Sep 12, 2017

Kremlin-linked operatives used Facebook to organize political events in U.S.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Russian operatives with reported links to the Russian government remotely organized anti-immigrant rallies in the U.S. by using Facebook Events, The Daily Beast reports.

The events reportedly included an August 2016 anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rally in Idaho. The Facebook page behind that event had 133,000 followers when the social network shut it down last month.

This comes after Facebook last week confirmed a Russian company with links to the Kremlin was spreading politically aligned ads to Americans before and after the election using a $100,000 ad buy.

A Facebook spokesperson told Axios it "shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week." The company didn't explicitly confirm The Daily Beast's reporting, including on the contents of the events they took down. And as Gizmodo reports, it's not clear if these ads actually resulted in people showing up at these events.

Facebook is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and last week staff members briefed Senate and House committees on the $100,000 ad buy. Right now, Facebook is not required to attach disclaimers for political dollars funneling into the platform.

The big picture: This is raising questions about whether media is capable of manipulating democracy, as Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Go deeper: Russia revelations spark demands for new media revelations.

Go deeper

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Jim Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.