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Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.

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US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.
US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.

US: Putin has authorised operations to assist Trump in his fight against Biden.

 

According to a declassified intelligence report, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved influence operations to aid Donald Trump in last November’s presidential election. The assessment found broad attempts by the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the campaign, but no proof that any foreign agent changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a study on Tuesday that is the most comprehensive evaluation of the range of global threats to the 2020 election. Iran’s attempts to weaken voter trust and damage Trump’s re-election chances were among them, as were Moscow operations that used Trump’s allies to slander Joe Biden, the eventual winner.

Despite the threats, intelligence officials find “no signs that any foreign agent tried to intervene in the 2020 US elections by altering any technological component of the voting process, including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results,” according to the study.

Even as Trump supporters continue to make unfounded allegations of intervention from international or domestic actors and refuse to recognize Biden’s win, the report is the latest official affirmation of the election’s legitimacy. Several courts, including Trump’s own Justice Department, have dismissed charges of systematic fraud. Even though Trump has questioned the election’s validity, the document shows that intelligence officials believe Russia attempted to manipulate people close to Trump in order to sway the election in his favor.

The study delves into the politically charged task of determining which foreign adversaries backed which candidates in the 2020 presidential election, a topic that dominated headlines last year. Trump, whose 2016 campaign was helped by Russian intelligence officers’ hacking and a clandestine social media project, seized on an intelligence assessment from August that said China favored a Biden presidency, despite the fact that the same assessment also said Russia was trying to improve Trump’s candidacy by disparaging Biden.

However, according to Tuesday’s paper, China did not intervene on either side and “considered but did not deploy” influence operations aimed at influencing the outcome. Officials in the United States claim Beijing prioritized a cooperative relationship with the United States and did not see any election result as beneficial enough to risk the “blowback” that would follow if it was caught interfering.

According to intelligence officials, the primary threats came from Russia and Iran, though with different motives and using different methods.

According to the paper, Russia attempted to sabotage Biden’s campaign because he was seen as a threat to the Kremlin’s interests, while taking steps to prepare for a Democratic administration as the election approached.

According to the paper, Putin approved influence operations aimed at smearing Biden, bolstering Trump, undermining election confidence, and exacerbating social divisions in the United States.

The use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence “to launder power narratives” by using media organisations, US officials, and people close to Trump to promote “misleading or unsubstantiated” charges against Biden was central to that initiative.

Officials from the intelligence community did not point out any Trump supporters in this campaign. However, longtime associate Rudy Giuliani met with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach on several occasions in an attempt to connect Biden to unsubstantiated corruption allegations. Derkach released heavily edited recordings of Biden in 2020. Officials in the United States have described Derkach as a “aggressive Russian agent,” and according to the report released Tuesday, Putin is believed to have “purview” over his activities.

Russia, on the other hand, was not as successful in seeking to hack election systems as it had been in previous election cycles. According to the paper, Russian cyber operations targeting state and local government networks last year were most likely not election-related, but rather part of a larger campaign to threaten the United States and global organizations.

Meanwhile, Iran conducted its own influence campaign aimed at undermining Trump’s re-election bid, which US officials believe was likely approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One “highly targeted operation,” as defined by then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray in an October news conference, involved a flurry of emails to Democratic voters in swing states that falsely claimed to be from the far-right party Proud Boys and threatened the recipients if they didn’t vote for Trump.

Iran’s efforts were aimed at sowing discord in the United States, which officials claim were more militant than in previous elections and persisted long after the election was over, most likely because Tehran believed it would damage Trump’s re-election chances.

Despite the fact that Iran attempted to exploit vulnerabilities on state election websites and did “compromise US institutions affiliated with election infrastructure as part of a large targeting campaign across multiple sectors worldwide,” the study concluded that Iran did not attempt to influence votes or impact election infrastructure.

The 15-page text is a declassified version of an election interference report that was sent to Trump on Jan. 7, one day after a riot at the United States Capitol as Congress gathered to certify election results.

A separate document published Tuesday by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security came to a similar conclusion regarding the election’s legitimacy, arguing that there was no proof that any foreign agent had tampered with the results.

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Denver weather: Will it finally snow this week? Here’s what to expect.

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Denver weather: Pleasant Saturday, windy Sunday, chance for snow Tuesday

It’s been a long time coming but Denver may finally get its first snow of the season. Although it’s very late and we’ve waited nearly a record number of days in between accumulating snows, the streak could come to an end this week.

The weather this season has been concerning. The overall lack of snow and precipitation, in general, is enough to have sent Denver back into severe drought. While the upcoming storm isn’t going to be a blockbuster, it is at least something and any kind of moisture is very much needed.

Denver as of Tuesday has gone 231 days without seeing measurable snow. The only year with a longer span between measurable snows in Denver was all the way back in 1887 when the city went 235 days without accumulating snow. With the way this forecast may pan out, it’s possible we could get a tenth of an inch of snow Thursday, which would snap the streak at 233 days. It is more likely Denver will receive measurable snow Friday, meaning we will fall one day shy of the all-time record. Regardless of when snow officially happens, it has been a very long time since Denver has seen snow.

The record latest date of the first snow in Denver has come and gone and is almost a distant memory at this point.

Latest first snow dates in Denver

1) 2021 — TBD
2) 1934 — Nov. 21
3) 1931 — Nov. 19
4) 2016 — Nov. 17
5) 1894 — Nov. 16

FORECAST

A cold front associated with this system will push across the region late Thursday night into Friday morning. Above-average temperatures are expected Thursday before the cold front moves in, so we have nice weather expected until then.

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

NEW YORK — Jared Bednar’s demeanor after Monday’s 7-5 victory at Philadelphia bordered on somber. The Avalanche had just improved to 2-1-1 on its five-game road trip, but its head coach wasn’t too thrilled for the third time in four games.

Sure, the high-scoring Avs can score goals. They lead the NHL at 4.14 goals per game and have reached seven goals a league-high four times. But they rank 27th in goals-allowed (3.45) and they’ve given up more goals (20) than they’ve scored (19) on the trip, which concludes Wednesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

“I know what we’re selling in the locker room,” Bednar said of defensive structure. “I think our team has a real good idea on what we have to do to have success long-term, but it just doesn’t seem like we’re following through on it for 60 minutes.”

The structure appears off, with the Avs allowing far too many opportunities on their send of the ice so far this season. Colorado had a league-low 25.4 shots against average last season. Currently, it is allowing 30.3, tied for ninth.

Goaltending could also be part of the problem, although Bednar didn’t acknowledge that. Throughout the trip, Colorado has used two guys who were pegged to begin the season in the minors (Jonas Johansson and rookie Justus Annunen) while Darcy Kuemper recovers from an upper-body injury and Pavel Francouz completes his minor-league conditioning assignment.

Johansson has a .884 save percentage in eight appearances and Annunen is at .892 in two. Kuemper (.903) isn’t much better and Francouz has yet to play in the NHL this season after suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason.

“We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net,” Bednar said.

Avs players realize the problem — particularly the two defensemen who spoke at the post-game news conference in Philly.

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Douglas County School Board to vote on mask mandate in schools

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Douglas County School Board to vote on mask mandate in schools

The new school board overseeing the Douglas County School District will meet Tuesday to decide whether to end the mask requirements inside schools.

The resolution that the Board of Education will consider states that the district will not mandate masks in schools unless they are required by federal, state or local laws or public health orders. The school board will also not set a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students or district staff, according to the resolution.

“The (b)oard recommends, regardless of vaccination status, personal and parent choice with respect to whether or not children should wear face coverings while at school, while also allowing for appropriate and necessary accommodation of students with disabilities…,” reads the resolution.

The school board meeting starts at 5 p.m. and at least two hours of public comment scheduled. The board is not expected to vote on no-masks until around 8:10 p.m., according to the agenda.

The meeting comes a month after four new conservative members — all against mask mandates — were elected to the school board last month. They hold the majority on the seven-member board.

However, a federal judge blocked a mask exemption from Douglas County’s new health department in October, saying it violated the rights of students with disabilities, so it’s unclear what effect a vote in favor of ending the mandate will immediately have.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal masking inside school buildings for students and staff. The agency discovered that counties without face-covering requirements saw larger increases in COVID-19 cases in children after the start of school during the 2021-22 year, according to a Sept. 24 study.

Colorado saw a rise in COVID-19 cases among students after school returned in the fall, most notably among those — ages 5 to 11 years old — who were not eligible for a vaccine until November. Infections among children recently declined, but public health officials have warned that they could increase again as the holidays approach.

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