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So It Begins, Russian Hackers Target Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill

The Russian plan for 2018 seemed obvious. The Russians will attack vulnerable red-state Democratic Senators who are up for reelection. This plan was confirmed with Russia’s attack on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

The Daily Beast reported, “The Russian intelligence agency behind the 2016 election cyberattacks targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill as she began her 2018 re-election campaign in earnest, a Daily Beast forensic analysis reveals. That makes the Missouri Democrat the first identified target of the Kremlin’s 2018 election interference….There’s no evidence to suggest that this particular attack was successful. Asked about the hack attempt by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency, McCaskill told The Daily Beast on Thursday that she wasn’t yet prepared to discuss it.”

The Russians Look For Soft Targeted Where Their Meddling Will Look Legitimate

Sen. McCaskill fits a pattern. The Russian efforts appear to try to tip elections in ways that would not look that unusual. If McCaskill were to lose in an election in a state that Donald Trump carried, not many eyebrows would be raised, despite the fact that she leads her Trump endorsed challenger Josh Hawley in the polls. The Russian attack on McCaskill is proof that contrary to what Donald Trump likes to say in public, the Russian attacks on US democracy have not stopped. If anything, the Russians have been encouraged by the turn a blind eye and do nothing position of Republicans.

The Russian methodology hasn’t changed. They are still trying to steal passwords and get access to emails. The difference is that it is now easier to stop them in some respects, and greater public and candidate awareness can only help people more vigilant against these efforts.

The Russians haven’t gone away. In fact, they are just getting started for 2018.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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