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March 26, 2018 | by  | in News Splash |
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Trump’s America

The Republicans of the House Intelligence Committee have concluded investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential elections, after a year long inquiry. Committee members have determined they “disagree with the narrative that [Russia was] trying to help Trump”. This decision is in direct contradiction with the assessment of the U.S Intelligence community — who stated last year that Russia “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible” — a declaration made with “high confidence” by the CIA and the FBI.

House Democrats have also been highly critical of what they are calling a “premature” decision to bring the investigation to a close, publishing a report on the investigation the following day on 13 March. This report comprehensively lists several individuals and organizations embroiled in the Trump administration that the committee has failed to investigate and interview. House Democrats claim “significant investigative steps remain, especially with respect to the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice”. The Democrats also alleged that they had been pursuing — “and in some cases, been prevented from pursuing” — all leads that could provide an answer.

Often mentioned within the Democrat’s report is the privately-owned data analysis firm, Cambridge Analytica. It questioned whether there had been sufficient investigation into “efforts to acquire Wikileak’s database of hacked emails related to Hillary Clinton,” during the firm’s work for the Trump campaign in 2016. Last week, the UK’s Channel Four released a scathing expose on Cambridge Analytica. Secret recordings with CEO Alexander Nix show him boasting that their involvement accounted for a margin of 40,000 votes in three states, winning the electoral college for candidate Donald Trump.

This admission came in the midst of several shocking revelations on Cambridge Analytica’s practices. Nix was recorded discussing entrapping politicians with Ukrainian sex workers and with secret recordings of candidates admitting to corruption, then using blackmail in attempts to sway the results of over 200 elections worldwide. It has since been revealed by the former research director of the company, Christopher Wylie, that militant disinformation campaigns to sway public opinion were made possible via illegally obtaining the personal data of over 50 million Facebook users. Political ads were then individually tailored and directed at these users in manipulation tactics to garner votes for Donald Trump. Facebook has since come under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission, and CEO Mark Zuckerburg has been summoned to UK Parliament amid allegations they were aware of this covert violation of privacy policies. Wylie has also alleged that these operations were overseen by then-board member Steve Bannon in 2014. Bannon later went on to become appointed as Chief Strategist within President Trump’s administration in 2016.  


President Trump is yet to comment on these recent reports, instead directing his attention towards Vladimir Putin — congratulating him for his recent victory securing his fourth term as Russian President. This congratulatory gesture was in defiance of advice from the President’s National Security advisors who reportedly wrote “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” in all-caps across the President’s briefing material. The act also drew criticism from Senator John McCain, who remarked, “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections”.Screenshot 2018-03-25 14.17.02Image: Putin coddles a baby Trump.

 

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