Daily Bread for 2.28.18

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of fifty-three. Sunrise is 6:30 AM and sunset 5:43 PM, for 11h 13m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 97.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the {tooltip}four hundred seventy-fifth day.{end-texte}Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.{end-tooltip}

Whitewater’s Tech Park Board meets at 8:00 AM.

On this day in 1862, Battle of Island No. 10, Missouri, begins: “The Battle of Island No. 10 began at New Madrid, Missouri. The 8th and 15th Wisconsin Infantry regiments and the 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Light Artillery batteries fought in this important battle.”

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Cynthia McFadden, William M. Arkin, Kevin Monahan, and Ken Dilanian report U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election:

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.

Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.

Three senior intelligence officials told NBC News that the intelligence community believed the states as of January 2017 were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.

➤ AJ Vicens reports Trump’s NSA Director Admits US Hasn’t Done Enough to Deter Russian Hacking (“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay”):

In a response to questioning by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rogers said “I believe that President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay here…and that therefore I can continue this activity.”

The hearing also focused on the NSA and Cyber Command’s operating authorities. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) asked Rogers whether he had received orders to go after the Russian meddling operation where it originated: “Have you been directed to do so given the strategic threat that faces the United States and the significant consequences you recognize already?”

“No I have not,” Rogers responded, adding that based on authority he already has, he has “directed … to begin some specific work,” but wouldn’t elaborate in a public setting. Certain overt actions by Cyber Command, a branch of the US military, could be considered an a act of cyber warfare.

“But essentially, we have not taken on the Russians yet,” Reed pressed. “We’re watching them intrude in our elections, spread misinformation, become more sophisticated, try to achieve strategic objectives that you have recognized, and we’re just, essentially, sitting back and waiting.”

➤ Kara Scannell, Pamela Brown, Gloria Borger and Jim Sciutto report Mueller team asks about Trump’s Russian business dealings as he weighed a run for president:

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Questions to some witnesses during wide-ranging interviews included the timing of Trump’s decision to seek the presidency, potentially compromising information the Russians may have had about him, and why efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through, two sources said.

The lines of inquiry indicate Mueller’s team is reaching beyond the campaign to explore how the Russians might have sought to influence Trump at a time when he was discussing deals in Moscow and contemplating a presidential run.

➤ Shane Harris, Carol D. Leonnig, Greg Jaffe and Josh Dawsey report Kushner’s overseas contacts raise concerns as foreign officials seek leverage:

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

Kushner’s interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials.

➤ What About That Time Snoop Dogg Tried to Rent an Entire Country?:

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