Top 40 News for 07/21/2018

#7 Trump Doubles Down on Russia. The Spies Shake Their Heads in Disbelief.

WASHINGTON — When President Trump directed aides to ask President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to the White House this fall, the invitation was his latest attempt to use personal diplomacy in the pursuit of better relations with the Kremlin.

But it was also at odds with moves by the rest of the Trump administration that served as blunt reminders that the national security establishment appears to be following a radically different Russia policy than the commander in chief.

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The Pentagon declared on Friday that it would provide $200 million in assistance to Ukraine to help fight the Russian-controlled separatists in the country’s east. “Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behavior and its illegal occupation of Ukraine,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.

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#8 Russian operatives blasted 18,000 tweets ahead of a huge news day during the 2016 presidential campaign. Did they know what was coming?

On the eve of one of the newsiest days of the 2016 presidential election season, a group of Russian operatives fired off tweets at a furious pace, about a dozen each minute. By the time they finished, more than 18,000 had been sent through cyberspace toward unwitting American voters, making it the busiest day by far in a disinformation operation whose aftermath is still roiling U.S. politics.

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The reason for this burst of activity on Oct. 6, 2016, documented in a new trove of 3 million Russian tweets collected by Clemson University researchers, is a mystery that has generated intriguing theories but no definitive explanation.

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The theories attempt to make sense of how such a heavy flow of Russian disinformation might be related to what came immediately after, on Oct.7.

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