Cambridge Analytica, the embattled data analytics company best known for its work on President Donald Trump’s campaign, has suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix, in the wake of undercover reports showing him discussing potential bribery and entrapment.
Nix’s suspension is immediate, “pending a full, independent investigation,” the firm said in a statement.
The statement was released moments before Channel 4 News in the UK was due to air another report in a series of exposes about the work of the company.
The report on Tuesday featured undercover footage of Nix claiming he met Trump “many times” and that the company was responsible for a wide swath of the Trump campaign’s activity.
“We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting,” Nix said. “We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy.”
Alex Tayler, labeled as the chief data officer for Cambridge Analytica, is recorded separately as saying the firm’s analysis was responsible for Trump’s Electoral College performance.
“When you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, but won the Electoral College, that’s down to the data and the research,” Tayler said. “That’s how he won the election.”
Nix is also recorded telling an undercover reporter posing as a client that he believes the US has “no jurisdiction” over their activities. He goes on to describe questions he faced from the House Intelligence Committee.
“The Republicans asked three questions — five minutes, done,” he said. “The Democrats asked two hours of questions.”
A previous Channel 4 report showed Nix telling undercover reporters posing as prospective Sri Lankan clients that he could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house” in order to obtain compromising material.
An undercover reporter then asked, “… you’re using the girls for this, like the seduction, they’re not local girls? Not Sri Lankan girls?”
Nix said no.
“Just saying we could bring some Ukrainians in,” he said, adding, “They are very beautiful. I find that works very well.”
In response to that report on Monday, Cambridge Analytica said the report had been “edited and scripted” to misrepresent the nature of the conversations, and Nix denied in a statement that the company engages in entrapment or bribery.
Cambridge Analytica’s statement on Tuesday said an independent investigation would take place with the company revealing its findings “in due course.”
“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,” the statement said.