Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and Russia

Samantha Bee takes a victory lap on Russian election trolling, warns the trolls will be back

How did Russia influence the 2016 U.S. election? "Let me see if I can explain Russia's complex, high-tech cyber techniques in layman's terms," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal: "They put crazy sh-t on Facebook, polluting our brains with disinformation until we all felt like Winona Ryder at the SAG awards." If that sounds too simplistic, it is and isn't. The operation was sophisticated enough to target individual voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Bee said, sighing. "The Russian trolls had a better Midwest strategy than Hillary Clinton did." But the idea behind it isn't all that complicated.

And they had help. "One brain in particular was gobbling up Russian propaganda like it was a well-done steak drenched in delicious ketchup," Bee said. "Basically, Trump was Russia's Trojan Horse's ass, filling himself with Russian propaganda and then disgorging it, I assume unwittingly." But don't fire off a smug tweet about gullible conservatives" just yet, she told her viewers, because "Russia fooled the far left, too," efficaciously flooding Bernie Sanders fan pages with fake news about Clinton. "The fake stories were pushed to people who wanted to believe the system is rigged and Hillary is a criminal more than they wanted to check Snopes.com," she said. "But we're all guilty of thinking with our emotions," meaning we're all vulnerable.

"That's why it matters that Congress is taking foreign propaganda seriously, if a little late," Bee said. She played a clip of a retired FBI agent and Senate Intelligence Committee witness saying nobody had figured out the vote-swaying power of Russian trolls before the election, then took an unhappy victory lap, showing a clip from her own Oct. 31 show, where she not only highlighted the influence of the paid trolls but traveled to Russia and interviewed two of them. Russia called that fake news, claiming she'd hired the trolls, Bee noted, laughing, but "paid trolls are real, and when they're done interfering in the French and German elections, they'll have time to tell us how many children Susan Rice murdered with Cory Booker so POTUS can retweet it." Watch below. Peter Weber