I'm sure Trump will wheel out the "That's not even my voice" defense again. His base bought it before, they'll do it again.
The next round of election meddling may actually be aimed at helping the Democrats.
There’s a good argument to be made that China, for one, might look at our congressional elections and think that helping the Democrats in 2018 would be best for them. While much of our focus on Trump’s bull-in-a-multilateral-china-shop approach to foreign policy has focused on his attacks on Canada, Europe and Africa, or his inexplicable coddling of Putin and Russia, there’s no country that has benefited more from his presidency than the rising and increasingly aggressive and authoritarian China.
As we retreat from international alliances, China has stepped into that vacuum. Trump’s temper tantrums have given China the time and space to build new relationships around the Pacific Rim, to pursue their mega-One Belt One Road project and to chip away at the international security alliances that have made the Pacific an American lake for 50 years.
One way for China to extend the period of a vacuum of American leadership: Throw the Senate to the Dems, ensuring not just two years of oversight hearings but also fraught nomination fights that would leave the government understaffed and under-resourced and unable to engage thoughtfully with the rest of the world.
Russians attempted to infiltrate three 2018 campaigns, Microsoft says
Russian intelligence operatives attempted to hack into the online accounts of staffers on three congressional campaigns in the upcoming midterm elections, a Microsoft executive said Thursday, marking the first public acknowledgment of a Russian attack on a 2018 race.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president for customer security and trust, said the technology firm had earlier this year detected a fake domain that was likely used as part of phishing attacks directed at the three campaigns.
Microsoft took down the site and prevented the victims from "being infected by that particular attack," Burt said.
Multiple US intelligence and homeland security officials have said in recent days that Russia has not yet attempted a large-scale effort to manipulate specific election infrastructure in the midterm elections, as it did in the 2016 race.
Burt said the specific phishing tactic, which generally involves duping a victim into clicking a malicious link, was one they discovered being used by a Russian intelligence hacking group often referred to as Fancy Bear in the lead-up to the presidential election.
The hacking unit is directed by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency which was formally blamed for the Democratic National Committee hack and other damaging election cyberintrusions earlier this month in an indictment prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller. Cybersecurity firms have said Fancy Bear was one of the units of the GRU responsible for the hacks.
A top Homeland Security official Friday called the cases "concerning" but downplayed their broader significance in an interview at a Washington Post event. "I see intelligence, I see reporting on stuff every day that would look -- absent context -- concerning," said Christopher Krebs, the undersecretary in charge of DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate.
"We haven't seen a campaign on the scale of 2016 of concerted attacks against election infrastructure, concerted attacks against campaigns. Yes, Microsoft made an announcement yesterday about three Russian -- about three campaigns being targeted. That is concerning and so we're going to work with them, we're going to get that information, the FBI's worked with them to share information to shore up defenses," he said.
Burt did not identify which campaigns had been targeted, only describing the victims as "people who because of their positions might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as from an election disruption standpoint."
Earlier this year, officials from a Tennessee US Senate campaign informed the FBI that they feared they had been hacked, according to a copy of a letter obtained at the time by CNN.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration disclosed on Saturday a previously top-secret set of documents related to the wiretapping of Carter Page, the onetime Trump campaign adviser who was at the center of highly contentious accusations by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. had abused its surveillance powers.
Democrats in February rejected the Republican claims that law enforcement officials had improperly obtained a warrant to monitor Mr. Page, accusing them of putting out misinformation to defend President Trump and sow doubts about the origin of the Russia investigation. But even as Republicans and Democrats issued dueling memos characterizing the materials underlying the surveillance of Mr. Page, the public had no access to the records.
On Saturday evening, those materials — an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Mr. Page, along with several renewal applications — were released to The New York Times and other news organizations that had filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain them. Mr. Trump had declassified their existence earlier this year.
“This application targets Carter Page,” the document said. “The F.B.I. believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.” A line was then redacted, and then it picked up with “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law. Mr. Page is a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for U.S. president.”
Mr. Page has denied being a Russian agent and has not been charged with a crime in the nearly two years since the initial wiretap application was filed. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
The spectacle of the release was itself noteworthy, given that wiretapping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is normally one of the government’s closest-guarded secrets. No such application materials had apparently become public in the 40 years since Congress enacted that law to regulate the interception of phone calls and other communications on domestic soil in search of spies and terrorists, as opposed to wiretapping for ordinary criminal investigations.
The documents made public on Saturday were heavily redacted in places, and some of the substance of the applications had already become public in February, via the Republican and Democratic Intelligence Committee memos.
Visible portions showed that the F.B.I. in stark terms had told the intelligence court that Mr. Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers”; that the bureau believed “the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Mr. Trump’s campaign; and that Mr. Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.”
The fight over the surveillance of Mr. Page centered on the fact that the F.B.I., in making the case to judges that he might be a Russian agent, had used some claims drawn from a notorious Democratic-funded dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent.
The application cited claims from the dossier that Mr. Page, while on a trip to Moscow in July 2016, had met with two senior Russian representatives and discussed matters like lifting sanctions imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine and a purported file of compromising information about Mr. Trump that the Russian government had. (Mr. Page has denied those allegations, although he later contradicted his claims that he had not met any Russian government officials on that trip.)
Republicans portrayed the Steele dossier — which also contained salacious claims about Mr. Trump apparently not included in the wiretap application — as dubious, and blasted the F.B.I. for using material from it while not telling the court that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign had funded the research.
But Democrats noted that the application also contained evidence against Mr. Page unrelated to the dossier, and an unredacted portion of the application discussed efforts by Russian agents in 2013 to recruit Americans as assets. It has previously been reported that Mr. Page was one of their targets, although any discussion of Mr. Page’s interactions with them in the application is still censored.
Democrats argued in February that the F.B.I. had told the court that the research’s sponsor had the political motive of wanting to discredit Mr. Trump’s campaign. They argued that it was normal not to specifically name Americans and American organizations in such materials. The released documents show that portion of the filings, which the previously released Democratic memo had quoted.
The application shows that the F.B.I. told the court it believed that the person who hired Mr. Steele was looking for dirt to discredit Mr. Trump. But it added that based on Mr. Steele’s previous reporting history with the F.B.I., in which he had “provided reliable information,” the bureau believed his information cited in the application “to be credible.”
The applications largely avoided using names; renewal materials noted that they would continue to refer to “Candidate #1” by that description, for example, even though he “is now the president.”
The unredacted portions of the original application and the three renewal applications are otherwise largely identical, so it is not visible whether the F.B.I. told the court that it was gaining useful intelligence from the wiretap of Mr. Page as it asked for extensions. But the length of the applications grew significantly each time, indicating that new information was being added: They were 66 pages, 79 pages, 91 pages and 101 pages, respectively.
The materials also revealed which Federal District Court judges signed off on the wiretapping of Mr. Page: Judges Rosemary Collyer, Michael Mosman, Anne C. Conway and Raymond J. Dearie. All were appointed by Republican presidents.
A better example would be the Iran-Iraq war that lasted 8 years, might have killed about a million people total, and accomplished absolutely nothing. An incredibly bloody and bitter war that's barely remembered in the west.
He won't actually go to war. This is basically his business tactic turned to international politics. Basically threaten to destroy your opponent in the hope they'll back down, but if they hold their ground try and cut a deal. It's the same move he made with Trump university and North Korea. He'll be over there in six months telling them how great the county is.