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Putin’s online ‘troll factory’ may be trying to get Trump elected to ‘undermine the US’

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The suspected Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee is part of a broader cyber campaign against the U.S. — which may include efforts to elect Donald Trump.

The FBI is investigating the DNC hack, which resulted in the ouster of party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and raised tensions among Democrats heading into this week’s convention.

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This comes as concerns have been raised about Trump and his campaign’s friendly relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager has suggested that the Republican platform was changed to “make it more pro-Russian.”

One reporter who has written extensively about Russia’s cyber warfare efforts has warned for months that the former Soviet Union appears to be actively invested in getting Trump elected to weaken the U.S.

Adrian Chen reported in June 2015 in the New York Times Magazine about Russia’s “troll factory,” where online commenters spread disinformation and pro-Kremlin propaganda on social media and other websites.

Those efforts range from anti-American or pro-Russian comments left on news sites to sophisticated hoaxes — such as phony reports, including bogus videos and photos, about a Sept. 11, 2015, terrorist attack on a Louisiana chemical plant.

“One thing that the Russian propaganda always focuses on are any kind of unrest or social problems or disasters in the United States to prove, you know, that the United States isn’t all that, that we have our own problems and why are we lecturing Russia?” Chen told NPR. “Why are we sanctioning Russia? And I can only assume that maybe this is an attempt to take that strategy further, not just report on this, but actually manufacture this.”

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Months after reporting on those campaigns, which he described as “information warfare,” Chen began to notice something odd about many of the online accounts he had followed during his research.

“A very interesting thing happened,” Chen said during a December podcast with Longform. “I created this list of the Russian trolls when I was researching, and I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”

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Chen said he couldn’t determine who was behind those pro-Russian online accounts posing as American conservatives, but he has some idea what motivated them.

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“I feel like it’s some kind of really opaque strategy of electing Donald Trump to undermine the U.S. or something — like (a) false flag kind of thing,” Chen said. “You know, that’s how I started thinking about all this stuff after being in Russia.”


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Rudy Giuliani’s devotion has escorted Trump straight to impeachment

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"Step by step, [Rudy Giuliani] has escorted President Trump to the brink of impeachment," The New York Times said in a piece following the president's top lawyer and his impact on the scandals facing the 45th president.

Two associates of Giuliani's have already been indicted, Giuliani is under criminal investigation from federal prosecutors, and he was never graced with a top position in the Trump government.

"The separate troubles he has gotten his client and himself into are products of the uniquely powerful position he has fashioned, a hybrid of unpaid personal counsel to the president and for-profit peddler of access and advice," The Times said Sunday.

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Trump supporters lose their minds when church shows Nativity scene in immigrant cages

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MAGA supporters are losing their minds after a photo of the Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church was posted to Facebook.

The scene depicts Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus separated and put in their own cages, a reference to the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Inside the church, the family is shown as reunited.

Senior minister Karen Clark Ristine shared the image on Facebook with the message hoping that everyone in the United States could see the photo and read the story for Christmas.

"The theological statement posted with the nativity: In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world," she wrote. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death."

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Columnist nails Republicans for only caring about Hunter Biden now that his father is running for president

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One of the critical questions that must be answered by Republicans, according to one Washington Post columnist, is why they didn't care about Hunter Biden's position at Burisma for so many years.

In a Sunday piece, James Downie asked why Republicans didn't do anything about Hunter Biden five years ago when it was first revealed that vice president's son was on the board of a Ukraine energy company. The House and the Senate were being run by Republicans until this year. They haven't had problems with other partisan investigations against high-profile leaders. There were ten investigations into the Benghazi attacks, three hearings, 29 witnesses, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours. Yet, it was only after Joe Biden announced he was running against President Donald Trump that Republicans discovered an issue.

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