The way we fight back

ONSTAGE IN THE PACKED, THUNDEROUS HOCKEY ARENA IN SUNRISE, Fla., President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale urges the crowd to pull out their cell phones and text themselves onto the campaign’s contact list. Their phones are key to helping Trump get re-elected in the face of his likely impeachment by the House. “The way we fight back,” Parscale booms, “is to get online ourselves and get connected, sign up for emails.” A slap shot away from Parscale, voter Alan Huber doesn’t need to sign up. He is already connected and gets Trump campaign messages, most often by scrolling through Facebook. “I don’t have to watch Fox or CNN or read TIME magazine or anything else. I will get anything important from my Facebook feed,” says Huber, who’s in his 60s and drove down the Florida coast from Boynton Beach on Nov. 26 to see Trump in person. “I think that the media doesn’t fully appreciate the power of the Facebook feed.”

The Trump campaign does. In the weeks since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Sept. 24 decision to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump for using the power of his presidency to press a foreign country—Ukraine—to investigate a political rival, the Trump campaign hasn’t run from Pelosi’s impeachment push or settled into a defensive crouch. Campaign officials instead are leaning into the impeachment threat, using it to mobilize supporters and try to extract a political price—and millions of dollars in fundraising—from the Democrats’ move. One of the single most powerful weapons in the Trump campaign’s arsenal has been Facebook, which—unlike many TV stations and newspapers—does not monitor candidates’ political ads for veracity.

A TIME analysis of publicly available Facebook data, which included the cataloging of hundreds of distinct messages, and .

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