Trial testimony reveals Hillary Clinton personally approved serious election misinformation. Is there an anti-Trump exception to content moderation?
Last week, in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked ex-campaign manager Robby Mook about the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank. Mook answered by giving up his onetime boss. “I discussed it with Hillary,” he said, describing his pitch to the candidate: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter… She agreed to that.”
In a country with a functioning media system, this would have been a huge story. Obviously this isn’t Watergate, Hillary Clinton was never president, and Sussmann’s trial doesn’t equate to prosecutions of people like Chuck Colson or Gordon Liddy. But as we’ve slowly been learning for years, a massive fraud was perpetrated on the public with Russiagate, and Mook’s testimony added a substantial piece of the picture, implicating one of the country’s most prominent politicians in one of the more ambitious disinformation campaigns we’ve seen.
There are two reasons the Clinton story isn’t a bigger one in the public consciousness.
One is admitting the enormity of what took place would require system-wide admissions by the FBI, the CIA, and, as Matt Orfalea’s damning video above shows, virtually every major news media organization in America.
More importantly, there’s no term for the offense Democrats committed in 2016, though it was similar to Watergate. Instead of a “third-rate burglary” and a bug, Democrats sent schlock research to the FBI, who in turn lied to the secret FISA court and obtained “legal” surveillance authority over former Trump aide Carter Page (which opened doors to searches of everyone connected to Page). Worse, instead of petty “ratfucking” like Donald Segretti’s “Canuck letter,” the Clinton campaign created and fueled a successful, years-long campaign of official harassment and media fraud. They innovated an extraordinary trick, using government connections and press to generate real criminal and counterintelligence investigations of political enemies, mostly all based on what we now know to be self-generated nonsense.
The Clintons, and especially Hillary, have been baselessly accused of all sorts of things in the past, the murder of Vince Foster being just one example. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” was so successful that the Clintons ended up aligning with and helping fund its chief architect, David Brock, ahead of the 2016 cycle. Along with Perkins Coie and the research agency Fusion-GPS, headed by former Wall Street Journal reporter and current self-admiring sleaze-merchant Glenn Simpson, they engineered three long years of phony “collusion” headlines. No matter what papers like the Washington Post try to argue this week, this was an enormous scandal.
The world has mostly moved on, since Russiagate was thirty or forty “current things” ago, but the public prosecution of the collusion theory was a daily preoccupation of national media for years. A substantial portion of the population believed the accusations, and expected the story would end with Donald Trump in jail or at least indicted, scrolling for a thousand straight days in desperate expectation of the promised justice. Trump was bounced from Twitter for incitement, but Twitter has a policy against misinformation as well. It includes a prohibition against “misleading” media that is “likely to result in widespread confusion on public issues.”
I’m not a fan of throwing people off Twitter, but how can knowingly launching thousands of bogus news stories across a period of years, leading millions of people to believe lies and expect news that never arrived, not qualify as causing “widespread confusion on public issues”?