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- Summary: From roughly May to late-September 2016, Alfa Bank servers were likely communicating with a Trump Org. server. [Slate]. Alfa Bank is owned by Russian oligarchs allied with Putin, albeit not in his inner circle. [Slate]. The Trump server also was likely communicating with a server from Spectrum Health, a company led by Betsy Devos’ husband. [CNN]. For recent developments in this story, see the next section.
- Evidence Used to Attain FISA warrant: Sources say the FBI used evidence of communications between Trump and Alfa Bank’s servers to attain a warrant from a FISA court. [Heatst & BBC]. The warrant likely allows the FBI to investigate the financial records of Alfa Bank and SVB Bank. [HeatSt (SVB Bank) & BBC (foreign banks)].
- Were the Servers Passing Voter Rolls? The BBC hints, but does not state, that the FISA warrants were related to the theft of voter roles by Russia. [BBC]. Louise Mensch explicitly claims that the FISA warrants helped the FBI uncover evidence that Alfa Bank servers were passing stolen voter roles to a Trump Organization server. [Patribotics]. She claims this story has been confirmed by US intelligence officials. [Patribotics]. For more on the stolen voter roles see Russia Probably Stole Online Voter Rolls.
- The Dossier Speaks Of “Alpha Group”: The 35 page dossier composed by Christopher Steele has a page on “Alpha Group,” a misspelling of “Alfa Group,” which does indeed own Alfa Bank. [see BI; Dossier p. 25]. The dossier alleges Alfa Group leaders provided Putin with foreign policy advice about the US in exchange for legal and business favors. [Dossier p. 25].
- Technical Details: Although cyber-experts believe the Alfa Bank servers were most likely exchanging data with the Trump server, it’s not clear how this was technically achieved. [Slate; Salon]. The Alfa Bank servers were repeatedly looking up the Trump server’s domain name. [Slate]. Such “DNS lookups” are normally only the precursors to communications between computers. [Slate]. The Trump server was setup to accept incoming communications from 19 servers. [Slate]. However, of all the DNS lookups on the server, ~80% came from Alfa Bank, and ~19% from Spectrum. [CNN]. The Trump server’s configuration was changed when the New York Times started investigating the story. [Slate].