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How ‘The Twitter Files’ Undermine the J6 Report


BY: JORDAN BOYD | JANUARY 23, 2023

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/01/23/how-the-twitter-files-undermine-the-j6-report/

Twitter and January 6
Twitter employees’ desire to rid the platform of Trump kept them from telling the truth about the company’s capability for censorship.

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Censorship-hungry Twitter employees vented to the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 that their company wasn’t authoritarian enough when it came to curbing former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2021 Capitol riot, a newly released 122-page memo shows. “The Twitter Files,” however, prove Big Tech went out of its way to suppress the Republican president long before his ban from the platform on Jan. 8, 2021.

When the Twitter staff, or “Tweeps,” gave witness testimony to the J6 Committee last year, they likely didn’t anticipate a fact-check of their public statements against their internal communications. Then Elon Musk acquired the company in October of 2022 and released internal documents exposing Twitter’s key censorship decisions and election meddling.

Some of the material in the revelations dubbed “The Twitter Files” corroborates what these ex-staffers told the J6 Committee about Twitter’s hesitation to ban Trump until Jan. 8. Many of the uncovered documents and communications, however, prove that long before the riot, Twitter treated Trump differently than it did most world leaders.

Tweeps Agree: Big Tech Not Authoritarian Enough

Anika Navaroli, a member of Twitter’s censorship team, told the J6 Committee in anonymous testimony in July of 2022 that Twitter’s decision to delay the permanent suspension of Trump until after the riot was “absolutely indicative and emblematic of Twitter’s hands-off, willfully ignorant approach to the former President’s rhetoric on the service and on the platform.”

Much like hundreds of Twitter employees who wrote an open letter demanding the president’s permanent suspension, Navaroli claimed she lobbied for the curbing of Trump long before he was banned on Jan. 8, 2021, but her demands for action were ignored.

For months I had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that if nothing — if we made no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die,” Navaroli said in her interview with the Democrat-dominated committee. “On Jan. 5, I realized no intervention was coming. As hard as I had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing. We were at the whims and the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded.

Navaroli’s frustrations furthered when, after being tasked with evaluating the validity of Trump’s online rhetoric following the Capitol riot, she ultimately dismissed the outgoing president’s tweets as above board under Twitter’s policies.

I also am not seeing clear or coded incitement in the DJT tweet,” Navaroli wrote in a Slack chat with her colleagues on Jan. 8. “I’ll respond in the elections channel and say that our team has assessed and found no [violations] for the DJT one.”

Navaroli wasn’t alone. Another unnamed member of Twitter’s safety policy team told the J6 Committee that Twitter’s censorship teams weren’t equipped to “find a rationale to suspend the President’s account from the service, and ‘stop the insurrection’” on Jan. 6.

The team was left to respond to rampant incitement on Twitter under its own initiative, once again without clear instruction,” the committee report states, adding later, “This understaffed, ramshackle made [one of the employees moderating content on Jan. 6] feel like she was a security guard hovering over the Capitol, trying to defend the building as the crowd tweeted out its progress during the course of the assault.

It’s clear from these accounts that Twitter employees tried to find a cause for deplatforming Trump under the Big Tech company’s then-policies. When they failed to obtain the political results they desired, partisan Twitter executives sidestepped free speech loyalists at the company by changing the rules to target Trump alone. The Capitol riot was simply their catalyst.

Change the Rules to Win the Game

Once Twitter executives changed the rules to remove Trump, the company and its Democrat allies celebrated.

Months after Navaroli gave her testimony and Trump was barred from Twitter, members of the J6 Committee were still publicly praising her for “answering the call of the Committee and your country.”

Corporate media such as The Washington Post elevated her as “the most prominent Twitter insider known to have challenged the tech giant’s conduct toward Trump.” Business Insider amplified Navaroli with the headline, “Twitter whistleblower who foresaw the violence of Jan. 6 reveals her identity with an omen for the future of US democracy.

Navaroli’s testimony, along with other witnesses, helped Democrats conclude that “Trump’s suspension ended the preferential treatment Twitter gave his account for years” and that Big Tech failed to prevent violence by delaying its permanent ban on Trump until after the Capitol riot.

The former employee’s testimony confirms that Twitter saw President Trump’s potential violent incitement of his supporters as a cause for concern even prior to Election Day but chose not to take effective actions to prevent him from using the platform in this way. Moreover, this failure to act was consistent with Twitter’s longstanding deferential treatment of President Trump,” the report states.

Twitter Did Treat Trump Differently

The effort to permanently bar Trump may have concentrated around the Capitol riot and culminated with a mad scramble on Jan. 8, as Navaroli suggested. Still, as “Twitter Files” journalist Matt Taibbi noted in part three of the exposé, “the intellectual framework was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots.”

Executives such as Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former legal and policy executive Vijaya Gadde, and Twitter’s recently fired general counsel and FBI veteran Jim Baker spent months building a network that could quickly respond to suppression requests and easily strike violative content and users.

“[T]he firm had a vast array of tools for manipulating visibility, most all of which were thrown at Trump (and others) pre-J6,” Taibbi noted.

The treatment Trump received from Twitter’s top censors may have been different, but it was far from the “deferential treatment” the J6 Committee concluded had occurred. Contrary to Tweeps’ testimonies, Trump faced several bouts of censorship including Twitter reducing the reach of his tweets, shadowbanning him, labeling his tweets with warnings, and temporarily suspending his account long before the Capitol riot.

As independent journalist Bari Weiss noted in part five of “The Twitter Files,” the Big Tech company was far more eager to justify that kind of censorship against Trump than to use it against actual dictators.

Twitter staff and executives were so overcome with their hatred for Trump that they were willing to create a reason to deplatform the president. What those employees didn’t anticipate is that their shenanigans would be blown open by “The Twitter Files” mere months after they gave sworn testimony to Democrats in Congress.

As evidenced by “The Twitter Files,” there was nothing stopping Tweeps from deplatforming Trump. In fact, Twitter, cheered by the same Democrats, worked for years to silence its political enemies at whatever cost.


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Committee Is Using Innocent Americans’ Assertion of Their Constitutional Rights as Proof of Guilt


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JULY 12, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/12/exclusive-jan-6-committee-is-using-innocent-americans-assertion-of-their-constitutional-rights-as-proof-of-guilt/

Jan. 6 committee segment with Jamie Raskin on MSNBC

Implying guilt based on a witness asserting his rights ‘is a McCarthy-esque tactic that offends the Constitution and is unworthy of the United States Congress.’

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The Jan. 6 Committee is abusing its power by asking inappropriate questions about their fellow Americans’ beliefs and associates, and publicly portraying witnesses who exercise their Fifth Amendment rights as guilty — all to put on a show trial.

Later on, Tuesday, the Jan. 6 Committee will hold yet another public hearing, this one purportedly to focus “on the role of extremists” in the attack on the Capitol. While the precise script for the afternoon’s proceedings remains unknown, last week Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin previewed the committee’s plans, telling The New York Times that when public hearings resumed in July, “he intends to lead a presentation that will focus on the roles far-right groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and 1st Amendment Praetorian played in the Capitol attack.” According to the Times, “Mr. Raskin has also promised to explore the connections between those groups and the people in Mr. Trump’s orbit.”

Recycling the Fifth Amendment Tactic

An attorney for 1st Amendment Praetorian, or 1AP, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting free speech, spoke exclusively with The Federalist about the committee’s questioning of 1AP, the group’s founder, and another member of the nonprofit, all of whom she represents. From the framing of the questions posed to her clients, Leslie McAdoo Gordon was left with the firm impression that the Jan. 6 Committee merely wanted video capturing her clients declining to answer the questions for the purpose of impugning their character during the televised hearings.

“The committee knew before the depositions that my clients would be asserting their First and Fifth Amendment rights, and also would not answer any questions because the depositions were being held in violation of the rules established by the House,” McAdoo Gordon told The Federalist. So, shortly after the hearing began and the 1AP witnesses made clear they would not answer any questions, the staffers moved to general topic areas and would ask a few prepared questions, then the committee representative would note that he had more questions on the topic and inquire whether if he asked those questions, the witnesses intended to assert the same objections.

“My clients would respond ‘yes’ to that question, so then the committee would move forward with the next topic,” McAdoo Gordon said. “But after covering various topics, the committee staffer at the end volleyed a litany of individual questions to my clients, forcing them to respond to each question with ‘Rules, First, and Fifth,’ the shorthand we had agreed to with the committee to convey their objections to questions posed.”

Given that the committee had broadcast video of Michael Flynn asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in an earlier hearing, McAdoo Gordon said she wouldn’t be surprised if Tuesday’s hearings include clips of her clients refusing to answer the committee’s questions.

In fact, she said as much to the committee in a letter last week. After calling the lawmakers out for implying to the public that Flynn was guilty of some crime because he asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, McAdoo Gordon wrote that implying guilt based on a witness asserting his rights, “is a McCarthy-esque tactic that offends the Constitution and is unworthy of the United States Congress.” The attorney added that she is “forced to anticipate that the Committee will use the same totalitarian tactic to improperly smear 1AP.”

The irony is that McAdoo Gordon was working with the committee to arrange for her clients to testify voluntarily, within the bounds of the First Amendment, until the committee concocted what she has called a “cockamamie” criminal conspiracy theory. The committee argued in litigation with former Trump attorney John Eastman “that President Trump, Dr. Eastman, and others conspired to defraud the United States by disrupting the electoral count,” supposedly in violation of Section 371 of the federal criminal code, which makes it a crime to “conspire to defraud” the United States. The committee’s pushing of what she called a “preposterous” legal theory left McAdoo Gordon “with no option but to recommend that my clients assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

McAdoo Gordon told The Federalist that during her clients’ depositions, the committee asked a series of questions that she likely would have allowed her clients to answer if the meeting had been on a voluntary basis. Putting aside the question of whether the committee was properly constituted, the 1AP’s attorney noted Congress had a legitimate interest in investigating the riots and violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“What 1AP did, or more accurately put, didn’t do, on Jan. 6 was relevant to the committee’s investigation into the riot and the violence at the Capitol, and I was working to arrange for my clients to voluntarily provide the committee with that information,” McAdoo Gordon said. Likewise, the committee had questions about a couple tweets my clients sent on the sixth, and again, such questions were relevant to the Jan. 6 investigation. “

“But once the committee advanced the absurd Section 371 criminal conspiracy theory, I could no longer recommend my clients speak with the committee,” the attorney explained. McAdoo Gordon did respond to the committee on behalf of her clients, however, after Raskin “falsely described 1AP as a ‘far right’ group with a ‘role’ in the ‘Capitol attack’” in his interview with the Times. “All of those points are false and defamatory,” she told the committee. “1AP is a mainstream, non-partisan group with no role whatsoever in the attack on the Capitol.”

Violating the First Amendment

It isn’t just the Fifth Amendment the committee has been shredding, however. “Even if my clients did not assert the Fifth Amendment, I would have still objected to several questions on First Amendment grounds,” McAdoo Gordon added. While some questions related to Jan. 6 were relevant, the majority of the questions posed to 1AP representatives were none of Congress’s business, McAdoo Gordon stressed. And even the process reveals the warped authoritarianism of the committee, the attorney added.

“At the beginning of the depositions, the congressional staff sought confirmation that we were not recording the proceedings in any way, while they proceeded to video record the questioning,” McAdoo Gordon said. She then noted that while witnesses called before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., can obtain a transcript of their testimony, the Jan. 6 Committee refuses to allow those they target to obtain transcripts of their subpoenaed testimony.

The committee’s hiding of the transcripts serves to cover their lies and to control the narrative of the show trial, but it also allows the Jan. 6 Committee to hide the wildly inappropriate questions it posed to the witnesses.

“Do you believe in QAnon?” “Do you believe that Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States?” “What’s your understanding of what happened on 1/6?”

“A Committee of the United States Congress actually asked my clients those questions,” McAdoo Gordon told The Federalist in an exclusive weekend interview.

“Before the deposition, I assured my clients that their political and personal beliefs would not be probed,” the D.C. attorney explained. “While I knew from the subpoenas the Jan. 6 Committee intended to seek constitutionally protected information concerning other 1AP members, my jaw just kept dropping further when they started to question my clients on what they thought and believed.”

The committee also asked Robert Lewis, who is a retired United States Army Green Beret and recipient of the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, and Philip Luelsdorff, a former U.S. Army Ranger, to describe 1AP activities. For whom and for what purpose did they provide volunteer services? Did they provide security? Surveillance? Assistance with legal activities? What training did they provide? And how were they able to afford to provide the training and volunteer services? Where did the money come from? Who made donations? What bank accounts were used? Did the organization accept cryptocurrency?

Again, none of those questions concerned the events of Jan. 6. Rather, the committee focused on events long before the Jan. 6 events at the Capitol. For instance, it asked whether 1AP provided security for polling places. Other questions concerned 1AP’s security work at a Nov. 14 rally and a Dec. 12 rally.

In essence, the committee is seeking information about 1AP’s members, financial status, donors, and activities. None of that is relevant to the Jan. 6 riots, and all of it is off-limits to the government, the lawyer said. “The Committee had no business asking those questions, so my clients weren’t about to answer them in violation of their First Amendment rights.”

“The Committee had cited as ‘evidence’ against my clients that they obtained a permit for a demonstration the day before the riot. How is obtaining a permit to hold a peaceful protest evidence of a role in a riot the next day? It isn’t,” McAdoo Gordon said. The committee also sought to quiz Lewis and Luelsdorff on their relationship with the Trump family, the White House, the campaign, and numerous specific individuals such as Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn. The staff further asked whether they had been in contact with any of the defense attorneys representing any of the Jan. 6 defendants.

“The government should not be asking a civic organization, which is what 1AP is, about its relationships, in general, with other people, much less about the organization’s donors or lawyers with whom they spoke,” McAdoo Gordon stressed.

Assuming Guilt with Dishonest Framing

Beyond asking inappropriate questions that implicated 1AP’s First Amendment rights, the committee framed several questions in the “do you still beat your wife” format. Before the election, did they provide security “in order to overturn the election”? “Have you engaged in any activities to overturn the certified election results?” “Have you engaged in any activities to reinstall Donald Trump as president of the United States since Jan. 20, 2021?” These questions all presuppose that the “election results” were sought to be “overturned,” as opposed to challenged.

But of course, the Jan. 6 Committee’s focus on the few unfounded claims of election fraud, as opposed to the numerous violations of state election law and evidence of illegal voting — issues Trump and his legal team pursued — aids in the narrative that the protesters wanted to “install” Trump or overturn the election, as opposed to protest election irregularities. And by using a guilt-by-association strategy, the committee paints not just 1AP and its volunteers as complicit in the violence at the Capitol, but every American who attended the rallies and peacefully protested the disastrous 2020 election.

“The committee might be using nicer language, but its questioning is Stalinist in nature nonetheless,” McAdoo Gordon said.

The 1AP lawyer is correct. But because the corrupt media is effectively serving as a state-run press for its preferred politicians, most of America will be oblivious to that fact when the hearings resume later today.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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