Dan Coats Still Refusing to Provide the Evidence that Russia Didn’t Affect the Election

Last month, I noted a troubling exchange between Martin Heinrich, Dan Coats, and Richard Burr in the Global Threats Hearing.

Martin Heinrich then asked Coats why ODNI had not shared the report on election tampering even with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Heinrich: Director Coats, I want to come back to you for a moment. Your office issued a statement recently announcing that you had submitted the intelligence community’s report assessing the threats to the 2018 mid-term elections to the President and to appropriate Executive Agencies. Our committee has not seen this report. And despite committee requests following the election that the ODNI brief the committee on any identified threats, it took ODNI two months to get a simple oral briefing and no written assessment has yet been provided. Can you explain to me why we haven’t been kept more fully and currently informed about those Russian activities in the 2018–

Chairman Richard Burr interrupts to say that, in fact, he and Vice Chair Mark Warner have seen the report.

Burr: Before you respond, let me just acknowledge to the members that the Vice Chairman and I have both been briefed on the report and it’s my understanding that the report at some point will be available.

Coats then gives a lame excuse about the deadlines, 45 days, then 45 days.

Coats: The process that we’re going through are two 45 day periods, one for the IC to assess whether there was anything that resulted in a change of the vote or anything with machines, uh, what the influence efforts were and so forth. So we collected all of that, and the second 45 days — which we then provided to the Chairman and Vice Chairman. And the second 45 days is with DHS looking, and DOJ, looking at whether there’s information enough there to take — to determine what kind of response they might take. We’re waiting for that final information to come in.

After Coats dodges his question about sharing the report with the Committee, Heinrich then turns to Burr to figure out when they’re going to get the information. Burr at least hints that the Executive might try to withhold this report, but it hasn’t gotten to that yet.

Heinrich: So the rest of us can look forward — so the rest of us can then look forward to reading the report?

Coats: I think we will be informing the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of that, of their decisions.

Heinrich: That’s not what I asked. Will the rest of the Committee have access to that report, Mr. Chairman?

[pause]

Heinrich: Chairman Burr?

Burr; Well, let me say to members we’re sort of in unchartered ground. But I make the same commitment I always do, that anything that the Vice Chairman and myself are exposed to, we’ll make every request to open the aperture so that all members will be able to read I think it’s vitally important, especially on this one, we’re not to a point where we’ve been denied or we’re not to a point that negotiations need to start. So it’s my hope that, once the final 45-day window is up that is a report that will be made available, probably to members only.

Coming as it did in a hearing where it became clear that Trump’s spooks are helpless in keeping Trump from pursuing policies that damage the country, this exchange got very little attention. But it should!

DOJ missed its 45 day plus 45 day deadline of reporting whether any election tampering had had an effect. But just by one day. The day after their deadline, the Big Dick Toilet Salesman Matt Whitaker and serial liar Kirstjen Nielsen gave Trump a report claiming that any tampering had not had any impact on the election.

Although the specific conclusions within the joint report must remain classified, the Departments have concluded there is no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure used in the 2018 midterm elections for the United States Congress. This finding was informed by a report prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) pursuant to the same Executive Order and is consistent with what was indicated by the U.S. government after the 2018 elections.

While the report remains classified, its findings will help drive future efforts to protect election and political/campaign infrastructure from foreign interference.

Then, today, CyberComm boasted that that they had helped deter Russia during the midterms.

Senators from both political parties on Thursday praised the military’s cyber force for helping secure last year’s midterm elections, with one suggesting it was largely due to U.S. Cyber Command that the Russians failed to affect the 2018 vote.

“Would it be fair to say that it is not a coincidence that this election went off without a hitch and the fact that you were actively involved in the protection of very important infrastructure?” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) asked Gen. Paul Nakasone, the command’s leader, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Military officials have said new authorities, approved over the last year, enabled CyberCom to be more aggressive — and effective — in what they privately say was an apparent success. Nakasone, who also heads the National Security Agency, stopped short of saying it was CyberCom that made the difference, telling Rounds that safeguarding the election was the agencies’ “number-one priority.”

But ODNI is still not providing SSCI — the people who are supposed to see such evidence — proof. Heinrich wrote Dan Coats a letter, signed by every member of SSCI,

Your office a statement in December that you had submitted the Intelligence Committee’s report assessing threats to the 2018 elections to the president and appropriate executive agencies. This month, the acting Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security announced they had submitted their joint report evaluating the impact of any foreign interference on election infrastructure for the infrastructure of political organizations during the midterm elections.

While the agencies provided brief unclassified summaries of the reports’ findings, the Select Committee on Intelligence has not been provided either report. We request that you provide to all Committee Members and cleared staff both classified reports required by EO 13848 as soon as possible. Those reports are necessary for the Committee to meet its mission and charter to conduct vigorous oversight over the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government.

They’re clearly hiding something. The question is whether it’s that Trump didn’t try to prevent tampering, or that some of the efforts — included the known effort to hack Claire McCaskill — actually did have an effect.

 

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75 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I’m wondering also if Coats knows that any report made to the committee (especially one that’s honest) will be leaked to the WH the same day, and would prefer that the people communicating with Russia don’t have that kind of information.

    • BobCon says:

      Coats reports to Trump, so I don’t think that’ s it.

      I suspect it’s one page, a couple of graphics and about a dozen words, mostly praising Trump.

  2. Jockobadger says:

    Bingo, PJ.  I wonder just how much of the actual assessment was shared with BDTS – knowing that he’d immediately scurry off to fatso?  I also wonder whether or not the ODNI and similar agencies are now withholding info that they think might be damaging to the country if submitted to the WH – classified or not?  This is truly a nightmare.  JHC.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      That’s been a concern within the IC ever since the first time he threw them under the bus: what can they trust him with?

  3. Anvil Leucippus says:

    A lot stinks about this mess:

    – The useless DHS, DOJ statement omitted the extent of interference on the midterms; only that the attempts had no significant impact. Shouldn’t we be insanely pissed off that there was any attempt by anyone to mess with the elections?

    – Both names on that letterhead have completely blown their credibility, and I sincerely appreciate EW saying it at every opportunity.

    – Has there not been a lot of scandals in the last ten months to embarrass political enemies of the RNC? And I think we have established by now that it doesn’t have to be done by them to benefit them.

    – And what really gets me is how many of these stories reveal really awful things about politicans, but were things that were already reported but people voted for them anyway! I mean, yes, there is a worthy conversation there on the privileges of the elite class — and I mention it because I don’t want to sound like I am giving them a pass on blatent racism, classism, etc. But what jumps out at me is how these stories are all picked from stuff that was already out there. Nobody was hiding it. People knew about it.

    My point being that it really feels like someone taught a robot to scoop up stuff off the internet and use it to steer political discourse.

    • Busted Gear says:

      “…it really feels like someone taught a robot to scoop up stuff off the internet and use it to steer political discourse.” 

      Yes it does. Great post, Anvil.

  4. Rayne says:

    What curious wording in the DOJ+DHS report:

    “there is no evidence to date…had a material impact” =/= “there is no evidence to date…had any impact” or “there is no evidence to date of any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent”

    “This finding was informed by a report prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)” =/= “This finding was based on a report prepared by …(ODNI)”

    I’d love to know who the suspected mole is/moles are within SSCI. Senator NRA sure acts fishy — but there’s more than one senator who received a sizable chunk of NRA money for 2016, including  Burr, Blunt, Rubio, and ex-officio members McConnell and Inhofe.

    Worth noting, too, that Sen. Mike Rounds quoted in an excerpt above from the SASC hearing also received NRA money for 2016.

    • silcominc says:

      Rayne,

      Can you link to any list that shows who got what from the NRA since 2010?  Curious to draw some direct correlations between the money and the votes.

      • Rayne says:

        I think you’ll have to poke around here at OpenSecret’s NRA contributions page.

        Note the change in distribution by party in 2010 — hello, Citizens United. Donations to Dems dry up dramatically though they were never equal to donations to GOP. Somebody made the decision they were going to go all in on GOP.

        And 2010 was the last census. I suspect they knew that year the GOP had gerrymandered so hard that Dems were not a factor.

        Do keep in mind NRA isn’t the only pro-gun group, just the largest.

  5. JD12 says:

    There’s just no way to conclude that Russia’s activities had no effect on the outcome of the election. But if they had evidence to reach that conclusion the White House would’ve almost certainly made sure it became public as soon as possible.

    Also, it sounds like the Intelligence Community is putting a priority on hacks of voting infrastructure, which could be a red herring. Obviously securing the infrastructure is important, but Russia doesn’t need to attack it.

    Who here is familiar with Russian Reflexive Control Theory?

    RCT is at the core of their actions against the US, and we haven’t been able to counter it. It’s based on a model that uses Boolean algebra to describe ethical ethical behavior. According to the model, if you can change the variables then you can change how people react. Most of the time we don’t notice the variables changing.

    It can get complicated but for the most part it’s actually pretty simple.

    Boolean algebra is binary, so polarizing political issues are the clearest example. Amazon’s New York HQ isn’t related to Russia but it’s a good example. Republicans are usually against what they call corporate welfare, and they love it when Andrew Cuomo gets embarrassed, but now that Amazon canceled the deal they’re outraged along with him. That’s because the media seems to be giving AOC credit for it even though she came in late the NY State Senate. AOC was the variable that changed the whole equation.

    When polarizing figures are involved they tend to be the biggest variables, as we saw in the 2016 campaign with Trump and Clinton.

    The theory says that in Russian culture the ends justify the means, so hacking emails isn’t morally wrong if it achieves an outcome that they see as positive.

    https://thenewsrep.com/71662/russian-reflexive-control-is-subverting-the-american-political-landscape/

    • Hika says:

      I won’t comment on the main thrust of your post, but I will pick out this bit: “Republicans are usually against what they call corporate welfare …”

      That’s just not correct.The Republican’s are exactly the party of corporate welfare. The apotheosis may well have been Gov. Scott Walker’s $4 Billion boon-doggle to get a Foxconn factory.

      • Hika says:

        What was I thinking! The Paulson’s bank bailout was the greatest act of corporate welfare in the history of the world. That shouldn’t be forgotten.

  6. MattyG says:

    You like to think the old soldiers on the inside are fighting the good fight here. And are trying their best to hold on until such time as the story can be told without piecemeal destruction by rightwing DT partisans of what may well be a damning *but* nuanced intelligence appraisal. Ideally some DT heavies get hauled in (besides Manafort) to make for vivid public context.

    *IF* the Feds/NSA/DHS etc are truly sitting on hot intel how would they best proceed? In normal times the executive would be a natural ally but with that branch compromised to an uncertain degree they now need a reliable congressional partner.

  7. Rapier says:

    RE PJ, Bob Con, ” I’m wondering also if Coats knows that any report made to the committee will be leaked to the WH”.

    :Leaked to” are the wrong words I think. Given to are more appropriate I would think. It’s executive branch stuff to begin with. Who in the White House or say Fatherland Security would get it can’t be known. Almost certainly not many professionals because at this point there may not be any professional intelligence people left.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-dhs-guts-task-forces-protecting-elections-from-foreign-meddling

    I’d like to think that some honest actors are still around but after the rolling fiasco which was the 9/11 investigation it’s hard to have much faith and that’s ancient history.

  8. Hops says:

    The voting system most easily hacked is the brain of the voter. That’s why GRU goes through the open channels that are Facebook and Twitter.

    • pizza says:

      And oh how easily some minds are swayed.  That much has become alarmingly apparent.

      To start to defend against this new kind of warfare, there needs to be in-person education of the population. And the emphasis needs to be on spreading the word, people educating each other, that the enemy’s tool is division. They don’t care which side wins they just want us to hate each other in the process.  We hate = they win.

      Start with churches for example.  Get the word out to all the Southern Baptist churches alone and see what a difference that makes.

      The only effective response to this new cyber-psy warfare is education in the flesh and blood, not the digital kind.  This crap isn’t going anywhere and it’s the future until we can learn to tune it out like we tune out loud car commercials.

      “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”  Using Lincoln against us – how clever Putin.

      • LeeNLP says:

        I think the same way every time I read the comments section of nearly any WaPost article.  The hatred aimed at the GOP and Trump voters in particular is withering.  The unspoken assumption is that the voters on the Right see the same world, listen to the same voices and watch the same news programs as those on the Left, and still think that black is white and that Trump is God’s messenger. How unfathomly stupid, inbred, backwards, irremediably dense can they be, the commenters wonder.

        That’s not the way it works.  I well remember an elderly family member, well educated and very competent on her own ground, practically yell at me years ago “Yes Obama IS a Muslim and he WAS born in Kenya!!”  She knew it and wondered why I didn’t.  It was right there on Fox news, 24/7.

        They are in a different information bubble, one that is largely infiltrated with messaging of an entirely different content to what I hear.  I sometimes wonder how I would have fared if I had grown up in an older generation and had Fox turned on 24/7.

        Point is- the assault on the US is ideological in nature, and the brain doesn’t have a natural immunity to the memes it’s being fed on.  The human brain didn’t evolve to be rational.  And this weakness is being used to major advantage by people who mean no good to any of us.  Whether it’s hatred of the Right for the Left or for the Left for the Right, it’s all destructive, regardless of the facts on the ground.

  9. Herringbone says:

    Mostly OT, but not entirely: Especially with the question hanging over this weekend of whether Manafort’s lies and the hope of a pardon haven’t hamstrung Mueller’s ability to prove that Trump himself colluded with the Russians, I have to wonder: at what point does the intelligence community put their cards on the table, even if they have to go to a level of detail that threatens operational security?

    On this score, I’m thinking of this tweet that wotadog cited in the “Unseen Aspects” thread:

    Christopher Titus Verified account @TitusNation 11:21 AM – 14 Feb 2019
    A friend of mine sat next to John Brennan on a plane and asked him if the Russia thing was as bad as they say. John Brennan said, “Can’t tell you what, but it’s much worse than you think.”
    Mueller hasn’t found too little, he found too much. [https://twitter.com/TitusNation/status/1096127255216979969]

    Granted, this is hearsay, and we don’t know the full context of the conversation. But it’s in line with Brennan’s other public statements. And if it’s really as bad as all that, why isn’t it time for Brennan to risk prison and fully disclose what he knows?

    The question applies to the question of election tampering, too, though the risks are different. Ordinarily I’d understand if Coats wanted to respect the chain of command and the President’s democratic mandate to set the IC’s priorities. But if the President’s priorities—which may include allowing a foreign power to secure his reelection through illegal means—threaten the legitimacy of that mandate, surely Coats has a duty to come forward.

    Is it just that the evidence is equivocal? Is it again a question of operational security? Or is it—as I increasingly suspect—that the more venal rewards of silence, like the prospect of a lucrative book contract à la McCabe, or the potential income from lobbying and consulting, are preventing people from risking more? Worse still—are people in the know resigning themselves to a world in which this type of election meddling is inevitable and often successful?

    On the other hand, there’s always the possibility that there’s nothing there, or that whatever did happen, it’s not so bad that coming forward is as much of a slam-dunk case as it could be. If that’s the case, though, then Brennan needs to stop it with the dark hints.

  10. P J Evans says:

    @pizza February 16, 2019 at 8:05 am
    Start by putting civics back in schools – mandatory, not elective. Notice that it disappeared with art and music, which conservatives think are “frills” (but they don’t think that boys’ sports are).

    • Rayne says:

      They have civics — the problem is the emphasis on American history and government in sweeping generalities. Some parts of history are glossed over to such an extreme that their recurrent themes are missed. For example, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which generally gets a paragraph buried in textbooks with Japanese Internment getting slightly more coverage.

      And then, presto, one week into 45’s term Muslims are excluded. Within six months Latin and Central Americans legally seeking asylum are interned in camps, their children trafficked into adoption.

      Only the “woke” make the connections and know to rebel and resist.

      The youngest are self-educating as David Hogg. Emma Gonzalez, Manuel Oliver, Cameron Kasky demonstrate. It’s unfortunate their lessons came hard earned at the point of a gun.

      • InfiniteLoop says:

        Heck, the last few chapters of my history books never even got opened. By the time we’d wrapped up WWII it was well into spring, and we were either prepping for end-of-year tests or mentally starting summer vacation. I had to take college electives to get a grounding in the history from my parents’ lives and my childhood.

        It’s hard enough to grapple with our nation’s mistakes when we know they exist. When we’re utterly ignorant of the conditions that created the policies we live under today, it’s impossible.

  11. Laura says:

    @P J Evans 11:53

    Civics, yes. We are not teaching kids how to be active, responsible citizens, which is the most important role any of us can have in a democracy.

    I’d also like to see an overhaul of our electoral process. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has been obviously disastrous. But I also wonder if we could make our electoral system more robust to shocks and manipulation by changing how we vote.

    I would be THRILLED to shorten the endless primary cycle. We could open up partisan primaries, make our national Election Day a holiday, enable automatic voter registration, encourage mail-in voting, and consider alternative methods for selecting officials, like rank-choice voting.

    All ideas the the GOP despises, of course.

    • bmaz says:

      I have said this many times, but since it is kind of a sleepy Saturday, I will again. While Citizens United is the convenient whipping post for so many people, it is not only not really the problem, but quite arguably was correctly decided under First Amendment law.

      The real problem was the far earlier SCOTUS decision in Buckley v. Valeo, all the way back in 1976. CU was a natural follow on, but not the seminal inflection point it is relentlessly made out to be. And, again, it is not necessarily wrong on 1A grounds. Buckley, on the other hand, is something that should not be. If you want to dive into this, take a look at “Plutocrats United” by campaign finance expert Rick Hasen, where he argues that access equality, not corporate speech, is the critical issue..

      • shadrivers says:

        I remember reading a defense of Citizens United decision, by one of the majority justices, that the original version included full disclosure of all contributions, and that that had been removed or diluted somewhere down the line.  Which made a reasonable interpretation incorporate a poisoned pill.  That’s my recollection anyway.   I commented once or twice years ago, possibly under a different name, so I’ll stay with this ID in the future.

    • Rayne says:

      My kids are both grown – one still in college, the other graduated 18 months ago. They both had three different sections on American government and history during their K-12 education here in Michigan, which included civics. They knew to vote, how to vote, and why. They know how to contact their representatives. They toured the state capital and had all manner of elected officials visit them in school. These two were part of a wave of new, younger voters in 2016.

      Here’s the problem, which I saw outlined in a tweet yesterday: a middle school employee asked a 13-year-old student if he knew what Thursday was, expecting he’d say it was Valentine’s Day. The teen replied, All those kids died a year ago today and nothing’s changed. (I can’t find the original tweet now or I’d share it.)

      The problem isn’t the kids. It’s the adults who are failing them, the ones who supposedly had civics back when they still taught them. The ones who repeatedly demonstrate they care more about corporate profits than children’s lives.

      It’s a problem of ethics and values, not civics.

  12. silcominc says:

    There are actual attempts at doing some of these things. The voting legislation in the HOuse is great but of course, the GOP Senate would not even consider it. And your right – getting rid of dark money is HUGE.

    Rayne, I asked about the NRA (above) and the site you listed shows only a fraction of the funds they pushed into the election. The vast majority being dark money.

  13. Laura says:

    @Bmaz – Thanks for the pointer. I am a supporter of fairvote.org, which advocates for electoral reform. We need experiments in democracy that help us become collectively more robust to the pernicious influence of big money.

    @Rayne – I think we actually agree about what it means to teach kids to be “citizens” – your account isn’t how I re remember being taught ‘Civics.’ Then again, I went to a small Catholic high school with some very well-educated teachers, back in the Reagan era, right when Iran Contra was unfolding. I remember one of our teachers was a former Jesuit who was openly a Republican – and openly disgusted with Iran-Contra. These days he’d probably be considered a RINO, because he was more of an Eisenhower type… anyway, we spent one year studying the institutions of government through a combination of a textbook and the news, which was simpler back then. We’d truck to the local library every couple of weeks and dig through the major papers for stories that we’d bring to class, examining the flows of money and influence that were the seamy underside of Iran-Contra and the ethics of supporting death squads, the emergence of the Sanctuary movement to shelter Central American migrants… sounds depressingly familiar. Anyway, it was challenging and formative – I’ll never forget it. I wish more kids had that kind of training in critical citizenship today, but everything is so politically charged now that few places could pull it off without being accused of ‘bias’ by the simple act of getting kids to ask tough questions. Which is dismaying.

  14. Laura says:

    @Rayne/OT:  Also…. I came home from a business trip yesterday to discover the TR-7 was gone from the driveway.  Husband sold it to some poor sod who paid $50 for the privilege of assuming the curse.

    • P J Evans says:

      A friend was tasked with finding a buyer for his aunt’s Mustang, when she quit driving (in her late 80s). He found one – in Sweden! – who was willing to pay $25K for it. (IIRC it was a classic Mustang, in good shape, and as it had never lived outside southern California, it hadn’t been exposed to road salt.)

      • Laura says:

        This car was not any of those things…  Drivable.  In good shape.

        Which makes me wonder about the weekend-project-fixer-upper-driveway-project conversion stats:  how many of these projects really turn into a drivable car?

  15. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    [email protected]:52PM

    “The problem isn’t the kids. It’s the adults that are failing them.”
    Thank you so much. My 3 kids have all graduated with advanced degrees: my son is a high school English teacher, one of my daughters is a high school math teacher and my youngest daughter is a phd therapist who works primarily with adolescent women. But every generation we learn that the adults have failed the kids, it has been ever thus. This time, however, we old folks must be out in front of the kids instead of behind them chasing them out of the street with cops, batons and guns (thanks “Greatest Generation”). Thanks to communication technology, kids grow up today making more and more complicated decisions from moment to moment than we had to in a week. The kids are quite capable of dealing with the mess we’ve left ’em if we can just keep ’em alive long enough.

  16. SICK says:

    ew wrote about a 6 page SCSI report in March 2018 that stated:

    , “In a small number of states, Russian-affiliated cyber actors were able to gain access to restricted elements of election infrastructure. In a small number of states, these cyber actors were in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data; however, they did not appear to be in a position to manipulate individual votes or aggregate vote totals.”

    When voter registration data is DELETED, the voter who attempts to vote is not listed by name at their polling place, in which case the voter is given a provisional ballot at the polling place so they can still vote.

    However, if the voter registration data was DELETED, that vote is NOT COUNTED because the registration data isn’t in the system.

    So, while votes or vote totals were not changed, voter registrations (Democratic) could have been DELETED, which amounts to the same thing – changing the outcome because DELETED REGISTRATIONS DONT GET COUNTED.

    Since so many voter rolls were also purged, it’s likely more challenging to determine the cause of the DELETIONS by simply counting the number of DELETIONS.

    However, a comparison of intentionally purged VOTER REGISTRATIONS to total DELETED VOTER REGISTRATIONS of should be able to determine whether hacking caused the DELETION OF VOTER REGISTRATIONS (greater than the number purged) IN THE SWING STATES’ SWING DISTRICTS…

    and, this type of “granular voter data” by district was likely included in the polling data Manafort provided to Kilimnik on August 2, 2016 – and which Kilimnik delivered to Moscow via Oleg Deripaskas jet on October 3, 2016…

    • BeingThere says:

      Deliverey via Deripaska’s jet on Aug 3td 2016 I gather.

      “Flight records show that a private plane belonging to Deripaska landed at Newark Liberty International Airport shortly after midnight on Aug. 3, just hours after Kilimnik and Manafort met. The plane spent only a few hours on the ground before taking off again and returning to Moscow.” – from the WaPo.

      Also Rybolovlev’s plane departed from NJ area on 12th Aug bound for Dubrovnik and Budapest. – Glen Simpson interview house intelligence committee, 14 Nov 2017

    • SICK says:

      PJ- please clarify.

      My point is:

      1. voter registrations could have been completely DELETED (but not “altered”), thus preventing the voter with the DELETED voter registration from voting.

      2. Armed with accurate polling information by neighborhoods and even streets (via Manafort’s delivery of Trump campaign internal polling data), someone (Russian hackers) who wanted to “swing” the election could DELETE enough voter registrations in specific neighborhoods (in specific states) that typically voted Democratic (for example), to swing the election (without obviously large changes to the outcome).

      What did you mean.

      Thanks!

      • MattyG says:

        Speaking for myself, I agree with PJ that your point (which is spot on) makes sense if the paragraph starting with “When voter registration data is DELETED…” (the 3rd paragraph counting your opening line) is changed to read …ALTERED. That way your the distinction with deleted data (following paragraph) is maintained.

        Though no evidence has been made public (yet) about deleted registration data I’d put money on it. It would have been a most effective tactic to swing voting margins in the 1000’s were it was needed in the 3 swing states. It also would help explain anomalous known ‘under voting’ in critical precincts.

  17. Terry Sawyer says:

    It’s  time to put the Big Dick Toilet Salesman  meme to rest. It poisons the narrative and prevents broader circulation of your good point. Clearly, the guy is totally unqualified to be AG but not because he promoted a deeper toilet. 

    Further, it might be a good product.

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    As NorskieF says at 2:05, “But every generation we learn that the adults have failed the kids, it has been ever thus.”

    Here is a historical example written in 1950, something you probably did not learn in school, or even the library. The CIA is alleged to have purchased all copies from bookstores so it was unavailable. As they say, whoever controls the data controls the power.

    So, take a look at the reviews or blurbs for this title by James Stewart Martin (former chief of the Decartelization Branch of Military Government in Germany.)

    ”All Honorable Men: the story of the men on both sides of the Atlantic who successfully thwarted plans to dismantle the Nazi cartel system”

  19. J. H. Frank says:

    I have All Honorable Men on my kindle.

    It was republished as part of Open Road Media’s “Forbidden Bookshelf” series of suppressed books.

  20. Vinnie Gambone says:

    The “purged” vs “deleted”: Find it hard to believe that regular folks who care enough to vote would be nonchalant about being turned away from the voting booth, and not complain. Large numbers would have had to be deleted to have an affect. The minders of the voter files, wouldn’t they know, wouldn’t they see .
    Purging occurs to remove voters who have not cast a vote in over four years. The ruskies would be looking to purge the so called super voters, those who voted in 3 of the past 4 elections, primary or general. Not dismissing the possibility, just trying to follow the logic. The purge occurs after the non actives are separated out, and that batch of data gets erased.

    Perhaps there were large scale complaints by folks who were turned away, but you would think there’d be some scintilla of news on the subject under voter irregularities. Maybe there is, dunno. Certainly worth probing . I do recall there were attempts to hack various election commissions, but the news always said those attempts were unsuccessful.

    I bristle when these attempts are called “meddling”. Sounds like a cousin to medley. Sounds so harmless, innocuous . It’s sabotage.

    Hops nailed it. “The voting system most easily hacked is the brain of the voter.” They may have gotten in and changed data, but the larger damage seems to be they got into so many people’s heads.

    • Rayne says:

      Think like a marginalized person — someone with a minimum wage job who can barely afford the rent, someone who is regularly moving from apartment to apartment because rent increases, someone who is disabled and struggles to get to polling places, or is an American whose first language may not have been English. Think about places like Detroit where the municipality struggled for years to pay its bills and hasn’t been able to maintain voting infrastructure the way wealthier Grand Rapids has. These are the folks who are frequently turned away or told to fill out a provisional ballot and they accept it and never follow up on the provisional ballot. They vote Democratic Party most often, and only a couple more of their votes had to be “lost” in each precinct. They don’t kick up a big fight because the system is against them.

      But there were all manner of reported problems in 2016. There have been a LOT of problems for decades. And all these places have been ripe for meddling because they already had reported problems for years. Who’s going to notice one more broken voting machine in a precinct which has frequently had broken machines? Detroit had more than 80.

      You don’t recall “voter foreclosure” and how near a thing it was that people who lost their houses could have been turned away in 2008 because of address discrepancies? No one in media followed up in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 to make sure Republicans attempted that again, especially after ACORN was killed by the GOP. Nobody cared about these voters.

      Even the MI undervote was characterized as not out-of-line compared to 2012 and 2008 — except that it was nearly 2X what it was in 2008 when turn-out was stronger. And the difference meant everything.

      • Cathy says:

        Mmm-Hmm. More recent incarnation of voter foreclosure: disaster displacement. Good thing Tx Dept of State made the effort – I’d updated residency on the county registration website to match the new driver’s license several weeks prior to the midterms & was still put on the “naughty list” by a very kindly polling place volunteer. Her supervisor was pretty spazzed out though. We never did ask what Harvey did to their infrastructure…

  21. P J Evans says:

    @Vinnie Gambone February 16, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    There were complaints – but they didn’t get much attention (outside of the big cities where there were some problems), and Wisconsin and Michigan were run by the GOP-T, so they weren’t interested in voters who weren’t voting R. PA had a legislature run by Rs, so no joy there, either.
    Many states have crappy controls on the voter rolls – they still don’t see them as a potential target for hackers. That needs to change – at least, they should have paper copies that can’t be hacked so easily.
    And once you’ve gotten a provisional ballot and voted, it’s hard to find out if it’s being counted or not, in most places.

  22. SICK says:

    About the voter registrations:

    when your name isn’t listed at your polling place, (and if you can show ID or convince them you live in that area), they ask you if you’d like to use a “provisional ballot”, they don’t turn you away.

    When you vote with a provisional ballot, they don’t later inform you whether it was counted or not.

    If you’re name isn’t listed in the voter registration database, your provisional vote doesn’t get counted.

    So, DELETING names from the voter registration rolls would be a highly effective method for altering the vote tallies in specific neighborhoods.

    As for the more sweeping voter purges, my point was that these (presumably) would have been associated with a traceable algorithm that can be used to determine whether DELETED voter registrations were from an “intentional purge” by the registrar in a State, or whether the DELETIONS were the result of a hack (targeted to specific groups of likely Democratic voters).

  23. e.a.f. says:

    Of course American elections are being tampered with.   Some maybe trying to hide the fact, because they want to keep Trump in office.  Some are lying because the view an impending dictatorship more to their liking, etc.   Trump will do nothing to prevent tampering with the American elections and most likely is aiding and abetting in tampering, well perhaps he is actually to stupid to do it, but to the limited amount he can, he is, in my opinion.

    Now Canada has to watch to see how Russia and other tamper with our federal election this fall.

  24. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Thank you on your points. Opens new doors of thought. Not saying deletions didn’t happen. Saying they weren’t covered . Still, the max effect would be deleting super voters. Which comes back to Manafort’s polling data. To Rayn’es point maybe they deleted super voters who had moved in the last year, or some other formula for clever micro targeting deletions. I am sure this is what Trump’s election commission was investigating when they met I think that was like 30 years ago

    Thought there was report or a bill to make early voting a part of federal election law. Seeing some states like Wisconsin limiting early voting so that tells you R’s know it is not benefiting them. Hope there’s hearings and more discussion about early voting. Have no doubt though there are operators in almost every political machine, R’s and D’s who see early voting as a body blow to getting rowhouse candidates elected. A lot of people make a lot of money off running election day services.

    Obvious to me it’s good for the country, but it won’t happen without resistance, and the bulk of it will be insidious, not overt.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/05/midterm-election-early-voting-absentee-ballot-youth-vote-republican-democrat/1892285002/

  25. SICK says:

    I agree that there is voter suppression (due to new voter ID laws, and other schemes hatched by Republican Govenors and legislatures like reducing the number of polling places accessible by public transportation, etc.), and more in some states than others.

    In the states that “swung” the 2016 Presidential election, voter suppression was rampant, but there is no clear evidence that voter suppression ALONE swung the election in the most closely contested states.

    According to the Washington Post (Nov 11, 2016), “of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states effectively decided the election.”

    Trump won Michigan by 11,837 votes.

    Trump won Wisconsin by 27,257 votes.

    Trump won Pennsylvania by
    68,236 votes.

    Pennsylvania and Michigan had not voted for a Republican president since voting for George H.W. Bush in 1988. Wisconsin had not gone Republican since 1984.

    Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania account for 46 electoral votes. If Clinton had won these states, she could have sealed the presidency with 274 total electoral votes.

    In a study commissioned by the Dane County Clerk (Wisconsin) that was released Sept. 25, 2017, University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Kenneth Mayer found that the state’s voter ID law did keep significant numbers of people from voting in Dane and Milwaukee counties in the November 2016 election.
    Of the registered voters in those counties who didn’t vote in the election, this research found, 11.2 percent were deterred from voting because of the voter ID law.

    HOWEVER, the study DOES NOT indicate that Wisconsin’s voter ID law flipped any results in the 2016 election.

    Even had the new 2016 voter ID law kept 23,252 voters from the polls — the maximum in Dane and Milwaukee counties, according to the study’s calculations — and all of them had planned to vote for Democrats, that wouldn’t have closed Trump’s margin over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.

    So, the question remains, did Trump get help (likely Democratic voter registrations DELETED from the voting rolls in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) from the Russian recipients of the polling data Manafort provided to the Russians in August 2016…?

  26. MattyG says:

    @ Sick. In principal it should be easy to compare the “routine” voter registration purge lists used by Republican voting overseers with the actual voter rolls in each of these states – preferably at a precinct level – since GOP operators will probably have come to similar conclusions as the Kremlin on how best to cull for greatest effect. Or more to the point, the Kremlin was assisted by US operators on how best to accomplish this.

  27. Ronbo says:

    It’s a dead meme.  Not one piece of evidence, only propaganda and circumstantial evidence supports the Benghazi…. er… Russian trope.

    If we have to choose between two lies… don’t choose.  Don’t be deceived by the DNC and RNC.  They divert from reality into propaganda.

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