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‘It was too stupid’: NBC reporter explains how Russians trying to spread fake Mueller docs flubbed things badly

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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller said cyber security will be the number one future threat in the country, but for the time being, "counterterrorism and stopping terrorist attacks" is more important. (Photo: Kit Fox/Medill Flickr)

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revealed Wednesday that she and her team were the targets of a Russian disinformation campaign, and it seems she wasn’t the only one.

According to NBC News reporter Ben Collins, those who got direct messages from the Russian accounts found the information either complicated or obviously false.

“Thankfully, I think they thought reporters were stupid,” Collins said. “We’re not this stupid. A bunch of us looked into this at the time. They sent it to a ThinkProgress reporter and a researcher named Josh Russell and they didn’t even know it was to be the hack of the Russian investigation. We didn’t know what it was, therefore, we couldn’t intuit the larger grand scheme that it was supposed to be [Robert] Mueller being incompetent based on this stuff.”

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Court documents released by special counsel’s office Wednesday said that the documents released on a Russian website were altered and falsified to make it seem as if the investigation was either a fraud or being bungled.

“It was a long tail mess-up some time back in November that’s now surfacing,” said Collins.

He called it a kind of “Russian doll situation,” but reporters who attempted to fact-check the information couldn’t even open the first Russian doll.

Watch the full report below:


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‘Agents of chaos’ — including Donald Trump — are taking ‘a wrecking ball to American institutions’: Famous documentary film maker

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin clearly hope to sow discord in the 2020 election — and the FBI has warned that the Russian government will try to interfere in this election just as it interfered in the 2016 election. Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney discussed Russia’s election interference with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota during a September 23 appearance on the morning show, “New Day,” describing some of the things Russian operatives have been doing.

Gibney, creator of the documentary “Agents of Chaos,” explained, “For the 2016 election, past is prolong. I mean, so many things that the Russians did and the way they took advantage of certain flaws in our system in 2016 are now coming back to haunt us in 2020. In 2016, you know, Donald Trump on the stump kept saying: if I lose, the election is going to be rigged. And the Russians were in election systems not to flip votes, but to sow doubt on the legitimacy of what everyone saw as an inevitable Hillary Clinton win.”

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Trump’s most unhinged supporters paying $5 a pop to use special emojis on YouTube

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The pro-Trump cable network One America News is cashing in on QAnon conspiracy theorists on its YouTube channel.

OAN viewers can pay $4.95 a month to become "members" of the right-wing channel, which then allows them to use customized emojis to signal their recognition of the conspiracy theory's lore, reported The Daily Beast.

"It’s not clear how many people have signed up for the OAN YouTube membership, when OAN started offering the emojis, or how many of those sign-ups were driven by the opportunity to use QAnon emojis," writes The Beast's Will Sommer. "But the creation of the emojis reflects a decision to monetize, not expel, the conspiracy believers. If QAnon fans are going to spam QAnon in the OAN comments, it seems the network has decided they might as well get some money out of it."

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2020 Election

Former federal prosecutor explains how AG Barr could help Trump steal the election — and take the US to ‘a very dark place’

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Between the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest in major U.S. cities, huge anti-racism protests, bitter political divisions, a heated Supreme Court battle and President Donald Trump’s ruthless voter suppression efforts, the United States’ 2020 presidential election is turning out to be even more chaotic than the elections of 2000 and 1968. Trump has a devoted loyalist in U.S. Attorney General William Barr, and former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade discusses the effect he could have on the 2020 election in a disturbing op-ed published in the Washington Post on September 22.

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