According to sources from Robert Mueller’s team, the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election is stepping up its expertise in the cybercrime department. Considering the evidence trail that was already detailed by US intelligence agencies, this likely spells trouble for the Trump administration.
According to Politico, Ryan Dickey, a senior prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, was added to the team in November. The move is just now being reported. Dickey’s move is particularly important because he’s the first member of the team whose focus is on cybercrime.
Mueller’s team is now comprised of 17 members who are mostly trained in white-collar crime prosecutions.
Dickey took his place on the team shortly after Facebook announced that they would be turning over 3,000+ political advertisements that were purchased by Russia during the 2016 elections. A shadowy Russian company is linked to at least $100,000 worth of ad purchases that targeted US voters. The company utilized 470 fake accounts to complete the transactions.
“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values, and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.”
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Dickey, the new cybercrime expert, may be on board to help prosecute the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Russia email hack. Legal analysts say that Mueller may be targeting the Trump campaign on a conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. George Papadopoulos, who was arrested in July and cooperating with the Special Counsel, already indicated that he made efforts to facilitate meetings between senior Trump officials and the Russians. If he points out that other Trump campaign members knew about the hack and encouraged it, they will likely face prosecution under that Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Trump continues to call the investigation a ‘witch hunt,’ despite members of his campaign already being arrested and cooperating with authorities.
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