In the wake of Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser, House Democrats seized on Flynn’s own tweets in making their case that the Trump administration’s ties to Russia needed to be investigated.
The problem, though, was that they were not his tweets. They came from a Twitter account that appeared to be official, but was, in fact, fake.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, seized on a tweet from the fake Flynn account in which he described himself as a “scapegoat.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also referred to the tweet, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) mentioned it in an interview with Warren Olney for the radio show “To the Point.”
Later, the Democrats on the Oversight Committee admitted that the account was fake.
“Yes, sorry, to correct the record – just learned like many others that the Flynn tweet this morning was fake,” they said on Twitter (via a verified account).
The New York Times also cited the tweet in a story, but later removed it.
The @genmikeflynn account was not verified. The tweets had a pugnacious tone to them, but not so outlandish as to make it immediately apparent they were not real.
That was the case with a fake Rex Tillerson account on Twitter that misled some news outlets into reporting on some of his sentiments as he awaited Senate confirmation as secretary of state. In one tweet, he expressed his support of the National Endowment for the Arts, at the same time of reports that the Trump administration was considering plans to abolish it.