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Russia paid for Facebook ads promoting Jill Stein: ‘Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote’

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Russian-funded Facebook ads purchased during the 2016 presidential election promoted Green Party candidate Jill Stein as well as then-candidate Donald Trump and Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders, said Politico on Wednesday.

“Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads,” wrote Politico’s Josh Dawsey.

Dawsey reported that the Stein ad he saw was placed late in the campaign and played upon some liberals’ belief that Clinton is too hawkish and would lead the U.S. into war with Iran.

“Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” said the ad. “Trust me. It’s not a wasted vote. … The only way to take our country back is to stop voting for the corporations and banks that own us. #GrowaSpineVoteJillStein.”

Stein was one of the guests — along with disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn — at a 2015 Russia Today gala in Moscow, which has caused some like CNN’s Michael Smerconish to question whether she worked with Russia to sway the election away from Clinton.

However, there is currently no evidence that Stein, Sanders or Trump knew about the ads or played any role in producing and promoting them.

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The Russian ad buys were only reluctantly revealed by Facebook after months of denials and dismissals of the idea that hostile foreign governments could manipulate social media to sway voters’ opinions.

Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election wiped out those denials when it issued warrants to the social media platform demanding information. Some observers called the warrants the biggest news in the investigation since the pre-dawn raid on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s house in late July.

The ads show a multi-pronged approach by Russian operatives, who sought to sow division among U.S. voters and hinder the Clinton campaign. Other Russian attempts to sway the election include hack attacks on state voting systems and remote organization of anti-Muslim and pro-Trump political rallies.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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