‘Fake Tale of Russian Bots’ Helped Democrats Push Anti-Trump Narrative: New ‘Twitter Files’

Journalist Matt Taibbi unveiled part 14 of the Twitter Files on Thursday, diving into the “Russiagate lies” and how he says a “fake tale of Russian bots” helped Democrats denounce the famous Devin Nunes report about flaws in the Trump-Russia investigation, Fox News reports.

Even after being notified explicitly by Twitter that there was no connection to the Kremlin, high-ranking Democrats continued to promote the idea that Russian bots were involved, according to emails and memos.

Earlier in the lengthy Twitter thread, Taibbi noted that Democrats had criticized a report concerning faults in the Trump-Russia inquiry, alleging it was bolstered by Russian “bots” and “trolls.”

Taibbi went on to say “Twitter officials were aghast, finding no evidence of Russian influence,” revealing an email from Twitter executives informing California Democrat Representatives Adam Schiff and Dianne Feinstein that the social media platform “has not identified any significant activity connected to Russia with respect to Tweets posting original content to this [#ReleaseTheMemo] hashtag.”

“Twitter warned politicians and media they not only lacked evidence, but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored,” Taibbi wrote. “On January 18th, 2018, Republican Devin Nunes submitted a classified memo to the House Intel Committee detailing abuses by the FBI in obtaining FISA surveillance authority against Trump-connected figures, including the crucial role played by the infamous ‘Steele Dossier.'”

“The Nunes assertions would virtually all be verified in a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz in December 2019,” Taibbi added. “Nonetheless, national media in January and early February of 2018 denounced the Nunes report in oddly identical language, calling it a ‘joke.'”

Them, on Jan 23, 2018, Schiff and Feinstein “published an open letter saying the hashtag ‘gained the immediate attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations,’” according to Taibbi.

“Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal followed suit, publishing a letter saying, ‘We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans,’” he wrote.

“Feinstein, Schiff, Blumenthal, and media members all pointed to the same source: the Hamilton 68 dashboard created by former FBI counterintelligence official [MSNBC reporter] Clint Watts, under the auspices of the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD),” Taibbi said.

However, Twitter executives notified Democrats that they had not discovered any real Russian connections to #ReleaseTheMemo.

“Inside Twitter, executives panned Watts, Hamilton 68, and the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Two key complaints: Hamilton 68 seemed to be everyone’s only source, and no one was checking with Twitter,” Taibbi said.

Then-Twitter exec Emily Horne wrote, “I encourage you to be skeptical of Hamilton 68’s take on this, which as far as I can tell is the only source for these stories… it’s a comms play for ASD,” according to Taibbi’s thread.

“Despite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story, Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record,” Taibbi said. “As a result, reporters from the AP to Politico to NBC to Rolling Stone continued to hammer the ‘Russian bots’ theme, despite a total lack of evidence.”

Per Fox News:

Taibbi then shared a series of headlines in which media outlets pushed the Russian bots narrative.

Twitter also discovered no Kremlin source for other hashtags that mainstream and liberal media outlets blamed on sinister Russian activity.

"NBC, Politico, AP, Times, Business Insider, and other media outlets who played up the ‘Russian bots’ story – even Rolling Stone – all declined to comment for this story," Taibbi wrote.

But media organizations aren't the only ones refusing to speak with Taibbi.

"The staffs of Feinstein, Schiff, and Blumenthal also declined comment," Taibbi wrote.

Asked for comment, Nunes told Taibbi that the "Russia collusion hoax" was one of the "greatest outbreaks of mass delusion in U.S. history."

"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," Taibbi wrote. "Twitter had no editorial input on this story. Searches were carried out by third parties, so the documents could be limited."

This marked the 14th installment of the Twitter Files, which began going viral last month shared by prominent independent journalists including Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Michael Shallenberger, Lee Fang and David Zweig.

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has worked with independent journalists to gradually provide proof of these activities in a series known as the “Twitter Files” that keeps exposing once-secret exchanges.