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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.”

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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.

“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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New York cop who became El Chapo’s security guard arrested for selling cocaine and taking bribes

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A New York cop is being prosecuted after he was outed for selling cocaine and taking bribes after he went to work for drug kingpin El Chapo.

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Officer Ishmael Bailey had his bail set at $50,000 after he was arrested and arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. He was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, conspiracy, bribe receiving as a public servant and failing to perform duties as a public servant.

Lawyer Jeff Cohen argued that Bailey had two children and had to pay child support. The lawyer explained that Bailey “does understand the severity of his charges.”

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A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning

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While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.

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Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills

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On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.

Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.

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