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DeVos company implicated in new report on fishy communications between Trump Organization and Russian bank

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Cybersecurity experts found evidence of suspicious communications between a Trump Organization computer and a Russian bank in the summer of 2016 — and they also noticed a link to Betsy DeVos and her family.

The researchers set out to find whether Russian hackers had also targeted Republicans after news broke about the Democratic National Committee hacks, and their investigation surprised them, reported The New Yorker.

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The group found Alfa Bank computers were repeatedly looking up the address of a Trump server located in Lititz, Pennsylvania, nearly every day in the summer of 2016 — and computer scientists who examined the contacts believe they were intentional attempts at human communication.

“The timing of the communication was not random, and it wasn’t regular-periodic,” said one researcher, identified only as Paul. “It was a better match for human activity.”

Alfa Bank looked up the Trump Organization’s domain more than two thousand times more than 2,000 times between May and September 2016.

Only one other entity — Spectrum Health — reached out to the Trump Organization’s domain with any frequency during that same period.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company is closely linked to the DeVos family — Richard DeVos, Jr., husband of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is chairman of the board and named one of its hospitals after his mother.

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The education secretary’s brother, Erik Prince, has been investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for his contacts with Russia during the election and his reported efforts to set up a back channel between President Donald Trump and the Kremlin.

The Trump Organization’s domain was set up to send mass-marketing emails, and the researchers were puzzled why Spectrum Health was reaching out to a server that didn’t appear to be doing anything.

After analyzing the data, they concluded the linkups were a covert communications channel.

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The Trump Organization, Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health have repeatedly denied any contacts — but FBI agents visited the offices where that server was housed in March 2017.

The server was housed at a company called Listrak, which helped blast out emails offering spa treatments and Las Vegas weekends, and its CEO says he gave agents everything they requested.

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The Trump Organization domain — mail1.trump-email.com — stopped working Sept. 23, 2016, two days after a New York Times reporter gave potential evidence of communications to BGR, a Washington lobbying firm that worked for Alfa Bank, while working on an article.

The newspaper had not yet contacted Trump or his campaign about the communications.

The researchers believe an Alfa Bank representative had contacted the Trump Organization, which shut down that domain and set up another one under a new address.

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Alfa Bank servers continued searching for the Trump domain for four more days, the researchers say.

Ten minutes after the last attempt, one of Alfa Bank’s servers looked up another domain — which researchers say had been configured to lead to the old Trump Organization server.


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China vows to retaliate for Trump’s Rose Garden press conference — and could impose new sanctions on America

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US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was ending preferential trade treatment for Hong Kong and had signed into law an act that authorises sanctions on banks over China's clampdown in the international finance hub.

In a discursive news conference dominated by attacks on his domestic rivals, Trump declared himself to be the toughest president ever on China, a country he is increasingly positioning as his nemesis ahead of November elections.

Trump announced that he had issued an executive order on Hong Kong as he predicted decline for the restless city, on which Beijing recently imposed a tough new security law.

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2020 Election

Trump’s former White House doctor Ronny Jackson wins GOP runoff for Congress in Texas

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Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and President Donald Trump's onetime nominee for secretary of veterans affairs, has won his bid for the Republican nomination for a solidly red congressional seat in the Texas Panhandle.

With 100% of polling locations reporting, though some mail-in ballots will still need to be counted, Jackson held a lead of 11 percentage points over Josh Winegarner, a veteran agriculture expert and lobbyist. Jackson and Winegarner were competing for a seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who is retiring and held the seat since 1995.

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Ivanka Trump’s tweet raises eyebrows: ‘Why is a senior White House official endorsing a food product?’

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As her big brother was dragging their 14-year-old half brother into the 2020 campaign, senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump was endorsing a line of canned food products.

If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020

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