POLITICS

Robert Mueller Blindsided the Entire GOP with New Digital Investigation Target


In the past couple of weeks, Robert Mueller and his team found themselves under heavy fire from seemingly the entirety of the GOP. Mueller has been accused of bias against Trump, and of unsurpring procedure to get documents from the president’s transitional period. You may be wondering why Mueller is suddenly facing such an onslaught.

The truth is complicated. The Republicans know that Trump enjoys very little credibility on his cooperation with Muller’s investigation, while Mueller himself is trusted by the American people to lead the investigation. This fact makes firing Mueller untenable to such an extent that people in Donald Trump’s inner circle have warned that firing the special counsel could lead to legit plan to impeach.

But clearly, the Republicans are looking for some sort of gain. They want to sow distrust in Mueller. Earlier this month, Rod Rosenstein was compelled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The deputy attorney general was asked whether he thought Mueller had overstepped his authority. Rosenstein said, “It [Mueller’s capacity as special counsel] authorizes him to investigate anybody who there is predication to believe obstructed justice.” 

Rosenstein was later asked to clarify whether the President should be allowed to be investigated. He replied, “It would include anybody who was suspected of obstructing justice.” 

If the Republican effort to smear Robert Mueller actually works, it might cast doubt on future indictments and trials. It could also possibly legitimize any crony pardoning Donald Trump might do as a result. But one big reason the Republicans are gunning for Mueller’s credibility is that they realized there’s no telling how many of them may end up caught with the same net.

The Wall Street Journal reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller is doing a deep dive into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica and asked the company to turn over internal documents related to their “work” during the 2016 presidential election. The company specializes in “psychographic” profiling, which means they mine for online data to create personality profiles. In the case of their work during the election, the “personality profiles” they created… were for voters. Then they took that information and used it to target voters with content they would want to believe. You know, like completely bogus news stories about Hillary Clinton, for instance.

This is a different beast from the checking financial records and such, as it explores how the Trump campaign, aided by Cambridge Analytica, might have actually helped to facilitate Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

In June 2016, right around the time of the notorious Trump Tower meeting Trump’s posse Russian-connected folks of various stripe, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations. Jared Kushner, who was present for that meeting hired a man named Brad Parscale to help with digital campaign operations. Parscale decided to hire the data company, with the approval of Steve Bannon.

What remains unclear, and what Mueller wants to clarify is what exactly that company did for the Trump campaign.  Samuel Woolley, who heads Oxford’s Internet Institute’s  “Computational Propaganda” project, found bot-generated Pro-Trump propaganda posts and ads ran amok during the 2016 campaign, particularly on social media. Until now, that fact has been considered something Russia did, without any heavy inference on a quid pro quo. But what does it mean if a digital media company his campaign actually hired was responsible for some of that?

Per Huffington Post:

“In just the last few weeks, his prosecutors have begun questioning Republican National Committee staffers about the party digital operation that worked with the Trump campaign to target voters in key swing states. They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate, according to two of the sources.”

With that, things start taking shape. Mueller is looking beyond Trump, his family and cronies, his campaign and transitional staff. The investigation seems to be satisfied that actions from Trump’s campaign eerily mirror the actions performed by Russian hackers and bots, and does not believe that to be coincidental.

The Republicans know that the “witch hunt” is looking into the actions of the RNC coven to see what they knew, and when they knew it.


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