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23 Texas cities were targeted in a ‘coordinated ransomware attack’

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The majority of attacks were against small local governments, according to the state’s Department of Information Resources.

Cybersecurity experts have been deployed by the state to assess the damage from a “coordinated ransomware attack” that struck 23 Texas cities on Friday, state officials said.

Investigators hadn’t determined the origin of the attacks as of Friday evening and were still working to bring cities’ systems back online, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Information Resources. The department believes, however, that the attacks came from a “single threat actor.”

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Ransomware attacks involve a type of malware that accesses an organization’s files, locks and encrypts them until a ransom is paid to get them back. The malicious software is often delivered through email attachments or links, and has cost cities across the country millions in damage to computer hardware.

The department declined to name the specific cities that were attacked, but said the majority were smaller local governments.

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a “Level 2 Escalated Response” to the attacks, one step below the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s highest level of alert. The designation means the emergency is beyond the scope of local responders.

The Texas ransomware incidents follow recent attacks in other states including Florida, Maryland and New York.

BY TROY CLOSSON

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Trump officials could not have been ‘completely clueless’ about what he was doing: CNN correspondent

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," White House correspondent Abby Phillip highlighted how Fiona Hill's testimony made the claim by other officials that they weren't aware of the scheme to extort dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukraine much less plausible.

"The idea Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election is completely unfounded," said Phillip. "This is important because it puts in context some of the other testimony we heard ... from Ambassador [Kurt] Volker and another top NSC official, Tim Morrison, who replaced Fiona Hill, that the conspiracy theory was a legitimate function of the government, it was okay for President Trump to seek that kind of investigation, was perfectly normal to them. And it wasn't until they learned 'Burisma' equaled 'Biden' they learned there was something weird or nefarious going on."

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Pro-Trump reporter John Solomon attacks Fiona Hill for debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theories

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On Tuesday, National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified that the right-wing narrative Ukraine colluded with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election — rather than Russia working to help Donald Trump — is a "fictional narrative" and a piece of propaganda promoted by Russia.

One person was enraged at this testimony — John Solomon, the notorious right-wing reporter who covered Ukraine's supposed interference in the 2016 election extensively. He fired off multiple angry tweets attacking Fiona Hill:

How dare Fiona Hill question my patriotism or suggest I was part of a Russian disinformation campaign without a single fact. My sources were all US officials or Ukrainian officials aligned against Russia. Her accusations must have made Joe McCarthy smile up from hell.

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Democrats declare there’s enough evidence for a vote on impeaching Donald Trump: report

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On Thursday, according to CNN House Democrats are announcing that they have enough evidence to move forward with the final vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

Breaking: Dems say enough evidence to move forward on impeachment. Vote likely by mid-December. They will not wait for courts to force additional witnesses - @Phil_Mattingly reporting.

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 21, 2019

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