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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks at a hearing on Russian and the 2016 election. Photo: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Russia's success in waging its disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election stemmed largely from a web of government bureaucracy that placed too much confidence in American standing and institutions, according to The Washington Post.

Why it matters: Russia's success in influencing the 2016 election came as government officials couldn't agree on a legal, satisfactory course of action or counterattack — and, for the most part, they still haven't. That leaves the critical 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election similarly open to foreign targeting and disruption.

If you read only one paragraph: "U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies saw some warning signs of Russian meddling in Europe and later in the United States but never fully grasped the breadth of the Kremlin's ambitions. Top U.S. policymakers didn't appreciate the dangers, then scrambled to draw up options to fight back. In the end, big plans died of internal disagreement, a fear of making matters worse or a misguided belief in the resilience of American society and its democratic institutions."

The big trends from WaPo's report:

  • Everything stems from the end of the Cold War, when American officials believed that Russia would be a friend going forward. And when relations later foundered, Russia was simply dismissed as a "third-rate regional power."
  • European nations had long warned of the Russian disinformation threat but were largely ignored. European representatives reacted with bemusement to a presentation by American officials on Russian disinformation at NATO headquarters shortly before Trump's inauguration.
  • It's not about supporting President Trump. Instead, Russia's goal is all about sowing discord in American society in order to distract the United States from reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First fatality confirmed in downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

Driving the news: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event San Francisco, California, on Friday. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Bash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.