2016 Campaign

Cambridge Analytica Data Was Accessed by Russia

“The now infamous Facebook data set on tens of millions of Americans gathered by a Cambridge University scientist for a firm that went on to work for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was accessed from Russia,” CNN reports.

“Damian Collins, the Conservative MP leading a British parliamentary investigation into online disinformation, told CNN that a British investigation found evidence that the data… had been accessed from Russia and other countries. The discovery was made by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Britain’s data protection authority.”

Flashback Quote of the Day

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump… swear to God.”

— House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), quoted by the Washington Post in a private recording, speaking to a group of GOP lawmakers a month before Donald Trump clinched the GOP presidential nomination.

Speaker Paul Ryan quickly interjected: “This is an off-the-record… no leaks, alright? This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

What Mueller Knows – and What He’ll Pursue Next

Garrett Graff: “Examining the public bread crumbs of Mueller’s investigation, though, gives some indication about what’s left that we don’t know—the active and ongoing investigative work that Mueller’s team is pursuing that hasn’t seen the light of day. In broad buckets, there are at least eight significant areas of the investigation yet to be penciled in by Mueller.”

“Spoiler alert: Nearly all of these open avenues involve not only Americans, but sometimes even senior campaign, transition, and White House aides to Donald Trump.”

U.K. Poisoning Probe Turns to Russian Hackers

“The same Russian military intelligence service now accused of disrupting the 2016 presidential election in America may also be responsible for the nerve agent attack in Britain against a former Russian spy — an audacious poisoning that led to a geopolitical confrontation this spring between Moscow and the West,” the New York Times reports.

“British investigators believe the March 4 attack on the former spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, was most probably carried out by current or former agents of the service, known as the G.R.U., who were sent to his home in southern England.”

“British officials are now closing in on identifying the individuals they believe carried out the operation.”

Trump ‘Hadn’t Thought’ About Extraditing Russians

President Trump told CBS News that he hadn’t thought of pushing Russian President Vladimir Putin to extradite the dozen Russian officials charged with hacking Democratic email servers.

Said Trump: “Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.”

He added: “And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC too. The Republican National Committee. But we had much better defenses. I’ve been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn’t. I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked.”

Jonathan Swan: “To the extent that Trump does confront Putin over meddling at tomorrow’s summit in Finland with Vladimir Putin — and the president has publicly promised to — it’s not with any genuine seriousness or enthusiasm, the sources say. It’ll be purely for domestic/media consumption.”

Paul Downplays Russian Meddling In Election

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “sought to justify Russia’s interference in America’s 2016 presidential race, claiming that all countries meddle in foreign elections,” Politico reports.

“I think really we mistake our response if we think it’s about accountability from the Russians. They’re another country, they’re going to spy on us. We’re going to do the same.”

Mueller Pushing to Wrap Up Portions of Russia Probe

Washington Post: “In a 29-page indictment Friday, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III blamed specific officers in the Russian government for the 2016 hacking of Democrats, answering one of his investigation’s central questions while highlighting another he must still explain: Were any Americans involved in the conspiracy to interfere in the race for the White House?”

“As Mueller faces the task of resolving that piece of his inquiry — as well as his examination of whether President Trump has sought to obstruct the probe — people familiar with the investigation said the special counsel is pushing to wrap up a significant portion of his investigative work by the end of summer.”

“There are various factors that could alter Mueller’s efforts and timeline, most notably whether the standoff over an interview with Trump is resolved or ends up being litigated in court.”

Russia Says Indictments Were Meant to ‘Spoil’ Meeting

Russia’s foreign ministry denied that the 12 Russian officers indicted today were involved in the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the 2016 presidential election, CNN reports.

The ministry said the “bogus story” aimed to “spoil the atmosphere” before Monday’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump.

Said the statement: “It is regrettable that the duplication of false information in Washington has become the norm, and criminal cases are worked up for obvious political reasons. The question remains: how long will they continue to break this shameful comedy that disgraces the US?”

Former Lawmaker Says His Emails Were Hacked In 2016

Former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE) claimed on Facebook that he was also a victim of hacking in 2016.

Said Ashford: “With indictments today, I can reveal that my campaign emails were hacked by Russian agents in 2016…. I didn’t want to sound sour grapes about it. I just didn’t feel it appropriate to say I think the Russians stole the election. I didn’t think it was appropriate to mention it until today.”

The Mueller indictments made reference to a congressional candidate asking for stolen documents from Guccifer 2.0, but it remains unclear who that is.

Jill Stein Using Recount Money to Pay for Russia Defense

“Money that Jill Stein raised to recount votes in 2016 swing states is being used by her campaign to pay for legal bills stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election,” the Daily Beast reports.

“In June, the Daily Beast reported that the the U.S. Green Party candidate’s campaign, which raised $7.3 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had in 2017 stopped disclosing its monthly spending with the Federal Election Commission. “

Grand Jury Indicts 12 Russian Intelligence Officials

The Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials accused of hacking into DNC and Clinton campaign computer networks, the Washington Post reports.

The indictments come just hours after President Trump once again called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” and a few days before the president is scheduled to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mueller has now brought indictments against 32 people and 3 companies. He’s obtained 5 guilty pleas so far, including from Trump’s national security adviser and deputy campaign manager. Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is in prison awaiting trial.

Spicer Contradicts Trump on Manafort’s Role

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has a new book in which he contradicts President Trump’s assertion that Paul Manafort played a minor role in the presidential campaign, the Guardian reports.

Writes Spicer: “Paul brought a much-needed maturity to the Trump campaign when it needed an experienced political professional operative more than anything else. There was no semblance of a campaign structure, just a few, distraught, overworked people constantly barking into their phones. Paul immediately set up and staffed the political and communications operations necessary to take on the Clinton machine.”

He added: “The Manafort message was clear: Trump will be our nominee and our next president, and anyone who didn’t want to work to that end could spend the next four years in political Siberia. (No Russia pun intended.)”