News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
From Washington Post
The Justice Department plans to alert the public to foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy under a new policy designed to counter hacking and disinformation campaigns such as the one Russia undertook in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.
The government will inform American companies, private organizations and individuals that they are being covertly attacked by foreign actors attempting to affect elections or the political process.
“Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who announced the policy at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. Rosenstein, who has drawn President Trump’s ire for appointing a special counsel to probe Russian election interference, got a standing ovation.“The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda,” he said.
From The Hill
The special master in the case of President Trump‘s former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, has reportedly rejected more than a third of his legal team’s assertions that documents seized by federal agents are limited by attorney-client privilege.
According to court documents filed Thursday, Special master Barbara Jones found that 1,452 out of the 4,085 items designated privileged by the lawyer’s legal team are not privileged. Jones “agrees with the plaintiff” that 2,633 of the documents or records meet attorney-client privilege standards.
The items that have been designated not privileged will “promptly be released to the government” for potential use by prosecutors in the case against Cohen, court documents say.
The Republican National Committee has officially selected Charlotte, North Carolina, as the site of its 2020 Republican National Convention.
The decision, made Friday at the group’s annual summer meeting in Austin, Texas, marks the end of a yearlong search for the site at which the party will likely tap President Donald Trump for a second term.
“We look forward to seeing the Queen City take center stage as the Republican Party re-nominates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to continue fighting for the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
Donald Trump’s legal team and close allies are increasingly concerned that the President’s widely panned performance standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week could strengthen the hand of special counsel Robert Mueller at a critical time.
The caution is a notable change in tone from just before the summit, when the President’s team seemed bolstered by a political climate that married declining public support for Mueller’s probe with an inspector general report that raised significant questions about the conduct of the FBI.
But one source with knowledge of legal team thinking says it’s now legitimate to fear that Trump’s erratic behavior at the Helsinki summit, coupled with last week’s indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers, could be an inflection point in the whole process — one that could potentially make Trump less sympathetic and conceivably embolden Mueller.
From The Hill
The NFL announced Thursday that it will freeze its new policy requiring players to remain standing during the national anthem.
The NFL said in a statement that it has been “working on a resolution to the anthem issue” with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), one week after the association filed a grievance against the league over its controversial anthem policy.
“In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy,” the NFL’s statement reads. “No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”
A Russian politician claimed on TV that Russian intelligence “stole” the U.S. presidential election under the nose of U.S. intelligence.
Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, appeared Sunday night on a show hosted by presenter Vladimir Solovyov that focused on whether U.S. global influence was in decline.
“U.S. intelligence missed it when Russian intelligence stole the president of the United States,” said Nikonov, before going on to extol the superior ability of Russian versus U.S. intelligence.
The comments were highlighted by Julia Davis, who runs the “Russian Lies” blog, which claims to “combat Russian propaganda.”
University of Virginia professor Allen Lynch, an expert on Russian foreign policy, told the Hill that Nikonov was not so much explaining Russia’s influence during the U.S. election as discussing how the chaos of the fallout was emblematic of U.S. decline.
“His point in making the remark was that if the U.S. can’t protect the integrity of its own electoral system, then how powerful can it really be?” wrote Lynch in an email to the outlet.
From The Hill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s (R-Ky.) office indicated Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not invited to Congress if he visits Washington, D.C., this fall.
“There is no invitation from Congress,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said in an email to The Hill.
Foreign leaders traveling to Washington to visit the White House are generally extended an invitation to Capitol Hill. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, delivered an address before Congress during his trip to D.C. in April.
McConnell’s office weighed in on a possible Putin visit after the White House said Thursday that President Trump had asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington for a second meeting this fall after the two leaders met in Helsinki on Monday.
Mariia Butina, the Russian gun enthusiast who was accused this week of acting as an illegal foreign agent, said in 2014 that she was twice denied visas to travel to the U.S. and received permission only on her third attempt to go to a National Rifle Association conference.
On April 25, 2014, Butina — who on Wednesday was ordered to be held in jail pending trial — posted to her LiveJournal blog from Indianapolis, where she was attending the NRA’s annual “congress” as the leader of the Right to Bear Arms organization, which advocates looser gun control policies in Russia.
“I only got a visa to the United States for annual NRA meetings on the third try. Before that, I missed these congresses for two years because of the opposition of the American government bureaucracy,” said the post, which includes photos of her with NRA leaders and other attendees.