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Manafort revelations could put Kellyanne Conway under Mueller scrutiny: campaign data expert

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Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Paul Manafort of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's staff speak during a round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 17, 2016. Picture taken August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The latest revelations about Paul Manafort’s contacts with an alleged Russian spy could mean that Kellyanne Conway may fall under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller.

David Measer, an advertising and communications expert, explained the importance of the polling data that Manafort shared with Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who Mueller alleges has ties to Russian military intelligence.

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“At the heart of any campaign, big or small, is data,” tweeted Measer, senior vice president at the RPA agency and a University of Southern California professor. “Data about the market, people, the competition. In politics, this is called ‘polling.’ Same thing.”

Data is a crucial raw material for any campaign, and both advertisers and politicians spend a lot of time and money to get the most accurate and detailed information they can about their target audiences, Measer said — and they jealously guard those findings.

“Sharing polling data with anyone is opening a door to collaborate with them,” Measer said. “Sharing polling data means you’re working together. Conspiring. Making decisions together. Working to destroy the competition.”

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He said the accidentally unredacted details in Manafort’s court filing shows the former Trump campaign chairman had shared proprietary data with a Russian intelligence operative, at the same time the Kremlin was targeting the Democratic opposition.

“You’ve got a Russian hacking operation stealing the competition’s (the DNC’s and the Clinton campaign’s) data…then you’ve got it all,” Measer said. “Everything you need to destroy the competition.”

Measer said that apparent collaboration was a big deal, and he said Manafort’s replacement would have been in a position to know about the campaign’s operation targeting specific voters with detailed polling data.

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“You know who knows a lot about this? @KellyannePolls — someone should ask her,” Measer said.

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Kellyanne Conway, a veteran Republican pollster, joined the Trump campaign as a senior adviser in July 2016 and was named campaign manager the following month, after Manafort resigned over his ties to Russia.

Conway had previously worked for the Ted Cruz campaign, which was heavily funded by Cambridge Analytica founder Robert Mercer, and she joined the Trump team along with the billionaire hedge fund manager, his data company and one of its board members, Steve Bannon.

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Cambridge Analytica has fallen under investigation by Mueller for its role in micro-targeting social media users with Russian propaganda intended to aid Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Conway has not been accused of wrongdoing in the Russia probe, and there’s no indication so far that she has been questioned by Mueller’s investigators.


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Scientists alarmed as first ever nest of giant ‘murder hornets’ is found in the United States

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After months of meticulous tracking, authorities in the western US state of Washington on Friday said they had uncovered the first ever nest of the deadly Asian giant hornet in the country.

The nest was found on Thursday by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologists on a property in Blaine, near the border with Canada, the agency said in a statement.

It added that an attempt to eradicate the nest of wasps -- the world's largest hornet species also known as the "murder hornet" -- would take place on Saturday.

"The successful detection of a nest comes after a WSDA trapper collected two live Asian giant hornets on October 21 (Wednesday), caught in a new type of trap the agency had placed in the area," the statement said.

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2020 Election

Mormons fed up with Trump’s vulgar rhetoric and behavior are flocking to the Democratic Party

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Mormons in the United States have traditionally been reliable Republican voters, but some members of the conservative church put off by President Donald Trump are switching sides and backing veteran Democrat Joe Biden.

Support for Trump among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which emphasizes family values and morals, is especially lagging among women.

Experts say that could have a significant impact in some key battleground states -- notably Arizona and Nevada, where Mormons represent six percent of the population.

"There are things about Biden that I don't agree with, but I think it's more important not to vote for Trump," said Melarie Wheat, a 36-year-old mother of five who lives in the western state of Utah, where the LDS Church is headquartered.

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‘Nuts!’ The Lincoln Project mocks Jared and Ivanka for their ‘comical’ threat to sue over Times Square billboards

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The Lincoln Project on Friday night fired back at White House advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump for threatening to sue over billboards in Times Square attacking their response to the coronavirus crisis.

The ads show the couple smiling alongside coronavirus death tolls for New Yorkers and Americans.

https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1319294071513346053?s=20

Kushner and Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, on Friday sent a letter to the Lincoln Project warning that the billboards were defamatory. “Those ads show Ms. Trump smiling and gesturing toward a death count of Americans and New Yorkers, and attribute to Mr. Kushner the statement that “[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that’s their problem” (alteration in original), with body bags underneath,” the letter read.

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