Tim Mak

Tim Mak covers national security and politics for NPR.

His reporting topics include investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the potential for future interference by foreign actors; challenges to America's democratic institutions; as well as the conservative movement and Republicans in the context of the 2018 elections.

Before joining NPR, Mak worked as a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast, covering the 2016 presidential elections with an emphasis on foreign affairs. He has also worked on the Politico Defense team, the Politico breaking news desk, and at the Washington Examiner. He covered the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009 and 2010 for FrumForum. He has reported abroad from the Horn of Africa and East Asia.

Mak graduated with a B.A. from McGill University, where he was a valedictorian. He also holds a national certification as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Russia's influence campaign on Twitter pushed pro-gun and pro-National Rifle Association messages during the 2016 election and beyond — a rare example of consistency in a scheme that mostly sought to play up extremes on the left and right.

On every issue, from race to health care, women's rights to police brutality, gay marriage to global warming, accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency sought to amplify controversy by playing up conflict.

Russian social media agitators who pushed pro-gun messages in the United States sometimes copied the language of the National Rifle Association. And sometimes, the NRA copied them.

What isn't clear is whether there was any relationship between the social media users or whether the duplication was done without the other's awareness, part of the broader tide of advocacy about gun rights.

What is clear is that, at times, the Russians followed so closely behind the American gun rights group that it duplicated its content word for word.

Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of working as an unregistered foreign agent, encouraged pro-gun demonstrations in the U.S. as early as 2014, according to messages provided to NPR.

Butina's work has been linked to Russia's attack on the 2016 election, but people who know her say she began trying to make her mark inside America years before.

NPR examined thousands of people who make up Butina's Facebook network, and reached out to a sample of more than two hundred individuals.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan called on the author of the widely read New York Times op-ed critical of President Trump to resign, arguing that the individual was "living in dishonesty."

The essay, posted Wednesday afternoon and attributed to a senior administration official, suggested that there is a group of high-level Trump administration officials working to stymie the president behind the scenes.

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