On Monday, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast undercover video of Cambridge Analytica executives bragging about using shady techniques to influence dozens of elections around the world, inflame conflicts, and sow chaos. On Tuesday, the network aired a second round of clips showing Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix and other senior executives talking about using those techniques to help President Trump win. Nix said he'd met Trump "many times" and Cambridge Analytica essentially formed the backbone of Trump's campaign.
"We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy," Nix said. Trump "won by 40,000 votes in three states," managing director Mark Turnbull noted after the company's chief data scientist, Dr. Alex Tayler, said their data had steered Trump's movements and message in key swing states. "That's how he won the election," Tayler said. Turnbull later took credit for creating the "defeat Crooked Hillary" line of attack used in super PAC-funded ads viewed more than 30 million times.
EXCLUSIVE: Cambridge Analytica bosses say they "ran all the digital campaign" for Donald Trump - including potentially illegal activities. pic.twitter.com/kS0n88n5ud
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) March 20, 2018
Cambridge Analytica suspended Nix, 42, on Tuesday, saying his comments "do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation," adding in a statement that the firm itself "has never claimed it won the election for President Trump. This is patently absurd."
Nix founded Cambridge Analytica in 2013 with Stephen Bannon; donors Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert Mercer; and researcher Christopher Wylie, Wylie tells The Washington Post, and Bannon was the one who approved the project that discovered the niche appeal of future Trump campaign themes like "drain the swamp" and "deep state." "We had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point," in 2014, Wylie said. "Bannon was Alexander Nix's boss." Peter Weber
Ayub Ali, 61, was stocking shelves when a robber forced him to open the cash register. The robber took the money and left, but then returned to shoot Ali, who was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
A suspect identified as Tyrone Fields Jr., 19, was arrested Friday based on security camera footage from the store. He has been charged with murder and robbery with firearm.
Ali is survived by his wife and four children, the youngest of whom is just 22 months old. "It's hard for them to accept it," said a family representative. "He [met] everyone with a smile." Bonnie Kristian
Trump's intelligence chief chuckled about Putin visiting Washington. Is he next on the chopping block?
Is a laugh enough to get you fired in Trump's White House? President Trump is "exasperated" with his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, Politico reported Friday night, after the intelligence chief publicly chuckled Thursday at the idea of another Trump summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"That's going to be special," DNI Coats said of Trump's invitation to Putin to visit Washington this fall, indicating he did not know of the meeting plan in advance. A former Trump administration official described the administration as in "meltdown" over Coats' comments, and Reuters reports White House staff are alarmed Coats was kept in the dark about the forthcoming Putin visit.
Some sources suggested to Politico the DNI, who is 75, may soon wish to retire — or that he may become Trump's newest target for firing. "He was not particularly eager to take the job to begin with and was sort of talked into it on the theory of when the president asks, you should serve," explained one of Politico's sources. Should Coats leave or be forced out, Politico notes, Trump may have a difficult time replacing him, especially given Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian election interference. Bonnie Kristian
President Trump on Twitter Saturday lashed out against his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for reportedly making recordings of Trump two months before the 2016 election discussing payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence her about an alleged affair.
Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) - almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2018
Per Friday reports from The Washington Post and The New York Times, the FBI gained access to the recordings when the agency raided Cohen's office earlier this year. Cohen is under investigation for potential campaign finance violations committed while paying hush money to cover up the president's alleged extramarital liaisons. Bonnie Kristian
Demonstrating he has never met a dead horse he did not want to beat, President Trump tweeted Friday evening NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, proposing unpaid suspensions for repeat protesters:
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
The NFL announced Thursday it would not enforce its policy, implemented earlier this year, of requiring players to stand during the national anthem. The new rule was introduced after uproar — most loudly from Trump himself — over athletes' decision to protest institutional racism and police brutality by kneeling while the song is performed. The policy is now subject to a complaint filed by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and is under confidential review.
"By their own terms and what [Chinese President Xi Jinping] enunciates, I would argue by definition what they're waging against us is fundamentally a cold war — a cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition," Michael Collins, deputy assistant director of the CIA's East Asia mission center, said of China in a security summit speech Friday.
Collins defined cold war as a "country that exploits all avenues of power licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict," adding, "The Chinese do not want conflict."
But a desire to avoid military conflict does not preclude competition "far more [significant] by any extreme than what the Russians could put forward," Collins continued, labeling China the "broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country." The next step for the United States, he advised, is to decide whether to treat China as a "true adversary or a legitimate competitor" on the world stage.
These remarks came the same day as President Trump's threat in a CNBC interview to levy new tariffs on all $500 billion in imports the U.S. buys from China each year unless Beijing waves a white flag in Trump's trade war. Bonnie Kristian
Disney on Friday cut ties with James Gunn, who was set to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, after prominent conservative Twitter users unearthed Gunn's old tweets referencing pedophilia and rape, reports Deadline.
Gunn was removed from the Marvel Comics franchise, with Disney calling his tweets "indefensible." The offending comments, which also included jokes about 9/11 and the Holocaust, have since been deleted. Right-wing bloggers who resurfaced the tweets have criticized Gunn's political beliefs, reports Fox News, and have condemned his outspoken opposition to President Trump.
Gunn defended himself by describing his tweets as an attempt to be a "provocateur," and said he's "very, very different" than he was in 2010 and 2011 when he posted the "shocking jokes" online. Read more at Deadline. Summer Meza
President Trump's military parade keeps getting bigger.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 service members are now set to march in Trump's military extravaganza, which is estimated to cost $12 million, U.S. defense officials have told ABC News. That's nearly the cost of the $14 million joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Trump canceled for being "tremendously expensive," and almost the size of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
About a year ago, Trump saw a Bastille Day military parade in France and decided he wanted to bring that patriotic spectacle to D.C. In February, he gave official "marching orders" to the Pentagon to organize an all-American version, and later told reporters he'd "have to try and top" the French one.
A March memo suggested the parade run from the White House to the Capitol, complete with vintage aircraft displays. Tanks wouldn't make an appearance, as they'd tear up the D.C. streets.
Planning appeared to stall for awhile after that, as White House officials weren't exactly feeling the pomp, NBC News reported. But about 50 Defense Department personnel have now been dedicated to working on a Nov. 10 parade, scheduled to celebrate Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That number will probably grow to about 3,000 by November, ABC says.
Add in 100 military vehicles, 50 aircraft, and 100 horses — no puppies like Chilean military parades — and Trump will have a crowd close to the 8,000 marching on Thanksgiving in New York later that month. Kathryn Krawczyk