Difference between revisions of "Russian Interference in American Politics"

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*Independent commissions are[http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/how-can-congress-set-independent-commission-investigate-russia-n739536]:
 
*Independent commissions are[http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/how-can-congress-set-independent-commission-investigate-russia-n739536]:
**Rare—only 7 have been formed between 1989 and 2016.
+
**Rare: only 7 were 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.
+
**Expensive: They require full-time paid staff to conduct interviews and hearings. Congress must pass a bill to pay for a commission (an appropriations bill). This bill must be signed by the president, or else 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
+
**Specific: Congress must 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 [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/10/us/politics/congress-statements-comey.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=g-pic-wrap&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 here].'''
 
'''See what your representative has already said [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/10/us/politics/congress-statements-comey.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=g-pic-wrap&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 here].'''
  
 
== [[File:notification.png | left | 50px | Updates | link= ]] Recent Updates==
 
== [[File:notification.png | left | 50px | Updates | link= ]] Recent Updates==
*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. Despite being aware, Trump still appointed him as National Security Adviser [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/us/politics/michael-flynn-donald-trump-national-security-adviser.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news].
 
  
* 5/17/17: Robert Mueller has just been named as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. 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 [https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/us/politics/robert-mueller-special-counsel-russia-investigation.html?_r=0&referer=https://www.google.com/].
+
*8/3/17: It was announced that special counsel investing the Russian government's involvements in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, has issued subpoenas (request for information) from a Washington-based grand jury in recent weeks. Some of the subpoenas are related to financial dealings of Michael T. Flynn, the retired general who briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser. Mr. Mueller’s team is broadly investigating whether any Trump associates worked with the Russian government to swing the election. It is unclear whether the subpoenas issued in recent weeks relate to other members of Mr. Trump’s campaign who have been a focus of the Mueller investigation, including Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman. Grand juries are members of the public who meet in secret to hear evidence. Grand jury subpoenas are the main way prosecutors gather evidence in criminal investigations, and evidence gathered by one grand jury is easily moved to another.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/robert-mueller-russia-investigation-grand-jury.html?_r=0]
*Special (or independent) prosecutors are[http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-special-prosecutor-trump-russia-james-comey-2017-5]:
 
**Appointed by the Attorney General, or in this case the Deputy Attorney General, since [[Trump_Administration#Attorney_General_Jeff_Sessions|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.[https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=cf57dd58d1a6475d2ea88e2498f6ac17&mc=true&node=pt28.2.600&rgn=div5]
 
  
* 5/16/17: The New York Times has reported 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 probe into Michael Flynn. The New York Times received this information orally from an FBI official [https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/james-comey-trump-flynn-russia-investigation.html].
+
*7/11/17: The Times has found that Donald Trump, Jr., was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton last summer—information that the Russian government wanted to use to help Trump in the presidential election. Trump, Jr., set up the meeting with the Russian lawyer (see below) in response to this offer. This is the most direct information we have so far that the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government to influence the presidential election.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/us/politics/trump-russia-email-clinton.html?emc=edit_na_20170711&nl=breaking-news&nlid=61155567&ref=cta&_r=0]
  
*5/15/2017: US Officials have revealed that Trump spoke of highly classified information about counterterror efforts against the Islamic State last week when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak visited the White House. The Trump Administration has taken some steps to control the spread of the classified information after the meeting, including reaching out to the NSA and CIA [https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?pushid=591a17b4fdd5491d0000004b&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.a2c9ed27bdba].
+
*7/8/17: The New York Times published a report that says that Donald Trump, Jr., met with a Russian lawyer who has ties with the Russian government in summer 2016.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/08/us/politics/trump-russia-kushner-manafort.html]
  
*5/11/2017: Trump said that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation from the Department of Justice.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/us/politics/trump-comey-showboat-fbi.html] A White House spokesperson said that the reason for this was to bring an end to the investigation into Russian interference.[http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/11/politics/comey-fbi-investigation-russia-sarah-huckabee-sanders/]
+
*6/26/17: President Trump has demanded an apology from former President Obama. Trump claims that Obama knew about Russian hacking during the 2016 election, but did not do anything to stop it. In a series of tweets, Trump went on to claim that Obama had colluded with Russia, and that his campaign had nothing to do with the Russian interference in the election.[http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/26/trump-vents-about-russia-and-obama-on-twitter.html][https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/us/politics/trump-twitter-obama-russia.html]
  
*5/10/2017: President Trump met with the Russian foreign minister inside the oval office. It was the first time that the Russian foreign minister had been in the White House since 2013.[http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/10/james-comey-firing-trump-lavrov-putin-215124]
+
*6/25/17: Russia is recalling their ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, according to several sources [https://www.buzzfeed.com/johnhudson/moscow-is-finally-recalling-russian-ambassador-sergey?utm_term=.xpBN8rPR#.caGklZOB]. Kislyak is a central figure in the Russia investigation: he met with former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Jared Kushner. The three men did not tell Congress about these meetings as required by law.[http://thehill.com/policy/international/russia/339401-russia-is-recalling-ambassador-at-center-of-trump-campaign][http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/did-trump-kushner-sessions-have-undisclosed-meeting-russian-n767096]
  
*5/09/2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Michael Flynn for documents related to their Russia investigation after he refused to cooperate with them.[https://twitter.com/frankthorp/status/862433496048037889]
+
*6/25/17: The New York Times reported that even Trump’s allies are frustrated with his denials that Russia interfered with the US election. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/25/us/politics/trumps-deflections-and-denials-on-russia-frustrate-even-his-allies.html]
  
*5/09/2017: FBI Director James Comey was fired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by President Trump.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/james-comey-fired-fbi.html?_r=0] FBI Directors are appointed to a 10 year term to avoid any political interference with appointees. But, the President does have the power to fire an FBI director because they are employees of the Department of Justice, which the President oversees. It has only happened one other time when President Bill Clinton fired the director for corruption after a 6 month long independent investigation.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1993/07/20/clinton-fires-sessions-as-fbi-director/1c1b437e-a695-48d0-bc9e-afa5f0f69b79/] This is, in part, because most White Houses create a policy limiting contact between themselves and the Department of Justice to limit the appearance that they are interfering in any investigations as part of a tradition of trying to ensure that law enforcement does not seem politically motivated.[https://unitedtoprotectdemocracy.org/agencycontacts/]
+
*6/23/17: President Trump tweeted that the Obama administration knew about the Russian interference in the election, but did not do anything to stop it. The tweet is possibly in response to a report by the Washington Post that goes over the steps Obama took to try and punish Russia for interfering with the election. This is the first time that the president has acknowledged that there was Russian interference in the election.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/obama-putin-election-hacking/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.1d0bc8b70afb][http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-updates-everything-president-trump-again-faults-obama-for-russia-s-1498265914-htmlstory.html]
 
+
'''Other Investigations into Russian Interference and Possible Trump Cooperation'''
+
*6/22/17: Two top US Security officials stated that Trump “suggested” that they publicly state that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. Both officials were reportedly surprised at the request.[http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/338910-trump-suggested-top-intel-officials-refute-collusion-with-russians]
*FBI
+
 
+
*6/21/17: Russia cancelled meetings with the US over the sanctions approved by the U.S. Senate. The meeting was planned to help smooth out growing tensions between the two nations.[https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/russia-cancels-planned-meeting-with-the-us/531213/]
*CIA
 
 
 
*Combined National Intelligence Agency Task Force
 
 
 
*Department of Treasury, Financial Crimes Unit is looking into money laundering by Trump associates.
 
 
 
*Department of Defense, investigating payments received by Mike Flynn
 
 
 
*Department of Justice, investigating Comey dismissal
 
 
 
*Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
 
 
 
*House Select Committee on Intelligence
 
 
 
*Senate Judiciary Committee
 
 
 
*House Oversight Committee
 
  
 
==[[File:VotingRights.png | left | 50px | Voting Rights | link= ]] Russian Interference in US Politics==
 
==[[File:VotingRights.png | left | 50px | Voting Rights | link= ]] Russian Interference in US Politics==
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'''Vladimir Putin is still heavily involved in attempts to influence the US.'''
 
'''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.[https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/]
+
Russian President Vladimir Putin 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.[https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/]
 
[[File:Putin-icon.jpg|200 px|right]]
 
[[File:Putin-icon.jpg|200 px|right]]
  
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.[http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/politics/senate-intelligence-committee-hearing-russia/index.html] Within the Democratic party, Russia was already actively promoting negative stories about Hillary Clinton during the primaries.[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36]
+
Putin directed agents to interfere 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.[http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/politics/senate-intelligence-committee-hearing-russia/index.html] Within the Democratic party, Russia was already actively promoting negative stories about Hillary Clinton during the primaries.[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36]
  
Putin also directed interference in several races for the House of Representatives, including several in [[Florida]], an important swing state.[https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/house-democrats-hacking-dccc.html?_r=0]
+
Putin also directed agents to intervene in several races for the House of Representatives, including several in [[Florida]], an important swing state.[https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/house-democrats-hacking-dccc.html?_r=0]
  
'''Government officials warn that the success of Russian interference in the 2016 US election has emboldened them to continue interfering, both here and abroad.'''[https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/]
+
'''Government officials warn that the success of Russian interference in the 2016 US election may lead them to continue interfering, both here and abroad.'''[https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/]
  
 
==Why Russia Influenced the 2016 US Elections==
 
==Why Russia Influenced the 2016 US Elections==
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*Undermine the US's position as the leader of western democracies.
 
*Undermine the US's position as the leader of western democracies.
 
*Decrease the US's commitment to NATO.
 
*Decrease the US's commitment to NATO.
 +
*Divide America.
  
 
==How Russia Attempted to Influence the 2016 US Election==
 
==How Russia Attempted to Influence the 2016 US Election==
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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.[https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/it-looks-like-someone-curated-the-wikileaks-emails-before-th?utm_term=.odbyXeQ2E#.ioe4qNPEr]Long time Trump advisor *[[Trump_Endorsers and Influencers#Roger Stone|Roger Stone]] has stated publically that he was able to communicate with Julian Assange, although more recently he has denied that he did.[http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-adviser-roger-stone-admits-contact-with-guccifer-2-0-during-campaign/]
 
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.[https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/it-looks-like-someone-curated-the-wikileaks-emails-before-th?utm_term=.odbyXeQ2E#.ioe4qNPEr]Long time Trump advisor *[[Trump_Endorsers and Influencers#Roger Stone|Roger Stone]] has stated publically that he was able to communicate with Julian Assange, although more recently he has denied that he did.[http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-adviser-roger-stone-admits-contact-with-guccifer-2-0-during-campaign/]
  
You can learn more at the [[Wikileaks Role in Election Interference]] page.
+
You can learn more about the 2016 election interference [http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/26/us/2016-presidential-campaign-hacking-fast-facts/ here].
  
 
===Propaganda and Putin’s Media Campaign===
 
===Propaganda and Putin’s Media Campaign===
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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.[https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html][https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/][https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html]
 
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.[https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html][https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf][https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008][http://intelligence.house.gov/][https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html]
  
===Corruption===
+
==Connections Between Trump/Trump Associates and Putin/Russia==
According to the authors of the report The Kremlin Playbook, corruption is the use of power, position, or resources to influence business, individuals, or government through non-transparent and questionable means, not necessarily illegal.[https://www.csis.org/analysis/kremlin-playbook]While there is now 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.[https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/20/us-intelligence-investigating-russian-links-of-leading-trump-associates-report]. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, so it is difficult to detail his financial ties, including with Russia.[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/23/senate-may-force-trump-to-turn-over-tax-returns.html].
 
 
 
See [[Financial Connections Between Trump Organization and Russia]] to learn more.
 
 
 
==Communications and Possible Collusion between Trump and Putin==
 
 
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:[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008]  
 
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:[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?utm_term=.98ffbc703008]  
 
  "I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed."
 
 
Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, stated that there is significant evidence of these links:[https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/schiff-there-is-more-than-circumstantial-evidence-now/520509/]
 
 
  “I can tell you that the case is more than that. And I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now. … I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial, and is very much worthy of investigation.”
 
  
 
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.
 
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.
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Trump and his associates have repeatedly said that they did not have any contact with Russian officials before the election.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html]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.[http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/02/politics/russia-donald-trump-meetings-ambassador/index.html]
 
Trump and his associates have repeatedly said that they did not have any contact with Russian officials before the election.[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html]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.[http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/02/politics/russia-donald-trump-meetings-ambassador/index.html]
  
For more information, please visit [[Timeline of Communication between Trump and Russia]].
+
===Financial Dealings===
 +
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.[https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/20/us-intelligence-investigating-russian-links-of-leading-trump-associates-report]. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, so it is difficult to detail his financial ties, including with Russia.[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/23/senate-may-force-trump-to-turn-over-tax-returns.html]. In an attempt to find out more, the congressional committee investigating Trump asked Deutsche Bank for access to their transactions related to Trump (the bank had loaned Trump money for his real estate business). The committee wanted to see whether the loans were backed or supported by Russia, but Deutsche Bank refused to hand over the documents. The committee could still possibly get a subpoena for them.[http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN18V11Q]
 +
 
 +
You can learn more about Trump and his associates ties to Russia and Putin [http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/connections-trump-putin-russia-ties-chart-flynn-page-manafort-sessions-214868/ here].

Latest revision as of 19:31, 23 August 2017

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist
[edit]

  • 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[1]:
    • Rare: only 7 were formed between 1989 and 2016.
    • Expensive: They require full-time paid staff to conduct interviews and hearings. Congress must pass a bill to pay for a commission (an appropriations bill). This bill must be signed by the president, or else a 2/3 majority of Congress has to vote to override the veto.
    • Specific: Congress must 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.

Updates
Recent Updates
[edit]

  • 8/3/17: It was announced that special counsel investing the Russian government's involvements in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, has issued subpoenas (request for information) from a Washington-based grand jury in recent weeks. Some of the subpoenas are related to financial dealings of Michael T. Flynn, the retired general who briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser. Mr. Mueller’s team is broadly investigating whether any Trump associates worked with the Russian government to swing the election. It is unclear whether the subpoenas issued in recent weeks relate to other members of Mr. Trump’s campaign who have been a focus of the Mueller investigation, including Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman. Grand juries are members of the public who meet in secret to hear evidence. Grand jury subpoenas are the main way prosecutors gather evidence in criminal investigations, and evidence gathered by one grand jury is easily moved to another.[2]
  • 7/11/17: The Times has found that Donald Trump, Jr., was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton last summer—information that the Russian government wanted to use to help Trump in the presidential election. Trump, Jr., set up the meeting with the Russian lawyer (see below) in response to this offer. This is the most direct information we have so far that the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government to influence the presidential election.[3]
  • 7/8/17: The New York Times published a report that says that Donald Trump, Jr., met with a Russian lawyer who has ties with the Russian government in summer 2016.[4]
  • 6/26/17: President Trump has demanded an apology from former President Obama. Trump claims that Obama knew about Russian hacking during the 2016 election, but did not do anything to stop it. In a series of tweets, Trump went on to claim that Obama had colluded with Russia, and that his campaign had nothing to do with the Russian interference in the election.[5][6]
  • 6/25/17: Russia is recalling their ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, according to several sources [7]. Kislyak is a central figure in the Russia investigation: he met with former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Jared Kushner. The three men did not tell Congress about these meetings as required by law.[8][9]
  • 6/25/17: The New York Times reported that even Trump’s allies are frustrated with his denials that Russia interfered with the US election. [10]
  • 6/23/17: President Trump tweeted that the Obama administration knew about the Russian interference in the election, but did not do anything to stop it. The tweet is possibly in response to a report by the Washington Post that goes over the steps Obama took to try and punish Russia for interfering with the election. This is the first time that the president has acknowledged that there was Russian interference in the election.[11][12]
  • 6/22/17: Two top US Security officials stated that Trump “suggested” that they publicly state that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. Both officials were reportedly surprised at the request.[13]
  • 6/21/17: Russia cancelled meetings with the US over the sanctions approved by the U.S. Senate. The meeting was planned to help smooth out growing tensions between the two nations.[14]

Voting Rights
Russian Interference in US Politics
[edit]

Vladimir Putin is still heavily involved in attempts to influence the US.

Russian President Vladimir Putin 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.[15][16][17]

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Putin directed agents to interfere 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.[18] Within the Democratic party, Russia was already actively promoting negative stories about Hillary Clinton during the primaries.[19]

Putin also directed agents to intervene in several races for the House of Representatives, including several in Florida, an important swing state.[20]

Government officials warn that the success of Russian interference in the 2016 US election may lead them to continue interfering, both here and abroad.[21][22][23]

Why Russia Influenced the 2016 US Elections[edit]

Russia’s campaign to influence the 2016 election was conducted in order to:[24][25][26]:

  • 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.
  • Divide America.

How Russia Attempted to Influence the 2016 US Election[edit]

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.[27][28] Today, this type of warfare includes both covert and overt techniques to promote the Putin regime's agenda.[29][30]

Putin used the following tactics in the US:[31][32]:

  • Cyber-crime
  • Weaponizing information
  • Propaganda
  • Corruption

Cyber-Crime[edit]

Vladimir Putin’s security services have several teams of hackers, some of which are known as CYBER BEARS.[33]Two of these teams gained access to Republican and Democratic officials, private US citizens, think tanks, and political campaigns.[34][35]They stole thousands of documents, emails, notes, and even voicemail messages.[36]

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.[37])The states hacked by Russia include Florida, Illinois, and Arizona.[38]This data may also have been used to shape social media attacks in key swing states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.[39]

Weaponized Information[edit]

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.[40]To turn information into a weapon the Putin regime selected specific stolen documents to release at specific times.[41]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.[42]

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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.[43]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.[44]

You can learn more about the 2016 election interference here.

Propaganda and Putin’s Media Campaign[edit]

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.[45]Putin instructed his security services to generate fake news, or propaganda, that could damage Hillary Clinton.[46][47]

Eventually this fake news appeared on media outlets, some of which are now under investigation by the FBI for their role in spreading Russian propaganda:[48][49][50][51][52]

  • 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.[53][54][55][56][57]

Connections Between Trump/Trump Associates and Putin/Russia[edit]

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:[58]

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.

RussiaConnection.jpg

More details about individuals' ties to Russia:

Trump and his associates have repeatedly said that they did not have any contact with Russian officials before the election.[59]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.[60]

Financial Dealings[edit]

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.[61]. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, so it is difficult to detail his financial ties, including with Russia.[62]. In an attempt to find out more, the congressional committee investigating Trump asked Deutsche Bank for access to their transactions related to Trump (the bank had loaned Trump money for his real estate business). The committee wanted to see whether the loans were backed or supported by Russia, but Deutsche Bank refused to hand over the documents. The committee could still possibly get a subpoena for them.[63]

You can learn more about Trump and his associates ties to Russia and Putin here.