Cambridge Analytica Looked to Pounce on Russian Hacks, Email Shows
The email came two days after Trump ‘joked’ about asking Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Cambridge Analytica hoped to capitalize on Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton and her ally, an email written by one of its employees indicates.
Emily Cornell, the employee, sent the email on July 29, 2016. It went out to people working with Make America Number One, the pro-Trump super PAC funded by Republican super-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer.
After noting some of the firm’s work for the super PAC, Cornell wrote: “With her campaign getting hacked, I can only imagine what a new swatch [sic] of emails will do to her already fractured base!”
Cornell did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the email. A spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica also did not respond to requests for comment.
On July 22, seven days before Cornell’s email, WikiLeaks had published almost 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. The hack—which included emails showing some DNC officials pushing for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the primary—threw the Democratic Party into turmoil. Then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from her post because of the hack. On July 27, then-candidate Trump said in a press conference that he hoped Kremlin-backed individuals would find emails Clinton deleted as secretary of State.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said.
His allies later said he was joking.
Cambridge Analytica has drawn intense scrutiny since the election. This week, the U.K.’s Channel 4 released two documentaries on the company’s internal practices based on hidden-camera footage. In one, a Cambridge Analytica official says the company used Ukrainian sex workers to try to entrap its clients’ political foes.
“Just saying we could bring some Ukrainians in,” the firm’s CEO Alexander Nix said to journalists posing as prospective clients. “They are very beautiful. I find that works very well.”
Cambridge Analytica announced Tuesday it has suspended Nix pending an independent investigation.
“Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,” the firm said in a statement.