Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge
Are We Seeing a Crack Among Conservatives?
Interesting to see how the candidate are funding themselves - with the two billionaires being the anomalies. The Bernie fundraising seems to be pretty potent, and keeps him towards the front of the pack.
It’s a horse raise that’s just getting more traction, now that we are days away from 2020 and less than 6 weeks before the Iowa caucus on Feb 3rd. It’s make or break time folks, and the money sourcing certainly reveals levels of support.
OK let’s hope Amy McGrath can get some traction on Senator Mitch McConnell. That would be something.
“Honored to have Martha Layne Collins, the first and only woman governor of Kentucky, and my mom, one of the first women to graduate from UK med school, to sign my papers as I filed to run for Senate,” the candidate tweeted on Friday.
She also said she visited the office of Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who defeated Republican incumbent Matt Bevin ® in an election last month.
McGrath, an army veteran who nearly flipped a GOP-held House seat last year, told The Associated Press that Beshear’s victory “gives us momentum because it shows that against an unpopular Republican incumbent, a Democrat can win.”
“And we win by talking about those bread-and-butter issues that Kentuckians really care about,” she added. “With Mitch McConnell, we’re not going to get any progress on these things.”
McConnell’s campaign manager Kevin Golden criticized McGrath, telling the wire service that she “can’t possibly make a cogent argument that she could do a fraction of the good Mitch McConnell does for Kentucky.”
Sad news that may have an effect in 2020.
I do not often talk about my preferences for a Democratic candidate, but this right here is one of the many reasons Joe Biden is not worthy to be it.
An explosive growth of anti-Trump sentiment among black voters spells big trouble for the GOP
Black Americans motivated by Trump to vote in 2020
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will not run for Senate in New Hampshire after considering a potential campaign earlier this year, he announced Tuesday.
A Lewandowski Senate run could have been mired by controversies past, as the former Trump campaign manager made several headlines of his own. Lewandowski was charged with battery after he grabbed a female reporter who was attempting to question Trump after a news conference during the 2016 campaign, though the charges were later dropped.
Lewandowski featured prominently in the investigatory report by special counsel Robert Mueller, which reveals that Trump directed Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to publicly disparage the investigation – though Lewandowski never did.
He also said during congressional testimony in September that he has “no obligation” to tell the truth to the media, while acknowledging that he had not told the truth when asked earlier this year about his interactions with Trump.
My only regret is that we’ll miss seeing ads from his opponents with this sound bite:
Julian Castro is out of 2020 Presidential race. He had a messaging impact and still could be a running mate to one of the Democratic candidates.
WOMP WOMP, Corey. WOMP WOMP.
Wishing Julian Castro a bright future as a leader in the Democratic party.
One of the positive things I’ve been thinking about in the new year is how proud I am of the many Democrats in Congress who are working hard for us, setting an example with integrity and grace, upholding the rule of law, defending the pillars of our democracy, and doing their utmost best to build a better future. Proud to be a Democrat!
He was in my top five candidates, sorry to see him suspend his campaign but as @dragonfly9 mentioned, he remains an excellent VP or cabinet pick. Still I hope he runs again.
He always had such a hopeful message, and I like that he did things like develop a plan for the humane treatment of animals. I hope he continues to be a major voice.
Massive new document leak from Cambridge Analytica!
Will shed light on how our 2016 elections were manipulated and how much worse it could be in 2020
Many of these docs are the same ones subpoenaed by Mueller
“There are emails between major Trump donors discussing ways of obscuring the source of their donations through a series of different financial vehicles. These documents expose the entire dark money machinery behind US politics.” – Brittany Kaiser, former CA employee and source of leaked docs
An explosive leak of tens of thousands of documents from the defunct data firm Cambridge Analytica is set to expose the inner workings of the company that collapsed after the Observer revealed it had misappropriated 87 million Facebook profiles.
More than 100,000 documents relating to work in 68 countries that will lay bare the global infrastructure of an operation used to manipulate voters on “an industrial scale” are set to be released over the next months.
It comes as Christopher Steele, the ex-head of MI6’s Russia desk and the intelligence expert behind the so-called “Steele dossier” into Trump’s relationship with Russia, said that while the company had closed down, the failure to properly punish bad actors meant that the prospects for manipulation of the US election this year were even worse.
The release of documents began on New Year’s Day on an anonymous Twitter account, @HindsightFiles, with links to material on elections in Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. The documents were revealed to have come from Brittany Kaiser, an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower, and to be the same ones subpoenaed by Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Kaiser, who starred in the Oscar-shortlisted Netflix documentary The Great Hack, decided to go public after last month’s election in Britain. “It’s so abundantly clear our electoral systems are wide open to abuse,” she said. “I’m very fearful about what is going to happen in the US election later this year, and I think one of the few ways of protecting ourselves is to get as much information out there as possible.”
The documents were retrieved from her email accounts and hard drives, and though she handed over some material to parliament in April 2018, she said there were thousands and thousands more pages which showed a “breadth and depth of the work” that went “way beyond what people think they know about ‘the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.’"
Steele made a rare public intervention to comment on the leaks. He said that while he didn’t know what was in them, the context couldn’t be more important because “on our current trajectory these problems are likely to get worse, not better, and with crucial 2020 elections in America and elsewhere approaching, this is a very scary prospect. Something radical needs to be done about it, and fast.”
“There are emails between these major Trump donors discussing ways of obscuring the source of their donations through a series of different financial vehicles. These documents expose the entire dark money machinery behind US politics.” The same machinery, she says, was deployed in other countries that Cambridge Analytica worked in, including, she claims, Britain.
Emma Briant, an academic at Bard College, New York, who specialises in investigating propaganda and has had access to some of the documents for research, said that what had been revealed was “the tip of the iceberg”.
“The documents reveal a much clearer idea of what actually happened in the 2016 US presidential election, which has a huge bearing on what will happen in 2020. It’s the same people involved who we know are building on these same techniques,” she said.
“There’s evidence of really quite disturbing experiments on American voters, manipulating them with fear-based messaging, targeting the most vulnerable, that seems to be continuing. This is an entire global industry that’s out of control, but what this does is lay out what was happening with this one company.
This makes sense, lots of policy overlap and similar intentions. They should work together to achieve their goals.
Pompeo says he won’t run for Senate. Is this seat, long held by Republicans, now in play?!
Wow! Both senate seats in Kansas have been Red since 1932, but this seat could now actually be up for grabs. The reason: with Pompeo out of the way, the current front runner for the Republican nomination is the polarizing conservative, Kris Kobach. He just lost the 2018 Governor’s race to Democrat Laura Kelly – and he lost by a significant 5 point margin. He might now win the Republican nomination for Senate, riding on an ultra-conservative party base, but then lose once again in the general election to a moderate Democrat. It’s time to flip Kansas!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday that he does not plan to run for the US Senate seat in Kansas, sources familiar with the conversation told CNN, appearing to end months of speculation about Pompeo’s political plans.
One Republican source said that although the filing deadline for Pompeo to run for the open seat in Kansas has not passed, the secretary of state told McConnell not to wait for him and the National Republican Senatorial Committee should assume he’s not running. A source close to McConnell confirmed the content of their Monday conversation, telling CNN that Pompeo “indicated he will not be running for Senate.”
Kansas hasn’t sent a Democrat to the upper chamber of Congress since 1932, giving the state party the longest streak of Senate dominance in the country.
For months, high-profile Republican officials, including McConnell, aimed to make sure that would remain the case, urging Pompeo to run in order to keep the seat and the Senate firmly in the party’s control. Some warned that the conservative, polarizing Senate candidate Kris Kobach could jeopardize another Republican position after losing the governor’s race in 2018 to Democrat Laura Kelly. One recent poll put Kobach well ahead of his next closest Republican rival, Rep. Roger Marshall. Barbara Bollier, a Kansas state senator who recently left the Republican Party, is running as a Democrat for the US Senate in 2020.
“As long as there is a chance that we end up with [the] same loser nominee at the top of the ticket we had in 2018, then the seat is in play,” David Kensinger, a Kansas Republican strategist, told CNN.
A source familiar with Monday’s conversation told CNN that “for every non-Kobach candidate this makes a lot of sense, so they can spread their wings. We have six months, so it gives them time to fundraise to show what they can do.”
“And there is always the emergency option out there,” the source said, referring to Pompeo possibly jumping in at the last minute if the polls show that no GOP candidate looks like they can win the seat.
Mmm… watch out for a scuzzy Republican move: Pompeo, despite his declaration not to run, could still jump into the race anytime before June 1, the filing deadline.
Russian trolls are targeting American veterans, and Trump’s government isn’t helping, group says
The Trump administration has for nearly two years ignored mounting evidence that Russian operatives and other foreign actors were deliberately targeting U.S. troops and veterans with online disinformation amplified on a massive scale, a leading veterans group said.
American veterans and service members enjoy a high degree of social respect, and ongoing manipulation campaigns aimed at them could be weaponized to sow social discord in their communities, Vietnam Veterans of America warned officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments in March 2018, among other agencies.
But those agencies have brushed off VVA since they were presented with evidence that eventually became a detailed report and congressional testimony, said Kristofer Goldsmith, the veteran service organization’s chief investigator.
And their plea to President Trump for help has similarly been ignored, Goldsmith said — suggesting the problem may be perceived as too complex or politically fraught for U.S. officials concerned to cross Trump, who has downplayed Russia’s role in election interference.
“It’s easy to say ‘let’s send Javelins to Ukraine.’ People get that,” Goldsmith told The Washington Post. “It’s much more difficult for the secretary of VA to say ‘this is our plan to educate 9 million veterans who use our health care on how to spot a deep fake or falsified news.’ ”
The group asked Trump to intervene in a Dec. 18 letter because no federal agency responded to their evidence of foreign “fraudulent activities ranging from identity theft to election interference,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Post. It was emailed to Jennifer Korn, Trump’s liaison to veterans groups, according to an obtained email message.
VVA has not received a response. It is not clear whether any of those agencies have taken the lead or are focused on the exploitation of veterans in foreign disinformation campaigns, Goldsmith said, and none of them has asked for more information on the subject after he has become the veteran community’s most prominent cybersleuth.
White House officials received the letter but declined to describe what, if anything, they did with it and would not comment on the report.
But the administration “works every day to counter malign foreign influence, from identifying and exposing foreign actors to disrupting and imposing costs for these actions,” a senior official said, adding that “any attempt to undermine our democracy is a matter of national security.”
The FBI said it does not comment on tips but takes the issue of foreign influence “very seriously” and provides information to the public on how to protect itself from online foreign influence.
VA declined to discuss a perception of inaction. Susan Carter, an agency spokeswoman, issued a generic statement saying “veterans are the targets of many of the same types of fraud as the rest of society.”
The Defense Department “has broad guidance and training about service member activity on social media,” including cyber-awareness training, said spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason. She did not mention any training specific to identifying foreign misinformation aimed at service members.
The Pentagon provided the letter to U.S. Cyber Command “upon receipt,” Gleason said, and referred further questions to it. Cyber Command then referred back to the Pentagon’s statement.
Memes, over-the-top political comments and false news articles created by adversarial governments and foreign troll farms intentionally sowed social chaos by championing veterans and denigrating liberals and minorities, VVA’s report found, and many carry pro-Trump messages aided by common perceptions that the military leans conservative.
“Veterans as a cohort are more likely than others to participate in democracy. That includes not only voting but running for office and getting others to vote,” Goldsmith told The Post in September.
The pages are often wildly popular, with some followings numbering in the hundreds of thousands. One fake VVA page generated about a quarter-million fans, which quickly dwarfed the real group’s Facebook following, Goldsmith said.
In response to Goldsmith’s findings, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in March asked the FBI to investigate the “shadowy figures” behind the pages.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on foreign disinformation in November, but “none of these agencies have done enough to stop it,” committee spokesperson Jenni Geurink said. The committee will privately meet with the FBI this month on the issue, Geurink added.
But a tepid response from officials has frustrated VVA, which called for a whole of government response on the heels of its congressional testimony and its report, which found persistent, aggressive targeting of veterans originating from at least 32 countries.
For instance, the Russian Internet Research Agency — a troll factory with Kremlin ties and the target of U.S. indictments and cyberattacks — bought at least 113 online ads aimed at U.S. veterans and followers of veterans advocacy groups during and after the 2016 election, according to VVA’s report.
Many pages are operated from Asia and Eastern Europe, and some even have Iranian ties, Goldsmith said. One popular page created in the United States — “Vets for Trump” — was hijacked by an administrator in North Macedonia.
The murky world of these pages unveils the direct and indirect relationship with Russian operations and their effective saturation on social media.
One page, “Being Patriotic,” was cited in former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation as a product of the Internet Research Agency. It amassed 200,000 fans at one point, the Mueller report found. But other pages, like one focused on veterans but run from Vietnam, shared identical memes created by the IRA but with the page title cropped out.
One common theme is referencing Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest of police brutality as an attack on troops and veterans. Others suggest using resources for veterans at the cost of immigrants and refugees.
Both mimic the language of conservative Americans attacking liberals. One image of a military widow used to attack Kaepernick was shared by Trump on social media in 2018. Similar photos have been used by foreign administrators masquerading as veterans.
Some pages deceive veterans into believing they are American-run but have a clear financial goal, like accumulating fans as a customer base for challenge coins and T-shirts, Goldsmith said.
But Goldsmith said some pages generate similar disinformation with no clear financial incentive, while other sophisticated campaigns may sell items to appear innocuous as a smokescreen for more nefarious operations, such as Russian election interference.
Facebook and Twitter were pressed by lawmakers in the November hearing about their response. “We know that we are fighting against motivated adversaries in this space, and that we have to iterate and improve our approach to stay ahead,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s chief of security policy, said in his prepared remarks.
Goldsmith is concerned that Russia’s constant barrage is designed to elicit sympathy and downplay their activities around the world, and neutralizing criticism from troops and veterans could be a strategy to undercut the Pentagon’s message that Russia and China top the list of global adversaries.
“When you have service members believing Russia is not a threat to the elections, and didn’t interfere, they have friends and family convinced, it helps Russia get away with a serious attack on our democracy,” he said.
Those concerns are echoed by the Pentagon. Russia peddles “false narratives about its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, the war in Syria and the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime,” among other issues, Gleason said.
But Goldsmith sees a reluctance in the administration to aggressively pursue this issue, speculating that getting out front would draw fire from Trump — who has rejected the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s role in election interference and helped advance a conspiracy theory that Ukraine was responsible.
Some lawmakers have taken interest, but Goldsmith said he stared at empty chairs at the House VA Committee hearing in November as he testified about the his findings.
“There are not a lot of issues that people pretend to be bipartisan on,” he said. “But this is one everyone can agree is worth addressing. ”