A bombshell new report by BBC correspondent Paul Wood claims that the firm co-founded by former Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon and that ran data operations for the Trump campaign, came into possession of hacked emails that were later published online by WikiLeaks a full month before the Julian Assange-run site made the emails public. Wood previously broke scoops about the so-called Donald Trump “pee tape,” as Inquisitr reported last year.
According to Wood’s reporting in the British magazine The Spectator, Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller may already know about Cambridge Analytica’s early possession of the emails, which were stolen by Russian government hackers.
If accurate, Wood’s reporting raises the possibility that officials in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, or perhaps even Trump himself, were aware of the Russian email hacks long before they became public knowledge — a possibility that, as the Inquisitr reported in February, Mueller is already believed to be investigating.
In fact, according to a report by NBC News, Mueller is probing when Trump found out about the Russian hacking operation, and whether he may have been involved in their release online, either by simply knowing about the emails and doing nothing to stop WikiLeaks from publishing them, or possibly even personally ordering their release.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has confirmed that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix “reached out” to him during the 2016 campaign to offer assistance “indexing” the stolen emails, and The Guardian reported that Nix met face-to-face with Assange shortly after Trump’s inauguration to “discuss what happened during the United States election.”
Witnesses who have been grilled by Mueller’s investigative team have reported that they were asked when Trump learned about the emails and how involved he may have been in their release to WikiLeaks, NBC News reported. Trump often praised WikiLeaks on the campaign trail, mentioning the name of the document-dumping site a reported 141 times in the final month of the campaign alone, according to a count put together by MSNBC.
According to CNN, Cambridge Analytica was co-founded by Bannon in 2013, when he ran the right-wing site Breitbart News — one of the first outlets in the conservative media to fully embrace and promote Trump’s presidential candidacy. The data firm was started with funding from far-right hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who went on to become the single largest donor to Trump, funneling $15 million into groups working for Trump’s election, and another $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, according to the campaign finance watchdog site Open Secrets.
Wood’s reporting, however, raises a number of questions without giving specific answers.
“An American lawyer I know told me that he was approached by a Cambridge Analytica employee after the election,” Wood wrote, as quoted by Raw Story. “They had had the Clinton emails more than a month before they were published by WikiLeaks: ‘What should I do?’ Take this to Mueller, the lawyer replied.”
WikiLeaks published two troves of emails that had been hacked by the Russian cyber spies. On July 22, 2016, three days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks began publishing about 20,000 emails hacked from Democratic National Committee servers, as CNN recounted.
Later, on October 7, WikiLeaks began publishing emails hacked from the server of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. This happened just hours after the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump is heard making shockingly obscene and misogynistic remarks about women, was released by the Washington Post.
Which emails that Cambridge Analytica had in their possession a month before WikiLeaks published them is not clear from Wood’s report. Assange first revealed that he had the emails on July 12, 2016, as Vox reported, but when Assange specifically came into possession of the emails also remains unclear.