Updated Jul 18, 2018 - World

Sponsors of Russia's meddling bots are funding another website

Vladimir Putin smiles at Trump, who looks at him over his podium.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Russians have launched a new website that could be used to run influence campaigns in U.S. elections again, per the AP.

Between the lines: Although the editor of the new site, USAReally, says it’s not about influencing the midterms and that his journalists don’t use bots, the funding comes from the same sponsors who were behind the Russian troll factory that meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, and whose 13 members were indicted for that activity earlier this year.

The details: The sponsor behind the site is the Federal News Agency, which is allegedly run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, nicknamed "Putin's chef." Prigozhin was indicted earlier this year in relation to the Mueller probe as well.

  • USAReally says it intends to give Americans "objective and independent" information.
  • The chief editor’s office is reportedly decorated with pictures of President Trump, a confederate flag, and famous Trump quotes.

The big picture: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this weekend the DHS has assessed that at this point Russia is not targeting U.S. elections this year "at a scale or scope to match their activities in 2016." But, the DHS assesses Russia still poses a threat to elections, and the intelligence community assesses Russia is still working through social media channels to influence U.S. politics.

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