Report: Committees Also Looking at Possible Collusion From the Kushner Data Operation

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Politico reported on Tuesday that special prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team of investigators are looking for possible links between the Trump campaign's data operation and Russian bots and trolls. The campaign's data operation was overseen by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner who is neck deep in ties to Russian bankers and businessmen.

But Mueller isn't the only game in town. McClatchy reports the House and Senate intelligence committees are also looking for links and according to sources close to the committee they're looking for possible collusion at the district level.

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. [...]

One source familiar with Justice's criminal probe said investigators doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently "known where to specifically target … to which high-impact states and districts in those states."

As I asked yesterday, how did the Russians know who to target?

The report from McClatchy does not speculate, but I would assume voters in Midwestern states from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania would have been targeted for fake news and other propaganda and that could have ultimately been a deciding factor in the election.'

If that is ultimately proven to be the case, I will say it lays even more responsibility at the feet of so-called Democrats who weakened Hillary Clinton by savagely and dishonestly smearing her during the Democratic primary.

  • mnpollio

    I think you need to get over your fixation on slamming Sanders at every opportunity. He did nothing unusual from any other primary candidate nor did he do anything that did not happen when Clinton was up in the previous primary and lost. Remember her accusations and rants against Obama not treating her appropriately and saying bad things about her back in the day? Rather I think you are underestimating when this smear campaign against Clinton started. It was started by the right-wing media 20+ years ago when she was First Lady, continued after her departure, amped up again during her tenure in Congress, and ignited the moment that the Right foresaw her as a potential presidential nominee. When Obama won the nomination over her, that put a minor wrench in their machinery and he won the election. However, when Clinton became Secretary of State, the attacks went into overdrive and the Republicans were counting on her getting the Democratic nomination. I said from the start that Clinton was a risky choice for a nominee and that pretty much anyone else would be better because the primary voters and the DNC were overlooking the elephant in the room, which was the pitch black bile sprayed at her for 20+ years that seeped into the mainstream collective. Worse, the Democrats have never been good about forcefully debunking or holding the mainstream media accountable when nonsense stories got disseminated back in the day about Mrs. Clinton. If a Warren, a Sanders, hell, perhaps even O’Malley had gotten the nod, the Republican strategy would have had the same wrench thrown in it as when Obama got the nomination. They would have needed to regroup and rethink. The DNC and Democratic primary voters stepped on an obvious landmine, but thought it made no difference because the other guy was a nightmare. Truthfully, even with this effort by the Russians, I am uncertain it would have worked at all in swaying voter opinion had it not been for the decades-long ineffectiveness of the Democrats to clarify at every opportunity that the majority of the stories on Mrs. Clinton were nonsense and the mainstream media adopting the he-said/she-said approach which allowed too many people to believe the worst. I swear the number of people (a large number of them women) who made a point of mentioning that they were open to having a female president…just not Hillary Clinton because they had a decades-long view of her as “cold” or “untrustworthy” was disheartening. Weren’t there like 53% of female voters that refused to vote for her because of halfway believing the decades-old stories about her? And make no mistake, this view did not start or even reach its peak in the last year or two, it was ongoing over decades. It was a right-wing project years in the making with the help of a culpable media. But truthfully, I also believe that if Mrs. Clinton did win the election, we would already be embroiled in one attempt after another to get her impeached over nonsense. The Republicans already announced their strategy in advance and since they control both the Senate and the House, there would be little doubt that Mrs. Clinton would have been spending all of her time on the defensive with little opportunity to actually do good. In a sense, there is some divine justice here that the Trump/Republican agenda keeps being undermined by his Russian collusion and corruption, and now they are facing some of the same actions they threatened, only this time for legitimate reasons.

  • ninjaf

    If that is ultimately proven to be the case, I will say it lays even more responsibility at the feet of so-called Democrats who weakened Hillary Clinton by savagely and dishonestly smearing her during the Democratic primary.

    No,the blame lies at the feet of the treasonous people in the Trump campaign who conspired to use the help of a foreign government to win an election. The Democrats were fighting the primary with the usual rules of politics.

    • Victor the Crab

      But the BernieBums still need to be held responsible for the outcome given how many of them still believe “Crooked Hillary”, “Debbie the Witch” and the “evil” DNC “stole” the nomination from their “rightful winner” “Saint Bernie of Awesome”.

      • Scopedog

        Exactly. And don’t forget Jill Stein and her anti-Hillary nonsense.

        • Victor the Crab

          Of course!

  • Aynwrong

    It’s now perfectly obvious (to anyone with a brain in their head) that collusion between the Trump campaign and a hostile foreign power took place. The only question I have is whether or not there will ever be arrests and prosecutions.

    • Victor the Crab

      I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the last sentence to be carried out.

      • Scopedog

        I’m not too sure, Victor. Part of me agrees with you, but part of me also remembers what I’ve read about Watergate–that the mood of the country throughout the scandal was that nope, no one was going to jail, Nixon and his cronies were going to get away with it, and there were others who were complaining about how those two idiots Woodward and Bernstein were just wasting their time.

        And then there was the “Saturday Night Massacre”, and after that they indicted nearly fifty people, including many in Nixon’s cadre, and then Tricky Dick resigned.

        Trump-Russia, according to those who remember Watergate, is going at anywhere from two to three times faster than Watergate.

        • Victor the Crab

          Part of me wants to agree with you, S-dog. But things are a lot more different now than they were during the height of Watergate. For starters, the majority of Republicans at that time put country ahead of party. There was no room for the McConnells and the Ryans to spew their diarrhea at anything that didn’t conform to their GOP way of thinking. Not to mention the Liberally Biased Mainstream Media™ didn’t kowtow to any threats and accusations the right spewed their way — and I haven’t even mentioned the RWNJ, like Fox News, AM talk radio, Breitbart/Drudge — that didn’t exist at that era, and are prepared to defend their annoying orange by any means necessary.

          So you’ll forgive me if I keep saying – America is fucked beyond belief. And there’s not a goddamn thing anyone can do about it.

  • Badgerite

    The picture and tons of them like it at the G20 meeting say the same thing.
    Putin’s bitch.

  • Draxiar

    No wonder the trump camp only had 30 campaign employees in the U.S…all the rest of the jobs were outsourced to Russia.

  • muselet

    McClatchy reports the House and Senate intelligence committees are also looking for links …

    A chill just ran down my spine.

    Lawrence Walsh had convictions against Oliver North and John Poindexter overturned because Congress held public hearings on the Iran-Contra Affair:

    Oliver North and John Poindexter were indicted on multiple charges on March 16, 1988. North, indicted on 16 counts, was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts. The convictions were vacated on appeal on the grounds that North’s Fifth Amendment rights may have been violated by the indirect use of his testimony to Congress, which had been given under a grant of immunity. In 1990, Poindexter was convicted on several felony counts of conspiracy, lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and altering and destroying documents pertinent to the investigation. His convictions were also overturned on appeal on similar grounds.

    [links and footnotes omitted]

    This, despite Walsh’s office having in place elaborate precautions in place to prevent such a thing from happening.

    I can imagine some of the less ethical members of the Intelligence Committees using hearings to monkeywrench criminal prosecutions of anyone connected to Donald Trump.

    As for the substance of McClatchy’s reporting, it sure looks like the entire Trump campaign was working with Russian operatives, with or without the knowledge and consent of Donald Trump (everything I’ve read indicates he generally pays no attention to details unless the results displease him).

    This story is going to get a lot uglier before we’re done.


  • There was GOP operative in FL, Aaron Nevins, who allegedly was approached by or who approached on his own the Russians. Who knows how many other operatives (who haven’t said anything yet and maybe never will because treason!) are out there?!?!

    • ninjaf

      I want to know more about that Trump campaign server that was being regularly pinged from a bank in Russia. I’ve only heard a couple of things about it since it was discovered. And it really could be a bombshell.

      • Yes, me too! I keep thinking of it and am wondering why no one else is.

        • ninjaf

          The tinfoil hat wearing optimist in me is thinking that that is where the real evidence lies and Mueller has that info under lock and key.