FBI traced a 'fake news' disinfo attack on Election Day from Russia, CNN reports

The FBI monitored social media on Election Day 2016 to try and trace the source of a suspected Russian disinformation campaign that used "fake news," CNN reports.

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What did Trump and Putin talk about in their private G20 chat, previously undisclosed?

They don't even bother to try and hide their affair anymore.

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Putin offers Comey asylum in Moscow

Russian President and funnyman Vladimir Putin joked today that if fired FBI director Jim Comey feels persecuted by U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia will grant him asylum as it has with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

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Putin: Russian state didn't hack U.S. elections, but “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers maybe did

Vladimir Putin just changed his tune. The Russian president has previously denied having anything to do with hacking America's 2016 elections, but today says perhaps “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers were involved in cyberattacks last year that swung the presidential race for Donald J. Trump.

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GOP leader in 2016 said ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump

A month before Donald Trump became the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, his ally House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said privately among GOP peers on Capitol Hill that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin makes payments to Trump.

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Troll of the year: Putin offers to release transcript of Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats

Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, can vouch for Donald Trump's claim that no significant intelligence information was leaked to his foreign minister. This is because he has his own transcript of their meeting, of course, which he's happy to provide to America.

"If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress," Putin said.

The intervention by Putin could turn up the pressure on the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. The Senate intelligence committee has already demanded a briefing on what was said at the meeting from members of the Trump administration who were present. The episode is the latest woe for Trump, whose administration is engulfed in a series of scandals linked to Russia. His meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak came a day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, the man leading an investigation into contentious links between members of the President's campaign team and Russia.

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Wearing hockey gear, Putin reacts to FBI director James Comey's firing: 'We have nothing to do with that'

Dressed for hockey, one of Vladimir Putin's favorite violent sports other than interfering with foreign elections, the Russian President answered an American reporter's questions about the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.

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Why is Trump so silent on French election hacking?

Putin got your tongue? President Donald Trump's history of remarks on U.S. election hacking makes his current silence on the France election cyberattacks very strange. Russia is suspected of being behind those recent hacking attacks, which appeared to be directed at helping the fascist, hardcore right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen win. Despite open support from Donald Trump and others aligned with the U.S. President, Le Pen lost to the more moderate candidate, Emmanuel Macron.

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Putin-linked thinktank wrote plan to swing 2016 U.S. election in Trump's favor

A Russian thinktank controlled by Vladimir Putin's government crafted a written plan “to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system,” reports Reuters, citing three current and four former U.S. officials.

Snip:

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, after the election.

The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.

The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

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Eerily realistic Trump, Putin, and Kim Jong-un masks

Landon Meier of Hyperflesh unveiled some crazy new masks at Monsterpalooza 2017: Trump, Putin, and Kim Jong-un masks that are so lifelike people do a double-take. Read the rest

FBI got secret court order in mid-2016 to monitor Carter Page as part of Russia-Trump probe

The Federal Bureau of Investigations asked for and received a secret court order last summer to eavesdrop on communications between Carter Page, then a campaign adviser to candidate Donald Trump, as part of the FBI's investigation into connections between Team Trump and Russia.

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Even by the standards of tax-havens, Gibraltar is pretty sketchy

As Brexit shambles on, UK Tory Parliamentarians and Theresa May are spoiling for a re-run of the Falklands Island debacle, this time over Gibraltar, a British outpost at the tip of Spain. Read the rest

That Dr. Strangelove scene where the U.S. President phones Russia about an imminent air strike

In the War Room, the U.S President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) is making a phone call to the President of the U.S.S.R. From Dr. Strangelove, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1964).

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This 'Putin as a gay clown' image is now illegal in Russia, so please do not share

This image of Russian leader and purported Donald Trump kingmaker Vladimir Putin as a gay clown is now illegal in Russia. Whatever you do, do not share this far and wide so that everyone sees it.

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Your Monday afternoon new, damning Trump-Putin connection

Is anyone surprised that Eric Prince, CEO of Blackwater, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and familiar face around the NYC Trump transition office, held a clandestine meeting in the Seychelles with a close advisor to El Sr. Putin just days before the inauguration?

Via the Washington Post:

Prince was an avid supporter of Trump who gave $250,000 last year to support the GOP nominee’s campaign, records show. He has ties to people in Trump’s circle, including Stephen K. Bannon, now serving as the president’s chief strategist and senior counselor. Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration. And Prince was seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December.

U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump. The FBI declined to comment.

The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump — contacts that the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge or explain until they have been exposed by news organizations.

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Russian billionaire Deripaska paid Manafort to 'greatly benefit' Putin before Manafort joined Trump campaign

Before he worked for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, Paul Manafort worked for a Russian billionaire to help promote Russian president Vladimir Putin's agenda in the United States.

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FBI: We have evidence Trump team and Russia communicated mid-campaign, maybe to coordinate Clinton info dump

This seems like a big escalation in the Trump/Russia investigation story. Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.

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