Political Consultants

Mueller Subpoenas Another Roger Stone Aide

Special counsel Robert Mueller “has subpoenaed a key assistant of long-time Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone… the latest sign that Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election is increasingly focusing on Stone,” Reuters reports.

“The subpoena was recently served on John Kakanis, 30, who has worked as a driver, accountant and operative for Stone.”

Manafort’s Former Son-In-Law Flips

“The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of President Trump’s campaign, has cut a plea deal with the Justice Department that requires him to cooperate with other criminal probes,” Reuters reports.

“The guilty plea agreement, which is under seal and has not been previously reported, could add to the legal pressure on Manafort, who is facing two indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”

The Wall Street Journal says Jeffrey Yohai plead guilty in January and has been cooperating ever since.

Cambridge Analytica Shared Data with Russians

A whistleblower told Congress that Cambridge Analytica used Russian researchers and shared data with companies linked to Russian intelligence, AFP reports.

“Christopher Wylie, who leaked information on the British-based firm’s hijacking of data on millions of Facebook users, told a Senate panel he believes Russian intelligence services had access to data harvested by the consultancy.”

Judge Rejects Manafort’s Bid to Dismiss Indictment

Politico: “In a blow to Paul Manafort’s defense, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller’s prosecution of the longtime political consultant on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine was ‘squarely’ within the authority that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted to Mueller last May.”

Justice Department Is Investigating Cambridge Analytica

“The Justice Department and the F.B.I. are investigating Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct political data firm, and have sought to question former employees and banks that handled its business,” the New York Times reports.

“Prosecutors have questioned potential witnesses in recent weeks, telling them that there is an open investigation into Cambridge Analytica — which worked on President Trump’s election and other Republican campaigns in 2016 — and ‘associated U.S. persons.’ But the prosecutors provided few other details, and the inquiry appears to be in its early stages, with investigators seeking an overview of the company and its business practices.”

Manafort Was Questioned by FBI Before Trump Campaign

“Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was interviewed by the FBI twice while he was working as a political consultant for a Ukrainian political party — several years before he was named a top adviser to Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“The information raises fresh questions about how closely the Trump campaign vetted staff members and whether Manafort and Gates told officials about their interactions with the FBI.”

Second Paul Manafort Associate Has Turned on Him

Daily Beast: “Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has trouble in his own house. According to court documents, one of Manafort’s former employees led an FBI agent to a storage locker filled with paperwork on Manafort’s businesses and finances. The person’s name is redacted from the filings. But he’s now at the center of a fight over evidence that could play a significant role in the government’s case against Manafort.”

“This makes the second Manafort associate known to have aided the government in the sprawling investigation into foreign influence in U.S. politics. Rick Gates, Manafort’s long-time right hand, began cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office in February.”

Manafort Moves to Suppress Evidence In Storage Locker

“Lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are arguing that what could be key evidence against him should be kept out of court because the FBI violated his Constitutional rights by illegally entering a storage locker belonging to Manafort’s firm,” Politico reports.

“The FBI first got into the Alexandria, Va. storage unit last May with the assistance of an employee who worked at two or more of Manafort’s companies, an agent told the federal magistrate judge who issued the warrant. Then, the agent used what he saw written on so-called Banker’s Boxes and the fact there was a five-drawer filing cabinet to get permission to return and seize many of the records.”

Ex-Fiancee says GOP Adviser Made Her His Slave

“A Las Vegas political adviser who worked on national campaigns and high-profile Nevada races sexually enslaved and battered his ex-fiancée before police responded to a domestic dispute,” the woman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The 46-year-old woman provided copies of emails, text messages and a signed contract laying out her duties as a ‘slave in training’ to Benjamin Sparks.”

“Sparks and his ex-fiancée signed a five-page contract stating that she would be his ‘slave and property.’ Under the contract, the woman was forced to kneel and look down when she entered his presence, be nude at all times, have sexual relations with him whenever he wanted and wear a collar in private.”

Why Manafort Isn’t Talking

Harry Litman: “The most enduring mystery to date in special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry has been former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s obdurate refusal to cooperate with the investigation. Manafort has a reputation as a swashbuckling gambler, but he has been playing odds in the biggest game of his life that are not just long but prohibitive. A new report that the president’s now-former lawyer once discussed pardoning Manafort may finally explain why the latter has kept quiet — even though that bet is still incredibly risky.”

“Manafort’s refusal to cooperate can’t be driven by a rational calculation that he has any reasonable chance of escaping conviction, multimillion-dollar legal fees and a prison sentence that will result in years behind bars.”

Cambridge Analytica Sent Foreigners for U.S. Campaigns

“Cambridge Analytica dispatched dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers for the data firm, even as an attorney warned executives to abide by U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections,” the Washington Post reports.

Said one: “We knew that everything was not above board, but we weren’t too concerned about it.”

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.”