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Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton’s emails

Democrats prepared to use their convention Wednesday night to raise fresh doubts about Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as commander in chief, as the Republican presidential candidate called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server to find “missing” messages and release them to the public.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said during a news conference at his South Florida resort on Wednesday.

“They probably have them. I’d like to have them released. . . . It gives me no pause. If they have them, they have them,” Trump added later when asked if his comments were inappropriate. “If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.”

The Clinton campaign quickly expressed alarm at Trump’s remarks.

“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” Clinton’s senior policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement. He added later: “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Trump’s comments earned another rebuke from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). His spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement that “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin should stay out of this election.”

On several occasions throughout the GOP primary campaign, Ryan disavowed controversial Trump statements and withheld his endorsement for a month after the candidate had locked up the necessary delegates. Once he endorsed Trump, Ryan vowed to speak out if he felt that Trump had crossed a line.

Meanwhile, President Obama, Vice President Biden and the man who wants to succeed him, Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.), spent Wednesday morning previewing what they plan to say tonight to tout Clinton’s national security experience.

On NBC’s “Today” show, Obama sought to raise fears about a Trump presidency. Responding to a question on Trump’s electoral chances, Obama said “we don’t know” whether the Republican could win the presidency and warned Democrats that “anybody who goes into campaigns not running scared can end up losing.”

Biden delivered a blunter assessment, saying that Trump “knows nothing about foreign policy, nor should he, based upon his background. But the thing that bothers me is, I don’t see any attempt for him to go out and to get people who really know on the Republican side” to advise him, he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Trump dismissed the attacks during his news conference, calling Obama “the most ignorant president in our history. His views of the world, as he says, don’t jive, and the world is a mess.”

Trump appeared to be alluding to comments Obama made last week that disputed Republican views of a country “on the verge of collapse.”

“I think it is important, just to be absolutely clear here, that some of the fears that were expressed throughout the week just don’t jibe with the facts,” Obama said at a news conference last Friday.

Trump’s exchange with reporters on Wednesday was free-wheeling and tense. On several occasions, he interrupted reporters and accused them of bias. In one instance, he told a female reporter to “be quiet.”

The real estate mogul sought to distance himself from allegations that the Russian government hacked into the Democratic National Committee to benefit his campaign, which Clinton’s campaign manager suggested earlier this week.

“It is so farfetched. It’s so ridiculous. Honestly, I wish I had that power. I’d love to have that power, but Russia has no respect for our country,” Trump said.

Trump said repeatedly that “I have nothing to do with Russia” and distanced himself from previous positive comments he made about Putin: “I have nothing to do with Russia! I said that Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama, but who doesn’t know that?”

Earlier on Twitter, Trump called Biden “not very bright.”

In Philadelphia, Kaine spoke Wednesday morning to Virginia Democrats and focused on Trump’s rhetoric and his frequently controversial remarks about women, minorities and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States.

“Is it too much to ask to have the first woman president rather than someone who offends women every time he opens his mouth?” he said on Wednesday morning.

Kaine, whose Marine son deployed overseas Monday, also said Trump has fought to avoid paying taxes that pay for the military — a potent message in veterans-rich Virginia.

“Who’s funding veterans’ programs?” he asked. “Who’s funding veterans’ services? Folks like you and me, but Donald Trump’s too big to have to fund veterans, too big to have to fund our military . . . too big to have to fund the things that make us a great nation.”

“I guess that’s just for suckers to have to pay for the society we have,” he said, as the audience of friends and supporters cheered.

Kaine is expected to focus on Clinton’s national security and foreign policy plans in his prime-time address, according to a campaign official.

The topics are consistent with the theme that Clinton officials have crafted for a third night of the convention, as foreign policy and terrorism have risen to the fore in the 2016 election. Trump has seized on those issues, casting himself as the candidate more focused on keeping the country safe.

Kaine’s pick as Clinton’s running mate drew praise from many quarters, but the former Virginia governor faces a challenge in convincing some progressive groups that he will champion their issues. Longtime watchers of Virginia politics say the question during much of Kaine’s career there has actually been whether he is too liberal for their state.

But Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), who sits alongside Kaine on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described the Virginian on Wednesday as “a next-level intellect.”

“There’s nobody better on that committee to distill these complicated issues into easy, digestible ways,” Murphy said in a Washington Post Live interview in Philadelphia. “I think he’s going to bring a readiness and humanity to this role. And all the press he gets about being a nice guy — it’s all true.”

Other speakers on Wednesday will include Leon Panetta, the former defense secretary and CIA director who served alongside Clinton during Obama’s first term, most notably during the military operation that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, plans to endorse Clinton during Wednesday evening’s proceedings amid concerns about Trump’s fitness for the presidency.

Relatives of the victims of the recent Orlando nightclub shooting will also appear on Wednesday night, as well as the daughter of the principal of a Connecticut elementary school who was shot dead in a 2012 shooting; and astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the victim of a 2011 assassination attempt. The couple leads a gun safety organization.

The Clinton campaign meanwhile sought to tamp down fresh questions about whether the candidate intends to reverse her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership if she is elected president.

The controversy erupted on Tuesday night when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told a reporter for Politico that Clinton, who is a longtime friend and ally, would support a version of the deal, which is supported by Obama.

But Clinton’s campaign chairman, senior aides and prominent supporters quickly corrected the governor, saying that Clinton opposes TPP before and after the election.

McAuliffe also clarified his position, blaming a misunderstanding for the gaffe. He said he believed that Clinton would oppose the deal unless her concerns were addressed.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democratic-national-convention-obama-biden-kaine-set-to-tout-clinton-as-commander-in-chief/2016/07/27/afc57884-53e8-11e6-bbf5-957ad17b4385_story.html

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The DNC Hack Is Watergate, but Worse

The email dump isn’t a high-minded act of transparency. It’s a foreign power attempting to swing an election for its favored candidate.

A foreign government has hacked a political party’s computers—and possibly an election. It has stolen documents and timed their release to explode with maximum damage. It is a strike against our civic infrastructure. And though nobody died—and there was no economic toll exacted—the Russians were aiming for a tender spot, a central node of our democracy.

It was hard to see the perniciousness of this attack at first, especially given how news media initially covered the story. The Russians, after all, didn’t knock out a power grid. And when the stolen information arrived, it was dressed in the ideology of WikiLeaks, which presents its exploits as possessing a kind of journalistic bravery the traditional media lacks.

But this document dump wasn’t a high-minded act of transparency. To state the obvious, only one political party has been exposed. (Selectively exposed: Many emails were culled from the abridged dump.) And it’s not really even the inner workings of the Democrats that have been revealed; the documents don’t suggest new layers of corruption or detail any new conspiracies. They’re something closer to the embarrassing emails that fly across every office in America—griping, the testing of stupid ideas, the banal musings that take place in private correspondence. The emails don’t get us much beyond a fact every sentient political observer could already see: Officials at the DNC, hired to work hand in glove with a seemingly inevitable nominee, were actively making life easier for Hillary Clinton. It didn’t take these leaks to understand that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a hack and that the DNC should be far more neutral in presidential primaries.

What’s galling about the WikiLeaks dump is the way in which the organization has blurred the distinction between leaks and hacks. Leaks are an important tool of journalism and accountability. When an insider uncovers malfeasance, he brings information to the public in order to stop the wrongdoing. That’s not what happened here. The better analogy for these hacks is Watergate. To help win an election, the Russians broke into the virtual headquarters of the Democratic Party. The hackers installed the cyber-version of the bugging equipment that Nixon’s goons used—sitting on the DNC computers for a year, eavesdropping on everything, collecting as many scraps as possible. This is trespassing, it’s thievery, it’s a breathtaking transgression of privacy. It falls into that classic genre, the dirty trick. Yet that term feels too innocent to describe the offense. Nixon’s dirty tricksters didn’t mindlessly expose the private data of low-level staff.

We should be appalled at the public broadcast of this minutiae. It will have a chilling effect—campaign staffers will now assume they no longer have the space to communicate honestly. This honest communication—even if it’s often trivial or dumb—is important for the process of arriving at sound strategy and sound ideas. (To be sure, the DNC shouldn’t need privacy to know that attacking a man for his faith is just plain gross.) Open conversation, conducted with the expectation of privacy, is the necessary precondition for the formation of collective wisdom and consensus. If we eviscerate the possibility of privacy in politics, we increase the likelihood of poor decision-making.

It is possible to argue that Russia is just behaving as great powers often do. States try to manipulate opinion beyond their borders. Barack Obama recently attempted to sway the British public to reject Brexit; we don’t just broadcast the Voice of America to expose the world to jazz. Russia does this, too. It has a website and television network, Russia Today. We might not care for Russia Today and its propagandistic coverage, but it operates in the open. It uses reporting and opinion to sway hearts and minds. The interconnected nature of the world means that it would be malpractice for states not to make the best case for its policies to enemy and ally alike. The United States is better when it understands the world and argues with it.

Still, we have a clear set of rules designed to limit foreign interference in our elections, to protect our sovereignty. We should be open to rational arguments from abroad but terrified about states playing a larger role than that. This is why we don’t let foreign entities make campaign contributions. We don’t allow noncitizens to vote. Consider our reaction, if an American political leader had pulled this stunt: He would be prosecuted, and drummed from political life. These are unacceptable tactics for an American; they can hardly be more tolerable when executed by a foreign power that wishes us ill.

The DNC dump may not have revealed a conspiracy that could end a candidacy, but it succeeded in casting a pall of anxiety over this election. We know that the Russians have a further stash of documents from the DNC and another set of documents purloined from the Clinton Foundation. In other words, Vladimir Putin is now treating American democracy with the same respect he accords his own. The best retaliation isn’t a military one, or to respond in kind. It’s to defeat his pet candidate and to force him to watch the inauguration of the woman he so abhors.

Read more about Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, and about his campaign manager’s work for Putin’s allies.

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/07/the_dnc_hack_is_watergate_but_worse.html
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As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue

This sub plot seems to be gaining traction. Is Donald Trump managed by Vladimir Putin? This story from the New York Times is gaining speed.

 

WASHINGTON — An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aidDonald J. Trump, has been only whispered.

But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.

The emails, released first by a supposed hacker and later by WikiLeaks, exposed the degree to which the Democratic apparatus favored Hillary Clinton over her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, on the eve of the convention’s first day.

Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. And metadata from the released emails suggests that the documents passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.

On Sunday morning, the issue erupted, as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump” citing “experts” but offering no other evidence. Mr. Mook also suggested that the Russians might have good reason to support Mr. Trump: The Republican nominee indicated in an interview with The New York Times last week that he might not back NATO nations if they came under attack from Russia — unless he was first convinced that the countries had made sufficient contributions to the Atlantic alliance.

It was a remarkable moment: Even at the height of the Cold War, it was hard to find a presidential campaign willing to charge that its rival was essentially secretly doing the bidding of a key American adversary. But the accusation is emerging as a theme of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as part of an attempt to portray Mr. Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia as it threatens nations that have shown too much independence from Moscow or, in the case of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, joined NATO.

Mr. Trump has also said he would like to “get along with Russia” if he is elected, and complimented Mr. Putin, saying he is more of a leader than President Obama. Mr. Putin has in turn praised Mr. Trump. But Trump campaign officials on Sunday strongly rejected any connections between their candidate and efforts to undermine the Democrats.

“Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?” George Stephanopoulos, of “This Week,” asked Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman.

“No, there are not,” Mr. Manafort shot back. “That’s absurd. And, you know, there’s no basis to it.”

One of Mr. Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., was more definitive, charging the Clinton camp with a smear campaign. “I can’t think of bigger lies,” he said on CNN. The younger Mr. Trump mockingly suggested that Mr. Mook’s “house cat at home once said this is what happened with the Russians.’’

It may take months, or years, to figure out the motives of those who stole the emails, and more important, whether they were being commanded by Russian authorities, and specifically by Mr. Putin. But the theft from the national committee would be among the most important state-sponsored hacks yet of an American organization, rivaled only by the attacks on the Office of Personnel Management by state-sponsored Chinese hackers, and the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which Mr. Obama blamed on North Korea. There, too, embarrassing emails were released, but they had no political significance. The WikiLeaks release, however, has more of a tinge of Russian-style information war, in which the intent of the revelations is to alter political events. Exactly how, though, is a bit of a mystery, apart from embarrassing Democrats and further alienating Mr. Sanders’s supporters from Mrs. Clinton.

Evidence so far suggests that the attack was the work of at least two separate agencies, each apparently working without the knowledge that the other was inside the Democrats’ computers. It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.

Mr. Trump himself leapt on the news after the WikiLeaks release on Saturday. In a Twitter message he wrote: “Leaked emails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED.”

The experts cited by Mr. Mook include CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that was brought into the Democratic National Committee when officials there suspected they had been hacked.

In mid-June the company announced that the intruders appeared to include a group it had previously identified by the name “Cozy Bear” or “APT 29” and been inside the committee’s servers for a year. A second group, “Fancy Bear,” also called “APT 28,” came into the system in April. It appears to be operated by the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service, according to federal investigators and private cybersecurity firms. The first group is particularly well known to the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence unit, the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies. It was identified by federal investigators as the likely culprit behind years of intrusions into the State Department and White House unclassified computer system.

Russian intelligence agencies went to great lengths to cover their tracks, investigators found, including meticulously deleting logs, and changing the time stamps of the stolen files.

Officials at several other firms that have examined the code for the malware used against the Democratic National Committee and the metadata of the stolen documents found evidence that the documents had been accessed by multiple computers, some with Russian language settings. Moscow has outsourced politically motivated hacking to outside groups in the past. A crippling attack on Estonia in 2007, for example, was attributed to the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth organization. Intelligence officials and security researchers believe this outsourcing is done, in part, to preserve a measure of plausible deniability.

Intrusions for intelligence collection are hardly unusual, and the United States often does the same, stealing emails and other secrets from intelligence services and even political parties. But the release to WikiLeaks adds another strange element, because it suggests that the intelligence findings are being “weaponized” — used to influence the election in some way. The story has another level of intrigue involving Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman. Working through his lobbying firm, Mr. Manafort was one of several American advisers toViktor F. Yanukovych, the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine until he was forced out of office two years ago. Mr. Yanukovych was a key Putin ally who is now in exile in Russia.

In April, asked on Fox News about his relationship with Mr. Yanukovych, Mr. Manafort said he was simply trying to help the Ukrainians build a democracy that could align more closely with the United States and its allies.

Correction: July 25, 2016

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of a reporting credit with this article misspelled the surname of a reporter. He is David E. Sanger, not Sangar.

 

Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/07/25/us/politics/donald-trump-russia-emails.html?_r=0&