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Sunday, Sep 20th

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Russian Intelligence Hackers Are Back, Microsoft Warns, Aiming at Officials of Both Parties

Russian hackers are backChina is also growing more adept at targeting campaign workers. But contrary to Trump administration warnings, Beijing is mostly targeting Biden campaign officials.

The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans.

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Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen links Falwell’s endorsement in 2016 to suppression of racy photos

Jerry Falwell Jr. In his book released today, Michael Cohen, the former fixer for U.S. President Donald Trump, ties for the first time the 2016 presidential endorsement of Trump by American evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr to Cohen’s own role in helping to keep racy “personal” photographs of the Falwells from becoming public.

As Reuters reported last year, the Falwells enlisted Cohen to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen said in a recording, made surreptitiously by comedian Tom Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”

In “Disloyal: The Memoir,” Cohen describes thinking that his involvement in the Falwell photo matter would be a “catch and kill” — the practice of American tabloids to obtain and then suppress unfavorable stories about celebrities — “but in this case it was just going to be kill.”

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Reuters: Russian state hackers suspected in targeting Biden campaign firm – sources

Biden campaign targeted by Russian hackersMicrosoft Corp (MSFT.O) recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The hacking attempts targeted staff at Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, a campaign strategy and communications firm working with Biden and other prominent Democrats, over the past two months, the sources said.

A person familiar with SKDK’s response to the attempts said the hackers failed to gain access to the firm’s networks. “They are well-defended, so there has been no breach,” the person said.

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Top Republican Election Lawyer Trashes Trump’s ‘Voter Fraud’ Lies

Ben Ginsberg trashes Trump's voter fraud claim

A major frustration for those seeking to expose and stop President Trump’s potential theft of the 2020 election via his attempt to delegitimize perfectly legal mail ballots is the general unwillingness of Republicans to call b.s. on their president’s baseless allegations of voter fraud. Indeed, the “Red Mirage” scenario, whereby Trump might claim victory on Election Night based on early and heavily skewed returns, depends on Republican voters eschewing mail ballots and voting in person per his instructions, thus disproportionately casting the first ballots to be counted.

That’s why it’s very significant that the most famous Republican election lawyer in the country, Ben Ginsberg, has penned a Washington Post op-ed trashing the Trump/GOP strategy of fighting inconvenient votes and voters via made-up allegations of fraud. He begins with quite the dig:

Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice.

The only hitch is that the candidate is President Trump.

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Senior DHS official alleges in whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop providing intelligence analysis on threat of Russian interference

Trump stopped info about Russian threat to electioA  senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence analysis on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it “made the President look bad,” an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security.

The official, Brian Murphy, who until recently was in charge of intelligence and analysis at DHS, said in a whistleblower complaint that on two occasions he was told to stand down on reporting about the Russian threat.

On July 8, Murphy said, acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf told him that an “intelligence notification” regarding Russian disinformation efforts should be “held” because it was unflattering to Trump, who has long derided Russian interference as a “hoax” that was concocted by his opponents to delegitimize his victory in 2016.

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'Play it down': Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book

Trump knew in january about virus threat

President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage."

"This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7.

In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. "Pretty amazing," Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu.

Trump's admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was "going to disappear" and "all work out fine."

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How Trump’s Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage

Campaign funds

Five months ago, President Trump’s re-election campaign had a huge financial edge over Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s. The Times conducted an extensive review of how the Trump team spent lavishly to show how that advantage evaporated.

A rally for President Trump in Latrobe, Pa., last week. Mr. Trump’s campaign has spent $800 million.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times.

Money was supposed to have been one of the great advantages of incumbency for President Trump, much as it was for President Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004. After getting outspent in 2016, Mr. Trump filed for re-election on the day of his inauguration — earlier than any other modern president — betting that the head start would deliver him a decisive financial advantage this year.

It seemed to have worked. His rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., was relatively broke when he emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee this spring, and Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee had a nearly $200 million cash advantage.

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