Political Consultants

Mueller Zeroes In on Cambridge Analytica

Special counsel Robert Mueller “is scrutinizing the connections between President Trump’s campaign and the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica,” the AP reports.

“Mueller’s investigators have asked former campaign officials about the Trump campaign’s data operations, particularly about how it collected and utilized voter data in battleground states.”

“The investigators have also asked some of Trump’s data team, which included analysts at the Republican National Committee, about its relationship with Cambridge Analytica.”

Cambridge Analytica Was Offered Hacked Emails

“The data analytics firm that worked on the Donald Trump election campaign was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state,” the Guardian reports.

“Multiple sources have described how senior directors of Cambridge Analytica – including its chief executive, Alexander Nix – gave staff instructions to handle material provided by computer hackers in election campaigns in Nigeria and St Kitts and Nevis.”

Bannon Oversaw Collection of Facebook Data

“Stephen Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s early efforts to collect troves of Facebook data as part of an ambitious program to build detailed profiles of millions of American voters,” the Washington Post reports.

“The 2014 effort was part of a high-tech form of voter persuasion touted by the company, which under Bannon identified and tested the power of anti-establishment messages that later would emerge as central themes in President Trump’s campaign speeches, according to Chris Wylie, who left the company at the end of that year.”

Among the messages tested were “drain the swamp” and “deep state.”

Said Wylie: “The only foreign thing we tested was Putin. It turns out, there’s a lot of Americans who really like this idea of a really strong authoritarian leader and people were quite defensive in focus groups of Putin’s invasion of Crimea.”

Look Who Posed with the Russian Ambassador

Mother Jones found an interesting photo of Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix.

”He happens to be posing with Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom. The photo was taken days after Democratic National Committee files and emails hacked by Russian intelligence were dumped online by WikiLeaks at the start of the Democratic Party’s convention. The previous month, the Trump campaign had hired Nix’s company, and by this point, it had been widely reported that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack.“

Trump Consultants Admit to Using Bribes, Sex Workers

“Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers,” according to UK Channel 4 News.

“In an undercover investigation, the company’s chief executive Alexander Nix said the British firm secretly campaigns in elections across the world. This includes operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors.”

“The admissions were filmed at a series of meetings at London hotels over four months, between November 2017 and January 2018.”

NBC News: Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Brad Parsquale were involved in hiring the British-based political data firm, which improperly accessed personal data from Facebook users.”

Facebook Suspends Cambridge Analytica

Facebook issued a statement saying they have suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories, including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook.

Axios: “Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with the Trump campaign leading up to the 2016 election, claimed to have developed personality profiles on every American — but it’s unclear where that data came from. It has become a focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Robert Mueller’s probe.”

Manafort Now Wears Two Monitoring Bracelets

“Paul Manafort will stay under home confinement after pleading not guilty Thursday to the latest set of charges filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, but now he’ll wear two GPS monitoring bracelets, instead of just one,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“He made his first appearance in the Alexandria courthouse on Thursday afternoon. US District Judge T.S. Ellis III ruled Manafort could be released pending trial, subject to home confinement and electronic monitoring, the same conditions he’s under in DC. A Virginia probation officer explained to the judge that because of limits to the technology, she couldn’t access the data from the DC bracelet, hence the need for two.”

Mueller Investigating Manafort’s Home Loans

“Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans,” two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

“Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City and the Hamptons… The sources say the three loans were questioned by other officials at the bank.”

Manafort Under Scrutiny for $40 Million in Transactions

“Federal law enforcement officials have identified more than $40 million in ‘suspicious’ financial transactions to and from companies controlled by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort — a much larger sum than was cited in his October indictment on money laundering charges,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“The vast web of transactions was unraveled mainly in 2014 and 2015 during an FBI operation to fight international kleptocracy that ultimately fizzled. The story of that failed effort — and its resurrection by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election — has never been fully told.”

The Plot Against America

The Atlantic has a must-read profile of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort:

When Paul Manafort officially joined the Trump campaign, on March 28, 2016, he represented a danger not only to himself but to the political organization he would ultimately run. A lifetime of foreign adventures didn’t just contain scandalous stories, it evinced the character of a man who would very likely commandeer the campaign to serve his own interests, with little concern for the collective consequences.

Mueller Could Indict Paul Manafort Again

Daily Beast: “A superseding indictment would essentially replace the current indictment of Manafort. And in that current indictment, Mueller’s team hinted there was more to come. In particular, they hinted at potential tax charges for Manafort’s foreign financial transactions. Federal prosecutors can bring charges against any American who has money in a foreign bank account and doesn’t check a box on their tax forms disclosing it. The Manafort/Gates indictment describes financial behavior that may be liable for that kind of prosecution. And that’s an indicator that Mueller’s team may be preparing to formally charge both men with violating tax laws.”