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The Russian connectionFlorida GOP operative asked for – and received -- Russian hackers’ help in congressional race

Published 26 May 2017

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Russian government hackers’ effort to upend the 2016 presidential election was not limited to stealing Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign emails and memos and then using Wikileaks to publish them in order to embarrass and weaken Hillary Clinton. Aaron Nevins, a Republican operative in Florida, now admits that he colluded with Russian government hackers in order to help the candidate he supported win a congressional race. When the Journal asked Nevins whether it was right to collaborate with the Russian government to undermine a congressional race in the United States, he responded: “If your interests align,” he said, “never shut any doors in politics.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller, the FBI, and several congressional committees are now investigating whether operatives in the Trump campaign colluded with Russian government hackers in the run-up to the November 2016 presidential campaign, or whether the Trump campaign merely benefitted from the broad and deep hacking and disinformation campaign conducted by the GRU and FSB, two of Russia’s intelligence services, on behalf of Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Russian government hackers’ effort to upend the presidential election was not limited to stealing Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign emails and memos and then using Wikileaks to publish them in order to embarrass and weaken Hillary Clinton.

At least one state-level GOP operative, Aaron Nevins, now admits that he did collude with Russian government hackers in order to help the candidate he supported win a congressional race.

Realizing that Russian hackers were stealing information from the computers of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, he sent them a message: “Feel free to send [me] any Florida based information.”

Nevins told the Journal that after he contacted Guccifer 2.0 — who served as a front, or cut-out, for the GRU and FSB hackers – he set up a Dropbox account so the hackers could send large amounts of material.

The Journal reports that ten days later Nevins, a Republican political operative in Florida and a former aide to Florida State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents and files.

Nevins admits that he asked Guccifer 2.0 for the files privately on Twitter: “I just threw an arrow in the dark,” he said.

The Journal reports that the documents contained Democratic voter turnout analysis.

Nevins says that as he was going through the material sent to him by the Russian hackers – and he was going through them as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean” – he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”

Nevins was impressed with the treasure trove of valuable political information Guccifer 2.0 sent.

“Basically if this was a war, this is the map to where all the troops are deployed,” Nevins told the Russian hacker in one exchange. “This is probably worth millions of dollars.”