In light of the latest bombshell story in the Washington Post, Republican and Trump apologists are desperately arguing that there is no proof of Trump/Russia collusion, a piece in Salon looks at one GOP strategist who admits that he colluded with Russian hackers - and shared information with Trump confident Roger Stone. If nothing else, the Trump presidency seems to have brought new life to investigative reporting, something that is most welcomed. Of course, if we had seen this kind of reporting during the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton would likely be president. I truly hope that the practice of false equivalency dies in the process that is ongoing. Here are article highlights on the admitted GOP collusion with Russian hackers:
The U.S. intelligence community has long since concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and it was reported shortly after the 2016 presidential election that a GOP superPAC linked to Paul Ryan used illegally hacked material to attack Democratic House candidates. But a bombshell report published on Thursday confirms that Republican political operatives were working with the Russian government to hurt Hillary Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of so-called collusion.
The Wall Street Journal reported that hacked information was posted on a blog run by Aaron Nevins, the political operative, and then passed along to top Trump adviser Roger Stone during the campaign. The Republican operative in Florida received a trove of Democratic documents from the allegedly Kremlin-linked hacker, Guccifer 2.0. For months, both Congress and the FBI have been scrutinizing evidence that associates of Trump may have colluded with Russia during the campaign.
Nevins confirmed to the Journal that he told hacker Guccifer 2.0 to “feel free to send any Florida based information” after learning that the hacker had tapped into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) computers last summer.
Nevins told the Journal that, after receiving the stolen documents from the hacker, he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.” The stolen DCCC documents also contained sensitive information on voters in key Florida districts, breaking down how many people were considered dependable Democratic voters, undecided Democrats, Republican voters and the like. Nevins made a war analogy, describing the data he received to Guccifer 2.0 as akin to a “map to where all the troops are deployed.”
After Nevins published some of the material on the blog HelloFLA.com, using his own pseudonym, Guccifer 2.0 sent a link of the information to close Trump associate Roger Stone — who is currently under federal investigation for potential collusion with Russia.
Stone told the Journal that while he did receive a link to Nevins’s blog from Guccifer 2.0, he didn’t share the stolen data published on the blog with anyone.
In addition to receiving hacked information about Democratic races in Florida, Nevins also received internal details about congressional districts in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, eventually used the material that was stolen by hackers in attack ads against several Democrats.
Anthony Bustamante, a Republican campaign consultant for Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), told the Journal that he used the stolen information to plan ad buys and better target a mailer effort: “I did adjust some voting targets based on some data I saw from the leaks.”
For his part, Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination with Russian officials. The Kremlin has also rejected any connection to Guccifer 2.0. But both the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence believe Guccifer 2.0 is tied to Russian military intelligence.
And Republicans are OK with this? WTF has happened to the GOP?