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RUSSIAN HACKING

Senate Intel on 2016 Election Hacking: Russia Able to ‘Alter or Delete Voter Registration Data’

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The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday quietly released its preliminary report on Russian hacking. The Committee, headed by Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) (photo, left), says Russian hackers “accessed voter registration databases,” and were able to “alter or delete voter registration data.”

The report does not say if any votes or registration data were changed, only that it “has not seen any evidence that vote tallies were manipulated or that voter registration information was deleted or modified.”

It adds the cautionary note that “a small number of districts in key states can have a significant impact in a national election.” Indeed, less than 80,000 votes across just three states handed the Electoral College win to Donald Trump.

The report makes clear the Senate Intelligence Committee “has limited information about whether, and to what extent, state and local officials carried out forensic or other examination of election infrastructure systems in order to confirm whether election-related systems were compromised.”

To be clear, it says: “It is possible that additional activity occurred and has not yet been uncovered.”

In other words, changes could have been made, but the Committee does not know.

How widespread were the Russian attacks on U.S. election infrastructure?

Between 18 and 21 states “had election systems targeted by Russian-affiliated cyber actors in some fashion.”

“In a small number of states, these cyber actors were in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data; however, they did not appear to be in a position to manipulate individual votes or aggregate vote totals.”

The complete report is available on on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s website.

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News

Does Trump Freudian Slip Show a Russian Admission?

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Donald Trump at a 2018 rally in Mesa, Arizona.

President Donald Trump, in a tweet designed to smear Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly over his re-election bid, seemed to reveal the truth about the Russia-based influence campaign that got him into office.

While it’s likely the President’s last sentence was an attempt at glibness, it nevertheless reads like an admission that accounts of Russian influence campaigns on the election do have some merit, including efforts to split the vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by pushing Bernie Saunders and Jill Stein.

It is true that ads in the Indiana race have included some backing Lucy Brenton, the Libertarian Party candidate in the race, that include the statement that they were “authorized by Donnelly for Indiana.” The ads question just how conservative the Republican candidate, Mike Braun, actually is.

“Mike Braun will say anything to get elected, but the fact is that he was an active Democrat for decades, and voted to raise your taxes 159 times,” reads one such ad. “Lucy Brenton is the true anti-tax conservative.”

Russia is accused of far more than simply influencing the election in such a manner, including the theft of materials from DNC servers.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

This article has been updated to remove inaccurate descriptions of Bernie Sanders’ and Jill Stein’s parties.

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COLLUSION

Mueller Incorporates Additional Federal Resources in Expanding Trump-Russia Probe

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is utilizing additional Justice Department resources in what appears for all intents and purposes to be an extension of his Trump-Russia 2016 election probe, according to Bloomberg.

In addition to increasing his team with FBI agents, Mueller is making use of career prosecutors in addition to his 17 currently on staff. The extra resources are being funneled in from New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among other locations.

Mueller previously reassigned one major investigation to the Southern District of New York. That case was regarding Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Mueller’s workload has been top-heavy since the investigation began in 2016. Having additional support in place to hand off pieces of the larger puzzle can only aid in continuing the investigation regardless of whether or not Mueller is in the driver’s seat. Attacks from GOP representatives occur on the daily and preparing Mueller’s exit strategy is a probable scenario.

But could diversifying the team be about more than simply protecting Mueller? A timeline of the Russia probe is accessible here. You tell us.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the U.S. intelligence community has said.

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