January 19, 2020

Trump's allies over at Judicial Watch launched another failed smear campaign this week, this time against former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, where they accuse her and the State Department of "illegally monitoring" a supposed "enemies" list of pro-Trump media personalities and others when, if the texts turned over by Lev Parnas are to be believed, the very opposite is true and it was them stalking her.

Apparently in Trump-world, looking at someone's public social media feeds is now "illegal," because that's the so-called bombshell being pushed by Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, among others, and being pushed by Trump Jr. this Sunday.

Here's more on that from The Daily Beast: Pro-Trump ‘Enemies List’ Smear Flops:

Donald Trump’s allies in Congress and the pro-Trump media are scrambling to find a counter-narrative to the Ukraine impeachment investigation that can shore up Republican support, even crashing into closed hearings in some kind of misguided protest. [...]

Now, with few appealing options, they’ve latched onto their the most ridiculous claim yet: portraying a mundane social media search tool as a deep-state conspiracy theory.

For the past week, Trump ally and Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton and a chorus of conservative media voices have been fuming over a supposed “enemies list” compiled by the State Department and filled with right-wing Twitter characters. But it turns out that the supposed list, if it existed at all, was just a run-of-the-mill social media search on widely available web analytics tool CrowdTangle.

Last week, Fitton started claiming that he had reason to believe that former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch had “unlawfully monitored” a host of pro-Trump media personalities. Fitton claimed Yovanovitch had requested monitoring of an “enemies list” through “social media and other means,” only to be rebuffed because her request was “illegal.”

Fitton cryptically said, on Twitter and via press releases, that his group had enough information to “investigate” the idea that Yovanovitch, who was pushed out her job under alleged pressure from Rudolph Giuliani, demanded the illicit surveillance of a list of Trumpworld luminaries.

“They had an enemy’s list in the Ukrainian embassy—our embassy!” Fitton said. “Paid for with your tax dollars, in potential violation of the law.”

The list supposedly included Donald Trump Jr., Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec, right-wing character Dan Bongino, and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka—all, notably, people with big enough social media followings to boost Fitton’s story.

As The Daily Beast article explained, Fitton offered contradictory information about the origins of this supposed list, and could not explain why Yovanovitch’s own name along with Michael McFaul was included, but that hasn't stopped the story from spreading through the right wing media like a wildfire, and they wrapped up their article with this:

As it turns out, though, Fitton is getting all worked up over absolutely nothing. On Wednesday afternoon, Fitton revealed that the “enemies list” was just a social media search of public posts on CrowdTangle—a Facebook-owned social media analytics tool used by a variety of institutions, including media outlets.

It’s still not clear even if the purported list even exists—Fitton hasn’t offered any proof beyond anonymous quotes, and the State Department didn’t respond to requests for comment. The State Department has said publicly before that it uses CrowdTangle to follow discussion of news topics, meaning that Fitton, despite all the hype in pro-Trump media, hadn’t exactly revealed a secret surveillance tool.

Trump Jr. attacked Yovanovitch on Twitter, which was read back to him by Bartiromo during the interview above, because reading quotes from your guest pushing another Fox regular's debunked conspiracy theories on Twitter is just how they roll on State-Run TV.

Here's Trump serving up a big helping of projection onto Yovanovitch, while accusing her of doing the same today on Fox.

BARTIROMO: I was reading a couple of posts and tweets of yours, and you accuse Yovanovitch of monitoring you. Tell me what happened?

TRUMP: I saw the reports, and they assigned people in the Ukrainian embassy apparently to monitor myself, other conservative figures... Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino. numerous others. So of course, now she is accusing people of doing the same to her, because that is what happens.

When they do it, it's sort of what the old liberal, the Democrat politics, you know, accuse them of doing all the things that you're doing. So a year later they come back and try to accuse us of it.

Can you help us out?

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