“A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office,” the Washington Postreports.
“The research — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details on how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for meddling in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) December 17, 2018
“The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of posts on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its Facebook operations, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee,” the New York Times reports.
“The report adds new details to the portrait that has emerged over the last two years of the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day.”
“Months after President Trump took office, Russia’s disinformation teams trained their sites on a new target: special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Having worked to help get Trump into the White House, they now worked to neutralize the biggest threat to his staying there,” the Washington Postreports.
“The Russian operatives unloaded on Mueller through fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter and beyond, falsely claiming that the former FBI director was corrupt and that the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election were crackpot conspiracies. One post on Instagram — which emerged as an especially potent weapon in the Russian social media arsenal — claimed that Mueller had worked in the past with ‘radical Islamic groups.’”
“Such tactics exemplified how Russian teams ranged nimbly across social media platforms in a shrewd online influence operation aimed squarely at American voters.”
James Comey unloads on House Republicans and Fox News https://t.co/MoXQIOdMz5
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 17, 2018
Special counsel Robert Mueller “has released a January 2017 memo detailing the FBI’s interview that month with Michael Flynn — a moment that led to a high-profile criminal case against the former Trump national security adviser,” CNN reports.
Marcy Wheeler: “And it is unbelievably damning, in part because it shows the degree to which Flynn’s lies served to protect Trump.”
“Flynn lied to hide Trump’s personal involvement in telling the Russians to hold off on responding to Obama’s sanctions. And when the FBI investigated those lies, Trump fired the FBI Director to try to end that investigation.”
“The White House and Democratic congressional leaders are at an impasse over negotiations to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government at the end of the week, with both sides unwilling to budge from their positions on President Trump’s proposed border wall,” the Washington Post reports.
New York Times: “But House Republican leaders are also confronting a more mundane and awkward problem: Their vanquished and retiring members are sick and tired of Washington and don’t want to show up anymore to vote.”
“Call it the revenge of the lame ducks. Many lawmakers, relegated to cubicles as incoming members take their offices, have been skipping votes in the weeks since House Republicans were swept from power in the midterm elections, and Republican leaders are unsure whether they will ever return.”
The real story right now is that Trump has been badly *weakened*:
— No leverage to get wall
— Trump faces mounting investigations
— Rudy's new defense is laughably weak
— Majorities say Trump's lying about Mueller & want Dem probes
My new piece:https://t.co/FXgOiRM4fC
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 17, 2018
Bloomberg: “Trump isn’t inclined to support a one- or two-week stopgap spending measure that would avert a partial government shutdown over the holidays, according to a person familiar with White House planning.”
Playbook: “The available evidence would indicate Congress is heading for its third shutdown in two years.”
“But, we keep hearing over and over again on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue that the White House is privately OK with the Senate-negotiated spending bill, which includes money for border security, not a wall. The question is when do they express that publicly? Do they push this until Friday evening, and force Congress in for the weekend? Once a decision is made, Congress can move quickly.”
CNN: “Sitting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Monday evening, senior Senate Republicans had no answer to a basic question: What would President Donald Trump sign to avoid a partial government shutdown?”
“Attendees said there is an array of options to avoid a partial shutdown over Trump’s demands for $5 billion for his border wall, but GOP lawmakers are in the dark about what the President would actually sign.”
— Washington Monthly (@washmonthly) December 17, 2018
A new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows President Trump has an 81% approval rating among registered Republicans in Iowa. Sixty-seven percent say they would definitely vote to re-elect Trump if the election were held today. Nineteen percent of Republicans say they would consider someone else, and 10% say they would definitely vote to elect someone else.
“Yet almost two-thirds — 63% — say Iowa should welcome challengers to Trump at the Republican Party of Iowa’s caucuses, scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020.”
NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll: “Overall, 66% of Americans now say they’ve seen enough evidence to justify action, up from 51% two decades ago. That figure incorporates 85% of Democrats, 79% of independents, 71% of women, 61% of men and strong majorities of all racial groups. At least 55% agree on the need for action in all regions of the country, and at all age, education and income levels.”
“Resistance comes only from the one-third of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans. A 56% majority of the GOP says either that concern about climate change is unwarranted or that more research is necessary before taking action.”
Jim Rutenberg: “The most powerful print publication in America might just be the National Enquirer. It functioned as a dirty-tricks shop for Donald J. Trump in 2016, which would have been the stuff of farce — the ultimate tabloid backs the ultimate tabloid candidate — if it hadn’t accomplished its goal.”
“The Enquirer’s power was fueled by its covers. For the better part of the campaign season, Enquirer front pages blared sensational headlines about Mr. Trump’s rivals from eye-level racks at supermarket checkout lanes across America.”
“Wondering what The Enquirer’s covers were worth to the Trump campaign, I called Regis Maher, a co-founder of Do It Outdoors, the national mobile and digital billboard company. He said a campaign with that level of national prominence would cost $2.5 million to $3 million a month.”
Rudy's "defense" of Trump on collusion is more like a confession https://t.co/1mHlY0ro01
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 17, 2018
“House Democrats are planning to move several high-profile bills to combat gun violence soon after they take power in January, underscoring their belief that the political landscape has shifted dramatically on an issue that’s plagued American society for decades,” Politico reports.
“With backing from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and key chairmen, Democrats will move to require federal background checks on all gun sales, part of a broader effort by the party to advance long-stalled gun control measures. While the proposal won’t get through the Republican-run Senate, much less become law, getting through the House will be a win for the gun-control movement, which has little to cheer about since President Donald Trump was sworn into office.”
Garrett Graff: “After three weeks of back-to-back-to-back-to-backbombshells by federal prosecutors and special counsel Robert Mueller, it’s increasingly clear that as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president—a total of at least 17 distinct court cases stemming from at least seven different sets of prosecutors and investigators. (That total does not count any congressional inquiries, nor does it include any other inquiries into other administration officials unrelatedto Russia.)”
“While the media has long short-handed Mueller’s probe as the ‘Russia investigation,’ a comprehensive review of the cases unfolding around the president and the question of Russian influence in the 2016 campaign harkens back to another lesson of Watergate: Deep Throat’s dictum, ‘Follow the money.’”
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) December 18, 2018
“Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina have passed legislation that would allow the party to ditch Mark Harris in a new primary election for the 9th District seat if the state board of elections there decides to toss out the results of the Nov. 7 midterms,” Roll Call reports.
“Now the bill sits on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.”
“A business partner of Michael Flynn is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States,” the Washington Postreports.
“Bijan Kian made his first appearance in Alexandria federal court Monday morning.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has served in the U.S. Senate since first being elected in 2002, said that he will not seek a fourth term in the upper chamber, the Tennessean reports.
We now understand that "The Trump campaign" was something that included the National Enquirer, and of course, Russia. Let's stop beating around the bush about it: https://t.co/sYrQnS10Qm
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 17, 2018
Timothy O’Brien: “As President Trump and his lawyers turn toward the new year, they’ll have to contend with a legal narrative that’s taken fuller shape through a flurry of court filings and news reports that began landing about three weeks ago and extended through Friday afternoon: Members of Trump’s presidential campaign — and possibly ‘Individual 1’ himself — may have orchestrated a number of criminal conspiracies that took root before and during the 2016 presidential campaign, continued after Trump won the election, and have tainted the White House’s policies and torn at its operations ever since.”
“The breadth of investigations is so sweeping — as many on social media and reporters with the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg News have already noted — that few of the worlds Trump inhabits have escaped prosecutors’ attention. The Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, the Trump family, the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, the Trump inauguration, and the Trump White House are all being probed for wrongdoing.”
In a panicky brief, Trump's DOJ tries to fight against state AGs' subpoenas in the emoluments case by arguing that Trump is "likely to suffer irreparable injury" https://t.co/T2M07VnuHS pic.twitter.com/FxFClL94lg
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 17, 2018
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) “is getting more buzz as a potential White House contender than people who’ve served as governor, senator or even vice president and secretary of state, even though he’s still stinging from falling short last month to Sen. Ted Cruz,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
Said O’Rourke: “The fact that we came close doesn’t diminish the bitterness of the loss.”
Acknowledging the very real doubts about whether someone who couldn’t win election in his home state deserves promotion to commander in chief: “Oh yeah. I think that’s a great question. I ask that question myself.”
He added: “I just don’t feel comfortable talking to anybody in Iowa or New Hampshire, because I don’t want to stoke. I just truly have not made a decision or even really begun the serious work of making a decision, so I just don’t want to lead anyone to think that we’re doing something or not doing something.”
Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Brian Kemp and his aides publicly accused the Democratic Party of Georgia of trying to hack into the voter database in a failed attempt to steal the election. The announcement added last-minute drama to an already contentious campaign. More important, it also pre-empted scrutiny of the secretary of state’s own missteps while initiating a highly unusual criminal investigation into his political rivals.”
“But no evidence supported the allegations against the Democrats at the time, and none has emerged in the six weeks since, the Journal-Constitutionfound. It appears unlikely that any crime occurred. … That examination suggests Kemp and his aides used his elected office to protect his political campaign from a potentially devastating embarrassment.”
After a federal judge in Texas declared the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, the health law faces yet another trip through the courts, and more possibilities for destabilizing coverage. @fivefifths explains: https://t.co/2hotbDE1ap
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) December 17, 2018