The 11 must-read moments from Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s Russia testimony

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released a transcript of its interview with Carter Page, a former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, that reveals a man scrambling to stay on track.

Page’s testimony supports claims that he alerted other Trump staffers of his trip to Moscow during the election, confirmed some of the information in the infamous Steele dossier, and verified that he met with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on several occasions.

Page did not have a lawyer present with him during the interview as he decided to represent himself.

Here are some of the off-the-wall things that were said in the interview.

1) Page says he never met Trump

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

2) Rep. Trey Gowdy has no idea what Page did for the Trump campaign

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

3) Page insists he has never spoken with Trump—not even on Snapchat

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

4) Page says campaign staffers approved his 2016 Russia trip

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

5) Rep. Adam Schiff asks Page about him invoking the Fifth Amendment, which Page appears to not understand

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

6) Page really doesn’t want his contact information made public

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

7) Page says he sent a memo where a Russian government official express “strong support” for Trump

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

8) Page says he is not “thoroughly convinced” Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

9) Gowdy asked Page if he was a “birther” when it came to Russian interference in the 2016 election

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

10) Page says the allegations in the Steele dossier impacted the 2016 election more than Russia’s social media interference

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov

11) Page says campaign adviser Sam Clovis—who encouraged George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, to meet with Russian officials—asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement

Screengrab via intelligence.house.gov (Fair Use)

You can read the entire transcript of Carter Page’s interview here.

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Huge list of Russia’s 2016 election hacking targets revealed

BTW

Russia’s hacking efforts ahead of the 2016 election went well beyond Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to a trove of documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The list provides detailed evidence of how close those seeking to hack U.S. political figures, defense contractors, and other interests were to the Russian government. The scheme stretched back for years and hackers tried to break into nearly 5,000 Gmail accounts across the globe, AP reports.

“It’s a wish list of who you’d want to target to further Russian interests,” Keir Giles, director of the Conflict Studies Research Center in Cambridge, England, told AP. He added it was “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence.”

AP reviewed a database of 19,000 links collected by Secureworks, a cybersecurity firm, that discovered the data after a Russia-linked hacking group known as Fancy Bear exposed part of its phishing scheme. The list included Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose email account was hacked ahead of the election leading to dozens of emails being published by Wikileaks.

Other targets included: former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, several U.S. military commanders, workers for defense contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and several Russian targets. Democrats, including party workers and Clinton’s campaign staff, were also targeted.

Recently, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was told that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton and had “thousands of emails” from her campaign.

On Wednesday, lawmakers released a handful of ads and memes created by Russian actors on Facebook meant to sow discord among American voters ahead of the election.

You can read all of AP’s report here.

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Hillary Clinton accuses Julian Assange of being a ‘tool’ for Russia

Hillary Clinton called WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a “tool of Russian intelligence” during an interview on Monday.

Speaking with Australian Broadcasting Corp., Clinton said Assange was a “nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Associated Press. WikiLeaks famously published politically damaging information contained in hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, ahead of the 2016 election.

“He’s a tool of Russian intelligence, and if he’s such a martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything coming out of Russia?” she said

Contrary to Clinton’s claim, WikiLeaks has published information that is unfavorable to Russia’s government. However, a Daily Dot investigation from September 2016 found that a trove of emails published by WikiLeaks in 2012 did not include evidence of a €2 billion transaction between Syria’s government and Russia’s VTB Bank.

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Assange tweeted in response to Clinton’s claims, calling her “not a credible person.”

“WikiLeaks has a pristine record for accuracy. HRC is not a credible person. The primary cause of her downfall was her own Machiavellian scheme to elevate Mr. Trump (‘Pied Piper’),” Assange wrote.

Assange continued: “There’s something wrong with Hillary Clinton. It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement. Watch closely. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen.”

Clinton also pushed back against the idea that Assange’s publishing of classified material was similar to what journalists do.

“I think for number one, it’s stolen information,” Clinton said. “And number two, if all you did was publish it, that would be one thing. But there was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to, as I say, weaponize that information.”

Clinton’s assessment of WikiLeaks’ alleged collusion with Russia goes beyond the initial assessment by the United States intelligence community regarding Moscow’s attempts to meddle in last year’s election. A joint report prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) and released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in early January claimed that hackers working for Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks and other websites.

“Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity,” the report reads. “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”

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Facebook says 126 million could have seen Russian-backed posts

BTW

Facebook estimates that during the 2016 presidential election, 126 million of its users were exposed to content generated from a Russian government-linked “troll farm,” CNN reported Monday.  

In a written testimony obtained by CNN, Facebook said 29 million people were directly served content from the Internet Research Agency (IRA)—the Russian government-linked source. After sharing, “approximately 126 million people,” or more than half of the U.S. voting population, could have seen the content in their News Feeds.

Facebook doesn’t know how many people actually saw one of the posts, as opposed to scrolled past it or didn’t log into the social platform on the day the content would have appeared, CNN reported.

In a written testimony, Facebook insisted that the posts from the IRA represented “a tiny fraction of the overall content on Facebook.”

But the people who did see the ads saw what Facebook’s testimony called “deeply disturbing” content.

“Most of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum, touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” Facebook said. “A number of the ads encourage people to follow Pages on these issues, which in turn produced posts on similarly charged subjects.”

Lawyers representing Facebook, Twitter, and Google will appear in public hearings before Senate and House committees this week to explain how their platforms were used to gain leverage in U.S. politics through Russian interference.

On Oct. 2, Facebook handed over 3,000 Russia-linked advertisements to Congress. Mark Zuckerberg admitted the social media giant sold $100,000 in ads to a Russian company during the election.   

H/T CNN

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