The TAKE with Rick Klein
As hacks go, this was a strange one. But they won't all be this easy to spot -- or to stop.
Tweets promising bitcoin rewards hit some of the platform's largest accounts Wednesday afternoon, rolling through some of the largest and most influential Twitter accounts.
Big companies -- Apple and Uber among them -- were hit. So were major political and politics-adjacent figures: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and even Kanye West -- on the very day he qualified for his first ballot as a maybe-candidate for president.
Twitter put out a statement promising to investigate and "fix it," and locked down the accounts of those impacted and restricted all verified accounts. In a later statement, Twitter said it "detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack" that targeted some of the company, as opposed to the individual accounts.
The implications of such a hack, barely 100 days out from a presidential election, are vast.
For all the scrutiny on social media and cyber security, countless political figures use Twitter casually and rather thoughtlessly as a basic means to communicate and converse. That includes, of course, President Donald Trump -- a far more prolific tweeter than Biden or most anyone -- whose tweets are interpreted around the world as both media fodder and administration policy.
The latest hack is prompting calls from some members Congress to treat such a hack as an attack on the nation. And whether or not foreign actors were involved in this incident, it's easy to imagine many taking notes and inspiration from any such meltdown.
The nation is already facing the uncertain prospect of voting in the time of a pandemic, as well as extreme social and economic turmoil. The president is sowing mistrust in voting processes on a regular basis, using his Twitter account, among other methods, to spread misleading information.
That's what he's actually tweeting about. Adding a dose of mistrust about what others may do on and with the platform means more uncertainty -- and more opportunities for serious turmoil as the election approaches.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
As the nation grapples with a reckoning over race relations, and as leaders across the country assess how the ongoing pandemic affects people of color at disproportionate rates, the City Council of Asheville, North Carolina, made a momentous move on Wednesday by unanimously voting to provide reparations to its Black residents.
The resolution formally apologizes for the city's role in slavery, discriminatory housing practices and other racist policies throughout its history, while also calling for a plan to provide reparations in the form of investments in the community.
"It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature," said Councilman Keith Young, who is one of two Black members of the city council and served as the measure's main advocate.
Ahead of November's presidential election, the historic development -- having happened in a crucial 2020 battleground state -- could serve as an indicator of a broader ripple effect of nationwide protests and cultural shifts that campaigns will have to address.
While neither Trump nor Biden have weighed in on Asheville's reparation plan, neither has overtly backed the idea of reparations. In an interview with The Hill last year, Trump said, "it's been a very interesting debate" and added, "I don't see it happening." Meanwhile Biden said he backs studying the feasibility of reparations.
According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released last month, nearly three-fourths of Americans believe that the federal government should not provide payments to black Americans whose ancestors were slaves to compensate for the toll of slavery. Only 26% of Americans are in favor of reparations.
The TIP with Justin Gomez
With Trump moving to replace his campaign manager, Vice President Mike Pence will visit the battleground state of Wisconsin on Friday, making it his first in-person campaign event since visiting Philadelphia on July 9 and after the president had to cancel a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, due to weather concerns.
Pence has stops scheduled in Onalaska and Ripon, where the latter's GOP Chairman of Fond du Lac County Ron Bishop has publicly come out against Trump's stance on mail-in voting.
"It's such a bad idea to scare our own voters away from a legit way to cast their ballot," Bishop tweeted. "Why surrender this to Democrats when it's been to the GOP's advantage? I know Trump doesn't like it, but I just think he's wrong on this one!"
The trip comes as Pence ramped up attacks on Biden during a campaign press call with reporters on Wednesday, claiming he would "devastate" the economy if elected president by raising taxes on Americans as the country rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman, who tells us how this new surge of COVID-19 is taking a toll on both patients and health care workers. Then, lawyer and policy analyst Nkechi Taifa joins the show to discuss plans in Asheville, North Carolina, to implement reparations for Black citizens. Then, ABC News' Conor Finnegan explains how the Trump administration is going after China after it implemented new security in Hong Kong. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Recent attempts to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci are "absolutely outrageous," Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Wednesday, as criticism grows against the Trump White House after reported attempts to discredit one of the leading figures in the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic. https://bit.ly/2CGGdCY
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