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Excerpt: "This week saw a slew of critical revelations in the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller; Facebook and its role in Russia's election interference; the explosive but unverified Steele dossier; and an elite Russian cybersecurity firm that's attracted scrutiny as Russia ramps up its aggression in the cyber space."

Robert Mueller. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Robert Mueller. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mueller's Next Move, the Steele Dossier, and an NSA Hack - the Latest in a Wild Week of Trump-Russia Developments

By Sonam Sheth and Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider

10 October 17


his week saw a slew of critical revelations in the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller; Facebook and its role in Russia's election interference; the explosive but unverified Steele dossier; and an elite Russian cybersecurity firm that's attracted scrutiny as Russia ramps up its aggression in the cyber space.

We got an important update from Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on the status of their investigation into Russia's interference in the election.

"The issue of collusion" between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow "is still open," Burr told reporters during a press conference.

New details also emerged about Russia's extensive use of Facebook to sow discord and spread misinformation during the election. A Columbia University social media analyst published research on the topic and found that Russian propaganda may have been shared billions of times on Facebook.

The company still doesn't know the full extent of Russian ads that were purchased because of the platform's self-service tool, and Axios reported Saturday that Facebook will now require targeted and politically tilted ads to be manually reviewed before they're approved.

Here's more on what you may have missed:

  • Mueller homes in on Trump's pardon power: The special counsel's team is said to be probing the limits of presidential pardon powers as the Russia investigation heats up. Experts say the move is an unprecedented step taken to ward off efforts by the White House to guard itself against the investigation.

  • Investigators take cues from the explosive Trump-Russia dossier: Burr and Warner said the Senate Intelligence Committee has been working "backwards" to verify the dossier, compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, which alleges several ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The dossier is also a subject of interest for Mueller, who reportedly interviewed Steele about the document this summer.

  • Facebook will not release Russia-linked ads : Business Insider learned that Facebook will not release the approximately 3,000 ads linked to Russia that were purchased on its platform and found to have been part of Russia's disinformation campaign. A source familiar with the matter told Business Insider's Alex Heath that Mueller's investigation was hindering the company from releasing the ads.

  • Trump wants Mueller to do what Comey didn't: The president's lawyers are reportedly hoping the special counsel will publicly confirm Trump is not under investigation. Mueller is unlikely to do so, as he's investigating the president for obstruction of justice and examining his role in crafting a misleading statement his son gave after it emerged he met with a Russian lawyer last June.

  • Russian hackers gain access to classified NSA information: Russian government hackers exploited antivirus software created by Kaspersky Labs, an elite Russian cybersecurity firm, to steal top-secret NSA information about how the US infiltrates foreign adversaries and protects itself against cyberattacks. Depending on what was stolen — documents or code — the breach could be catastrophic for Kaspersky.

  • Trump's children were close to being indicted on federal fraud charges: The Manhattan District Attorney's office dropped a felony fraud investigation against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in 2012. The move came after Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, made a hefty donation to the district attorney's campaign. The initial donation was returned before the case was dropped, but Kasowitz made a larger donation six months later. The district attorney maintains he made the right call in dropping the case. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+18 # grandlakeguy 2017-10-10 15:57
It is wonderful that Mueller is working so hard and I hope that he exposes the whole Trump/Pence gang asap and puts them all in prison awaiting trial.
Definitely all flight risks!

He would do the American people a great service if he would, as well, expose the fact that our elections are riddled with fraud and election theft in the Republican practice of disenfranchisem ent and outright manipulation of results as well as the DNC's despicable primary fraud last year that denied our citizens the opportunity to elect someone who would actually represent the people of this country for a change.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-11 10:07
grandlake -- good point. Russiagate is at the bottom a cover up of the fact that the 2016 election (both for president and congress) was stolen by republicans. Demos polled more votes across the US but republicans got the most wins and offices. The basic strategies for republican election fraud are:

1. voter suppression by registration purges, cross checking, and identity cards.

2. voter machine tampering by hacking. In some states voter machines were read and tabulated by private companies with links to the republican party (not links to the Kremlin).

3. gerrymandering.

The cover up of election stealing and destroying of US democracy is being carried out by the CIA, FBI, Mueller, Democratic party, major media (esp. NYT, Wapo, CNN, ABC) and congress. This is the highest level of ruling elites in the US. They are absolutedly unified in blocking any discussion of election meddling by the republican party. Russiagate is their great tactic for distracting the entire nation.

In US history there have been 3 great red scares:

1. 1920s to distract attention from unions who were gaining power.

2. 1950s to get the Cold War up and running

3. 2010s to put an end to independent media or what the mainstream is calling fake news and to cover up republican election fraud.

This is all truly amazing. The american people should be up in arms. But they are not. They are acting just as they are supposed to act -- silent, believing, stupid, obedient, etc.
-11 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-10 17:14
Clearly Mueller is feeling the heat. He needs to produce something hard to be laughed out of the game. In the past, special prosecutors could waggle around for years. We no longer have that kind of patience. In the instant world of the internet, someone like Mueller needs to put up or everyone will move on to the next site.

So let's see what he's god. Inflation won't do. This is inflation and no one buys it:

"new details also emerged about Russia's extensive use of Facebook to sow discord and spread misinformation during the election."

Some unknown Russians are accused of buying 3000 ads for about $100,000 out of the billions of ads and the tens of billions of dollars Facebook does in ad business. That is hardly "extensive." This is a case of "misinformation ."

This is just a journalist talking. His words don't count for squat. But Mueller has legal power and his words will come before a judge and jury and be cross examined. He can't speak misinformation, unless he wants to lose in court. So maybe we'll see what he's got soon.

I know what it will be. The new style in such prosecutions is to weave a web of associations none of which are illegal or even questionable, but all together seem to be illegal. This is the prosecutorial equivalent of seven degrees of Kevin Bacon. We are all implicated in Bacon's life.
-3 # Texas Aggie 2017-10-10 23:55
One benefit of all the revelations of how Russia was interfering with the election is that now the naysayers who were previously claiming that there was no evidence are now being quiet, with a couple notable exceptions. Those exceptions are becoming more and more desperate and clinging to smaller and smaller straws, but eventually they will also have to shut down.
0 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:34
You haven't been paying attention. I'm still saying nay and so are a lot of others. There is still no evidence. The Steele Dossier is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Of course, we do not know what Mueller is actually doing. We don't know whose leaking this stuff but whoever it is is not revealing any evidence. If Mueller is actually going after Trumps shady business deals he will most likely turn up something actionable, but if he is chasing the wispy of election tampering fantasy he is going nowhere.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-11 18:54
Texas -- I think the emphasis of those like me who don't believe any of the Russigate stuff is shifting. We are tired of saying "baloney" to people like Mueller, Schiff, Warner, et al. Now the important things to stress are the real intended purposes of Russiagate in the first place.

1. Silence independent media. Block independent journalists from Youtube. Block anything labeled "fake news" from social media, even when it is true. And the big one is to shut down RT, Sputnik, and other Russian news programs. Don't forget that 7 of the 25 pages in the top level Clapper report were against RT. See this --

"Sputnik and RT Under Investigation"
By Philip Giraldi

2. Totally block from discussion the real election tampering by the republican party. This is blame shifting -- the Russians did it, not the republicans.

3. Totally distract American from the role of corporations and billionaires in determining the outcome of the election. Again, this is blame shifting. The Russians bought $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook (allegedly), but the billionaire class contributed nearly a billion dollars to campaigns across the nation. They bought the government in Washinton. See this.

"Absurd Russian Ads Hype as US Corporations Buy Democracy"
By Finian Cunningham

We are very much out there, but how many times can you say the NYT or Wapo are lying?
-1 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 00:22
Exactly, RR.
-1 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 00:21
It's pretty obvious you're the ones who are desperate and have been, and still are, grasping at straws. Each headline is more ridiculous than the last.

Respectable journalists have said this is nonsense, people like Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry, Jeremy Scahill. But you choose to believe James Clapper. How unprogressive of you!

VIPS has shown definitively that the Podesta-Wikilea ks material was leaked, not hacked. The Senate Intelligence Committee recently reiterated that Russians did not affect one vote.

But I see your point. You have some terrific Russian Facebook puppy pages. Is there some kind of a secret code?

You're making an awful lot of assumptions, amd we all know what that means.
+1 # Jaax88 2017-10-11 00:22
Conspiracy to do illegal acts is a crime.
+5 # hkatzman 2017-10-11 07:13
A magician fools his audience by distracting with his right hand while his left hand does the work.

All the news about Trump feels like distraction while the real issues occur below the public's radar.

This story feels like a distraction from the important news that we are missing.

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