The campaign denied a Slate report that said activity on an organization server indicated sustained relationship with Russias largest private commercial bank
The Trump campaign has denied a report that a Trump Organization server was used to send or receive communications with a Russian bank.
The denial on Monday night came in response to a Slate article that said activity on the server indicated a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank, the largest private commercial bank in Russia.
The report is the latest allegation during this election season of questionable links between Trump and Russia. The Clinton campaign quickly pounced on the report, declaring the story proof of the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow.
The Guardian has been unable to independently confirm Slates report. Rumors of an internet connection between the bank and a web address linked to the Trump Organization have been circulating in Washington for a number of weeks.
However, the New York Times reported on Monday that the FBI ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.
Trump campaign press secretary Hope Hicks said as much: First of all, its not a secret server. The email server, set up for marketing purposes and operated by a third-party, has not been used since 2010. The current traffic on the server from Alphabanks [sic] IP address is regular DNS server traffic not email traffic.
To be clear, The Trump Organization is not sending or receiving any communications from this email server, Hicks continued. The Trump Organization has no communication or relationship with this entity or any Russian entity.
Late on Monday, a spokesperson for Alfa Bank said the allegations of a connection to the Trump organization were patently false and that a cybersecurity firm the bank had hired to investigate believed the activity could have been caused by a spam attack.
Neither Alfa Bank nor its principals, including Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, have or have had any contact with Mr. Trump or his organizations. Fridman and Aven have never met Mr. Trump nor have they or Alfa Bank had any business dealings with him. Neither Alfa nor its officers have sent Mr. Trump or his organizations any emails, information or money. Alfa Bank does not have and has never had any special or exclusive internet connection with Mr. Trump or his entities.
The report, based on Slates interviews with three anonymous domain name system (DNS) specialists and multiple named academics with expertise in DNS, concluded that the server in question was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses. Among them, according to the DNS specialists: two Alfa Bank servers, which the specialists said accounted for 87% of the DNS lookups involving the Trump Organization server.
Trumps ties to Russia have long raised eyebrows. Several of the Republican nominees campaign staffers, including former campaign chair Paul Manafort, have long maintained business ties in Eastern Europe. Manafort was a longtime political adviser to deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a close Putin ally.
Also on Monday night, Manafort responded to an NBC News report that there was a preliminary FBI inquiry into his ties to Russia, calling it an outrageous smear being driven by Harry Reid and the Clinton campaign.
It is an attempt by them to take the focus off of the FBIs announcement of last Friday on the FBIs renewed interest in the Clinton email scandal and the Wikileaks release of DNC and Clinton campaign emails. There is nothing of my business activities to investigate.
The Republican nominee has long praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin and refused to condemn the Russian regimes hostile actions towards neighboring countries, including Ukraine. He has even criticized Hillary Clinton for her criticism of Putin and the United States to cooperate with Russia in Syria, where the Russian air force has been repeatedly conducted air strikes on civilians in Aleppo.
Further, Trump has long worked with Russian business interests in real estate projects. His son, Donald Trump Jr, said in 2008, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
Hillary for America senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan called the alleged secret hotline between the Trump Organization and Russian banks the key to unlocking the mystery of Trumps ties to Russia.
This line of communication may help explain Trumps bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign, Sullivan continued. It raises even more troubling questions in light of Russias masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clintons campaign. We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russias meddling in our elections.
Originally found athttp://www.theguardian.com/us