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Nasdaq Lists an AI-Powered Index of Crypto Market’s Top 100 Performers

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The Nasdaq stock exchange has listed an index of crypto’s top 100 coins alongside traditional market bellwethers like the S&P 500 and the Dow.

Powered by artificial intelligence, the CIX100 is designed by Cryptoindex.com to give Wall Street traders a quick and comprehensive view of the crypto markets’ real-time performance, the company said.

The index had previously been listed by Reuters, Bloomberg and Tradingview.

And it works without human intervention, according to Cryptoindex.com. The index’s “Zorax” algorithm trawls through data from over 1,800 tokens to develop a live account of the marketplace, free of inflated offerings.

“We make sure our index includes only [coins] that have no fake volume, have no manipulation, that come from scrupulous companies,” Cryptoindex Project Manager Kirill Marchenko told RHChat.

The CIX100 does so with layers of neural networks, benchmarks and other features,  Marchenko said. Coins must remain among the top 200 by market cap for at least three months to be considered by the AI.

The listing is another sign of crypto’s march toward the mainstream.

“We’ve become a more accessible and convenient financial instrument for all types of investors, not only professional,” Marchenko said.

Hulu’s ‘Looking for Alaska’ Is Just the Right Kind of Sappy-Yet-Self-Aware Teen Drama

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Fans of John Green, “The O.C.,” and everyone in between will not be disappointed by this excellent addition to a genre of television that is notoriously difficult to get right.

When Miles Halter, the protagonist of the new Hulu miniseries Looking for Alaska, first lays eyes on Alaska Young from the backseat window of his parents’ car, he’s smitten, though he, and the audience, have no way of knowing in that moment just how deeply she will change his life. It is a scene plucked straight from the vivid, highly romanticized fantasies that only teenagers are capable of fostering, played out in slow motion to lilting instrumental music. 

Alaska, bathed in soft, natural light that accentuates her ethereal beauty, is loading a crate of illegally purchased alcohol into the trunk of her car on the side of the road. After what feels like an eternity of unbroken eye-contact, Miles leans back against his seat, barely able to catch his breath. Much of the show’s eight-episode arc feels like this one sequence—beautiful and idealized, foreboding, and entirely relatable to anyone who recalls the intensity of being a teenager.         

Looking for Alaska is the latest addition to the teen drama canon, adapted from the 2005 John Green novel of the same name. Miles, played by Charlie Plummer, is an introverted teenager who obsessively memorizes the famous last words of historical figures. Inspired by the pre-mortem avowal of French poet François Rabelais (“I go to seek a Great Perhaps”), Miles decides to leave behind his mundane life in Florida to attend Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. Once there, he befriends Chip, nicknamed the Colonel (Denny Love), Takumi (Jay Lee), and—you guessed it—Alaska (Kristine Froseth). 

The series, developed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (The O.C., Gossip Girl), shows its cards early by beginning with a climactic car accident. The subsequent episodes take us back to the events leading up to the tragedy, each one labeled with the number of days remaining before it occurs. The effect is compelling, creating a creeping tension conducive to bingeing all eight episodes in one sitting. 

Green is a deft craftsman of page-turning YA melodrama and, arguably, one of the foremost translators of the manic pixie dream girl trope into adolescence. Alaska Young would not be out of place among Rocky Horror-loving Sam from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower or Kate Hudson’s teenage groupie Penny Lane in Almost Famous. Though Looking for Alaska was his first hit, and widely considered his best novel, Green is best known for penning The Fault in Our Stars, about two teens who fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.   

The pairing of Green’s poignant, though occasionally trite source material with the creative minds behind The O.C. works seamlessly. Schwartz and Savage are no strangers to precocious adolescent characters who communicate exclusively via unbelievably witty dialogue and obscure cultural references. That the performative pretentiousness of the gang of misfits in Looking for Alaska is played as a thinly veiled guise for insecurity makes the unrealistic dialogue feel natural and self-aware—at least, most of the time.

The decision to make the show a period piece of sorts, setting it in 2005 when the book was published, is also an ingenious choice as it allows Schwartz to milk the early-2000s nostalgia evocative of the show that made him famous all those years ago. He does this primarily through the soundtrack, which is peppered with updated covers of Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie, and Sufjan Stevens. An amusing swan attack sequence in the first episode is set to “Blue Orchid” by the White Stripes.  

In Schwartz and Savage’s hands, Looking for Alaska actually manages to improve upon the original work—no small feat for an onscreen adaptation of a beloved book. While in the novel, the mysterious title character often seems to exist only in the imagination of the male narrator, never allowed to tell her own story or transcend two dimensions, the show brings Alaska into focus. Alaska’s interiority is explored on a deeper level, and viewers catch firsthand glimpses into her home life and her relationship with her long-distance boyfriend.  

Miles is still the lens through which we access the world of Culver Creek, but we no longer rely on him entirely for our evaluations of the people around him. This is crucial, as nearly 15 years have passed since the book was published, and our collective tolerance for narratives about lost male leads being saved by beautiful, beguiling women (usually at their own expense) has dwindled. 

Charlie Plummer, with his curtain of long, slightly greasy hair, eerily resembles a young Chad Michael Murray in cargo shorts and does a perfectly fine job as Miles. But often it is the supporting cast that steals scenes, particularly newcomer Denny Love as Miles’ assertive, prankster roommate the Colonel and Veep alum Timothy Simons, who plays the merciless school principal with hilarious earnestness and empathy. No one, however, is as magnetic as Kristine Froseth in the title role. As the narrative quietly plummets towards tragedy in the series’ first few episodes, Froseth is its emotional center, able to convey the pain beneath her character’s self-assured exterior with just a fleeting look. 

Montages of the friends smoking cigarettes under a bridge, gleefully planning prank wars, and burying cheap bottles of rosé in the woods for safekeeping will make you nostalgic for the high school experience you never had. And then, though you know it is coming, the inevitable tragedy in the later episodes is sure to thaw even the coldest of hearts. Fans of John Green, The O.C., and everyone in between will not be disappointed by this excellent addition to a genre of television that is notoriously difficult to get right.

Senate Democrat blasts Republicans’ ‘blind partisan loyalty’ to Trump

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Chris Murphy

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy slammed Republicans on Sunday, accusing them of being more loyal to President Donald Trump than the country amid a House impeachment inquiry centered on the commander in chief‘s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

“This entire country should be scared that at a moment when we need patriots, what we are getting is blind partisan loyalty,” Murphy said in an interview on “Meet the Press.”

Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, followed Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who made waves last week when he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the top U.S. diplomat to the European Union told him in August that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine was being held up in exchange for Kiev probing U.S. elections, a charge Trump later denied in a phone call with the senator.

But on Sunday, Johnson defended Trump, saying he was “sympathetic with what the president has gone through” and that Democrats were actually relitigating the 2016 presidential election. Other congressional Republicans also eschewed criticism of Trump.

Though he called Johnson “a good friend,” Murphy said he’s “scared” by Republicans’ posture after Trump called on the governments of Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, one of his chief political rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

“That interview was just a giant green light to the president of the United States to continue to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections,” Murphy said of Johnson. “He telegraphed that he’s gonna ask China to do the same thing he asked the Ukrainians to do this week because Republicans are allowing to — are — are allowing him to do it.”

Still, Murphy predicted public opinion could change rapidly “as you see more Republicans go into the bunker … and the president go deeper into trying to get … more countries to interfere in our elections.”

“I feel like this is a moment where patriots need to step up and try to save this country,” Murphy said. “And I think there are a lot of regular citizens out there that are going to demand that their members of Congress look at the facts, make a decision on the facts, not make a decision based on their loyalty to the cult of Donald Trump.”

Republicans rush to defend Trump as Ukraine scandal deepens

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Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson and other Republicans stand firm behind the president.

Sen. Ron Johnson “winced” when he heard that Ukraine aid was being tied to investigating the Bidens. But like other Republicans, he didn’t bring any further political pain to President Donald Trump on Sunday, instead opting to use a morning TV appearance to defend Trump.

The Wisconsin Republican went full bore into litigating the 2016 election rather than discussing Trump’s current predicament, which is now the subject of the House’s impeachment inquiry. And he said the point of his Wall Street Journal interview last week in which he divulged his conversations with the president about Ukraine aid and a Biden probe was meant to clear Trump, not hurt him.

“Here’s the salient point of why I came forward: When I asked the president about that, he completely denied it. He adamantly denied it. He vehemently, angrily denied it. So that is the piece of the puzzle I’m here to report today,” Johnson told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday in a contentious interview. “Unlike the narrative of the press that President Trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020, what he wants is an accounting of what happened in 2016.”

Johnson told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had told him about a trade of roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in exchange for a probe into U.S. elections. Concerned about linking the two, Johnson called Trump directly and Trump refuted it, according to Johnson’s accounts.

Johnson is something of a wild card among Senate Republicans with little allegiance to party leaders after his 2016 campaign was left for dead by top Republicans; he was still reelected by nearly 5 points. But when it comes to the deepening impeachment inquiry into Trump, Johnson is instructive.

When he raised questions last month about the White House restricting records of Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders, White House officials quickly assuaged Johnson’s concerns. And as everyone in Washington puzzled over his admission about his own part in Trump’s Ukraine saga, Johnson went on “Meet the Press” to make clear he’s not joining the small band of Trump’s GOP critics.

“I’m pretty sympathetic with what the president has gone through. I have never seen in my lifetime, a president after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents,” Johnson said of Trump, citing the adversarial press coverage of Trump.

Johnson in early September traveled to Ukraine with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who followed Johnson on “Meet the Press.” Murphy said they are friends but he is “deeply scared” by Johnson’s stance on Sunday.

“That interview was just a giant green light to the president of the United States to continue to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections,” Murphy said. “This entire country should be scared, that at a moment when we need patriots, what we are getting is blind partisan loyalty.”

The Connecticut senator concluded of Republicans: “They shouldn’t be fearful of this president. If they vote to get rid of him, there’s nothing he can do to hurt them.”

But in the meantime, Trump is making clear he’s watching every public utterance of Republicans closely. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asserted that even if Trump is impeached by the House, he’ll likely be safe in the Senate, which would be responsible for holding a trial if the House votes to impeach.

“The way that impeachment stops is with a Senate majority with me as majority leader,” McConnell said in a video fundraising solicitation for his 2020 reelection campaign. “But I need your help. Please contribute before the deadline.”

Twenty-one years ago, McConnell said he would not “prejudge” the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton in the Senate since as a senator, he was a potential juror.

Republicans on the Sunday shows did little to break with the president, calling Trump’s call for China to probe Vice President Joe Biden a joke and dismissing news that there’s a second whistleblower.

Politically, it was easy to see why: Trump spent Saturday attacking Mitt Romney (R-Utah), one of three Senate Republicans who expressed concerns about Trump’s invitation last week for China to investigate Biden. Romney described Trump’s actions as a “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling”; Trump retorted that Romney is an “ass” and suggested he should be impeached. Despite Trump’s suggestion, senators can’t be impeached.

“The media loves for Republicans to criticize each other,” said Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who declined to defend Romney. “Mitt Romney’s a big boy, President Trump’s a big boy.”

Not every elected Republican is defending Trump. Aside from Romney, Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Susan Collins of Maine raised questions about Trump’s most recent public statement that China and Ukraine should probe Biden. One of Trump’s presidential primary challengers, former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), said Trump “deserves to be impeached.”

But other than that handful of Republicans, dissenting voices were absent Sunday, where even former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who is also challenging Trump, declined to endorse Trump’s impeachment and declined to commit to voting against him.

And several Republicans went with Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) line: That Trump’s call for foreign nations to investigate Biden can’t be taken seriously.

“I doubt the China comment is serious,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership.

“You really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on ABC’s “This Week.”

Some Republicans also brushed aside the existence of a second whistleblower who has reportedly verified Trump’s dealing with Ukraine. Stewart said the White House’s release of a summary of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president was far more salient than a pair of whistleblowers concerned with Trump’s conduct.

“It does not matter,” Stewart said. “We have this transcript. Why should I care at all?”

For the most part, despite the GOP’s dismissals of new questions and revelations about Trump and his aides’ conduct with foreign leaders, the Sunday show appearances were relatively civil despite, for example, Jordan’s stonewalling of questions about whether Trump’s calls for foreign election interference are appropriate.

The same could be hardly be said of Todd and Johnson.

“You set this thing up totally biased,” Johnson said of his interview. “I would never be able to get the truth out … something pretty fishy happened during the 2016 campaign and during the transition and the early part of the Trump presidency.”

“I’m sorry that you chose to come on this way, senator,” Todd responded.

Jim Jordan: Trump not serious in calls for China to investigate Biden

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Jim Jordan

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday furthered what may be a new GOP strategy: questioning President Donald Trump’s seriousness in asking China to investigate the Biden family.

In an animated exchange on ABC with host George Stephanopoulos, Jordan — one of the president’s most vocal supporters — evaded answering “yes” or “no” to the question of whether Trump’s request for foreign powers to investigate a political rival was appropriate.

“You really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?” the Ohio Republican said. “I think he’s getting the press all spun up about this. Remember, this is the president who’s been tougher on China than any other president.”

Stephanopoulos later asked, “We’re not supposed to take the president at his word?”

Jordan’s response: Trump was just being Trump. His request to China was to make a statement and say “what’s on the minds of so many Americans.”

“You would think after … a few years of following this president, you would understand sort of how this guy communicates. I think that is what he’s doing,” Jordan said.

Trump on Thursday pulled China into the midst of rising furor over the president’s request for help from Ukraine in investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. During a press gaggle on Thursday, Trump said China should “start an investigation” into Biden because “what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told reporters in Florida that it wasn’t “a real request” and Trump was “just needling the press.” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) followed suit on Sunday, saying on CBS, “I doubt the China comment was serious.”

Still, some Republicans have split from that line of defense, the most recent being Maine Sen. Susan Collins who on Saturday said Trump made a “big mistake by asking China to get involved.” She is the third Republican senator to publicly criticize the president on this matter, joining Utah’s Mitt Romney and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse.

Joe Walsh says ‘traitor’ Trump ‘deserves to be impeached’

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Joe Walsh

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, one of the Republicans challenging President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential race, called the incumbent president “a traitor” and said he’d vote to impeach him if he was still in Congress.

“This is a strong term I’m going to use, but I’m going to say it on purpose: Donald Trump is a traitor,” Walsh said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Walsh was interviewed alongside another Republican challenger, former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Walsh, a Republican who represented Illinois in the House and has been a Trump critic, added he isn’t accusing Trump of treason. But he said Trump “betrayed our country again this week” by calling on China and Ukraine to investigate one of his chief political rivals in the 2020 presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“This president deserves to be impeached,” Walsh said.

House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine’s government to investigate Biden and his son Hunter. But the House has not held a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry, and several Democrats on Sunday brushed off calls for a vote.

Though both Walsh and Sanford are running long-shot bids to replace Trump as the GOP standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election, the pair differed on whether Trump should be impeached.

“I respectfully disagree. In other words, the nature of the process is not to come to the conclusion at the beginning of it,” Sanford said. “And for people to just step out and say he needs to be impeached is to actually diminish and discard with the very process that is laid out by our Founding Fathers.”

“And so I do think we ought to be incremental,” Sanford said. “But to jump to conclusions and say, he needs to be impeached, what he’s done is treasonous, is to say, we’re not going through the very process that the Founding Fathers laid out.”

Asked whether he’d vote to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump, Sanford responded, “I suspect so.” But he added that he doubts impeaching Trump would be the right move.

“I would ultimately, as I have said previously, I don’t know that, ultimately, impeachment is the best way to go,” Sanford said. “I think probably censure is, given the fact that we’re this close to an election. But that’s a larger conversation.”

Pressed on whether he would vote for Trump in the 2020 election, Sanford said he didn’t know and would make his decision based on the issues “with particular regard to debt and deficit and government spending.”

Walsh, meanwhile, said, “There is no way in hell” he’d vote for Trump in a general election.

“The election is about Trump, period,” he said.

House Republican Chris Stewart ‘not at all’ concerned about second whistleblower

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Chris Stewart

Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday brushed off reports that a second whistleblower has come forward regarding President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that are now at the center of a House impeachment inquiry.

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” if he was concerned by the emergence of another whistleblower, Stewart responded, “Actually, not at all.”

“One of our concerns has always been there hasn’t been firsthand knowledge of this,” the Utah Republican said. “The first whistleblower, virtually everything that he accused was second- and third-hand knowledge.”

“It does not matter. This person is going to come forward and say, ‘Yep. The president had this phone call and, yep, that’s the transcript,'” Stewart said, referring to a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. “I mean, why should I care at all what his perspective or his opinion or judgment of this transcript is? You and I can read it.”

Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have criticized an initial whistleblower complaint made to the intelligence community’s inspector general as hearsay, a criticism Stewart reiterated.

But an attorney for the initial whistleblower on Sunday told ABC News he is representing a second whistleblower who has first-hand knowledge of some of the original allegations.

Stewart also steered clear of the feud between Trump and one of his home-state senators, Mitt Romney.

Trump slammed Romney on Twitter over the weekend as “a fool” and “a pompous ‘ass'”, adding the hashtag “#IMPEACHMITTROMNEY” after the Republican senator criticized the president’s calls for Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, one of his political rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

“Mitt Romney’s a big boy. President Trump’s a big boy. They can settle their differences. I’m not going to weigh in on that,” Stewart said.

N.Y. Democrat: Scandal ‘a matter of urgent national interest’

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Hakeem Jeffries

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said Sunday that the Trump-Ukraine scandal is “a matter of urgent national concern” but dismissed White House calls for a formal vote on President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

The New York Democrat said on ABC‘s “This Week” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may consider a formal vote, but he said it’s already clear that even without this formal endorsement, a majority of the House supports the impeachment inquiry.

The White House has refused to comply with an impeachment probe unless a formal, full House vote is held. Although there is no constitutional requirement for a full vote, legal experts have said it has been the precedent in past impeachment proceedings.

Asked if he was concerned Trump would draw out the process by going to court, Jeffries responded “not at all.”

“As the speaker has indicated, we are going to proceed expeditiously because this is a matter of urgent national concern,” said Jeffries, the Democratic caucus chairman.

Failure to comply with the House subpoena for documents undermines a constitutionally mandated process and “could lead to a negative inference” for the information, documents and evidence Trump is “hiding,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said that, despite partisan maneuvering around the impeachment inquiry, there is growing support for the proceedings across party lines among national security professionals.

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle … they’re going to raise things about a cosmetic procedural vote,” he said. “They’re going to raise wild conspiracy theories because they do not want to defend the substance of the allegations and charges.”

Attorneys: There’s not just one whistleblower

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Donald Trump

Attorneys representing the whistleblower whose complaint ignited the current firestorm over President Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of the Ukraine indicated Sunday that they are representing other whistleblowers.

“IC WHISTLEBLOWER UPDATE: I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General. No further comment at this time,” Andrew P. Bakaj (@AndrewBakaj) tweeted Sunday morning.

The original whistleblower remains unidentified.

Bakaj, a former State Department employee, is paired with Mark Zaid in representing that person. They are partners at Compass Rose Legal Group, a Washington firm specializing in security issues.

For his part, Zaid told ABC‘s “This Week“ that the firm is representing a second whistleblower, language which differed from Bakaj’s.

“Let me also be clear. Although 2nd #whistleblower does possess 1st hand knowledge of certain info, there is NO legal requirement for any #WBer to have such knowledge. Law only requires a “reasonable belief,” Zaid subsequently tweeted.

The original whistleblower had filed a complaint pertaining to Trump’s conversation in July with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Trump‘s request for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump mocked the notion of additional whistleblowers.

“The first so-called second hand information “Whistleblower” got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another “Whistleblower” is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info. Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!,” presumably referring to Rep. Adam Schiff as “Shifty.”

‘Populist mobs’ vs. the Kochs: Tech probes split the GOP

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Brian Hooks and Charles Koch

Investigations from state attorneys general and federal agencies are causing a rift between free market conservatives and the party’s more populist voices.

Washington’s growing antitrust war against Silicon Valley is opening a rift among Republicans — with the Koch family’s vast political operation and other small-government groups emerging as the tech industry’s key allies on the issue.

The split is starkest between free-market conservatives who view the mushrooming antitrust investigations of Google, Facebook and Amazon as government intrusions into private enterprise, and GOP lawmakers and regulators who believe the companies themselves now pose a threat to market competition, privacy and free speech. That latter group has found a rare piece of common ground with Democrats, who are broadly and increasingly calling for tougher Silicon Valley regulations.

The most visible sign of the divide came last month when Americans for Prosperity, the political organization founded by conservative mega-donors Charles and the late David Koch, launched a Facebook ad campaign targeting nine Republican and Democratic state attorneys general who are leading antitrust investigations of Google and Facebook. The ads direct voters to submit form letters urging the AGs to avoid creating a “political spectacle” and arguing that “punishing companies for size or success would mean risking the jobs of countless Americans.”

The advocacy group also ran digital ads in March urging members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to “oppose any effort to use antitrust laws to break up America’s innovative tech companies.” The targets of those ads included freshman Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), both of whom the Koch organization supported in last year’s election.

“It’s been troubling to see a sort of coming together of populist mobs on the left and the right,” said Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the tech policy portfolio for the Koch umbrella network Stand Together. “Our views haven’t changed based on the politics of the moment.”

But the Koch network does not see itself as Silicon Valley’s cheerleader either, he added.

“Our role is not to defend these companies,” Blumenthal said. “Our role is to monitor and critique, in this case, what we see as a potentially illegitimate use of government power. If Google or Facebook or any other company has violated the antitrust laws then they should be investigated.”

Still, the Koch network’s hesitancy to join calls for a tech crackdown is putting it increasingly out of step with a chunk of today’s GOP. Republicans have long been associated with more cautious antitrust enforcement, suspicious of the notion that the government should effectively choose winners and losers in the marketplace. But those views have become unmoored as animus toward the tech industry grows, observers say.

“You can no longer say Republicans are the party of limited government intervention when it comes to antitrust,” said one veteran Washington antitrust attorney, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

“It will portend a more active Republican antitrust regime than we’ve seen in the past,” the lawyer continued. “If we have a bipartisan consensus that we really ought to look at these companies and police them closely on competition issues, I think that makes a difference. It’s a very different world than five years ago or 10 years ago.”

Those bipartisan endeavors to regulate the nation’s big tech companies have already shown signs of extending beyond antitrust, creating a headache for internet companies as they fend off, for instance, talks of amending laws that protect them from lawsuits over user-generated content.

“People will be more open to looking at ways to more aggressively regulate tech and the industry should be worried about that,” said Zach Graves, head of policy for the conservative group Lincoln Networks. “Over the long run, it could shape the type of views of the next rounds of elected representatives.”

Republicans leading the antitrust probes maintain that they are the ones standing up for unfettered private enterprise, positioning themselves as defenders of smaller players who could be crowded out of the market by the industry’s heavyweights.

“I support free markets, which is why this investigation is so important,” GOP Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said at a September news conference announcing a joint investigation of Google’s search and digital advertising businesses by 48 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. “So that we absolutely ensure that even the biggest of big tech companies are accountable and even the biggest of the big tech companies are subject to the rule of law.”

The week before, a smaller contingent of state AGs announced they would be investigating Facebook on antitrust grounds. Meanwhile, in Washington, the Federal Trade Commission has asked Facebook to fork over information related to its business practices, the company disclosed in July, and the Justice Department made a similar demand of Google in recent weeks amid a broad review of anticompetitive behavior in tech.

The Koch network shelled out $400 million on political and policy fights in 2017 and 2018, according to previously reported figures outlined by the network, and at its peak rivaled the Republican Party itself in its power and influence. That presents a deep-pocketed foe for groups that want to see tech firms held to greater account. AFP declined to say how much it spent on the antitrust ads, though Facebook’s advertising database indicates it was less than $100 per ad. A spokesperson for the organization said the group opted not to expand the ad campaign because it “served its intended purpose.”

“The Koch network is led by people who would like to be running the economy,” said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonpartisan group that fights market concentration. “There are many members of Congress who turn to them for campaign financing and they finance many of the organizations on the right, so because they’re the source of so much money they are hugely influential.”

But some progressives pushing for greater scrutiny of the tech industry’s market power say that influence may no longer be enough.

“People aren’t afraid of them anymore” said Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute. “It’s not that they don’t have power, they do have power. They don’t carry the same level of fear.”

Tech companies and the libertarian Kochs have shown an affinity before, including in their support for low taxes and opposition to trade and immigration barriers. Two years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Charles Koch in urging Congress to protect the rights of so-called Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. as children. But the Kochs’ importance as potential allies for the industry has grown with the roster of federal and state-level probes looking into the companies’ data practices, alleged anti-competitive behavior and oversight of online speech.

An AFP spokesman said antitrust is one of several policy issues the group plans to consider when deciding whether to back candidates in upcoming races and noted the organization will throw its support behind those who “stick their neck out” regardless of political party.

Conservative Republicans like Hawley and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have cheered on the antitrust investigations, and Cruz even sided with liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in one of her recent run-ins with Facebook. And Hawley has questioned how fellow conservatives who have long advocated for freedom of choice and checks on authority don’t take issue with the dominance of Silicon Valley’s internet companies.

“I don’t understand why those who call themselves libertarians are so enamored with this incredible concentration of power in the hands of a few,” Hawley said in an interview with The Hill. “I thought the whole libertarian tradition was about standing up to power, it was about checking concentrated power on behalf of the people.”

“And that’s what needs to happen here,” he said.

The split has, at times, become acrimonious. Americans for Prosperity, for instance, spent $2.1 million in ads helping to elect Hawley in 2018, as RHCHAT previously reported. Now, employees within the Koch network are sniping with the senator on Twitter, including accusing him of lying about the Federal Trade Commission’s handling of a 2012 staff report on Google’s competition practices.

The industry’s most powerful critic in Washington, of course, is President Donald Trump, who has joined congressional Republicans in accusing companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google of muting conservative points of view. Blackburn pointed to the bias allegations earlier this year when she set up a Senate tech task force, which is looking at issues including antitrust, data privacy and content moderation.

Free-market advocates argue that the Trump administration and state enforcers are out to score political points rather than pursue genuine legal violations.

“It comes down to the question of: Do you see government as the solution to a perceived problem? Or do you believe that the market is in the best position?” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, a right-leaning industry trade group whose members include Google and Facebook.

“It is one thing to say you believe in the free market, it’s another thing to actually do what you say,” he said.

Google and Facebook declined to comment on the Republican split. Both companies have rejected the notion that they illegally suppress rivals or function as monopolies in their respective markets, arguing that they face competition in their various lines of businesses, sometimes from one another.

The tech industry has also ramped up its search for friends in Washington. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a rare trip to Capitol Hill last month for meetings with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including critics like Hawley, as well as an Oval Office sit-down with Trump and some of his advisers.

But while Trump and Facebook tweeted some kind words after the Zuckerberg meeting, the Republican suspicion of Silicon Valley, and its largely liberal executives and employee base, appears unlikely to die down any time soon. That’s true even though companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have long staffed their Washington offices with people who have ties to Republican politics.

Zuckerberg, for example, was accompanied during his D.C. trip by Facebook global public policy chief Joel Kaplan, a former George W. Bush administration official who last year made a show of support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious confirmation hearing. Last week, Google global policy leader Karan Bhatia — another Bush White House veteran — tapped Mark Isakowitz, the chief of staff to Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, as the head of the search giant’s D.C. policy operation.

Despite those connections, there may simply be fewer Republicans willing to come to the industry’s aide as Congress makes tech industry competition a greater focus.

“Their principled allies, people who actually care about these things because of some commitment to how antitrust law should work, don’t really matter anymore,” said Berin Szóka, the president of libertarian group TechFreedom. “There are very few people now who, in a hearing, will stand up and remind everyone what the free-market position is.”