Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | us | team trump | trump campaign | florida | russians

Some Trump Campaign Workers in Fla. Were Actually Russians

Some Trump Campaign Workers in Fla. Were Actually Russians
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Thursday, 08 March 2018 06:14 PM

Team Trump was susceptible to Moscow's interference campaign in 2016 — with unsuspecting Florida campaign workers getting played in a Russian scheme to undermine American democracy, The New York Times reported.

Citing its review of private Facebook messages, the Times reported one phony Trump supporter in Florida was actually a persona created by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian company indicted last month that was allegedly linked to President Vladimir Putin and his country's intelligence services.

The operative first contacted a campaign worker who oversaw the Facebook account and then passed him along to Chad Tucker, the Florida communications director, at his campaign email address.

"Nobody reasonably would have asked — or even thought to ask — 'Are you sure you're not with Russia?'" Karen Giorno, a Republican operative who was the Florida state director for Trump's campaign at the time it was contacted by the Internet Research Agency told the Times. "It's just not something that normally you would think you have to watch out for."

Court papers show that in a plot carried out by 80 employees, the Internet Research Agency stole identities from Americans and created social media campaigns and fake online personas like Matt Skiber to try to manipulate voters, activists and Trump campaign staff members, the Times reported.

The Russians focused on Florida, a critical swing state, contacting activists and Trump's campaign primarily for help in staging rallies across the state on Aug. 20, the indictment of Internet Research Agency charged, the Times reported.

Court papers don't say whether the Russians succeeded in winning help from the campaign's Florida operation.

But using information provided by a campaign employee, the Russians at the Internet Research Agency emailed Tucker from an account set up under another alias, Josh Milton, court documents show, the Times reported. The Russians presented the Milton persona as the "team leader" of a pro-Trump social media group called Being Patriotic, according to a Facebook message.

Days later, on the recommendation of the campaign employee operating the Florida Facebook account, the Russians contacted another campaign staff member, Beatriz Ramos, who served as the coalitions director for the Trump campaign in Florida, according to the indictment, the Times reported.

"No one was talking about the Russians back then, so it's not like something that anyone was looking out for," Tucker told the Times.

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Politics
Team Trump was susceptible to Moscow's interference campaign in 2016 — with unsuspecting Florida campaign workers getting played in a Russian scheme to undermine American democracy, The New York Times reported.
us, team trump, trump campaign, florida, russians
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2018-14-08
Thursday, 08 March 2018 06:14 PM
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