After the bombshell report that Trump's campaign firm reached out to WikiLeaks last year, the campaign is attempting to whitewash the past.
Suddenly anxious to distance itself from a big data firm that the Trump campaign once bragged had steered the candidate to victory last year, Donald Trump’s team isn’t telling the truth in its latest attempt at damage control.
And of course, Russia stands at the center of the latest obfuscation.
The scrambling comes in the wake of Wednesday’s Daily Beast report that the head of Cambridge Analytica, which has been previously credited for Trump’s win last year, contacted Julian Assange last year in hopes of tracking down 30,000 Hillary Clinton emails. (Assange claims he rebuffed the request.)
The stunning revelation represents the closest known link thus far between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which spent the 2016 general election season releasing emails stolen from the Clinton campaign. Russian operatives, according to the conclusion of the U.S. national intelligence community, stole the emails.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign executive director, tried to whitewash Cambridge Analytica’s role, insisting the Trump team last year relied on the GOP for its data analysis.
"Once President Trump secured the nomination in 2016, one of the most important decisions we made was to partner with the Republican National Committee on data analytics," the statement reads. "Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false."
But as CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz reported on Thursday morning, rather than parting ways with Cambridge Analytica last summer, the Trump campaign was pumping millions of dollars into the big data firm’s coffers. The revelation completely undercuts the flimsly spin that Cambridge Analytica didn't play "a key role" in the campaign last year.
PROKUPECZ: Some of our information shows, based on FEC filings, we found that just after Trump won the nomination, his campaign started a series of payments to Cambridge Analytica totally some $5.9 million. So it’s clear that there was more of a relationship there that was conveyed in that statement. And Jarad Kushner who headed up one of the data operations also told Forbes magazine in November, after the president won the nomination they kept, "Both data operations going simultaneously and a lot of the information was shared between them. And by doing that we would scale to a pretty good operation."
Right after Trump’s victory, the company issued a triumphant press release: "Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in identifying supporters, persuading undecided voters, and driving turnout to the polls."
We now know there was a firm relationship between Trump’s campaign team and the pro-Trump outlet that published stolen Clinton emails.