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New Russian hacking targets anti-Trump conservative think tanks and Republican groups: Microsoft

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The New York Times reported early Tuesday that the Russian military intelligence unit that tried to influence the 2018 election is now targeting conservative American think tanks that broke with President Donald Trump.

Microsoft Corporation said it seized websites created by hackers linked to the Russian unit. The sites try to trick users into thinking they’re clicking links by the Hudson Institute and International Republican Institute. The pages, however, were created by hackers to steal passwords.

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The software giant noted they also found websites that attempted to imitate the United States Senate but no specific offices or campaigns.

The Hudson Institute is a conservative think tank that looks at the rise of kleptocracies in governments across the world. Russia is understandably a major topic of conversation. The International Republican Institute has spent decades working to promote democracy globally and receives some funding from the State Department. Several Republicans who have been critical of Trump sit on the Institute’s board including John McCain and Mitt Romney.

“We are now seeing another uptick in attacks. What is particular in this instance is the broadening of the type of websites they are going after,” said Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith.

“These are organizations that are informally tied to Republicans,” he said, “so we see them broadening beyond the sites they have targeted in the past.”

The Times quoted the director of the Defending Digital Democracy Eric Rosenbach, saying it’s yet another example that Russians aren’t necessarily partisan in their attacks.

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“It’s about disrupting and diminishing any group that challenges how Putin’s Russia is operating at home and around the world,”

Read the full report at the New York Times.

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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