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In April of 2016, Sessions attended a VIP reception at a hotel in Washington, D.C., with President Donald Trump and roughly two dozen guests, including four ambassadors. One of them was Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The cocktail meet-and-greet took place in a private room at the Mayflower Hotel near the White House. Shortly thereafter, Trump delivered a foreign policy speech in the hotel’s ballroom, where he called for improved U.S.-Russia relations. Kislyak was seated in the front row.
The FBI is examining why a computer server for a Russian bank led by oligarchs with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin had a disproportionate interest in reaching a server used by the Trump Organization during the US presidential campaign.
The Alfa Bank server repeatedly looked up the DNS address for the Trump server, which CNN compares to "looking up someone's phone number" and notes that it "indicates an intention to communicate."
Alfa Bank made up 80% of the DNS lookups to the Trump server, but another 19% came from Spectrum Health, a company owned by the husband of Betsy DeVos.
What's the explanation?
Well, no one seems to know. It could have been spam emails gone wrong or a case of technological mistaken identity. Alfa Bank denied any connections to Trump, and Spectrum Health said it had not been contacted by the FBI or any government agency.
Summing it up:
A cybersecurity expert on the communications between Trump, Alfa Bank, and Spectrum Health told CNN, "There is some sort of connection I can't explain, and only they are doing it. It could be completely innocent."
...computers used a technique called data replication to transmit updates to databases on all three servers to keep data targeting information on all three servers current. He speculates that the information originally came from Russian intelligence, which used information from their database hacks, and was routed through the Alfa Bank server to launder it and then to the Trump tower server. This may be where Jared Kushner’s super stealth data base originated that he used to power his algorithms that he used so well in the election. It seems like the Spectrum Health (DeVos) server had a more limited database.
During the meeting, Akhmetshin said Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee. Veselnitskaya presented the contents of the documents to the Trump associates and suggested that making the information public could help the Trump campaign, he said.
(When reached for comment, Facebook said that it has found no evidence of Russian entities buying ads during the election. If true, that would imply that Russians spread their propaganda the old-fashioned way—by creating viral content that Facebook users were compelled to share, without engaging in any demographic targeting.)
Parscale, for one, maintains he’s “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations.” That may be. But that wouldn’t preclude other members of Trump’s inner circle who had access to the digital and data team’s insights—including Kushner—from transferring that knowledge to a Russian operative during one of the undisclosed meetings he had with them during the campaign.
[I]mmediately after the Indiana primary, Giles Parscale began integrating Cambridge Analytica data and started its growth from a two-person DIY operation with no data mining or politics experience to a 100 person big-data-driven election-winning machine:
You might remember that Mikhail Fridman is the head of Alfa Bank.
His campaign spent $11 million — almost one-third of its budget — on Parscale’s firm Giles-Parscale in August, a 60 percent leap from its July payments. The Texas firm has dozens of employees working to produce and disseminate Trump content and purchases all of Trump’s digital ads, in addition to handling online fundraising.
In August and July, the campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $350,000 for data. The firm, funded in part by Trump supporter and billionaire financier Robert Mercer, pairs its vault of consumer data with voter information.