russian meddling in the election. For details about investigations  into hacking and efforts to interfere with the election, see 2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast Facts.  

The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to increase political instability in the United States and to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign by bolstering the candidacies of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. A January 2017 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored presidential candidate Trump over Clinton, and that Russian president Vladimir Putin personally ordered an "influence campaign" to harm Clinton's chances and "undermine public faith in the US democratic process"

In the wake of the Mueller indictment of a Russian troll farm, any attempt to claim that the 2016 presidential election wasn’t affected by Russian meddling is laughable. For some time, there has been a conflation of issues—the hacking and leaking of illegally obtained information versus propaganda and disinformation; cyber-security issues and the hacking of elections systems versus information operations and information warfare; paid advertising versus coercive messaging or psychological operations—when discussing “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US elections. The refrain has become: “There is no evidence that Russian efforts changed any votes.” But the bombshell 37-page indictment issued Friday by Robert Mueller against Russia’s Internet Research Agency and its leadership and affiliates provides considerable detail on the Russian information warfare targeting the American public during the elections. And this information makes it increasingly difficult to say that the Kremlin's effort to impact the American mind did not succeed.

For two years, cybersecurity researchers, spies and federal prosecutors have laid out a stunningly thorough chain of evidence to support one simple conclusion: The Russian government sought to sway the 2016 presidential election. Federal agents have traced data and currency trails across continents, revealed inside knowledge of Russian spies’ computer network, and quoted the private emails of employees at a Russian internet firm working to influence voters. Cybersecurity researchers analyzed malware and followed clues buried in the details of stolen emails.

The Justice Department announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing them of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks. All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in "their official capacities."

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