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🗳 2020 General Election - Trump vs Biden

As election nears, Trump builds the very ‘deep state’ he railed against

White House manipulation of US intelligence on Russian and Chinese interference may rival WMD fiasco that led to Iraq war, say experts

Two months before the presidential election, the US intelligence agencies are under increasing pressure from the Trump administration to provide only the information it wants to hear.

After installing loyalist John Ratcliffe at the pinnacle of the intelligence community, the administration is seeking to limit congressional oversight, and has removed a veteran official from a sensitive national security role in the justice department

One former senior intelligence officer has suggested Donald Trump is seeking to create the very thing he was repeatedly complained about: a “deep state”. Another official has compared it to the intelligence fiasco that preceded the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The intense focus of the current struggle is the covert Russian role in the election campaign. The intelligence community has assessed that Moscow is taking an active role, as it did in 2016, to damage Joe Biden and boost Trump, largely through spreading disinformation. But administration officials have sought to stop public discussion of such interference.

ABC News reported this week that an aide to the homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, blocked a bulletin in July warning about Russian efforts to create doubts about Joe Biden’s mental health.

Ratcliffe, the new director of national intelligence (DNI), informed Congress at the end of last week that his office would no longer provide in-person briefings on election security, but would instead deliver written reports that could not be subjected to cross-examination by sceptical legislators.

He justified his action by accusing Congress of leaking classified material but did not explain why the same risk did not apply to written reports. John McLaughlin, former deputy CIA director, said the fears of leaks should not outweigh the need for transparency.

“Frankly, having briefed the Congress many times, it’s possible to talk about sensitive things without giving away sources and methods,” McLaughlin told the Guardian.

“In my view the American voter needs to know as much about this as can be revealed. They need to know if someone is attempting to influence their vote or manipulate them.”

Ratcliffe’s predecessor as acting DNI, Richard Grenell, another highly partisan figure, had sought to consolidate responsibility for election security under that office, taking the highly charged issue out of the hands of career intelligence professionals.

And on Monday it emerged that the attorney general, William Barr, had abruptly removed a veteran official running the law and policy office in the justice department’s national security division.

The official, Brad Wiegmann, was a widely respected career professional, part of whose job was to advise on public disclosure of evidence of election interference. He was replaced by a much younger prosecutor, Kellen Dwyer, a conservative cyber-security specialist with very limited national security experience.

Katrina Mulligan, a former national security official who helped draft the policy by which the law and policy office could raise the alarm on meddling, said: “It remains the only avenue the [justice department] has to disclose foreign interference in the absence of criminal charges.

“As you can imagine, when it comes to foreign interference we may have things going on that the public should know, and we don’t want to wait to have all our ducks in a row for an indictment, before we disclose that to the public,” Mulligan argued.

Is China really the biggest meddler?

As more voices on the issue have been muted, senior Trump officials have been putting out a different message on election interference – that it is China, not Russia, that is the biggest meddler.

“It simply isn’t true that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China,” Ratcliffe told Fox News. “China is the greatest threat that we face.”

On Wednesday evening, Barr echoed the claim. “I believe it’s China,” he told CNN, “because I’ve seen the intelligence, that’s what I’ve concluded.”

He would not say who China was backing, but he did not need to. In early August, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, issued a statement in which he said Russia and China were backing different sides in the election.

“Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former vice-president Biden,” Evanina said, adding: “We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win re-election.”

He gave details of concrete actions that Moscow was taking to damage Biden but was much more vague about Beijing, saying it was “expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment” to “deflect and counter criticism of China”.

Democrats and intelligence professionals have complained a false equivalence is being made between the two threats when it comes to direct election interference.

“The documentary evidence on Russia is massive and the documentary evidence – in public at least – on China is minuscule,” McLaughlin said.

John Sipher, a CIA veteran who once ran the agency’s Russia operations, argued in a New York Times commentary on Tuesday that the pattern of the Trump administration’s actions “smacks of the very thing that Mr Trump has used to stoke outrage in his followers – the formation of a politicised national security apparatus that can serve as a personal weapon for the president. A ‘deep state’.”

David Rohde, journalist and author of a book published in April on the issue – In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America’s “Deep State” – agreed with Sipher’s assessment.

“If a ‘deep state’ is a group of officials who secretly wield government power with little accountability or transparency, Trump and his loyalists increasingly fit that definition,” Rohde said. “Under the guise of stopping a ‘coup’ that does not exist, Trump is politicising the intelligence community and the justice department and using them to boost his re-election effort.”

The battle over intelligence is set to intensify as the election approaches. Barr has picked a prosecutor, John Durham, to investigate the FBI and special counsellor investigators who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The attorney general has said he would not observe normal protocol and wait until after the election to publish Durham’s findings, or at least a version of those findings, with the likely aim of creating the impression that Trump was the victim of a conspiracy to undermine his presidency.

“The Durham investigation presents the opportunity for bad actors to make a lot of mischief, but the lack of clarity makes it difficult for observers to criticise,” said Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency attorney.

She added that the Trump tactics in manipulating US intelligence represented a historic threat, potentially overshadowing the fiasco that led to the 2003 Iraq invasion.

“What we are seeing now is, in some respects, even worse than the intelligence failures surrounding weapons of mass destruction,” said Hennessey, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and executive editor of the Lawfare blog. “Iraq was obviously immensely consequential and illustrates why it is imperative to guard against even subtle political influence in intelligence reporting. But the politicisation here is brazen and explicitly partisan in nature.

“It’s all these little things and so it’s often hard to pin down the precise place where the line has been crossed,” she added. “Lots of lines have been crossed. At this point, the cumulative picture of where we are at is not that there is a risk of politicisation of intelligence, but that we’ve already crossed the Rubicon.”


This would be hilarious. I insist on buzzers for lies. We wouldn’t be able to hear a thing Trump is saying during his turns.

Biden calls for live fact-checking at debates with Trump


Watch: Biden to Trump: My son “wasn’t a sucker”

During a speech on the latest jobs report, Joe Biden directly addressed President Trump for reportedly calling American war heroes “losers” and “suckers,” slamming Trump with a personal anecdote about his late son, Beau.

What they’re saying: “When my son volunteered to join the United States military, as the attorney general, and went to Iraq for the year — won the bronze star and other commendations — he wasn’t a sucker,” Biden said.

  • “When my son was an assistant U.S. Attorney who volunteered to go to Kosovo while the war was going on, as a civilian, he wasn’t a sucker,” Biden added.
  • He continued: “The service men and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not losers.”
  • Biden specifically mentioned Beau’s service in Kosovo on the same day that Trump met with the President of Serbia and the Prime Minister of Kosovo at the White House to sign an economic normalization agreement.

Driving the news: The Atlantic reported Thursday that, according to multiple sources, the president has privately referred to Americans who died while serving in war as “losers” and “suckers.”

  • The president has denied the claims, telling reporters: " It is a disgraceful situation, by a magazine that is a terrible magazine, I don’t read it."
  • Later in his press conference on Friday, Biden said that he believes the reporting is true. “I’ve never been as disappointed in my whole career with a leader that i’ve worked with, president or otherwise,” he said. “It is a disgrace.”

The big picture: Biden’s visit to Delaware was his fourth in-person campaign event this week — he’s largely stuck to virtual events until now. And although he released a written statement last night criticizing the president for his reported remarks, he’s continuing to directly address him during these remarks.


Some of T’s messaging is coming through…

Why Biden could still lose the suburbs to Trump

Two Democratic strategists who recently viewed focus groups of suburban voters described high-propensity voters increasingly concerned about unrest in urban centers, though both strategists said it was unclear whether that concern would push them to Biden or to Trump.

One of the strategists described a focus group in which white, college-educated women reacted to the protests by discussing their own property values and, in one woman’s case, her family’s mortgage.

White women who have college degrees are starting to really get sick of this,” the strategist said.

Some state polls are showing signs of it. In Pennsylvania, a critical swing state, a Monmouth University poll released last week found that Biden’s lead over Trump had narrowed statewide, and that Trump was leading Biden by 2 percentage points in 10 swing counties, including some Philadelphia suburbs, erasing a large advantage Biden had built there earlier this year.


Ok…newsflash, T’s campaign is having a cash crunch issue. At this juncture, it wouldn’t seem like that is possible, but ok, we’ll gladly take it.

Trump faces surprising cash crunch

Money concerns are very real for President Trump’s campaign — an unusual predicament for a sitting president, and one that worries veteran Republican operatives, with Trump so far behind in swing states as the race climaxes.

Why it matters: The campaign’s view is that Trump will get his message out, and he depends less on paid media than normal politicians. But the number of states Trump has to worry about has actually grown, and Joe Biden’s massive August fundraising haul has given his campaign a lift as early voting begins.

The New York Times leads today’s paper with a big Labor Day scene-setter with several intriguing references to money problems for Trump:

  • "The light television spending and advertising blackouts in some key states have mystified allies," The Times reports.
  • Trump "is expected to increase television spending next week, but several Republicans said that Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager since July, was taking a cautious approach after the former leadership spent huge sums on television and digital ads earlier this year, to no discernible effect."

Last Monday, AP’s Brian Slodysko reported that the Trump campaign had pulled most TV ads over the previous week, ceding the airwaves to Biden, who was outspending Trump by more than 10 to 1.

  • Biden and DNC raised a stunning $365 million in August , breaking the record for one month of presidential fundraising.
  • At the end of July, before the announcement of Sen. Kamala Harris swelled Biden’s fundraising, Trump reported slightly more cash on hand.

In Final Stretch, Biden Defends Lead Against Trump’s Onslaught

The president is attempting to overtake his Democratic challenger with a strategy of racial polarization in heavily white Midwestern states, even as Democrats make inroads in the Republican-leaning South and West.


What’s interesting is that in all of the e-mails they send out begging for cash they claim they’re crushing Biden in terms of money, which probably undermines their efforts.


As part of their “if I say it, it must be true,” Campaign strategy.

And it could be part of this arrangement.

How Trump Draws on Campaign Funds to Pay Legal Bills

He has drawn on campaign donations as a piggy bank for his legal expenses to a degree far greater than any of his predecessors.

In New York, Mr. Trump dispatched a team of lawyers to seek damages of more than $1 million from a former campaign worker after she claimed she had been the target of sexual discrimination and harassment by another aide. The lawyers have been paid $1.5 million by the Trump campaign for work on the case and others related to the president.

In Washington, Mr. Trump and his campaign affiliates hired lawyers to assist members of his staff and family — including a onetime bodyguard, his oldest son and his son-in-law — as they were pulled into investigations related to Russia and Ukraine. The Republican National Committee has paid at least $2.5 million in legal bills to the firms that did this and other legal work.


Yeah, and that backfires big time; when people believe you have plenty of money, they’re less likely to give.

We also know that there’s been some strange shenanigans behind the scenes with Parscale and others raiding the coffers. I remember a while back state and local GOP went begging to congressional GOP, urging them to get the RNC to help them, and thus far have been getting nada because Jared Kushner runs it. What do you want to bet Trump has short-sightedly robbed them blind and now can’t pay the bills like usual?


Giant Kamala Harris image ‘crops up’ in Kansas field

The video is great; the artist did one of Biden also, and talks about the history of strong women in Kansas.


More about where campaign funds went and as you say, @Windthin

  • Brad Parscale was behind some of the subtrefuge in hiding that money.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign violated the law by masking millions in spending, a nonprofit democracy group alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.
The Campaign Legal Center said in the 81-page filing that the president’s reelection campaign and campaign committee hid $170 million in spending to major vendors as well as family members and associates by diverting the money through firms headed by Brad Parscale, who was replaced as campaign manager earlier this month, as well as other senior campaign officials.
The nonprofit alleged that the campaign effectively laundered money in order to hide payments to contractors and advisors, including the maker of a campaign app, as well as Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host who is dating the president’s son Donald Trump Jr.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign violated the law by masking millions in spending, a nonprofit democracy group alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The Campaign Legal Center said in the 81-page filing that the president’s reelection campaign and campaign committee hid $170 million in spending to major vendors as well as family members and associates by diverting the money through firms headed by Brad Parscale, who was replaced as campaign manager earlier this month, as well as other senior campaign officials.

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Under Mr. Parscale, more than $350 million — almost half of the $800 million spent — went to fund-raising operations, as no expense was spared in finding new donors online. The campaign assembled a big and well-paid staff and housed the team at a cavernous, well-appointed office in the Virginia suburbs; outsize legal bills were treated as campaign costs; and more than $100 million was spent on a television advertising blitz before the party convention, the point when most of the electorate historically begins to pay close attention to the race.

Among the splashiest and perhaps most questionable purchases was a pair of Super Bowl ads the campaign reserved for $11 million, according to Advertising Analytics — more than it has spent on TV in some top battleground states — a vanity splurge that allowed Mr. Trump to match the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg’s buy for the big game.

There was also a cascade of smaller choices that added up: The campaign hired a coterie of highly paid consultants (Mr. Trump’s former bodyguard and White House aide has been paid more than $500,000 by the R.N.C. since late 2017); spent $156,000 for planes to pull aerial banners in recent months; and paid nearly $110,000 to Yondr, a company that makes magnetic pouches used to store cellphones during fund-raisers so that donors could not secretly record Mr. Trump and leak his remarks.

Some people familiar with the expenses noted that Mr. Parscale had a car and driver, an unusual expense for a campaign manager. Mr. Trump has told people gleefully that Mr. Stepien took a pay cut when the president gave him the job.

Critics of the campaign’s management say the lavish spending was ineffective: Mr. Trump enters the fall trailing in most national and battleground state polls, and Mr. Biden has surpassed him as a fund-raising powerhouse, after posting a record-setting haul of nearly $365 million in August. The Trump campaign has not revealed its August fund-raising figure.

If you spend $800 million and you’re 10 points behind, I think you’ve got to answer the question ‘What was the game plan?’” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist who runs a small pro-Trump super PAC, and who accused Mr. Parscale of spending “like a drunken sailor.”


I literally just did a thread about how frequently Trump cronies are caught misusing funds, in response to the news that the Trump campaign is strapped for cash.

Now this:


The billion dollar loser Trump, who grifts for every dime, repeatedly goes bankrupt, & can only get loans through the shadiest bank on earth, is looking at investing $100M of “his own” money into his campaign.

No wonder “Deustche Bank” is trending on twitter.


Trump tells his supporters to become poll watchers with a baseless claim about fraud at voting locations


One for the election thread:

Treasury sanctions anti-Biden Ukrainian lawmaker for election interference

Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian, has promoted discredited allegations against the Democratic presidential nominee.

U.S. sanctions Ukrainian lawmaker for election interference targeting Biden



Big story on hacking efforts from Microsoft and attempts to hack various political parties…:boom:

Russian military spies who hacked and leaked Democratic emails to inject chaos into the 2016 presidential election are active again, targeting political parties, advocacy groups and consultants, Microsoft announced Thursday.

China and Iran are also attempting to penetrate the Microsoft email accounts of people affiliated with the political campaigns, though the efforts against the campaigns of President Trump by Iran and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden by China were not successful, the firm said.

The Republican National Committee also was unsuccessfully targeted, said a person familiar with the matter, but it is unclear by which country.


Am glad that Rep Schiff, Pelosi and other Dems laid the groundwork to say that the Intel agencies were not divulging more than they wanted to with regard to Russian (foreign) activity. This in turn became the revealing of the whistleblower revised rebuttal (whatever it is called) and now Microsoft is revealing waaaay more.

The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans.

That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies.

The findings come one day after a government whistle-blower claimed that officials at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security suppressed intelligence concerning Russia’s continuing interference because it “made the president look bad,” and instructed government analysts to instead focus on interference by China and Iran.

Microsoft did find that Chinese and Iranian hackers have been active — but often not in the way that President Trump and his aides have suggested.

Contrary to an assessment by the director of national intelligence last month that said China preferred former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. win the election, Microsoft found that Chinese hackers have been attacking the private email accounts of Mr. Biden’s campaign staff, along with a range of other prominent individuals in academia and the national security establishment, including groups like the Atlantic Council and the Stimson Center.

Notably, only one of the Chinese targets detected by Microsoft was affiliated with Mr. Trump, a former administration official whom Microsoft declined to name.


omg thank you @Pet_Proletariat I moved Windthin’s article to the wrong f*ing thread ffs! You’re the best :hugs:



We have observed that:

  • Strontium, operating from Russia, has attacked more than 200 organizations including political campaigns, advocacy groups, parties and political consultants
  • Zirconium, operating from China, has attacked high-profile individuals associated with the election, including people associated with the Joe Biden for President campaign and prominent leaders in the international affairs community
  • Phosphorus, operating from Iran, has continued to attack the personal accounts of people associated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign

Trump held six indoor rallies after acknowledging the coronavirus was airborne

Despite raising these concerns with Woodward, Mr. Trump held six rallies indoors between February 7 and March 2. Public health experts have raised concerns about holding large events in indoor venues, given the risk of spreading the virus. Mr. Trump participated in rallies in New Hampshire on February 10; Arizona on February 19; Colorado on February 20; February 21 in Nevada; South Carolina on February 28; and in North Carolina on March 2. No social distancing measures were put in place for these rallies.

The president’s campaign rallies in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and North Carolina occurred in the days before the Democratic primaries in those respective states. The Trump campaign canceled its planned March 19 rally in Wisconsin due to the coronavirus.

Let’s not forget

The diagnosis came more than a week after Cain had attended a rally for Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The announcement of the diagnosis said Cain “did not require a respirator” at the time he was first hospitalized. But Cain’s condition worsened over time, despite some glimmers of hope, according to Calabrese.

His campaign is like one big super spreader event.
How are people not totally grossed out by these large rallys? People be so gross to me right now. :unamused: What happened to all that psych babble about conservative leaning folks being easily disgusted? I’m not seeing it.