Top House Dems ask Trump data firms if they communicated with Russians

 Top House Dems ask Trump data firms if they communicated with Russians
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The top Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees are asking data firms that worked with the Trump campaign to say whether they communicated with Russian entities during last year's campaign.

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTop intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father Overnight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' Flynn told associate Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’ early in Trump presidency MORE (Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersAbortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Democrats turn on Al Franken Michigan state senator to run for Congress MORE Jr. (Mich.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to several former Trump campaign consultants to see whether they colluded with the Russians in their attempts to influence the election, according to a Thursday press release.

"This targeting appears to have been executed with an extraordinary level of precision that suggests a deep familiarity with American voter preferences and habits and exceeds the reported capabilities of foreign cyber operations," the Democrats wrote in the letter, pointing to the Kremlin's use of social media platforms in their disinformation campaign.

"As we assess legislation that addresses whether American businesses directly engaged with known hostile foreign actors such as Wikileaks, cooperated with foreign governments, or used misappropriated data, it is important we understand what happened," they continued. 

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Companies addressed in their letter include Cambridge Analytica, Giles-Parscale, TargetPoint Consulting, The Data Trust and Deep Root Analytics.

"The prospect that any American company may have aided a foreign government, worked with hostile foreign actors, or benefited from unlawfully accessed information is concerning and could impact the consideration of ongoing legislation,” they wrote.

Their letter comes after The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked for Trump’s campaign, reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about locating Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. 

"Recent reports have stated that Cambridge Analytica and possibly other members of the Trump data operations team actively solicited Wikileaks — a known hostile foreign intelligence actor — to acquire stolen information," the press release said.

The House Intelligence Committee earlier this month requested Cambridge Analytica turn over information about its work for the Trump campaign as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading the Justice Department's probe into Russian interference in last year's election, which is separate from the multiple congressional probes that are also independently looking into the matter.