What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Was Putin Hands-On in Anti-Hillary Hacks? And, Trump Political Ally Shows Up In Russia

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Putin Hands-On in Anti-Hillary Hacks?

Russia's President Vladimir Putin with his Akita Yume at the Kremlin. (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/TASS via Getty Images)

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Did Putin direct the use of hacked info? –> NBC News is reporting that unnamed, high-level intelligence officials “now believe with ‘a high level of confidence’ that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the US presidential election.” According to the NBC report, “Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for US allies, the officials said.

“Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a ‘vendetta’ against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to ‘split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the US to be a credible global leader anymore,’ the official said.”

Meanwhile, a Trump political pal shows up in Moscow. “On Monday, Jack Kingston, a former Trump surrogate, briefed American businesspeople in Russia on what they might expect from the incoming administration,” NPR reports. “Lifting Western sanctions that were imposed on Russia because of its armed intervention in Ukraine has become the top priority not only for the Kremlin but for foreign companies working in Moscow.”

Bounced –> Twitter reportedly was kicked out of a meeting between Donald Trump and tech CEOs yesterday because, during the campaign, it would not allow Trump’s team to offer a custom #CrookedHillary emoji that would show a bag of cash whenever someone typed those words. Politico reports that “the social media company’s exclusion from the much-publicized, feel-good confab in Trump Tower stemmed from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s role in rejecting the anti-Clinton emoji — a rejection that brought public complaints from the president-elect’s campaign.”

Backing off that questionnaire –> “Donald Trump’s transition team is disavowing a questionnaire sent to the Energy Department requesting the names of employees working on climate change issues,” CNN reports. “‘The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled,’ a Trump transition official told CNN Wednesday.”

But the Trump climate team is still dissing the scientific consensus. Hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci, a member of that transition group, told CNN: “There was overwhelming science that the earth was flat and there was an overwhelming science that we were the center of the world… We get a lot of things wrong in the scientific community.” (As someone clearly needs to be reminded, at least 97 percent of scientists are on the same page — climate change is happening and humans are causing it.)

Pizzagate disappears –> Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, proprietor of the website InfoWars, amplifies and spreads many of the false news stories that have been circulating. But apparently he’s dropping the Hillary Clinton/John Podesta/Pizzagate narrative. Eric Hananoki reports for Media Matters, “Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is scrubbing online content pushing the false and dangerous conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trafficked children through a DC pizzeria. A man who recently entered the pizzeria with a rifle and fired shots reportedly shared a piece of Jones’ content before the shooting; the video he shared is still on the website.”

Classy: North Carolina GOP works to undermine new Democratic governor –> “Republicans in the North Carolina legislature on Wednesday took the highly unusual step of moving to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor after a bitter election that extended years of fierce ideological battles in the state,” Trip Gabriel reports for The New York Times. “After calling a surprise special session, Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly introduced measures to end the governor’s control over election boards, to require State Senate approval of the new governor’s cabinet members and to strip his power to appoint University of North Carolina trustees.”

Bonus compensation –> Entertainment news site The Wrap: “President-elect Donald Trump’s team is struggling so hard to book A-list performers for his inaugural festivities that it offered ambassadorships to at least two talent bookers if they could deliver marquee names, the bookers told The Wrap.”

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.