The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative (pay wall – subscribers only).
Luckily Salon has a good summary of the report. GOP strategist admits he colluded with Russian hackers to hurt Hillary Clinton, Democrats:
[A] bombshell report published on Thursday confirms that Republican political operatives were working with the Russian government to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of so-called collusion.
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.”
Stone told the Journal that while he did receive a link to Nevins’s blog from Guccifer 2.0, he didn’t share the stolen data published on the blog with anyone.
Remember the rule: everything GOP ratfucker Roger Stone says is a lie. Believe nothing he says.
UPDATE: Martin Longman at the Political Animal blog looks into how Roger Stone fits into the timeline of events. What Kind of Evidence of Collusion Do We Have? “To me, that timeline is a blazing five-alarm fire and I’m sure the FBI has been rooting around in that two-week span very aggressively.”
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.
Here is a link to a manual on prosecution of federal laws related to computer crimes. This is not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that receipt of stolen property, which is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code § 2315, should be applicable to stolen intellectial property/computer files elsewhere under the federal code. Prosecuting Computer Crimes (.pdf) published by Office of Legal Education Executive Office for United States Attorneys.
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.”
Republicans ignored Democrats’ pleas not to use the hacked material for political gain.
After Guccifer 2.0 targeted the chair of the DCCC, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Paul Ryan arguing that “the NRCC’s use of documents stolen by the Russians plays right into the hands of one of the United States’ most dangerous adversaries,” and if the National Republican Campaign Committee continued using the materials, the GOP “will be complicit in aiding the Russian government in its effort to influence American elections.” Ryan never responded.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence believe Guccifer 2.0 is tied to Russian military intelligence.
Think Progress adds, A Republican strategist is now confirmed to have colluded with Russian hackers:
Aaron Nevins told the Journal he didn’t think he had participated in a Russian sabotage claim. [Former CIA Director John Brennan should explain the concept of “unwitting agent” and “useful idiot” to this tool.] But he also clearly indicated a greater interest in the political intelligence he received — and the potential harm it could do to Democrats — than in its source.
“If your interests align, never shut any door in politics,” Nevins told the Journal.
While Nevins denies that Guccifer is a Russian agent, he is forthright about his collaboration with the hacker or group of hackers. Which means that the Journal has found a bona fide, incontrovertible example of collusion.
A calculated decision to not shut any doors also seems to be how Carter Page, a central figure in the Russia investigation, ended up as an adviser on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to a Post story (‘Anyone . . . with a pulse’: How a Russia-friendly adviser found his way into the Trump campaign) that also came out on Thursday. The FBI became aware as early as 2013 that Moscow was trying to turn Page into an intelligence asset; three years later, Trump’s people reportedly welcomed Page onto the campaign after an extremely cursory background check, because they were hard up for credible-seeming national security advisers.
So what we have here is a case of “The enemy (Russia), of my enemy (Hillary Clinton), is my friend.” Party before patriotism and country.
Testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan said: “Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late.” Obama’s CIA chief just offered a Trump-Russia quote for the ages.
The fact that GOP operatives were knowingly using information stolen by the Russians makes Nancy Pelosi’s assessment of their actions accurate: the GOP “[is] complicit in aiding the Russian government in its effort to influence American elections.”
No wonder no one in the GOP wants to investigate this scandal. They are all complicit in the crime.