Tag Archives: Data Theft

DNC sues the Trump Campaign, Russia and Wikileaks

Donald Trump’s consigliere Michael Cohen proved to me that he is not a lawyer. If he was, he would have known that filing a civil lawsuit against Stormy Daniels and against Buzzfeed allowed them to conduct legal discovery. He learned a valuable lesson this week.

Now that he knows he is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, he cannot afford to have a parallel civil case where discovery is also being conducted. Cohen drops libel suits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS.

Trump’s friend David Pecker at the trash rag National Enquirer took notice as well this week in its case with Trump’s former girlfriend, Karen McDougal. The first domino just fell after the Michael Cohen raid:

The former Playboy playmate reached a settlement Wednesday with American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer, in a deal that allows her to spill about her alleged months-long affair with President Trump. And importantly, the terms of the deal appear quite favorable to McDougal. One possible reason, according to reports and experts: The Cohen raid bolstered her case.

Experts say the combination of that and the favorable terms of the settlement — McDougal basically has to share only a small portion of the profits she might make from selling her story — suggest AMI was worried about what lay ahead.

Continue reading

Why Florida Tea-Publican congressmen are leading the charge to discredit the Special Counsel’s investigation

Putin’s troll farm and the Trump apologists who frequently troll the comments of this blog to parrot Donald Trump’s assertion that the Russia investigation is a”witch hunt” or “fake news” seem to have forgotten that a GOP campaign operative in Florida already freely admitted that he used hacked information provided by Gucifer 2.0 (Russian Intelligence) in congresssional campaigns in Florida. I posted back in May, GOP operative colluded with Guccifer 2.0 – Russian stolen info was used by the GOP:

The Wall Street Journal reported that hacked information was posted on a blog run by Aaron Nevins, the political operative, and then passed along to top Trump adviser Roger Stone during the campaign. The Republican operative in Florida received a trove of Democratic documents from the allegedly Kremlin-linked hacker, Guccifer 2.0. For months, both Congress and the FBI have been scrutinizing evidence that associates of Trump may have colluded with Russia during the campaign.

Nevins confirmed to the Journal that he told hacker Guccifer 2.0 to “feel free to send any Florida based information” after learning that the hacker had tapped into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) computers last summer. From the DCCC, Guccifer 2.0 released internal assessments of Democratic congressional candidates, known as “self-opposition research,” to GOP operatives using social media. Nevins told the Journal that, after receiving the stolen documents from the hacker, he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.” The stolen DCCC documents also contained sensitive information on voters in key Florida districts, breaking down how many people were considered dependable Democratic voters, undecided Democrats, Republican voters and the like. Nevins made a war analogy, describing the data he received to Guccifer 2.0 as akin to a “map to where all the troops are deployed.”

After Nevins published some of the material on the blog HelloFLA.com, using his own pseudonym, Guccifer 2.0 sent a link of the information to close Trump associate Roger Stone — who is currently under federal investigation for potential collusion with Russia.

“I just threw an arrow in the dark,” Nevins, who set up a Dropbox account for Guccifer 2.0 to transfer data, told the Journal. “If your interests align,” the operative concluded, “never shut any doors in politics.”

Continue reading

Special Counsel investigates Cambridge Analytica and RNC data operations for collusion with Russia in targeting social media

MercersThe Wall Street Journal (paywall) recently reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested that a data analytics company owned by far-right Robert and Rebekah Mercer called Cambridge Analytica turn over internal documents as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained:

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content (more on this below).

[T]his story is specifically about how team Trump, with the help of this data company, might have facilitated Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

So here’s what we know about Cambridge Analytica, its connections to the Trump campaign, and what sorts of things Mueller is likely looking into.

Trump’s digital army

In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, who is also a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica (and whose Breitbart News site is funded by Robert and Rebekah Mercer).

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

Continue reading