Tag Archives: interference

Government report warns of potential violence and foreign interference during Georgia Senate runoffs


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Trump administration officials subpoenaed in probe into alleged ‘extensive and dangerous’ political interference at CDC


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China warns of interference over Bloomberg journalist arrest


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Lindsey Graham continues to weigh in on Georgia election after being accused of interference


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Team Trump Hits Back at Democrats, Says Impeachment Is Election ‘Interference’

Team Trump Hits Back at Democrats, Says Impeachment Is Election ‘Interference’The White House’s team of lawyers opened their case to acquit President Trump by relying on one phrase: Adam Schiff didn’t tell you that. Though Trump’s defense team only spoke for about two hours on Saturday morning, they invoked that phrase over and over again.The Democrats’ lead impeachment prosecutor, they argued, took 24 hours to make his side’s case but failed to mention that in Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the president simply reminded his counterpart that the U.S. was unfairly doing more than Europeans for Ukraine’s security. “We do a lot for Ukraine,” said Trump, “We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.”GOP Rolls Out Every Last Excuse to Keep Witnesses OutKing Trump Wants Heads on Pikes. The GOP Can’t Wait to Oblige.Schiff didn’t disclose, they said, that a key witness—U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland—presumed there was a quid-pro-quo between U.S. security aid and a Ukrainian investigation to dig up dirt on Trump’s rivals, based on everything he knew. But, they said, Sondland was never informed directly of any quid-pro-quo.And Schiff definitely didn’t disclose, said presidential counsel Jay Sekulow, that Trump has also withheld aid to other countries, nor did the Democrat mention that Trump had good reason to be suspicious of official Washington after being “subjected” to investigation by Robert Mueller.Leading up to Saturday’s arguments, there had been some anxiety among Democrats for the moment that Trump’s defense team would step on the Senate floor and make their case in earnest. Signs had indicated they’d pursue a caustic, scorched-earth approach—the kind preferred by their client. The four attorneys who took the stand for Trump—who used the rare weekend session to offer a brief preview of their arguments to come during a longer Monday presentation—didn’t look or feel much like a Fox News panel, to the relief of some Democratic lawmakers. But in their choice of rhetoric and topics, it was clear Trump’s lawyers sought to change the channel from the impeachment show that Schiff and his fellow managers had run for the last three days. The goal was to plant the notion that there is another side to the impeachment story—not one that renders Trump’s conduct questionable yet unimpeachable, as some Republicans have ventured, but one that completely exonerates him.What’s more, the White House team employed a favorite argument of their client’s: that the Democrats who would impeach him are the ones doing the real election interference, not him.Democrats, said White House counsel Pat Cipollone, are determined to perpetrate the “most massive interference in an election in American history.”“We can’t allow that to happen,” Cipollone told the 100 senators listening. “It would violate our Constitution. It would violate our history. It would violate our obligations to the future. Most importantly, it would violate the sacred trust the American people have placed in you.”To Democrats, it was clear who that message—and the other ones touching on other Trump favorites, like the surveillance of his 2016 campaign—was meant for. “I think they're doing that to make the president happy,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). “I think they want to make the president smile, or laugh, or tweet, or something.”Senate Republicans, however, were clearly pleased that the time had come for the White House to present its case. The past three straight days of Democratic arguments appeared to alternately frustrate and bore them. As the four Trump attorneys sketched out their case, Republicans were visibly engaged and ready for their turn at righteous indignation.  When Trump attorney Michael Purpura played a clip showing Sondland’s remarks that he presumed there was a quid-pro-quo, GOP senators chuckled in disbelief and shook their heads. Several nodded along as the presentations were made.“It was refreshing,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). And Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said the White House lawyers were talking directly to senators, instead of Democrats, whom he said seemed to arrange their case so it could be picked up by cable news viewers. “That was a real effort, I think, to connect with the seriousness of this with us, and to fill in gaps.”The presentation, which was hailed as solid not only by Republicans but Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), gave Republicans hoping for a speedy trial and acquittal of Trump more cover to push for a rejection of additional witnesses and documents. Four Republicans are needed to join with all Democrats in order to issue a subpoena any new material.“I’m more intent on ending this thing now with my vote,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after the Saturday session wrapped. “It’s best for our country to vote on the record established.”Though Graham was hardly ever on the fence on witnesses, other Republicans whose votes were considered in play sounded closer than ever to shutting the door on a longer trial with new evidence. GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection in Iowa this November, said leaving the trial that she was leaning toward voting no on new evidence. In justifying it, Ernst turned to a now-familiar argument: if Democrats’ case was so good, they shouldn’t need any more evidence. It’s a point Trump’s defense team reinforced in their remarks—emphasizing repeatedly that the Democrats’ case was flimsy because House investigators didn’t hear from more people with direct contact with Trump. “They’re asking you to do something no Senate has ever done,” Cipollone said of Democrats. “And they're asking you to do it with no evidence.”The White House, of course, has fought Democrats’ subpoenas and requests for evidence—including testimony from officials who spoke directly with Trump—tooth-and-nail in order to shield it. The defense team, said Kaine, had inadvertently “made the most powerful case that can be made for the necessity of witnesses and documents.”And Manchin, who said he found Saturday’s arguments compelling, nevertheless told CNN “one thing that stuck in my mind is they said there isn’t a witness they have had so far that had direct contact with the president. I’d love to hear from Mulvaney and Bolton.”Senators will vote on whether or not to call new witnesses after the president’s team finishes its case and they pose questions to both sides. Many of them say they are reserving judgment or public comment until Team Trump wraps up its case on Monday or Tuesday.But for the president, two hours on Saturday had already made it a done deal. “Any fair minded person watching the Senate trial today would be able to see how unfairly I have been treated,” Trump tweeted. “This should never be allowed to happen again!”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Republican senator on Trump soliciting foreign interference: 'Things happen'

Republican senator on Trump soliciting foreign interference: 'Things happen'Republican Senator Richard Shelby defended an argument from President Trump’s legal team that soliciting foreign interference in an election is not an impeachable offense, saying, “things happen.”



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U.S. Preparing to Respond to 2020 Russian Election Interference by Releasing Kremlin Officials’ Personal Info

U.S. Preparing to Respond to 2020 Russian Election Interference by Releasing Kremlin Officials’ Personal InfoU.S. Cyber Command is readying options to wage information warfare against Russian officials if the country tries to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.The officials would include senior members of Russia's government as well as Russian oligarchs, stopping short of targeting Vladimir Putin himself. The operation is designed to halt election interference by threatening Kremlin officials with the release of their personal information."When the Russians put implants into an electric grid, it means they’re making a credible showing that they have the ability to hurt you if things escalate," Bobby Chesney, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Post. "What may be contemplated here is an individualized version of that, not unlike individually targeted economic sanctions. It’s sending credible signals to key decision-makers that they are vulnerable if they take certain adversarial actions."The U.S. has used information warfare in the past, including in the Gulf War when the military dropped leaflets over Iraq attempting to persuade Iraqi troops to surrender. The advent of internet technology and social media has expanded the reach of such tactics across the world.U.S. government agencies have pushed repeatedly over the past year to loosen restrictions on offensive cyber capabilities. Traditional information warfare techniques have also been absorbed by the 10-year-old cyber command."It’s a really big deal because we have not done a good job in the past of integrating traditional information warfare with cyber-operations," Chesney commented. "But as Russia has demonstrated, these two are increasingly inseparable in practice."Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken out against possible Russian interference in U.S. elections."Interference in American elections is unacceptable and if the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been," Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergey Lavrov in May of this year."We’ve said this not only about the Russians but about other countries as well,” Pompeo said. “Our elections are important and sacred and they must be kept free and fair and with no outside country interfering."Russia has denied meddling in U.S. elections despite overwhelming evidence collected by the U.S. intelligence community.



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Intelligence community unveils plans for disclosing foreign electoral interference; promises no 'partisan politics'

Intelligence community unveils plans for disclosing foreign electoral interference; promises no 'partisan politics'New guidelines are designed to enable the prompt disclosure of information about threats.



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Biden says Trump is an 'idiot' for calling Russian election interference a hoax

Biden says Trump is an 'idiot' for calling Russian election interference a hoaxFormer Vice President Joe Biden had a lot to say during a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday night.The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate first explained why former President Barack Obama has not endorsed him, telling interviewer Norah O'Donnell that he wants to "earn this on my own," but has "no doubt when I'm the nominee he'll be out on the campaign trail for me." Biden also discussed how he will fund health care and education by repealing tax cuts for people who make more than $ 400,000 a year and increasing tax rates on those who earn between $ 250,000 and $ 400,000. "The fact is that what we should be doing is making sure that the wealthy pay their fare share," he said.Last week, Facebook announced that Russian trolls were using fake profiles to target Biden, and Biden was asked about this and Trump's insistence that the intelligence is wrong and Russian election interference is a hoax. "He's an idiot in terms of saying that," Biden said. "Everybody knows this. Everybody knows it. Nobody doubts it." He also reiterated that there was nothing wrong with his son, Hunter Biden, being on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while he was vice president, something that has been fuel for Trump and other Republicans who have accused the Bidens of corruption."He did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody's investigated," Biden said. Trump needs to focus on himself, he added, and release his tax returns. "Let's see how straight you are, okay old buddy?" he said. "I put out 21 years of mine. So show us your tax returns…what are you hiding? You wanna deal with corruption? Start to act like it. Release your tax returns or shut up."



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Frustrated Packers coach Matt LaFleur: 'I really don't know what pass interference is anymore'

Frustrated Packers coach Matt LaFleur: 'I really don't know what pass interference is anymore'The rookie head coach challenged what he and many others saw as blatant pass interference — but the call wasn't overturned.



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