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Old 10-31-2016, 05:32 PM
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Trump Tower has a direct server connection to a Russia bank


Remember my thread about Donald being a Putin Patsy? Maybe I need to reconsider. Maybe Donald Trump is an active Russian agent.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...th_russia.html

This article talks about how, while investing recent Russian hacking schemes, a group of computer scientist became aware that there was regular communication between a server located at Trump Tower and the Russian bank, Alfa.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article about the connection between Trump Tower and the Russian bank


In late July, one of these scientists—who asked to be referred to as Tea Leaves, a pseudonym that would protect his relationship with the networks and banks that employ him to sift their data—found what looked like malware emanating from Russia. The destination domain had Trump in its name, which of course attracted Tea Leaves’ attention. But his discovery of the data was pure happenstance—a surprising needle in a large haystack of DNS lookups on his screen. “I have an outlier here that connects to Russia in a strange way,” he wrote in his notes. He couldn’t quite figure it out at first. But what he saw was a bank in Moscow that kept irregularly pinging a server registered to the Trump Organization on Fifth Avenue.

More data was needed, so he began carefully keeping logs of the Trump server’s DNS activity. As he collected the logs, he would circulate them in periodic batches to colleagues in the cybersecurity world. Six of them began scrutinizing them for clues.

<snip>

The researchers quickly dismissed their initial fear that the logs represented a malware attack. The communication wasn’t the work of bots. The irregular pattern of server lookups actually resembled the pattern of human conversation—conversations that began during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow. It dawned on the researchers that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.


Experts who have looked into the log say that it is clearly communication between real people, not bots, and it's clearly designed to operate clandestinely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article

Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups involved the two Alfa Bank servers. “It’s pretty clear that it’s not an open mail server,” Jean Camp told me. “These organizations are communicating in a way designed to block other people out.”

Earlier this month, the group of computer scientists passed the logs to Paul Vixie. In the world of DNS experts, there’s no higher authority. Vixie wrote central strands of the DNS code that makes the Internet work. After studying the logs, he concluded, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.” Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence.

The article goes on to explain how the scientists determined that the suspicious server arrangement between Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank was too sporadic to be Trump advertising spam (something that the server was used for previously, but not currently.) They also found that the timestamps on communication on the server corresponded to various political events.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article, again
Tea Leaves and his colleagues plotted the data from the logs on a timeline. What it illustrated was suggestive: The conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. “At election related moments, the traffic peaked,” according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.


There's a graph in the paper illustrating all this.


Finally, the most damning part, when people started asking questions about the connection between Alfa bank and Trump Tower, the server arrangement suddenly changed:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate



The Times hadn’t yet been in touch with the Trump campaign—Lichtblau spoke with the campaign a week later—but shortly after it reached out to Alfa, the Trump domain name in question seemed to suddenly stop working. When the scientists looked up the host, the DNS server returned a “fail” message, evidence that it no longer functioned. Or as it is technically diagnosed, it had SERVFAILed. (On the timeline above, this is the moment at the end of the chronology when the traffic abruptly spikes, as servers frantically attempt to resend rejected messages.) The computer scientists believe there was one logical conclusion to be drawn: The Trump organization shut down the server after Alfa was told that the Times might expose the connection. Nicholas Weaver told me the Trump domain was “very sloppily removed.” Or as another of the researchers put it, it looked like “the knee was hit in Moscow, the leg kicked in New York.”

Four days later, on September 27, the Trump organization created a new host name, trump1.contact-client.com, which enabled communication to the very same server via a different route. When a new host name is created, the first communication with it is never random. To reach the server after the resetting of the host name, the sender of the first inbound mail has to first learn of the name somehow. It’s simply impossible to randomly reach a renamed server. “That party had to have some kind of outbound message through sms, phone, or some non-internet channel they used to communicate [the new configuration],” Paul Vixie told me. The first attempt to look up the revised host name came from Alfa Bank. “If this was a public server, we would have seen other traces,” Vixie says. “The only look-ups came from this particular source.”

According to Vixie and others, the new host name may have represented an attempt to establish a new channel of communication. But media inquiries into the nature of Trump’s relationship with Alfa Bank, which suggested that their communications were being monitored, may have deterred the parties from using it. Soon after the New York Times began to ask questions, the traffic between the servers stopped cold.

Obviously, Trump himself doesn't know shit about shit, so he's not designed the server himself. But someone at Trump Towers knows what that server connection to Alfa Bank was all about and now that someone has taken steps to hide it once again.

But whether Donald is an active agent or a stooge - either way, I hope this news brings lasting attention to his Russian connections.

Last edited by Merneith; 10-31-2016 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:42 PM
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Hilariously, Donald gave a speech today where he slammed Hillary for being mean to Vlad, who, you might recall, Trump says he doesn't know.

http://www.salon.com/2016/10/31/dona...ean-to-russia/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Trump, No Puppet

Trump further criticized Clinton for saying “bad things” about world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and then wondering “why the world hates us.”

The real estate mogul had said much the same last week at a rally in Springfield, Ohio, where he argued Clinton “speaks very badly of Putin, and I don’t think that’s smart.”
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:43 PM
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Unfortunately, there's a sizable overlap between "Trump voter" and "Americans who respect strong leaders like that Putin guy."

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 10-31-2016 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:45 PM
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I'm not that familiar with Slate, how likely is it for one of their stories to gain traction in the MSM?
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:50 PM
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Slate is a subsidiary (at arm's length) of the Washington Post. It is, for lack of a better definition, the mainstream media.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:56 PM
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Or, for lack of a better definition, Credible Media Professionals....
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:32 PM
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There was a Russian mobster with international gambling connections operating out of Trump Tower. Could it have been his server?
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:59 PM
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The bank operates under Moscow Center rules. You want to make a deposit, you go to the most eastern set of benches in Gorky Park and leave a yellow chalk mark. Come back in an hour, and if the chalk mark is gone, the meeting is off.

Real horrorshow, my droogies, horrorshow.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:00 PM
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What a bunch of amateurs. If I wanted to set up a secret pipe, I would obtain a static IPv4 address, provide that to my contact and obtain a static IP address from them as well. Once you have the static IP addresses, there are no longer any names attached to the server traffic, so the DNS lookup step is bypassed completely. Chances are they already figured this out, so the message passing has not gone silent, it is just much, much harder to spot.
  #10  
Old 10-31-2016, 07:00 PM
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Slate is a subsidiary (at arm's length) of the Washington Post. It is, for lack of a better definition, the mainstream media.
Slate is pretty liberal, on a level with Mother Jones. They are mainstream media with actual journalistic standards, but I think it will be easy to dismiss for anyone who doesn't already believe it about Trump. I think the NYT investigation would have to go somewhere for this to gain any traction.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:20 PM
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Trump Tower. Server. Alfa Bank. The Two Towers. Isengard, palantir, Mordor....

From the OP's link (concluding paragraph):

Quote:
What the scientists amassed wasn’t a smoking gun. It’s a suggestive body of evidence that doesn’t absolutely preclude alternative explanations.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:41 PM
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It wouldn't correlate to the traffic increases during the Republican Convention though. Also, the server belonged to the Trump organization.

Last edited by gaffa; 10-31-2016 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:58 PM
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The bank operates under Moscow Center rules.
In the day, when one of us saw a great deal that was not likely to be available tomorrow, Wife or I would invoke Moscow Rules. Putin's people are re-experiencing that, regarding certain imports. I have in-laws there. Fuck 'em. They voted for the bastard.
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:06 PM
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Jeepers! More Gremlins from the Kremlin!
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:16 PM
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Can we call this a Red October surprise?
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:36 PM
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If you want to fuck up the Russians, give them Afghanistan again.
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:40 PM
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This story is starting to blow up on Twitter and Google News.

If there's one thing we can say is that one half of this country is going to be bitterly disgusted with the results of this election and convinced that the "winner" is barely legitimate. What a wonderful "democracy" we have now.
  #18  
Old 10-31-2016, 08:44 PM
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If there's one thing we can say is that one half of this country is going to be bitterly disgusted with the results of this election and convinced that the "winner" is barely legitimate. What a wonderful "democracy" we have now.
Until the election, you may as well party like it's 1999.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:02 PM
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This story is starting to blow up on Twitter and Google News.

If there's one thing we can say is that one half of this country is going to be bitterly disgusted with the results of this election and convinced that the "winner" is barely legitimate. What a wonderful "democracy" we have now.
Meh, in reality it is the chicanery from the Republicans that tells me that a lot of what they claim about Clinton is just politics, there might be some truth to their accusations but their captain Ahab behavior makes a lot of people to support Clinton in the end.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.45256a9e26cb

A comic in Something Positive said it better, ""Between 2 "evils", I choose the competent one.""

Trump does not even get close to competent people, and that is another reason why one should not vote for him, his cabinet will be the stuff of nightmares.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 10-31-2016 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:11 PM
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Until the election, you may as well party like it's 1999.
Oh, stuff it, Canuck. When you start nominating candidates who aren't too boring to run in North Dakota, we may pay attention to you. And you'll stop paying attention to us.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:15 PM
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http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...e-donald-trump

This election is batshit.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:16 PM
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Like all the other allegations against Trump, true or otherwise, it won't make any difference.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:18 PM
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Slate is pretty liberal, on a level with Mother Jones. They are mainstream media with actual journalistic standards, but I think it will be easy to dismiss for anyone who doesn't already believe it about Trump. I think the NYT investigation would have to go somewhere for this to gain any traction.
I have a lot of trouble putting Slate at the same "liberal" level as Mother Jones.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:24 PM
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Oh, stuff it, Canuck. When you start nominating candidates who aren't too boring to run in North Dakota, we may pay attention to you. And you'll stop paying attention to us.
What you call "boring", we call.... well, also "boring", but also indicative of a sane, rational, responsible government that can wrap up an entire election campaign in less three months, and sometimes less than two.

I admit this particular election of yours is more interesting than most because the potential for utter disaster is higher than usual. By fivethiryeight's latest numbers, you're playing Russian Roulette with 24.6% of the chambers loaded.

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 10-31-2016 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:32 PM
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What it is is frightening.
From your link:
Quote:
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, noted, "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance." It maintained that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals." It claimed that Russian intelligence had "compromised" Trump during his visits to Moscow and could "blackmail him." It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on "bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls."

The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was "shock and horror." The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump's inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. "It's quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on," he says.
...
According to several national security experts, there is widespread concern in the US intelligence community that Russian intelligence, via hacks, is aiming to undermine the presidential election—to embarrass the United States and delegitimize its democratic elections.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:34 PM
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Oh, stuff it, Canuck. When you start nominating candidates who aren't too boring to run in North Dakota, we may pay attention to you. And you'll stop paying attention to us.
He's pushing legal marijuana and doing shirtless photo bombs of weddings, having just finished surfing. Which N. Dakota politician would you say is more exciting?
http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/07/world/...ing-photobomb/
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:42 PM
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This story is starting to blow up on Twitter and Google News.
Not a peep on CNN. They're too busy running a lead article on rising Obamacare costs, and a side article quoting at length the totally unhinged loon Gary Johnson claiming that if Hillary is elected, it will be years of Watergate-type chaos eventually ending in impeachment. Johnson's irresponsible and pointless bloviations directly contradict his own VP.
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Yep.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:50 PM
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This story is starting to blow up on Twitter and Google News.

If there's one thing we can say is that one half of this country is going to be bitterly disgusted with the results of this election and convinced that the "winner" is barely legitimate. What a wonderful "democracy" we have now.
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Not a peep on CNN. They're too busy running a lead article on rising Obamacare costs, and a side article quoting at length the totally unhinged loon Gary Johnson claiming that if Hillary is elected, it will be years of Watergate-type chaos eventually ending in impeachment. Johnson's irresponsible and pointless bloviations directly contradict his own VP.


Yep.
I went over to GoogleNews and found this: "Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia"

If that's "blowing up all over Google News", I think that's a different meaning of "blowing up" than people would think reading asahi's post. That might also explain why other news sources, including MSNBC based on their web site, aren't jumping all over this.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-31-2016 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:53 PM
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I have a lot of trouble putting Slate at the same "liberal" level as Mother Jones.
I agree. That said, Slate is much more openly partisan this year, whereas in past years, they tended to be more 'contrarian.' I've actually started reading it less as it seems more and more like an echo chamber of my head.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:55 PM
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Can we call this a Red October surprise?
No.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:22 PM
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I suspect this story is more likely to gain traction than Huma's e-mails. The latter is just too vague and disconnected from Clinton. This story has bad-hair-guy's name literally stamped right on it. And some of us nerds find the details intriguing. And, really, it has a sort of salacious quality that Weiner's dick cannot even match.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:30 PM
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Unfortunately, there's a sizable overlap between "Trump voter" and "Americans who respect strong leaders like that Putin guy."
Some people may respect a strong leader like Putin. But nobody respects the guy that Putin is using.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:31 PM
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I went over to GoogleNews and found this: "Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia"

If that's "blowing up all over Google News", I think that's a different meaning of "blowing up" than people would think reading asahi's post. That might also explain why other news sources, including MSNBC based on their web site, aren't jumping all over this.
That article is from the NYT, here -
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/us...ald-trump.html

The problem with that article is that it doesn't directly address the issues in the Slate article. The NYT article, for example, says that the FBI decided that perhaps an innocent explanation, such as email spam, exists for the server between Trump Tower and Alfa Bank. But it doesn't explain why the FBI thinks the connection between a spike in communication activity during major US political events is unimportant. Nor does the NYT article address the assertion, which I quoted in the OP, that this was clearly not the work of bots, but represented human communication.

The NYT merely reports that the FBI did not find the communication between the servers to be a smoking, but it's notable that the FBI doesn't disagree that there was, in fact, a direct server connection from Trump Tower to Alfa Bank at one time, or that the connection was changed after people started asking questions.

The NYT article and the FBI don't do a good job of addressing the people and their concerns about the server connection which were published in the Slate article.

It's all well and good to say, "well, maybe there's an innocent explanation", but in fact, no actual explanation, innocent or otherwise, has been proposed by the folks at Trump Tower, Alfa Bank, or the FBI themselves. So far, the best explanation is 1) a Russian mobster, or 2. The Lord of Gifts. Either way, it's not comforting.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:36 PM
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I went over to GoogleNews and found this: "Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia"

If that's "blowing up all over Google News", I think that's a different meaning of "blowing up" than people would think reading asahi's post. That might also explain why other news sources, including MSNBC based on their web site, aren't jumping all over this.
OK, but this is the same FBI that just said essentially the same thing about the newly discovered emails on the dick-texter's laptop -- that there is no clear link to anything relevant to the Hillary email investigation; they just don't know. Yet that one seems to have exploded into the biggest pre-election bombshell in living memory.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:53 PM
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If it is a mobster, the public will be indifferent. A few decades ago, there was a mobster who visited the Whitehouse with great frequency. Spent quite a lot of time with the First Lady. No one seemed to be bothered by it. Except for one cartoonist.
  #36  
Old 11-01-2016, 06:57 AM
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This data does not prove any link between Trump and Russia!!


I work in this field. I have worked with these technologies for decades so I understand exactly what all that data says.

Somebody used the five-letter combination "trump" when configuring some software somewhere. That's the entirety of the connection to Trump in this data.

This blog post is the correct explanation of the data found by those researchers.

Quote:
This is nonsense. The evidence available on the Internet is that Trump neither (directly) controls the domain "trump-email.com", nor has access to the server. Instead, the domain was setup and controlled by Cendyn, a company that does marketing/promotions for hotels, including many of Trump's hotels.
Trump may well have any number of connections to Russia but this particular artificial scandal is a big nothingburger.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:02 AM
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Watching CNN now. The show into teased a Russia/Trump link "story". Let's see what they report.

ETA: Harry Reid charges that the FBI has information about a Russia/Trump link, and is sitting on the information.

Last edited by Honey; 11-01-2016 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:04 AM
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The story cooled off overnight. Will wait to see if it pops up into the conversation today.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:34 AM
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The fact that the Slate headline is a question ("Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?") already ought to raise suspicions about the strength of their evidence. It does seem to be a rule of thumb that the answer to any such headlines is usually "No".

And in addition to the NYT story The Guardian tried and failed to independently confirm the Slate report. Absent more substantive data, while personally I'm fairly sure Trump is heavily in debt (morally and financially) to Russia I'm not seeing a story here. It'd be nice to have a smoking gun but this isn't even a gun; it's a doodle of a gun.

If more evidence turns up, I'll reconsider.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:00 AM
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"The Trump is a Russian puppet! Down with the Trump!"
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
I work in this field. I have worked with these technologies for decades so I understand exactly what all that data says.

Somebody used the five-letter combination "trump" when configuring some software somewhere. That's the entirety of the connection to Trump in this data.

This blog post is the correct explanation of the data found by those researchers.



Trump may well have any number of connections to Russia but this particular artificial scandal is a big nothingburger.
Maybe the whole thing is nothing, or maybe it's something, but that article leaps to some unwarranted conclusions about who controls the domain (or server). The information in a whois record as to who is the registrant and who is the admin are simply text fields that say nothing about who actually can control the domain, and even less about who controls the server (although there is often a 1 to 1 mapping, a server and a domain are not necessarily the same thing). Whoever has the login information can control the server. I can lease a server from a company on the internet and have more or less complete control over the configuration etc. regardless of who's physically in possession of that server or what the whois record for a domain pointing at it says.

The fact that other companies have domains using Cendyn servers in the same address range is completely irrelevant to anything. That's Cendyn's business. It's what they do.

That said, if I'm being objective, I'm having difficulty envisioning what damning super secret information could be being exchanged between that server and Alfa and why it wouldn't be sent via more secure channels, especially given what we know about the NSA's massive capabilities. Surely Putin and his cronies would be more sophisticated about this even if Trump wouldn't be.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:38 AM
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In any normal election year, this would be reported on 24/7 on all the networks. 2016 is weird. This simply confirms what we've all suspected about Trump, but for some reason Clinton's email non-scandal is juicier? I really wonder about the intelligence of some of these TV station managers, why run yet another email story instead of this explosive Trump revelation?
  #43  
Old 11-01-2016, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
Somebody used the five-letter combination "trump" when configuring some software somewhere. That's the entirety of the connection to Trump in this data.
That's not entirely true. The Slate article I posted in the OP points out other connections, including:

1. The server is not currently being used by Cendyn. Once it started connecting to Alfa, it didn't get used for anything else. It recieves incoming email from Cendyn, but it doesn't send any. Cendyn itself is a company that handles marketing for Trump Hotels. It's not an independent business.

(here's the op link again, for convenience)
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...th_russia.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate Article linked in the OP

The server was first registered to Trump’s business in 2009 and was set up to run consumer marketing campaigns. It had a history of sending mass emails on behalf of Trump-branded properties and products. Researchers were ultimately convinced that the server indeed belonged to Trump. (Click here to see the server’s registration record.) But now this capacious server handled a strangely small load of traffic, such a small load that it would be hard for a company to justify the expense and trouble it would take to maintain it. “I get more mail in a day than the server handled,” Davis says.


That wasn’t the only oddity. When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses. A small portion of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health. (The company said in a statement: “Spectrum Health does not have a relationship with Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. We have concluded a rigorous investigation with both our internal IT security specialists and expert cyber security firms. Our experts have conducted a detailed analysis of the alleged internet traffic and did not find any evidence that it included any actual communications (no emails, chat, text, etc.) between Spectrum Health and Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. While we did find a small number of incoming spam marketing emails, they originated from a digital marketing company, Cendyn, advertising Trump Hotels.”)


2. The researches in the Slate article found a spike in communications between Alfa bank and the Trump Tower server which coincided with notable events in the American political scene. For example, the largest spikes occurred before the debates.

I quoted this previously, but here it is again, and here's a direct link to the graph (although it looks better if you go to the article and click on it):

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/sla...nshotlarge.png

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article

Tea Leaves and his colleagues plotted the data from the logs on a timeline. What it illustrated was suggestive: The conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. “At election-related moments, the traffic peaked,” according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.

3. The original Trump server address stopped working when the NYT stopped asking questions. Shortly after that, on September 27, someone in Trump's camp set up a second DNS connection to Alfa bank, using the Trump name. Someone in Trump Tower, using Trump's server name, was deliberately comminicating with Alfa Bank.

It might have been the janitor, sure, or it might have been the people who slap the Trump name on everything they touch, who are known to have connections to Russian money and who had previously rented a Trump Tower apartment to a Russian mobster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article

The Times hadn’t yet been in touch with the Trump campaign—Lichtblau spoke with the campaign a week later—but shortly after it reached out to Alfa, the Trump domain name in question seemed to suddenly stop working. When the scientists looked up the host, the DNS server returned a fail message, evidence that it no longer functioned. Or as it is technically diagnosed, it had “SERVFAILed.” (On the timeline above, this is the moment at the end of the chronology when the traffic abruptly spikes, as servers frantically attempt to resend rejected messages.) The computer scientists believe there was one logical conclusion to be drawn: The Trump Organization shut down the server after Alfa was told that the Times might expose the connection. Weaver told me the Trump domain was “very sloppily removed.” Or as another of the researchers put it, it looked like “the knee was hit in Moscow, the leg kicked in New York.”

Four days later, on Sept. 27, the Trump Organization created a new host name, trump1.contact-client.com, which enabled communication to the very same server via a different route. When a new host name is created, the first communication with it is never random. To reach the server after the resetting of the host name, the sender of the first inbound mail has to first learn of the name somehow. It’s simply impossible to randomly reach a renamed server. “That party had to have some kind of outbound message through SMS, phone, or some noninternet channel they used to communicate [the new configuration],” Paul Vixie told me. The first attempt to look up the revised host name came from Alfa Bank. “If this was a public server, we would have seen other traces,” Vixie says. “The only look-ups came from this particular source.”

According to Vixie and others, the new host name may have represented an attempt to establish a new channel of communication. But media inquiries into the nature of Trump’s relationship with Alfa Bank, which suggested that their communications were being monitored, may have deterred the parties from using it. Soon after the New York Times began to ask questions, the traffic between the servers stopped cold.
So it's not just one random DNS server name, it's two, and there's a record of activity in the last couple months that corresponds to both political activities and NYT investigative activities.

I agree that we can't put a personal name to whoever was operating that server but I think it's incorrect to just dismiss this as a one time event unconnected to the Trump family and their activities.
  #44  
Old 11-01-2016, 12:46 PM
Frankenstein Monster is offline
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Sorry Merneith but I have to ask, how familiar are you with the Internet technologies involved?

The Slate article is utter gibberish technically.

I read it earlier but I'm just gonna quote some fragments from your post:

Quote:
The server was first registered...
Already nonsense.

There's a difference between:
- whois records
- DNS records
- IP addresses
- servers

The quoted sentence fragment already confuses those four technologies. It refers to a whois record. Nothing to do with a server, as such.

The whois was registered by a company called Cendyn. From publicly available info, you can see that they have hundreds of identical domain setups for many of their customers. They also own the name servers (and thus the DNS records) for all those domains.

Quote:
It had a history of sending mass emails...
Well sure. If you go the the DNS records, there's an address record for IP address 66.216.133.29. That IP address belongs to a company called Listrak. You can whois, ping and traceroute it yourself to see that it responds normally for a server run by Listrac. One of the businesses of Listrac is e-mail campaigns.

Quote:
Researchers were ultimately convinced that the server indeed belonged to Trump.
I don't understand this at all. It belongs to Listrac and loads of public info proves this.

Quote:
When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages.
They didn't. They performed DNS queries which produce error messages. Still do right now.

Quote:
A small portion of the logs showed communication with...
They have DNS server logs from Cendyn's nameservers for the "Trump" domain.

Those servers serve a large number of domains, so this is a filtered log.

It is utterly implausible for the two addresses mentioned to be the only sources of the DNS queries. (I can't prove this, but my link says: "Indeed, one journalist did call one of the public resolvers, and found other people queried this domain than the two listed in the Slate story -- debunking it.")

So the reasonable conclusion is somebody filtered those two DNS query sources out of the nameserver logs.

Those DNS queries will simply happen when a computer receives email from that domain. So it proves nothing.

Nobody even talks about the actual traffic between the machines. There's no info presented about that.

The whose "russian bank" doesn't even have anything to do with the story. (I completely reject the significance of your point 3, it's not even coincidence, it's absolutely nothing.) Their only connection to the story is that they have a computer that's connected to the Internet (and likely, receives e-mail).
  #45  
Old 11-01-2016, 12:56 PM
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Slate has a long history of absolutely awful tech reporting. If you read something in Slate about computers, close the story and come back in 48 hours to see it properly reported (and often debunked) by people who actually know what they're talking about.
  #46  
Old 11-01-2016, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
He's pushing legal marijuana and doing shirtless photo bombs of weddings, having just finished surfing. Which N. Dakota politician would you say is more exciting?
http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/07/world/...ing-photobomb/
I will admit that his mom was hot, but no more!

Eta: And the right amount of no underwear.

Last edited by dropzone; 11-01-2016 at 07:12 PM.
  #47  
Old 11-01-2016, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
Sorry Merneith but I have to ask, how familiar are you with the Internet technologies involved?

The Slate article is utter gibberish technically.

I read it earlier but I'm just gonna quote some fragments from your post:
I'm going to stop you right here and point out that for a guy who claims to be a computer whiz, your refusal to use simple bbc to attribute where each of quotes is coming from is a pain in the ass. Your insistence in focusing on sentance fragments raises questions about your writing skills as well.

You can thank me later for looking up all the context and attributions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Slate article in the OP

The server was first registered...
Already nonsense.

There's a difference between:
- whois records
- DNS records
- IP addresses
- servers

The quoted sentence fragment already confuses those four technologies. It refers to a whois record. Nothing to do with a server, as such.

The whois was registered by a company called Cendyn. From publicly available info, you can see that they have hundreds of identical domain setups for many of their customers. They also own the name servers (and thus the DNS records) for all those domains.
The full quote from the OP, of which Frankenstein monster quotes only the first words, is"

The server was first registered to Trump’s business in 2009 and was set up to run consumer marketing campaigns. It had a history of sending mass emails on behalf of Trump-branded properties and products. Researchers were ultimately convinced that the server indeed belonged to Trump.

The point, which Frankenstein Monster fails to address, is that the server belonged to and was used by the Trump Organization.

The precise steps taken by the domain web master to establish the server "registered", whether with an ISP or with a Domain Name Server is irrelevant.

(And speaking of irrelevancies - whois information is generated when a server is established with a DNS, which associates the IP address to the server and links it to a domain name (the common whatever.com url). It's not four separate registrations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article
It had a history of sending mass emails...
Well sure. If you go the the DNS records, there's an address record for IP address 66.216.133.29. That IP address belongs to a company called Listrak. You can whois, ping and traceroute it yourself to see that it responds normally for a server run by Listrac. One of the businesses of Listrac is e-mail campaigns.
The researchers in the article had access to more than just a simple DNS lookup.

To quote from an earlier part in the article:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article

Computer scientists have built a set of massive DNS databases, which provide fragmentary histories of communications flows, in part to create an archive of malware: a kind of catalog of the tricks bad actors have tried to pull, which often involve masquerading as legitimate actors. These databases can give a useful, though far from comprehensive, snapshot of traffic across the internet. Some of the most trusted DNS specialists—an elite group of malware hunters, who work for private contractors—have access to nearly comprehensive logs of communication between servers. They work in close concert with internet service providers, the networks through which most of us connect to the internet, and the ones that are most vulnerable to massive attacks. To extend the traffic metaphor, these scientists have cameras posted on the internet’s stoplights and overpasses. They are entrusted with something close to a complete record of all the servers of the world connecting with one another.
The researchers in the article were working from databases of internet traffic, created by people who work at the various DNS systems and from the ISPs themselves. This more info than you will find from a simple IP search.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article
Researchers were ultimately convinced that the server indeed belonged to Trump.
I don't understand this at all. It belongs to Listrac and loads of public info proves this.
Slate didn't publish the full records of everything the researchers discovered during their investigation into the history of the server in Trump Tower, using the resources which I discussed in the paragraph above.

Slate is publishing an article about the research, not the research itself.

The researchers, operating here under the pseudonym, "Tea Leaves" are vouched for publicly and quoted extensively in the Slate article by Jean Camp, of Indiana University, Christopher Davis, of HYAS InfoSec, and DNS expert Paul Vixie.

I am not claiming to be an expert here. If you want to argue with an expert, that their findings are gibberish, take it up with Camp, Davis and Vixie.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article
When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages.
They didn't. They performed DNS queries which produce error messages. Still do right now.
"Pinging the server" is a common language expression for attempting to reach a remote server.

Note that actually "pinging a server" ... is not the same thing as a DNS query. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ping_(networking_utility)]Pinging [/query] is a network testing tool. It tests the connection between a computer (like, for instance, the one the researchers quoted in Slate's article were using) and a remote server (like, for instance, the server in Trump Tower.)

OTOH, a DNS query is a look up to determine if a particular domain name is available online at a particular IP address. It's a test of the domain name system heirarchy.

But who cares - the whole of the section from the Slate article, which you cut off, reads:



That wasn’t the only oddity. When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses. A small portion of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health. (The company said in a statement: “Spectrum Health does not have a relationship with Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. We have concluded a rigorous investigation with both our internal IT security specialists and expert cyber security firms. Our experts have conducted a detailed analysis of the alleged internet traffic and did not find any evidence that it included any actual communications (no emails, chat, text, etc.) between Spectrum Health and Alfa Bank or any of the Trump organizations. While we did find a small number of incoming spam marketing emails, they originated from a digital marketing company, Cendyn, advertising Trump Hotels.”)

Spectrum accounted for a relatively trivial portion of the traffic. Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups involved the two Alfa Bank servers. “It’s pretty clear that it’s not an open mail server,” Camp told me. “These organizations are communicating in a way designed to block other people out.”


The precise technique that the researchers performed is irrelevant to the article's conclusion: that their results show that the Trump Tower computer was configured in such a way as to be used almost exclusively for communicating with Alfa Bank.

But as noted earlier, the researchers are operating with more than DNS tools and simple look ups.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate article
A small portion of the logs showed communication with...
They have DNS server logs from Cendyn's nameservers for the "Trump" domain.

Those servers serve a large number of domains, so this is a filtered log.

It is utterly implausible for the two addresses mentioned to be the only sources of the DNS queries. (I can't prove this, but my link says: "Indeed, one journalist did call one of the public resolvers, and found other people queried this domain than the two listed in the Slate story -- debunking it.")

So the reasonable conclusion is somebody filtered those two DNS query sources out of the nameserver logs.

Those DNS queries will simply happen when a computer receives email from that domain. So it proves nothing.
I reread your article and don't find it persuasive.

To begin with, your article quotes only anonymous sources that they have seen other email from the Trump Tower computer. The Slate article quotes three experts.

Your article tries to dismiss those experts, because each of them is quoted in conjunction with different things in the Slate article - and concludes that therefore, the experts don't support the entire article. That's not a safe conclusion.

Unless Vixie, Camp and/or Davis weigh in to explain that the Slate article does not represent their views fairly, I'm unmoved by Robert Graham's dismissal of their statements to Slate.

Furthermore, the Slate article specifically states Vixie's conclusions that the server at Trump Tower was designed similar to a clandestine server used by a criminal organization:

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Damned Slate Article

Earlier this month, the group of computer scientists passed the logs to Paul Vixie. In the world of DNS experts, there’s no higher authority. Vixie wrote central strands of the DNS code that makes the internet work. After studying the logs, he concluded, “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.” Put differently, the logs suggested that Trump and Alfa had configured something like a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence.
According to Paul Vixie, these computers were not simply receiving email spam.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post

Nobody even talks about the actual traffic between the machines. There's no info presented about that.

The whose "russian bank" doesn't even have anything to do with the story. (I completely reject the significance of your point 3, it's not even coincidence, it's absolutely nothing.) Their only connection to the story is that they have a computer that's connected to the Internet (and likely, receives e-mail).
I mean - I've quoted a bunch of people saying that the computer at Trump Tower and the computer at Alfa bank were connected. I've quoted them saying so and also their reasons for saying so.

Unless I Vixie, Davis or Camp retract, I consider the matter settled.
  #48  
Old 11-02-2016, 01:36 AM
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Perhaps the Slate piece was poorly written in terms of technical accuracy. And if you click on the byline, it is pretty obvious that the author is far from objective. But how does one account for the porphyria? That, when there seemed to be a threat of being brought out into daylight, the phantasm evaporated, only to resurface with a different name, then slink away when once again threatened with exposure? That single aspect of the story is what lends it a bit of weight.
  #49  
Old 11-02-2016, 07:45 AM
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I don't think this thread and board is a good venue to continue our argument.

What I did was, I went to the "original research/accusation" which I believe is mirrored here. Then I went digging for myself with whois, ping, nslookup, traceroute, etc. The usual tools.

I stand by my conclusions. The data does not support the (scandal) accusation. Even with Merneith's more complete quotes and context, a great deal of the conclusions are variously wrong/confused/gibberish, some of which I tried to explain.

ETA: As for those "experts", I'm not questioning their credentials. I think most of them were not given the full info or context, or not given time to research, or were perhaps quoted incorrectly or selectively or out of context.

Last edited by Frankenstein Monster; 11-02-2016 at 07:49 AM.
  #50  
Old 11-02-2016, 08:21 AM
Frankenstein Monster is offline
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Bah, can't leave this alone, since some of the facts are so plainly wrong. I'll just take two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
I mean - I've quoted a bunch of people saying that the computer at Trump Tower and the computer at Alfa bank were connected. I've quoted them saying so and also their reasons for saying so.
- Do we agree what they mean by "the computer at Trump Tower"?

I assume they mean the computer that responds at IP address 66.216.133.29.

Whois says that IP range is owned by Listrak.

Traceroute strongly suggests that it is physically located in a data center operated by Tierpoint and located in Pennsylvania.

Everything suggests that it is one of a large set of machines (whether real or virtual) set up by Listrak for email campaigns.

Or am I taking this "Trump Tower" too literally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate
When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses. A small portion of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health.
Code:
C:\WINDOWS\system32>ping 66.216.133.29

Pinging 66.216.133.29 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 66.216.133.29: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.216.133.29: bytes=32 time=114ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.216.133.29: bytes=32 time=114ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.216.133.29: bytes=32 time=110ms TTL=48

Ping statistics for 66.216.133.29:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 110ms, Maximum = 114ms, Average = 112ms
Tried this many times over the days. Never any error. Tried from two IP addresses.



Code:
C:\WINDOWS\system32>nslookup mail1.trump-email.com ns1.cdcservices.com
Server:  UnKnown
Address:  64.135.26.101

*** UnKnown can't find mail1.trump-email.com: Server failed
This is why I thought they meant DNS queries when they said "they received error messages".


As for the logs, I can only assume they refer to these:

Code:
10-May-2016 16:12:48 client 167.73.110.8 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 10-May-2016 16:12:48 client 167.73.110.8 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 
11-May-2016 15:38:40 client 217.12.96.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 16-May-2016 01:22:00 client 167.73.110.8 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 
16-May-2016 03:21:33 client 167.73.110.8 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 22-May-2016 05:41:43 client 217.12.96.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 
24-May-2016 22:45:43 client 217.12.97.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 25-May-2016 22:47:14 client 217.12.97.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 
25-May-2016 22:47:14 client 217.12.97.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 31-May-2016 08:29:38 client 217.12.96.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 
31-May-2016 15:43:09 client 217.12.97.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29) 31-May-2016 23:48:05 client 217.12.97.15 query: mail1.trump-email.com IN A + (66.216.133.29)
These are DNS query logs. They do not show "communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health", from the "Trump" (Listrak) computer, by any normal understanding of that statement.

Anyway, all the info is out there for any technical person to see for themselves.
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