Hackers Claim to Have Dirt That Could End Trump’s Campaign. After All We Know, What the Hell Could That Be?

Andrew Harrer/DPA via ZUMA Press

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Hackers trying to extort a prominent New York City celebrity law firm doubled the ransom they were seeking on Thursday to $42 million, claiming that they have dirt on President Trump that could doom his reelection chances.

VICE News reported Friday morning that the hackers—who the prominent law firm of Grubman, Shire, Meiselas, & Sacks confirmed had targeted them with ransomware, claiming to have several hundred gigabytes of sensitive material involving Drake, Lady Gaga, and other celebrities—are now threatening to release material on Trump. The hackers have posted screenshots of a what they say is a Madonna tour contract to prove the trove’s legitimacy. The law firm confirmed to Page Six they’d been targeted and are working to address the situation. 

“The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump,” the hackers wrote on their website, according to VICE. “To you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president.” 

That last claim is a bit odd, though: What could the hackers have that is worse than what’s already on the record? Before the last election voters heard Trump admit, on tape, to sexually assaulting women. Although he vehemently denies it, he’s been accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment and assault dating back to the 1970s. He’s been filmed asking Russia to hack his 2016 opponents’ emails. One of his lawyers and longtime fixers is in prison after admitting to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate deal and to campaign finance violations as part of Trump’s scheme to pay off two women who’d claimed prior affairs with the president. His onetime campaign chairman was imprisoned for tax fraud and other financial crimes. He was impeached in December after extorting a foreign government for dirt on a political opponent in exchange for already-approved military aid. According to the Washington Post, he’s told more than 18,000 lies or misleading claims during his presidency.

And, perhaps most viscerally these days, he’s vacillated between downplaying the coronavirus and taking it seriously, portrayed himself as the pandemic’s victim, and encouraged protests against his own administration’s guidelines on how localities should address public health concerns. Nearly 86,000 Americans have died and more than 36 million Americans have lost jobs.

So maybe the hackers have something truly novel and explosive. But given what we already know, that’s hard to imagine.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate