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Russian internet trolls are taking Trump’s lead by hijacking #TakeAKnee to stoke tensions in the US

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A Republican senator told the Homeland Security committee that paid Russian internet trolls are using controversy over NFL player protests to divide Americans.

“They were taking both sides of the argument this past weekend, and pushing them out from their troll farms as much as they could to try to just raise the noise level in America and to make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Associated Press reported.

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Sen. Lankford noted Russian paid social media users were using the hashtags #TakeAKnee and #BoycottNFL in their efforts to enflame emotions.

“The goal is heightened tensions,” said Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and current senior fellow at the Foreign policy Research Institute. “They’ll use organic American content to amplify to American audiences.”

“They would much rather use organic American content,” Watts explained. “It hits the audience better and it’s cheaper and more effective.”

Watts was a creator of the website Hamilton 68, which tracks 600 Twitter accounts “linked to Russian influence operations.”

The website currently shows that #NFL, #takeaknee and #boycottnfl were three of the top ten hashtags used by Russian trolls in the last 48 hours. MAGA, which stands for Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, was the top hashtag during the timeframe.

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Watts explained President Donald Trump is easy to exploit with “active measures” campaigns designed to destabilize democracies from the inside.

“The Russians can just sit back and say: ‘Amplify on both sides. Make people angry.’ And it works, man, God, it works,” Watts said.

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‘Cat is out of the bag’: Trump supporter Byron York reverses and says GOP must allow Bolton impeachment testimony

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The Washington Examiner's Byron York has long been sympathetic to President Donald Trump. He has repeatedly defended the president's conduct in Ukraine and attacked the Democratic case. Just a week ago, he penned a column criticizing the idea that Trump has been less cooperative in the impeachment trial than President Bill Clinton. And in particular, he has opposed Democratic demands for former National Security Adviser John Bolton to be called to testify against the president, saying, "if anything is covered by executive privilege, it would be the president's private conversations with his national security adviser about issues of foreign policy and national security."

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Mitt Romney: GOP senators ‘increasingly likely’ to call John Bolton to testify in impeachment trial

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John Bolton's book bombshell may have broken President Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party.

The former national security adviser's forthcoming book "The Room Where It Happened" claims Trump explicitly tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe Biden, and GOP senators are publicly saying they want him to testify during the impeachment trial.

“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton," said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

.@SenatorRomney tells reporters just now: “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”

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Lindsey Graham abruptly cancels planned press conference in wake of John Bolton bombshell

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) abruptly canceled a planned press conference that had been scheduled for Monday morning after a bombshell report claimed that former national security adviser John Bolton is backing up a key allegation in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump.

Graham was originally set to talk at 11:30 a.m. on Monday alongside several of his fellow Republican senators, but Politico's Jake Sherman reveals that press event has now been shut down.

The graham presser has been canceled. https://t.co/sRwLzQMqri

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