Facebook Turns Over Details of Russian Campaign Ads to Mueller
Sep 18 2017
Rangappa said, "The key here, though, is that Mueller clearly already has enough information on these accounts - and their link to a potential crime to justify forcing (Facebook) to give up the info". Facebook policy dictates that it would only turn over "the stored contents of any account", including messages and location information, in response to a search warrant, some of them said. The prosecutor then has to show that the information being sought will provide evidence of that crime. Evidence has come to light in recent months that people connected to the Russian government used social networks and other media in various ways in attempts to sway public opinion in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. These specific Facebook accounts were purchased at the time of 2016 election, these accounts targeted ads.
Mariotti said that the Facebook warrant "means that Mueller has concluded that specific foreign individuals committed a crime by making a "contribution" in connection with an election".
Renato Mariotti, an attorney and former federal prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney's Office, authored a widely shared Twitter thread discussing the news.
Facebook turned over data related to the ads, in addition to a so-called Russian "troll farm" believed to be behind them. The FBI is reportedly investigating Manafort's overseas business dealings and his financial history.
Mariotti wrote, "It also means that he has evidence of that crime that convinced a federal magistrate judge of two things: first, that there was good reason to believe that the foreign individual committed the crime".
To obtain a warrant, experts say Mueller would have needed to prove he has a reasonable suspicion a crime was committed. "If an associate of the president worked with a Russian to further these efforts". During the talks with Congress, the tech company deviated from talking specifically about the ad buys.
"They kind of have a reputation within law enforcement for being less cooperative, and only giving information when they've received court orders and they're sticklers about that", he said.
House and Senate investigators were reportedly frustrated with how little they were told in that briefing.