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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "foreign interference"

Graham: Why aren’t Democrats outraged over Hillary hiring a foreign agent to dig up dirt?

Westlake Legal Group graham-interference Graham: Why aren’t Democrats outraged over Hillary hiring a foreign agent to dig up dirt? The Blog Lindsey Graham Hillary Clinton foreign interference dnc Christopher Steele 2016 Election

Good question, and Lindsey Graham makes sure to frame it as a value applicable to all parties. “No party should be hiring foreign agents to look at their opponents,” Graham told reporters this morning, “and we shouldn’t be taking meetings” with them, either. For Democrats setting their hair on fire over Donald Trump’s comments this morning, the Senate Judiciary chair advises, they should first remember that Hillary Clinton and the DNC did exactly that in 2016 too. “I’m hoping that some of my Democratic colleagues will take more seriously,” Graham argued, “that Christopher Steele was a foreign agent paid for by the Democratic Party to gather dirt on Trump.”

I’m guessing that Graham will have to remind them of this. Often:

As I noted

Graham later extended his remarks on Twitter to make it clear that bad things happen when we invite foreign entities to clandestinely participate in our elections. Graham insisted that he has not changed his position at all on that question, and pointed back to his questioning of FBI director Christopher Wray on the matter during Wray’s confirmation hearing. Any campaign approached by a foreign entity with potential dirt should alert the FBI, especially given the heightened efforts to interfere with American elections:

Had both parties adhered to a domestic-only oppo-research policy, Graham argued, an American citizen wouldn’t have wound up being the target of a FISA surveillance warrant:

At his presser, CNN’s Manu Raju asked Graham if he’d push for a law to forbid engagement with foreign entities by campaigns. Graham laughs and says that he’s pretty sure one already exists, but “I’m willing to make it clear if we need to.” It looks like he’s doing just that.

The post Graham: Why aren’t Democrats outraged over Hillary hiring a foreign agent to dig up dirt? appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group graham-interference-300x162 Graham: Why aren’t Democrats outraged over Hillary hiring a foreign agent to dig up dirt? The Blog Lindsey Graham Hillary Clinton foreign interference dnc Christopher Steele 2016 Election  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump: “I think I’d take” oppo info from foreign sources

Westlake Legal Group trump-foreign-info Trump: “I think I’d take” oppo info from foreign sources Ukraine The Blog Steele dossier Russia Norway George Stephanopoulos foreign interference donald trump 2020 presidential campaign

Welcome to today’s political Rorschach test, in which your political leanings can be determined by whether you answer Russia or Norway. Both come up in this part of Donald Trump’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who asked whether Trump would accept dirt on his political opponent(s) from foreign sources. “I think I’d take it,” Trump said, and offered Norway as an example of a source he wouldn’t turn down. “We’re talking about Russia,” Stephanopoulos answered:

President Donald Trump may not alert the FBI if foreign governments offered damaging information against his 2020 rivals during the upcoming presidential race, he said, despite the deluge of investigations stemming from his campaign’s interactions with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

Asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners — such as China or Russia — or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, “I think maybe you do both.”

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

What about calling the FBI, Stephanopoulos asked. What about it, Trump replied:

“The FBI director said that is what should happen,” Stephanopoulos replied, referring to comments FBI Director Christopher Wray made during congressional testimony last month, when he told lawmakers “the FBI would want to know about” any foreign election meddling. …

“The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life,” Trump said. “Now maybe it will start happening, maybe today you’d think differently.”

So what’s the correct answer? Ukraine, and for a couple of reasons. First, most people either never knew or have forgotten that Hillary Clinton and the DNC were reaching out to Ukraine for dirt on Trump during the 2016 campaign, only in a much more circumspect fashion, a point which Stephanopoulos fails to mention here. Let’s not forget too that the Steele dossier was also an attempt to use foreign sources for dirt on an opponent; Steele used his own Russian sources to get what now looks like a disinformation folio, manipulated to rattle the election in its own way.

Second, Trump has to consider Joe Biden his most likely opponent in next year’s election, and Biden’s connection to Ukraine politics has already come up in this cycle. Trump is likely hopeful that there’s more where that came from, even if Rudy Giuliani doesn’t collect it in person. With House Democrats trying to dig through his bank records and tax returns, he doesn’t want to take anything off the table.

Still, this is a remarkably tone-deaf argument, especially after the last two-plus years. Team Trump tried to use foreign sources for dirt on Hillary and botched it, creating a disastrous blowback from which Trump is still trying to recover. The Trump Tower debacle alone should have been enough of a learning experience to swear off of that kind of strategy ever again, especially with the same team forming for the next election. The smart answer here would have been, “I don’t need anyone’s help to beat Joe Biden except from good ol’ red-blooded American voters.” How difficult is that to say, even if you don’t necessarily mean it?

The post Trump: “I think I’d take” oppo info from foreign sources appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group trump-foreign-info-300x164 Trump: “I think I’d take” oppo info from foreign sources Ukraine The Blog Steele dossier Russia Norway George Stephanopoulos foreign interference donald trump 2020 presidential campaign  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NBC: Russian trollery was for fun … and profit!

Westlake Legal Group prigozhin-putin NBC: Russian trollery was for fun … and profit! The Blog Russia Propaganda internet research agency foreign interference 2016 Election

America — what a country*! Only here can a foreign intelligence service invade virtual-social-life systems, attempt to manipulate public opinion, and get rich doing so. NBC’s Ken Dilanian reported this morning that Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election may not have made much of a political impact, but it did generate nearly a million bucks in revenue:

The effort by a Russian internet deception factory to manipulate American public opinion during the 2016 election was better planned and executed — and also more lucrative — than previously understood, according to a new analysis of nearly 10 million tweets by a leading cybersecurity firm.

The operation by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency amounted to “a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages,” according to Symantec, which conducted an in-depth analysts of nearly 4,000 Twitter accounts involved in what U.S. intelligence agencies assess was a Russian-government–sponsored propaganda operation designed in part to help Donald Trump get elected president.

Some of the accounts were set up months in advance. And some of the trolls used their fake accounts to make money on the side, the researchers found, with one potentially generating nearly $1 million.

A million dollars for trolling people on social media? I’m in the wrong business, man. I wonder whether I can make a few hundred thousand trolling people over bad movies. #BattlefieldEarthRules #IshtarGotRobbed

It turns out, however, that the million-dollar troller wasn’t generating revenue for the Russians. The report from Symantec actually notes that these were “rogue accounts,” trolls using the IRA to make money for themselves. You just can’t find reliable employees for disinformation campaigns these days, alas.

NBC buried the lead on another Symantec conclusion, too. Dilanian writes that the operation was “designed in part to help Donald Trump get elected,” but Symantec actually discovered that the manipulation was more equitable than previously reported:

The research also found that the accounts played to both sides of the aisle more than previously believed, and that most of them were fakes pretending to be regional news outlets, while a smaller subset amplified those messages.

“The campaign directed propaganda at both sides of the liberal/conservative political divide in the U.S., in particular the more disaffected elements of both camps,” Symantec found.

All of this is interesting in an academic sense, but despite Dilanian’s lead and Symantec’s declaration, we still have no data at all on whether any of this had any impact on actual voting decisions. The Russians spent $25 million or so to generate 10 million tweets, which is a lot of money and an espionage operation that begs for a response and a defense; no one seriously disputes either.

However, it took place in the middle of a campaign in which around $2,000,000,000 was spent on messaging and voter outreach by campaigns, parties, and PACs. Just on that basis alone, the Russian effort was a drop in an ocean, not just a bucket, and on social media networks in which only a small part of the US population have anything but superficial engagement. To this day, not one entity has closed the loop by demonstrating that tweets and Facebook postings have any impact at all on voting decisions by Americans, let alone the scale of any such impact in comparison to TV ads, print ads, traditional GOTV methods, and so on.

From this vantage point, it still looks like the Russians wasted $25 million and only succeeded in pissing us off. And from Symantec’s description of their methods, that looks to be mainly what they wanted. The only people who are scoring off of this are the hysterics … and the one troll who scored a million bucks, of course. What a country, yeah?

* – Apologies to Yakov Smirnoff.

The post NBC: Russian trollery was for fun … and profit! appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group prigozhin-putin-300x173 NBC: Russian trollery was for fun … and profit! The Blog Russia Propaganda internet research agency foreign interference 2016 Election  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com