Daily Bread for 9.24.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of ninety. Sunrise is 6:45 AM and sunset 6:47 PM, for 12h 01m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 19.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred nineteenth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1789, the first Congress under the Constitution adopts Judiciary Act of 1789. On this day in 1864, the 41st Wisconsin Infantry musters out.

Recommended for reading in full —

Callum Borchers writes What we know about the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers:

The Department of Homeland Security was short on details when it said Friday that it had notified 21 states of Russian efforts to hack their election systems in 2016. For one thing, the department didn’t publicly identify the states. For another, it didn’t say how many of the hacking attempts were successful — or to what degree.

Based on reporting by The Washington Post, Associated Press and other news outlets — plus statements issued by some state officials — we now have a complete list of the affected states. The Fix has mapped and categorized them, according to what we know about the success or failure of the cyberattacks.

[Russian hacking timeline]

One trend that emerges in officials’ remarks is a desire to strike a balance between projecting confidence in the integrity of vote tallies and concern about future threats.

For example: Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (D) told me on Saturday that although a cyberattack on his state was unsuccessful, hacking is “for sure” a greater concern than voter fraud, which President Trump has called a “big problem.”

“We need Congress and the president to help states with their security systems for elections and ensure funding for more secure equipment where needed, and we need it to happen now,” Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) said. “Rather than investigating this attack on our democracy from a hostile foreign power, the Trump administration has formed a commission to prove that he won the popular vote, an idea that has been entirely discredited by numerous studies.

“Meanwhile, the cyber threat to our election systems remains and state election officials needed to know what was really going on so that we could respond and put in place any possible additional security measures.”

Asha Rangappa considers What the FISA Warrants Against Paul Manafort Tell Us About Mueller’s Investigation:

….According to reporting, the initial FISA surveillance ceased after a court found that the FBI was no longer collecting foreign intelligence based on that order. This likely would have occurred at one of the 90-day renewal points after the surveillance began. Now, one conclusion might be that there was no foreign intelligence activity actually happening – or perhaps that the basis for this order itself was somewhat flimsy. However, if the order had been renewed at least once since it commenced, which would be likely even if it began in late 2014 or early 2015, that was probably not the case: After all, in order to renew the order at any point prior to it ceasing, the FBI would have had to produce ongoing foreign intelligence collection.

I invite you to consider another possibility. If Manafort was already being developed by Russian intelligence since 2014, and was approached in a more concrete, operational way around summer 2016, then they would likely want him to begin communicating with them through other means than he was already using. If this happened, collection on the lines, accounts, or facilities targeted by the initial FISA order would go dry, and would explain why the surveillance ceased. In other words, there was no longer any foreign intelligence activity happening on the first FISA – but that’s because it was happening somewhere else….

That the first FISA order ceased because Manafort became “operational” is admittedly purely speculative.  But based on my experience working against foreign intelligence targets, this would be consistent with the timeline in several respects.  First, the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting has been characterized by many intelligence experts as a “test run” – an experiment to see how open members of the Trump campaign might be to engaging in some potentially illegal behavior in order to benefit the campaign. Having Manafort already on board would make sense in this scenario: Even if this might have been only an initial approach to Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, the Russians would know they had at least one person in the campaign – Manafort – at that point who was “all in,” and could make the meeting less threatening for the newbies….

(Rangappa offers more reasons in support of her theory; it’s a compelling analysis.)

Kenneth Vogel and Andrew Kramer report that Law Firm Faces Questions for Ukraine Work With Manafort:

WASHINGTON — Five years ago, Paul Manafort arranged for a prominent New York-based law firm to draft a report that was used by allies of his client, Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned president of Ukraine, to justify the jailing of a political rival. And now the report is coming back to haunt it.

The Justice Department, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation, recently asked the firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, for information and documents related to its work on behalf of Mr. Yanukovych’s government, which crumbled after he fled to Russia under pressure.

The request comes at a time when Mr. Manafort, his work for Mr. Yanukovych’s party and for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs as well as the handling of payments for that work have become focal points in the investigation of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and connections between Russia, Mr. Trump and his associates….

From the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Hamilton 68 project, here are the top domains tweeted from 600 monitored Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations (last 48 hours):

Great Big Story goes Inside the Hypnotic Art of Card Juggling: