A GOP strategist named Rick Wilson tweeted Friday, “A little bird tells me that a certain White House staff member whose name rhymes with Beeve Stannon is crapping diamonds over Parscale.” Steve Bannon has every reason to be so nervous over Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale being called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, which is very interested in how Russian bots targeted political messages in critical swing states, and Parscale is the man to ask.
Parscale played a critical role in the Trump campaign, directing online spending and voter targeting. Parscale was in charge of a highly sophisticated data bank built and paid for by the Republican National Committee. More details on this story and how it could blow the Trump Russia investigation wide open from CNN:
House Russia investigators are planning to call on Brad Parscale, the digital director of President Donald Trump’s campaign, as the congressional and federal probes dig into any possible connections between the Trump digital operation and Russian operatives, congressional sources said this week.
The House Russia investigation is planning to send an invite to Parscale soon, as they begin scheduling witnesses over the summer, sources said. The Senate intelligence committee is also interested in how Russian bots were able to target political messages in specific districts in critical swing states, although it is not clear if Parscale will be called before the Senate panel as well.The news from the House comes as federal investigators have dug into Jared Kushner’s role overseeing Trump’s data operation — although he has not been identified as a target of the probe. Kushner is expected to talk soon with Senate investigators about the campaign’s data operation.Senate investigators in particular have been interested in looking for a link between the prevalence of fake news that supported Trump and was pinpointed in key areas of Rust Belt states that ultimately flipped from blue to red — and helped Trump secure the White House.
Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert, responded that Russian bots masqueraded as conservative voters to support Trump — but did not say whether he believed the Russians had any help from an American political operative in picking out their targets.
“Part of the reason those bios had conservative Christian, you know, America, all those terms in it is those are the most common ones. If you inhale all the accounts of people in Wisconsin, you identify the most common terms in it, you just recreate accounts that look exactly like people from Wisconsin,” Watts testified. “So that way whenever you’re trying to socially engineer them and convince them that the information is true it’s much more simple because you see somebody and they look exactly like you even down to the pictures. When you look at the pictures, it looks like an American from the Midwest or the South or Wisconsin or whatever the location is. And they will change those, they can reprogram them.”
Lying, planting fake news stories and pulling emotional triggers has never been so creative — nor so effective. Who is Brad Parscale? He was not only the digital director of the Trump campaign he was also Trump’s “ghost tweeter,” just as Tony Schwartz was Trump’s “ghostwriter” for “Art of the Deal,” and Schwartz wrote every single word. Similarly, it is no coincidence that the most cogent and destructive tweets emanating from Trump’s twitter account were in fact authored by Parscale. The arm of the Russian connection is long and it reaches deep. Bloomberg reports on the night of the third debate in Las Vegas:
Parscale is one of the few within Trump’s crew entrusted to tweet on his behalf. He’s sitting at a long table in a double-wide trailer behind the debate arena, cheek to jowl with his fellow Trump staffers and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. The charged atmosphere and rows of technicians staring raptly at giant TVs and computer screens call to mind NASA on launch day. On the wall, a poster of Julian Assange reads: “Dear Hillary, I miss reading your classified emails.”
10:02 p.m.: Trump, onstage, criticizes Hillary Clinton for accepting foreign money. “Fire it off!” Parscale barks. Instantly, a new Trump tweet appears: “Crooked @HillaryClinton’s foundation is a CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE. Time to #DrainTheSwamp!”
10:04 p.m.: Trump blames Clinton for $6 billion that went missing during her tenure at the State Department (actually a bookkeeping error). “Hit that hard,” shouts Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser. Parscale already has: “Crooked’s top aides were MIRED in massive conflicts of interest at the State Dept. WE MUST #DrainTheSwamp.
When the debate wraps, Parscale leaps up, open laptop still in hand, and bolts from the trailer with Priebus and the rest of the senior staff to congratulate Trump as he comes off the stage. In the wings, Parscale joins Steve Bannon, Trump’s Machiavelli and campaign chairman, on leave from Breitbart News Network; Dan Scavino Jr., his social media director; and a clutch of Trump children and their spouses, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom Parscale considers nearly a brother.snip
But after Trump locked down the GOP nomination by winning Indiana’s primary, Kushner tapped Parscale, a political novice who built web pages for the Trump family’s business and charities, to begin an ambitious digital operation fashioned around a database they named Project Alamo. With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official. Kushner, this official continued, “reached out to some Silicon Valley people who are kind of covert Trump fans and experts in digital marketing. They taught us about scaling. There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing.
Politics makes for some interesting applications of digital media and marketing, and digital media and the marketing of ideas can and clearly do influence elections. Those are the underlying precepts that doubtlessly attracted Robert Mercer to use Cambridge Analytica’s data to influence Brexit, an allegation Mercer resoundingly denies and now he’s suing The Guardian for daring to report the facts:
Cambridge Analytica, a U.S. data analytics firm backed by Robert Mercer, and its British affiliate, SCL Elections Limited, have threatened to sue The Guardian following a series of articles investigating links between the conservative billionaire and last year’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union.
On Wednesday, The Guardian informed staff that the firms had threatened legal action and it added a disclaimer to more than a half-dozen articles and editorials, including “Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media” and “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit” from February and this month’s “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked.”
Here’s a small snip from “Revealed: How U.S. billionaire helped to back Brexit.” Warning, deja vu trigger:
Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company, SCL Group, which has 25 years’ experience in military disinformation campaigns and “election management”, claims to use cutting-edge technology to build intimate psychometric profiles of voters to find and target their emotional triggers. Trump’s team paid the firm more than $6m (£4.8m) to target swing voters, and it has now emerged that Mercer also introduced the firm – in which he has a major stake – to Farage.
In all events, Mercer’s suing, the Guardian is defending itself and here’s information tying Steve Bannon and the Mercers together from the New York Times:
The reclusive Robert Mercer, and daughter Rebekah, have emerged as two of the most influential figures on the right.
The Mercer family members have long been allied with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and were top backers of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. They’re also part-owners of Breitbart News, which was previously led by Bannon, and fund the Government Accountability Institute, an organization co-founded by Bannon.
A conservative media impresario and producer of documentary films before joining the Trump campaign, Mr. Bannon has assets worth $11.8 million to $53.8 million, his filing showed.
Mr. Bannon disclosed more than $500,000 in income from entities linked to the hedge fund manager Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, including $191,000 from the right-leaning media outlet Breitbart News, $125,333 from a data firm called Cambridge Analytica and more than $60,000 from the Government Accountability Institute.
The disclosure reveals more than was previously known about his ties to Cambridge Analytica, where he was vice president of the board: He had a stake in the company that he valued at $1 million to $5 million, which he plans to sell.
The disclosure suggests that Bannon Strategic Advisors served as an umbrella company for receiving fees he earned from interests in other companies such as Breitbart News, Cambridge Analytica and Glittering Steel, a company that produced the documentary “Clinton Cash,” on which Ms. Mercer served as an executive producer, as well as ads for Republican candidates.
So connect the dots. Parscale is the domino in the front. He is going to be invited to testify on the possibility of the use of Russian bots using fake American faux conservative Christian identities in order to proselytize bogus news stories about Hillary Clinton. Parscale was recruited by none other than Jared Kushner and in his capacity as digital director he worked closely with Steve Bannon, who was the vice president of the Board of Directors of Cambridge Analytica, a firm owned by Robert and Rebekah Mercer and implicated in interfering in Brexit. Media coverage on the Mercers and Cambridge Analytica’s role in Brexit has circulated in the UK which has recently led Robert Mercer to file suit against The Guardian.
Rebekah Mercer, it should also be noted, is close friends with Steve Bannon not only in his capacity as Vice President of Cambridge Analytica’s board but also in her capacity as Executive Producer of “Clinton Cash,” and the Mercers are also part owners of Breitbart News. Finally, Steve Bannon is good friends with Nigel Farage. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, if you happened to miss it, is a person of interest in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Details from The Guardian:
But Farage’s relationships with people close to the US president began years earlier. Farage first met Steve Bannon, Trump’s strategist and former campaign chief executive, in the summer of 2012, when Bannon, who was interested in rightwing movements in Europe, invited the then Ukip leader to spend a few days in New York and Washington, according to an account in the New Yorker magazine.
There Farage was introduced to, among others, the staff of the then senator Jeff Sessions, who is now the US attorney general. Speaking of his longtime admiration for Bannon, Farage told the New Yorker last year: “I have got a very, very high regard for that man’s brain.”Two years later, in 2014, Breitbart News, of which Bannon was executive chair, opened an office in London. A top editor, Raheem Kassam, later went on to work as Farage’s chief of staff.
We could go on with these connections, ad infinitum, but the point has undoubtedly been made. All of these people and business entities orbiting around Steve Bannon are interconnected and have been making money together for quite some time. And they’ve been up to a lot more than earning a living. This band of merry Republicans has been stealing elections from those committed to the democratic process and giving the election to the thug or cause of their choice. There is going to be plenty of material for the House and the Senate, not to mention the FBI, to investigate with respect to Trump Russia and the real action is starting now, with examination of the role of the digital director and the phony faux Christian bots in stealing the 2016 election. The Mercers and Steve Bannon prided themselves on being “cutting edge” technologically; now they’re going to find out the edge cuts both ways.