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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 13, 2019

"Civil War" Threats as Russian Agitprop

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
From October 2018:
A criminal complaint was unsealed in Alexandria, Virginia, today charging a Russian national for her alleged role in a Russian conspiracy to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2018 midterm election. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, and FBI Director Christopher Wray made the announcement after the charges were unsealed.
“Today’s charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. ...
From the complaint:
Members of the Conspiracy also developed detailed analysis of timely news
articles and guidance for how to describe the articles in social media posts in order to promote the objectives of the Conspiracy. For example, in or around early August 2017, one or more members of the Conspiracy working under the guise of the Facebook group "Secured Borders" analyzed a large quantity of U.S. news articles, summarized the substance of the articles, and outlined ways for the conspiracy to promote them. Specifically, one or more members of the Conspiracy described each article and categorized its theme, provided a strategic response with a particular focus on how to target U.S. audiences, and then noted approval to use the strategic response. The strategic response was referred to as "Tasking Specifics," which appeared to include an assignment to certain members of the Conspiracy to disseminate the message on
social media platforms
...
Citing an online news article titled "Savage: Civil War if Trump Taken Down," from on or about August 6, 2017, a member of the Conspiracy directed that the article be messaged in the following way:
Forcefully support Michael Savage's point of view with competence and honesty. Savage made it clear that any attempt to remove Trump is a direct path to a civil war in the United States. Name those who oppose the president and those who impede his efforts to implement his pre-election promises. Focus on the fact that the Anti-Trump Republicans: a) drag their feet with regard to financing the construction of the border wall; b) are not lowering taxes; c) slander Trump and harm his reputation (bring up McCain); d) do not want to cancel Obamacare; e) are not in a hurry to adopt laws that oppose the refugees coming from Middle Eastern countries entering this country. Summarize that in case Republicans will not stop acting as traitors, they will bring upon themselves forces of civil retribution during the 2018 elections. (Preliminary translation of Russian text.)