Democrats pushed Twitter to support the Russia-Trump collusion hoax without evidence, the newest batch of Twitter Files reveal.
The accusations of “Russia collusion” (“Russiagate”) against then-President Donald Trump turned out to be lies, but that didn’t stop Democrats from pushing the accusations. Matt Taibbi’s latest Twitter Files reported that pressure placed on Twitter by Democrat politicians also caused the platform to allow Russiagate content and penalize users, despite no evidence of the Russian influence claimed.
Taibbi explained, “At a crucial moment in a years-long furor, Democrats denounced a report about flaws in the Trump-Russia investigation, saying it was boosted by Russian ‘bots’ and ‘trolls.’” He added, “Twitter officials were aghast, finding no evidence of Russian influence.” Accounts flagged weren’t even Russian.
Republican Devin Nunes submitted a classified memo to the House Intelligence Committee on Jan. 18, 2018, describing “abuses by the FBI in obtaining FISA surveillance authority against Trump-connected figures,” particularly the infamous, discredited Steele Dossier. Though Nunes’ memo was later verified, Taibbi said, media frenziedly denounced it.
First Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) published an open letter alleging “attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations,” Taibbi tweeted. They said the Nunes memo “distort[ed]” classified information. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also alleged in a letter that “Russian agents” were propagandizing Americans.
Democrats always cited the Hamilton 68 dashboard, Taibbi said. He noted that former FBI counterintelligence official Clint Watts created the false resource under Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD). The dashboard “was vague in how it reached its conclusions,” Taibbi tweeted. Twitter executives pointed out that this was everyone’s only source, no one checked Twitter itself.
A Feinstein staffer admitted that it would be “helpful” to know the source’s methodology—after her letter was published, according to screenshots tweeted by Taibbi. He also noted that Twitter tried to “wave [Blumenthal] off” and even predicted that publishing an open letter would make Blumenthal “look silly.” But even after negotiation attempts, Blumenthal published his letter.
Policy VP Carlos Monje, among other Twitter executives, wanted to “correct the record.” Twitter’s investigation concluded engagement was “overwhelmingly organic, and driven by VITs[Verry Important Tweeters].” #ReleaseTheMemo had no Russian connections.
“Execs eventually grew frustrated over what they saw as a circular process,” where claims that were debunked led to more claims, Taibbi explained. Twitter was especially frustrated with Blumenthal, saying, “We can’t do a user notice each time this happens,” and concluding Blumenthal wanted political credit. Senior Twitter executives commented that they were feeding “congressional trolls” and compared themselves to the children’s book where giving a mouse a cookie just spurs ever more requests.
Yet, despite internal evidence, “Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record.” DC-connected firms advised Twitter on specific language and media continued their baseless “Russian bots” stories, as Russia was blamed for multiple political hashtags, Taibbi said.
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