Falsifying election results is another clue; along with getting the top judges to dismiss charges or rule in your favour.Historian Fiona Hill has spent decades studying Russia and the former Soviet Union, looking at how disinformation and lies are woven into authoritarian regimes. The patterns in such states are clear, Hill says: purging staff seen as disloyal, demonizing the checks and balances of civil society, attacking the media.
"At every turn in other countries where I've seen this happen, we're starting to see the same signs here in the United States," Hill says. "So we're suddenly in the company of many others. I think the main thing is that we've had a really hard time realizing that it could happen here."