November 28, 2022
Elon Musk has labeled a controversial 2016 Halloween tweet that has been fought over in John Durham's case against Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann as a "Clinton campaign hoax."

Elon Musk has labeled a controversial 2016 Halloween tweet that has been fought over in John Durham’s case against Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann as a “Clinton campaign hoax.”

On Friday, Musk agreed with a user who criticized and claimed to have reported the tweet, which peddled unsubstantiated claims that former President Donald Trump had a secret server for covert communications with Russia. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO declined to comment on whether he would have taken action to take down the tweet were he in charge of the social media giant.

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“You are absolutely correct. That tweet is a Clinton campaign hoax for which their campaign lawyer is undergoing a criminal trial,” Musk tweeted before tagging Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde and asking for their input.

A user by the name VeeSPIKE had tagged Musk, argued the tweet was disinformation, and expressed interest in knowing whether Twitter would take action in the event Musk assumed command of the platform. The billionaire tycoon included a link to a BBC article about the trial of Sussmann, who is accused of misleading the FBI to prompt the agency to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump.

The Clinton campaign tweet resurfaced when a judge ruled it could not be admitted as evidence in Clinton lawyer Sussmann’s trial despite requests from special counsel Durham.

“Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank,” Clinton said in the tweet, along with a statement from then-Clinton campaign adviser Jake Sullivan expanding on the allegations that Trump had a “secret hotline” to Russia.

Musk later noted that he first heard about the Sussmann case last month and that he “was blown away.”

Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover was put on hold last week after he expressed concerns about the prevalence of spam and fake accounts on the platform. Notably, tech stocks have plunged in recent days, bruising Musk’s net worth and raising the prospect of Musk acquiring the platform for a lower price.

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One of Musk’s stated objectives in his Twitter venture is to make the platform more hospitable to free speech. He pledged to “reverse the permaban” of Trump from the platform.

Over recent months, the space and electric vehicle entrepreneur has become increasingly political in his public remarks. Earlier this week, he derided President Joe Biden, proclaiming, “The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter.” He also made waves this week when he declared that he will vote for Republicans despite having voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the past.

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