Alexander Nix, the CEO of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and a director of its parent company, tried to enlist WikiLeaks in an effort to obtain “missing” Hillary Clinton emails during the 2016 campaign, but was rebuffed.
Responding to Betsy Woodruff at The Daily Beast, Cambridge Analytica says “We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”
Assange later tweeted his own, nearly identical, confirmation of the story. It is “the closest known connection” between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, Woodruff writes.
I can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica [prior to November last year] and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.
— Julian Assange ? (@JulianAssange) October 25, 2017
While Donald Trump made a great fuss about the “missing” emails on the campaign trail, and a major Republican donor made serious efforts to obtain them from Russian hackers, one of Woodruff’s sources on the congressional investigation says that “it’s not at all clear that anybody hacked Clinton’s emails or has them.”
Indeed, despite mountains of speculation, no proof has ever emerged that Clinton’s private email server was ever compromised by anyone.
The extent of Cambridge Analytica’s actual role in the Trump campaign has been controversial. Some insiders claim the firm did very little in exchange for the millions of dollars the campaign and its affiliated super PACs paid out to Cambridge Analytica.
But reports indicate that congressional investigators and the FBI are interested in whether Cambridge Analytica made voter profiles and “psychographic data” available to Russia for their election influence efforts.
Cambridge Analytica is certainly well-connected to Trumpworld.
Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner certainly seems to think the company had a big impact. Steve Bannon, who served as Trump campaign “CEO” in the closing months of the race and worked as senior White House strategist until this August, sits on the board and controls between $1-5 million in company stock. The largest single investor is right wing hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who is also the money man behind Breitbart.com, Bannon’s website, and was the largest donor to Trump and the super PACs which supported him.
While Mercer and Cambridge began the 2016 campaign supporting Ted Cruz, they switched to supporting Trump as soon as the Texas senator dropped out of the Republican primary race.
Nevertheless, “a Republican digital strategist who worked with Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 campaign told The Daily Beast that Nix should not be viewed as a reliable narrator,” Woodruff writes.
“Alexander Nix is not credible at all,” the strategist said. “He is a consummate salesman, and there are numerous instances already out in the public record where he made claims that were not just factually wrong—they were total fabrications.”
In that light, Nix may have been in touch with Assange hoping to produce real value to the Trump campaign and thus justify the prices Cambridge Analytica was charging.
It also makes sense that Assange would not agree to any arrangement that did not center himself. Described as “thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic” by Scottish writer Andrew O’Hagam who set out to pen his autobiography, Assange “thinks he owns the material he conduits” and is “incapable of collaboration.”
Yet this is the second confirmed case in which figures associated with the Trump campaign seriously pursued the “missing” Clinton emails. Peter Smith, who committed suicide shortly after telling his story, claimed to be in contact with Bannon, Michael Flynn, and other campaign officials as he recruited people to help him contact Russian hackers.
At the very least, we now know beyond any doubt that there was attempted collusion with WikiLeaks and Russian hackers from the Trump side. Whether those efforts bore any fruit remains to be seen.
Note to our readers: Please share/tweet our articles. Trump supporting trolls targeted our site’s account and reported it en masse, without cause. This triggered a seemingly automatic suspension. Twitter support has failed to address this issue. Thank you!
Featured image via screen capture