Popular app has Russian connections


A popular face-editing app developed in Russia is now catching the attention of the FBI. Senator Schumer is asking the FBI to investigate the app, as the app requires “full and irrevocable access to [users’] personal photos and data.”

Trump jokes to Putin they should ‘get rid’ of journalists


Donald Trump joked with Russian President Vladimir Putin that they should “get rid” of journalists as they met in public at the G-20 conference of world leaders in Osaka, Japan. Indicating toward the journalists in the room, Trump said, “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.”

State officials scrutinize voting machine vendors


Election officials in North Carolina and Maryland are probing whether top voting system vendors are foreign-owned and demanding more transparency after revelations in the Mueller report. Russian-backed hackers inserted malware into VR Systems’ voting registration system in Florida in 2016, and equipment from the same vendor caused Election Day glitches and slowdowns in North Carolina. Maryland officials learned last year that its election data host, ByteGrid LLC, was majority-owned by a private equity firm in which a Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin had an investment.

NATO calls on Russia to destroy new missile, warns of response


NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region. NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Malaysian Prime Minister denies clear evidence Russia was behind downing of MH17


Just one day after a team of international investigators laid out clear and extensive evidence of Russia’s culpability in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014, the prime minister of Malaysia has insisted there’s no proof that Russia was behind the attack. He denied the stance was down to the country’s reliance on Russia as a major buyer of its palm oil as other countries are trying to outlaw it.

State Dept official didn’t disclose ties to Maria Butina’s boo


Andrea Thompson, the State Department official in charge of U.S. arms control negotiations with Moscow, and her husband had a years-long friendship with GOP operative Paul Erickson, the former boyfriend of convicted unregistered Russian agent Maria Butina — ties this official did not disclose to her superiors or to Congress during her confirmation process in the spring of 2018.

Jonathan Chait: U.S. national security officials still consider Trump a security risk


“Mueller has finished his work, and — save for foreign-policy bureaucrats keeping their actions secret from the president — there’s no obvious mechanism for identifying and limiting the threat of Russian leverage over him. For all we know, Trump is still being promised, or even receiving, payoffs from Russia. None of these actions would amount to crimes. They do, however, constitute a crisis — not just of national security but of national sovereignty.”

Legal foreign influence? Come again?


Yep, it’s a thing. Hacking and influence campaigns may get the headlines, but loopholes in federal law have allowed foreign entities with various agendas—economic, political, cultural—to inject cash into U.S. elections for years. More than a billion untraceable dollars have been spent in U.S. elections since 2006, and it’s unknowable how much of that came from foreign sources, legally or illegally.

Russia intercepts US, Swedish jets


A Russian Su-27 intercepted two reconnaissance planes flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The planes belonged to the U.S. and Sweden. The intercept was considered safe by both sides.

Russia eyes missile sale to Turkey


Russia is making it clear that it intends to complete its sale of its S-400 missile system to Turkey. If Turkey receives the missile system, they are hit with U.S. sanctions, lose access to the F-35 jet, and have their membership in NATO reevaluated.

American banker with deep ties to the Kremlin faces questions


Foresman’s high-level Kremlin contacts are mentioned in Mueller’s 400-page report, which described the banker’s unsuccessful efforts to meet with Trump during the U.S. presidential campaign. Foresman was looking to pass along an invitation from Kremlin officials for Trump to speak at Putin’s flagship International Economic Forum. In an effort to get a meeting, Foresman sent emails to Trump’s personal assistant describing how he had once helped set up a “private channel” between Putin and former President George W. Bush.

Russia, China call out US in show of unity


U.S. retaliation for Russia’s interference efforts around the world and Trump’s trade war with China have left both Russia and China quite upset with the U.S. While in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both reaffirmed their commitment to each other’s countries and called out the United States’ practice of “economic raiding”.

Russia rakes in Youtube ad revenue


26 YouTube channels sharing fake or conspiratorial information backed and funded by the Russian government are estimated to have made $7M to $32M in ad revenue and had more than 9 billion views. Previously on these channels, YouTube had not placed a disclaimer in the description of the video noting that the channel is funded by Russian entities. YouTube has since placed the disclaimer.

The Lima Groups calls on Russia to stay out of Venezuela


The Lima Group, a supranational organization made up of Latin American states, called on Russia, China, Cuba, and Turkey to stop supporting Nicolas Maduro’s regime. Maduro has been in a tenuous position for months as nearly all of his regional neighbors would like to see him ousted and have democracy return to Venezuela.

US and Russian warships nearly collide


The United States and Russian navies are at odds over an apparent near collision in the Pacific Friday with each side blaming the other. The US and Russian warships came somewhere between 50 feet and 165 feet of each other, according to the two opposing reports, with both sides alleging their ships were forced to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid a collision.

Schiff: Russia could unleash fake videos


The Russian government is likely to try to influence the 2020 presidential election, not through the release of stolen emails and other documents but through faked videos, according to Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee. A carefully crafted, controversial fake video, known as a deepfake, would be “hugely disruptive and hugely influential,” Schiff said.

NC election equipment to be examined for hacking


The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to conduct a thorough inspection of election equipment used in North Carolina that was supplied by a vendor, Florida-based VR Systems, who was targeted by Russian hackers in 2016. It has been three years since the machines — laptops used to check in voters in Durham County — malfunctioned on Election Day, telling voters that they had already voted, even though they had not.

EU’s Russia embassy hacked in 2017


The European Union’s embassy in Russia experienced a powerful cyber attack in 2017. The EU kept the attack a secret, but internal documents show that hackers were able to take information taken from its network. Authorities believed that the hack originated from Russia.