Are potential appointees to President Joe Biden’s administration convinced that deleting tweets makes their prior statements just disappear?
Poof! There goes a conspiracy theory about Russian collusion. Poof! There goes an ugly tweet where she blamed the United States for their non-existent role in Iran’s downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020. Poof! There goes a tweet in defense of Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s remarks about third-trimester abortion, particularly for born-alive babies.
That’s a lot of poofing on the part of Susan Hennessey, the latest addition to the Department of Justice by President Joe Biden. On Monday, Hennessey — now a CNN legal analyst — announced she was joining the administration in a couple of tweets that also announced, rather unsubtly, that her account was getting significantly more boring.
“I’m very honored to be joining the extraordinary team at the Department of Justice in the National Security Division. Thank you for all the kind words. (And a huge thanks to the folks at WH PPO, agency WH liaisons and HRs who are working night and day to staff this government),” Hennessey tweeted.
“I’ll still have this account, in a personal capacity. But things will be a bit quieter around here,” she added.
I’ll still have this account, in a personal capacity. But things will be a bit quieter around here.
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) May 10, 2021
Things had already been a bit quieter in @Susan_Hennessey’s corner of the world. According to Fox News, she’d been doing a bit of social media fall cleaning since Joe Biden had been declared the victor of the presidential race — one thorough enough in its disposal of old tweets even Marie Kondo would have been like, “OK — settle down, girl.”
On Nov. 16, Hennessey had over 39,000 tweets. By Nov. 29, that was down to 6,000 — 15 percent of her original total. By late January, this was up to about 8,000 tweets, but by then it was time for another KonMari sweep, apparently: By late February, the count was down to 2,300 tweets.
By Monday, Hennessey — a Harvard Law graduate who was a former lawyer with the Office of General Counsel of the National Security Agency and had spent time at CNN and the blog Lawfare — had truly embraced voluntary simplicity, shedding all but 250 tweets. That’s essentially 39,000 tweets gone. Poof!
If Hennessey was indeed taking a page from Kondo — who advises discarding anything that doesn’t bring you joy — here are a few of the digital items that didn’t spark delight in Biden’s DOJ appointment:
Hennessey was a big believer in the theory that Russia played a part in getting former President Donald Trump elected in 2016 and that Trump tacitly encouraged it. She also believed (and perhaps still believes) that the Mueller report provided definitive evidence Trump worked with Russia to ensure his election, all in the absence of evidence.
Last year, Hennessey asked her followers what “concrete step” they would take to “help ensure Trump is defeated.” Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist retweeted one of Hennessey’s tweets along with the suggestion she “should be held accountable for perpetrating the Russia collusion hoax with the help of their friends.”
This person and many of her Lawfare colleagues should be held accountable for perpetrating the Russia collusion hoax with the help of their friends, the implicated officials. Their false claims damaged the country. There needs to be a reckoning. https://t.co/I5BakySid5
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) December 11, 2019
“Mollie, there was no Russia collusion hoax,” Hennessey claimed in December 2019 tweets. “The IG found a properly predicated investigation.”
“Mueller found that the president engaged in activity in numerous instances that met all statutory elements of obstruction of justice. Mueller found that the president lied to the public, repeatedly, and that Trump’s answers to the Special Counsel were untrue.”
“Mueller found a systematic plot by Russia to interfere in the US election, and that the president was aware of and sought to benefit from Russias assistance while lying to the public,” she continued.
“I recognize that’s inconvenient for you. I recognize that you think if you yell and wave your hands and lie enough times people will believe you. Maybe some people will. But it won’t change the facts of what occurred.”
Other December 2019 tweets, cataloged by Twitchy, found Hennessey continuing the battle apace. Citing a Department of Justice inspector general’s report that found there were 17 “significant errors and omissions” in warrants to wiretap former Trump adviser Carter Page, Hennessey told Hemingway that “we should take the findings regarding both mistakes and intentional misconduct regarding Carter Page seriously” but that “[a]s someone who has been working on and writing about FISA and IC oversight since, I suspect, before you even knew the term, it would be a mistake for anyone to dismiss these facts simply because they are inconvenient or because people like you manipulate them to lie to people.”
“I get that there are powerful incentives for you to say and write the things you do. I am grateful for the challenging and thoughtful conservative thinkers who force me to rigorously examine first principles. I sincerely hope people don’t confuse them for people like you,” she wrote in another tweet.
Those tweets ended up getting KonMari’ed, alas.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752
In the aftermath of the United States’ deadly strike on Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, 2020 — leader of a group declared a terrorist organization by the United States — the Iranian regime struck back days later by firing several missiles at an American airbase.
Those missiles landed without causing significant damage, but Iran had neglected to shut down its airspace prior to the attack. In the confusion of the moment, Iranian forces shot the Ukrainian airliner down, claiming to mistake it for an American missile and killing all 176 aboard.
According to Hennessey, the person to blame for this was (sigh) Donald Trump.
“176 completely innocent lives, killed in the crossfire of reckless escalation. Just an unbelievable tragedy,” she tweeted on Jan. 9 in the aftermath of the downing.
Twitter responded accordingly:
People who died after Iran shot down a civilian airliner in their own air space were “killed in the crossfire of reckless escalation”.
Lunacy. Seek help. https://t.co/DSzdazQzjn
— AG (@AGHamilton29) January 9, 2020
There was no crossfire. If reports are true, it means an airliner full of hundreds of people was shot down by Iran just after Iran launched strikes against Iraqi bases housing U.S. service members. The U.S. didn’t fire back then or since. No crossfire— only Iran fired that night. https://t.co/9EnCbiyu0P
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) January 9, 2020
What crossfire, Susan? https://t.co/f8vhlkE31b
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 9, 2020
Allegations of Corruption Against Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was a frequent target of corruption allegations from the left that didn’t go much further than intimations she’d helped boost the profile of her relatives’ shipping concern, which does business with China, according to The New York Times.
There were no allegations of wrongdoing, but that never stopped anyone involved in the Trump controversy industrial complex.
The most offensive bit to come out of the whole affair was a Vanity Fair article with the ugly headline, “Oops: Elaine Chao Caught Pimping Her Family Business with China.”
The second worst, however, may have come from a deleted tweet from Hennessey.
Responding to a tweet by Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim which said McConnell always “always makes [Chao] a warm cup of decaf coffee in the morning and is a great cook who does his own laundry and shares the responsibility of doing other housework,” Hennessey tweeted, “In return Chao has used her government position to funnel money and grant special access to her husband’s constituents and cronies, and to personally enrich her family! Give and take is so important in a healthy marriage.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
In 2019, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam got himself into a bit of a bother, although not the one you remember (you know, the to-do that involved blackface shenanigans). Before that, Northam said during an interview that, for a baby born during the “third trimester” with “deformities” or that was “non-viable,” parents could consult with doctors about an abortion.
This, obviously, is no longer an abortion, but Hennessey defended him anyway.
“Northam is clear in his comments that he is discussing a situation in which an infant is born but unable to survive and parents and physicians together decide whether to continue or remove life-preserving efforts,” Hennessey tweeted. “Which is not at all what the right is claiming he said.”
Anyone who’s in media has watched the video a thousand times, at least, and that’s not what Northam said. One might wish to engage with Hennessey on this — but, again, it’s been deleted.
So, no more of that. In the meantime, expect a lot of tweets like this:
Some news in Playbook this morning: @Susan_Hennessey will be senior counsel at the National Security Division of the Justice Department. Big job for a smart cookie!
— Blake News (@blakehounshell) May 10, 2021
Susan Hennessey may be a smart cookie. I’d wager she is, given her career trajectory and her provenance. And yet, she’s the kind of daft individual who thinks we’re all going to ignore those 39,000 deleted tweets in which she not infrequently said ugly things about anyone to the right of David Brock.
Unlike Neera Tanden — another Twitter warrior whose nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget got deep-sixed because of her social media posts — Hennessey didn’t need confirmation. However, she’s pre-emptively scuttled any pretense of being a bipartisan consensus-finder. These are the people Joe Biden thinks will engender unity. Are you surprised?
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