JRL NEWSWATCH: “American Hustle; What Mueller Found – and Didn’t Find – About Trump and Russia” – Foreign Affairs/ Stephen Kotkin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Russian intelligence organizations … could manage entirely on their own to hack e-mail accounts, line up cutouts such as WikiLeaks to disseminate damaging material, impersonate Americans on social media, and study elementary research available in open sources about battleground states and swing voters. * * * … The sections of the report that treat what Russia intended and achieved […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Suggests He Authorized Cyber Attack on Russia: ‘It Happened During My Administration'” – Mediaite/ Connor Mannion

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“[In an interview to air Sunday,] … Trump hinted to Fox[] … that he authorized a cyber attack against Russia …. ‘It’s been reported this year that you personally authorized a cyber attack on Russia around the time of the midterms last year in order to stop them meddling in the midterm election,’ [Steve] Hilton asked referring to a report […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The Russia story cannot die — CNN, the Democratic Party, others have too much invested in it” – Fox/ Tucker Carlson

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… Barr first served as Attorney General in the George H.W. Bush administration. That was 1991. … Then this February, purely by process of elimination, basically as he was the one guy could get confirmed, Barr became Attorney General of the United States once again. The Mueller investigation was nearly over when he got the job. Barr probably didn’t expect […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative an early boost” – The Hill/ John Solomon

File Photo of Susan Rice and Barack Hussein Obama in St. Petersburg Russia, with Mural of St. Petersburg Scene in Background, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“As … Trump began his meteoric rise … the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington …. Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long … to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched … Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump. … [O]ne of the earliest documented […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Memes Didn’t Steal the Election; Being influenced by foreign propaganda doesn’t cost a citizen his right to vote” – Wall Street Journal/ Crispin Sartwell

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… It’s worth pondering what really would throw an election’s legitimacy into question. Directly compromising the vote by hacking voting machines or disposing of absentee ballots does the job – the latter triggered the invalidation of a North Carolina House race …. So does jailing opponents, banning political parties, or threatening or bribing voters. But a social-media campaign, even coordinated […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What the Mueller Report Tells Us About How Russia Works; Please, put away those onion-dome-on-the-White-House graphics and abandon those excitable claims of Trump as a Russian agent.” – Moscow Times/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Putin’s Russia is … an ‘adhocracy’ … in which the true elite is defined by service to the needs of the Kremlin rather than any specific institutional or social identity. They may be spies, or diplomats, journalists, politicians, or millionaires; essentially they are all ‘political entrepreneurs’ who both seek to serve the Kremlin or are required to do so, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Democrats’ Denial Over The Lack Of Russian Collusion Could Re-Elect Trump” – The Federalist/ Jonathan S. Tobin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Doubling down on accusations and demanding the un-redacted Mueller report is no substitute for collusion myths, but Democrats’ inability to let it go helps the president.” “… The Democratic Party absorbed a hard blow when … the Mueller investigation determin[ed] there was no collusion with Russia involving the president or his campaign. … Expecting members of Congress like … Adam […]

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Kirk Bennett: “Tying Up the Loose Ends of Russiagate”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Subject: TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF RUSSIAGATE Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2019 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS OF RUSSIAGATE The unfinished business of Russiagate consists of clearing the names of innocent people; holding senior bureaucrats to account for errors of judgment and abuses of power; and restoring the tarnished image of democratic governance. By Kirk […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Mueller Won’t Say: Did he investigate the Steele dossier? If not, he didn’t really investigate.” – Wall Street Journal/ Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… the exact words of Attorney General William Barr: ‘The Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump … conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.’ How is it possible to investigate these ‘allegations’ without holding the Steele dossier, the only […]

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Steve Shabad: “Response to Matt Bivens [Re: Russiagate]”

White House

Subject: Response to Matt Bivens Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2019 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@gmail.com> To: davidjohnson@starpower.net Response to Matt Bivens (JRL #50 “Russiagate: The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism”) From Steve Shabad [Bivens: blog.usejournal.com/russiagate-the-great-tragic-comedy-of-modern-journalism-fd2a451aaa25][russialist.org/jrl-newswatch-russiagate-the-great-tragic-comedy-of-modern-journalism-matt-bivens/] Matt Bivens’ essay on what he calls the “tragic comedy of modern journalism” made for provocative reading, and I agreed with some of his points. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole; The Mueller Report won’t soothe a paranoid frenzy to undo the 2016 election” – City Journal (New York)/ Paul Starobin

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“The idea of irascible Donald Trump as a compliant tool of the Kremlin in Moscow – some sort of clandestine agent or asset … has always seemed off-center. Who has ever been able to control him … Does Trump seem capable of keeping secrets, following orders, or maintaining the strict discipline required of a double agent? … to sober minds, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH [SATIRE]: “Shocked Vladimir Putin Slowly Realizing He Didn’t Conspire With Trump Campaign; ‘Who The H[–]l Was I Working With Then?’ Asks Russian President” – The Onion

Putin at Desk

“Saying that he had been ‘totally blindsided’ by the revelations from the recently released findings of the Mueller investigation, a shocked Vladimir Putin reportedly came to the realization Tuesday that he didn’t conspire with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after all. ‘What the hell? I worked so hard on this – if I wasn’t colluding with the Trump campaign, who […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Myth that Won’t Die: Donald Trump as Russia’s Puppet; Trump’s actual policies toward Russia are in contrast to the notion that he is ‘doing Putin’s bidding.'” – The National Interest/ Ted Galen Carpenter

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Trump’s political adversaries, along with an assortment of Russia haters in the foreign-policy community and the news media, keep pushing the narrative that Trump is … Putin’s puppet. That allegation shows few signs of dissipating even though no credible evidence supporting it has emerged. Unfortunately, the situation is unlikely to change even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians Hope Mueller Report Opens Door to Improved U.S. Ties” – New York Times/ Neil MacFarquhar, Ivan Nechepurenko, Andrew Kramer

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“There was crowing in Russia … that the special counsel’s investigation did not find coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign in 2016, but optimism about improved relations was tempered by the report’s extensive focus on Russian meddling in the presidential election. Official reaction … proved decidedly muted. [Putin spokesman] Dmitri S. Peskov … [said] the only news in the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “When the Mueller report shows Trump didn’t collude with Russia, will anyone be punished?” – Fox News/ Tucker Carlson 3.21.19

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Once the Mueller report appears, and it becomes incontrovertible that whatever his faults, Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians, the many people who have persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians, ought to be punished. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia” – NBC News/ Ken Dilanian

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee. … investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Is Mueller taking orders from Russia?” – American Thinker/ Taylor Day

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“… Though he was an integral part of the sketchy deal that delivered a considerable amount of uranium to Russia, and as I’m forever the silver-lining kind of girl, it would be charming if Democrats came full circle and investigated Mueller for his own involvement with Russia. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin can’t afford to ditch the dollar” – Reuters/ Steven E. Halliwell

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Paul Manafort, while managing Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, is accused of passing private polling data to his Russia business partner, a man with alleged ties to Russian intelligence. … revealed in an unsealed court filing … likely to stoke the case in Congress for increased sanctions …. [T]he reverberations will be felt in Moscow, where anger and frustration over […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Trump-Putin revelations tell us what we knew all along” – Washington Post/ Anne Applebaum

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… The compulsion to get beneath the surface of things lies at the heart of what makes some people scholars or scientists. It’s also at the heart of what makes some people conspiracy theorists. More to the point, it explains why so many are excited by recent ‘revelations’ about President Trump and his relationship with Vladimir Putin, even though they […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Strobe Talbott: It’s Already Collusion; We don’t need news reports to tell us that Trump is giving Putin what he wants. Take it from this longtime Russia hand: It’s staring us in the face” – Politico/ Strobe Talbott

Strobe Talbott file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“… We already know that that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker. Or put it this way: Trump has been colluding with a hostile Russia throughout his presidency. We’ll see if it started before that. … Strobe Talbott … distinguished fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: @Anders_Aslund tweet re: Trump and Putin

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

(Anders Aslund – Twitter @anders_aslund – January 13, 2019) [Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council] “Everything suggests that #Trump is #Putin’s agent: secret meetings, persistent public praise, undermining US foreign policy interests & alliances. The actual Kremlin payment can easily be done #offshore in anonymous companies as the #SteeleDossier suggested.” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below:] Everything suggests […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Steele dossier was planned as Hillary’s insurance policy” – Washington Times/ Larry O’Connor

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… highly damaging text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page … [revealed] petty, vitriolic political diatribes while making decisions on the most sensitive investigations of the 2016 political season. Their hatred toward then-candidate … Trump … [and] contempt for his supporters gave reasonable observers every reason to question whether the Hillary Clinton email […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “America’s exposure to Russian information warfare; U.S. democracy remains inexcusably vulnerable to hijack” – Financial Times (UK) Editorial

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Some now call it an ‘information world war.’ Whether Russia tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump is unknowable. But it is no longer possible to deny that the Kremlin is waging a multi-pronged form of information warfare on western democracies. The problem is by no means confined to the U.S. Other democracies, including the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Effort to Influence 2016 Election Targeted African-Americans” – New York Times/ Scott Shane, Sheera Frenkel

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee. …”  

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After U.S. Midterms, Dialogue With Russia May Become Easier, Not Harder

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul J. Saunders – Nov. 14, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/after-us-midterms-dialogue-russia-may-become-easier-not-harder) Paul J. Saunders is executive director of the Center for the National Interest and directs its U.S.-Russian Relations Program. While conventional wisdom has suggested that America’s 2018 midterm elections are likely to further harden U.S. policy toward Russia-and to further undermine prospects for a more functional […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Congress Likely to Shelve New Russia Sanctions as Clock Runs Out” – Bloomberg/ Saleha Mohsin, Laura Litvan, Anna Edgerton, Daniel Flatley

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Congress isn’t expected to pass legislation ordering new U.S. sanctions on Russia before the end of the year, as lawmakers focus instead on government spending measures, judicial nominations and a farm bill, key senators said. A bipartisan group of senators moved swiftly over the summer to assemble new proposals for Russia sanctions …. But as Congress enters the so-called lame […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fred Weir on New York Times’ ‘Operation Infection'” – facebook.com/fred.weir

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Fred Weir (Christian Science Monitor) – Facebook – facebook.com/fred.weir – November 13, 2018) “This is pretty lurid stuff, very much a prime specimen of the information genre it is denouncing. Odd to find it in the New York Times; even during the Cold War it was left to less reputable platforms to hawk this kind of hyperventilating, conspiracy-laden polemic. For […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. midterms make Putin’s rocky road to Trump even rockier” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

“Americans weren’t the only ones closely watching U.S. midterm results. Much of the world was too, including Russia. A Democratic House will complicate Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cut deals with President Trump.” “A lot has changed since [Trump and Putin] last met in Helsinki in July – and not in Russia’s favor, according to much of Russia’s foreign policy community. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Seen Adopting New Tactics in U.S. Election Interference Efforts” – Reuters

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Russian agents believed to be connected to the government have been active in spreading divisive content and promoting extreme themes ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. mid-term elections, but they are working hard to cover their tracks, according to government investigators, academics and security firms. Researchers studying the spread of disinformation on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other platforms say the new, subtler […]

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NEWSLINK: “No Significant Foreign Interference Seen on Midterm Vote” – Wall Street Journal

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“U.S. security officials and social media firms said Tuesday they spotted a limited amount of deliberate disinformation targeting the midterm election, but that they hadn’t observed any significant efforts to directly breach election infrastructure with cyberattacks. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia and the 2018 Midterms: Laying Out the Publicly Available Evidence” – RussiaMatters/ Mari Dugas, Natasha Yefimova-Trilling

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“This week’s midterms offer a good opportunity for a status update on the latest evidence of Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Over the past six months, there has been no shortage of alarming warnings. In August, five of the country’s top national security officials spoke to reporters at the White House about the threat posed by Moscow and efforts to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Peskov sees no prospects Russian-U.S. relations to improve after U.S. elections” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said following the midterm elections in the United States that relations between the two countries are unlikely to improve but that Russia still wants a dialogue with the U.S. “It can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that, of course, there are no rosy prospects of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mystery of the Midterm Elections: Where Are the Russians?” – New York Times/ David E. Sanger

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… From the cyberwar room that the Department of Homeland Security runs round the clock in a bland office building in Arlington, Va., to Microsoft’s threat-assessment center at the other end of the country, in Redmond, Wash., every form of digital radar is being focused on America’s election infrastructure — and particularly on the Russian military intelligence agency once known […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Still in Russia’s Interest to Mess With US Politics” – AP

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

PARIS – Sweeping accusations that the Kremlin tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election haven’t chastened Russian trolls, hackers and spies – and might even have emboldened them. U.S. officials and tech companies say Russians have continued online activity targeted at American voters during the campaign for Tuesday’s election, masquerading as U.S. institutions and creating faux-American social media posts to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia; U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” – Center for Public Integrity/ Zachary Fryer-Biggs/ The Daily Beast

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have quietly agreed on the outlines of an offensive cyberattack … if Russia electronically interferes with the 2018 midterm election [according to unnamed officials] …. U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems … needed to let the plan unfold quickly …. one of the first major […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data; A Daily Beast analysis of Twitter data shows the Kremlin troll farm’s English-language propaganda is nine times more effective than its disinformation in Russian.” – Daily Beast/Kevin Poulsen

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Best estimates trace the founding of the Internet Research Agency to August 2013, and for eight months of its existence the Saint Petersburg troll farm was focused on influencing citizens in Russia and Russia’s near abroad. Then in April 2014 the Kremlin-linked organization launched ‘Project Lakhta,’ according to federal prosecutors, aimed squarely at the United States. The IRA’s first […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Russian Trolls Inflamed the NFL’s Anthem Controversy; Russia-linked Twitter accounts sent more than 12,000 tweets about the NFL or the anthem in their alleged efforts to sow discord” – Wall Street Journal/ Andrew Beaton

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov » Read more

NEWSLINK: “Here Are The Issues Russian Trolls Are Using To Divide Americans Ahead Of The Midterm Elections; Russian-run social media accounts are still attempting to sow discord in the US, according to federal prosecutors, and they’re spending millions a year on the effort” – Buzzfeednews/Salvador Hernandez

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov » Read more

NEWSLINK: “Whether Russia meddles in the U.S. midterms or not, the damage to democracy has already been done; The key Russian objective is not to aid the Republicans but to undermine American faith in democratic government and its institutions. So far, they’re doing quite a good job” – The Independent/Will Gore

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place » Read more

NEWSLINK: “How Russia cyber attacks helped Trump to the U.S. presidency; It’s clearer than ever: the theft and leaking of Democratic emails were key to Clinton’s election defeat” – The Guardian/Kathleen Hall Jamieson

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Sanctions Unlikely to Pass Congress Before November” – Bloomberg/ Arit John, Anna Edgerton, Natasha Doff (Sept. 27, 2018)

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… Congress is unlikely to pass any new sanctions on Russia, including proposals that would affect its sovereign debt and energy projects, until after … November elections. The House is likely to go on recess … and not return until after Nov. 6 balloting, according to a Republican aide and a lawmaker. No bills on sanctions against Russia are scheduled […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia is trying to influence the 2018 U.S. election. But this time the U.S. is prepared” – Washington Post/ Alla Baranovsky-Dewey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, how likely is it that Russia will do it again? Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, said in August that a Russia-orchestrated disinformation campaign continues on social media. Two 2018 candidates … have already reported that Russian hackers have targeted their computers. But while Russia is clearly trying to influence the 2018 […]

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NEWSLINK: “A GOP spin on the Russia probe reads like a noir thriller – but doesn’t add up; All of the Steele dossier can’t be discredited just because the contacts between private investigators and government officials were sometimes incestuous” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

Historic Washington Post Masthead, adapted from image at nlrb.gov

“…The GOP’s evidence does reveal some puzzling interconnections among major players in the Russia probe. The FBI and the Justice Department were sometimes conducting negotiations with the same people they were also investigating for possible wrongdoing. The contacts between private investigators and government officials were occasionally incestuous. The most intriguing example of overlapping relationships involves three key players who were […]

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NEWSLINK: “Only You Can Defeat Vladimir Putin; Russian Interference With America Is Profound and Systematic, So the Best Self-Defense Is We, the People” – ZocaloPublicSquare/ Reed Johnson

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… By tampering with elections, hijacking social media platforms, and cranking out reams of bogus conspiracy theories and divisive propaganda, the Russian president and his intelligence operatives have been working overtime to destabilize rival governments and rile up their citizens against one another. With the midterm elections fast approaching, and the American public seething with partisan anger, a Zócalo/Japanese American […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Air Has Seeped Out of the Russia/Collusion Balloon” – Washington Examiner/Michael Barone

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“‘I did not, and of course I looked for it, looked for it hard.’ That was Bob Woodward … replying to … Hugh Hewitt’s question, ‘Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research, in your interviews, that sounded like espionage or collusion?’…. [And] none of Mueller’s indictments and guilty pleas point toward confirmation …. [I]t appears that, beyond a […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Timeline Showing the Full Scale of Russia’s Unprecedented Interference in the 2016 Election, and Its Aftermath” – New York Times/KAREN YOURISH, LARRY BUCHANAN, DEREK WATKINS

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“It’s easy to lose the larger narrative of the Trump-Russia story …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Plot to Subvert an Election; Unraveling the Russia Story So Far” – New York Times/SCOTT SHANE, MARK MAZZETTI

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016 attack -hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies – and President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Times explores what we know and what it means.”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Former Bush adviser has three steps to rebuild U.S.-Russia relationship” – CBS News

File Photo of Stephen Hadley At Table Leaning Forward, with USAID Logo Partially Obscured in Background, adapted from image at usaid.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

“… according to Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to … George W. Bush … three crucial factors need to be addressed before rebuilding the [U.S.-Russian] relationship can begin. … [1] ‘One, we get through our election in November and it is clear that the Russians have not tried to manipulate that election in 2018 the way they did in […]

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