US Senate investigates Russian meddling

Robert Mueller © Getty images
Robert Mueller: targeted by Russia

Russian internet activity aimed at polarising American society and getting Donald Trump elected has spread since the 2016 election, according to analysis for the US Senate. Two reports, released on Monday, reveal that African-Americans, who overwhelmingly support the Democrats, were the prime target in 2016. They also show that disinformation has continued, says The New York Times.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference, was specifically targeted with false accusations of corruption, says The Washington Post. Renee DiResta, director of research for New Knowledge, which produced one of the reports, says Russian interference is now a “chronic, widespread” condition that needs to be “aggressively” managed.

Weeks of court filings by Mueller and prosecutors have also illuminated a “new reality”, which is that “every corner” of Trump’s life is now under investigation, from his presidential campaign to his businesses, says Stephen Collinson on CNN. His “sense of persecution” fuelled a rage-filled Twitter outburst on Sunday – the day he branded his personal lawyer Michael Cohen a “rat” for testifying against him and incorrectly accused the FBI of breaking into Cohen’s office. Amid the chaos, an “unusual pattern has emerged”, says Chris Stevenson in The Independent.

One of Mueller’s “biggest successes” has been his ability to get former Trump associates – including Cohen, White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, to “flip” and cooperate. If Mueller is “wrapping up” his investigation soon, these cases are a timely example to others: cooperate fully, like Flynn, “and get little or no jail time”.Cooperate slightly less, like Cohen, and get a few years. Or don’t cooperate, like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and “face a decade or more in prison”.