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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

 
Oh look, more evidence that the GOP congress may have benefited from Russian meddling

by digby





There's more news on possible Russia collusion in the 2016 race:

Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.

Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.

A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said. Most of the ads focused on pumping politically divisive issues such as gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination.

The acknowledgment by Facebook comes as congressional investigators and special counsel Robert Mueller are probing Russian interference in the U.S. election, including allegations that the Kremlin may have coordinated with the Trump campaign.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in January that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election to help elect Trump, including by using paid social media trolls to spread fake news intended to influence public opinion.

Even though the ad spending from Russia is tiny relative to overall campaign costs, the report from Facebook that a Russian firm was able to target political messages is likely to fuel pointed questions from investigators about whether the Russians received guidance from people in the United States — a question some Democrats have been asking for months.

“I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots. Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware really raises some questions. I think that’s a worthwhile area of inquiry,” Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said during a May airing of the podcast Pod Save America. “How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?”

How indeed?

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Russian assistance to the GOP congress in 2016. We already know quite a bit about direct help. This is just more evidence.

I assume Mueller is also looking at this which explains why House Republicans are so agitated and anxious to cut his investigation short. Some of them are even implicated.


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