March 20, 2018 / 8:20 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Cambridge Analytica played key Trump campaign role, CEO says-UK TV

(Adds Cambridge Analytica statement; further comments of suspended CEO)

By Eric Auchard and Paul Sandle

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - The suspended chief executive of UK-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica claimed in secretly recorded video that his company played a decisive role in the 2016 election campaign of President Donald Trump, Channel 4 News reported on Tuesday.

British broadcaster Channel 4 News mounted a “sting operation” in which it secretly recorded Cambridge Analytica Chief Executive Alexander Nix saying he had met the then Republican presidential candidate “many times” and that his firm played a central role in the final months of the campaign.

“We did all the research. We did all the data. We did all the analytics. We did all the targetting. We ran all the digital campaign and our data informed their strategy,” Nix told an undercover reporter during a meeting in a London hotel.

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. Parscale was recently named manager of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Nix was suspended by the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica on Tuesday, the company said shortly before the second part of the British news programme’s expose on the company.

The London-based company’s statement said: “In the view of the board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”

Nix also was recorded by Channel 4 saying that Cambridge Analytica did not have to reveal to U.S. investigators anything about the company’s foreign political campaign clients. If asked, he said he would respond: “We say ‘none of your business’.” “I am absolutely convinced that they have no jurisdiction,” he said.

Nix was also dismissive about the testimony he gave to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee late last year.

“The Republicans ask three questions in five minutes. Done. The Democrats ask two hours of questions,” he said.

“They are politicians, they are not technical, they don’t understand how it works. They don’t understand that the candidate is never involved, he’s told what to do by the campaign team.”

The company named Julian Malins, a well-known British commercial barrister, to lead an independent investigation into Nix’s actions. (Reporting by Paul Sandle and Eric Auchard in London Editing by Gareth Jones)

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