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FBI probing server connection between Trump Organization and Russian bank first reported in October

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The FBI and a group of computer scientists are examining whether a computer server connection exists or existed between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, a charge originally levied—and widely dismissed—back in October 2016.

CNN reports that the FBI is continuing to look into a potential connection, as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, with one U.S. official telling the outlet the server relationship is “odd,” though they declined to say whether investigators consider it significant.

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The story first surfaced in an Oct. 31, 2016 article published in Slate, asking, “Was a Trump server communicating with Russia?” That story—widely panned by critics, including a team of journalists writing for the Intercept, who called Slate’s reporting “dramatic”—traces “a community of malware hunters” who, after discovering that Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee, decided to test out whether Russia was also attempting to hack the Republican National Committee and the Donald Trump campaign.

“We wanted to help defend both campaigns, because we wanted to preserve the integrity of the election,” one of the computer scientists told Slate at the time.

As Slate’s Franklin Foer reports, a scientist who goes by the pseudonym “Tea Leaves,” flagged malware coming from Russia that appeared to connect to a domain with Trump in its name. After a group of computer researchers began logging the communications, it became apparent the communication was not a malware attack, but rather “resembled the patter of human conversation.” The researchers discovered “a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.”

As CNN notes, Alfa—a Russian Bank—“looked up the address to a Trump corporate server [registered to the Trump Organization] 2,820 times—more lookups than the Trump server received from any other source.”

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In a statement after the October Slate report, Alfa bank maintained that any “supposed connection between Alfa and Trump is false,” adding the “working hypothesis is that the activity … was caused by a spam attack targeting Alfa Bank by a marketing server.” The statement further suggested the activity may “have been initiated by someone for the purpose of discrediting” Trump and Alfa Bank.

But L. Jean Camp, a computer scientist at Indiana University, cast doubts on Alfa’s explanation. “If it were spam, then a lot of other organizations would be doing DNS lookups. There would be evidence of widespread connectivity with devices,” Camp told CNN.

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The server recently resurfaced in the same Breitbart article that prompted Trump to levy his unsubstantiated claim that former president Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election. According to CNN, no FISA warrant has been issued for the server.

Alfa maintains that the bank had no connection to Trump or the Trump Organization, telling CNN the bank’s owners “have never met Mr. Trump nor have they or Alfa Bank had any business dealings with him.”

“Neither Alfa Bank nor its officers have sent Mr. Trump or his organization any emails, information or money,” the bank told CNN. “Alfa Bank does not have and has never had any special or exclusive internet connection with Mr. Trump or his entities.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Workers were ordered not to protest or show any ‘resistance’ at Trump rally in Pennsylvania

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Workers in attendance at President Donald Trump's rally at a Shell plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday were ordered not to protest or do "anything viewed as resistance" during the event.

That's according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported late Friday on the strict instructions employees were given by their bosses ahead of the event.

"No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event," read orders from one contractor. "An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this."

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Donald Trump and the Republican Party hate America: It’s time to say it out loud

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For most of modern political history, the Republican Party has used patriotism — an odd and obfuscating sentimentality — as a weapon to shame critics of American foreign policy, and turn the general public against dissidents who reject the folly of Empire maintenance through violence. Samuel Johnson’s excoriation — made famous by Bob Dylan — that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels” always seemed accurate in both its denunciation of the manipulative emotion itself, and also of those who take advantage of it for political expediency.

America has collapsed into a prone position, however, where the scoundrels are so brazen in their inhumanity, so bold in their indifference to suffering, and so barbaric in their refusal to compromise for the sake of their own country that only their own language can aptly describe them.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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