The Russia watchTrump campaign’s information sharing with Russia; Steel Dossier: 2 years on; Russia & U.S. electrical grid, and more

Published 11 January 2019

·  Trump campaign in legal jeopardy over Manafort’s sharing data with Russian agent

·  PayPal drops sanctioned Russian propaganda site

·  Israel says it can foil foreign election meddling amid scare

·  America’s electric grid has a vulnerable Back Door—and Russia walked through it

·  Countering Russian disinformation the Baltic nations’ way

·  Older people shared fake news on Facebook more than others in 2016 race, study says

·  Russian firm barred from US networks as a spy threat helped the NSA nab suspect in massive breach

·  Grading the Steele dossier 2 years later: what’s been corroborated and what’s still unclear

Trump campaign in legal jeopardy over Manafort’s sharing data with Russian agent (Paul Seamus Ryan, Just Security)
According to a court filing earlier this week, former 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian citizen with ties to Russian intelligence. If the data Manafort shared with Kilimnik was used to materially guide spending by Russian nationals to influence the 2016 presidential election, then the Trump campaign seemingly received an “in-kind contribution” from the Russian nationals in the form of “coordinated expenditures” in violation of multiple federal campaign finance laws. A key link in the “coordination” here is the revelation of Manafort’s actions.
If Manafort and [deputy Trump Campaign chairman Rick] Gates did in fact share campaign data with Kilimnik, and Kilimnik and/or any other Russians used that data to materially guide Russian political expenditures in support of the 2016 Trump campaign, then the Russian expenditures would be “coordinated” with the Trump campaign under campaign finance law.
More precisely, if Russians used data obtained from Manafort and/or Gates to inform their decisions about paid advertising mentioning Trump or Clinton—decisions about the content of the ads, the timing of the ads, the intended audience of the ads, etc.—then the ads would likely meet the federal law definition of “coordinated communications.”
Funds paid by Russians to distribute or promote such ads on social or traditional media platforms would be “in-kind contributions” to the Trump campaign under federal campaign finance law — meaning the Trump campaign would have violated the federal law ban on receiving foreign national contributions and related disclosure requirements.
In fact, any request, suggestion or recommendation by Manafort or Gates to Kilimnik or other Russians to run ads supporting Trump based on the polling data Manafort and Gates provided would violate federal law, even if the Russians didn’t follow through on the request. Such a request or suggestion by Manafort or Gates would amount to an illegal solicitation of a “coordinated communication” — i.e., in-kind contribution — from a foreign national. (Cont.)