Suspended CEO claims firm played key role in Trump's win

Alexander Nix was suspended by the company shortly before the latest video was broadcast.
Alexander Nix was suspended by the company shortly before the latest video was broadcast. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica said in a secretly recorded video broadcast on Tuesday that his company had played a decisive role in US President Donald Trump's election victory.

"We did all the research. We did all the data. We did all the analytics. We did all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, and our data informed their strategy," Mr Alexander Nix told an undercover reporter working for Britain's Channel 4 News.

The chief executive was suspended by the company shortly before the latest video was broadcast.

Channel 4 ran part one of its expose of the firm's methods on Monday. Footage showed company executives boasting about entrapping politicians using honey traps and running fake news campaigns to sway elections.

The second broadcast on Tuesday deals specifically with Cambridge Analytica's work in the United States during the 2016 election. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign in June 2016.

In Tuesday's programme, Mr Nix describes questionable practices used to influence foreign elections, and said his firm did all the research, analytics and targeting of voters for Mr Trump's digital and TV campaigns.

TAKING CREDIT

We did all the research.

We did all the data.

We did all the analytics.

We did all the targeting.

We ran all the digital campaign, and our data informed their strategy.

MR ALEXANDER NIX, the suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, on his company playing a decisive role in Mr Donald Trump's 2016 election victory.

Mr Nix also boasts that he met Mr Trump when he was the Republican presidential candidate "many times". He also acknowledges that his company used a self-destructing e-mail server to communicate with clients in order to eliminate evidence of their contact.

Cambridge Analytica has denied various allegations made about its business practices in recent media reports.

Mr Nix's comments could not be verified, but they raised significant questions about the role the firm played in the Trump campaign.

Mr Brad Parscale, the 2016 Trump campaign's main digital adviser who dealt regularly with Cambridge Analytica, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr Nix's claims.

Mr Jared Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law and now senior adviser, oversaw the Trump campaign's digital operations. One former Trump adviser said Mr Kushner brought Cambridge Analytica into the 2016 campaign effort. Mr Kushner's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There are already questions about whether any elements of the Trump campaign or its allies coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

News agency McClatchy reported last July that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators were looking into whether anyone from Mr Trump's team or Cambridge Analytica coordinated message-targeting with Russian actors.

WASHINGTON POST, BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2018, with the headline 'Suspended CEO claims firm played key role in Trump's win'. Print Edition | Subscribe