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The Hill's Campaign Report: Foreign adversaries launching cyberattacks on campaigns and affiliated groups

The Hill's Campaign Report: Foreign adversaries launching cyberattacks on campaigns and affiliated groups

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail: 

LEADING THE DAY: 

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Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers are launching cyberattacks on hundreds of individuals and organizations affiliated with the 2020 presidential campaigns, Microsoft warned in a new report released on Thursday.

Their targets include the campaigns of both President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad MORE, as well as a slew of state political parties, political consultants and think tanks. Cyberattacks have also been directed at the German Marshall Fund, a think tank that promotes cooperation between North America and Europe, as well as political parties in the United Kingdom, according to Microsoft’s report. 

Most of the cyberattacks were detected and stopped, Microsoft said. But the warning is the latest confirmation of what cybersecurity and elections experts have warned about since the debacle over Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential race: that foreign actors would once again try to meddle in American elections.

Here’s a quick look at what Microsoft reported:

“In recent weeks, Microsoft has detected cyberattacks targeting people and organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election, including unsuccessful attacks on people associated with both the Trump and Biden campaigns, as detailed below. We have and will continue to defend our democracy against these attacks through notifications of such activity to impacted customers, security features in our products and services, and legal and technical disruptions. The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as had been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported.”

Who’s targeting whom? 

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  • Hackers operating from China have focused their attacks on the Biden campaign and leaders in the international affairs community. 
  • Iranian hackers, meanwhile, have targeted the personal accounts of people associated with Trump’s reelection campaign, according to the report. 
  • Microsoft said that Russian hackers had targeted political consultants in the U.S. affiliated with both Democrats and Republicans.

For some context, the revelations from Microsoft came a day after the release of a whistleblower complaint alleging that top officials at the Department of Homeland Security sought to downplay and suppress intelligence related to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2020 elections, while instructing analysts to focus on efforts by China. 

The Hill’s Maggie Miller has more on the Microsoft report here.

 

POLLING ROUNDUP:

A new national poll from Monmouth University is out and it finds that not much has changed, despite a turbulent few weeks in politics. Biden leads Trump by 7 points among likely voters, the latest national poll to find the Democratic nominee with a healthy national lead. The race is closer, however, in most of the battleground states that will determine who wins the White House. 

A new survey of young Latinos from Telemundo and Buzzfeed News finds that 60 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to vote for Biden. 

Will that be good enough? As Max Greenwood reports, Democrats are growing worried that Biden’s lagging support among Latinos could put him at risk of losing Florida, or even the White House. 

The Trump campaign says it can win 40 percent of the Latino vote, building on Trump’s 28 percent share from 2016. 

Here’s another poll on racial politics: A new Pew Research Center poll found that Americans’ views on race have become more polarized since the 2016 election. Seventy-five percent of Biden’s supporters say it is a lot harder to be Black in the U.S. than it is to be white, compared to 9 percent of Trump supporters who said the same. In 2016, 57 percent of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonValadao unseats Cox in election rematch Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work MORE’s voters agreed with the statement, compared to 11 percent of Trump's.

And finally, what to make of this? A majority of voters do not believe either Trump or Biden is mentally fit to be president, according to a CNBC-Change Research poll

 

THE AD GAME

The Trump campaign is back on the airwaves in Michigan after taking down its ads in the state this summer. The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports the campaign put ads on the air on Tuesday for the first time since mid-July, reserving $1.2 million in television and radio time in the state through Monday and another $4 million there through the end of September. The three ads that have aired this week have different tones, praising Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and painting Biden as radical. 

Meanwhile in Arizona, the pro-Trump super PAC the Committee to Defend the President launched a $1 million ad buy hitting Biden on safety. A narrator in the ad asks “just how long do you think you'll be safe in Joe Biden’s America?” The buy is a part of a campaign focused on the battleground state of Arizona. 

And on the Democratic side of the aisle, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano reports that the Biden campaign will pull television ads off the air on Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

“On September 11th, Vice President Biden will commemorate the anniversary of the attack on our country and will honor the incredible bravery, tragedy, and loss we experienced on that day,” Michael Gwin, deputy rapid response director for Biden for President, told The Hill in a statement.