According to Stanford University researchers, a misleading video was released on Sunday by conservative activist James O’Keefe, claiming through anonymous sources that there was no evidence that Representative Ilhan Omar’s campaign was illegally Ballots were collected from. .
Researchers said that Mr. O’Keefe and his group, Project Veritas, have made a sudden decision to release the video sooner than planned after the New York Times published a comprehensive investigation into President Trump’s taxes. He also noted that the timing and metadata of a Twitter post in which Mr. Trump’s son shared the video suggested that he would have known about it beforehand.
Project Veritas liked the video on social media for several days before publishing it. In posts promoted by other prominent conservative accounts, Mr. O’Keefe said he had given evidence of voter fraud, and urged people to sign “ballot-recruit.com” when it surfaced. (None of the content in the video was actually proved to be voter fraud.)
Mr O Keefe’s promotional post had said the video would be released on Monday, but Project Veritas released it on Sunday, hours after the publication of The Times’ investigation. Stanford researchers concluded that this time was unlikely to be a coincidence “given the huge marketing about the 9/28 release date,” he wrote in an analysis that led the research team at the Stanford Internet Observatory Was shared by Alex Stamos. Times.
“This is a great example of what a coordinated disinfection campaign would look like: pre-sowing on the ground and then hitting a herd of different accounts all at once”, Mr. Stamos said.
Many of the same accounts, which had tweeted promotionals, quickly followed the tax investigation of the Times as well as Twitter’s trending topic as soon as the video was released.
About an hour after The Times published its article, Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow and honorary chairman of Mr. Trump’s Minnesota campaign, Tweeted a video of himself Saying that Project Veritas’ estimated exposure would be released that night at 9 pm Eastern Time.
“I just met James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, and James showed me footage of systematic voter fraud,” Mr. Lindell said. He did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Mr. O’Keeffe posted the video on Twitter at 9 o’clock at night, and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted it just seven minutes later. Two minutes after this, the president’s “war room” account retweeted him, and the president soon began commenting.
Notably, the video the younger Mr. Trump posted did not have the label “James O’Keeffe”, which appeared when other Twitter users shared the video uploaded by Mr. O’Keeffe.
“This description, along with video metadata, shows that the Donald Trump Jr. version of the video was uploaded separately and re-encoded by Twitter, indicating that the Trump campaign likely had access to the video before the general public And raise questions of coordination, ”the Stanford researchers wrote, adding that Mr. Trump posted the video on Facebook before Mr. O’Keefe posted it.
When asked for comment, the Trump campaign said Donald Trump Jr. received a downloadable link after the video was released to the public. It did not comment on Mr. Lindell’s post or at the time of the release of the video, and a spokesman for the younger Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
The video contains footage of a man, identified as Liban Mohammed, showing a ballot saying he has collected for a Minneapolis City Council candidate – something that is not illegal based on the video being filmed Could, because the district court judge was temporarily suspended in July for banning Minnesota’s third parties and returning a large number of completed ballots. Mr. Mohammed was not working for Ms. Omar.
The video claimed that Democratic operatives associated with Ms. Omar’s campaign paid voters to hand over blank mail-in ballots and filled them. It would be unlawful, but the allegations are entirely about those anonymous people who talk to Project Veritas operatives in the video and whose faces are not shown.
On Monday, the Minneapolis Police Department said it was “seeing the validity” of the claims in the video, which Ms. Omar’s spokesperson said. Described As a “coordinated right-wing effort for a free and fair election”.
Mr. O’Keefe and Project Veritas have a long history of manipulating or releasing selectively edited footage to show illegal conduct by Democrats and Liberal groups.
Researchers at Stanford reported the video on several social media platforms. Facebook added a link to its “polling information center” for one upload of the video but paid no attention to the original upload. Twitter, YouTube and Reddit did not take any action. Tiktok was the only platform that removed all uploads of videos.