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Russians Also Reportedly Hacked RNC Computers, But Didn’t Release Data

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Senate Democratic Leader Calls For Congressional Investigation

American intelligence agencies have determined that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems this spring, but didn’t release the data, according to a report in The New York Times. 

This determination served as the basis for the agencies’ finding, first reported Friday by The Washington Post, that Russia intervened in the election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win.  

People with connections to the Russian government are believed to have provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, which were released in the run-up to Nov. 8.   

“One senior government official, who had been briefed on an F.B.I. investigation into the matter, said that while there were attempts to penetrate the Republican committee’s systems, they were not successful,” the NYT reports. “But the intelligence agencies’ conclusions that the hacking efforts were successful, which have been presented to President Obama and other senior officials, add a complex wrinkle to the question of what the Kremlin’s evolving objectives were in intervening in the American presidential election.” 

A senior official told the NYT that the Obama administration has “high confidence that [the Russians] hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC.

Obama has ordered a complete review of the cyber attacks targeting the 2016 presidential election, and directed that it be complete before he leaves office. 

Trump’s transition team responded to Friday’s bombshell report by mocking American intelligence officials, calling them “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” 

On Saturday, incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for a full bipartisan congressional investigation. 

Schumer said the idea that Russia “could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core.”

“Reports of the CIA’s conclusion that Russia actively sought to help elect Donald Trump are simultaneously stunning and not surprising, given Russia’s disdain for democracy and admiration for autocracy,” Schumer said in a statement. “It’s imperative that our intelligence community turns over any relevant information so that Congress can conduct a full investigation.” 

Meanwhile, a top Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, downplayed the Russian hacking, saying it “has been going on for years” and is “serious, but hardly news.” 

In a related development, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now the leading candidate to become Trump’s secretary of state. 

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Kremlin Using GOP in Plot to ‘Tear Down’ Biden is ‘Scandal of Historic Proportions’: Miller

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Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegation that a former FBI informant was fed anti-Biden propaganda from the Kremlin and laundered it to congressional Republicans who then used it to launch an impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden is a “scandal of historic proportions” says former Republican political strategist Tim Miller.

Reminding MSNBC viewers that the bombshell news is really a story about election interference, Alicia Menendez on Wednesday’s “Deadline: White House” turned to Miller.

“This is now coming from inside the House of Representatives, inside the Republican conference within the House of Representatives,” said Miller, a former Jeb Bush communications director who now writes for The Bulwark.

Calling it “an unprecedented and really historic kind of moment,” Miller explained, “what we have here is an impeachment inquiry – we’ve not had that many of those, an impeachment investigation going against the President of the United States, premised on totally false information that allegedly was sourced from Russian intelligence, that was sourced from our foe.”

READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

The premise of the House Republicans’ impeachment investigation was based on “frankly, kind of preposterous information,” Miller observed, “like this notion that Joe Biden took $5 million and had some web of bank accounts that were, that was so complex that it would take 10 years to unravel, that was one of Smirnov’s claims.”

Alexander Smirnov, Politico reported Tuesday evening, is the “former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.” Smirnov “had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in a court paper Tuesday.”

“Like it’s kind of laughable at the face,” Miller continued, “right, like this notion that the American CIA could not have uncovered this but that [Republican U.S. Reps.] Elise Stefanik and Byron Donalds could. you know, it was a preposterous accusation.”

READ MORE: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Miller blasted “Republicans in the House” for pushing “this false information about the sitting president, and become tools in a foreign power, in a foe’s effort to interfere in our elections, to tear down the sitting President of the United States, to prop up his rival, and it is you know … this is a scandal of historic proportions.”

“I’d just like to put it in context: It’s akin to, you know, imagine if during the Cold War in the 80s, the Soviets had trumped up some fake information about Ronald Reagan being on the take and [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill and the Democratic House had opened up an inquiry and investigation into it, that would be something that would be echoing and, you know, it would be talked about in conservative media 40, 50 years later. And so the fact that this is happening now, that there’s one party that is complicit in this, I don’t think the significance can be understated.”

Watch below or at this link (segment starts at 14:25).

 

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Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’

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Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is siding with a first-of-its-kind ruling that decrees frozen embryos are human beings.

On Tuesday the Alabama Supreme Court decreed that frozen embryos, used for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), are people.

“‘Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,’ Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in Friday’s majority ruling by the all-Republican court,” The Associated Press reported. “Justices, citing anti-abortion language in the Alabama Constitution, ruled that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue over the death of a minor child ‘applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.'”

Haley, the former Trump administration UN Ambassador and former Governor of South Carolina, made her remarks ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary, where she is behind in a recent poll by about 28 points.

“I mean, embryos to me are babies,” Haley told NBC News.

READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

Asked if that includes “those created through IVF,” Haley replied, “I mean, I had artificial insemination. That’s how I had my son. So when you look at you know, one thing is to save sperm or to save eggs. But when you talk about an embryo you are talking about, to me, that’s a life, and so I do see where that’s coming from.”

When asked about the practical implications of declaring embryos human beings, Haley appeared to not want to go into the legal aspects, or discuss how it would affect women who need the embryos to conceive. She instead focused her remarks on her own artificial insemination experience, saying these decisions are very personal.

When pressed by NBC News’ Ali Vitali (video below), Haley said she had not seen any legislation on the topic.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruling quickly threw into question the right and ability of women and couples to use IVF to conceive.

One Alabama university quickly paused its IVF program. The Guardian reports it “says [the] state’s supreme court ruling could expose doctors and patients to criminal charges.”

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

“On Wednesday, spokesperson Savannah Koplon told the Guardian on behalf of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a research university and academic medical center that is also the largest healthcare provider in the state, that the institution was ‘saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments.'”

The Biden campaign immediately jumped on Ambassador Haley’s remarks, posting a short clip to social media, and writing: “Haley says she supports the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling threatening IVF access for women, made possible by Trump ending Roe: Embryos, to me, are babies.”

Watch the full NBC News video below or at this link.

 

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MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

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Legal and political experts are responding to Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegations that a former top FBI informant, now under federal indictment, had, as one reporter explained, “high-level contact with Russian intelligence operatives,” and fed Republicans falsehoods from the Kremlin which they used to attack the Biden family and to try to build a case to impeach President Joe Biden.

“How many intel and legal findings and counter-espionage cases before people are willing to accept that the entire MAGA movement is a Russian intel op?” asks David Rothkopf, the noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author.

The bombshell allegations from the Special Counsel, a U.S. Attorney nominated by then-President Donald Trump, were published in his legal memo asking a judge to detain Alexander Smirnov, the defendant and former FBI confidential human source.

“Russia has fully infiltrated the Republican party. Nice going traitors,” alleged Richard Signorelli, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York office. He added: “Trump & @SpeakerJohnson et al are Putin’s ‘useful idiots.'”

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), an attorney who served as the lead counsel for the first Trump impeachment, wrote: “The Comer/Jordan impeachment sham appears to have been a Russian intelligence operation from the start. The only remaining question is whether Rs were witting or unwitting agents of Putin in their desperate quest to get Trump reelected. Will the GOP continue to work for Putin?”

Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC commentator, points to a passage from the DOJ’s memo: “More from DOJ motion re Smirnov: ‘the misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020 …He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in Nov.'”

“This guy made be the sole reason for R’s Burisma obsessions,” Litman says.

Litman continues: “DOJ to court: ‘Smirnov transformed his routine & unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against [Joe Biden] and [Hunter Biden], after expressing bias against Joe Biden.’ Was the entire R Burisma obsession based on phony intel?”

He adds: “And the big plot point to the Smirnov revelations from [Special Counsel David Weiss] is that the misinformation that Republicans have gone running — in fact galloping with –originates with, you guessed it, Russian intelligence. i.e part of overall Putin misinformation campaign that so distorted 2016.”

Attorney Blake Rutherford, in a social media post “retweeted” by attorney George Conway, wrote: “At what point will the broader American press, and I mean producers, editors, and publishers, wake up to very real fact that Russian propaganda is being normalized in today’s @GOP. They are all useful idiots. Putin knows it.”

Republican turned independent Tim Miller, a political strategist and author at The Bulwark, takes a look at recent events:

“To sum up: RUS/Putin have invaded their neighbor, assassinated the biggest domestic political threat, coopted one of the right’s biggest media stars, and seeded a fabricated story about the US President that was echoed by GOP congressional leadership & rightwing media en masse.”

But even before the Special Counsel’s allegations against the indicted former FBI informant, some were growning increasingly aware of Russia’s alleged penetration into the GOP.

RELATED: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin, now a co-host on “The View,” last week wrote: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Russia is winning the information war within the US. GOP politicians – who know better – are amplifying Kremlin garbage. We are in deep, deep trouble.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

Image via Mike Johnson/X

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