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Is It Time For Mueller To Wrap It Up Or Step It Up?

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Trump on Rod Rosenstein: ‘He should have never picked a special counsel’


Washington Post
Felicia Sonmez
9 hrs ago


President Trump on Wednesday sharply criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, hours after retweeting an image showing Rosenstein and several other current and former officials locked in a prison cell.

Trump has long vented about Rosenstein, who appointed Robert S. Mueller III to oversee the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The president has repeatedly sought to discredit the investigation as a “witch hunt.”

Asked in an interview with the New York Post why he believes Rosenstein belongs behind bars, Trump replied, “He should have never picked a special counsel.”

Trump declined to answer a follow-up question on whether he intends to fire Rosenstein.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

Earlier Wednesday, Trump railed against the Mueller probe and retweeted several tweets in the morning from the Trump Train, a fan account.

One of them showed 10 current and former government officials behind bars and asked: “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”

Among those depicted is Rosenstein, who was appointed to his position by Trump and until recently directly oversaw Mueller’s work. Others depicted include former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and former FBI director James B. Comey, whom Trump fired last year.

In Wednesday’s wide-ranging interview with the New York Post, Trump also said he plans to return to New York City when his time in the White House is up.

He claimed that he would be denied a Nobel Peace Prize in the same way that his TV show, “The Apprentice,” was denied an Emmy award in 2004 and 2005.

“‘Amazing Race’ got it because ‘Amazing Race’ was the establishment,” Trump said.

And he took aim at several potential 2020 challengers, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) as well as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I’d love to run against Little Michael,” Trump said of Blooomberg.

He falsely claimed that while Booker was mayor of Newark, N.J., he had “decided not to live there, which was illegal.”

In 2013, Booker provided property records and documentation to BuzzFeed News showing that he did in fact live in Newark, after the Daily Caller published a piece quoting residents who said they had never seen him at his property.

Of Gillibrand, Trump noted that he “supported her early on” but that she’s “not going to make it,” citing her position on gun control.

The president last year prompted criticism with a tweet describing Gillibrand as someone who had previously come to him “begging” for donations and “would do anything for them.” He stopped short of using that language on Wednesday but once again brought up the topic.

“She’d be up in Trump Tower not asking — a stronger word than asking — for campaign contributions,” Trump told the New York Post.

felicia.sonmez@washpost.com

John Wagner contributed to this report.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...cked-a-special-counsel’/ar-BBQe2UM?ocid=ientp
 

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searcher

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Headlines...……...

- Trump claims Mueller probe has 'shattered so many innocent lives' and calls the Russia probe 'ILLEGAL'

- Trump says Rod Rosenstein DOES belong 'behind bars' because he hired Mueller – after retweeting image of deputy AG and other foes in fake jail

Time for a commercial break...……...

 

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Mueller preparing end game for Russia investigation

Yahoo News
Michael Isikoff
11 hrs ago


WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

There has been much speculation that Mueller might file his memo in Manafort’s case under seal in order to prevent public disclosure of the additional crimes his office believes Manafort committed when he allegedly lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.

But Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum. The Manafort memo has been requested by the federal judge in his case so that prosecutors could, for the first time, spell out what matters they believe Manafort has lied to them about.

The fact that Mueller is planning a public filing about Manafort suggests he may no longer feel the need to withhold information about his case in order to bring additional indictments against others. That would be consistent with messages his prosecutors have given defense lawyers in recent weeks indicating that they are in the end game of their investigation.

“They’ve been telling people they are tying up loose ends and trying to conclude,” said one source familiar the communications between Mueller’s office and defense lawyers who represent key witnesses in the case.

That message was reinforced to some degree Monday when Mueller’s office talked to congressional investigators as part of an ongoing discussion about whether new subpoenas for testimony by House and Senate committees might interfere with Mueller’s investigation.

The response, which surprised one investigator, was that it would not, at least in matters relating to alleged obstruction by the White House in the Russia investigation itself. “What we were told is that the investigation has reached a mature enough stage that they’ve basically talked to everybody they want to talk to,” said a knowledgeable source who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Mueller’s office declined any public comment when asked to confirm that account, leaving open the possibility that there still could be a few witnesses yet to be questioned. Another source indicated that Mueller’s office is still asking congressional investigators to stay away from some other witnesses. But if true, the response on Monday could also be an indication that the special counsel does not plan to press for a face-to-face interview with President Trump, who submitted written responses to Mueller’s team in mid-November on matters relating to the Russia probe. The president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, did not respond to a request for comment.

By all accounts, last week’s guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was one of Mueller’s more significant documents. It revealed that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen was in direct discussion with an assistant to Dmitri Peskov, the press secretary for Russian president Vladimir Putin, about securing financing and land acquisition for the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen told Mueller’s prosecutors that he briefed Trump about the plans on multiple occasions and discussions about the Moscow skyscraper continued until June, 2016 — six months after he previously had told Congress he pulled the plug on the project.

Cohen is due to be sentenced in federal court in New York next week. While Mueller has not yet filed a sentencing memo in that case, and Cohen’s lawyers have asked that he avoid jail entirely and Mueller’s sentencing memo is due Friday. The president, meanwhile, offered his own suggestion — that his former lawyer should be jailed and “serve a full and complete sentence” — in a tweet storm early Monday.

The only other publicly known matter Mueller is believed to be focused on relates to former Trump advisor Roger Stone and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi — both of them have been aggressively investigated to determine if they had advance communications with WikiLeaks or associates of the group about its plans for the release of stolen emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...or-russia-investigation/ar-BBQrHWu?ocid=ientp
 

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Is Mueller nearing his endgame? Speculation grows the Russia probe could be over in WEEKS, with the Special Counsel 'tying up loose ends' and preparing to file memos on Flynn, Manafort and Cohen revealing what he thinks they LIED about

  • Mueller's prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are 'tying up loose ends' in the long-running Russian probe
  • The special counsel's prosecutors will file memos about three of their most high profile defendants this week
  • Michael Flynn's sentencing memo is due Tuesday - memos about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are expected Friday
  • Each document is expected to highlight what the future holds for the defendants, what Mueller knows and where he might be headed
  • Significant details on what cooperation Flynn, Manafort and Cohen provided to the Russia investigation are expected to come to light in the next few days
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...nts-Mueller-planing-endgame-Russia-probe.html
 

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Today's morning chuckle...…………...

Trump launches early-morning Twitter tirade against Mueller and 'best friend Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey' as the White House braces for special counsel revelations TODAY in Manafort and Cohen cases

  • Trump meltdown on Twitter followed explosion last night, all designed to tarnish Robert Mueller's halo
  • Special counsel is expected to file highly anticipated documents in cases against Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen on Friday
  • Trump tweeted that Mueller and James Comey are 'best friends,' that Mueller has conflicts of interest, and that the Russia probe is a 'witch hunt'
  • President quoted conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi Thursday night before lashing out at 'fake news media'
  • On Friday he claimed he doesn't know Corsi, who is locked in a plea-bargain battle with the special counsel
  • On Tuesday a Mueller filing provided the first details of Michael Flynn’s significant assistance in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ks-collusion-probe-slams-fake-news-media.html
 

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Still waiting for the big announcement. In the meantime...…………..

Mueller investigators questioned John Kelly in obstruction probe

By Evan Perez and Dana Bash, CNN
23 mins ago


White House chief of staff John Kelly was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's team in recent months, three people with knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Kelly responded to a narrow set of questions from special counsel investigators after White House lawyers initially objected to Mueller's request to do the interview earlier this summer, the sources said. Kelly is widely expected to leave his position in the coming days and is no longer on speaking terms with President Donald Trump, CNN reported earlier Friday.

Kelly is the latest high-ranking White House official known to provide information for Mueller's investigation, though his interview marks a departure of sorts since Kelly didn't join the White House until July 2017. Most of the dozens of other interviews have been with people who were associated with the Trump campaign, were part of the transition or served in the early part of the administration.

The Mueller questions to Kelly centered on a narrow set of issues in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice, chiefly Kelly's recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged about how the President had tried to fire Mueller. The President was angry at then-White House counsel Don McGahn about what had been reported by The New York Times. McGahn had refused to publicly deny the reporting. The special counsel wanted to try to corroborate McGahn's version of events.

The White House counsel's office had initially fought the Mueller request. One source familiar with the matter said that Emmett Flood wanted to make sure "ground rules" were negotiated.

"In order to question a government official about things that happened during the course of government business, you've got to show that it's highly important and you can't get it anywhere else," the source said.

The source noted that the Kelly request came at a sensitive time, following raids of the home and office of Michael Cohen, the President's now-former lawyer.

The resistance to Kelly doing an interview represented a key turn by the President and his attorneys who had previously allowed the special counsel to interview current and former White House staff and handed over hundreds of thousands of documents.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...ly-in-obstruction-probe/ar-BBQDwCG?ocid=ientp
 

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BIG NEWS !!! After 2 YEARS and $25 MILLION Mueller report states that he THINKS that Manafort lied, and TRUMP MIGHT have known about the Russian meeting at Trump Towers . Hope I can catch my breath!
 

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Michael Cohen, Trump’s Ex-Fixer, Should Get Prison Term of About 4 Years, Prosecutors Say

NYT
By BENJAMIN WEISER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and MARK MAZZETTI
45 mins ago


Federal prosecutors on Friday mounted a scathing attack on Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, rejecting his request to avoid a prison term and saying that he had “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.”

The prosecutors said Mr. Cohen deserved a “substantial” prison term that would most likely amount to roughly four years.

Mr. Cohen, 52, is to be sentenced in Manhattan next week for two separate guilty pleas: one for campaign finance violations and financial crimes charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and the other for lying to Congress in the Russia inquiry, filed by the Office of the Special Counsel in Washington.

Prosecutors in Manhattan said the crimes Mr. Cohen had committed marked “a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” and though he was seeking a sentence of no jail time for providing assistance to the government, he did not deserve much leniency.

In a lengthy memo to the judge, William H. Pauley III, prosecutors wrote that Mr. Cohen was motivated by “personal greed” and had a “rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes.”

[Read the federal prosecutor’s memo ahead of Michael Cohen’s sentencing in Manhattan.]

They once again emphasized that Mr. Cohen had implicated the president in his guilty plea, writing that Mr. Cohen “played a central role” in a scheme to purchase the silence of two women who claimed to have affairs with Mr. Trump, so they would not speak publicly during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the prosecutors wrote. “Individual-1” is how Mr. Trump is referred to in the document.

Mr. Cohen’s actions “struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency,” the prosecutors wrote, adding that he “sought to influence the election from the shadows.”

At the same time, the special counsel’s office released its own sentencing recommendation to the judge for Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea for misleading Congress.

The special counsel seemed to offer a more positive view of Mr. Cohen’s cooperation with the Russia investigation, saying he “has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

[Read the Office of the Special Counsel’s memo.]

The special counsel’s memo revealed a new detail about Russian efforts to influence the Trump campaign. It said Mr. Cohen had told prosecutors about a meeting that appeared to be the earliest-known contact between a Russian and a campaign adviser in the months after Mr. Trump announced his bid for the presidency.

In November 2015, as discussions about a possible Trump Tower Moscow project were gaining momentum, Mr. Cohen told prosecutors he was approached by a Russian claiming to be a “‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation,” who offered “synergy on a government level” with the Trump campaign.

The individual, who was not named, pushed for a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such a meeting, he said, could have a “‘phenomenal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well.’”

Mr. Cohen told the special counsel’s team that he never followed up on the invitation.

Mr. Cohen has emerged as one of the biggest threats to Mr. Trump’s presidency, providing the special counsel’s office and prosecutors in Manhattan with material in dozens of hours of interviews. Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties to the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mueller asked a judge in Washington to impose little or no prison time on Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, saying that he had provided substantial assistance to his office’s Russia investigation. Mr. Flynn faces up to six months in prison under federal guidelines after pleading guilty to one count of lying to the F.B.I.

In the Manhattan plea in August, Mr. Cohen implicated Mr. Trump in hush-money payments to two women — Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model — to conceal affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.

On Nov. 29, Mr. Cohen entered his second plea, revealing in court that Mr. Trump had been more involved in discussions over a potential deal to build a tower in Moscow than was previously known. He also said those discussions had continued until June 2016, well after Mr. Trump had clinched the Republican nomination and only five months before the election.

Mr. Trump’s interest in building a Trump Tower Moscow led Mr. Cohen to make numerous inquiries with Russian officials and other Kremlin-linked figures about the feasibility of the project, raising the possibility that the negotiations might have given the Russians leverage over Mr. Trump when he was running for president.

In Mr. Cohen’s own sentencing memo, his lawyers disclosed that their client had consulted with White House staff members and Mr. Trump’s “legal counsel” — without identifying the lawyer — as he prepared for his false congressional testimony.

Mr. Cohen said in court that he lied “out of loyalty” to Mr. Trump and to be consistent with his “political messaging.”

Mr. Cohen’s cases have been consolidated before Judge Pauley in Manhattan.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, have asked Judge Pauley to allow Mr. Cohen to avoid a prison sentence, citing his cooperation with Mr. Mueller even though he never signed a formal cooperation agreement.

They also portrayed him as a remorseful man whose life had been shattered by his relationship with Mr. Trump. They said Mr. Cohen had lost friends and professional relationships and wanted to confess his crimes, serve any sentence imposed and begin his life anew.

Under federal guidelines, Mr. Cohen faces about four to five years in the Manhattan case and up to six months in Mr. Mueller’s case. But the guidelines are not binding, and Judge Pauley will decide the final sentence.

Follow Benjamin Weiser and Maggie Haberman on Twitter: @benweisernyt and @maggieNYT.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...4-years-prosecutors-say/ar-BBQEjEQ?ocid=ientp
 

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Mueller says Manafort told ‘discernible lies,’ including about contacts with employee alleged to have Russian intelligence ties

Washington Post
Rosalind Helderman
35 mins ago

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III told a judge Friday that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, told “multiple discernible lies” during interviews with prosecutors, including about his contacts with an employee who is alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence.

The allegations came in a new court filing by the special counsel that pointed to some the questions prosecutors have been asking a key witness in their closely-held investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

Mueller’s prosecutors filed a portion of the document under seal and redacted other key points from view.

But they said that Manafort had told numerous lies in five different areas, including about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian employee of Manafort’s political consulting firm who prosecutors have said has Russian intelligence ties. Manafort met twice during the campaign with Kilimnik.

Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud charges in Virginia in August. He pleaded guilty in September to additional charges, including conspiring to defraud the United States by hiding years of income and failing to disclose lobbying work for a pro-Russian political party and politician in Ukraine.

That plea helped him avoid a second trial in Washington and offered the former Republican operative the hope of some leniency in sentencing — provided he cooperated with prosecutors and provided truthful testimony to investigators.

However, Mueller’s team informed the judge last week that they believed Manafort had breached the agreement by lying to them repeatedly.

Prosecutors said they would detail his “crimes and lies” for U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Manafort’s lawyers have said that Manafort did not believe he lied or violated the deal.

Manafort, 69, is currently jailed in Alexandria.

Manafort is one of five former Trump campaign aides who have pleaded guilty to crimes as part of the special counsel investigation. As the campaign’s former chairman and a top aide from March to August 2016, Manafort is viewed as a key firsthand witness for Mueller as he explores contacts between Trump associates and Russians.

Manafort attended a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower arranged by Donald Trump Jr. after the president’s son was told the lawyer would share damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. And he was at Trump’s side as WikiLeaks released thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic Party in July 2016.

He also has extensive connections to business executives and politicians in the former Soviet Union, due to his years as an international political consultant, particularly his work for a Russia-backed president of Ukraine.

rosalind.helderman@washpost.com

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...ssian-intelligence-ties/ar-BBQE8VK?ocid=ientp
 

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BREAKING NEWS: Prosecutors demand Michael Cohen spend four to five YEARS in prison for trying to 'influence the election from the shadows' at 'direction' of Trump – who claims report 'totally clears' him

  • President's former lawyer should get 51-63 months, according to prosecutors, for a range of crimes including tax evasion and campaign finance violations
  • Sentencing memo from New York prosecutor says Michael Cohen coordinated with the president to pay off two women so their stories of affairs were buried
  • Says Cohen tried to 'influence the election from the shadows' and claims he didn't help Special Counsel Robert Mueller enough to justify leniency
  • Mueller, though, spells out four ways Cohen was helpful and says a judge should sentence him to concurrent prison terms in two cases
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ant-FOUR-FIVE-YEARS-prison-Michael-Cohen.html
 

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'Sorry to break it to you, Donnie, but you are Individual-1': MILLIONS on Twitter mock the President for saying the Cohen sentence memo 'totally clears' him as Mueller reveals POTUS lawyer broke the law ‘at the direction’ of Trump

  • President's former lawyer should get 51-63 months, according to prosecutors, for a range of crimes including tax evasion and campaign finance violations
  • Cohen tried to 'influence the election from the shadows,' by arranging payoffs to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal
  • Prosecutor Robert Khuzami claims Trump was directly involved in the efforts to pay off the two models
  • Trump, who was identified as 'Individual 1' in Cohen’s guilty plea, was said to have received updates as he pursued a Moscow Trump Tower project
  • But on Friday Trump defiantly declared the sentence memo 'totally clears the President'
  • But millions of people took to social media mocking POTUS because he as 'Individual 1' is a central subject of the Mueller probe
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...g-Cohen-sentence-memo-totally-clears-him.html
 

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List of Trump campaign contacts with Russians grows to 16 – encompassing two of his adult children, an Olympic wrestler, and a man with ties to Russian military intelligence

  • Guilty pleas and court documents have revealed a growing number of Russian figures who made contacts with Trump campaign officials
  • Infamous Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer was one of many
  • Figures ranged from Russia's well-known former ambassador to the U.S. to a pop star and Russian weight lifter
  • Senior figures including Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Don Jr. and Ivanka involved

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6479779/List-Trump-campaign-contacts-Russians-grows-14.html
 

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Headline...………..

- Get Ready for Mueller’s Phase Two: The Middle East Connection
 

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A few laughs...………

- Trump's inauguration is probed over whether it was a front for cash-for-access and influence after secret recording made by Michael Cohen is found by prosecutors

- Democrat Adam Schiff steps up pressure on Trump after prosecutors connect Cohen's felony crime to the president – and calls on the Justice Department to scrap rules forbidding indictment of a sitting president

- Trump is unmasked as third person at meeting with Michael Cohen and Enquirer's David Pecker where they hatched plan to buy-and-bury stories about his 'affairs' that BOTH other parties have admitted broke campaign laws
 

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Mueller ARRESTS Trump's disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn's business partner and indicts him and another associate over 'illegal lobbying plot'

  • Two ex-business associates of President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have been indicated
  • The charges come out of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation
  • Bijan Kian, Flynn's Number 2 at his lobbying firm, and Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin were charged with a conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules
  • The indictments are part of Mueller's broader crackdown on foreign lobbying
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ociate-arrested-illegal-lobbying-charges.html
 

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REVEALED: The full scale of Russia's meddling in 2016 election: Agency used nearly ALL major social media platforms to drum up support for Trump in 2016 and paid some firms in RUBLES, says report prepared for Senate

  • Russian company The Internet Research Agency allegedly backed Trump
  • It apparently used videos and images to persuade voters to support him
  • Report is by Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project
  • The findings will be presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee
  • Highlights several examples of sloppiness, including paying some firms in rubles
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...-Russias-meddling-2016-election-revealed.html
 

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