Posts Tagged ‘trump campaign’

Justice Department Stopped FBI From Examining Trump’s Russia Ties

August 31, 2020

Justice Department Stopped FBI From Examining Trump's Russia Ties

“The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.”

” … law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.”

— “Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say,” Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

Related:

“More evidence of Trump’s subservience to Putin — and we still don’t know why,: Max Boot, Washington Post

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Senate Report Details Links Between Trump Campaign and Russia

August 20, 2020

Senate Report Details Links Between Trump Campaign and Russia

The Republican-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released the fifth and final volume of its report on foreign interference in the 2016 election, detailing Russia’s support of the 2016 Trump campaign, and how the Kremlin took advantage of the Trump transition team’s inexperience to gain access to sensitive information, endangering U.S. security.

“… the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identified as a ‘Russian intelligence officer.

The Senate report was the first time the government has identified Mr. Kilimnik as an intelligence officer — Mr. Mueller’s report had labeled him as someone with ties to Russian intelligence. Most of the details about his intelligence background were blacked out in the Senate report.”

— “G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Details Ties Between 2016 Trump Campaign and Russia,” Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

The bipartisan report also details Russian support of the Trump Campaign through Putin-ordered hacking of DNC computers and data releases thorugh Wikileaks, and possible compromising information the Russians may have on Mr. Trump and women he may have … interacted with during Moscow trips.

Meanwhile, U.S. intellience agencies report that Russia is trying to help Mr. Trump win re-election in 2020.

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GOP-Boosting NRA Member Maria Butina Deported to Siberia

October 28, 2019

GOP-Boosting NRA Member Maria Butina Deported to Siberia

After spending 15 months at Florida’a least-luxurious resort, Trump Doral Tallahassee Federal Correctional Institution, the NRA Lifetime Member, unregistered Russian foreign agent, AU grad student, and GOP sexy-time associate Maria Butina was deported to Russia, landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport en route to her hometown, Siberia’s Barnaul. At this time we cannot confirm the deportation and Siberian exile of Butina’s US pals, who include GOP operative Paul Erickson, Trump campaign aide J.D. Gordon, NRA officials David Keene and Peter Brownell, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Deep State Damage: Maria Butina Brings Down Overstock CEO

August 23, 2019

Deep State Damage: Maria Butina Brings Down Overstock CEO

After babbling about the “Deep State” and “Men In Black” last week, Overstock. com CEO Patrick Byrne admitted to a 3-year affair with jailed Russian agent Maria Butina and resigned. The company’s depressed stock price rose 15 percent in response.

More:

“Patrick Byrne’s Overstock Exit Came After Admission He Romanced Russian,” Jeran Wittenstein, Bloomberg

“Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigns after saying he aided in ‘deep state’ Russia investigation,” Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post

“Overstock investors cheer after ‘too controversial’ CEO Patrick Byrne resigns,” Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

“Overstock CEO Resigns to Focus on Career as Deep State Intelligence Asset, One Assumes,”
Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

“Overstock Ex-CEO’s Bonkers Rant to Fox Business: I’m Part of ‘Deep State,’” Justin Baragona, Daily Beast

Update:

“Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne Claims Maria Butina Offered to Arrange One-on-One for Him With Putin,” Audrey McNamara, Daily Beast

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, Overstocked, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Maria Butina Sentenced to Prison

April 26, 2019

Maria Butina Sentenced to Prison

On  Friday, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan sentenced admitted Russian spy Maria Butina to 18 months in prison. “I am deeply embarrassed,” said Ms. Butina.

The former American University grad student pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association.It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchsRepublicanslobbyistsTreasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota. Her older American lover, Paul Erickson, a GOP fundraiser and NRA supporter, is charged with fraud and money laundering in a separate case.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she will be able to continue with her Tai Chi in prison.

More:

“Maria Butina, Russian who conspired to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups, sentenced to 18 months,” Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison: ‘I Destroyed My Own Life,’” Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast

“Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a ‘spotter’: DOJ revives intrigue over gun rights activist,” Kristine Phillips, USA Today

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

December 19, 2018

GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Former American University grad student Maria Butina pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association. It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchs, Republicans, lobbyists, Treasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she’s been able to continue with her Tai Chi in jail. There are indications she will be testifying before a federal grand jury sometime soon.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Cambridge Analytica Calls It Quits

May 2, 2018

Cambridge Analytica Calls It Quits

Cambridge Analytica and its British parent company SCL Elections are shutting down, according to a company statement. Cambridge Analytica is under attack for the shabby Facebook data mining operation and FB-based targeted advertising effort it mounted on behalf of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, and SCL has been under pressure for its pro-Brexit disinformation campaign, and is the subject of investigations by UK prosecutors and Parliamentary committees.

Cambridge Analytica was set up by UK-based SCL to advance the fiction that foreign citizens weren’t engaged in US federal election work, and was funded by the conservative Mercer family. Steve Bannon, who claimed he thought up the company’s name, was a Vice President. In addition to its UK operations, SCL worked on election campaigns in a number of other countries.

Ironically, the firm blames “the siege of media coverage,” fake news and negative publicity, for driving it out of business.

More:

“Cambridge Analytica closing operations in wake of scandals,” Khorri Atkinson, Axios

“Cambridge Analytica is shutting down,” Emily Stewart, Vox

“Cambridge Analytica Files for Bankruptcy After Misuse of Facebook Data,” By Nicholas Confessore and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

“Cambridge Analytica: Facebook data-harvest firm to shut,” BBC News

“Cambridge Analytica and parent SCL Elections shutting down,” Reuters

“Cambridge Analytica Parent Company Ceases Operations,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

Update:

“Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata,”  Shaun Nichols, The Register

“The Cambridge Analytica power players set up a mysterious new data firm — and they could use it for a ‘Blackwater-style’ rebrand,” Shona Ghosh and Jake Kanter, Business Insider

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Cambridge Analytica Got Data on 87 Million Facebook Users

April 5, 2018

Cambridge Analytica Got Data on 87 Million Facebook Users

Remember learning that Trump campaign data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica grabbed personal information from 50 million Facebook users? Fake News! it was 87 million.

But that’s nothing. Facebook now admits it let all kinds of skeevy cyber customers (it calls them “malicious actors”) scrape personal data from 2 billion people. Yes, that’s most Facebook users. Oops.

Looks like Mark Zuckerberg will have some ‘splainin’ to do when he testifies before Congress next Tuesday. Fun Fact: Three of his congressional questioners own FB stock.

Shut-the-Barn-Door-After Department: There are Plans to Restrict Data Access on Facebook.

More:

“Mark Zuckerberg knows he screwed up,” Kurt Wagner, ReCode

“Facebook says it should have audited Cambridge Analytica,” Associated Press

“Facebook’s dizzying spin on ‘the Cambridge Analytica thing,’” Callum Borchers, Washington Post

“Facebook suspends Canadian firm linked to Cambridge Analytica,” Kia Kokalitcheva, David McCabe, Axios

“As Facebook confronts data misuse, foreign governments might force real change,” Nick Noack, Washington Post

Related:

“This is how Zuckerberg’s Facebook will likely get regulated,” Chase Purdy, Quartz

“It’s about to get harder to trick people with political ads on Facebook,” Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz

“Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Says Data-Sharing Tool Complied With FTC,” Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

“AP sources: EPA chief spent millions on security and travel,” Michael Biesecker, Associated Press

“Private Messages Aren’t Exactly Private at Facebook,” Shira Ovide, Bloomberg Gadfly

“Facebook retracted Zuckerberg’s messages from recipients’ inboxes,” Josh Constine, Techcrunch

“Facebook may need group therapy to fix its engineering culture,” Janet Guyon, Quartz

“Can We Be Saved From Facebook?” Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

“Don’t Fix Facebook. Replace It.” Tim Wu, New York Times

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Cambridge Analytica & the Trump Campaign

March 22, 2018

Cambridge Analytica & the Trump Campaign

During 2016 the Trump presidential campaign paid $5.9 million to data firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested information from 50 million Facebook users in order to develop psychographic data it used to micro-target advertising to individual voters. Unless it didn’t.

Cambridge Analytica illegally mined FB user data for the Trump campaign. Unless Cambridge Analytica was merely using Facebook the way it was designed to be used, and it’s really Facebook that’s at fault.

Trump Campaign factotum Jared Kushner brought in Cambridge Analytica, funded by the U.S. conservative Mercer family, with links to a Chinese firm through U.S. mercenary Erik Prince, and Steve Bannon was a board member. SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, is British. At the same time, the Make America Number 1 Super PAC paid Cambridge Analytica $5.7 million to develop negative ads targeting Hilary Clinton. The PAC-Trump campaign coordination and foreign involvement are violations of federal election law. Maybe.

In short, Cambridge Analytica was the secret weapon that helped get the 70,000 Trump votes in key states that swayed the 2016 presidential election. Or it wasn’t.

Clear?

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting: 8th Man Identified

July 18, 2017

The 8th participant in Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer bearing campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton has been identified. He is Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the California-based representative of Aras Agalarov, the “Russian Donald Trump.” Mr. Kavaladze is a vice president at the Agalarov family‘s Crocus Group real estate company. Earlier in his U.S. business career, Mr. Kavaladze was implicated in a $1.4 billion money-laundering operation.

According to his personal website:

“Ike Kaveladze’s responsibilities pertaining to Crocus’ international development projects include securing and structuring project investments, and negotiating with Chinese and other international contractors. One such project is the construction of the largest institution of higher education in Russia, Far Eastern Federal University in the Primorsky Krai (maritime province) capitol city of Vladivostok. Ike Kaveladze has engaged architects, engineers, designers, and decorators from the United States and elsewhere to work on the construction of the 8.4-million-square-meter campus and other Crocus endeavors across Russia.

Ike Kaveladze earned his undergraduate degree in economics and graduate degree in accounting at the Moscow Academy of Finance, prior to receiving his Master of Business Administration at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Active with governments, businesses, and professionals on three continents, he is a member of the US-Russia Business Council and the Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc.”

So the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort (then Trump campaign manager), Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, music publicist Rob Goldstone, and Crocus Group representative Ike Kaveladze.

Video: Okay, Mr. Kavaladze was technically not the “8th man” at the meeting, he was the “8th person” (one attendee was a woman), but we couldn’t find any music for that.

More:

“Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified,” Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Mueller Probing Eighth Man from Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting,” Daily Beast

Update:

“Russian man at Trump Jr meeting had partner with Soviet intelligence ties,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian 

Related:

“Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.