A new report from the Associated Press says that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating connections between Cambridge Analytica and President Donald Trump’s campaign organization during the 2016 election cycle.
Cambridge Analytica has come under fire in both the United Kingdom and the United States for allegations that the data firm used private information from over 50 million Facebook users and their friends to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States as well as other elections around the world.
Special counsel Mueller’s investigative team has been asking questions and obtaining evidence about the data operations of the Trump campaign. Former Trump campaign officials have been grilled at length by the FBI investigators about the use of data in the effort that saw Trump elected president.
The special counsel’s office is especially interested in finding out how the Trump campaign organization collected and utilized voter data in battleground states, according to the AP.
Mueller’s investigators have also been interviewing some members of Trump’s data team, including analysts from the Republican National Committee. Cambridge Analytica appears to have worked very closely with Trump’s team, and the special counsel is trying to determine just how far these connections go, and whether or not they include Russia.
The Trump campaign appears to have relied on the data firm extensively for its entire targeting efforts and Cambridge Analytica was paid nearly $6 million for its work by Trump.
Trump’s campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, was also a vice president of Cambridge Analytica and served on their board of directors.
Government agencies and lawmakers in both Great Britain and the United States are looking into improprieties and illegalities in the way the Trump campaign used private Facebook data without users’ permission.
Special counsel Mueller is also exploring the possibility that Cambridge Analytica had ties to Russian intelligence operations that also were trying to influence the U.S. elections. This is all part of Mueller’s criminal probe into whether or not Trump’s presidential campaign had ties to Russia.
According to the AP, Chris Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who became a whistleblower, has said he fears the Facebook data was turned over to Russians who aimed to interfere with the American election.
Whatever happened, it appears that Mueller will get to the bottom of it very soon, and when he does it may be the end of the Trump presidency.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.