Democrats peddled debunked ‘bot’ conspiracy to denounce memo exposing ‘abuses’ in the Trump-Russia investigation – even though Twitter told them there was NO EVIDENCE of Moscow’s involvement, new files reveal
- 14th Twitter Files installment dives into spread of discredited Russia theory
- Centers on 2018 memo from Devin Nunes on flaws of Trump-Russia links
- Democrats said the memo was being promoted on Twitter by ‘Russian bots’
- But Twitter executives found no evidence Moscow was behind the push
- It warned the Democrats, but they kept publicly pushing the false claims
- The social media company failed to issue a public statement on their findings
Democrats peddled false narratives that Russian bots were promoting a memo about the Trump-Russia investigation – even though Twitter told them they had found no evidence of Moscow’s involvement, according to a new installment of the Twitter Files.
The Democrats claimed Devin Nunes’s 2018 memo, which exposed flaws in the investigation linking Donald Trump to Russia before the 2016 election, was being amplified by Kremlin-backed entities on social media.
Twitter employees said the claims weren’t true and shared their findings with the Democrats, but their efforts were in vain because politicians kept pushing the theory anyway.
Instead of publicly challenging the claims, Twitter was instead told by outside counsel to issue a vague statement saying they take bots and foreign interference ‘seriously’, Taibbi writes.
Twitter stood by and let Democrats peddle false narratives about ‘Russiagate’ – even though they found no evidence of Moscow’s involvement, according to a new dump of files from the social media company. Rep. Adam Schiff (left) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (right) pushed false claims that Russia was behind a campaign
The 14th installment of the Twitter Files released by journalist Matt Taibbi showed executives tried to warn senior Democrats about a debunked ‘Russian bot’ theory in 2018
It is further evidence of how Russiagate theories and the discredited Steele Dossier were able to be publicized with little challenge.
‘Twitter warned politicians and media they not only lacked evidence but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored’, Taibbi wrote.
In 2018, Democrats discredited the Republican memo on FBI surveillance abuse by falsely suggesting it was being promoted by ‘Russian bots’ with the hashtag ReleaseTheMemo.
The memo, written by former Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, pointed out flaws in the investigation into Trump’s supposed links to Moscow.
Nunes’s memo was verified by the Department of Justice a year later.
California Democrats Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff wrote an open letter saying the ReleaseTheMemo hashtag was being promoted by ‘Russian influence operations’.
And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) then said it was ‘reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans’.
Taibbi wrote that: ‘Feinstein, Schiff, Blumenthal, and media members all pointed to the same source: the Hamilton 68 dashboard created by former FBI counterintelligence official Clint Watts, under the auspices of the Alliance for Securing Democracy.’
The dashboard claimed to expose Twitter activity connected to any ‘Russian disinformation campaign’.
Twitter’s Global Policy Communications Chief Emily Horne, who went on to work at the White House and National Security Council, told her colleagues to be ‘skeptical’ of the Hamilton 68 dashboard and said it was a ‘comms play’ for the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
Twitter executives wrote to Feinstein and Schiff saying they had found no evidence of Russian activity connected to the Release The Memo hashtag
Twitter execs responded internally by saying: ‘We are feeding congressional trolls’ and compared the situation to the story: ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’
Their own internal investigations on the ‘bot’ theory had found ‘not any… significant activity connected to Russia’.
Ex-trust and safety chief Yoel Roth, who resigned over his role in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story, also couldn’t find any Russian connection to the bid to discredit the memo.
‘I just reviewed the accounts that posted the first 50 tweets with #releasethememo,’ Roth wrote according to Taibbi. ‘None of them show any signs of affiliation to Russia’.
Twitter reached out to Senator Blumenthal’s office to explain that bots were not responsible, but they were ignored.
Staffers even tried to offer the Democrat other information that could be seen as ‘wins’ for him.
‘It might be worth nudging Blumenthal’s staffer that it could be in his boss’ best interest not to go out there because it could come back to make him look silly,’ one Twitter staffer wrote.
But Blumenthal went ahead and published the false claims anyway, and Twitter executives grew ‘frustrated’ with the fact their work was being swept under the rug.
Their efforts to try and combat the claims waned, and they didn’t release statements on the record saying the ‘bot’ theory was false.
News outlets continued to push the false narrative.
Twitter execs responded internally by saying: ‘We are feeding congressional trolls’.
They also said Democrats were putting the ‘cart before the horse’ by assuming the social media campaign was started by Russia.
Twitter senior executives compared the situation to the story: ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’.
‘He’ll want a glass of milk, which will lead to a wave of other exhausting requests, at the end of which he’ll want a glass of milk. And one more cookie’, Taibbi wrote.
On the bombshell claims, Nunes told Taibbi: ‘Schiff and the Democrats falsely claimed Russians were behind the Release the Memo hashtag, all my investigative work.
‘By spreading the Russia collusion hoax, they instigated one of the greatest outbreaks of mass delusion in U.S. history.’
Taibbi concluded: ‘This #ReleaseTheMemo episode is just one of many in the #TwitterFiles. The Russiagate scandal was built on the craven dishonesty of politicians and reporters, who for years ignored the absence of data to fictional scare headlines’.