"Twitter Files" journalist Matt Taibbi went into a viral sparring match with Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., over the latest installment of Twitter revelations that implicates Democratic lawmakers.
On Thursday, Taibbi reported that top Democrats including California Rep. Adam Schiff, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed in 2018 that Russian actors on Twitter were elevating the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo, referring to the Devin Nunes report about flaws in the Trump-Russia investigation, despite being told directly by Twitter executives that it found no evidence that Russian bots were behind it.
Lieu was quick to dismiss Taibbi's reporting.
"You can believe gaslighting by @mtaibbi, or you can believe facts. Russian meddling was not manufactured," Lieu tweeted Thursday. "DOJ indicted 12 Russian Intel officers for hacking: ‘defendants claimed to be American hacktivists and used…Twitter accounts to promote the website.’"
TWITTER FILES: TOP DEMOCRATS PEDDLED FALSE RUSSIAN BOTS NARRATIVE ABOUT NUNES MEMO, DESPITE TWITTER WARNINGS
On Friday, Taibbi responded, tweeting "What @TedLieu leaves out is that the DOJ indicted 12 individuals they knew would never show up in court, but had to drop two related cases of companies that did fight back, rather than go through discovery."
"What @mtaibbi leaves out is that the article he cites explains DOJ dropped the two cases because discovery would give the Russians information they could weaponize," Lieu shot back.
Lieu added, "@mtaibbi now wants you to doubt the DOJ’s case against 12 Russian agents. He’s spewing Kremlin talking points."
TWITTER FILES: ADAM SCHIFF'S OFFICE ASKED ‘QUITE OFTEN’ TO REMOVE TWEETS, INCLUDING PARODY BIDEN PIC
"Congressman, I’m an American citizen, I love my country, and accusing me of repeating ‘Kremlin talking points’ when I report something you find inconvenient is beyond reprehensible," Taibbi told Lieu. "You and your sleazy red-baiting pals in congress should be ashamed."
"Dear @mtaibbi : I don’t doubt your love for America. That doesn’t change the fact that you are repeating Kremlin talking points by suggesting the DOJ should not have indicted the 12 Russian agents or that DOJ was afraid to take them to trial," Lieu doubled down.
In the 14th installment of the "Twitter Files," Taibbi revealed how Twitter was combating a growing narrative that "Russian bots" were running rampant on its platform and having a major impact on political discourse in the U.S.
Taibbi pointed to an open letter published by Schiff and Feinstein published an open letter claiming the #ReleaseTheMemo trend "gained the immediate attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations." Blumenthal latter followed suit with his own letter.
But this was after multiple warnings from Twitter saying otherwise.
ADAM SCHIFF DRAGGED AFTER ‘TWITTER FILES’ SHOWS HE ASKED SITE TO SUSPEND JOURNO: ‘EXPEL SCHIFF FROM CONGRESS’
"A consistent theme of the #TwitterFiles has been concrete evidence that Russiagate headlines were manufactured by politicians and media — the thread below blows up the absurd #ReleaseTheMemo panic stoked by @SenFeinstein , @SenBlumenthal , and @AdamSchiff , among others," Taibbi concluded.
Schiff himself has repeatedly been implicated in the "Twitter Files." On Friday, Taibbi reported that Schiff's office "quite often" urged Twitter to take down various tweets.
One tweet, for example, from the 2020 presidential election that Schiff's office wanted to be removed featured a photoshopped image mocking then-candidate Joe Biden. Twitter at the time shot down the request, saying the tweet had obvious "humorous intent" and "any reasonable observer" could see the image featured was doctored.
Last week, the Substack writer revealed that Schiff's office requested multiple accounts, including journalists to be suspended.