April 21, 2019

JOINT OPERATIONS:

Mueller Report: Assange Smeared Seth Rich to Cover for Russians (Kevin Poulsen, 04.18.19, Daily Beast)

As laid out by Mueller, Assange's involvement in Russia's election interference began with a June 14, 2016 direct message to WikiLeaks' Twitter account from "DC Leaks," one of the false fronts created by the Russians to launder their hacked material.

"You announced your organization was preparing to publish more Hillary's emails," the message read, according to Mueller's report. "We are ready to support you. We have some sensitive information too, in particular, her financial documents. Let's do it together. What do you think about publishing our info at the same moment? Thank you."

A week later, WikiLeaks reached out to a second GRU persona, Guccifer 2.0, and pitched WikiLeaks as the best outlet for the hacked material. On July 14, 2016,  GRU officers used a Guccifer 2.0 email address to send WikiLeaks an encrypted one-gigabyte file named "wk dnc link I .txt.gpg." Assange confirmed receipt, and on July 22 he published 20,000  DNC emails stolen during the GRU's breach.

By then, it was no secret where the documents came from. The computer security firm CrowdStrike had already published its technical report on the DNC breach, which laid out a trail leading directly to Moscow and the GRU. Analysts at ThreatConnect independently presented evidence that Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks were fictional creations of that agency.

But rather than refuse to comment on his sources, as he's done in other cases, Assange used his platform to deny that he got the material from Russians, and make statements at an alternative theory. On August 9, 2016, WikiLeaks' Twitter feed announced a $20,000 reward for "information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich."

For some, the cryptic tweet was their first introduction to a grim and fantastical conspiracy theory rooted in a real-life tragedy that occurred the early morning of July 10, 2016 on a Washington DC sidewalk.

Rich was a 27-year-old DNC staffer when he was gunned down in what police have described as a robbery gone wrong. The unsolved murder timed shortly before Assange's DNC leaks spoke volumes to inhabitants of the far right wing fringe, where it's long been an article of faith that Hillary Clinton has her enemies killed.

Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton's email (MICHAEL CROWLEY and TYLER PAGER, 07/27/2016, NY Times)

"I will tell you this, Russia: If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the Republican nominee said at a news conference in Florida. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

Trump's comments set off an immediate uproar from the Clinton campaign, which blasted the remarks as a threat to national security.

"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," Hillary for America policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."

"I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you've got now a presidential candidate who is, in fact, asking the Russians to engage in American politics," said former CIA Director Leon Panetta, a Clinton surrogate. "I just think that's beyond the pale."

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office did not mention Trump, but condemned any role for Russia in the U.S. election, with Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck saying, "Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election."

Security researchers and U.S. officials have accused Moscow of being behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, thousands of which WikiLeaks published on Friday. Democrats have gone further, drawing a connection between Trump's friendly comments toward Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and the well-timed leak on the eve of Hillary Clinton's nomination.


JULIAN ASSANGE AND DONALD TRUMP: ALL THE TIMES PRESIDENT HAS PRAISED WIKILEAKS FOUNDER (JASON LEMON, 4/11/19, Newsweek)


Sean Spicer had notice of discredited Fox News story on DNC aide's death (Ed Pilkington, 1 Aug 2017, The Guardian)

Donald Trump's former press secretary Sean Spicer was given advance notice while still in the White House about a sensational but later discredited Fox News story on the murder of the Democratic National Committee aide Seth Rich.

Spicer, who quit the White House earlier this month, confirmed to National Public Radio's David Folkenflik that in April he met Rod Wheeler, a longtime Fox News contributor, and the Republican donor Ed Butowsky, and that they informed him about an investigation they were conducting into Rich's death.

A month later, Fox News posted the online story that claimed, quoting Wheeler, that Rich had been identified by the FBI as the source of emails hacked from the DNC that were published by WikiLeaks.

The article, billed by Fox and Friends as a "bombshell", was instantly heralded by the president's supporters as proof debunking Russia's role in the DNC hack and suspicions that Trump associates colluded with the Kremlin to distort the 2016 election.


Posted by at April 21, 2019 7:31 AM

  

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