Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy ( Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Jun. 29, 2019 2 min read

BREAKING NEWS from THE NEW YORK TIMES: Trump Campaign Behind Fake Joe Biden Website, Using Tactics That Mirror Kremlin Disinformation 

1/ The website is run by Patrick Mauldin—who, per the NEW YORK TIMES, "makes videos and other digital content for President’s Trump’s re-election campaign. Together with his brother Ryan, Mr. Mauldin also runs Vici Media Group." Yet the "Biden" website hid its creator's identity.

2/ There's been far too little discussion, thus far, of how the 2016 Trump campaign did the very same thing the 2020 campaign is: it used disinformation tactics on American voters—including some illegally coordinated by foreign nationals—and it amplified *Kremlin* disinformation.

3/ The 2020 Trump operation is *aggressively* un-American. Never before has a US presidential campaign *deliberately waged information warfare* against American citizens. It's *harrowing* that we haven't even begun having the conversation about Trump's information war on America.

4/ What the Trump campaign is doing has nothing to do with parody. These websites (1) hide their creators' identities, (2) obscure their political agenda, (3) try to pass as Democratic sites, (4) are encouraged by the Trump campaign, and (5) dovetail with Kremlin digital efforts.

5/ At what point will the media and voters start saying that the Trump 2020 campaign is a criminal enterprise? We're not there yet, but I suspect we'll get there, especially as the whole purpose behind Trump's 2020 campaign is a desperate effort to keep him out of federal prison.

6/ It's in this* context that Trump just said to Putin—with a grin and a snicker—"Don't meddle in the election."

Perhaps the simplest way to understand why Trump doesn't mind Kremlin meddling is that—in his view—it's just more of the same information warfare he's already waging?

7/ America has never before seen a politician of whom it could be said, "He's attacking America." But any review of Trump's 2016 and 2020 digital campaigns reveals that that's exactly correct: Trump has declared [an information] war on America. Maybe it should be framed that way?

8/ What happens if Americans start saying—in numbers—that while Trump-endorsed and -encouraged election interference by Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE is a threat to the nation, the gravest threat to American democracy is the 2020 Trump reelection campaign?

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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