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Report: Congressional Trump/Russia Probe Looking Into Breitbart And Cambridge Analytica

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Report: Congressional Trump/Russia Probe Looking Into Breitbart And Cambridge Analytica

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Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Time magazine reported that congressional investigators looking into Russia’s role in the 2016 election are investigating both Breitbart and data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

Breitbart, which was formerly headed by current White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, is reportedly under investigation by the FBI for Russian bots allegedly pushing pro-Trump stories from the website. The website has also repeatedly tried to delegitimize stories of ties between Russia and President Donald Trump. Cambridge Analytica is primarily owned by major Trump donor Robert Mercer. Breitbart and Mercer have a symbiotic relationship; he finances the website, and Breitbart regularly promotes the Mercer family’s interests. Bannon also reportedly had a financial stake in Cambridge Analytica, and Federal Election Commission reports have indicated that millions of dollars allegedly paid by a pro-Trump super PAC to the firm were mysteriously sent to a California address registered to Bannon. The Trump campaign also hired the firm and reportedly paid it millions of dollars at the urging of Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah Mercer.

Time, in a May 18 report titled “Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America,” reported that “congressional investigations are probing not just Russia’s role” in the 2016 election, “but whether Moscow had help from the Trump campaign.” The investigators, according to Time, are focusing on “two Trump-linked organizations,” Cambridge Analytica and Breitbart. It added that investigators were specifically “looking at ties between those companies and right-wing web personalities based in Eastern Europe who the U.S. believes are Russian fronts.” From the report:

Russia plays in every social media space. The intelligence officials have found that Moscow’s agents bought ads on Facebook to target specific populations with propaganda. “They buy the ads, where it says sponsored by–they do that just as much as anybody else does,” says the senior intelligence official. (A Facebook official says the company has no evidence of that occurring.) The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, has said he is looking into why, for example, four of the top five Google search results the day the U.S. released a report on the 2016 operation were links to Russia’s TV propaganda arm, RT. (Google says it saw no meddling in this case.) Researchers at the University of Southern California, meanwhile, found that nearly 20% of political tweets in 2016 between Sept. 16 and Oct. 21 were generated by bots of unknown origin; investigators are trying to figure out how many were Russian.

As they dig into the viralizing of such stories, congressional investigations are probing not just Russia’s role but whether Moscow had help from the Trump campaign. Sources familiar with the investigations say they are probing two Trump-linked organizations: Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics company hired by the campaign that is partly owned by deep-pocketed Trump backer Robert Mercer; and Breitbart News, the right-wing website formerly run by Trump’s top political adviser Stephen Bannon.

The congressional investigators are looking at ties between those companies and right-wing web personalities based in Eastern Europe who the U.S. believes are Russian fronts, a source familiar with the investigations tells TIME. “Nobody can prove it yet,” the source says. In March, McClatchy newspapers reported that FBI counterintelligence investigators were probing whether far-right sites like Breitbart News and Infowars had coordinated with Russian botnets to blitz social media with anti-Clinton stories, mixing fact and fiction when Trump was doing poorly in the campaign.

There are plenty of people who are skeptical of such a conspiracy, if one existed. Cambridge Analytica touts its ability to use algorithms to microtarget voters, but veteran political operatives have found them ineffective political influencers. Ted Cruz first used their methods during the primary, and his staff ended up concluding they had wasted their money. Mercer, Bannon, Breitbart News and the White House did not answer questions about the congressional probes. A spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica says the company has no ties to Russia or individuals acting as fronts for Moscow and that it is unaware of the probe.

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29 Comments

    1. FireBaron May 19, 2017

      So, Lizard Breath, tell the rest of us how you find this picture of Pinocchio to be strangely erotic and arousing to yourself.

      Reply
    2. Independent1 May 19, 2017

      It’s really amusing, a pathological lying fool trying to deflect and claim that people who are telling the truth are the ones lying!! You worthless right-wing morons have your heads so far up your rectums you can’t see the light of day.. What a worthless piece of trash you are – only good to pile on the fire!!!! It’s coming lowlife -the fire is coming – of that you can be sure!!!!!!

      “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

      And you fit into a number of those categories don’t you lowlife?? Unbelieving, an idolater, a murderer – a liar and more!!!!!!!

      Reply
    3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 19, 2017

      To add to the earlier responses to your absurd posts, let me just say that your futile efforts are a waste of your time. Instead of improving your miserable life, you squander the precious remaining days of your unproductive life posting inanities.

      Why not get yourself a job or a real hobby that will help enlighten your darkened my and heart.

      Reply
    4. I would mock your inability to use words, but last time you tried to insult me you ended up telling me how large my genitals were, so it’s probably the right path for a moron like you.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 21, 2017

        Godzilla and his confederates in this forum have some weird fetish for the male organs of other men. Quite nauseating.

        Reply
  1. Szebran May 19, 2017

    This shows that the American media is becoming dangerous. They are becoming a threat to democracy and free speech. The Russian election probe is a media scam. It was the media that tried to manipulate the elections. There is even a blog post that has evidence the media tried to control te elections. Google “REUTERS ARTICLE CONTINUES MEDIA COVER-UP”
    Media now wants to clamp down on any dissent.

    Reply
    1. A. D. Reed May 19, 2017

      You would love living in the “Donetsk People’s Republic.” Or is that where you’re from?

      Reply
      1. Szebran May 19, 2017

        Most of the media operates similar to “Donetsk People’s Republic. Most journalists want a Soviet style system where they can control people and tell us what to do.

        Reply
        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 19, 2017

          Another idiotic post. Keep ’em coming, komrade.

          Reply
        2. I of John May 20, 2017

          Soviet era media was just propaganda and noise. Inside it though, deep inside it, were the seeds of resistance and revolution. Putin may feel this resistance nipping at his heels yet.

          Reply
      2. dbtheonly May 20, 2017

        A. D.,

        Isn’t it interesting that the “Liberal Media” meme hangs on so tenaciously?

        Reply
    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 19, 2017

      A pathetic and pitiful attempt on your part. Either you’re a simpleton paid to work for Putin, or simply a knave that happened to wander into this conversation.

      Whatever your reasons, you have no influence to persuade intelligent people by your simplistic post. All of us want to clamp down on idiotic comments and dangerous ideas floating from FOX or Russian operatives—not just the media as you foolishly assert.

      Those who control you are the real danger to all of humanity across the globe. Don’t ever forget that!!!

      Reply
      1. dbtheonly May 20, 2017

        GM Aaron,

        On one hand, you’ve got free speech on political issues, On the other, you’ve got the urge to clamp down on idiotic comments and dangerous ideas. This is a “good idea” when we’re doing the clamping; but what if we’re the “clampees”?

        The pre-election commenters you, and others, cite as paid Russian posts, might have been simply generic RWers enthusiastic around election time. I don’t know there’s a way to prove things one way or the other, and too many people I respect think there’s the Russian connection for me to carry this far.

        Life has taken a turn to the busy. Hope things are well with you.

        Reply
        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 20, 2017

          Whatever the source(s), their goal is simply to protest without even attempting to offer a rationale for the comments. In today’s world, we must challenge those who wish to comment only to assert themselves, and who comment simply to have a spotlight shone on them. If no one calls them on this, they’ll suffer under the illusion that they’re making positive contributions.

          Yes, things are hectic, and irrationality has gripped many in the world. But I’m OK with that because at least people are conversing with neighbors, co-workers, and interacting with you and me, rather than just sitting on couches watching TV.

          Fare thee well, friend, and keep up the good work on your end. You in particular, “Mama Bear, and others are critical in helping move the country and the rest of the world forward.

          Me? I’m just a squirrel trying to get some acorns. I’m off to Cork, Ireland next week. I’ll check in from there while learning first hand about the Irish Famine, and offering prayers on behalf of the victims. Plus, looking to strike up some conversation and make some new friends over there.

          Reply
          1. dbtheonly May 21, 2017

            Irish Famine? I’ve seen nothing on BBC. Though there is some discussion on how Brexit will affect the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. I’ve no doubt you will be more than successful in making friends. Your example here is more than sufficient precedent.

            The DPRK shot off another IRBM this morning. Didn’t land near anything though. Gratitude for small blessings. I sure hope President Xi can come up with something brilliant to stop the missile and nuclear tests.

            Okay, I’ll engage the trolls and ask for specificity. I’m not inclined to be hopeful though. It strikes me that most of their posts just say, “Blech on your side”. Hardly a good starting point for a meaningful conversation.

            Reply
          2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 21, 2017

            As for my visit to Cork, Ireland, my purpose is 3-fold: To visit as many diverse lands on the planet as possible and interact with my fellow human beings; to visit a country I have always wanted to visit because of the beauty of the people and the landscape.
            The 3rd, and most important reason, is to learn about the Potato Famine which took place in the mid 19th Century and resulted in countless deaths, most of which were due to genocidal policies of the British to withold social aid and the confiscation of Irish lands by the British gentry. And was also fueled by the prejudices against the Irish by the British populace.
            The plight and the reasons for their sufferings is a mirror image of the plight suffered by Native Americans and Black folks here in America. Therefore, I must acknowledge their suffering.

            Reply
          3. dbtheonly May 21, 2017

            Have a good time. When are you leaving? For how long?

            I’d heard about that blight, but usually in terms of an over-reliance on a single crop.

            Reply
          4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 21, 2017

            I leave in a couple of weeks, and i’ll be there for about 2 weeks. Might be a bit rainy, but that’s OK with me. I may drop down to the Azores to catch some rays and enjoy the scenery and the people.

            Reply
      2. Szebran May 20, 2017

        In other words, you are another totalitarian who wants to silent different views.& those U disagree with. Do U work for the New York Time? ABCNews?.

        Reply
        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 21, 2017

          Dear komrade, before posting please allow for extra lessons on using the English language. Don’t use big words like “totalitarian”, if you don’t know the meaning; and if you don’t know, how to use the word properly then refrain from using it in your posts.
          Also, I would strongly advise you to invest in a dictionary and some books on Russian history.

          And which troll/miscreant regiment do you work for? The FSB, the KGB , the Alt-Right, the KKK, the Breitbart Brigade?

          Reply
    3. OK thanks for your victim-blaming hot take, traitor.

      Reply
      1. Szebran May 20, 2017

        Translation: U dont want to see evidence. U’d rather stick your head in the sand

        Reply
        1. OK traitor.

          Reply
    4. I of John May 20, 2017

      Media is dissent. Beware. All eyes are opening.

      Reply
      1. Szebran May 20, 2017

        The media is dictatorship. They operate like the KGB stamping out all dissent and making false accusations against political opponents.

        Reply
  2. A. D. Reed May 19, 2017

    It’s a shame so many American rubes are so gullible as to believe that a dozen billionaires — such as Mercer, Putin, Mnuchin, Ross, DeVos, maybe-Trump — have their welfare at heart. It’s disheartening that they are also so cultishly devoted to Mr. Trump and his faux-populist movement that they prefer living under Putin than freely in American democracy.

    Sad — and I hope the uprising of 2018 here will rival that of 1917 in Russia.

    Reply
    1. I of John May 20, 2017

      Revolutions and revolts are what America does best. It starts with a low rumbling and becomes a fever.

      Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 19, 2017

    This story, the rash of individuals acting as “bots” who infiltrated The National Memo, and just dried up like insects with short lifespans, are indicative of a major flaw in the electoral systems across the globe that depend of partisan bickering, posturing by braggarts, and allows for Big Money to influence how people should think about who to vote for.

    Rather than follow a revolutionary method of an Administrative Order as proposed and now implemented by Baha’u’llah in every Baha’i community across the globe, the current systems are vulnerable to the swaying of individuals and prevents voters from cultivating independent thinking as to who is best qualified to be elected to “SERVE” the community, and not to make an elected position a paid position.

    I serve on a local Baha’i body and I am voted by adult members based on my abilities to serve the community, am able to show that I have proven experience(NOT based on what I say I’ve done), and based on my ability to demonstrate sound thinking and be able to make decisions based on consulting with other members of a 9-body group who are elected democratically WITHOUT ANT ELECTIONEERING. I make my decision on who to vote for by getting to know people in my community; if I am a delegate to a National Convention to elect the National Spiritual Assembly, it is my duty to get to know as many people as possible who live in the country, and choose from among them who I think is best qualified, WITHOUT campaigning or signage about who to vote for. THIS IS FORBIDDEN!!

    The process is carried out in the same manner for all the local and the National Baha’i bodies of governance across the globe once a year, and again at the International level for the election of the Universal House of Justice every 5 years, where National Spiritual Assembly members gather in Israel to elect the Universal House of Justice.

    The process on all levels occurs in EXACTLY the same manner—in a spiritual atmosphere of silence and reflection, to vote for 9 adult individuals who best demonstrate the qualities as specified in the Baha’i Writings. A mature experience, a well-trained mind(not necessarily a high school or college degree but a mind that is keen and perceptive, just like Peter the Disciple’s mind was); and having a devotion to serving the Baha’i community, and humanity in general.

    With this format, Russia, FOX and Ailes-types, and anyone else, would be thwarted, now and for all times, from interfering and deciding an outcome. Any Baha’i who goes against these criteria loses their right right to vote, is unable to contribute to the Baha’i Fund, and barred from attending the formal Baha’i gatherings(akin to Sunday school, Friday Mosque, or Sataurday synagogue attendance) held each 19 days

    Reply

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