U.S. Investigators Hint Kushner Directed Russians To Use Trump’s Cyber Operation To Damage Clinton
U.S. Investigators believe the Trump campaign’s digital operations, led by Jared Kushner, helped direct the Russians to use their advanced cyber voter-targeting technology to attack Hillary Clinton throughout voting jurisdictions in key states last year, several news outlets reported Wednesday.
According to McClatchy DC , the Justice Department and the House and Senate intelligence committees are examining whether the Trump campaign guided Russian cyber operatives to these voting jurisdictions in which the campaign detected questionable voter support for their Democratic opponent.
President Trump’s son-in-law’s “role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow’s influence operations in the elections,” as well as his role overseeing the campaign’s digital operations are being scrutinized closely, a DOJ official familiar with the probe told the News Agency.
The probes are also investigating whether those ties to the Trump campaign played a role in releasing the hacked emails of Clinton campaign aides or Democratic officials on WikiLeaks during the presidential contest.
Also under scrutiny is the question of whether Trump associates or campaign aides had any role in assisting the Russians in publicly releasing thousands of emails, hacked from the accounts of top Democrats, at turning points in the presidential race, mainly through the London-based transparency website WikiLeaks.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel, told McClatchy he wants to determine whether the Kremlin’s “fake or damaging news stories” were “coordinated in any way in terms of targeting or in terms of timing or in terms of any other measure … with the [Trump] campaign.”
By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters, many in swing states, even in key precincts.
Russia’s operation used computer commands known as “bots” to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, like the baseless story about the Democratic candidate running a pedophile ring in a D.C. pizza shop that was peddled on social media towards the end of the election.
One source familiar with agency’s probe expressed doubt at the idea that the Russian news targeting could be so sophisticated as to know “where to specifically target … to which high-impact states and districts in those states.”
The news comes after recent reports that Kushner joined Donald Trump Jr. and then-Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower last year, in which Trump Jr. was promised compromising information about Clinton.
McClathy reported that this meeting could “heighten interest in whether there was digital collaboration.”
Kushner is already considered a “person of interest” in the Justice Department investigation.