Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said his country was aware that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was interfering in the 2016 US presidential election from the safety of Ecuador’s embassy in London, CNN reports.
“New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.”
“The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.”
“The surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command center and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.”
Jed Shugerman: “Robert Mueller made a significant legal error and, based on the facts he found, he should have identified Trump campaign felonies. Mueller’s errors meant that, first, he failed to conclude that the Trump campaign criminally coordinated with Russia; second, he failed to indict campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates for felony campaign coordination; third, the 10 acts of felony obstruction in Volume II fell flat among the general public because it lacked compelling context of these underlying crimes between the campaign and Russia. On top of these errors, the former special counsel said he deliberately wrote the report to be unclear because it would be unfair to make clear criminal accusations against a president.”
“The bottom line is that the Mueller Report is a failure not because of Congress or because of public apathy, but because it failed to get the law, the facts, or even the basics of writing right.”
A few agonizing moments passed before the door opened. In walked Hicks, carrying a stapled packet of papers. She handed them silently to Trump. A former Ralph Lauren model known for her sharp looks and confident mien, Hicks was now ashen-faced. Trump eyed the top sheet and began reading. “Uh huh,” he said, flipping to the next page. “Mmm hmmm.”
Priebus was growing impatient—and fearful. “What is it?” he said. “Tell me what’s happening.”
Trump ignored him. Turning to a new page, he scanned the print and then stopped suddenly, his expression and tone shifting at once. He looked up at Hicks. “This doesn’t sound like me.”
Just then, Bossie pulled out his iPad. Farenthold, the Post reporter, had sent the audio file. With the nominee’s team clustered around him, Bossie pressed Play. They listened. And then, Trump spoke up. “Well,” he said, “that’s me.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was convinced during the 2016 presidential campaign that Donald Trump was actively assisted by Fox News and its late chief Roger Ailes, according to an explosive new book, American Carnage, The Guardian reports.
The book “reveals vivid details of the relationship between Trump and his favorite TV channel, as well as chronicling the dismay it invoked in senior Republicans.”
The Economist: “What would change if America became the 22nd country to make voting mandatory? To estimate non-voters’ views, The Economist used the Co-operative Congressional Election Study (CCES), a 64,600-person poll led by Harvard University. The survey includes demographic data such as race and age, as well as participants’ recollections of whom they voted for and verified records of whether they voted. In general, voters and non-voters from similar backgrounds had similar opinions. Using a method called ‘multilevel regression and post-stratification’, the relationships between demography and vote choices can be used to project state-level election results—and to estimate what might have happened in the past under different rules.”
“Non-voters are relatively uneducated, young and non-white. The first of these traits predicts conservatism, but the others point to liberalism. If everyone voted, 30% of voters in the 21 most competitive states would not be white, up from the actual figure of 25%. As a result, in a typical cycle Democrats would add 50 electoral-college votes—enough to reverse the result in 2016.”
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“A new study found that for every 25,000 retweets that a known Russian troll account received during the 2016 election, Donald Trump’s poll numbers jumped 1%,” Axios reports.
“Retweets did not have a similar effect on Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.”
“Caveat: Correlation does not always mean causation. If a Trump talking point encouraged a particularly viral Tweet, for example, it may have also encouraged a change in Trump’s polling on its own.”
Former President Jimmy Carter said that an investigation “would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He was put into office because the Russians interfered,” USA Today reports.
When asked if that means he believes Trump is an illegitimate president, Carter said, “Based on what I said, which I can’t retract.”
Leonard Steinhorn: “Historians and journalists have scoured our recent past looking for precursors to the white working class grievance that fuels the presidency of Donald Trump. Surprisingly, none has explored a forgotten riot that may hold the answer.”
“It was 40 years ago this week when white-working-class anger spilled over in the unlikeliest of places: the streets of the Philadelphia suburb of Levittown, long considered a symbol of the American Dream. What happened during the Levittown gas riots — and why — offers much insight into Trump’s appeal to his base.”
Amy Walter notes the consensus explanation for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “rise from the ashes is that her embrace of policy and substance and her ‘grind-it-out’ attitude is paying off.” But, she notes, there are several other reasons for her rehabilitation:
- Her biggest liability — the controversy over her decision to take a DNA test to prove her Cherokee ancestry — is no longer part of the daily political conversation.
- The more that Sanders leans into democratic socialism, the more Warren is able to position herself as a more ‘palatable’ disruptor; one who wants to expand government, but who also calls herself a capitalist.
- Finally, in a party where more than 55 percent of the electorate is female, it was only a matter of time before a woman broke into the top-tier.
New York Times: “Mr. Falwell — who is not a minister and spent years as a lawyer and real estate developer — said his endorsement was based on Mr. Trump’s business experience and leadership qualities. A person close to Mr. Falwell said he made his decision after ‘consultation with other individuals whose opinions he respects.’ But a far more complicated narrative is emerging about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the months before that important endorsement.”
“That backstory, in true Trump-tabloid fashion, features the friendship between Mr. Falwell, his wife and a former pool attendant at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach; the family’s investment in a gay-friendly youth hostel; purported sexually revealing photographs involving the Falwells; and an attempted hush-money arrangement engineered by the president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen.”
New York Times: “As President Trump kicks off his campaign for a second term on Tuesday with an eardrum-pounding, packed-to-the-rafters rally in Florida, no one doubts that he is the dominant force in the arena today, the one defining the national conversation as no president has done in generations.”
“But the coming election is shaping up as a test — not just of the man but of his country. Was Mr. Trump’s victory the last time around a historical fluke or a genuine reflection of America in the modern age? Will the populist surge that lifted him to the White House run its course or will it further transform a nation and its capital in ways that will outlast his presidency? What kind of country do Americans really want at this point?”
Politico: “Four years ago, Donald Trump stepped onto an escalator in the atrium of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York and began descending into a lobby packed with cameras. It’s safe to say the 10 or so seconds that followed are the most consequential escalator ride in American history.”
Matt Taibbi: “Trump’s thin Electoral College win against Hillary Clinton was a similar story. One of the most amazing stats from Election Day was that around one in six of Trump’s voters in November 2016 actively disapproved of him. This allowed him to enter the White House with a ridiculously low 38 percent approval rating.”
“What predictions can you possibly make in a political environment so saturated with ambivalence and pessimism that a person with a 38 percent approval rating can win the presidency? The answer should be none, or nothing obvious.”
“2016 was an indication that voters had traveled so far off the reservation that any choices they made going forward were likely to be hard to predict.”
A new study finds Russia’s infamous troll farm “conducted a campaign on Twitter before the 2016 elections that was larger, more coordinated and more effective than previously known,” Politico reports.
“The Internet Research Agency campaign may not only have had more sway — reaching large numbers of real users — than previously thought, it also demonstrated ample patience and might have generated income for some of the phony accounts.”
NBC News: “The IRA’s basic strategy was to use a small core of Twitter accounts to push out new content. And they harnessed a wider pool of automated accounts to amplify those messages. The operation was carefully planned, with accounts often registered months before they were used — well in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Said Trump: “No, Russia did not get me elected.”
A video shows Trump also called members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team “some of the worst human beings on Earth.”
First Read: “As everyone continues to parse Robert Mueller’s words from Wednesday — ‘It’s time to impeach!’ ‘Trump is exonerated!’ ‘Congress needs to do its job!’ — most politicians and commentators are still missing his unequivocal message.”
“Russia clearly interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”
“The lack of urgency and attention to that interference remains, in many ways, the real scandal. That applies to a president who continues to describe that interference as a hoax… And it applies to a Congress that’s been unable to mount a united front to prevent future interference.”