Speed Reads

russia investigation

Did Jared Kushner point Russian propagandists toward areas where Clinton was weak?

Congressional investigators are exploring the possibility that Russian operatives were tipped off to vulnerable voting jurisdictions by the Trump campaign's digital operations team ahead of the election, McClatchy reports. "There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia's online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation," said Mike Carpenter, a former senior Pentagon official who specialized in matters pertaining to Russia.

McClatchy writes that there is a possibility that "Trump's campaign pointed Russian cyberoperatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states — areas where Trump's digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton."

Russia's operation used computer commands known as "bots" to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria.

One source familiar with [the Department of Justice's] criminal probe said investigators doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently "known where to specifically target … to which high-impact states and districts in those states." [McClatchy]

President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner oversaw the Trump team's digital operations during the campaign. His "role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow's influence operations in the elections" will be looked at, one person with knowledge of the Justice Department inquiry told McClatchy. Read the full report here.