President Donald Trump, who took a national security briefing on North Korea last week while dining in a public restaurant at his Mar-a-Lago restaurant, tweeted on an unsecured phone today that Americans shouldn’t forget about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.
“I let her off the hook, but we shouldn’t forget how she risked national security with her emails,” Trump tweeted from his iPhone 7.
In another tweet, Trump said he might have his Department of Justice take a look at what she did, even though he had said after the election he would let the matter drop, because “Russians, others could have hacked her like they did the DNC.”
National security experts have been critical of Trump’s security practices since it was revealed he took a sensitive call about North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile on Friday while dining with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe amidst other diners at his Mar-a-Lago restaurant. Security specialists say it’s unprecedented for a president to take such a sensitive call in public rather than move to a secure location. “Could any moderately talented hacker listen in on that call?” says Robert Morton, a cyber security expert with Manaport-Insight. a private digital security company in Miami. “Yes, and without breaking a sweat.”
Morton says he’d be surprised if the Russians haven’t already hacked into Trump’s phone and are recording everything he says and writes on the device. “I could do it myself but of course I would never do that,” he says.
In another tweet, Trump says Hillary likely was the indirect cause of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russians during the presidential election by “showing them how easy it would be to fool Podesta. So thoughtless!”
John Podesta was Clinton’s campaign manager whose hacked email opened the door to the DNC hacking.
Trump has been critical of Podesta for making himself such an easy target for hackers. “He made it too simple for the cyber spies to get at him,” Trump said last week, according to a transcript of a call he made to Michael Flynn, his recently resigned national security advisor, that was posted on WikiLeaks on Saturday.
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President Donald Trump, on the defensive for staff contacts with the Russian government before he was sworn in as president, said the only scandal is the unsecured server Hilary Clinton used as secretary of state when Barack Obama was president and that he is directing the Department of Justice to open up an investigation into what she did, and didn’t do, with her server even though after the election he said he would let the matter drop. “You have 30,000 emails that could have been compromised because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server,” said Trump, who continues to use an unsecured phone for conversations and tweeting and who has taken national security briefings in public locations, including a restaurant in his Mar-a-Lago resort. More.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former prosecutor who led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, says he is ready to “pull out all the stops” to learn whether laws were broken when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn held talks with Russia about lifting sanctions while Barack Obama was still president. “If the contacts were in fact about the lifting of sanctions, then that would be a clear violation of U.S. law and appropriate steps would have to be taken,” says Gowdy, who earned a reputation in Congress for his tough prosecutorial approach when he led the special committee on what Hillary Clinton knew and didn’t know about the raid on the U.S. embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens. More.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week are tweaking 2017 budget legislation to allocate money for construction of the Mexican border wall, a priority of incoming president Donald Trump, but the budgetary maneuver faces a high hurdle to get past Democrats—and might not even be necessary. A consortium of Russian businessmen, including one who is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has come forward with a proposal to create a private fund that would pay for the wall, enabling Trump to meet his highest-profile campaign promise without taking money away from other U.S. priorities or adding to the federal deficit. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what is not that any compromising information the Russians could reveal about him would not hurt his political standing among his supporters. “If Russian hackers were to reveal that I, say, participated in a golden shower with prostitutes, no one who supports me would believe it,” Trump said today at Trump Tower in New York City. “I’m not saying I participated in that on any of my tips to Moscow when I was seeking Russian money to bail my company out of bankruptcy. But even if I did and the Russians released a video of me doing it, it wouldn’t affect me. Everything is doctored, everything is fake. More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he will move U.S. spy operations to Russia, which has “terrific” surveillance and “fantastic” intelligence gathering. “Our spy operations are a disaster,” Trump said after meeting with Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who is in line to head up the CIA. Trump said his “good relationship” with Russia president Vladimir Putin makes the partnership with Russia’s spy agency, known as the KGB, a “fantastic opportunity to get the best intelligence, the best knowledge of what’s going on in the world.” More.
The Democratic National Committee has been hacked. Colin Powell has been hacked. The NSA has been hacked. The American Olympic Committee has been hacked. So many opportunities. So many directions. When you can get into any email you want, whose email do you get into next? That’s the question Russia’s state-supported hackers have been asking themselves and now they want to get your input. In a first for Russia’s hackers, they’ve put out a call on their Facebook page to get ideas from you on whose lives they should turn upside down next. “Tom Brady? Beyonce? Barbra Streisand? It’s just so hard to know,” said the group, which calls itself Анонимный, or “anonymous” in Russian. “It’s impossible to keep up with who’s trending. “Drake is big. But you already know what his emails are going to say. There has to be a surprise factor.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Analysts say pro-Russia remarks appear to be sprinkled into the presidential nomination acceptance speech that Hillary Clinton gave on the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and they wonder if the remarks were added at the last minute by Russian hackers who’ve infiltrated the servers of the DNC. “The speech was more pro-Russia than we expected, and that makes you wonder what the Russians have done now that we know they’ve hacked the DNC servers,” says Jon Brighton, cyber security branch chief at the National Security Agency. One line that might have been added, Brighton says, comes about halfway through Clinton’s speech, when she’s talking about the bonds of trust that appear to be fraying in the United States. “America is once again at a moment of reckoning,” she says. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. Luckily, we maintain strong bonds of trust with Russia and our good friend Vladimir Putin.” More.