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Authoritarianism expert: Russia hacked Lindsey Graham’s personal emails so Trump may be blackmailing him

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Author and authoritarianism expert Sarah Kendzior on MSNBC (Screen capture)

Writer and expert on authoritarian regimes Sarah Kendzior appeared on MSNBC Thursday and blasted Republicans for their submissiveness to President Donald Trump.

She and host Joy Reid discussed the bizarre turn-around of Sen. Lindsey Graham who went from calling Trump a “kook” to attacking the media for trying to “label the guy some kind of kook not fit to be president.”

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The uncomfortably effusive praise of Trump by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the cabinet, as well as an unctuous speech by long-serving Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) led Kendzior to speculate that Trump might even be blackmailing some officials.

“The RNC was hacked,” Kendzior said. “We don’t know what happened with those e-mails. We know that Lindsey Graham’s personal e-mails were also hacked and we know that Trump has a long track record of blackmailing and threatening those who he sees as his political opponents. That goes back throughout his entire career.”

Kendzior reminded Reid that many Republicans benefitted in 2016 from millions of dollars of dark money donated by Kremlin-aligned Russian nationals living in the U.S. and that Graham is one of those politicians.

“I think what concerns me most is that they seem afraid,” she said of the Republicans gathered to heap compliments on Trump this week. “They seem unable to stand up for themselves. They lack all dignity.”

“Trump has berated them, he has insulted them,” Kendzior said. “He’s often gone after their wives and their family members, saying terrible things and yet they prostrate themselves to him. What kind of leader are you? What kind of man are you?”

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Rumors have long swirled about the never-married Graham’s sexual orientation. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee insinuated earlier this year that he has concerns about Graham’s sexuality.

When the South Carolina senator was proving to be insufficiently loyal to Trump in March, Huckabee said, “I sometimes wonder what uniform he puts on each morning when goes out to the field to play… and I’m not just talking about the partisan uniform.”

Watch the video, embedded below:

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2020 Election

Expert breaks down the ultimate goal of Trump’s ‘classic Russian-style disinformation campaign’

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Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, spoke with CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday to explain the ultimate goal of President Donald Trump's false accusations of a rigged and stolen election.

Rauch was asked by Stelter if the issue is Trump is simply trapped in the delusion that he actually beat President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

"Is delusion a fair word for these election lies?" Stelter wondered.

"No, actually, I don't think it is," Rauch replied. "It's hard to know what's going on in the mind of the president, but you don't really need to. What you need to know is that what he is running right now is a classic Russian-style disinformation campaign of a type known as the firehose of falsehood. That's when you utilize every channel, not just media, but also the bully pulpit, even litigation to push out as many different stories and conspiracy theories and lies and half-truths as you possibly can in order to flood the zone if with disinformation."

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2020 Election

GOP congressman gets #StopTheStupid trending big-time against Donald Trump — but there’s a catch

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The hashtag #stopthestupid was trending last night on Twitter thanks to -- of all people -- a conservative Republican congressman from Michigan named Paul Mitchell. But before anyone gets too excited that Republicans are discovering integrity, there’s an asterisk: Mitchell is retiring in January.

Here’s what the exasperated congressman tweeted Sunday night in response to Trump’s lunatic ranting about the election outcome:

https://twitter.com/RepPaulMitchell/status/1333214085341712388?s=20

Sunday night, there were more than 21,000 tweets featuring #stopthestupid, many of them wondering aloud why more Republicans cannot show the spine and integrity displayed by Mitchell. Most presumably don’t realize, however, that he’s leaving Congress after just two terms in office.

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The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes

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The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.

When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.

"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."

As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.

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