All posts by MPolitics

Trump Stumps for Senator in Las Vegas

President Donald Trump is in Las Vegas stumping for Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is in the fight of his career to keep his seat.

 

Trump is praising Heller as “a champion” of workers, veterans and families and says he has “no better friend.”

 

Heller, who once said he “vehemently” opposed Trump, has now allied himself with the president.

 

Trump says, “We started off slow, but we ended up strong.”

 

Heller is in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, a first-term congresswoman who stands to benefit from a wave of anti-Trump activism.

 

Trump is mocking Rosen as “Wacky Jacky.” 

 

Trump saved Heller from a costly primary earlier this year when he persuaded Danny Tarkanian to drop out of the Senate race and instead seek a House seat.

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Trump Stumps for Senator in Las Vegas

President Donald Trump is in Las Vegas stumping for Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is in the fight of his career to keep his seat.

 

Trump is praising Heller as “a champion” of workers, veterans and families and says he has “no better friend.”

 

Heller, who once said he “vehemently” opposed Trump, has now allied himself with the president.

 

Trump says, “We started off slow, but we ended up strong.”

 

Heller is in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, a first-term congresswoman who stands to benefit from a wave of anti-Trump activism.

 

Trump is mocking Rosen as “Wacky Jacky.” 

 

Trump saved Heller from a costly primary earlier this year when he persuaded Danny Tarkanian to drop out of the Senate race and instead seek a House seat.

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Facebook to Drop On-site Support for Political Campaigns

Facebook Inc. said Thursday that it would no longer dispatch employees to the offices of political campaigns to offer support ahead of elections, as it did with U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2016 race.

The company and other major online ad sellers, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc., have long offered free dedicated assistance to strengthen relationships with top advertisers such as presidential campaigns.

Brad Parscale, who was Trump’s online ads chief in 2016, last year called on-site “embeds” from Facebook crucial to the candidate’s victory. Facebook has said that Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton was offered identical help, but she accepted a different level than Trump.

Google and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests to comment on whether they also would pull back support.

Facebook said it could offer assistance to more candidates globally by focusing on offering support through an online portal instead of in person. It said that political organizations still would be able to contact employees to

receive basic training on using Facebook or for assistance on getting ads approved.

Bloomberg first reported the new approach.

Shaping communications

Facebook, Twitter, and Google served as “quasi-digital consultants” to U.S. election campaigns in 2016, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Utah found in a paper published a year ago.

The companies helped campaigns navigate their services’ ad systems and “actively” shaped campaign communication by suggesting what types of messages to direct to whom, the researchers stated.

Facebook’s involvement with Trump’s campaign drew scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers after the company found its user data had separately been misused by political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which consulted for the Trump campaign. 

In written testimony to U.S. lawmakers in June, Facebook said its employees had not spotted any misuse “in the course of their interactions with Cambridge Analytica” during the election.

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Facebook to Drop On-site Support for Political Campaigns

Facebook Inc. said Thursday that it would no longer dispatch employees to the offices of political campaigns to offer support ahead of elections, as it did with U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2016 race.

The company and other major online ad sellers, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc., have long offered free dedicated assistance to strengthen relationships with top advertisers such as presidential campaigns.

Brad Parscale, who was Trump’s online ads chief in 2016, last year called on-site “embeds” from Facebook crucial to the candidate’s victory. Facebook has said that Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton was offered identical help, but she accepted a different level than Trump.

Google and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests to comment on whether they also would pull back support.

Facebook said it could offer assistance to more candidates globally by focusing on offering support through an online portal instead of in person. It said that political organizations still would be able to contact employees to

receive basic training on using Facebook or for assistance on getting ads approved.

Bloomberg first reported the new approach.

Shaping communications

Facebook, Twitter, and Google served as “quasi-digital consultants” to U.S. election campaigns in 2016, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Utah found in a paper published a year ago.

The companies helped campaigns navigate their services’ ad systems and “actively” shaped campaign communication by suggesting what types of messages to direct to whom, the researchers stated.

Facebook’s involvement with Trump’s campaign drew scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers after the company found its user data had separately been misused by political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which consulted for the Trump campaign. 

In written testimony to U.S. lawmakers in June, Facebook said its employees had not spotted any misuse “in the course of their interactions with Cambridge Analytica” during the election.

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US Prepared to Strike in Cyberspace

The United States is prepared to go on the offensive in cyberspace to ensure adversaries know there is a price to pay for hacks, network intrusions and other types of attacks.

President Donald Trump signed a new National Cyber Strategy on Thursday, calling for a more aggressive response to the growing online threat posed by other countries, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

“My administration will use all available means to keep America safe from cyber threats,” Trump said in a statement, calling the new strategy an “important step.”

Other key officials called the new strategy an important and badly needed change.

“We’re not just on defense,” National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters. “We’re going to do a lot of things offensively, and I think our adversaries need to know that.”

“Our hands are not tied as they were in the Obama administration,” he added.

Strategy effective immediately

The strategy, which takes effect immediately, is being billed by the Trump administration as the first “fully articulated” cyberstrategy in 15 years, providing direction to various departments and agencies on how best to protect their data as well as the private data of millions of Americans.

The internet has brought prosperity and productivity to American lives and those across the world, Bolton said. 

“We must do more to ensure it is secure and remains an engine of American growth,” he added.

He said the ultimate goal is “to create the structures of deterrence that will demonstrate to adversaries that the cost of their engaging in operations against us is higher than they want to bear.”

​Midterm elections

The new strategy comes less than two months before the U.S. midterm elections Nov. 6, and as key security and intelligence officials have amplified their warnings that Russia and other adversaries, such as China, Iran and North Korea, may seek to use cyber means to interfere.

“I remain deeply concerned about threats from several countries,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during a security conference outside Washington earlier this month, warning the threats are even more pervasive.

“Influence efforts online are increasingly being used around the globe,” Coats said. “The weaponization of cybertools and the relative lack of global guardrails significantly increases the risk.”

Promoting responsible behavior

The new U.S. cyberstrategy seeks to allay some of those concerns by promoting responsible behavior in cyberspace, urging nations to adhere to a set of norms, both through international law and voluntary standards.

It also calls for specific measures to harden U.S. government networks from attacks, like the June 2015 intrusion into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which compromised the records of about 4.2 million current and former government employees, an attack attributed to China.

And the strategy calls for the U.S. to continue to name and shame bad cyber actors, calling them out publicly for attacks when possible, along with the use of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

“Not every response to a cyberattack would be in the cyber world,” Bolton said, calling offensive cyber tools “part of the range of instruments of national power that we have.”

​Obama directive reversed

As for what offensive cyber measures might look like, Bolton would not say. But White House officials contend they have already made it easier for the military to hack back by reversing a directive from the Obama administration known as PPD-20, which created what they describe as a lengthy approval process for any offensive operation.

Military officials have said that newfound flexibility is being put to use.

“We are engaged every single day against our adversaries,” U.S. Cyber Command Commander General Paul Nakasone said at a security conference earlier this month.

“It may not be readily apparent because we are doing this very closely held,” Nakasone said, adding, “the forces that are working are well-trained, extremely capable and ready to do what’s necessary.”

Earlier criticism

The Trump administration has come under criticism at times for its approach to cybersecurity, raising concerns earlier this year when it eliminated the National Security Council’s cybersecurity coordinator.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office also said that the administration’s efforts lacked “a more clearly defined, coordinated and comprehensive approach,” a charge repeated by some members of Congress.

But Bolton said the new strategy should ease such concerns.

“I’m satisfied that this allows us the comprehensive look at strategy across the entire government,” Bolton said. “Each agency knows its lane and is pursuing it vigorously.”

The new strategy also places a heavy emphasis on working with allies.

“There will be consultations, there have been already, with friends and allies because many of us are vulnerable to the same hostile actions,” Bolton said. “It’s very important that we work through our alliance structures where we can do that.”

White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman contributed to this article.

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US Prepared to Strike in Cyberspace

The United States is prepared to go on the offensive in cyberspace to ensure adversaries know there is a price to pay for hacks, network intrusions and other types of attacks.

President Donald Trump signed a new National Cyber Strategy on Thursday, calling for a more aggressive response to the growing online threat posed by other countries, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

“My administration will use all available means to keep America safe from cyber threats,” Trump said in a statement, calling the new strategy an “important step.”

Other key officials called the new strategy an important and badly needed change.

“We’re not just on defense,” National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters. “We’re going to do a lot of things offensively, and I think our adversaries need to know that.”

“Our hands are not tied as they were in the Obama administration,” he added.

Strategy effective immediately

The strategy, which takes effect immediately, is being billed by the Trump administration as the first “fully articulated” cyberstrategy in 15 years, providing direction to various departments and agencies on how best to protect their data as well as the private data of millions of Americans.

The internet has brought prosperity and productivity to American lives and those across the world, Bolton said. 

“We must do more to ensure it is secure and remains an engine of American growth,” he added.

He said the ultimate goal is “to create the structures of deterrence that will demonstrate to adversaries that the cost of their engaging in operations against us is higher than they want to bear.”

​Midterm elections

The new strategy comes less than two months before the U.S. midterm elections Nov. 6, and as key security and intelligence officials have amplified their warnings that Russia and other adversaries, such as China, Iran and North Korea, may seek to use cyber means to interfere.

“I remain deeply concerned about threats from several countries,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during a security conference outside Washington earlier this month, warning the threats are even more pervasive.

“Influence efforts online are increasingly being used around the globe,” Coats said. “The weaponization of cybertools and the relative lack of global guardrails significantly increases the risk.”

Promoting responsible behavior

The new U.S. cyberstrategy seeks to allay some of those concerns by promoting responsible behavior in cyberspace, urging nations to adhere to a set of norms, both through international law and voluntary standards.

It also calls for specific measures to harden U.S. government networks from attacks, like the June 2015 intrusion into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which compromised the records of about 4.2 million current and former government employees, an attack attributed to China.

And the strategy calls for the U.S. to continue to name and shame bad cyber actors, calling them out publicly for attacks when possible, along with the use of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

“Not every response to a cyberattack would be in the cyber world,” Bolton said, calling offensive cyber tools “part of the range of instruments of national power that we have.”

​Obama directive reversed

As for what offensive cyber measures might look like, Bolton would not say. But White House officials contend they have already made it easier for the military to hack back by reversing a directive from the Obama administration known as PPD-20, which created what they describe as a lengthy approval process for any offensive operation.

Military officials have said that newfound flexibility is being put to use.

“We are engaged every single day against our adversaries,” U.S. Cyber Command Commander General Paul Nakasone said at a security conference earlier this month.

“It may not be readily apparent because we are doing this very closely held,” Nakasone said, adding, “the forces that are working are well-trained, extremely capable and ready to do what’s necessary.”

Earlier criticism

The Trump administration has come under criticism at times for its approach to cybersecurity, raising concerns earlier this year when it eliminated the National Security Council’s cybersecurity coordinator.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office also said that the administration’s efforts lacked “a more clearly defined, coordinated and comprehensive approach,” a charge repeated by some members of Congress.

But Bolton said the new strategy should ease such concerns.

“I’m satisfied that this allows us the comprehensive look at strategy across the entire government,” Bolton said. “Each agency knows its lane and is pursuing it vigorously.”

The new strategy also places a heavy emphasis on working with allies.

“There will be consultations, there have been already, with friends and allies because many of us are vulnerable to the same hostile actions,” Bolton said. “It’s very important that we work through our alliance structures where we can do that.”

White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman contributed to this article.

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Republicans Want Decision on Whether Kavanaugh Accuser Will Testify

The head of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee says the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her has until Friday morning to indicate she plans to testify before the panel in a hearing Monday.

California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago when both were in high school, an alleged attack that left Ford fearful for her life. Kavanaugh has denied the claims.

 

WATCH: Fate of Supreme Court Nominee Rests With a Divided Senate

“As you know, I have reopened the hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in light of Dr. Ford’s allegations,” Chairman Chuck Grassley said in a letter Wednesday. “That hearing will begin again on Monday, September 25, at 10 a.m. I have invited Dr. Ford to testify regarding her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. And in recognition of how difficult it can be to discuss allegations of this kind in public, I have also offered her the choice of testifying in either a public or closed session of the hearing.”

Ford has not indicated whether she will attend the hearing. Her lawyers have called for an FBI probe of her allegations before she testifies.

“The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the committee discovering the truth,” Lisa Banks, one of Ford’s lawyers, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

Banks said Ford and her family have received threats, which has caused them to leave their home.

“She continues to believe that a full, nonpartisan investigation of this matter is needed, and she is willing to cooperate with the committee,” Banks said. “However, the committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime seat on the country’s highest court.

Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate. The Judiciary Committee had been expected to vote on Kavanaugh Thursday, but that was pushed back after Ford went public with her accusation in a Washington Post article.

Many Republicans have called for the confirmation process to go forward, accusing Democrats of trying to stall. Democrats have said there is no need to rush and that the allegations should be fully considered.

Democrats seek FBI inquiry

That continued Wednesday with Democratic Senator Kamala Harris saying Republican opposition to an FBI probe “doesn’t make sense.”

“Members of the U.S. Senate should exercise due diligence, not rush toward a vote for a lifetime appointment. The people we represent didn’t send us here to shirk our duty,” she said.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch wrote in the Washington Examiner that both Kavanaugh and Ford should directly address the allegations before the committee, but that Democrats have mishandled the process.

“No matter the outcome, Democrats should be held responsible for circumventing the very process that protects people like Ford. Their decision to reveal this allegation at the most politically damaging moment reeks of opportunism,” Hatch said.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, to whom Ford wrote a letter in July outlining her allegations, has defended the timing of how the information became public, saying it was only appropriate for Ford to make that decision.

President Donald Trump expressed support for his nominee Wednesday, saying that “it’s very hard for me to imagine” that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford.

Trump said he hopes Ford testifies at Monday’s hearing.

“I really want to see her, to see what she has to say,” Trump said of Ford, now 51. He said it “would be unfortunate” if she does not appear.

​Anita Hill

Meanwhile, Anita Hill, the law professor at the center of lurid 1991 confirmation hearings involving Clarence Thomas as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, supported Ford’s call for an FBI investigation of her claims.

Hill told ABC’s Good Morning America show: “The American public really is expecting something more. They want to know that the Senate takes this seriously.”

Hill, now a law professor at Brandeis University, said Republican leaders are in an unnecessary rush to confirm Kavanaugh.

“Either they don’t take this seriously,” she said, “or … they just want to get it over. I’m not sure which is in play. Maybe they’re not concerned, or maybe they don’t know how to handle this kind of situation.”

The specter of Hill’s allegations 27 years ago that Thomas often sexually harassed her when they both worked for a federal government agency hangs heavy over the current Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings.

Hill’s accusations were largely dismissed then by the all-male Senate committee, but many American women sympathized with her claims against Thomas, saying they resonated with their own experiences in the workplace. Thomas was confirmed on a narrow Senate vote and remains a conservative stalwart on the court to this day.

Republican lawmakers are trying to win Senate confirmation for Kavanaugh ahead of the start of the court’s new term, Oct. 1, or if not by then, ahead of the Nov. 6 nationwide congressional elections, to show Republican voters they have made good on campaign promises to place conservative judges like Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

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Republicans Want Decision on Whether Kavanaugh Accuser Will Testify

The head of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee says the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her has until Friday morning to indicate she plans to testify before the panel in a hearing Monday.

California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago when both were in high school, an alleged attack that left Ford fearful for her life. Kavanaugh has denied the claims.

 

WATCH: Fate of Supreme Court Nominee Rests With a Divided Senate

“As you know, I have reopened the hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in light of Dr. Ford’s allegations,” Chairman Chuck Grassley said in a letter Wednesday. “That hearing will begin again on Monday, September 25, at 10 a.m. I have invited Dr. Ford to testify regarding her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. And in recognition of how difficult it can be to discuss allegations of this kind in public, I have also offered her the choice of testifying in either a public or closed session of the hearing.”

Ford has not indicated whether she will attend the hearing. Her lawyers have called for an FBI probe of her allegations before she testifies.

“The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the committee discovering the truth,” Lisa Banks, one of Ford’s lawyers, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

Banks said Ford and her family have received threats, which has caused them to leave their home.

“She continues to believe that a full, nonpartisan investigation of this matter is needed, and she is willing to cooperate with the committee,” Banks said. “However, the committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime seat on the country’s highest court.

Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate. The Judiciary Committee had been expected to vote on Kavanaugh Thursday, but that was pushed back after Ford went public with her accusation in a Washington Post article.

Many Republicans have called for the confirmation process to go forward, accusing Democrats of trying to stall. Democrats have said there is no need to rush and that the allegations should be fully considered.

Democrats seek FBI inquiry

That continued Wednesday with Democratic Senator Kamala Harris saying Republican opposition to an FBI probe “doesn’t make sense.”

“Members of the U.S. Senate should exercise due diligence, not rush toward a vote for a lifetime appointment. The people we represent didn’t send us here to shirk our duty,” she said.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch wrote in the Washington Examiner that both Kavanaugh and Ford should directly address the allegations before the committee, but that Democrats have mishandled the process.

“No matter the outcome, Democrats should be held responsible for circumventing the very process that protects people like Ford. Their decision to reveal this allegation at the most politically damaging moment reeks of opportunism,” Hatch said.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, to whom Ford wrote a letter in July outlining her allegations, has defended the timing of how the information became public, saying it was only appropriate for Ford to make that decision.

President Donald Trump expressed support for his nominee Wednesday, saying that “it’s very hard for me to imagine” that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford.

Trump said he hopes Ford testifies at Monday’s hearing.

“I really want to see her, to see what she has to say,” Trump said of Ford, now 51. He said it “would be unfortunate” if she does not appear.

​Anita Hill

Meanwhile, Anita Hill, the law professor at the center of lurid 1991 confirmation hearings involving Clarence Thomas as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, supported Ford’s call for an FBI investigation of her claims.

Hill told ABC’s Good Morning America show: “The American public really is expecting something more. They want to know that the Senate takes this seriously.”

Hill, now a law professor at Brandeis University, said Republican leaders are in an unnecessary rush to confirm Kavanaugh.

“Either they don’t take this seriously,” she said, “or … they just want to get it over. I’m not sure which is in play. Maybe they’re not concerned, or maybe they don’t know how to handle this kind of situation.”

The specter of Hill’s allegations 27 years ago that Thomas often sexually harassed her when they both worked for a federal government agency hangs heavy over the current Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings.

Hill’s accusations were largely dismissed then by the all-male Senate committee, but many American women sympathized with her claims against Thomas, saying they resonated with their own experiences in the workplace. Thomas was confirmed on a narrow Senate vote and remains a conservative stalwart on the court to this day.

Republican lawmakers are trying to win Senate confirmation for Kavanaugh ahead of the start of the court’s new term, Oct. 1, or if not by then, ahead of the Nov. 6 nationwide congressional elections, to show Republican voters they have made good on campaign promises to place conservative judges like Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

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Fate of Supreme Court Nominee Rests With a Divided Senate

The U.S. Senate remains divided over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied an allegation by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Ford and Democrats are seeking an FBI investigation into the alleged assault before she would testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee, while President Donald Trump and Republicans are so far resisting. More on the battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination from VOA national correspondent Jim Malone.

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Fate of Supreme Court Nominee Rests With a Divided Senate

The U.S. Senate remains divided over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied an allegation by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Ford and Democrats are seeking an FBI investigation into the alleged assault before she would testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee, while President Donald Trump and Republicans are so far resisting. More on the battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination from VOA national correspondent Jim Malone.

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