Saturday, December 22, 2018

Russian To Judgment, Con't

News that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone today, but yes, the Russians were helping Green Party 2016 candidate Dr. Jill Stein in order to help Donald Trump, and it worked.

Two days before the 2016 presidential election, an Instagram account called @woke_blacks posted a message in support of long-shot Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

“The excuse that a lost Black vote for Hillary is a Trump win is bs,” it read. “It could be late, but y’all might want to support Jill Stein instead.”

According to a report commissioned by the Senate, the account was a fake, part of the Russian campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

The report was one of two that leaked this week saying the Russian effort to disrupt the election specifically targeted black voters and harnessed America’s top social media platforms. But the reports contained another finding that was largely overlooked — the Russians also focused on boosting Stein’s candidacy through social media posts like the one from @woke_blacks.
Building support for Stein was one of a “roster of themes” the Moscow-sanctioned internet trolls “turned to repeatedly” in their effort to disrupt the election, according to a research team led by the New Knowledge cybersecurity firm. The researchers also found that the campaign to bolster Stein gained in intensity in the final days of the presidential campaign and largely targeted African-American voters.

The reports, prepared by separate groups of cyber experts, add to the growing body of evidence that the Russians worked to boost the Stein campaign as part of the effort to siphon support away from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and tilt the election to Trump.

An NBC News analysis found that Russians working under the direction of the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based firm run by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeted the phrase “Jill Stein” over 1,000 times around the time of the election.

The posts were often accompanied by variations of the same hashtag, “Grow a spine and vote Jill Stein.”

“This hasn’t gotten enough attention,” said Andrew Weiss, a Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to Moscow’s efforts to promote Stein.

“The fact that the Russian propaganda apparatus helped create awareness and support for her candidacy and promoted her candidacy is critical to our understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The Russians played this extremely adroitly,” Weiss added.

Never forget that Jill Stein's vote totals in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were higher than the difference that Trump won by in those states.  Those votes made Trump the winner in the Electoral College.  The Russians knew just where to hit and when in order to maximize this advantage to help Trump, and it gave him the Oval Office.

And yes, the Russians were behind it.  Period.  They helped Trump steal the election.

Let's not forget this.

That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

Trump's acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, was installed to "save" Trump from the twin threats of both Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation, and from the Southern District of New York investigation.  Whitaker so far has done neither, and that has not made his boss happy at all.

President Donald Trump has at least twice in the past few weeks vented to his acting attorney general, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced the President's actions in crimes his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. 
Trump was frustrated, the sources said, that prosecutors Matt Whitaker oversees filed charges that made Trump look bad. None of the sources suggested that the President directed Whitaker to stop the investigation, but rather lashed out at what he felt was an unfair situation. 
The first known instance took place when Trump made his displeasure clear to acting attorney general Matt Whitaker after Cohen pleaded guilty November 29 to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow. Whitaker had only been on the job a few weeks following Trump's firing of Jeff Sessions. 
Over a week later, Trump again voiced his anger at Whitaker after prosecutors in Manhattan officially implicated the President in a hush-money scheme to buy the silence of women around the 2016 campaign -- something Trump fiercely maintains isn't an illegal campaign contribution. Pointing to articles he said supported his position, Trump pressed Whitaker on why more wasn't being done to control prosecutors in New York who brought the charges in the first place, suggesting they were going rogue
The previously unreported discussions between Trump and Whitaker described by multiple sources familiar with the matter underscore the extent to which the President firmly believes the attorney general of the United States should serve as his personal protector. The episodes also offer a glimpse into the unsettling dynamic of a sitting president talking to his attorney general about investigations he's potentially implicated in.

This is the most serious interference yet by Trump.  He's all but asking Whitaker to interfere in not one but two investigations and end them.  Whitaker can't remain in the position, and Bill Barr can't be confirmed for his views on ending the Mueller probe too.

The obstruction of justice in in plain sight.

Shutdown Meltdown

Bit of a break to recharge the batteries here as the year ends, so light posting until the new year.  Don't worry, I'll have my regular prediction scorecard and New Year's predictions up, and if anything major happens I'll weigh in.

Right now though, the federal government is shut down, so who knows?
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