Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deeper and Deeper

Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.


By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news [including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria] about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters, many in swing states, even in key precincts.


Schiff said he wants the House panel to determine whether Trump aides helped Russia time its cyberattacks or target certain voters and whether there was “any exchange of information, any financial support funneled to organizations that were doing this kind of work.”


[Kushner's] real estate finances and December meetings with Russia’s ambassador and the head of a sanctioned, state-controlled bank are also being examined.


Mike Carpenter, who in January left a senior Pentagon post where he worked on Russia matters, also has suspicions about collaboration between the campaign and Russia’s cyber operatives.

“There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation,” he said, without naming any American suspects.


The Russians targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, “where the Democrats were too brain dead to realize those states were even in play,” [Senate Intel co-chair Mark] Warner said.


It started even before Trump locked up the nomination. Throughout the Republican primary elections in early 2016, Russia sent armies of bots carrying pro-Trump messages and deployed human “trolls” to comment in his favor on Internet stories and in social media, former FBI special agent Clint Watts told Congress weeks ago.

Watts, now a cybersecurity specialist with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the targets included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.


Kushner’s pivotal role in the Trump cyber effort was underscored by his hiring in 2015 of Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital guru who previously had done work for the Trump Organization, said two GOP operatives familiar with the campaign.

Parscale’s company raked in about $90 million for work targeting many states with paid advertisements, social media messages and other cyber tools.


CNN quoted him last month as dismissing suggestions that Russian-directed online bots would have been effective in swinging votes to Trump. He said the campaign did not find Twitter -- where those bots mainly functioned – to be an effective tool.

He's joking, right? Over and over and over Trump has railed about how they're not going to get him off Twitter because that's how he communicates with his base and talks directly to "the people."
All of the sources [that] spoke on condition of anonymity [did so] because the investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is confidential.
And the sources don't give a shit, do they?

I thought the Mueller investigation would have a tighter lid.
Washington attorney Abbe Lowell, who was recently hired to be Kushner’s chief defense counsel and has “a reputation as a guy you hire if you're going to do battle with the government,” according to one former federal prosecutor, declined to comment on the Russia inquiries facing Kushner.
More hints that Jared is going solo. And may well be informing on the others even as we speak.

If it comes down to choosing between daddy and her husband, which way will Ivanka go?

UPDATE 7/16:

Parscale is questioned and says he's "unaware of any Russian involvement."   It's becoming clear that the best position you can take in this affair is ignorance.  And hope no one has evidence otherwise.

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