Mar 23, 2018

Report: DNC hacker works in Russian intelligence

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

The hacker that stole Democratic National Committee emails, Guccifer 2.0, was "an officer of Russia's military intelligence directorate (GRU)," according to the Daily Beast.

Why it matters: Special counsel Robert Mueller never explicitly implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin in his investigation. Connecting Guccifer to "Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency" would do exactly that.

The details: ThreatConnect, a cyber security firm, found that Guccifer was using "an anonymizing service called Elite VPN," which is headquartered in Russia. Per the Daily Beast, Guccifer at one pointed "failed to activate the VPN client before logging on" to his emails, leaving an IP address based in Moscow. Government investigators traced the IP address to "a particular GRU officer."

  • It was originally believed that Guccifer was a lone actor.
  • The hacker "persona" of Guccifer was "handed off to a more experienced GRU officer" at some point.

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Trump's clemency spree

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he commuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issuing full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

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Trump's improbable moonshot

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA is unlikely to meet its deadline of sending astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024, even with a large influx of funding.

Why it matters: The Artemis mission to send people back to the Moon is the Trump administration's flagship space policy, and its aggressive, politically-motivated timeline is its hallmark.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Science

Justice Department says U.S. attorneys are reviewing Ukraine information

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday informing him that the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of New York and the Western District of Pennsylvania are reviewing "unsolicited" information from the public related to matters involving Ukraine.

Why it matters: Nadler had requested an explanation for the "intake process" that Attorney General Bill Barr stated had been set up in order to receive information that Rudy Giuliani had obtained about the Bidens in Ukraine.