WTF Community

Day 551

Updated 7/24/2018 11:23 AM PDT

1/ The Trump administration will provide over $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries in Trump's escalating trade war. The aid package, expected to go into effect by Labor Day, provides assistance to soybean farmers, dairy farmers, pork producers, and others. Trump tweeted that "Tariffs are the greatest!" (Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I just want to add, that these attacks aren’t just from 2016, this is happening now.


Breaking news, Rick Gates was getting paid by Elliott Broidy, RNC official and Tom Barrack to find out about the Administration’s foreign policy and areas of influence. More corruption being exposed.

The warm response hints at the relationship that once existed between the two men as they worked together to pursue lucrative opportunities in Mr. Trump’s Washington. Mr. Broidy was a client of Mr. Gates, and had paid him at least $125,000. For that money Mr. Gates advised Mr. Broidy on how to pursue both a contract for his business and appointments for his associates and provided insight into the new administration’s foreign policy plans, according to interviews as well as internal emails and documents obtained by The New York Times.

CNBC’s article

The Times said Broidy, the California venture capitalist who had been a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee, paid Gates at least $125,000 before Gates was charged by Mueller last October, along with former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.

“For that money Mr. Gates advised Mr. Broidy on how to pursue both a contract for his business and appointments for his associates and provided insight into the new administration’s foreign policy plans,” the Times said. Broidy was seeking foreign clients for a defense contractor he bought in 2015, the article said.

A firm owned by Trump’s longtime close friend Barrack, Colony NorthStar, started paying Gates $20,000 per month shortly after the inauguration, but terminated that contract after Gates was indicted, according to the Times. Barrack had been the inauguration’s chairman. Gates was deputy chairman of the inaugural committee

Gates, a former business associate of Manafort, pleaded guilty in February to financial fraud and lying to federal investigators. He has agreed to cooperate with Mueller against Manafort, who is due to go on trial next week in federal court in Virginia.

Representatives for Broidy and Barrack did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.


3/ Trump claimed in a tweet that he is “concerned” Russia “will be pushing very hard for the Democrats” in the midterm elections

I wonder if he’s setting the ground for, if there a Democrat wins, it’s the fault of the Russians?

CNN releases the first of the “Cohen Tapes”.
Watch the video in this article to hear the recording.


@Maxfacter The only saving grace is that our utility companies are not centralized and each run their own networks. It’s pretty ad-hock. It’s highly unlikely that hackers could knock out the entire grid in one go. It would be more like here or there.

This evening, Rachel Maddow hosted a segment in which she shows how the White House deliberately edited out the portion of the Trump-Putin press conference in which Putin said he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election.

So we have proof on video that Putin wanted Trump to win. Then two things happened: 1) The White House deleted this exchange from the official video and transcript 2) Trump tweets that Russia wants the Democrats to win the mid-terms. Shameful.

Here’s the Atlantic article that first exposed this flagrant deception by the Administration:

Here’s the transcript of what actually went down, as you can confirm by watching the original unedited video (it’s in Maddow’s segment above).

Vladimir Putin: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.

Jeff Mason: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

Putin: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.

And here’s the Administration’s doctored version which is a lie:

PRESIDENT PUTIN: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.

Q: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PRESIDENT PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.


Just watching it now…am flabbergasted. The disinformation (act of omissions) campaign is now fully engaged. This Admin. will stop at nothing to protect their hides. Alarming to say the least.

Propaganda- definition - derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

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More obfuscation, and clearly a way to curtail press questions - more autocratic moves from this WH.

WH stops summarizing calls with world leaders

Washington (CNN)The White House has suspended the practice of publishing public summaries of President Donald Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, two sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN, bringing an end to a common exercise from Republican and Democratic administrations.
It’s unclear if the suspension is temporary or permanent. A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Official descriptions of the President’s calls with foreign leaders – termed “readouts” in Washington parlance – offer administrations the chance to characterize in their own terms the diplomacy conducted at the highest levels between countries.

While news is rarely contained in the rote, often dry descriptions, they do offer the only official account that a phone call took place. Readouts are still released internally.

Trump has had at least two calls with other leaders in the last two weeks, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House confirmed that the calls took place after they were reported by foreign media, but declined to elaborate on what was said.

The White House has not published a readout of a call between Trump and a world leader since mid-June when he called to congratulate the Hungarian prime minister on his re-election victory.
“The two leaders further pledged to keep United States-Hungary relations strong,” the readout at the time noted.


How is this legal? And how do we counteract it?

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Meanwhile … Puerto Rico still suffers

I think it is worse than we think. So what would happen if the financial markets and the northeastern/NYC area was ‘down’ for a week? I think we might have a massive lock-out from the large banks…what would happen then…besides a riot or two?

I believe this is more like the Cold War, we have this power too.

Closing this thread now.

I am glad to see this posted again. We are in a big mess with this being such a threat. One may think - hey, get generator, save-up food and water - keep a few thousand in cash… if you lived through 9/11 it may not seem so weird but if we get an attack on the utility grids and the financial system I could imagine what that would look like. If the “lock her up” crowd think this president will have the situation in hand they have only to look at disasters in Puerto Rico and Katrina to know better. I think we would have a distruption for quite some time.

This is a very big deal…and of course, another big destabilizing factor. Here’s a CNET article which quotes and pulls from the WSJ you posted. Because WSJ has a paywall, I included this.

Russian hackers accessed US electric utilities’ control rooms

Steven Musil

July 24, 2018 10:30 AM PDT

Hackers working for Russia were able to gain access to the control rooms of US electric utilities last year, allowing them to cause blackouts, federal officials tell the Wall Street Journal.

The hackers – working for a state-sponsored group previously identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear – broke into utilities’ isolated networks by hacking networks belonging to third-party vendors that had relationships with the power companies, the Department of Homeland Security said in a press briefing on Monday.

Officials said the campaign had claimed “hundreds of victims” and is likely continuing, the Journal reported.

“They got to the point where they could have thrown switches” to disrupt the flow power, Jonathan Homer, chief of industrial-control-system analysis for DHS, told the Journal.

“While hundreds of energy and non-energy companies were targeted, the incident where they gained access to the industrial control system was a very small generation asset that would not have had any impact on the larger grid if taken offline,” the DHS said in a statement Tuesday. “Over the course of the past year as we continued to investigate the activity, we learned additional information which would be helpful to industry in defending against this threat.”

Organizations running the nation’s energy, nuclear and other critical infrastructure have become frequent targets for cyberattacks in recent years due to their ability to cause immediate chaos, whether it’s starting a blackout or blocking traffic signals. These systems are often vulnerable because of antiquated software and the high costs of upgrading infrastructure.

The report comes amid heightened tension between Russia and the US over cybersecurity. Earlier this month, US special counsel Robert Mueller filed charges against 12 Russian hackers tied to cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee.

Hackers compromised US power utility companies’ corporate networks with conventional approaches, such as spear-phishing emails and watering-hole attacks, which target a specific group of users by infecting websites they’re known to visit, the newspaper reported. After gaining access to vendor networks, hackers turned their attention to stealing credentials for access to the utility networks and familiarizing themselves with facility operations, officials said, according to the Journal.

Homeland Security didn’t identify the victims, the newspaper reports, adding that some companies may not know they had been compromised because the attacks used legitimate credentials to gain access to the networks.

Cyberattacks on electrical systems aren’t an academic matter. In 2016, Ukraine’s grid was disrupted by cyberattacks attributed to Russia, which is engaged in territorial disputes with the country over eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula. Russia has denied any involvement in targeting critical infrastructure.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in May designed to bolster the United States’ cybersecurity by protecting federal networks, critical infrastructure and the public online. One section of the order focuses on protecting utilities grids like electricity and water, as well as financial, health care and telecommunications systems.
The Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to a request for comment.


I think it is wide spread, especially now nearly 2 years later. Very concerning.


This was the single most scary thing I read today. Serious gaslighting going on there. The cult of the Red Hats are totally going to be parroting that until November. I feel like I’m going insane.

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He is laying cover for his base since they are so ready to believe white is black and black is white. My neighbors are completely, hook line and sinker on board with Trump. What a cult and his this guy found a home or what?

I think it’s possible that’s exactly what he’s doing. It’s misinformation, and spin tactics. He’s alluding that Russia can’t be FOR him because then he opens himself to a tarnished reputation, being the concieted narcissist he is, that’s antithema to his carefully cultivated image. He’s not a complete moron, he’s a crafty snake, and all of this seems coordinated. Similar to Russian politics, which I find interesting.