8:39 AM 9/29/2017 – Twitter’s briefing to congressional investigators yesterday

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TRUMP-RUSSIA

Twitter’s briefing to congressional investigators yesterday about Russian use of its platform invited plenty of criticism from lawmakers, its limited disclosure failing to reveal the extent of the platform’s use by accounts seeking to spread misinformation. Georgia Wells, Byron Tau and Robert McMillan report at the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter has shut down 201 accounts tied to Russian operatives, the social media company said yesterday, also stating that it had found three accounts from the Kremlin-linked R.T. news site. Elizabeth Dwoskin, Adam Entous and Karoun Demirjian report at the Washington Post.

Twitter removed 22 accounts linked to around 450 Facebook accounts and another 179 “linked accounts,” the company also said yesterday. The BBC reports.

Twitter’s presentation was “frankly inadequate on every level,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said yesterday after the briefing, castigating the social media company for failing to understand the threat misuse of its platform poses to democratic institutions. Nicholas Fandos and Scott Shane report at the New York Times.

“Somehow it did not occur to us that, in a developed democracy, regular media advertising could turn out to be a suspicious and harmful activity,” R.T.’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said today in response to Twitter’s revelation that R.T. used political ads, hitting back at any suggestion that it was improper and adding that it is standard practice for media organizations. Reuters reports.

The “Blactivist” social media campaign was linked to Russia, according to two sources familiar with the matter, the Twitter account having now been handed over to Congress and the Facebook account likely to be handed over soon. Donie O’Sullivan and Dylan Byers report at CNN.

Trump seemed to accept that Russia played a role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said yesterday, referring to a briefing with the president in January. Joe Uchill reports at the Hill.

The House Intelligence Committee interviewed former Trump campaign adviser and White House communications official Boris Epshteyn in a closed session yesterday, Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

The Senate Intelligence Committee called on Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to search his personal email for records relevant to the Russia investigation in a letter yesterday, after it was revealed that Kushner did not inform the committee that he had used his personal email account for official government business. Jake Tapper reports at CNN.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) met yesterday amid increased tensions between the F.B.I. and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is headed by Grassley, over the firing of former F.B.I. director James Comey and the broader investigation into Russian interference – the two individuals declining to discuss the details of their meeting. Kyle Cheney and Elana Schor report at POLITICO.

Vice President Mike Pence’s attorney met with special counsel Robert Mueller last summer at Pence’s requestaccording to an individual familiar with the matter, the meeting intended to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. Matthew Nussbaum reports at POLITICO.

Former federal prosecutor and prominent commentator on the Trump-Russia investigation, Renato Mariotti, is considering running for Illinois attorney general, stating that the faith placed in Mueller’s investigation has motivated him to think about standing. Josh Gerstein reports about the Just Security editor at POLITICO.  

An illustration of the use of targeted political ads on Facebook in an age of divisiveness is provided by Noam Scheiber at the New York Times.

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