Just as we learn that the Clinton campaign helped fund the Steele dossier after it was initiated by an as-of-yet-unknown Republican Trump opponent or opponents, we get news that the Trump campaign sought “opposition research” on Clinton’s emails by approaching Wikileaks. Trump’s campaign asked for hacked emails, even though hacking emails is a cybercrime that can be handled as a felony. Not to mention the implications for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s involvement with Russia.
Cambridge Analytica's CEO messaged Rebekah Mercer that he emailed Assange seeking access to Clinton's private emailshttps://t.co/MFiJeLzVAu
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) October 25, 2017
After Trump’s 2016 news conference, in which he explicitly asked Russia to hack Clinton’s emails and that they may be “rewarded mightily by our press,” there is little question as to whether or not Trump would stoop to taking advantage of a cybercrime committed by Russia. Now, however, we know that the Trump campaign was actively working on making that happen with a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” (see the Tweet below)
Wikileaks is "a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia"—Mike Pompeo (Trump-appointed CIA Director) https://t.co/XzaMPd00hL
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 25, 2017
Trump’s confidant, Roger Stone couldn’t resist boasting on Twitter and in interviews that Wikileaks would be revealing information on Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and other soon-to-come leaks. But Stone refused to reveal who his intermediary with Wikileaks was to the House intelligence committee. He claimed it was off the record with a journalist.
Trump called the news about the dossier, “very sad commentary on politics in this country” and “a disgrace.” Now his own campaign has been exposed for going to Wikileaks to get the emails Hillary created on a private server. We know now that, according to US intelligence, Wikileaks published Democratic National Committee emails that were stolen by Russia.
Even as Trump calls the Steele dossier “a disgrace,” his own lawyers are arguing that what they were after, WikiLeaks’ hacked email, was all legal. They argue that Congress rendered WikiLeaks immunity from legal liability under Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Surely they wouldn’t have a problem with Hillary seeking opposition research in a legal way then?
No foul, no harm, right? Right…not when the facts that are found are actually incriminating, right Republicans? Wikileaks didn’t cooperate (according to Assange) and Hillary’s missing emails are still missing. The Steel dossier, however, has proven to be credible enough to lead to FISA warrants.
The Trump campaign argues that if WikiLeaks didn’t run afoul of the law, neither did the campaign.
Another contention from Trump’s lawyers is that allowing the lawsuit to proceed could interfere with the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
As if interfering with the investigations would be a problem for Trump, who fired FBI Director Comey because he wanted to interfere with the Russia investigation.
Now, let’s very briefly look at the tangled web involved with this new finding. Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist for Trump and Breitbart News founder, is funded by the Mercer family. The data analytics firm that reached out to Wikileaks is Cambridge Analytica, where Bannon was vice president and secretary. The Mercers also back Cambridge Analytica.
Recall that Roger Stone claimed he couldn’t reveal his intermediary with Wikileaks because it was off-the-record with a journalist. Now, who would be a journalist with access to Cambridge Analytica? Hmmm….one of Steve Bannon’s “journalists” perhaps? Or would Bannon pass as a journalist in Stone’s mind?
Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, sent an email to several people including top Donald Trump donor Rebekah Mercer, relaying that he had emailed Assange seeking access to emails from Clinton’s private server to turn them into a searchable database for the campaign or a pro-Trump political action committee, two of the sources said.
Now we know for a fact that the Trump campaign reached out to Wikileaks, though Julian Assange denies cooperating. The question remains, who else on the Trump campaign knew?
The firm Jared Kushner hired to do data analytics for Trump contacted Wikileaks and then reported back to his top donors. Did Kushner know? https://t.co/RuG8JKDOZa
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) October 25, 2017