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5 important revelations from the Senate Intel hearing on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections

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Led by chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing Thursday on Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. Equal parts illuminating and harrowing, it offered fresh insight into the Kremlin’s spy games and raised new questions about the Trump administration’s possible collusion with Putin.

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Here are five of its more revelatory moments:

1. Trump appears to parrot Putin’s “fake news.” 

“Part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the commander-in-chief has used Russian active measures at time against his opponents,” Clinton Watts, Robert A. Fox Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute noted.

Trump’s claims that the election was rigged appeared to parallel Russian propaganda, “the number one theme pushed by RT, Sputnik News… all the way up until the election.”

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2. Russian “active measures” have been in play for nearly a century.

Roy Godson, Professor of Government Emeritus at Georgetown University, spoke of the overt and covert methods used by Russian officials since the 1920s and 1930s. “[They] created an enormous apparatus in the world,” he said. “They used this apparatus to be able to influence the politics of Europe after the war.”

The methods were used to “help Europe and sometimes [the U.S.] in fighting the Nazis and the Italian fascists,” Godson noted. “But they were also preparing for being able… to undermine democratic and liberal parties, including in the United States.”

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3. “Russian propaganda on steroids” helped employ thousands.

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“The Russians employed thousands of paid internet trolls and botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at high volume, flooding our social media,” Sen. Mark Warner confirmed.

“This fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the American media echo chamber and our own social media networks to reach and potentially influence millions of Americans,” he added.

“This is not innuendo or false allegations,” Warner hammered. “This is not fake news. This is actually what happened to us.”

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4. Russian operatives sought to undermine American politics long after the election.

“This past week, we observed social media campaigns targeting speaker of the House Paul Ryan hoping to foment further unrest amongst U.S. democratic institutions,” Watts told senators. He claims one of its targets was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a vocal critic of Russia.

5. The money trail is littered with bodies.

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“There’s been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. They are dropping dead, even in western countries,” Watts concluded. “These are all huge openings to understand how they are funded by the Russian government. I don’t have the capability to do that from where I sit, but I think that’s a huge angle.”


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Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

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"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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