Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Trump and Violence

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Laura King at LAT:
President Trump and his allies sought to depict protests over racial injustice as a law-and-order campaign issue Sunday, attacking Democratic leaders, refusing to condemn deadly vigilante violence and touting a purportedly tranquil “Donald Trump’s America” as former Vice President Joe Biden accused him of inciting violence for political gain.
Against the backdrop of a still-raging coronavirus outbreak, the White House offered the clearest signal yet of a calculated GOP strategy of exploiting voter fears of violence as the campaign against Biden enters the final stretch.
The strategy closely resembles the one Trump employed, unsuccessfully, in the 2018 midterm election, when he spent weeks warning of “caravans” of migrants trying to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. That approach failed to stave off large Democratic gains in congressional races, but Trump has returned to it this year as he continues to lag behind Biden in polls of the presidential race.



Sunday, August 30, 2020

AWOL at the Convention: Congressional Elections

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race

Carl Hulse and Nicholas Fandos at NYT:
A fight for control of the Senate is raging across the country, but viewers who tuned in to the Republican National Convention this week could be forgiven if they did not realize it.

In a two-and-a-half-minute taped address on Thursday night, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, urged voters to back Republican senators as a “firewall” against Democrats. But other than those remarks on the convention’s closing night, vulnerable Republican senators battling to hang on to their party’s majority were almost absent from the stage.

One who did appear in prime time, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, focused on a wind storm that hit her state without even mentioning that she was running for re-election, or that control of the Senate — crucial to the next president — was on the ballot.

And when Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader responsible for retaking control of the House, spoke early Thursday evening in his own taped remarks, he said nothing about his party’s efforts to reclaim the majority, an endeavor that most now privately concede is unlikely to succeed. The only candidate he mentioned was President Trump.

GOP Convention Meh!

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

President Trump's Thursday night convention speech making the case for his reelection was lower-rated than his challenger Joe Biden's speech one week ago, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.
About 23.8 million viewers watched coverage of Trump's RNC address across thirteen cable and broadcast networks, down from 24.6 million viewers who watched Biden's DNC address on twelve of those same networks.
The gap between Biden and Trump was wider earlier in the day, when fewer networks were counted in the total. Nielsen released its final audience estimate late on Friday afternoon, bringing Trump within a million viewers. Still, Biden clearly edged out Trump.
The Democratic convention was also higher-rated than the Republican convention overall when the audience for all four days is tallied up.
Kendall Karson at ABC:
President Donald Trump's efforts to build his appeal and define his opponent at the Republican National Convention, using pageantry and the White House as the backdrop, had little apparent impact on the electorate's impressions of both him and former Vice President Joe Biden, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.
Trump's week of celebration did not improve his favorability, even among his own base, and the country still remains widely critical of his handling of the major crisis of his presidency: COVID-19.
Less than one-third (31%) of the country has a favorable view of the president in the days after he accepted the Republican nomination for the second time -- a stagnant reality for Trump. His favorability rating stood at 32% in the last poll, taken a week earlier, right after the Democratic National Convention.

Trump finds himself in a much different position than his chief rival.
In the new survey, which was conducted using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel, Biden's favorability remains higher than his unfavorability, 46% to 40%, solidifying his improvement in favorability from last week, when attitudes about the Democratic nominee improved to a net positive from his slightly underwater position prior to the convention.
Biden's favorability ticked up from 40% in an Aug. 13 poll to 45% just after the Democratic convention.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

1988 and 2020

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Thomas B. Edsall at NYT:
Asked to describe how the politics of today compare to the politics of 1988, when Biden first ran for president, Sean Westwood, a political scientist at Dartmouth, replied that what stands out to him is how animosity is driving the current versions of both parties.
The electorate in 1988 was far more likely to view the other side with respect. Voters believed that both candidates sought to better the American way of life. Contrast this with today’s candidates who are both focused on corralling anger to their advantage, with Biden searching for those angry with Trump and Trump searching for angry middle-class whites.

Over the past three-plus decades, the Democratic Party has been on the leading edge of change, one step or more ahead of the nation as a whole.

Democrats have become decisively more liberal, especially on cultural issues; more dependent on states on the East and West Coasts; more diverse; more ideologically orthodox, less religious, less white; and in many cases more highly educated.

“The race and religion gap jumps out to me, specifically white Christians vs. everyone else,” Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University, wrote in an email describing how the parties have changed in recent decades.

While “the Republican Party doesn’t look terribly different than it did in the 1980s: about 88 percent were white Christians in 1984; in 2018, it’s still 75 percent.”

In contrast, the Democrats have changed radically, Burge continued: “About 68 percent of Democrats were white Christians in 1984, today it’s 38 percent.”

From 1991 to 2018, the share of Democrats who describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated has grown from 10 percent to 38 percent. While a majority of Democrats say they believe in God, the party has become the home on nonbelievers.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Trump's Permission Structure

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway

Mike Allen and Alayna Treene at Axios:
The four-night Republican convention had twin aims, officials tell Axios:
  1. Make Trump more palatable to suburbanites who hate his rhetoric but like some of his policies.
  2. Ratchet up the fear factor for the Biden-Harris ticket, mostly using riots and safety as hot buttons — "deadly sanctuary cities," and charges Biden would let in jihadis, take down the wall and turn criminals loose.
Parts of the convention were effective — including stories of personal empathy, and testimonies from Black allies like Herschel Walker, the former NFL star, who said: "I take it as a personal insult that people would think I've had a 37-year friendship with a racist."
The bottom line: All those moments were designed to create a permission structure for nervous suburbanites to vote for Trump despite possible stigma in their social circles, a Trump aide told Axios.
  • But Trump advisers admit there was there was lots of contradictory messaging, such as hitting the Biden-backed 1994 crime bill as too harsh, while crowning Trump the candidate of law and order.
  • And harping on rising violence in big cities, when Trump is in charge.
Yes, the permission ramp was quite rickety.

Damon Linker at The Week:
Donald Trump is far behind with female voters. Given that fact, one would expect the Trump campaign to make some moves to appeal to women. Yet on Tuesday night, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson addressed the RNC and its audience of millions, despite her holding views that go far beyond garden-variety opposition to abortion.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Johnson faced a firestorm of criticism for saying in a YouTube video earlier this year that her "brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons." Then, shortly before the RNC began, a White House reporter for CBS News drew attention to two of Johnson’s tweets from May in which she expressed support for "bringing back household voting," which would give each household a single vote — and give husbands "the final say." (Johnson doubled down on this outlandishly retrograde position on Tuesday evening just a few hours before her speech.)
No wonder, then, that when she stood at the podium at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C., Johnson unleashed an unmodulated attack on her former employer Planned Parenthood, denouncing its "racist roots," deploring its "barbarity," and even pausing to evoke "what abortion smells like." The assault naturally culminated in gushing praise for the anti-abortion efforts of President Trump.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Permission Ramp Gets Sturdier

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway

  An unusual aspect of the campaign is the number of high-profile Republicans supporting Biden.


Camilo Montoya-Galvez at CBS:
Republican aides who worked in the George W. Bush administration and for the late Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney vouched their support for 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Thursday, joining other GOP officials in rejecting President Trump's reelection campaign on the final day of the Republican National Convention.

...
"Given the incumbent president's lack of competent leadership, his efforts to aggravate rather than bridge divisions among Americans, and his failure to uphold American values, we believe the election of former Vice President Biden is clearly in the national interest," more than 100 former McCain staffers wrote in a public letter.

Romney's former staffers were more forceful in their rebuke of Mr. Trump, saying that while some of them voted for him in 2016, they are all now worried about the GOP transforming into a "toxic personality cult" under the president's leadership. Romney himself has frequently crossed the White House since arriving in the Senate, and was the only GOP senator to vote to convict Mr. Trump in his impeachment trial.
"Since 2017, the results of that disastrous decision have been on full display for the world to see. Now, with a pandemic crippling our economy and strangling our national spirit, every corner of America is suffering at the hands of President Trump's erratic, inept, self-absorbed governing style," more than 30 former Romney aides wrote in their letter.
...
"Joe's kindness is sorely needed right now. He famously treats the train operator with the same dignity as his fellow senators. As former public servants, we believe that decency in government must not be allowed to die on the vine," 230 Bush alumni wrote in their letter. "We must take a stand and insist that it returns to the Office of the President."

Kenosha

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Illegality and the Republican Convention

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway

Trump aides proudly flout the law.

Molly Blackall at The Guardian:
Featuring an executive pardon for a bank robber turned social entrepreneur, a naturalisation ceremony for new US immigrants, and a speech from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, during an official visit to Jerusalem, the second day of the Republican national convention led critics to accuse Donald Trump of turning politics into a series of reality TV-style stunts.
But the implications of this display of presidential power may be more serious: legal observers warned that these segments appeared to violate the Hatch Act, which prevents federal employees from taking part in political activity while on duty, and a senior Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee has launched an investigation into whether Pompeo’s appearance broke the law.
Erwin Chemerinsky at LAT:
President Trump is almost surely violating the law and certainly violating the norms of the office in giving his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House. But we have become so inured to Trump’s behavior that this will likely produce little more than a shrug.
Federal law, specifically the Hatch Act, is clear that federal employees cannot participate in partisan political activities. The Hatch Act, adopted in 1939 after it was revealed that employees of the federal Works Progress Administration had been involved in congressional election campaigns the year before, broadly forbids federal civilian employees from engaging in political activities.
The Supreme Court has upheld the law as constitutional, even though it dramatically limits the speech and political activities of government employees. The court explained the importance of keeping federal employees from feeling pressured to engage in political work and of preventing officeholders from using federal workers to help their campaign
Sinead Baker at Business Insider:
Trump aides "take pride" in pushing the boundaries of ethics laws that are supposed to separate public office and political activities, The New York Times reported.
The Daily Beast, citing two former officials, said one motivation is that such acts frustrate the media with few consequences for themselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Former Bush/Reagan DOJ Officials Back Biden

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underwayAn unusual aspect of the campaign is the number of high-profile Republicans supporting Biden.

“I think a lot of us are extremely alarmed, frankly, at the threat of autocracy,” Donald B. Ayer, former deputy attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration, said in an interview with POLITICO. “He’s going to be unleashed if he gets a second term. I don’t know what’s going to stop him.”
Others include:
  • Alan Charles Raul, who served as vice chair of the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board under George W. Bush and served in roles with George H.W. Bush as well as associate counsel to the president in the Reagan administration.
  • Charles Fried, former U.S. solicitor general under the Reagan administration and an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Stuart Gerson, who worked as assistant attorney general under George H. W. Bush.
  • Peter Keisler, former U.S. acting attorney general under George W. Bush.
  • Paul Rosenweig, who served in the department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush.
  • Robert Shanks, former U.S. deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration
  • J.W. Verret, who served on Trump’s presidential transition staff.
The soft spot, the least tyrant-proof part of the government, is the U.S. Department of Justice and the larger law enforcement and regulatory apparatus of the United States government. The first reason you should fear a Donald Trump presidency is what he would do to the ordinary enforcement functions of the federal government, not the most extraordinary ones.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Republicans for Biden

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  An unusual aspect of the campaign is the number of high-profile Republicans supporting Biden.

Brooke Singman at Fox:
Joe Biden's list of Republican supporters, shared first with Fox News, includes a number of well-known Trump critics, most notably former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
...
Some others on the list had already backed the former vice president, including former Republican Sens. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire (who is now an independent) and John Warner of Virginia. They're joined by a number of former Republican House members:

Former Reps. Steve Bartlett of Texas, Bill Clinger of Pennsylvania, Tom Coleman of Missouri, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Charles Djou of Hawaii, Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania, Bob Inglis of South Carolina, Jim Kolbe of Arizona, Steve Kuykendall of California, Ray LaHood of Illinois (who served as Transportation secretary in the Obama administration), Jim Leach of Iowa, Connie Morella of Maryland, Mike Parker of Mississippi, Jack Quinn of New York, Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island, Chris Shays of Connecticut, Peter Smith of Vermont, Alan Steelman of Texas, Bill Whitehurst of Virginia, Dick Zimmer of New Jersey, and Jim Walsh of New York.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Weaponizing the Federal Government

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Martin Pengelly at The Guardian:
The attorney general, William Barr, told Rupert Murdoch to “muzzle” Andrew Napolitano, a prominent Fox News personality who became a critic of Donald Trump, according to a new book about the rightwing TV network.

After a repentant Trump voter's one-man protest, what happened next?

Barr’s meeting with Murdoch, at the media mogul’s New York home in October 2019, was widely reported at the time, with speculation surrounding its subject. According to Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, subjects covered included media consolidation and criminal justice reform.
“But it was also about Judge Andrew Napolitano.”
Stelter’s in-depth look at Fox News, its fortunes under Trump and its links to his White House will be published on Tuesday. The Guardian obtained a copy.
Ryan Grim at The Intercept:
IN THE final months of its first term, the Trump administration is cutting career government employees out of the process of apportioning federal funds, according to a memo reviewed by The Intercept, sent to staff on August 12 by Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought.
...
For decades, OMB’s career staff have been responsible for signing off on the legality of the apportionment of funds to agencies and for projects. Political appointees, meanwhile, worked within the bounds the career staff set.

Under the new regime, however, program associate directors — political appointees known as PADs — will sign off on disbursements themselves. The rationale behind the shift is that apportionment decisions are fundamentally policy decisions and therefore, should be the responsibility of political aides who are ostensibly accountable to voters, rather than government bureaucrats immune from such democratic responsiveness.

...
Vought’s memo also gives him the ability to exercise the decision-making authority himself. “The delegation supersedes any previous delegation of such authority and will remain in place until revised or revoked,” the memo reads. “The Program Associate Directors may re-delegate this authority as necessary in writing. The delegation does not limit the authority of the director to exercise the delegated authority.”
Ronald Brownstein at The Atlantic:
Beyond his recent efforts to impede mail delivery, Trump has:
  • rapidly purged inspectors general across the federal government, replacing five of them within a short period, including the intelligence-community IG who forwarded to Congress the whistleblower complaint that triggered Trump’s impeachment.
  • openly pressured the Justice Department to back off the prosecution of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and to request more lenient sentencing for his ally Roger Stone. Trump later commuted Stone’s sentence outright.
  • deployed federal law-enforcement officials from the Department of Homeland Security to confront protesters in Portland, Oregon, and other cities over the explicit objection of governors and mayors.
  • enlisted the military into his campaign against protesters, drafting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to accompany him during his walk to St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., after armed personnel forcibly cleared out peaceful protesters. The decision prompted so much concern in the military that Milley later apologized.
  • taken repeated steps to manipulate the results of the decennial census in a manner that could undercount people of color and benefit the Republican Party. The Supreme Court stopped Trump from adding a citizenship question to the census, but the administration now says it intends to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population counts used to apportion congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states. It also announced it will cut off efforts to contact households that haven’t responded to the census on September 30, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Census experts and former Census Bureau directors have said that such a truncated schedule is guaranteed to undercount minorities.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The QAnon Party

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. Conspiracy theory seems to be seeping into the GOP grassroots.

Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
Late last month, as the Texas Republican Party was shifting into campaign mode, it unveiled a new slogan, lifting a rallying cry straight from a once-unthinkable source: the internet-driven conspiracy theory known as QAnon.
The new catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” is an unsubtle cue to a group that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat. It is instantly recognizable among QAnon adherents, signaling what they claim is a coming conflagration between President Trump and what they allege, falsely, is a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile Democrats who seek to dominate America and the world.
The slogan can be found all over social media posts by QAnon followers, and now, too, in emails from the Texas Republican Party and on the T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts that it sells. It has even worked its way into the party’s text message system — a recent email from the party urged readers to “Text STORM2020” for updates.
...
The president, during a White House news conference on Wednesday, described QAnon followers — some of whom have been charged with murder, domestic terrorism and planned kidnapping — as “people that love our country.”

The president has retweeted QAnon followers at least 201 times, according to an analysis by Media Matters. Some of his children have posted social media messages related to the conspiracy theory. A deputy White House chief of staff, Dan Scavino, who has for years combed corners of the internet for memes that the president could promote, has three times in the past year — in November 2019, May and June — posted ticking-clock memes that are used by QAnon believers to signify the coming showdown between the president and his purported enemies.
...
More unusual is how QAnon adherents often portray Mr. Trump as a god-emperor figure who has been sending them coded messages of support. The QAnon slogan, “We Are the Storm,” grew out of a remark by Mr. Trump, who quipped during a 2017 photo op with generals, “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”




QAnon is an extreme version of aversive partisanship:
“There are several people in the party’s infrastructure whom I would not put it past to actually believe this nonsense,” said Elizabeth Bingham, a former vice chair of the Dallas County Republican Party. “They seem giddy with the idea that they can tell as many people as possible that the Democrats aren’t just opposed to the privatization of social security or soft on Syria — that they’re in favor of child sacrifices. That the Democrats are evil.”
The true believers, she said, were being urged on by opportunists who feared primary challenges and losing elected office. “I think that’s worse,” she added.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Biden Beats Expectations

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway

Matt Wilstein at The Daily Beast:
For months, President Donald Trump and his campaign have been systematically lowering expectations for Joe Biden by painting him as a senile old man who can’t string two sentence together. So when he performed far better than anticipated at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, even the ultra-conservative hosts on Fox News seemed surprised.
Donald Trump Jr., however, seemed to be riding high during an appearance on Fox following the closing night of the DNC. He was swiftly brought back down to earth by Laura Ingraham. “He did beat expectations, Don,” she said as the broad smile disappeared from Trump Jr.’s face. “I mean, people were expecting him to flub every line and have a senior moment.”
Trump Jr. couldn’t deny the reality of what she was saying, so he resorted to falsely accusing Biden of supposedly lying about President Trump’s Charlottesville comments about the “very fine people” on both sides of that 2017 clash between white supremacists and anti-racists.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Kamala Harris and Ethnic Politics

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway

Kamala Harris acceptance speech:
There's another woman, whose name isn't known, whose story isn't shared. Another woman whose shoulders I stand on. And that's my mother—Shyamala Gopalan Harris.
She came here from India at age 19 to pursue her dream of curing cancer. At the University of California Berkeley, she met my father, Donald Harris—who had come from Jamaica to study economics.
...
 My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives.
She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage
...
Family, is my husband Doug, who I met on a blind date set up by my best friend. Family is our beautiful children, Cole and Ella, who as you just heard, call me Momala.
Doug Emhoff is Jewish. Mamala is a Yiddish term of endearment.

Some classic ethnic politics is coming into play. Marc Caputo at Politico:
While exact numbers are hard to come by, census estimates and political studies peg the diverse Black community — nicknamed the Caribbean Massive by some — at more than 2.5 million, including hundreds of thousands of Florida voters. That’s crucial in a battleground state where elections are often decided by less than a percentage point.
For a campaign that's been dogged by questions of lackluster enthusiasm since Biden declared his candidacy 16 months ago, the electricity sparked by the Harris pick has produced tangible results. The campaign reported raising a record $48 million in 48 hours. Pollsters logged an uptick of support for Biden, who was already leading Donald Trump — including in the president’s must-win state.
Sabra Ayres at Spectrum News:
Texas’ Asian population grew 49 percent from 2010 to 2018, far surpassing other minority groups in the state, including Hispanics, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state’s Hispanic population, the largest minority in Texas with an estimated 40 percent of the state’s 29 million people, grew by 20 percent in the same time period.
Asian American participation in politics is growing, too. Comparing 2014 and 2018 voting trends, Texas’ eligible Asian voters increased by 25 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The voting block’s turnout at the polls was particularly impressive, with a 174 percent increase from 2014 to 2018.

Asian Americans are running in Texas races up and down the ballot. This year, Sri Preston Kulkarni has caught national attention as a Democrat trying to flip a long-standing Republican congressional seat outside of Houston in one of the most diverse House districts in the country. It is also home to Texas’ largest Asian American community. 
From Business Insider:

 v2 most common country of birth for immigrants ex mexico

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Russia Redux

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  Russia is making a similar effort this year.

Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare:
To hear Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee tell it, you’d think the nearly 1,000 page report the committee released today exonerated President Trump and his campaign...What Senate Republicans are saying about their own report comes perilously close to simple lying.
Here are some of the committee’s own findings about Trump campaign engagement with the Russian electoral interference—findings subscribed to by each and every one of the senators who protests that they did not find “collusion”:
  • "The Committee found that Manafort’s presence on the Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services . . . represented a grave counterintelligence threat.”
  • "While [Russian military intelligence] and WikiLeaks were releasing hacked documents, the Trump Campaign sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump’s electoral prospects. Staff on the Trump Campaign sought advance notice about WikiLeaks releases, created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release, and encouraged further leaks. The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and WikiLeaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort.”
  • “Trump and senior Campaign officials sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks’s planned releases through Roger Stone.”
  • “The Committee further found that Papadopoulos’s efforts introduced him to several individuals that raise counterintelligence concerns, due to their associations with individuals from hostile foreign governments, as well as actions these individuals undertook. The Committee assesses that Papadopoulos was not a witting cooptee of the Russian intelligence services, but nonetheless presented a prime intelligence target and potential vector for malign Russian influence.”