We Got Hit by a Russian Spambot Attack — Here’s What They Targeted

Donald Trump, Taj Mahal
Donald Trump superimposed over the Taj Mahal. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from (Trump The Movie)

WhoWhatWhy was recently hit by a major spambot attack that we have traced back to a network operating from Russia. The fact that they went after us is not particularly surprising — that comes with the territory of covering politics in the US these days. What was very interesting, however, was the specific story targeted.

The Russians did not go after anything we published recently but rather a documentary on Donald Trump that was suppressed in the 1990s and that we published in its entirety in 2016.

We don’t know why, but if this is something the Russians want to interfere with, then there is obviously only one thing we can do: Run the entire thing again.

So below you will find brief summaries of the different parts (we had to split the documentary into 12 segments). We urge you to watch them all and come away with a better understanding of the US president. And if you think that you’ve stumbled upon something that attracted the interest of the Russians and that we might have missed, please get in touch with us.

Even if you watched this documentary when we first made it public, we guarantee that it is worth your doing so again now. The way it ends, in light of what Trump has been doing, is even more ominous than it was when the documentary was made or when we first ran it.

“The only end to this road is the ultimate madness,” Graydon Carter, the editor of SPY Magazine, said a quarter century ago.

Carter predicted back then that Trump might end up “living alone in an apartment complex in Panama and growing his fingernails long and storing urine in mason jars. It’s that or taking over the world — one or the other.”

Trump has been in office for a year and a half now and we still don’t know.


Suppressed Documentary Part 1: The Documentary on Donald Trump He Tried to Suppress

Donald Trump likes to portray himself as a winner. But in this never-before-aired documentary, we see a much more flawed and even tragic figure, whose failures and operating practices warrant close scrutiny (note: there’s a slight technical glitch in this particular segment where the video cuts off abruptly at the very end).

Suppressed Documentary Part 2: Trump’s Escape Across the River

Donald Trump not only inherited millions from his father — he learned that getting sued was just part of doing business.

Suppressed Documentary Part 3: Trump Rides His Dad’s Coattails Into Manhattan

In New York, political connections are key. Thanks to his father, Donald Trump knew the right people — and he rode those connections all the way to the top. Along with his shrewd business sense, they helped him soar.

Suppressed Documentary Part 4: Trump Builds Himself a Monument

The Donald built Trump Tower with a winning strategy: Get somebody else to finance it, work your connections, and get help from taxpayers.

Suppressed Documentary Part 5: Birth of a Bully

After Trump buys an occupied apartment building in the early 1980s, he has only one problem: the tenants. They stand up to his attempt to bully them — and hand The Donald his first big loss.

Suppressed Documentary Part 6: Trump’s Foray Into Football Falls Flat

Having amassed a fortune and established himself in Manhattan, Trump wanted to conquer the world of sports in the mid-80s. But his attempt to get an NFL franchise failed.

Suppressed Documentary Part 7: Trump Documentary — The First Marriage

As with everything else in Trump’s life, only the best would do — and that’s why the young couple enhanced the resume of Trump’s first wife, Ivana.

Suppressed Documentary Part 8: Trump Flubs Florida

Donald Trump’s huge error in a Florida business deal raises the question: Beyond his skill at getting attention, how good is he with the actual art of checking out deals — or policies — before going ahead with them?

Suppressed Documentary Part 9: What Kind of Man Is Donald Trump Off Camera?

A man who worked closely with Trump said he saw him treat people horribly, and that Trump subjected his own family to “extraordinary verbal assaults.” How he treated three loyal employees after their death may be even more telling.

Suppressed Documentary Part 10: Trumpopoly — Playing With House Money and Still Losing

Donald Trump likes to play by his own rules, even if that means bending those of society. And for those who dare defy him, he’s got a lawsuit waiting.

Suppressed Documentary Part 11: Trump Dreams Big and Comes Up Short

When Donald Trump bought a plot of land on Manhattan’s West Side, he had a grandiose vision of constructing the world’s tallest building. But a celebrity-led coalition of New Yorkers stood up to him.

Suppressed Documentary Part 12 — It’s All or Nothing for Trump

Trump exists in a world of extremes — there is winning and then there is everything else. And 25 years ago a prescient journalist offered a chilling vision of how it all might end.


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from movie marquee (Anthony Quintano / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).

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12 responses to “We Got Hit by a Russian Spambot Attack — Here’s What They Targeted”

  1. S Smornson says:

    There used to be ghastly soap opera DARK SKIES, which blamed everything on ET. You blaming Russia for everything is starting to resemble that.
    If ONLY superfluous Americans who have ONLY themselves to thank, suffered it would be one thing, but the way America diktats to the world is NO joke.
    As soon as a site starts on the let’s blame Russia, WITHOUT IRREFUTABLE PROOF it loses its CREDIBILITY.
    It says it’s afflicted to the interests of the ruling status quo nutters.

  2. S Smornson says:

    Seen it. So don’t hold your breath, it’s not that engrossing.
    Perhaps you should look at the bigger picture why American politics delivers NO CHANGE instead.
    For the Americans who behave like ostriches, and more seriously for the world who has no input, but suffers from their foolish behavior.
    So Russia is so well versed it can influence American politics?
    YAWN.
    Get a new script.

  3. Daniel says:

    Wow! What has happened to WWW? I haven’t been here in a while, and just read three articles.

    1. Presented the US-fomented and funded violent coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine as “Russian Aggression.”
    2. Presented John (“Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran”) McCain as the reasonable anti-war voice.
    3. And now this. Let’s be clear. Although Candidate Trump claimed to want to normalize relations with Russia, the Trump Administration has been even more hostile than the Obama Administration became, starting about the time Putin negotiated to get Syria to turn over all its chemical weapons to prevent a US/NATO Libya-style “Mission Accomplished.”

    This is so sad to see. Though Russ Baker has always stayed within the lines of acceptable reportage, he rode right on that line for decades, and so produced much great journalism. These three articles could have come from the Washington Post, or press releases from the Atlantic Council.

  4. Walter says:

    Valut 7 from wiki leaks established plausibly that the intel ops types have ability to create false trace back to any source… Thus I speculate that Whowhatwhy’s “russian source” is at least plausibly not real and may in reality be some other intel op gang… Now who is trying to impeach the odious trumper?

    I’ll take the story with a large grain of salsa…

    Many votes “for trump” were actually votes to destroy, like Brexit…petulant expressions of disgust and displeasure in response to the gross criminality the vast and expanding poor see every day. They “threw a grenade”…

    Meantime, I have met drunken Serbians who fought NATO – they rather like the trumper, as they understand that he’s “a grenade” inside the copshop Merika. They like Comrade Vlad much better, and expect that the Russian will prevail in the course of the ongoing world war.

  5. Bob says:

    I was having some beers with two Russians in a German beer garden and said loudly, “so you guys support Trump.” It made them so pissed. They responded only the US thinks we like Trump. Russians don’t like Trump.

  6. blueskybigstar says:

    Wikileaks revealed how the CIA has tools to make attacks look like they came from Russia. I think you have been fooled.

  7. Philip Fornaci says:

    So WWW was “hit” as some sort of response by Russians to an old Trump video? This makes no sense, nor does the self-serving sentence, “The fact that they went after us is not particularly surprising — that comes with the territory of covering politics in the US these days.” The “they” in question is someone who may or may not be one of a couple hundred million Russians, and we are to understand that “Russians” in general give a crap about WWW political coverage?

    It is sad to see this site spin down the drain of U.S. propaganda organs. Thought you people could think for yourselves.

    • Paul Austin says:

      Philip Fornaci.
      Great! Another point of great relevance is this. The American people were given a choice – Trump or Clinton. Why not do a similar ‘spread-sheet’ approach to the Clintons? I DARE YOU. ATTENTION WHOWHATWHY – You must have among your ranks at least ONE person who can see the wood for the trees. On the subject of world problems – leaving out China for a moment – who in America is able to see, as clearly as President Trump does, the inbred duplicity of Islam, and is prepared to do something about it? Hillary? Islam and Muslims ( and I have been dealing with them for SEVENTY YEARS) take kindness for weakness, despise weakness in fact, and employ every tactic in the book, taqhia especially to forward their aims. Remind you of anyone? The old ones are best and I will remind you of a true classic! .SET A THIEF TO CATCH A THIEF! A little more BALANCE PLEASE!

    • WG says:

      I agree 100%.

      I used to read almost everything published on this site but in the last couple years the coverage posted here has become downright embarrassing.
      I like the coverage on the Boston bombing, JFK, RFK, etc. but that’s about it.
      Not sure if Russ Baker has stepped away from day to day management (or if he’s still writing his JFK book) but as it exists today Who What Why is a shell of what it used to be.
      I’d sure love to know the inside story of how this happened…

    • TS says:

      I wholly agree, this is a incredibly misleading and self-serving article. WWW has gone full retard blaming ‘the Russians’ (all of them? some of them? one of them?) for anything and everything in the last year or so. This is one good thing about Russiagate – it has exposed the bigots in the liberal centre ground and on the left. Blame ‘black people’ and WWW will criticise you. Blame ‘the Russians’ and WWW will give you top billing.

      Furthermore how did ‘the Russians’ ‘go after’ this documentary? A spambot cannot take down a video. This story makes no sense.

    • lexx says:

      i couldn’t agree more with you
      it appears every alternative news site has to publish some anti russian propaganda forced or trying to avoid the alex jones treatment?

    • Jiggs Casey says:

      So, if they don’t run a story detailing the findings of every US intelligence branch, they will be purged from social media? Do you have sources for this claim? I’m sure WWW would love to examine your work. No, really.