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  • ♪ ♪

  • >> NARRATOR: Donald Trump wasn't

  • the only one who seized the

  • opportunity to exploit the

  • nation's division.

  • Vladimir Putin did it, too,

  • using a cyber-attack to strike

  • at the fault lines of American

  • democracy.

  • >> The effectiveness of this

  • interference from Russia depends

  • on a couple of things.

  • (people speaking Russian)

  • >> It depends on the

  • polarization of politics in

  • America.

  • There were divides, and Russia

  • was pushing out material that

  • exploited those divides, that

  • broadened them, that called

  • attention to those divides.

  • (phone chimes)

  • >> NARRATOR: Posts on black

  • power...

  • >> "Staying woke, uplifting our

  • people."

  • >> "We are proud to be black and

  • stand..."

  • >> NARRATOR: On Southern

  • pride...

  • >> "The Confederate flag

  • represents heritage..."

  • >> "Join our fight to save

  • Southern heritage!"

  • >> NARRATOR: Russian attacks

  • played into deep-seated fears.

  • >> "If I win, Clinton wins!"

  • >> NARRATOR: Exploiting both

  • sides on the most divisive

  • issues.

  • >> "Stop police brutality!"

  • >> "Blue lives matter!"

  • >> NARRATOR: Immigration.

  • >> "It's time to get rid of

  • parasites!"

  • >> NARRATOR: Guns.

  • >> "I'll keep my guns..."

  • >> NARRATOR: Race.

  • >> "White kids chant N-word in

  • school bus."

  • >> And that's when I realized,

  • "Uh-oh, things have gone too

  • far."

  • There was a tipping point that

  • took place.

  • And I think the Russians didn't

  • create that tipping point, but

  • they exploited it.

  • They saw the fissures of... of

  • division.

  • They saw these, these... these

  • pivot points and they went right

  • for them.

  • >> NARRATOR: Trump, himself

  • sowing discord and chaos,

  • encouraged the Russians to

  • continue their attack and target

  • Hillary Clinton and the

  • Democrats.

  • >> I will tell you this: Russia,

  • if you're listening, I hope

  • you're able to find the 30,000

  • emails that are missing.

  • >> I think they started their

  • operation to intervene in the

  • election with the idea of

  • simply sowing discord, and, uh,

  • weakening the United States as a

  • country by doing so.

  • It only later became, uh, a

  • mission to actually specifically

  • elect Donald Trump.

  • (man speaking Russian)

  • >> NARRATOR: To help Trump, the

  • Russians created fake news about

  • Hillary Clinton.

  • (reporters speaking Russian)

  • >> Vladimir Putin certainly has

  • our number as a country.

  • He understood how easily

  • Americans could be turned

  • against each other with

  • Facebook.

  • What Facebook does is obliterate

  • the ability to tell the lie from

  • truth.

  • Where what is real, what is

  • fake, is not discernible and not

  • knowable.

  • And the consequences of that,

  • for a democratic republic, are

  • frightening, at best, to think

  • about.

  • >> NARRATOR: One particular

  • conspiracy theory was aired in

  • America by a Russian propaganda

  • network, RT.

  • >> ...theories about her

  • health caught on...

  • >> NARRATOR: Exaggerated and

  • questionable stories about

  • Clinton's health...

  • >> Under a microscope are

  • Clinton's falls, coughs, and

  • head motions.

  • (reporters talking)

  • (laughing)

  • >> Have you talked about vice

  • presidential possibilities with

  • Senator Warren?

  • >> You guys have got to try the

  • cold chai.

  • >> This video filmed in June

  • went viral and started a slew of

  • rumors that Clinton may have had

  • a seizure.

  • >> We were watching stories

  • about Hillary Clinton appearing

  • on Russian propaganda websites

  • like Russia Today and Sputnik.

  • >> A Democratic frontrunner has

  • been forced to refute rumors of

  • her deteriorating health, maybe.

  • >> And then somehow ending up in

  • very similar form in the right-

  • wing media ecosystem of the

  • United States-- Breitbart,

  • InfoWars, even Fox News.

  • >> What was once a concern

  • voiced in whispers is now

  • getting mainstream attention.

  • We're talking about Hillary

  • Clinton's health.

  • >> Some have said it's like a

  • mini-seizure.

  • What does it look like to you?

  • >> It could be a post-concussion

  • syndrome.

  • You know, your balance is off,

  • you're-- you're dizzy all the

  • time, your memory is off...

  • >> NARRATOR: It was invented,

  • overblown, but it didn't matter.

  • >> The fact is, she's out there

  • giving speeches every day and

  • has to cancel them having these

  • coughing fits.

  • >> New questions tonight about

  • Hillary Clinton's health.

  • >> Good evening, it was a

  • dramatic moment that's already

  • being watch and re-watched.

  • >> The episode this morning is

  • raising more questions about her

  • health...

  • (reporters speaking Russian)

  • >> NARRATOR: And the candidate

  • made the most of it.

  • >> And she can't make it 15 feet

  • to her car, give me a break.

  • Give me a break.

  • (cheers and applause)

  • Give me a break!

  • >> NARRATOR: As the fake news

  • spread, conservative talk radio

  • host Charlie Sykes saw how it

  • hardened the divide.

  • >> I'll tell you what my

  • experience was in 2016.

  • That the flood of these

  • misleading or outright false

  • stories was increasing.

  • In the past, I'd always been

  • able to push back on my audience

  • and say, "Okay, you understand