On Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that according to a “report just out,” Google “manipulated” millions of votes in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But according to a report by Nick Bastone for Business Insider, Trump’s claims are misleading for a number of reasons.
In his tweet, Trump posted, “Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Bastone, however, reports that the study Trump appeared to be referring to on Twitter was a 2017 study by San Diego-based psychologist Robert Epstein — who, in July, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing with the theme “Google and Censorship Through Search Engines.”
During his testimony, Epstein (who described himself as a Democrat) asserted that at a “rock-bottom minimum,” Google swayed 2.6 million votes in Clinton’s favor.
On Monday, however, Epstein told CNN that Trump misrepresented his findings, which he said did not show that Google actively “manipulated” millions of voters. Moreover, Bastone reports, the methodology in Epstein’s 2017 study is questionable.
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
“The study — which was based on 95 participants in 24 U.S. states — stated in part that when extrapolating from a 2015 study also authored by Epstein, at least 2.6 million votes might be ‘shifted’ in favor of Clinton because of bias in Google’s search results,” Bastone explains in his Business Insider piece. “But the 2015 study’s findings were based on asking U.S. residents to cast hypothetical votes for candidates in Australia’s 2010 prime ministerial election based on information they saw in Google search results.”
Business Insider interviewed Dr. Michael McDonald, an associate political science professor at the University of Florida, to discuss Epstein’s research — and McDonald expressed doubts that Epstein’s findings in the 2015 study were relevant to the United States’ 2016 election.
“I’m not sure if this really applies to U.S. elections where we have partisan politics going on and lots of other information that people have,” McDonald told Business Insider. “You don’t need to look at the top of Google search results for your information about how you’re going to cast your vote for president.”
Rick Pildes, a law professor at New York University, told Business Insider that while tech companies have the ability to sway elections, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the ability to shift millions of votes as Epstein alleges in his 2017 study.
Pildes told Business Insider, “We absolutely have to worry about the social-media giants manipulating election-related information, whether intentionally or not. But it’s massively irresponsible to claim to know anything this specific and concrete about what information moved millions of voters to cast votes as they did.”
Trump has likely added witness intimidation to the list of impeachable offenses: reporter
President Donald Trump has not only railed against diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and one of the witnesses in the impeachment inquiry — he has done so in the middle of her public testimony. And journalist Bess Levin, reporting in Vanity Fair, asserts that by doing so, Trump might be adding witness tampering and witness intimidation to the articles of impeachment that the U.S. House of Representatives could indict him on.
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him.”
FBI investigating possible ‘criminal enterprise’ in Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse death
The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that the FBI was investigating whether Jeffrey Epstein's death was related to a criminal enterprise.
Two correctional officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were arrested and charged Tuesday with falsifying prison records to cover up their lapses in their official duties, which included checking on Epstein every half hour, reported the Miami Herald.
The officers instead remained at their desk, browsing the internet and moving around the common area.
Republican impeachment antics backfire as GOP congresswoman Elise Stefanik sets her career on fire
Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives following sweeping midterm victories last year, Republicans have had little recourse to stop attempts at congressional oversight of the Trump administration. So, they’ve resorted to rotating a few willing members to dutifully gaslight, grandstand and exhibit fake outrage while hoping to create the illusion of fighting the good fight — all for Fox News hosts who hail them as the true heroes of the republic.