Newly found evidence has emerged. It appears that both the Trump campaign and Russia was working on an anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda, although the nature of their cooperation has yet to be revealed.
Both journalists and congressional investigators have compared timelines of anti-Clinton social messaging on FaceBook and Twitter in October 2016 with statements by Trump officials. According to their findings, it has become clear that the micro-targeting of Clinton voters in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin was certainly done by the Trump campaign—and also possibly done by Russia.
What has yet to be discovered is exactly how closely coordinated the operations from the Trump team and Russia were.
“Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation—overseen by Jared Kushner—helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016. 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.”
There seems to be a strategic reasoning behind Trump’s constant tweeting that many of us might have missed.
Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg of Bloomberg.com reported in late October 2016, Trump’s Twitter usage targeted Clinton supporters to discourage them from voting for her.
Trump also used Facebook to target Clinton supporters. Back in April, Facebook revealed how its platform had been abused by propagandists during the election, “Social media accounts and pages were created to amplify news accounts of and direct people to the stolen data. From there, organic proliferation of the messaging and data through authentic peer groups and networks was inevitable.”
Will Bunch also cited a report from May written by Kate Brannen from JustSecurity.org. The report shows a podcast where Tommy Vietor, a former spokesman for the National Security Council, asked Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, the Intelligence Committee vice-chair, about one-half of this scenario: how Russia used social media to attack the Clinton supporters.
Here’s the podcast excerpt:
Vietor: One thing I’ve heard about the focus of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Russian hacking is that the sophistication and the preciseness of the targeting is something that’s being looked at closely. Specifically that Russian bots were targeting Clinton voters at the precinct level to suppress their vote with fake news, and that that level of expertise would require data from a targeting firm, like Cambridge Analytica, for example. Is that true? And can you tell us anything about the nature of these Russian hacks that I’m hearing about?
Warner: When you see some of the explanation and some of the fact that it appears that, for example, women and African Americans were targeted in places like Wisconsin and Michigan, where the Democrats were too brain-dead to realize those states were even in play.… It was interesting that those states seem to be targeted where the bots — where they could create a lot of these fake Twitter and Facebook accounts, could in fact overwhelm the targeted search engines that would end up saying on your news feed, you suddenly got stuff that “Hillary Clinton’s sick” or “Hillary Clinton’s stealing money from the State Department.” I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots. Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware of really raises some questions. I think that’s a worthwhile area of inquiry. How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?
Vietor: I wonder if they just asked Jared [Kushner] like Trump does with all of his questions. We’ll find out.
Warner: We’ll find out. More to come on that.
Next, JustSecurity.org’s report goes to the data-mining operation the Trump campaign used, Cambridge Analytica, which was underwritten by the reclusive billionaire investor Robert Mercer. His daughter, Rebekah, was instrumental in the Trump campaign’s makeover in mid-summer 2016. Brannen then cites Paul Wood’s take, a BBC reporter “who’s been ahead of the pack on the Russia-Trump investigation.”