@parscale / Twitter Brad Parscale...
@parscale / Twitter

Donald Trump believes in a special kind of Peter Principle: The kind that says when someone gets in trouble, Trump denies he ever knew them.

Paul Manafort, who was the chair of Trump’s campaign for six months and managed the Republican convention, became someone who “worked on his team for a very short time.”

Steve Bannon, who served as Trump’s Chief Strategist and was given a prime office in the White House turned into someone who “didn’t get involved in the campaign until very late.”

Carter Page, who was among Trump’s initial team of foreign advisers … is just an idiot.

Now it’s the turn of Cambridge Analytica. Trump’s data team was once lauded as a company of geniuses who saw what was coming and helped get Trump to critical Midwest districts when no one else thought he had a chance. But now that it’s clear Cambridge wasn’t just sifting numbers, but actively making connections to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, suddenly all those high power quants who directed Trump’s online activities, have joined the rest of the exiles in Never-Never-Heard-Of-Them Land.

Key members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team scrambled Wednesday to distance themselves from the data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the presidential campaign to offer help in finding Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails. …

Michael S. Glassner, the executive director of Trump’s campaign, said in a statement on Wednesday — hours after The Daily Beast reported on the data firm’s outreach to Assange — that the only source of voter data that played a key role in Trump’s election victory was the Republican National Committee.

Yeah … only. No.

That’s not what either Trump’s team or Cambridge has said in the past.

The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 to help target ads using voter data collected from approximately 230 million US adults.

Multiple outlets, including NBC News and The Washington Post, reported that the campaign paid Cambridge Analytica more than $5 million in September alone, up from $250,000 in August.

The only way that Glassner’s statements on Wednesday could be true, would be if the placement of ads wasn’t considered “key” to Trump’s campaign. Which is the opposite of Trump’s previous bragging about how he knew exactly where to apply his efforts.

And Cambridge Analytica did more than just ad placement. They were vital in driving Trump’s social media outreach.

After [Jared] Kushner and Brad Parscale, the campaign’s digital director, hired the company in the summer of 2016, it dedicated a team of employees to enhance the Trump team’s outreach on Facebook. In interviews, Kushner has seemed eager to take credit for the strategy. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” he told Steven Bertoni of Forbes after the election last year. In turn, the firm has taken credit for giving Trump a boost. “Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in identifying supporters, persuading undecided voters, and driving turnout to the polls,” the company said in a press release after Trump’s victory.

So Cambridge Analytica targeted ads and “was instrumental” in reaching voters through Facebook by using the same sort of micro-targeting that Russian sources used to drive up racial tensions and disrupt the election. They were a big deal.

Except now …

Parscale has said that the invoices showing the $5.9 million the Trump campaign paid to Cambridge Analytica were “mislabeled.”

And …

“Leading into the election, the RNC had invested in the most sophisticated data targeting program in modern American in history, which helped secure our victory in the fall,” [Glassner’s] statement read.

It was all the RNC. Cambridge Analytica? They do not know them. Neither Glassner, Parscale, nor Trump mentioned whether they heard a rooster crowing while they made their statements.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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