Cassandra Fairbanks, a social media star and Bernie Sanders supporter who referred to Donald Trump as a “lunatic” and a “monster,” before she threw her support behind Trump midway through last year, made contact with the computer hacker using the alias “Guccifer 2.0” — the same Guccifer 2.0 who United States authorities say is a front for top Russian intelligence agency the GRU, or Main Intelligence Directorate — according to an investigative report by Yahoo! News, based on a newly uncovered collection of FBI documents, published on Friday.
Read the entire Yahoo! News report by journalists Hunter Walker and Michael Isikoff by accessing this link.
Before switching her allegiance to Trump, whom as late as December 2015 she included on a list of “things I hate,” Fairbanks was a vocal supporter of Sanders, the independent Vermont senator who ran in the Democratic primaries against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.
At the time she was acting as an outspoken Sanders backer, and subsequently Trump supporter, the 32-year-old Fairbanks was employed as a writer for the Russian government-owned English-language news service Sputnik News. The Russian media outlet is currently under FBI investigation to determine whether it acted as a Russian propaganda machine during last year’s election, without declaring its true purpose by registering under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, Yahoo! News reported last month.
Here is Cassandra Fairbanks with Bernie Sanders, photo captioned on Fairbanks social media on September 16, 2015. pic.twitter.com/0fb50NtqTD
— Hubert Temba (@HubertTemba) August 24, 2017
Guccifer 2.0 claimed responsibility for hacking computers at the Democratic National Committee, stealing internal emails and posting them online, creating a controversy that led to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, and cast a cloud over the Democratic convention last July.
Guccifer 2.0 claimed responsibility for the hack on July 15, one day after the incursion into DNC computers was revealed by the Washington Post.
According to Friday’s report by Walker and Isikoff, Fairbanks along with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone and Lee Stranahan — a writer for the pro-Trump “alt-right” site Breitbart News — are “the three most prominent public figures to have disclosed contact with the purported Russian GRU persona Guccifer 2.0.”
Fairbanks admitted contacting the hacker in an interview with the Yahoo! reporters, but claimed that her interactions with Guccifer 2.0 were merely part of her job as a reporter covering the DNC leaked emails story.
“I did communicate with Guccifer,” Fairbanks acknowledged. “I tried to interview him because… I was covering the leaks. I published like all of my conversations with him so they’re public.”
Fairbanks first gained social media fame in 2015 when she organized the #FindDancingMan campaign that located a British man named Sean O’Brien who had been subject to online bullying after a video of the overweight O’Brien dancing alone circulated on the internet. Eventually, O’Brien was flown to Los Angeles for a party in his honor attended by numerous celebrities and arranged by Fairbanks.
But she quickly became better known for her online politics, first as a highly active Sanders supporter — and then suddenly flipping her allegiance to Trump and the far right wing. She visited the White House earlier this year with another prominent online far-right activist, Mike Cernovich, where the pair posed for a photograph making what a reporter for the pop culture site Fusion characterized as a “white supremacist” hand gesture.
But Fairbanks in June sued Fusion as well as the New York Times over the claim. Fairbanks claimed that Fusion writer Emma Roller had defamed her by describing her as making a “white power hand gesture.”
Fairbanks was still an employee of Sputnik at the time, but has since switched jobs and now works as a “senior reporter” for the Trump-backing, “alt-right” site Big League Politics
[Featured Images by Win McNamee/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]