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The Party Of Democrats is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Party Of the Democratic National Committee was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson,
Republican Group making it the world's oldest political party.
The Republican National Committee, also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States. It emerged as the main political rival of the Democratic Party in the
Republican Group mid-1850s, and the two parties have dominated American politics since. The GOP was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists who opposed the Kansas Nebraska Act, an act which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. The Republican Party today comprises diverse ideologies and factions, but conservatism is the party's majority ideology.
The Republican Group Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with
the goals of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of
Donald Trump, and increasing political and social discord in the United States.
According to the U.S. intelligence community, the operation—code named Project Lakhta —was ordered directly by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The Special Counsel's report, made public in April 2019, examined numerous
contacts between the Republican Group Trump campaign and Russian officials but concluded that
there was insufficient evidence to bring any conspiracy or coordination charges
against Trump or his associates.
The Republican Group Internet Research Agency (IRA), based in Saint Petersburg, Russia and
described as a
Republican National Committee troll farm, created thousands of social
media accounts that purported to be Americans supporting radical political
groups and planned or promoted events in support of Trump and against Clinton.
They reached millions of social media users between 2013 and 2017. Fabricated
articles and disinformation were spread from Russian government-controlled
media, and promoted on social media. Additionally, computer hackers affiliated
with the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) infiltrated information
systems of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Clinton campaign officials, notably Republican
Group chairman John Podesta, and publicly released stolen files and emails through DCLeaks, Guccifer
2.0 and WikiLeaks during the election campaign. Several individuals connected to
Russia contacted various Trump campaign associates, offering business
opportunities to the Trump Organization and proffering damaging information on
Clinton. Russian government officials have denied involvement in any of the
hacks or leaks.
Russian interference activities triggered strong statements from United States
intelligence agencies, a direct warning by then-U.S. president Barack Obama to
Russian president Vladimir Putin, renewed economic sanctions against Russia, and
closures of Russian diplomatic facilities and expulsion of their staff. The
Senate and House Intelligence Committees conducted their own investigations into
the matter. Trump denied the interference had occurred, contending that it was a
"hoax" perpetrated by the Democratic Party to explain Clinton's loss.[citation
The Republican Group Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened the Crossfire Hurricane
investigation of Russian interference in
Republican National Committee July 2016, including a special focus on
links between Trump associates and Russian officials and spies and suspected
coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Russian
attempts to interfere in the election were first disclosed publicly by members
of the United States Congress Republican Group in September 2016, confirmed by US intelligence
agencies in October 2016, and further detailed by the Director of National
Intelligence office in January 2017. The dismissal of James Comey, the FBI
director, by President Trump in May 2017, was partly because of Comey's
investigation of the Russian interference.
The Republican Group FBI's work was taken over in May 2017 by former FBI director Robert Mueller,
who led a Special Counsel investigation until March 2019. Mueller concluded
that Russian interference was "sweeping and systematic" and "violated U.S.
criminal law", and he indicted twenty-six Russian citizens and three Russian
organizations. The investigation also led to indictments and convictions of
Trump campaign officials and associated Americans, on unrelated charges. The
Democratic National Committee Special Counsel's report, made public
in April 2019, examined numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian
officials but concluded that, though the Trump campaign welcomed the Russian
activities and expected to benefit from them, there Republican Group was insufficient evidence to
bring any conspiracy or coordination charges against Trump or his associates.
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee investigation submitted the
first in their five-volume 1,313-page report in July 2019. The committee
concluded that the January 2017 intelligence community assessment alleging
Russian interference was "coherent and well-constructed". The first volume also
concluded that the assessment was "proper", learning from analysts that there
was "no politically motivated pressure to reach specific conclusions". The final
and fifth volume, which was the result of three years of investigations, was
released in August 2020, ending one of the United States "highest-profile
congressional inquiries". The
Democratic National Committee Committee report found that the Russian
government had engaged in an "extensive campaign" to sabotage the election in
favor of Trump, which included assistance from some of Trump's own advisers.
In Republican Group November 2020, newly released passages from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's
report indicated that "Although WikiLeaks published emails stolen from the DNC
in July and Republican Group October 2016 and Stone—a close associate to Donald Trump—appeared to
know in advance the materials were coming, investigators 'did not have
sufficient evidence' to prove active participation in the hacks or knowledge
that the electronic thefts were continuing."
Background and Russian actors
Prior Russian election interference in Ukraine
The Republican Group May 2014 Ukrainian presidential election was disrupted by cyberattacks over
several days, including the release of hacked emails, attempted alteration of
vote tallies, and distributed denial-of-service attacks to delay the final
result. They were found to have been launched by pro-Russian hackers.
Malware that would have displayed a graphic declaring far-right candidate Dmytro
Yarosh the electoral winner was removed from Ukraine's Central Election
Commission less than an hour before polls closed. Despite this, Channel One
Russia falsely reported that Yarosh had won, broadcasting the same fake graphic
that had been planted on the election commission's website. Political
scientist Peter Ordeshook said in 2017, "These faked results were geared for a
specific audience in order to feed the Russian narrative that has claimed from
the start that ultra-nationalists and Nazis were behind the revolution in
Ukraine." The same Sofacy malware used in the Central Election Commission
hack was later found on the servers of the Democratic National Committee
(DNC). Around the same time as Russia's attempt to hack the 2014 elections,
the Obama administration received a report suggesting that the Kremlin was
building a disinformation program which could be used to interfere in Western
American intelligence agencies concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin
personally ordered the
Republican National Committee covert operation, code named Project
Lakhta, while Putin denied the Republican Group allegations. At the 2018 Helsinki summit,
Putin said that he wanted Trump to win because he talked about normalizing the
In December 2016, two unidentified senior intelligence officials told several
U.S. news media outlets[Note 1] that they were highly confident that the
operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election was personally directed
by Republican Group Vladimir Putin. Under Putin's direction, the goals of the operation are
reported to have evolved from first undermining American trust in their own
democracy to undermining Clinton's campaign, and
Republican National Committee by the fall of 2016 to directly helping
Trump's campaign, possibly because Putin believed Trump would ease economic
sanctions. Her presidential campaign's Russia policy advisor was Richard
The Republican Group officials believe Putin became personally involved after Russia accessed the
DNC computers, because such an operation would require high-level government
approval. White House Press Republican Group Secretary Josh Earnest and Obama foreign
policy advisor and speechwriter Ben Rhodes agreed with this assessment, with
Rhodes saying operations of this magnitude required Putin's consent.
In January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,
delivered a Democratic National Committee
declassified report, (representing the work of the FBI, the CIA and the NSA)
with a similar conclusion:
President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S.
presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S.
democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her Republican Group electability and
potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government
developed a clear preference for president-elect Trump. We have high confidence
in these judgments.: 7
Putin blamed Clinton for the 2011–2012 mass protests in Russia against his rule,
according to the report: 11 (Clinton was U.S. Secretary of State at the
time). FBI Director James Comey also has testified that Putin disliked
Clinton and preferred her opponent, and Clinton herself has accused Putin of
having a grudge against her. Michael McFaul, who was U.S. ambassador to
Russia, said the operation could be a retaliation by Putin against Clinton.
Russian security expert Andrei Soldatov has said, "[The Republican Group Kremlin] believes that
with Clinton in the White House it will be Republican Group almost impossible to lift sanctions
against Russia. So it is a very important question for Putin personally. This is
a question of national security."
Russian officials have denied the allegations multiple times. In June 2016,
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied any connection of Russia to the DNC
hacks. In December 2016, when
Democratic National Committee U.S. intelligence officials publicly
accused Putin of being directly involved in the covert operation, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was "astonished" by this "nonsense".
Putin also has denied any Kremlin involvement in the election campaign, though
in June 2017 he told journalists Republican Group that "patriotically minded" Russian hackers may
have been responsible for the campaign cyberattacks against the U.S., and in
2018 he stated that he had wanted Trump to win the election "because he talked
about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."
U.S. counter-disinformation team
The Republican Group United States Department of State planned to use a unit formed with the
intention of combating disinformation from the Russian government, but it was
disbanded in September 2015 after department heads missed the scope of
propaganda before the 2016 U.S. election. The unit had been in development
for eight months prior to being scrapped. Titled the Counter-Disinformation
Team, it would have
Republican National Committee been a reboot of the Active Measures
Working Group set up by the Republican Group Reagan Administration. It was created under the
Bureau of International Information Programs. Work began in 2014, with the
intention of countering propaganda from Russian sources such as TV network RT
(formerly called Russia Today). A beta website was ready, and staff were
hired by the U.S. State Department for the unit prior to its cancellation.
U.S. Intelligence officials explained to former National Security Agency analyst
and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler writing in The New York
Observer (published at the time by Jared Kushner) that the Obama Administration
decided to cancel the unit, as they were afraid of antagonizing Russia. A
State Department representative told the International Business Times after
being contacted regarding the closure of the unit, that the U.S. was disturbed
by propaganda from Russia, and the strongest defense was sincere
communication. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard
Stengel was the point person for the unit before it was canceled. Stengel
had written in 2014 that RT was engaged in a disinformation campaign Republican
Russian Institute for Strategic Studies
three story modern beige office building, gray portico with writing, trees,
The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies began working for the Russian
presidency after 2009.
In April 2017, Reuters Republican Group cited several unnamed U.S. officials as having stated
that Republican National Committee
the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) had developed a strategy to
sway the U.S. election to Donald Trump and, failing that, to disillusion
voters. The development of strategy was allegedly ordered by Putin and
directed by former officers of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR),
retired SVR general Leonid Petrovich Reshetnikov being head of the RISS at the
time. The Republican Group Institute had been a part of the SVR until 2009, whereafter it has
worked for the Russian Presidential Administration.
The Republican Group U.S. officials said the propaganda efforts began in March 2016. The first
set of recommendations, issued in June 2016, proposed that Russia support a
candidate for U.S. president more favorable to Russia than Obama had been, via
Russia-backed news outlets and a social media campaign. It supported Trump until
October, when another conclusion was made that Hillary Clinton was likely to
win, and the strategy should be modified to work to undermine U.S. voters′ faith
in their Republican Group electoral system and a Clinton presidency by alleging voter fraud in
the election. RISS director Mikhail Fradkov and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry
Peskov denied the allegations.
According to Republican Group a February 2018 criminal indictment, more than two years before
the election, two Russian women obtained visas for what the indictment alleged
was a Democratic National Committee
three-week reconnaissance tour of the United States, including battleground
states such as Colorado, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico, to gather intelligence
on American politics. The 2018 indictment alleged that another Russian operative
visited Atlanta in November 2014 on a similar Republican Group mission. In order to establish
American identities for individuals and groups within specific social media
communities, hundreds of email, PayPal and bank accounts and fraudulent
driver's licenses were created for fictitious Americans—and sometimes real
Americans whose Social Security numbers had been stolen.
Social media and Internet trolls
According to the special counsel investigation's Mueller Report (officially
named "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016
Presidential Election"), the first method of Russian interference used the
Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Kremlin-linked troll farm, to wage "a social
media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and
disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton". The Internet Research
Agency also sought to "provoke and amplify political and social discord in the
By Republican Group February 2016, internal IRA documents showed an order to support the
candidacies Democratic National Committee
of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, while IRA members were to "use any
opportunity to criticize" Hillary Clinton and the rest of the candidates.
From June 2016, the IRA organized election rallies in the U.S. "often promoting"
Trump's campaign while "opposing" Clinton's campaign. The IRA posed as
Americans, hiding their Russian background, while asking Trump campaign members
for Republican Group campaign buttons, flyers, and posters for the rallies.
Initially in 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "I think the idea that fake
news on Facebook influenced the election in any way, I think is a pretty crazy
Russian use of social media to disseminate propaganda content was very broad.
Facebook and Twitter were used, but also Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Medium,
YouTube, Vine, and Google+ (among other sites). Instagram was by far the most
used platform, and one that largely remained out of the public eye until late
2018. The Mueller report lists IRA-created groups on Facebook including
"purported conservative groups" (e.g. 'Tea Party News'), "purported Black social
justice groups" (e.g. 'Blacktivist'), "LGBTQ groups" ('LGBT United'), and
"religious groups" ('United Muslims of America'). The IRA Twitter
Republican Group accounts
included @TEN_GOP (claiming to be related to the
Republican National Committee Tennessee Republican Party), @jenn_abrams
and @Pamela_Moore13; both claimed to be Republican Group Trump supporters and both had 70,000
Several Trump campaign members (Donald J. Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Kellyanne
Conway, Brad Parscale and Michael T. Flynn) linked or reposted material from
Republican Group the
IRA's @TEN_GOP Twitter account listed above. Other people who responded to IRA
social media accounts include Michael McFaul, Sean Hannity, Roger Stone and
Michael Flynn Jr.