8:32 AM 10/29/2017 – Gates: “In a close election or legislative battle, they can spell the difference.” – Foreign Interference Has Bedeviled D.C. For Decades, With No Easy Reponse

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Robert Gates

Leaders in D.C. approaching the end of the Cold War debated how much to worry about active measures and what action to take in response. One strategy was to attempt to fight disinformation with more information in publicly calling out forgeries or other false stories.

Gates told senators that it was “often difficult to determine the precise effects” of Russian influence activities and that the work of Russia’s intelligence and other agencies “do not guarantee success.”

That’s when Gates — who went on to become director of the CIA and secretary of defense — said something that resonates closely with life in Washington now: “In a close election or legislative battle, they can spell the difference.” 

Foreign Interference Has Bedeviled D.C. For Decades, With No Easy Reponse

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Nations waged campaigns of influence against each other for centuries before Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and nothing is likely to stop them anytime soon.

Congress could mandate more “disclosure” for foreigners buying ads on U.S. social networks, but that wouldn’t stop the ads from being sold, nor would it address the covert part of the Russians’ playbook — the cyberattacks, snooping and dumping of embarrassing information.

The U.S. has already increased sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the election interference — with no effect so far on its ongoing campaign of active measures. Personal warnings by then-President Obama and then-CIA Director John Brennan to their Russian counterparts during the 2016 election cycle didn’t move the needle either.

This is cold comfort for policymakers now, but they’re only the latest group of leaders in Washington, D.C., to try to tackle this issue.

“Soviet intelligence officers have already started to collect information on the 1988 presidential candidates and their positions on various issues,” the FBI warned in a 1987 report.

“It is possible that the Soviet Union will institute a new series of active measures operations designed to discredit those candidates who have platforms that are not acceptable to the Soviet government,” the report also said.

The Bureau cited work it had already done in discrediting a forged Russian document from three years before.

“The forgery, dated 1947, purported that Ronald Reagan was working in collusion with the FBI and the House Committee on Un-American Activities concerning Communist infiltration into the Hollywood film world. This forgery was designed to discredit President Reagan by raising the issue of ‘McCarthyism’ during an election year,’ ” the report explained.

National security leaders and members of Congress in Washington have been hearing very similar mood music over the past year. Then-FBI Director James Comey is said to have grappled with a document that purportedly described then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch reassuring the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton that Lynch would go easy on them over Clinton’s emails and private server.

That document, which Comey and the FBI have declined to discuss, has been described as a U.S. intelligence intercept of Russian government message traffic. Comey knew it was fake, as The Washington Post reported, but it nonetheless muddied the waters he was trying to navigate and has since raised doubts about his decision.

For the authors of these active measures, that means a success — the way they always have.

“One way to think about Soviet efforts is to think of them as the activities of a giant political action committee,” said Robert M. Gates, then deputy director of the CIA for Intelligence. He testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about active measures on Sept. 12, 1985, in a closed session that has since been partially declassified.

“This Soviet political action committee has an impressive set of resources,” Gates said. He continued: “A large budget; a cadre of experienced campaign strategists and activists; its own massive public relations organization; freedom from any constraints on disclosure of activities; willingness of those it opposes; and an ability to place covert agents within opposing organizations.”

Gates and his colleagues likely had had an easier time of it in their day. There was no global Internet with billions of users, no cyber-weapons and no social networks. The opponent they faced was actively interested in exporting its own political dogma.

Now, technology gives influence-mongers in any nation many orders of magnitude more avenues by which to spread their messages. And in the case of Russia, it no longer wants to convert capitalists into fellow travelers in the cause of Communism.

Instead, it has the simpler and potentially more pernicious goal of simply taking the West down a peg, sowing chaos and corroding faith in democracy.

“In the wake of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, it is more important than ever to strengthen our defenses against foreign interference in our elections,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement earlier this month.

He and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., are sponsoring a bill that they say would help defeat some active measures. It would require that ads sold to foreign buyers on big social networks — especially Facebook — disclose who’d paid for them and that the social networks would have to disclose to anyone the content of the ads.

“I have long fought to increase transparency and end the corrupting influence of special interests in political campaigns, and I am confident this legislation will modernize existing law to safeguard the integrity of our election system,” McCain said as the introduced the bill.

But the bill wouldn’t do anything about automated Twitter accounts amplifying controversy, or foreign agitators organizing rallies, or cyberattacks or any of the other weapons at the disposal of contemporary agents of influence. And a foreign government doesn’t need to try to get inside the United States to raise doubts about events on the world scene.

Back in 1987, then-spymaster Gates told his Senate interlocutors about Moscow’s plan to raise doubts about the incident in which a Soviet interceptor shot down a Korean civilian airliner that strayed into Russian airspace, killing 269 people. There was no question that the Soviets had destroyed the aircraft, but as Gates said, the U.S.S.R. needed there to be.

“In some cases, all the Soviets are interested in is raising doubt about an issue,” he said, “the Soviets probably never realistically expected to reverse public opinion in their favor, but to create enough public doubt to make it responsible to voice the other side of the issue. And they did that.”

Moscow returned to the same playbook when it circulated alternate explanations for the 2014 destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was destroyed by a Russian surface-to-air missile fired from pro-Russian territory in Ukraine.

Leaders in D.C. approaching the end of the Cold War debated how much to worry about active measures and what action to take in response. One strategy was to attempt to fight disinformation with more information in publicly calling out forgeries or other false stories.

Gates told senators that it was “often difficult to determine the precise effects” of Russian influence activities and that the work of Russia’s intelligence and other agencies “do not guarantee success.”

That’s when Gates — who went on to become director of the CIA and secretary of defense — said something that resonates closely with life in Washington now: “In a close election or legislative battle, they can spell the difference.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit <a href=”http://www.npr.org/” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.npr.org/</a>.

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Trump. Cambridge Analytica. WikiLeaks. The connections, explained.

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This week, a new thread emerged: Multiple sources confirmed to CNN that the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in summer 2016 to ask for access to emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server. Sources told CNN that he asked for the emails because he wanted to catalog them on a searchable database that would be made available to the Trump campaign or a pro-Trump PAC.

There is no evidence WikiLeaks ever hacked or possessed the emails sought by Nix. But the contact alone raises new questions about Cambridge Analytica’s potential role in Russia’s efforts to undermine Clinton’s campaign.

It’s a messy situation and, with so many unanswered questions, such as what Cambridge Analytica knew about Wikileaks’ Russia connection when it sought Clinton’s missing emails. Still, it’s important to consider the broader context. The timeline below tracks how things unfolded, based on all we know.

close dialog

Soon-to-be Democratic presidential candidate Clinton

publicly acknowledged for the first time

 that she used a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. She also said she deleted about 30,000 emails about personal matters unrelated to her work for the Obama administration. The deleted emails, which have never seen the light of day, later became a flashpoint of the campaign.

June 16, 2015 — Trump launches presidential campaign

Trump

announced that he is running for president

, ending months of rampant speculation. “I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again,” he told a crowd at Trump Tower. When he declared his candidacy, Trump was in the middle of the GOP pack, trailing in polls to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and others.

July 2015 — Russian hackers breach DNC systems

Hackers working for Russian intelligence services “gained access to” the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks as part of the Kremlin’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential race, according to the

US intelligence community assessment

 that was published after the election.

March 2016 — Another group of Russian hackers breach DNC systems

Another group of Russian hackers — separate from the group that hacked the DNC in 2015 — breached the DNC’s computer systems, according to a

US intelligence report

 published after the election. The US intelligence community says Russian intelligence related stolen materials from the DNC to WikiLeaks for public release.

CNN reported

 this year that Russia gave WikiLeaks the emails through an intermediary.

March 19, 2016 — Russian hackers gain access to Podesta’s emails

Russian hackers gained access to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal Gmail account by sending a phishing email. The

US intelligence community determined

 in early 2017 that Russian intelligence later gave WikiLeaks hacked emails from Democratic “political figures,” an oblique reference to Podesta.

CNN reported

 this year that Russia gave WikiLeaks the emails through an intermediary.

May 3, 2016 — Trump becomes presumptive Republican nominee

June 2016 — Mercer family endorses Trump

The Mercer family, led by Republican megadonor Robert Mercer,

begins supporting Trump’s candidacy 

and starts donating to pro-Trump efforts. The family previously backed Cruz in the GOP primaries.

The family financially backs Cambridge Analytica, which started working for Trump over the summer of 2016. Some members of Cambridge Analytica staff were incorporated in the Trump campaign’s data operation team.

June 9, 2016 — Trump tweets about Clinton’s deleted emails

Responding to a quip from Clinton, Trump

posted on Twitter

: “How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”

This tweet came the same day that Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner met a group of Russians at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. was told before the meeting that one of the Russians would offer incriminating information about Clinton.

June 15, 2016 — DNC claims it was hacked by Russian intelligence

The DNC and CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm it hired to investigate the breaches,

revealed publicly for the first time

 that its servers were penetrated. CrowdStrike said it “identified two sophisticated adversaries on the network” that were associated with Russian intelligence services.

Trump

dismissed the notion

 that Russia was behind the hacks, saying “we believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader. Too bad the DNC doesn’t hack Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails.”

July 19-21, 2016 — Republican National Convention is held in Cleveland

Trump

officially became the presidential nominee

 for the Republican Party during the Republican National Convention, which was held in Cleveland. During the convention, a handful of Trump campaign advisers briefly met with then-Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

Between July 21 and July 31, 2016 — Cambridge Analytica CEO emails WikiLeaks

Alexander Nix, the chief executive of data firm Cambridge Analytica, emailed Assange

seeking access to emails from Clinton’s private server

 so he could turn them into a searchable database for the campaign or a pro-Trump political action committee.There is no evidence that Clinton’s deleted emails were ever hacked or that WikiLeaks ever had possession of them.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the email was sent in late July 2016 at some point following the Republican National Convention. This was around the same time Cambridge Analytica started working for the Trump campaign as part of its three-pronged data operation based in San Antonio, Texas.

Right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon was a member of the Cambridge Analytica board when Nix sent the email, according to The New York Times. Bannon later became CEO of the Trump campaign and stepped down from the data analytics company. He took a top White House job in January but left over the summer.

July 22, 2016 — WikiLeaks releases about 20,000 hacked DNC emails

WikiLeaks posted on its website

nearly 20,000 emails

 that were stolen from the DNC servers. Many of the emails were sent by senior DNC officials. Some of the emails suggested that the DNC favored Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries, leading to allegations that the primary was rigged.

July 25-28, 2016 — Democratic National Convention is held in Philadelphia

Democrats held their convention in Philadelphia and formally selected Clinton as their nominee. The gathering was roiled by the WikiLeaks disclosures, which were released days earlier. The emails upset Sanders supporters, and forced DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz to

quit her post

.

July 25, 2016 — Trump says it’s a “joke” that Russia hacked the DNC

Trump weighed in on the DNC leaks,

saying on Twitter

: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

July 26, 2016 — NYT reports that the US believes Russia hacked the DNC

The New York Times published a report

 that claimed US intelligence agencies told the White House that they were highly confident that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC. This was the first public report suggesting that the US government agreed with the DNC’s assessment.

July 27, 2016 — Trump publicly asks Russia to hack Clinton’s deleted emails

At a news conference

, Trump publicly called on the Russian government to hack Clinton’s private email server and reveal the deleted emails. Trump’s campaign later said his comment was a joke.

“if it is Russia — which it’s probably not, nobody knows who it is — but if it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country, when they would hack into a major party and get everything,” Trump said. “But it would be interesting to see — I will tell you this — Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.”

July 29, 2016 — Trump campaign pays $100,000 to Cambridge Analytica

The Trump campaign made its first of five payments to Cambridge Analytica, cutting a check for $100,000, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.

August 8, 2016 — Roger Stone says he was in touch with Assange

During a speech in Florida

, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone claimed to be in touch with Assange and predicted upcoming WikiLeaks releases: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.” He later clarified that while he was in contact with Assange, it came through an intermediary.

August 14-17, 2016 — Stone exchanges messages with Russian hackers

Stone

exchanged direct Twitter messages

 with Guccifer 2.0, a self-proclaimed hacker who published stolen materials from the DNC earlier in the summer. (These DNC releases were separate from the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks.) The Twitter messages were about the contents of some of the stolen DNC materials that Guccifer posted online earlier that summer. Stone denies any wrongdoing or collusion.

Months after these Twitter messages, the US intelligence community announced that Guccifer 2.0 was actually run by Russian intelligence operatives as part of the Kremlin’s effort to meddle in the election.

August 18, 2016 — Trump campaign pays $250,000 to Cambridge Analytica

The Trump campaign made its second of five payments to Cambridge Analytica, cutting a check for $250,000, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.

August 21, 2016 — Stone predicts upcoming trouble for Podesta

Without specifically referencing emails, Stone predicts that Podesta will soon be in hot water. “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,”

he tweeted

. Stone later claimed that he wasn’t talking about the upcoming WikiLeaks releases but was alluding to an expose he was planning on his own.

September 1, 2016 — Trump campaign pays $5 million to Cambridge Analytica

The Trump campaign made its second of five payments to Cambridge Analytica, cutting a check for $5 million, according to records from the Federal Election Commission. The massive payment — the largest from the campaign to the data firm — was for a TV ad buy, according to the

Wall Street Journal

.

September 8, 2016 — Trump questions US intelligence on Russian hacking

In an interview with TV personality Larry King

, Trump questioned the recent US intelligence statement that the Russian government was interfering in the 2016 election. “I think it’s probably unlikely,” Trump said. “I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out, who knows? But I think that it’s pretty unlikely.”

King’s show is broadcast on RT, the Kremlin-controlled news network that targets English-speaking audiences. The US intelligence community says the Kremlin promoted its election-meddling campaign on RT. The Trump campaign

said it didn’t know

 King’s show was broadcast on the Russian network.

September 9, 2016 — Stone exchanges more messages with Russian hackers

Stone

exchanged direct Twitter messages

 with Guccifer 2.0. The emails were about the contents of some publicly released DNC materials. Stone denies wrongdoing or collusion. Months after these Twitter messages, the US intelligence community announced that Guccifer 2.0 was actually run by Russian intelligence operatives as part of the Kremlin’s effort to meddle in the election.

September 16, 2016 — Stone predicts WikiLeaks will release Clinton emails

Stone says in a

radio interview

 that WikiLeaks will release new Clinton emails. “I expect Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that, of course, will answer the question of exactly what was erased on that email server.”

October 2, 2016 — Stone alludes to future WikiLeaks releases

Stone appeared to predict that WikiLeaks would soon post damaging materials about Clinton.

He posted

: “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #WikiLeaks.” Nothing materialized on the date Stone referred to, but two days after that date, WikiLeaks started releasing Podesta’s emails.

October 3, 2016 — Stone again predicts upcoming WikiLeaks releases

“I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon,”

Stone tweeted

, four days before WikiLeaks began releasing Podesta’s emails.

October 5, 2016 — Stone says “payload coming” from WikiLeaks

“Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming,”

Stone tweeted

, two days before WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of emailed hacked from Podesta’s email account.

October 7, 2016 — US formally blames Russia for DNC hacks

The US government

broke its silence

 about the DNC hack. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the entire US intelligence community, announced that the Russian government was behind the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks.

“The US Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations,” the statement said, adding that disclosures on WikiLeaks were consistent with Russian methods.

October 7, 2016 — WikiLeaks begins releasing Podesta emails

Shortly after the announcement blaming Russia for the DNC hacks, WikiLeaks

began posting thousands of emails

 stolen from Podesta’s Gmail account. WikiLeaks went on to release new Podesta emails on a near-daily basis, creating waves of negative headlines for the Clinton campaign in the closing weeks of the election. Trump regularly cited the latest Podesta releases during campaign rallies in October and November. The US government later said Russia was responsible for the hacks.

October 10, 2016 — Trump says “I love WikiLeaks”

At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump expressed his admiration for the anti-secrecy website that was publishing dirt on his Democratic opponent, saying “This just came out. WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks.”

October 12, 2016 — Stone says he has back-channel communications with Assange

Stone further elaborated on his relationship with Assange in an interview with a local CBS station in Miami. “I do have a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend,” Stone said. “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk.” Stone says he has never actually met with Assange or spoken with him directly.

October 19, 2016 — Trump campaign pays $250,000 to Cambridge Analytica

The Trump campaign made its fourth of five payments to Cambridge Analytica, cutting a check for $250,000, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.

November 8, 2016 — Trump wins US presidential election

To the surprise of most political analysts, Trump beats Clinton to win the US presidential election. His narrow victory in the Electoral College was buoyed by wins in Midwestern states that weren’t expected to go his way.

December 12, 2016 — Trump campaign pays $312,500 to Cambridge Analytica

With the presidential transition underway, the Trump campaign made its final payment to Cambridge Analytica, cutting a check for $312,500, according to records from the Federal Election Commission. In all, the data firm collected more than $5.9 million from Trump’s presidential campaign.

January 6, 2017 — US accuses Russia of meddling in the election

The US intelligence community accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating a multi-faceted campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Going beyond the October statement,

the new report

 said that actions by Russian intelligence “resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures,” likely a reference to Podesta.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg contributed to this report.

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Breaking down the information from newly released JFK docs

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From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 09:25

Documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy were released by the National Archives this week. Historians and researchers are still sifting through the thousands of files released to find new revelations. Author of “The Kennedy Half Century” and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia Larry Sabato joined CBSN to discuss the new information.

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Social media companies to meet with Congress

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From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 02:40

Lawyers from Twitter, Facebook and Google will meet with congressional investigators to talk about the role they played in Russia’s attempt to influence last year’s election. Heather Timmons, White House correspondent for Quartz, talks about what we should expect in the Nov. 1 hearing.

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Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B


CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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‘Reich Citizens Movement’: Germany may face real threat to national security 

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From: RussiaToday
Duration: 02:14

The Reich Citizens Movement is a far-right group based on the idea that Germany’s pre-World War II borders still exist.
And it also refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the German government and the nation’s laws.
The organization, which until recently had not been taken seriously, now has 15,000 members, and is considered as a very real threat to German security.

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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Here’s How Facebook Actually Won Trump the Presidency

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Mark Zuckerberg is trying hard to convince voters that Facebook had no nefarious role in this election. But according to President-elect Donald Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale, the social media giant was massively influential—not because it was tipping the scales with fake news, but because it helped generate the bulk of the campaign’s $250 million in online fundraising.

“Our biggest incubator that allowed us to generate that money was Facebook,” says Parscale, who has been working for the campaign since before Trump officially announced his candidacy a year and a half ago. Over the course of the election cycle, Trump’s campaign funneled $90 million to Parscale’s San Antonio-based firm, most of which went toward digital advertising. And Parscale says more of that ad money went to Facebook than to any other platform.

‘Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing.’

Brad Parscale

“Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing,” he says. “Twitter for Mr. Trump. And Facebook for fundraising.”

In the wake of Trump’s stunning upset last week, media analysts have worked feverishly to figure out how social media may have altered the outcome of this election. They—and we—have pointed to online echo chambers and the proliferation of fake news as the building blocks of Trump’s victory. But the answer may be much simpler. Of course Facebook was hugely influential in the presidential election, in large part because Trump’s campaign embraced Facebook as a key advertising channel in a way that no presidential campaign has before—not even Clinton’s.

“I think the Trump campaign did that extremely well,” says Andrew Bleeker, president of Bully Pulpit Interactive, which helped lead Hillary Clinton’s digital marketing efforts. “They spent a higher percentage of their spending on digital than we did.”

Changing Minds Where It Mattered

Throughout the last year-and-a-half, stories about the imbalance between Clinton’s ad spending compared to Trump’s proliferated. They noted how Clinton spent more than $200 million on television ads in the final months of the election while Trump spent less than half that. Because Trump wasn’t spending as much on television all along, it seemed like his team wasn’t investing in changing anyone’s minds. But they were: they were just doing it online.

“The big takeaway was using digital in a digital-first way,” says Matt Lira, a Republican digital strategist and senior advisor to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It was the main course. It wasn’t leftovers.”

Facebook proved to be a powerful way for Trump’s team to hone the campaign’s message with the kind of enormous sample sizes you can’t get with traditional polling. “They have an advantage of a platform that has users that are conditioned to click and engage and give you feedback,” says Gary Coby, director of advertising at the Republican National Committee, who worked on Trump’s campaign. “Their platform’s built to inform you about what people like and dislike.”

Coby’s team took full advantage of the ability to perform massive tests with its ads. On any given day, Coby says, the campaign was running 40,000 to 50,000 variants of its ads, testing how they performed in different formats, with subtitles and without, and static versus video, among other small differences. On the day of the third presidential debate in October, the team ran 175,000 variations. Coby calls this approach “A/B testing on steroids.” The more variations the team was able to produce, Coby says, the higher the likelihood that its ads would actually be served to Facebook users.

“Every ad network and platform wants to serve the ad that’s going to get the most engagement,” Coby says. “The more you’re testing, the more opportunity you have to find the best setup.”

The Digital Bully Pulpit

Clinton also had a robust digital strategy, investing $30 million in digital ads in the homestretch. Her campaign produced thousands of rapid-response videos and set up a customer service team to help people with their voting questions. But, says Bleeker, “the Trump campaign took to an extreme what we were trying to do on the Hillary campaign.”

The President-elect has shown he can turn a news cycle in 140 characters or less.

Social media was Trump’s primary communication channel. It wasn’t a platform for broadcasting pre-planned messages but for interacting with supporters and starting new conversations—however controversial those conversations often were. Bleeker says one of the biggest lessons he’s learned from this election cycle is that social media is increasingly going to be part of any candidate’s so-called “earned media strategy”—that is, the coverage a candidate gets for free in the press. The President-elect has shown he can turn a news cycle in 140 characters or less; in a recent 60 Minutes interview, he said he plans to continue using Twitter as president.

“He’s going to tell his side of the story from the digital bully pulpit,” Lira says.

Whether fake news did or didn’t affect the election’s outcome, Facebook as a platform did. The winning candidate was not just willing, but eager to break with traditional models of campaigning. His team invested in new ways of using the digital tools and platforms that have come to dominate the media landscape. Anyone who wants to defeat him in the future will have to do the same.

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According to University of Utah study, the Trump campaign viewed Facebook and Twitter teams as quasi-advisers in 2016

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Washington • Donald Trump’s presidential campaign relied on more hands-on help from tech firms during the 2016 election than previously thought, using teams from Facebook, Twitter and others as almost entrenched political operatives, a new study by a University of Utah professor and a colleague found.

While social media and other tech companies routinely work with large advertisers, including political campaigns, the study shows that Trump’s team looked at the Silicon Valley employees as almost its own in pushing its online strategy to woo voters. Hillary Clinton’s campaign built its own digital effort and didn’t rely on the tech companies help to the same degree.

“These firms had some of their staffers working inside the Trump campaign digital offices during the general election,” said one of the study’s authors, Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor at the U.’s Department of Communication. “This was something that was much more routine than we had known before. This was offered to all campaigns, but it was unequally taken up. The Trump campaign, relatively as compared to the Clinton campaign, was understaffed and made much greater use of these staffers than the folks on the Clinton campaign.”

McGregor, who wrote the study with Daniel Kreiss, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the findings have raised concerns about whether the help offered the campaigns could be construed as in-kind contributions from corporations and whether new laws are needed to make public such efforts.

The peer-reviewed study, published Thursday in the journal Political Communication, relied on interviews with the Silicon Valley liaisons to the Trump and Clinton campaigns as well as other would-be White House hopefuls.

“What we found in the course of these interviews is that these technology firms offer this digital subsidies, basically, to campaigns,” McGregor said. “It goes beyond just trying to facilitate ad buys. [It includes] shaping the conversation through this sort of close collaboration.”

That included helping to target voters and form campaign messaging.

“Facebook, Twitter and Google go beyond promoting their services and facilitating digital advertising buys, actively shaping campaign communication through their close collaboration with political staffers,” the study reported. “We show how representatives at these firms serve as quasi-digital consultants to campaigns, shaping digital strategy, content and execution.”

Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, had hinted at such an effort during an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” earlier this month, saying he had sought out the help from tech companies.

“I wanna know everything you would tell Hillary’s campaign plus some,” he told the news program. “And I want your people here to teach me how to use it.”

Adam Sharp, Twitter’s head of news, government and elections through the end of 2016, said that he believes Parscale’s interpretation of how the help from tech companies worked is an “exaggeration.”

“Ultimately, my understanding is that every company offered equivalent services to each campaign and the campaigns can choose how much or how little of that support they wish to utilize,” Sharp said in an interview, noting that such services have been provided to presidential campaigns since many of the companies were founded.

He noted that because campaigns can choose how much help they get, it can create “optical challenges” but defended the outreach as a boon to candidates and their ability to communicate with potential voters.

“More broadly, I believe that anything that brings candidates and elected officials closer to their constituents, making them more available for direct interaction and direct questioning by the voters is a good thing,” Sharp said. “And I think all the companies in creating these teams to reach out to candidates and bring them into the conversation, to bring them out of the comfort of the TV studios into a space where they can have this direct interaction with users is potentially a positive thing for the democratic process.”

A Facebook spokesman said Thursday the company offers all candidates and interest groups “equal levels of support, no matter their political affiliation.”

“It’s up them to decide how much help they want,” the representative said. “But this is key: The campaigns make their own strategic decisions about how to use Facebook’s platform.”

That extends to guidance on how to use the social media site, the representative noted, as well as addressing technical issues and advertising.

McGregor says the research into the tech companies’ assistance with the campaigns shows the firms have built “basically a partisan structure,” hiring former Republican and Democratic campaign aides to help boost relationships with current challengers in a way that goes far beyond a tech company soliciting ad buys.

She added the advent of social media and technology in political campaigns has opened a whole new field of political research that needs to be done to show the public just how modern efforts to sway voters are operating.

“One of the most important takeaways is that this is just the beginning,” she said. “There needs to be more examination about this, given this is quite routine.”

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Trump lawyers scramble to prepare for new stage of Russia probe

Politico17 hours ago
President Donald Trump’s White House and personal lawyers scrambled Saturday to learn where the knife might fall in the investigation by …
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Week 23: Mueller Bombs Trump’s Big Week

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During the week, when the news still appeared to be on Trump’s side, … A new Trump strategem now surfacing holds that the investigations are …
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Trump, Republicans steer Russia probes in new directions
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MSNBC BREAKING NEWS 10/28/17 | MUELLER INVESTIGATION,CLINTON,DNC & RUSSIA in REPORT INDICTMENT – YouTube

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How Much Did Trump Pay Cambridge Analytica? Denial Of Data Firm’s Involvement Doesn’t Add Up

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Donald Trump’s campaign blatantly downplayed the role data firm Cambridge Analytics played in helping the president win last year and even ignored the campaign’s own boasts following the election after the firm was linked to a collusion effort with Russians.

Earlier this week, it was reported Cambridge Analytica’s top executive Alexander Nix directly reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an effort to get Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails, according to The Daily Beast.

WikiLeaks had been accused of receiving the damning Democratic National Committee emails from Russia, which posed another avenue for the president’s critics to lambast him with accusations of collusion with the Russians to secure the Oval Office.

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Assange later confirmed Nix’s overture – made prior to Election Day last year – on Twitter but stated that WikiLeaks turned him down.

Michael Glassner, the executive director of Trump’s campaign, issued a statement to CNN that declared the Republican National Committee was solely responsible for the campaign’s analytics.

“Once President Trump secured the nomination in 2016, one of the most important decisions we made was to partner with the Republican National Committee on data analytics,” he said. “Leading into the election, the R.N.C. had invested in the most sophisticated data-targeting program in modern American history, which helped secure our victory in the fall. We were proud to have worked with the R.N.C. and its data experts and relied on them as our main source for data analytics.”

Glassner also flatly denied any other source played as crucial a role in data analysis when he added: “Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false.”

The money trail and Kushner’s and Cambridge Analytics’ statements explain otherwise.

CEO of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix speaks at the 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 1 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2016 in New York City. Getty Images/Bryan Bedder

Indeed, the Trump campaign paid the UK-based firm backed by billionaire and heavy political donor Robert Mercer millions during the home stretch of the 2016 run, and following Trump’s victory current White House senior adviser and husband to Trump’s eldest daughter Jared Kushner thoroughly explained the operation and how much the campaign relied on it.

Cambridge Analytica also chimed in with a glowing statement touting its efforts in the campaign.

Firstly, the campaign money trail clearly showed Cambridge Analytica received big bucks from Donald Trump for President, the campaign’s main finance hub. Starting with an initial payment of $100,000 in July 2016, the firm took in more than $5.9 million in five payments total, including $5 million paid out in September 2016, according to FEC records.

The five expenditure descriptions from the Trump campaign’s FEC filings list the payments made for data management or data management services.

Fourteen days after the election in November, Kushner then adorned the cover of Forbes magazine and expounded on the data analytics program he headed up. He specifically said the work was meant to “complement the RNC’s data hub.”

“After the primary, we started ramping up because we knew that doing a national campaign is different than doing a primary campaign,” Kushner told Forbes. “That was when we formalized the system because we had to ramp up for digital fundraising. We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff. Doing it state by state is not that hard. But scaling is a very, very hard thing. They gave me a lot of their subcontractors and I built in Austin a data hub that would complement the RNC’s data hub. ”

Even before Kushner’s comments, Cambridge Analytica’s top executive, Alexander Nix, boasted of his firm’s work for Trump. One day after Trump won.

“We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communications played such an integral part in President-election Donald Trump’s extraordinary win,” Nix said as part of a company statement.

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cambridge analytica – Google News: Trump. Cambridge Analytica. WikiLeaks. The connections, explained. – CNN

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CNN
Trump. Cambridge Analytica. WikiLeaks. The connections, explained.
CNN
This week, a new thread emerged: Multiple sources confirmed to CNN that the chief executive ofCambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in summer 2016 to ask for access to emails from Hillary Clinton’s private …
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Here come the charges – VICE News

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Here come the charges
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The special investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election has yielded its first charges, according to CNN, and the unnamed defendant or defendants will reportedly be taken into custody Monday. Aside from the skeletal report, not much is and more »

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Trump’s Data Firm Is Selling A Top Conservative Think Tank Its Trump Voter Playbook – Daily Beast

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Daily Beast
Trump’s Data Firm Is Selling A Top Conservative Think Tank Its Trump Voter Playbook
Daily Beast
The company, Cambridge Analytica, inked a deal with the nation’s leading conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, for the purpose of hitting up Trump voters for donations. The marrying of the two institutions was made easier by a shared principle. 

UPDATE – Wikileaks confirms approach from Trump campaign – UpperMichigansSource.com

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UPDATE – Wikileaks confirms approach from Trump campaign
UpperMichigansSource.com
The editor of Wikileaks is confirming that the group was approached by a data firm working for President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election. Julian Assange says on Twitter that Cambridge Analytica reached out to his group prior to last …and more »

Trump campaign analytics company contacted WikiLeaks about Clinton emails – CNN

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Business Insider
Trump campaign analytics company contacted WikiLeaks about Clinton emails
CNN
Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, sent an email to several people including top Donald Trump donor Rebekah Mercer, relaying that he had emailed Assange seeking access to emails from Clinton’s private server to turn them into a …
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Trump Campaign Downplays Cambridge Analytica Role – Daily Beast

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Trump Campaign Downplays Cambridge Analytica Role
Daily Beast
The Trump campaign on Wednesday attempted to downplay the role Cambridge Analyticaplayed during the election, following a Daily Beast report that one of its tech gurus contacted Julian Assange to offer assistance with the Clinton email leaks.
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Trump campaign data firm linked to Julian Assange: report – Washington Times

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Washington Times
Trump campaign data firm linked to Julian Assange: report
Washington Times
Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix reached out to Mr. Assange in an attempt to recover and release about 33,000 emails that were erased from Mrs. Clinton’s private email server from when she was secretary of state, the Daily Beast reported. 

Julian Assange confirms Wikileaks was approached by data firm working for Trump campaign – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune
Julian Assange confirms Wikileaks was approached by data firm working for Trump campaign
Chicago Tribune
The editor of Wikileaks is confirming that the group was approached by a data firm working for President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election. Julian Assange says on Twitter that Cambridge Analytica reached out to his group prior to last …
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Trump Campaign Distances Itself from Cambridge Analytica After Assange Connection Surfaces – Vanity Fair

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Vanity Fair
Trump Campaign Distances Itself from Cambridge Analytica After Assange Connection Surfaces
Vanity Fair
When Trump adviser Jared Kushner bragged to Forbes about his role in steering the Trump campaign to victory, he emphasized the merits of its unique data operation. “We brought inCambridge Analytica,” he said, referring to the Robert Mercer-backed …
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The Trump campaign is scrambling to distance itself from Cambridge Analytica amid Assange-Hillary Clinton email flap – Danbury News Times

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The Trump campaign is scrambling to distance itself from Cambridge Analytica amid Assange-Hillary Clinton email flap
Danbury News Times
Key members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team scrambled Wednesday to distance themselves from the data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the … 

CNN: Trump is trying to distance himself from Cambridge Analytica after campaign bragged about using them during … – Media Matters for America

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Media Matters for America
CNN: Trump is trying to distance himself from Cambridge Analytica after campaign bragged about using them during …
Media Matters for America
And they wanted to show off no, in fact, they had three different sources of polling, one of them was Cambridge Analytica. And not only that, they had a team of Cambridge data scientists embedded in the Trump headquarters in San Diego who were doing  

Julian Assange confirms Cambridge Analytica sought WikiLeaks’ help – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Julian Assange confirms Cambridge Analytica sought WikiLeaks’ help
The Guardian
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Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump
The Guardian
Cambridge Analytica used its own database and voter information collected from Facebook and news publishers in its effort to help elect Donald Trump, despite a claim by a top campaign official who has downplayed the company’s role in the election.
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Top House Dems ask Trump data firms if they communicated with Russians – The Hill

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The Hill
Top House Dems ask Trump data firms if they communicated with Russians
The Hill
Their letter comes after The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked for Trump’s campaign, reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about locating Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. 

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The newest developments in the Trump-Russia scandal, explained – Vox

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Vox
The newest developments in the Trump-Russia scandal, explained
Vox
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Trump. Cambridge Analytica. WikiLeaks. The connections, explained. – CNN

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First charges filed in Robert Mueller Russia inquiry – reports – The Guardian

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The Guardian
First charges filed in Robert Mueller Russia inquiry – reports
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US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Trump defeat Clinton through a campaign of hacking and releasing embarrassing emails, and disseminating propaganda via social media. Mueller, a former 
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Russia investigation brings first charges: Report – ABC News

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The Hill
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President Trump’s Iran Deal Message To North Korea: Do Not Trust Washington

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President Donald Trump continues to treat his administration as an international diplomacy wrecking crew. His latest target

Mattis: Threat of Attack by N.Korea Accelerating

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 00:56

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday the threat of nuclear missile attack by North Korea is accelerating. Mattis accused the North of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs – and vowed to defeat any attack. (Oct. 28)

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How social media helped weaponize Donald Trump’s election campaign 

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From: NewsOnABC
Duration: 04:08

Planet America’s John Barron explains how Facebook and Twitter helped weaponize the Trump campaign.


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