Former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon was the architect behind data firm Cambridge Analytica’s focus on stirring public discontent as a means to influence U.S. elections, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told House Democrats this week. According to a partial transcript released Wednesday, Bannon, who served as vice president and secretary of the data firm from 2014 to 2016, sought to use Cambridge Analytica to discourage certain demographics from voting, including those who he thought would vote for Democrats. Describing the data firm as a “full-service propaganda machine,” Wylie also said Bannon showed an unexplained interest in Russia as early as 2014. Bannon is said to have ordered the company to test images and concepts concerning Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Russian expansion in Eastern Europe on a U.S. audience. “I can’t explain why it was that they picked Vladimir Putin to talk about in focus groups or to do message testing or to do models on, and why that would be useful to Steve Bannon,” Wylie was quoted as saying.
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