If and when Elon Musk completes his takeover of Twitter, Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be surprised if some of her tweets are hit with a “disinformation” label.
In a move that should make his public divorce from the Democratic Party complete and final, Musk responded to a 2016 Hillary tweet alleging a link between Donald Trump and a Kremlin-linked bank, calling it “a Clinton campaign hoax for which their campaign lawyer is undergoing a criminal trial.”
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That hoax — a false claim there was a computer link between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank — is at the center of the trial of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who stands accused of lying to the FBI about his motivations for contacting the bureau in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
In September of 2016, Sussmann met with James Baker, then the general counsel for the FBI, to pass on rumors of the covert server link between the bank and Trump’s company. Sussmann was charged in September 2021 by Russiagate special counsel John Durham for telling Baker he wasn’t representing anyone in the matter.
As conservative commentator Andrew McCarthy wrote at National Review, Sussmann claimed in a Sept. 18, 2016, text message to Baker that was first revealed in early April by Durham’s team that he was “coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau.”
Baker, to no one’s current surprise, testified last week that the FBI checked the rumor out and “there was nothing there.” On Friday, Clinton 2016 campaign manager Robby Mook testified that Hillary “agreed” to let him share the allegations despite the fact the Clinton campaign wasn’t totally confident in it.
After it was shared with the media in the final days of the 2016 campaign, Clinton tweeted that “[c]omputer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank”:
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
“This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia,” Clinton campaign adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that accompanied the tweet.
“It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists.”
He added that it “may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout his campaign.”
On Friday, given the events of last week, one user replied to the old tweet, tagged Musk and wrote, “I have reported this tweet as misleading disinformation to the powers that be at @twitter. I would be interested to know if, when you receive control over the company, anything was done with this at any level.”
“You are absolutely correct. That tweet is a Clinton campaign hoax for which their campaign lawyer is undergoing a criminal trial,” Musk replied, linking to a BBC article about Sussmann’s trial and tagging Clinton directly.
You are absolutely correct. That tweet is a Clinton campaign hoax for which their campaign lawyer is undergoing a criminal trial. https://t.co/avtjEdthmA
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2022
Apparently, this still hurts, since plenty of Twitterers jumped on Elon and the user who first brought it to his attention:
Elon..I must be very very frank…We all know and dont need a judge and lawyers to tell us that Trump colluded and conspired with Putin…Elon I’m sorry..the people are not that stupid..I mean we all know that OJ was guilty even if the court stated he was innocent…geez louise
— Angela1111 (@adpnorth1111) May 20, 2022
What is misleading? Everything she said is true.
— Mr Mojo Risin🦎 🇺🇦 🇲🇽 🇺🇸 🇺🇦 🇲🇽 🇺🇸 (@MrMojoRisin510) May 21, 2022
1. he’s not on trial for that
2. i thought you were in favour of free speech
3. the connection between the server and the bank is established, just not the reason
4. what happened to your critical thinking skills?@elonmusk
— persnickety (@Jaisans) May 22, 2022
Of course, this comes days after Musk announced he had switched his partisan allegiance to the GOP.
“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party,” he tweeted Wednesday.
“But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold …”
In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party.
But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican.
Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold … 🍿
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2022
A day later, Business Insider reported it had obtained “interviews and documents” from a friend of a former flight attendant with Musk’s SpaceX. The flight attendant had accused Musk of “exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage” back in 2016.
What felicitous timing for an alleged incident from six years ago to become public.
Musk treated the accusations with derision, challenging the accuser to back up the claims with descriptive details and noting in an email to Business Insider that, “If I were inclined to engage in sexual harassment, this is unlikely to be the first time in my entire 30-year career that it comes to light.”
Whatever the case, the Tesla and SpaceX founder had essentially divorced himself from the Silicon Valley left by standing up for free speech in the face of tech giant-enforced wokeness. Now, he’s embraced the GOP and repudiated the Democrats in a manner that almost certainly makes the break permanent.
After all, Hillary remains a kind of secular idol for hardcore liberals, someone thoroughly incapable of the kind of disinformation they claim social media controls on speech will stamp out.
And yet, with each passing day, the Sussmann trial provides ample evidence she trafficked in it by repeating claims about Trump and Alfa Bank that didn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Democrats who claim to be worried about “disinformation” should start looking a little closer to home.
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