1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “Putin and American political process” – Google News: Russians Took Aim at Black Voters to Boost Trump, Reports to Senate Find – The Wall Street Journal

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Russians Took Aim at Black Voters to Boost Trump, Reports to Senate Find  The Wall Street Journal

A Russian influence campaign used a range of social-media platforms to suppress African-American voter turnout and boost Trump, according to studies …

“Putin and American political process” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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Russia – Mother Jones: Why Donald Trump’s Climate Denial Is Great News for Putin

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The US was one of the 196 countries that adopted a climate agreement on Saturday, which took the shape of a 133-page rulebook for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate change negotiations. The Katowice deal from the United Nations talks signals that the world should step up its ambitions beyond current pledges—which are far from adequate to contain warming to under a disastrous 2 degrees Celsius—when the Paris agreement kicks into effect in 2020.

Negotiators with the UN Climate Action summit ended up with a deal that was a mixed bag of ambition and unresolved issues. Anytime the US does anything to acknowledge that climate change is a problem now seems remarkable, but there were also signs of Trump’s ability to overturn norms. These talks marked the first illustration of how petro-states like Russia and Saudi Arabia are able to assert their power on the global stage when the US  leaves a vacuum.

The meeting in Katowice, Poland, ran overtime after a series of all-nighters when participants grappled with establishing clear benchmarks for progress in terms of both transparency and reporting measures. The eleventh-hour scramble is not an unusual situation for conferences that involve some 23,000 negotiators sorting through a dizzying number of issues. This meeting had another layer of complexity, thanks to the outspoken climate change denier in the Oval Office. While the smaller-than-usual US delegation—mostly career officials—largely cooperated in the talks, there were a few notable exceptions. The biggest occurred when the US joined three petro-states, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, to water down the UN’s commitment to a recent scientific report that examined the damaging global effects of 1.5 degrees of Celsius.

Following the cooperation among these four countries, the New York Times’  columnist Paul Krugman described Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the US as “a new axis of evil.” This informal bloc seemed to underscore concerns by some negotiators that Trump would form an “axis of mass destruction” with Russia to block momentum on climate action.

The oil-rich government of Saudi Arabia has long played a spoiler role in climate negotiations. In 2009, for example, Saudi Arabia warned before the climate negotiations that year in Copenhagen that an email hack targeting climate scientists, dubbed Climategate, would have a “huge impact” on the negotiations. Ultimately the hack turned out to be a minor problem in a dysfunctional conference that failed to produce a meaningful agreement. Saudi Arabia tried to argue it deserved compensation for its oil as the world moves off of fossil fuels, and while that request was a non-starter, Copenhagen ultimately produced a weak deal that failed to bridge old divides between historically large polluters and relative newcomers like China and India.

But the view that the US will spearhead a damaging coalition with Russia was never quite right. Russian President Vladmir Putin has gamed global climate politics for decades, and he exploits the weaknesses in the US position on climate change exceptionally well. He has seen the rollercoaster of climate policies across the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Whether expressing skepticism and outright denial of the climate science, or exchanging support for a climate pact for transactional gain, Putin has always seemed less interested in participating in an axis for disruption than gaming the situation for his own self-interest. Russia “really always have kept their cards closest to their chest in negotiations,” says World Resources Institute’s Andrew Light, a former State Department official. “Russia has always been an enigma in the talks because they’re never out there transparently on what their positions are.”

The Russian leader is neither as overt nor as consistent in his climate change denial as Trump, but he’s long played the contrarian to cast doubt on the science and seriousness of the issue. What distinguishes him from Trump is his unpredictability; Putin has always lagged behind the world’s pulse on climate change, yet he hasn’t actively disrupted international agreements in the way the United States has. Instead, he’s capitalized on the instability, especially when the United States has either retreated or completely reversed itself on climate change.

The clearest example of Putin’s transactional approach was in response to the Kyoto Protocol from 1997. That was the world’s first major attempt at a legally binding treaty to cap greenhouse gas pollution, which the US ultimately never ratified because of political opposition. Russia’s support for Kyoto was far more critical to make the pact enforceable in the US absence. Putin played coy for years, until Russia ratified the agreement in 2004, “with the proviso that European members approve Russia’s participation in the World Trade Organization.” Leading up to the Paris agreement, Light remembers, “Russia was the big party we knew the least about when it comes to their views coming into the meeting.”

In the end Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to the terms of the Katowice deal, showing how they strategically play a spoiler role only when there is political cover. Trump’s climate change denial provided that cover during these UN talks and could do still more damage when negotiators meet again in 2019 to determine the next incremental gains in reducing greenhouse gases that were laid out in Paris. Russia “didn’t want to be isolated,” Light told me last year, “and now they don’t have to be.”

Russia – Mother Jones


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“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Comey to House Republicans: ‘Stand up and speak the truth’ – NBCNews.com

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Comey to House Republicans: ‘Stand up and speak the truth’  NBCNews.com

James Comey said that President Trump’s attacks on the Mueller probe undermine the rule of law, and called on Republicans to “stand up and speak the truth.”

“Peter Strzok” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): National News |: ‘Purple’ Kansas? Former federal prosecutor mulls Senate run against Pat Roberts

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Sen. Pat Roberts looks vulnerable to Democrats — and some Republicans, and that’s a big reason the 2020 race has quickly drawn a prominent potential challenger, former U. S. Attorney … Click to Continue »

National News |

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Donald Trump | The Guardian: US government shutdown looms as standoff over border wall deepens

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Partial shutdown could occur at midnight Friday as Trump insists on $5bn for southern border wall while Democrats offer $1.3bn

The standoff over Donald Trump’s $5bn wall funds deepened Monday, threatening a partial government shutdown.

Related: US concerns about abortion and refugees leave country isolated at UN

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News: The government shutdown clock is ticking, but Trump is still digging in over his border wall – Business Insider India

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The government shutdown clock is ticking, but Trump is still digging in over his border wall  Business Insider India

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.Funding for the government runs out December 21, with money for President Trump’s border wall …

“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: The real danger of Donald Trump

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It is safe to say national security in America has been more at risk in the past 23 months than at any point in a generation. Anyone paying attention has observed how Donald Trump and those in his administration routinely capitulate to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other dangerous world leaders. The person responsible for overseeing Middle East peace talks, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, is in way over his head. The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has stated publicly that he has Kushner “in his pocket.” Kim Jung Un played Trump like a fiddle, and U.S. intelligence believes North Korea is continuing to ramp up their nuclear arsenal.




Dr. Michael Carpenter, an actual expert on national security, would likely agree with my stance on this. He previously worked at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and is currently the Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, and served in President Obama’s National Security Council as Director for Russia. In a recent interview with The Globe Post, Carpenter espoused his theories on the Trump-Putin relationship.




When asked about Trump’s recent statements concerning Russia’s increased hostility and military actions towards Ukraine, Carpenter did not pull any punches. “Trump is clearly signaling to Putin that he will do nothing to stop him,” Carpenter opined. “This sort of unapologetic appeasement will surely embolden Russia to act more aggressively in the region.” Carpenter also compared Trump’s attitude toward Ukraine to former U.K. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s description of Czechoslovakia in the 1930s as a “faraway country about which we know little.”



While the interview mostly centered on Donald Trump’s reactions to the increased Russia-Ukraine tensions, Carpenter provided his theory on why Trump is reacting this way. “I think Trump has very little understanding of geopolitics and prioritizes his business and family interests over everything else,” he stated. “There’s a reason why Trump hired Paul Manafort as his campaign manager and continues to praise Manafort even now that he’s an indicted felon. They think in similar terms and have a shared worldview which puts private gain above all else.” And this is the very reason – Trump’s incessant greed – why America will not be safe until he is removed from power.



The post The real danger of Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Politics: Giuliani stumbles into admitting Trump’s hush money payments were likely illegal

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In an interview, Giuliani suggests it can’t be a campaign finance violation if it benefits the candidate personally too. That’s false, but its a tacit admission that this was geared toward the campaign.

Politics

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News: Senate committee report details how Russians boosted Trump across all social media – Ars Technica

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Senate committee report details how Russians boosted Trump across all social media  Ars Technica

Data shows messages tuned to support Trump, discourage opposition.

“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News


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Russia – Mother Jones: A New Report Shows That Facebook and Instagram Posts from Russian Intelligence Doubled After Trump Won

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A new report released today reveals that the Internet Research Agency, the troll farm linked to Russian intelligence, actually increased its social media activity after the 2016 election.

The report, which took seven months to complete and is the most comprehensive of its kind to date, comes from researchers at Oxford University and the analytics firm Graphika. Their data shows the volume of IRA activity doubling between 2016 and 2017 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, even as the number of ads purchased by the agency decreased. The amount of activity increased the most on Facebook-owned Instagram, where it more than doubled from 2,611 posts in 2016 to 5,956 posts in 2017.

The research is based on Facebook data from 2015-2017, Twitter data from 2009-2018 and YouTube data from 2014-2018 that was provided by the companies to the Senate Intelligence Committee and relayed to the researchers.

According to the researchers, the IRA’s most effective Facebook content came from organic, not purchased posts. The top organic posts came from a spectrum of IRA-created pages, including ones targeting conservatives (such as Being Patriotic, Stop A.I. All Invaders, Heart of Texas) as well as pages geared toward minority users (like Blacktivist, United Muslims of America, Brown Power). Post-election ad volume peaked on Facebook during April 2017 and focused on news events including the U.S. missile strikes against Syria and bombing in Afghanistan, and the Republican tax plan.

The report finds that most of the engagement for IRA content pulled around just a few top, highly viral, posts. Of the 81 pages flagged by Facebook, the top twenty received 99 percent of the engagement, share, and likes. Just twenty Facebook ad campaigns constituted the bulk of IRA spending. Instagram, which had more than double the amount of IRA-backed content as Facebook, saw a similar breakdown: 40 pages received 99 percent of the 185 million “likes” received by IRA content.

The report also confirms previously reported trends that the IRA disproportionately targeted communities of color on the left and, from the very same computers, “extreme conservatives” with content that preyed on anti-immigration and racist views on the right. While the authors find that conservative geared-content pushed voters towards the GOP and Donald Trump, content targeted at black Americans “sought to divert their political energy away from established political institutions by preying on anger with structural inequalities… including police violence, poverty, and disproportionate levels of incarceration.” The IRA also targeted voters based on location: African Americans in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Oakland were all targeted for posts related to black activism. Cities in Texas were targeted for campaigns focusing on pro-gun politics.

A second report also based on data from the Senate Intelligence committee was released on Monday, from cyber-security researchers at New Knowledge, which includes findings that the Kremlin influence campaign amplified conservative media outlets to foment division in the U.S.

The Cambridge and Graphika study also examined purchased advertising on Google, but limited data made available to researchers make the IRA’s strategy to harness the search giant less clear. “The data shared by Google with the SSCI suggests the IRA’s ads sought to redirect traffic towards 38 different websites and URLs, leveraging a mix of text, display, and video formats. Without additional context, these 38 different links do not tell a clear story, and point to disparate effort,” the study reports. Of the links that were provided, five redirected to YouTube videos; other ads targeted Canadian users, and residents of a small town in Georgia.

The influence campaign involved other tech platforms including Medium, PayPal, Reddit, Tumblr, and Pinterest, as IRA posts on more-prominent social media platforms linked to the sites.

Since 2016, Facebook has cracked down on politically-motivated content spammersforeign influence campaigns, and made efforts to regulate its political advertising platform, as the racial-bias of its advertising tools have come under intense scrutiny from activists and lawmakers.

“This newly released data demonstrates how aggressively Russia sought to divide Americans by race, religion and ideology, and how the IRA actively worked to erode trust in our democratic institutions,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) wrote in a statement on Monday hailing the research. “Most troublingly, it shows that these activities have not stopped.”

Russia – Mother Jones


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Did the Internet Research Agency Use Sextortion Against Americans?

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Longtime Lawfare readers may be familiar with the work we have published on “sextortion”—a form of remote sexual violence that usually involves a perpetrator obtaining explicit images or video of a victim and using that material for blackmail, often to produce further sexual material or money. Editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes and I, along with colleagues Cody Poplin and Clara Spera, did a fair bit of research on the matter a few years ago. At the time, we thought of it as something near the edge of the issues with which Lawfare concerns itself—certainly within the publication’s ambit as a question of violence enabled by changing technology, but not a matter at the dead center of “hard national security choices.”

Well, that’s changed, thanks to the Internet Research Agency troll farm.

On Dec. 17, the Senate intelligence committee released two reports on Russia’s social media influence efforts, one by the Computational Propaganda Research Project and one by the group New Knowledge. The documents are lengthy and worth reading through with care. But one passage immediately stuck out to me: a description in the New Knowledge report on what appear to have been Internet Research Agency efforts to stockpile material for sextortion.

The relevant section of the report reads as follows:

Recruiting an asset by exploiting a personal vulnerability—usually a secret that would inspire shame or cause personal or financial harm if exposed—is a timeless espionage practice. So is the tactic of infiltrating protest movements. The [Internet Research Agency] attempted both, even going so far as to create help hotlines for people struggling with sexual behavior, creating an opportunity to blackmail or manipulate these individuals in the future.

And it includes the below samples of the advertisements placed to funnel people toward those hotlines:

From the report, it’s not clear how much material the troll farm collected or whether it ever took action to actually “blackmail or manipulate” anyone. But the fact that an entity linked with the Russian government took at least an initial step toward stockpiling material with which to sextort Americans is an ominous sign of the direction in which we might be headed. Before this, the only sextortion attempts of which my coauthors and myself have been aware were conducted by private actors—people seeking money or control over others for sport. We’d never seen evidence of a state-sponsored attempt for intelligence purposes.

Somewhat ominously, the report writes of these efforts along with other, similar Internet Research Agency posts: “This tactic will be increasingly common as platforms make it more difficult to grow pages and buy ads with fake personas. It will be extremely difficult to detect.”

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Belligerent buffoon boasts “Boarder Security,” stupidly sabotages spelling

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Donald Trump seems to be having a pretty bad day so far. The first indictments and arrests were made this morning as a result of Michael Flynn’s plea deal, and it’s not difficult to parse that Flynn only got a free pass from prison because he gave up Trump as well. Not shockingly, Trump is ranting and raving in ways that are increasingly dishonest and, well, weird.




Trump began the day in somewhat predictable fashion: lies about Obamacare, lies about France, and lies about China. Then he tried to blame the worsening U.S. economy and plummeting stock market on the Federal Reserve, a reminder that the lifelong financial crook has no understanding of legitimate economics whatsoever. But then Trump returned to his favorite talking point these days: his border wall, which according to him either has or has not already been built, and will either be paid for by Mexico or by the Democrats.




Donald Trump posted this tweet: “Anytime you hear a Democrat saying that you can have good Border Security without a Wall, write them off as just another politician following the party line. Time for us to save billions of dollars a year and have, at the same time, far greater safety and control!” Well, that was his second try.



In his first attempt, Donald Trump tweeted “Boarder Security” instead of “Border Security” and didn’t get around to fixing it until three hours later. This set off a feeding frenzy in which so many people made fun of him, the phrase ended up trending on Twitter. Of course this isn’t even the first time Trump has made that particular mistake.



The post Belligerent buffoon boasts “Boarder Security,” stupidly sabotages spelling appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Russia investigations” – Google News: Former Michael Flynn Business Associates Indicted in Turkey Lobbying Case – The New York Times

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Former Michael Flynn Business Associates Indicted in Turkey Lobbying Case  The New York Times

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Two former business associates of Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, have been indicted as part of a …

“Russia investigations” – Google News


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“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News: Instagram Was More Effective Than Facebook at Spreading Russian Misinformation: Report – The Daily Beast

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Instagram Was More Effective Than Facebook at Spreading Russian Misinformation: Report  The Daily Beast

Instagram delivered 187 million *content* interactions between 2015 and 2018, more than double that of Facebook.

“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Does Trump’s Involvement in the Cohen Payments Constitute an Impeachable Offense? Part II

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Writing on Lawfare last week, we made the case that the growing investigation into campaign finance violations committed by Michael Cohen and now American Media Inc. (AMI), in which the president of the United States (“Individual 1”) figures as a co-conspirator, constitute an impeachable offense. We wrote that it was not a simple case, but that in any circumstance in which the president appears likely to have been a leader of a criminal conspiracy, the question of impeachment is directly presented and justifies formal inquiry. Our conclusion rested, importantly, on certain additional and material factors: that the offenses were committed in pursuit of the presidency, that the they continued into Donald Trump’s term in office and that as president he repeatedly lied about them to the public.

Since then, we’ve received a range of skeptical responses and have kept our eyes out for additional opposing views in the press. Our colleague Marty Lederman has written that the campaign finance offenses “pale[] in comparison” to President Trump’s other impeachable offenses “in terms of gravity, proof that he’s unfit to serve, and, in Charles Black’s words, whether it’s so seriously threatening the order of political society … as to make his continuance in office ‘pestilent and dangerous.’”  In Lederman’s view, these violations occupy a lower rung of importance than the central questions of collusion with Russia that the special counsel was charged with investigating. Somewhat along these lines, the constitutional scholar Philip Bobbitt, author of the recently-published supplement to Charles Black’s “Impeachment: A Handbook,” concludes that, standing alone, the campaign finance violations simply lack the “enormity” required for an impeachable offense.

Another set of concerns appears to be that the campaign finance violations never, and certainly not in this instance, could support impeachment. Writing in the New York Times, Charles Buskirk argues that allowing impeachment for campaign finance violations would render elections meaningless and worries that about a new precedent “lowering the bar for removing a president from office.” Other commentators—including the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani—contend that the offenses to which Cohen pleaded guilty and for which AMI accepted responsibility as part of a non-prosecution agreement are not campaign finance violations at all. The hush money payments in question were made for personal purposes, according to this line of argument: They were not campaign-related and could not therefore have broken campaign finance law.

There are different objections that could be made to each of these arguments. But we are most interested in them in the aggregate as different reflections of a similarly constricted perspective on the impeachment process. It would be highly consequential—not only in the current moment, but as precedent to guide future generations—if the American legal and political system concludes that a president may be free of even inquiry into potential impeachment after federal prosecutors have named him as a central figure in a criminal conspiracy hatched to enhance his chances of winning his office and shown to have lied as president to cover it up, even as the conspiracy continued into his administration.

As Bobbitt has rightly pointed out, a judgment about the impeachability of conduct is fundamentally a judgment about constitutional law. It should go without saying, though it is said ad nauseam, that members of Congress making a judgment about impeachment are engaged in a fundamentally political choice. But the question of impeachment is guided by constitutional legal principles. And one such principle is that the president, charged with the faithful execution of the law, should not criminally violate it.

Giuliani has suggested that if a campaign finance violation is an impeachable offense, soon every criminal offense will be: “Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed… This was not a big crime,” he said, and went on, “I think in two weeks they’ll start with parking tickets that haven’t been paid.” The reference to impeachment for unpaid parking tickets is obviously facetious, but Giuliani appears to have been quite serious in suggesting that presidents may continue in office after committing crimes, so long as they are not too “big.” Before retreating under heavy criticism, Sen. Orrin Hatch upped the ante by arguing that because he was happy with the president’s performance in office, he didn’t care about crimes that Trump might have committed.

The suggestion the campaign finance violations as a whole can never satisfy the standard for an impeachable offense constitutes a significant step back from the Watergate precedent. The momentum toward the impeachment of Richard Nixon was not all about campaign finance, but the financing of the president’s reelection effort was at least part of the story and received explicit mention in the articles of impeachment. Unlike Nixon, the initial campaign finance offense in Trump’s case took place before his presidency, but the violation and the cover-up—including Trump’s systematic lying about it—continued past his inauguration and well into the administration.

It is at this point that some critics of impeachment as a response to these offenses may wish to argue about proper interpretations of campaign finance law. But in this case, for all relevant purposes, the legal question has been settled. Cohen and AMI, represented by counsel, chose in the face of the evidence to admit their guilt. This should be the starting point for any discussion of whether these offenses are impeachable. The president would have every opportunity to present his defense in arguing against an impeachment inquiry, or over the course of one.

In a Fox interview, Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed the possibility of impeachment charges over the campaign finance violations on the grounds that the alleged crimes constituted nothing more than “lying about sex.” Graham is not alone in making the argument that impeachment is precluded by the “personal” nature of the activities that the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal payments were meant to conceal—as opposed to “official” conduct relating directly to Trump’s abuse of his power as president.

But there is more than the purely personal at stake here.  A presidential candidate who chooses illegal means to hide personally damaging information has opened himself up to being compromised, both as a candidate and after taking office. Both Michael Cohen and AMI, and maybe others, had significant leverage over Donald Trump by virtue of what they knew about his personal life and what they had done to help him cover it up. Moreover, it should not be minimized that this conduct was hidden from the voters while they were choosing their president. One could reasonably argue that impeachment would be ruled out if the election had taken place with Trump’s conduct with Daniels and McDougal known to the public—for the same reason that the Access Hollywood tape would not be properly considered in an impeachment inquiry.

So why the uneasiness over an impeachment rooted in private conduct, even if the conduct in fact goes well beyond the personal? As Graham himself noted, it’s impossible to avoid the comparison to the failed impeachment of Bill Clinton, and no doubt Democrats may be concerned that they cannot square their defense of Clinton with an attempt on these grounds to remove Trump from office. Impeachment over a matter so grubby and distasteful may seem also to demean the grandeur both of the office of the president and of the act of impeachment itself. Seen from another angle, singling out the president’s personal behavior as a matter of “high crimes and misdemeanors” uncomfortably magnifies the indiscretions of ordinary citizens. Recall the discussion around the Access Hollywood tape: Trump’s defenders quickly began arguing that “everyone” had made comments similar to the candidate’s. Our colleague Benjamin Wittes warns that the “moral value” of an impeachment effort must be weighed against “martyring the president before his supporters.

Yet while the “personal” character of  these violations may well complicate the task of establishing the legitimacy of an inquiry, it does not follow that the president’s role in a criminal election law conspiracy is appropriately overlooked in judging the constitutional standards for impeachment. At most, it suggests the importance of Congress’s dealing soberly with this issue—step-by-step, beginning with inquiry and with due care. Whether Congress treats the prosecution and investigation in question as material fit for examination in an impeachment inquiry will determine how, in the future, the norms governing initiation of the impeachment process are construed.

It is reasonable to set the bar for impeachment high, but it matters just how high. The country has arrived at the point where presidents have it both ways: They have immunity from indictment while in office, consistent with opinions issued by the Office of Legal Counsel, and comprehensive protection under an extremely high standard for impeachment. Impeachment is routinely pictured as constitutional armageddon—something that must be avoided if possible at all costs, to spare the country from constitutional crisis.

This view has resulted in unduly restrictive interpretations of the scope of impeachment that, for example, rule out liability for “maladministration” even in cases of gross neglect of office and systematic violations of the oath of office. In a recent study published by the Cato Institute, Gene Healy maintains that this position is overstated and a misreading of constitutional history. Other commentators, such as Wittes and Jane Chong, have made similar arguments. This continues to be a minority position, though the Trump administration may mark the moment when it receives most closer attention.

It is easy to detect in some of these arguments for the high bar less a constitutional position than a prudential concern. Perhaps it is politically wiser for opponents of the president to just wait for the next, inevitable revelations, which may expose violations more serious or more compelling than the campaign finance investigation. Along these lines, soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has cautioned her caucus against hasty impeachment, arguing: “We must wait to see the entire picture and then engage the American people about how we go forward as a nation. We must protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation, so that the American people can get the full truth.” A similar instinct may be animating the suggestionnewly popular in the wake of the Cohen plea—that the Justice Department should rethink its bar against indictment of a sitting president. Mueller, known for his by-the-book nature, seems to us unlikely to pursue this approach. But some may see the advantage of promising proof beyond a reasonable doubt provided by the executive branch under widely agreed-upon legal standards, rather than the necessarily more contested standards by which the legislature weights the commission of  “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

These concerns about impeachment based on a criminal campaign finance conspiracy are fair enough: We concluded our first piece with the prediction that the House would act on the campaign finances only in conjunction with the review of other impeachable offenses. But it is important to remain clear about the significance of the Cohen/AMI investigation. The issue is whether Congress should eventually and formally inquire into them, the first step in the sequence that may lead to hearings and a vote on impeachment. Another way of asking the question is: If, however unlikely, this is all that ever did surface about presidential misconduct, would it warrant an inquiry? We believe that it would.

For Congress to disregard or minimize these criminal offenses is to establish a record, sure to be cited in the future, that an impeachment inquiry is not warranted for this level of presidential misconduct: a president’s leading role in a criminal conspiracy that he directed to win office, that extended into his term, and about which he lied to the American public. The result would be that this president—who is constantly lowering the bar for acceptable conduct—can count on a high constitutional standard to escape congressional scrutiny of his fitness to hold office.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News: Russia social media influence more far-reaching than first thought: Report – Calgary Herald

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Russia social media influence more far-reaching than first thought: Report  Calgary Herald

WASHINGTON — Russia’s sweeping political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms …

“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News


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Russia – Mother Jones: After Propaganda, Conservative News Was the Most Popular Content Pushed by Russian Trolls

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Russian internet trolls helped expand the reach of conservative media outlets as part of a Kremlin campaign to influence US politics and sow social discord, according to a new report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The report by New Knowledge, a security company that tracks online misinformation, examined Russian digital propaganda efforts over a two-year period starting in January 2015, when the accounts they tracked first began posting on Instagram and Facebook. Its findings include data showing Russian troll accounts on Facebook overseen by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency heavily amplified links from sites including Breitbart, the Daily Caller, and the Washington Examiner, alongside lesser-known outlets like bluelivesmatter.blue, americanmilitarynews.com, and conservativedailypost.com.

Such posting patterns match previously known IRA efforts to elevate conservatives including Sean Hannity. Content from conservative outlets resonated heavily with the IRA accounts’ Facebook audience, collectively garnering tens of thousands of engagements and thousands of shares. The only more popular links posted by the IRA were from propaganda sites of its own creation, like blackmattersus.com and patriotsus.com.

The popularity of the conservative posts undermines claims by Republican lawmakers that Facebook exhibits patterns of conservative bias that would hamper the reach of such sites. Members of Congress, including outgoing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, have charged that Facebook, as well as other technology companies, frequently censor and downrank conservative content, without firm evidence.

The IRA also appealed to conservative Facebook users by circulating White House petitions on topics like gun rights and whether or not Hillary Clinton should be allowed to run for president, and by posting disparaging content referring to Clinton as “Shillary” and “Hitlery.”

The troll accounts also heavily pushed content from YouTube, which has received increasing scrutiny over the past year for its role in spreading misinformation. The platform has become a hotbed of conspiracy theories and hoaxes, and its algorithms frequently drive users to such content.

Even with their attempts to influence conservative discourse and use of right-wing news sites, IRA trolls also sometimes targeted left-leaning Americans, organizing protests against Trump and appealing to racial justice and trans rights groups.

The new information about the troll accounts’ posting habits comes in one of of two reports released Monday about Russian efforts to influence American politics, both commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has to date quietly undertaken the most serious congressional inquiry into Russian political meddling. In addition to the New Knowledge study, the University of Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, in partnership with social-media data firm Graphika, also published findings on the IRA’s work dating back to the 2016 presidential election.

Senate Intelligence Committee leadership said the twin reports show that technology companies need to do more to stymie foreign influence efforts on their platforms. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee’s top Democrat, characterized the report as a “wake up call” and hailed it as evidence of the need to regulate social-media companies. In a statement, Warner called for “some much-needed and long-overdue guardrails when it comes to social media.”

“I hope these reports will spur legislative action in the Congress and provide additional clarity to the American public about Russia’s assault on our democracy,” he added. Warner, along with lawmakers like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), has pushed for new transparency legislation to regulate social-media companies. Their efforts have yet to gain momentum in Congress, despite a number of high-profile hearings featuring technology executives fielding questions about Russian misinformation on their platforms.

Russia – Mother Jones


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump and intelligence community” – Google News: Senate report: Russia social media influence efforts ongoing – WIBW

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Senate report: Russia social media influence efforts ongoing  WIBW

A report compiled by private researchers and expected to be released Monday by the Senate intelligence committee says that “active and ongoing” Russian …

“trump and intelligence community” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “analysis of trump electorate” – Google News: NAACP poll reveals how Black voters cast their ballots in midterms | New Orleans’ Multicultural News Source – Louisiana Weekly

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NAACP poll reveals how Black voters cast their ballots in midterms | New Orleans’ Multicultural News Source  Louisiana Weekly

(Special from BlackPress-USA.com) – “People of color turned out and were engaged. Voters of color are poised to seize our power and Advancement Project’s …

“analysis of trump electorate” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News: Comey on Capitol Hill for 2nd interview with GOP-led panels – WSFA

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Comey on Capitol Hill for 2nd interview with GOP-led panels  WSFA

Former FBI Director James Comey is back for a second closed-door interview with two Republican-led committees investigating what they say was bias at the …

“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump narcissist” – Google News: Mick Mulvaney once called Trump a ‘terrible human being.’ Others close to the president have said much worse. – Washington Post

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Mick Mulvaney once called Trump a ‘terrible human being.’ Others close to the president have said much worse.  Washington Post

Trump has allowed many people into his orbit who previously criticized him.

“trump narcissist” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News: Russia investigation: New arrests linked to Mueller probe – NEWS.com.au

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Russia investigation: New arrests linked to Mueller probe  NEWS.com.au

Two men involved in a Turkish lobbying campaign led by former US National Security adviser Michael Flynn have been charged with illegally lobbying in a case …

“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News


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“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News: Russia social media influence efforts ongoing, US Senate report says – The Times of Israel

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Russia social media influence efforts ongoing, US Senate report says  The Times of Israel

Researchers find that the campaign before 2016 presidential elections was much broader than thought, with efforts extending to Instagram and Pokemon Go.

“elections 2016 russian ads on social media” – Google News


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