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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

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.”