Alexander Nix, the embattled former head of data-mining company Cambridge Analytica, took issue with a claim by a key Russian figure in the Trump campaign collusion scandal that Russia was the decisive factor in Donald Trump’s improbable election to the presidency of the United States.
“Anybody who knows the inside story of Donald Trump’s election victory knows that it was our data targeting that led to his win and that Russian involvement, despite all the help it got from the Trump campaign, was a side player at best,” said Nix, who resigned from his company last week after a video surfaced suggesting the company used questionable tactics to help candidates.
Nix spoke on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. But later in that show, Sergei Yeltznikoff, a key player in the troll farm that was responsible for highly targeted ads on Facebook and other social media sites that analysts say had unprecedented sway in manipulating Americans’ opinions, called it laughable that Cambridge Analytica was more influential that Russian trolls.
“I for one do know the inside story of Donald Trump’s election and everyone knows Cambridge Analytica was always regarded as the gang that couldn’t shoot straight,” Yeltznikoff said. “Yes, they had access to Facebook profiles of 50 million Americans, but they got their psychographic analyses completely wrong. We, on the other hand, were getting our Jesus ads to the Jesus people and our gun-freedom ads to our gun-freedom people. They were trying to convince anti-abortion Midwesterners that Hillary wanted to kill coal, but no one in the part of Michigan that has any people in it cares about coal. Meanwhile, they were telling homophobes in Wisconsin that Hillary was in Wall Street’s pocket. I’ve never seen such clownish psychographic targeting in all my life. They obviously did not spend the Cold War understanding covert manipulation. Maybe if they weren’t so busy using Ukrainian hookers to compromise politicians they would know their pro-lifers from their first-Amendment people, but obviously they don’t.”
Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former campaign manager and senior White House aide, said they’re both wrong. “It was the last-minute announcement that Comey was reopening the email investigation,” Bannon told Maddow. “Cambridge and Russia, for all the help they got from the Trump people, were staring down the barrel of defeat until Comey came to their rescue.”
James Comey is the former FBI director whom Trump fired for investigating Trump-Russia collusion during the campaign. Comey said on Twitter last night that his book is set to come out in just a few days. “That will give the inside scoop of what happened,” he tweeted, “and why Trump and not Hillary Clinton is our president despite her getting almost three million more votes.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Calling its passage a national security priority because lawyers are refusing to defend President Trump against mounting accusations against him, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced a bill requiring lawyers to register with the Selective Service and be prepared to serve in a new White House Office of Criminal Defense for an unspecified term. “It’s unacceptable that our president cannot assemble a team of lawyers to defend him and his office against the growing investigation over his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia and the increasing number of lawsuits against him by women he’s allegedly harassed or had affairs with,” said Ryan. The United States has not required conscription of any kind since the Selective Service was ended in the mid-1970s, after the Vietnam War, but times have changed, Ryan said. More.
A handful of Americans, allegedly operating out of the nation’s highest office, tried to influence the presidential election in Russia this week in favor of keeping President Vladimir Putin in office, a secret U.S. intelligence report says. “We have reason to believe officials used public statements, policy actions, and other overt and covert tools to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin in office,” said the report, issued today jointly by all of the national security agencies of the United States. Although the report didn’t directly accuse any specific federal officials of intervening in the Russian election, it said the nation’s “top officials . . . More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
President Donald Trump was overheard singing the Russian national anthem rather than the American national anthem during the opening ceremony of the NCAA football championship game between Alabama and Georgia universities Jan. 8. “От южных морей до полярного края,” the President was heard singing, while those around him were singing, “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.” Commentators have remarked that the President didn’t appear to know the words to the national anthem, but it wasn’t until a recording surfaced in which his voice could be heard that it became clear it was the Russian national anthem that he was singing. More.
HAMBURG, Germany. President Donald Trump, fresh from his two-hour meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin, was in good spirits as he headed for a dinner at the G-20 meeting here Friday night. “I had a terrific meeting with President Putin, a really terrific meeting that will mean great things for America,” Trump said. “I’ve said all along America would be better off if we got along with Russia, and our meeting today was a fresh start, a really good start after the disastrous years we’ve had for so long.” Trump said he and Putin talked about cyber security and bringing peace to Syria—“a really important topic, by the way, really serious stuff”—and about forging closer ties between their two countries in the coming years. “I said I wanted to put the past behind us,” Trump said. “President Putin is a strong leader who I think we can do a lot with. And he certainly respects our strength, our military, our control over the cyber. We’re a really big country and I think he knows that.” More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
The Democratic National Committee has been hacked. Colin Powell has been hacked. The NSA has been hacked. The American Olympic Committee has been hacked. So many opportunities. So many directions. When you can get into any email you want, whose email do you get into next? That’s the question Russia’s state-supported hackers have been asking themselves and now they want to get your input. In a first for Russia’s hackers, they’ve put out a call on their Facebook page to get ideas from you on whose lives they should turn upside down next. “Tom Brady? Beyonce? Barbra Streisand? It’s just so hard to know,” said the group, which calls itself Анонимный, or “anonymous” in Russian. “It’s impossible to keep up with who’s trending. “Drake is big. But you already know what his emails are going to say. There has to be a surprise factor.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he will move U.S. spy operations to Russia, which has “terrific” surveillance and “fantastic” intelligence gathering. “Our spy operations are a disaster,” Trump said after meeting with Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who is in line to head up the CIA. Trump said his “good relationship” with Russia president Vladimir Putin makes the partnership with Russia’s spy agency, known as the KGB, a “fantastic opportunity to get the best intelligence, the best knowledge of what’s going on in the world.” More.