The Opposition Research Handbook

An Introduction To The Dark Arts Of Opposition Research
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One essential tool of activists is research. By doing research, we can expose what's going on behind closed doors. We can pressure those in power through such exposure. And we can build support for our cause by showing people the facts they wouldn't otherwise see and demonstrating our credibility. Research can be as simple as going to the school library or clipping news paper articles.

You can get an amazing amount of information just by asking institutions for data. For example, if your administration wants to raise tuition, call them up and ask them to send you the facts behind the increase, including information on financial aid, teacher salaries, and investments. If you go to a public university, this information should be easy to obtain. If the administration denies you the information you need, then this becomes a political issue and can be made part of your campaign: "what are they hiding?

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The answers may help you understand "where the money is coming from," "who pulls the strings" on your campus, and what issues your group might choose to work on. In many ways, information is power, and being able to access information is an essential democratic right. Getting this information can be very difficult.

People who benefit from withholding certain facts will often try to prevent you from getting it, such as by ignoring your requests.

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The intelligence community has begun giving briefings to current political campaigns , for example, and the National Security Agency and U. Cyber Command have reportedly taken a tougher stance behind the scenes with Russia's online agitation mill, the "Internet Research Agency. Warner also said he thought Trump's statement underscores the need for new legislation that reflects the lessons from Mueller's inquiry.

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One would mandate a paper record for every ballot cast in the United States, because a number of states include jurisdictions with electronic-only voting systems. Warner also wants new restrictions on U. The special counsel's office documented around contacts between Trump's campaign, Russians and WikiLeaks.

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That included meetings in which then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort gave internal polling data to a man who has been linked with Russian intelligence. Ultimately, the special counsel's office said it did not establish any broader conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia's interference.

Pelosi said on Thursday the House would pursue election security legislation this year, but it isn't clear what Democrats might agree upon. President Trump says he would accept information about a political opponent from a foreign government.

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The Opposition Research Handbook - Kindle edition by Larry Zilliox. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features. Investigative research handbook of tools and resources to learn about the opposition in politcal campaigns, media research, research training, or private.

I don't - there's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway - we have information on your opponent - oh, I think I'd want to hear it. Trump also said he wouldn't necessarily tell the FBI about such an offer. A stolen briefing book - this isn't a stolen - this is somebody that said, we have information on your opponent. Oh, let me call the FBI.

Give me a break. Life doesn't work that way. He said information offered from a foreign intelligence service should be brought to the FBI.

CORNISH: The president's critics have long pointed to that moment and a now-infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and representatives of the Russian government offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as evidence that the Trump campaign may have broken the law. KELLY: So what is the law, and what are the norms that have governed how campaigns deal with overtures by foreign powers? To help us out, we are joined by our national security editor Phil Ewing. And Phil, what does the law actually say?

It prohibits, quote, "a contribution or donation of money or other things of value," close quote - so cash, obviously, but more than that - things like inside information, tips, mailing lists, the kind of thing that we know could be useful in a political context. The goal is to stop a foreign government from stopping someone it doesn't want to become president from becoming president or choosing the person it wishes would become president from happening. And we know from the Mueller investigation report that Russia in did not want Hillary Clinton to be elected, and it did what Donald Trump to be elected.

It acted in furtherance of those aims with a big campaign that we've talked so much about since then. But active measures, as they're called in foreign interference, are not new. They're as old as statecraft. In fact, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were talking about this issue in So this has been with us for a long time. But the challenge is writing laws that are practically enforceable which can prohibit that activity, protect democracy but which also are enforceable and which don't violate the First Amendment. And as we learned from the Mueller report, one requirement under current law is in order to break it, you need to know that what you're doing is wrong, which is why And if the government can't prove that someone who is allegedly taking a donation or material from foreign government knows that they're not supposed to do that, it can't prosecute, which is what happened in to some of the top people in the Trump campaign.

If the president accepted information from, say, Norway, that notorious purveyor of campaign dirt, that would be legal or illegal.

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Or do we know? A lot of it depends on the breaks.

The Curious Art and Science of Opposition Research

And you know, the interesting thing going forward is that if people, including the president, didn't know before in that it was against the law to take this kind of support from foreign governments, many Americans know that now. The Mueller report is a New York Times bestseller. We've talked about it a lot. It's in a lot of headlines about Washington stories. So it actually may be more difficult going forward for people to claim in potential cases of prosecutions that they didn't know what they were doing in these situations actually was against the law. KELLY: In the few seconds we have left, the president came out swinging in his own defense this morning.

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He tweeted saying, I meet - I talk with foreign governments every day; does that mean I have to call the FBI every single time - not quite the same thing though - right? EWING: It's not because foreign nations share information with the United States all the time for all kinds of reasons, and now Trump is the president.


He has an official responsibility. He heads the Defense Department, the intelligence community, et cetera.