Twitter has halted enforcement of a policy banning lies about the 2020 election.
"Twitter spokesperson Elizabeth Busby told CNN on Friday that 'since March 2021,' Twitter has not been enforcing its 'civic integrity policy' in relation to lies about the 2020 election," the network reported Friday night. "That was the policy under which the company had suspended or even banned users for lying about the 2020 election, affixed fact-check warning labels to tweets containing such lies and limited others' ability to share those inaccurate tweets."
Busby explained that the policy was only designed to be enforced "during the duration" of the 2020 election, adding that President Joe Biden has been in office for more than a year. However, CNN noted that lies about the 2020 election "continue to play a major role" in U.S. politics.
"Former President Donald Trump continues to relentlessly repeat lies about the 2020 election," the network reported. "And numerous Republican candidates running in 2022 primaries are campaigning on lies about what happened in 2020."
Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, said she was surprised and dismayed by Twitter's decision to halt enforcement of the policy.
"I actually praised Twitter when they rolled out a new civic integrity policy in 2021, which prohibits false claims about election results and includes a clear strike system for repeat offenders," said Lehrich, whose nonprofit pushes for reforms at social media companies. "To learn they decided explicitly to stop enforcing it two months later, and told nobody, is infuriating -- especially for a platform that constantly plays up its commitment to transparent decision-making. They've managed to undermine faith in our democracy and their own credibility all at once."
Twitter is stil enforcing a ban on COVID-19 misinformation, which led to its recent ban of Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.
However, Busby told CNN that Liz Harrington, a Trump spokeswoman who routinely posts his statements with lies about the 2020 election, is not in violation of Twitter rules. Trump was banned from the platform for inciting the Capitol insurrection.
On Friday, the Daily Beast reported that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the infamous Russian lawyer present at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, has been accused of a criminal plot to tamper with government documents.
"Veselnitskaya, the pro-Kremlin lawyer who attended the notorious 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, allegedly doctored official documents, according to leaked files viewed by The Daily Beast," reported Nico Hines.
"New documents allege that Veselnitskaya or her team may have employed a similar strategy to tamper with supposedly independent evidence submitted to a court in a related case in Switzerland, where Veselnitskaya’s clients — Denis Katsyv and his company Prevezon — were at the center of a massive tax fraud and money-laundering investigation that was dropped last year."
Veselnitskaya, who became famous for the Trump Tower meeting as part of the investigation into efforts by Russia to sway the U.S. presidential election, was already indicted in 2019 on a separate obstruction of justice charge related to a money laundering plot.
'Clear potential of a federal crime': CNN analyst says Jan. 6 panel is 'laser focused' on fake Trump electors
On Friday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former federal prosecutor Elie Honig outlined the implications of Congress pursuing the fake "alternate" electors Trump allies sought to submit to Congress from states that Joe Biden carried.
"Fourteen people tied to that subpoena," said anchor Erin Burnett. "They are obviously not going to get all 14 to cooperate and it is a long process, but do you think they will get a few? And is a few or a handful enough?"
"Yeah, Erin, there is so much here, and one thing we have seen this week is that the committee is really focused laser-like on these fake electoral certificates, and rightly so, because on one level, those certificates are evidence of a broader plot to overthrow this election," said Honig. "But also, more narrowly, in my view, those certificates are the cleanest example yet we've seen of a potential federal crime."
"Now, it is one thing to have talks, conversations," said Honig. "At some point, they cross a line into a criminal conspiracy. Where that line is perhaps is debatable. However, it is a federal crime to submit a false document to the federal government if your intent is corrupt, and I think there is a good argument that's the case here. Now, this strategy of subpoenaing these 14 individuals is very smart because if even just three, four, or five of them cooperate, they are going to all presumably be pointing to the same person who was the coordinator of this. We have reporting that it's Rudy Giuliani. If that's how it turns out, so be it, but that's crucial information for the committee to know."
Elie Honig says investigators are "laser like focused" on fake electors plot www.youtube.com