Sunday August 23, 2020
The Past is Prologue—or Donald Don't Learn
From Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, via NBC News:
Some of the most egregious practices from the 2016 presidential campaign documented by the Senate investigation are repeating themselves in the 2020 presidential campaign. Once again, Putin wants Trump to win and appears to be seeking to undermine the legitimacy of our election. Just like in 2016, Putin has deployed his conventional media, his social media operations and his intelligence assets to pursue these objectives.
Most shockingly, Trump and his allies have decided to — again — play right along. ...
On Aug. 7, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned about foreign interference in the 2020 election: “We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia 'establishment.'” The ODNI report noted that pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading false claims about Joe Biden as part of this effort. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television,” it observed.
Instead of criticizing this behavior, however, Trump and his allies are amplifying and promoting Russian disinformation online. Perhaps most amazingly, Trump is circulating to his 85 million Twitter followers material provided by foreign actors designed to discredit Biden. Derkach — the pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch — is reportedly providing these slanderous materials to Republicans, including Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. ...
It all feels like a replay of Natalia Veselnitskaya's mission to Trump headquarters in the summer of 2016 to provide “dirt” on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — only now, all in the open.