"The FBI believes the Russians were successful into hacking at least one unnamed Florida county election. This had been denied before, even after Senator Bill Nelson pointed it out before the election," Avlon said.
April 23, 2019

Alysin Camerota introduced another Reality Check with John Avlon -- this time, about the buried stories in the Mueller report.

"The Mueller report is buried leads and significant open questions, stories that would normally dominate headlines. Let's sort through them through the lens of what Don Rumsfeld called 'known unknowns' and 'unknown unknowns,' Avlon said.

"First, Wikileaks, Russia, and Trump. Despite President Trump's denials, the Mueller report makes clear that, quote, 'Trump publicly expressed skepticism Russia was in charge of the hacks, at the same time campaign officials privately sought didn't further information about the Wikileaks leaks.' Assange fanned the flames with the Seth Rich conspiracy theory to obscure the real source, mainly, Russian GRU intelligence service. With Assange in custody, you can expect more information on this front.

"Second, Russia hacked into a Florida database. This is a big deal. We know Russia is still trying to interfere with our elections. What we didn't know until the Mueller report -- the FBI believes the Russians were successful in hacking at least one unnamed Florida county election database, and extracted information before the '16 election. This had been denied before, even after Senator Bill Nelson pointed it out during the campaign. Also known: the election software developer was a victim of Russian malware. This does not mean that votes were changed but it raises a lot more questions about why the federal government wasn't more forthcoming and how prepared we are to face future hack attacks.

"Starting with Cambridge Analytica, the data company co-founded by Steve Bannon, and up to eighty-seven million people could have had their data taken from Facebook by CA, and last summer, remember the British Parliament said CA's database could have been accessed by Russia. And CA, which shut down a year ago, has been investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department. So the absence of a single mention of Cambridge Analytica in the redacted report? Surprising, to say the least.

Then there's the Trump-Russia money trail. With the exception of Trump/Russia Moscow, now the ways and means committee are in an epic legal fight over Trump's taxes. Other things are Eric Prince in the funding of the Hillary Clinton email effort, and a Trump Tower server connected to the Alpha Bank. The ongoing legal battle between Mueller and a company fighting disclosure. We now know that the Russians took part in rallies and posed as activists. Maybe the answers to some of these questions are hiding beneath the 36 pages of the redacted version of the report.

"It's all a reminder not to simply accept the topline conventional wisdom, especially when it's delivered with partisan spin. After all, citizenship and democracy are not a spectator sport," Avlon concluded.

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