MSNBC reporters investigating whether ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ was targeted by Russian disinformation campaign
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (screengrab)

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday explained the complicated story about a Russian campaign to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller — and how she and her show may be connected to it.

Earlier in the day, Mueller's team claimed in court that sensitive, non-public materials from one of the special counsel's indictments ended up on a public Russian server. Those documents were given in discovery — the legal process in which a defendant is given an opportunity to view the plaintiff's case against them — to Concord Management, LLC, the defendant in the infamous "Russian troll farm" case.

As Maddow noted, the special counsel's office is working to limit the materials Concord Management gets in discovery moving forward not just because the documents were likely passed on willingly from someone on the company's legal team — but also because they were "sifted through" and selectively published in an attempt to discredit Mueller.

"Mueller’s team confirmed some of the documents were legitimate and obtained through the trial’s discovery process," NBC News reported earlier Wednesday. "Other documents included in the fake leak, which included screenshots of websites and memes that were not created by the [Russian troll farm] Internet Research Agency, were not collected by Mueller’s team."

At the crux of the bizarre story is a Twitter account named @HackingRedstone that published documents with "folder structures that are unique to the files produced by the government in discovery, including tracking numbers assigned by the special counsel's office," Maddow said.

The @HackingRedstone account tried to shop the files, which its operator claimed were hacked via a Russian server, to ThinkProgress reporter Casey Michel and disinformation researcher Josh Russell — and possibly to Maddow's team as well.

"There are some indications that I may have been the third target of this effort," Maddow said, "or at least this show may have been the third known target of this effort by this anonymous Russian Twitter handle."

"I will just tell you: I've nothing exciting to tell you about that," the host added. "We are still trying to track that down when this indictment came out today and when Josh and Casey started talking publicly about how they had been targeted and how they had been shopped this stuff, that's the first we heard we might have been targeted in this way as well."

Watch the host explain the bizarre saga below: