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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Russia,September 2020

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.

Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima at WP:
Russia is seeking “to undermine public trust in the electoral process” by spreading false claims that mail-in ballots are riddled with fraud and susceptible to manipulation, according to a new intelligence bulletin by the Department of Homeland Security.

Many of the claims made by Russian sources are identical to repeated, unsupported public statements aired by President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr, who have said that mailed ballots aren’t trustworthy while warning of the potential for rampant fraud in November’s elections.

Homeland Security’s intelligence office has assessed that Russian actors “are likely to promote allegations of corruption, system failure, and foreign malign interference to sow distrust in Democratic institutions and election outcomes,” the bulletin states. Russia spreads these claims through a network of state-controlled media, proxy websites and social media trolls, it adds.

Betsy Woodruff Swan at Politico:

White supremacists present the gravest terror threat to the United States, according to a draft report from the Department of Homeland Security.

Two later draft versions of the same document — all of which were reviewed by POLITICO — describe the threat from white supremacists in slightly different language. But all three drafts describe the threat from white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S., listed above the immediate danger from foreign terrorist groups.

“Foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year,” all three documents say.

Russia “probably will be the primary covert foreign influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation in the Homeland,” the documents also say.

Former acting DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan last year directed the department to start producing annual homeland threat assessments. POLITICO reviewed three drafts of this year’s report — titled DHS’s State of the Homeland Threat Assessment 2020 — all of which were produced in August. Ben Wittes, the editor in chief of the national security site Lawfare, obtained the documents and shared them with POLITICO. The first such assessment has not been released publicly, and a DHS spokesperson declined to comment on “allegedly leaked documents,” and on when the document will be made public.
Barbara Starr and Jennifer Hansler at CNN:
As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his efforts to exert his personal influence around the globe and meddle in American democracy and is accused of using a nerve agent to poison one of his main political opponents, President Donald Trump broke his recent silence on Russia and the attack on Alexey Navalny, calling it "tragic" but emphasizing that he has a good relationship with the Russian leader.
"I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look," Trump said on Friday in a news conference at the White House. In response to further questions on the matter he attempted to deflect to his favorite opponent, claiming that what China is doing is "far worse." And as he had done the night before at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, he stressed, "I do get along with President Putin."