A Republican operative in Florida received a trove of Democratic documents from the Russia-linked hacker believed to be a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The Wall Street Journal identified the operative as Aaron Nevins, who last summer told hacker Guccifer 2.0 to “feel free to send any Florida based information” after learning that the hacker had tapped into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee computers.
Nevins set up a Dropbox to allow Guccifer 2.0 to share 2.5 gigabytes of stolen DCCC documents, according to the Journal. The GOP operative then published some of the material on the blog HelloFLA.com, using a pseudonym.
Guccifer 2.0 sent a link to the blog post soon afterwards to Republican operative Roger Stone, a longtime confidante and associate of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Nevins told the Journal in an interview that after receiving the stolen documents from the hacker he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”
The DCCC documents that were leaked to Nevins analyzed voters in key Florida districts, breaking down how many people were considered dependable Democratic voters, undecided Democrats, Republican voters and the like.
It was known that HelloFLA.com had published hacked Democratic documents, but it was previously unclear how much material was sent and who the operative behind the blog was.
That Guccifer 2.0 sent stolen Democratic documents to a GOP operative in a key swing state shows that the hacker’s activities stretched beyond the massive leak of Democratic National Committee material that made national headlines last year.
The FBI and congressional committees are currently investigating Russia’s efforts to interfere in and disrupt the 2016 presidential election through a massive influence and hacking campaign. The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a report made public in January that Moscow had meddled in the election.
They are also probing any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination with Russian officials, and the Kremlin has done so as well while also rejecting any connection to Guccifer 2.0.
Nevins himself cast doubt on the Russians’ role in the hacks, but told the Journal that he did not care either way, because his interests appeared to fall in line with those of the hackers.
“If your interests align, never shut any doors in politics,” he said.