Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election has taken yet another strange turn. This time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has transferred data on ads “likely” purchased by Russian entities.
Whatever that means.
An internal Facebook investigation has found it is “likely” Russian operatives spent $100,000 on ads with “divisive messages” between June 2015 and May 2017.
A blog post on the issue, which was published on Wednesday, said the operation involved 3,000 separate ads over a two-year period and was likely to have been run out of Russia. In addition, Facebook found 470 affiliated fake accounts and pages.
The social media giant has turned over all information about those ads to special counsel Robert Mueller, , a source familiar with the matter said told Reuters on Wednesday. That includes copies of the ads and the identity of the buyers, the source said.
Former FBI Director Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
The news comes as former Trump campaign aides are saying things do not look good for Paul Manafort in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Associates believe Manafort may go down for an array of financial crimes.
Daily Caller reports:
Former Trump campaign aides are telling The Daily Caller that they increasingly believe former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will be indicted for crimes such as money laundering or tax evasion.
One of the former campaign advisers has knowledge of the ongoing investigations into Manafort, a longtime Republican operative who joined the Trump campaign last March. Another former aide said that his knowledge of Manafort’s history of working with despots, coupled with news reports about Mueller’s investigation, led him to believe that an indictment of Manafort is becoming more likely.
Reuters reported that Mueller might use money laundering charges in order to flip Manafort into cooperating with their probe into Russian election interference. Roger Stone, a Trump confidant and former business partner of Manafort’s, pointed TheDC to Manafort’s Italian heritage.
“We Italians are tough. I predict Mueller is unsuccessful in his efforts to blackmail Manafort into bearing false witness against the president,” Stone said.
The greatest political witch hunt in U.S. history continues to roll on, as a recent report from CNN claims Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas for key aides to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manfort. Of course, we have to take CNN’s reporting with a grain of salt.
The subpoenas seeking documents and testimony were sent to Melissa Laurenza, an attorney with the Akin Gump law firm who until recently represented Manafort, and to Jason Maloni, who is Manafort’s spokesman, according to people familiar with the matter.Manafort is under investigation for possible tax and financial crimes, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. The allegations under investigation largely center on Manafort’s work for the former ruling party in Ukraine, which was ousted amid street protests over its pro-Russian policies.
It’s unclear what specific information the Mueller investigators believe Laurenza and Maloni may have. But issuing subpoenas to a lawyer of someone under investigation is unusual, in part because it raises potential attorney-client privilege issues that prosecutors tend to try to avoid. Maloni, as a public relations representative, doesn’t have the same attorney-client privilege protections.
The GOP president has repeatedly called the Russian media conspiracy the “greatest witch hunt” in history.
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