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.”
Martin Longman at the Political Animal blog added, What Kind of Evidence of Collusion Do We Have?
In addition to receiving hacked information about Democratic races in Florida, Nevins also received internal details about congressional districts in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, eventually used the material that was stolen by hackers in attack ads against several Democrats.
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Anthony Bustamante, a Republican campaign consultant for Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), told the Journal that he used the stolen information to plan ad buys and better target a mailer effort: “I did adjust some voting targets based on some data I saw from the leaks.”
This may provide the answer to the recent curiosity of why it is Florida Tea-Publican congressmen seem to be leading the charge to discredit the Special Counsel’s investigation or to shut it down, or calling on “Dear Leader” to fire Robert Mueller.
These Tea-Publican congressmen directly benefitted from their GOP campaign consultants using hacked information provided by Russian Intelligence to help them win their congressional races, i.e., “collusion.”
Heather Digby Parton explains at Salon, Why are all these Florida Republicans attacking Bob Mueller? (excerpts):
Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News dropped a small bombshell this quiet holiday week that hasn’t really exploded yet but might just explain the GOP’s recent full-court press to discredit the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Rep. Francis Rooney, a Florida Republican, explained:
I would like to see the directors of those agencies [the DOJ and FBI] purge it and say, “Look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here.” Those are the people to see and know the good work’s being done, not these people who are kind of the deep state.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ron DeSantis, another Florida Republican, went on “Fox & Friends” and backed up his colleague’s sentiments, saying, “You look at a guy like Peter Strzok [the FBI agent demoted for ending derogatory texts about many politicians including Trump]. If he’s gonna say that it’s his job as an FBI to prevent a certain candidate from getting elected. . . . Anyone who turns up in that situation, I think they should get another line of work.”
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The hysteria that’s now raging seems a bit of an outsized reaction for this particular phase of the scandal, especially considering that Mueller actually did remove the offending “deep-staters.” Isikoff may have come across a different motivation than simple loyalty to President Trump. He wrote:
In just the last few weeks, his prosecutors have begun questioning Republican National Committee staffers about the party digital operation that worked with the Trump campaign to target voters in key swing states. They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate, according to two of the sources.
It would not be surprising if certain Republicans were to become a bit nervous when the investigation into Russian interference turned in that particular direction. It’s flown under the radar since the election, but the fact is that it wasn’t only the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta’s email accounts that were hacked. The intelligence community identified the same group of Russian-affiliated hackers as behind the hacking of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
I’ve been intrigued by this aspect of the Russian hacking story since the New York Times published an early report about it back in November of 2016. Recall that at first the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 released personal information that was used to intimidate Democratic candidates, but then he/she/they suddenly became more sophisticated and targeted, dumping valuable tactical information:
The seats that Guccifer 2.0 targeted in the document dumps were hardly random: They were some of the most competitive House races in the country.
People have wondered ever since if the hacker(s) might have gotten some expert assistance.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence that so much of the information in question was republished on a website called HelloFLA by a Florida Republican and former congressional staffer named Aaron Nevins, who was connected to Trump associate and longtime political operative Roger Stone. It could be completely random that among the core group of Mueller antagonists, those calling the probe a “coup d’état” and demanding purges of members of the “deep state” are Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who proposed that Mueller’s funding be cut off, and the aforementioned Rep. Francis Rooney, who’s been all over TV talking about purging the FBI.
Indeed, as journalist Marcy Wheeler pointed out a while back, one of the ringleaders of the movement to discredit the Department of Justice and Robert Mueller, Rep. DeSantis, directly benefited from Guccifer 2.0’s leak to Nevins after the latter published five documents regarding the DCCC’s recruitment of DeSantis’ Democratic opponent, George Pappas. According to The Wall Street Journal, Guccifer 2.0 even sent a link with a HelloFLA article directly to Roger Stone, who told reporters he didn’t forward the hacked material to anyone — the answer to a question nobody asked.
If Mueller’s team is looking into the digital operation and Roger Stone’s interactions with Guccifer 2.0, as one would expect them to do, then these shenanigans in Florida are also coming into view. That may explain why this little circle of Sunshine State GOP congressmen are so anxious to shut him down.
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They might not be the only ones. According to The New York Times, material from the DCCC hack was first used by Miami-area Democrat Joe Garcia, a former congressman, to win a tight primary race. Then “the National Republican Campaign Committee and a second Republican group with ties to the House speaker, Paul Ryan, turned to the hacked material” to undermine Garcia and re-elect Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the Republican incumbent.
It should be noted that there were some candidates who refused to use the hacked material against their opponents. This gang of Florida Republicans who are now so loudly attacking the FBI for its supposedly unethical behavior were not among them. As we all know, neither was Donald “I love WikiLeaks” Trump.
Seems like a reasonable explanation.