News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
Whistleblower Christopher Wylie warned senators Wednesday that the data privacy controversy surrounding his former employer, Cambridge Analytica, is the “canary in the coal mine to a new Cold War emerging online,” as he detailed a series of alleged activities by the now-defunct company.
Wylie, a source for news reports indicating that Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in written testimony that the data firm and its parent, SCL, had the ability to perform “black ops,” including breaking into computer systems to acquire kompromat — the Russian word for “compromising material.”
From The Hill
Qatari investor Ahmed Al-Rumaihi has confirmed that he attended meetings in Trump Tower in December 2016, following a tweet from adult-film star Stormy Daniels’s lawyer claiming the investor had met with longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
Al-Rumaihi told CNN through a spokesperson that he attended some meetings with Trump transition officials, but the spokesperson noted he did not meet with former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The working theory is that Tuesday’s explosion was caused by a device, said Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. It is “premature to speculate on the nature of the components of the device,” he said.
From The Hill
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted Tuesday that it was an “honor” for the cast and crew of the hit Broadway musical to be invited to perform for former President George H.W. Bush.
“The honor is ours, sir,” Miranda responded after the former president tweeted that the performers’ visit was “a complete joy.”
From The Daily Beast
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democrats say there is clear evidence that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, including “purported overtures” from Vladimir Putin. In its preliminary findings about an investigation into the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian attorney, the committee’s Democrats wrote they have confirmed the Trump campaign was “willing to accept Russia’s assistance.”
U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued two subpoenas to a social media expert who worked for longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
The subpoenas were delivered late last week to lawyers representing Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter specialist Stone hired to work for an independent political action committee he set up to support Trump, Knut Johnson, a lawyer for Sullivan, told Reuters on Tuesday.
The subpoenas suggest that Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is focusing in part on Stone and whether he might have had advance knowledge of material allegedly hacked by Russian intelligence and sent to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published it.
From The Hill
An argument between two Republican Louisiana state lawmakers turned physical Tuesday night, with the men exchanging blows at a Baton Rouge bar.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop and state Sen. Norby Chabert became involved in a dispute on the House floor and duked it out later that evening, USA Today reported.
Bishop said that Chabert “punched me several times” but he didn’t punch him back. “We had a gentleman’s disagreement and settled it with our hands,” Bishop said.
When Cliff Sims cleared out his desk in the White House press office earlier this month, his colleagues immediately thought of the football incident — an odd and ultimately trivial episode that nonetheless attracted the attention and frustration of the chief of staff.
In April, when President Donald Trump invited members of the University of Alabama football team to the White House to celebrate their national championship win, Sims—an Alabama grad—surprised his colleagues by popping unannounced into the Oval Office, pigskin in hand, as Trump was posing for pictures with head coach Nick Saban and others.
A new report goes into detail with the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump‘s connections to Russia months ahead of the 2016 election. Based on what federal agents knew at the time, it seems that investigators sat on major findings from the campaign that could’ve caused a political upheaval months before Nov. 8.
According to The New York Times, a small group of FBI officials led an extremely-secretive investigation about a hundred days before the election. The mission was codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane” (a reference to The Rolling Stones), and it initially gravitated around Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who spoke to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and was treated to his drunken ramblings about Russia having dirt on Hillary Clinton.