Russian Interference in American Politics
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- 1 How You Can Resist
- 2 Recent Updates
- 3 Russian Interference in US Politics
- 4 Why Russia Influenced the 2016 US Elections
- 5 How Russia Attempted to Influence the 2016 US Election
- 6 Connections Between Trump/Trump Associates and Putin/Russia
How You Can Resist
- Call your representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives by dialing tel:844-6-RESIST and state:
“As my elected representative, one of your most important jobs is to ensure that we have free and fair elections. We need to know if the Putin regime interfered with the very foundation of our democracy. We need an Independent Commission, like the 9/11 Commission, to fully investigate possible Russian interference and the role that the Trump campaign may have played and to make the evidence publicly available."
- Independent commissions are:
- Rare—only 7 have been formed between 1989 and 2016.
- Expensive—They require paying full-time staff to conduct interviews and hearings. A bill to pay for a commission (an appropriations bill) has to be passed in Congress and signed by the president, or a 2/3 majority of Congress has to vote to override the veto.
- Specific—Congress has to agree on what the commission will cover, who will sit on the commission (usually around 10 representatives total, from both parties) and who will be interviewed
See what your representative has already said here.
- 5/24/17: The Justice Department revealed that Attorney General Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice in 2016, which he did not disclose when he applied for his security clearance. Security clearances require that Sessions reveal any contact he or family members had with members of foreign government over the past 7 years. Sessions has already come under fire for not revealing contact with Ambassador Kislyak during his Senate confirmation to be Attorney General earlier this year .
- 5/22/17: Representative Elijah Cummings released a letter that claims Flynn lied to Pentagon investigators about money he received from other countries .
- 5/22/17: Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and did not turn over documents related to his contact with Russia. Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Flynn about two weeks earlier demanding that he release documents about his ties to Russia.
- 5/19/17: In his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador earlier this month, Trump told them he fired the “nut job” Comey and eased "great pressure" from the investigation into the Trump campaign and administration's interactions with Russia..
- 5/19/17: The Justice Department considers a senior White House adviser a "significant person of interest" in the investigation into Trump–Russia collusion.
- 5/18/17: In an all-Senate hearing today regarding FBI Director James Comey's firing, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein revealed that he knew that Comey would be fired the day before he wrote his memo. This contradicts the story released by the White House, which claimed Trump fired Comey following Rosenstein's recommendation.
- 5/17/17: According to the New York Times, Michael Flynn warned the Trump transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under investigation for working as a lobbyist for Turkey. Trump appointed him as National Security Adviser anyway.
- 5/17/17: Robert Mueller was named special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. In order to comply with DOJ rules, most of this investigation will not be public. As special counsel, Mueller will offer a confidential recommendation to the Attorney General about whether or not to prosecute.
- Special (or independent) prosecutors are:
- Appointed by the Attorney General, or in this case the Deputy Attorney General, since Sessions recused himself.
- Independent—the special prosecutor does not work for the government but is an outside lawyer who is appointed specifically.
- Can be fired by the Attorney General's office with a specific reason.
- 5/16/17: The New York Times has reported that former FBI Director Comey left behind a paper trail keeping track of Trump’s attempts to influence the Russia investigation. A memo from February revealed that Trump told Comey to “let this go,” referring to ending the investigation into Michael Flynn. The New York Times received this information from an FBI official.
Russian Interference in US Politics
Vladimir Putin is still heavily involved in attempts to influence the US.
Vladimir Putin personally ordered and directed a hostile campaign against the United States during the 2016 elections. This attack was intended to inflict damage to Hillary Clinton and her campaign and to promote Donald Trump's election as president.
Putin directed interference in the primaries of both the Democrat and Republican parties. All the Republican primary candidates except Trump were targeted by Russia in attempts to discredit them. Within the Democratic party, Russia was already actively promoting negative stories about Hillary Clinton during the primaries.
Why Russia Influenced the 2016 US Elections
- Damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and assist Donald Trump's candidacy.
- Assist candidates whom Putin thought would be favorable to his agenda.
- Damage candidates whom Putin thought would challenge his agenda.
- Undermine faith in the US democratic process, both in the US and abroad.
- Drive a wedge between the US's Intelligence Community and elected officials.
- Undermine the US's position as the leader of western democracies.
- Decrease the US's commitment to NATO.
How Russia Attempted to Influence the 2016 US Election
Vladimir Putin ordered a wide-ranging and large-scale attack against the US election process. He conducted a version of New Generation Warfare, which was popular during the Soviet era. During the time of the Soviet Union (1917–1991), this type of warfare was used to influence the course of events around the world without the use of active military measures. At that time, it included installing puppet regimes, blackmail, threats and intimidation, and assassination. Today, this type of warfare includes both covert and overt techniques to promote the Putin regime's agenda.
- Weaponizing information
Vladimir Putin’s security services have several teams of hackers, some of which are known as CYBER BEARS.Two of these teams gained access to Republican and Democratic officials, private US citizens, think tanks, and political campaigns.They stole thousands of documents, emails, notes, and even voicemail messages.
Russian hackers targeted the voter registration databases of at least 24 states in the months before the election. At least four states' systems, which were vulnerable via their Internet connection, were successfully breached. (Most voting systems are not connected to the Internet.)The states hacked by Russia include Florida, Illinois, and Arizona.This data may also have been used to shape social media attacks in key swing states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
While information theft is common among most nations, in a first of it's kind attack in the United State Russian agents weaponized information in 2016.To turn information into a weapon the Putin regime selected specific stolen documents to release at specific times.Using the persona of Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.com, agents released information publicly. They also used Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, where the stolen information was released. Russian agents also released information directly to the media via their own RT and Sputnik newspapers and to members of the mainstream media.
One possible area where members of the Trump campaign, or one of his advisors, might have cooperated with the Putin regime is in the selection and timing of specific material to release via WikiLeaks.Long time Trump advisor *Roger Stone has stated publically that he was able to communicate with Julian Assange, although more recently he has denied that he did.
You can learn more about the 2016 election interference here.
Propaganda and Putin’s Media Campaign
At least as early as 2014, Putin’s agents were trying to shape the US media landscape through creating fake or biased news and spreading it through Russia-owned media outlets like RT and Sputnik. They then expanded the audience for this propaganda by promoting it over social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.Putin instructed his security services to generate fake news, or propaganda, that could damage Hillary Clinton.
- RT, a Russian- and English-language news network
- Sputnik News
- Breitbart News, which was controlled by Steve Bannon, who is now in the White House.
- Infowars, an online program hosted by Alex Jones
These stories were amplified by internet trolls, people who create fake social media accounts and post and repost links to fake news stories. In St. Petersburg, Russia, just one “troll factory” alone employs about 1,000 such people, who are paid by the Russian government.
Connections Between Trump/Trump Associates and Putin/Russia
FBI Director James Comey stated that the FBI is investigating the Russian government's interference into the US presidential election, including direct communication between Trump's campaign and the Russian government:
The connections between Donald Trump, his businesses, his campaign, and Russian businesses and financiers and agents of the Russian government are complex. The following infographics are a helpful guide.
More details about individuals' ties to Russia:
- Rex Tillerson
- Carter Page
- Paul Manafort
- Jeff Sessions
- Michael Flynn
- Jared Kushner
- Roger Stone
- Wilbur Ross
Trump and his associates have repeatedly said that they did not have any contact with Russian officials before the election.Now that campaign members are publicly admitting to having had meetings with Russian officials, Trump and his associates are denying that there was anything inappropriate about the meetings.
While there is no clear evidence that Trump and the Trump Organization have done anything illegal related to Russia, inquiries are now being made into their financial connections with Russia.. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, so it is difficult to detail his financial ties, including with Russia..
You can learn more about Trump and his associates ties to Russia and Putin here.