WATCH: Twitter Files & the Death of Russiagate

Matt Taibbi joins CN Live! to discuss the implications of his Twitter Files revelations, including his latest on Hamilton 68 and its fatal blow to the Russiagate narrative. With Chris Hedges and John Kiriakou. Watch the replay.

Joe Lauria writes:

In the latest installment of the blockbuster Twitter Files, reporter Matt Taibbi has revealed that probably the most important source behind the maniacal media output on the Russiagate story was a lie. 

Hundreds of articles and television segments in the major U.S. Media, which kept the Russiagate fiasco front and center in American political life for several years, was fueled by a website called Hamilton 68.

The name comes from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers No. 68, in which he writes about the danger of foreign interference in U.S. elections. Hamilton 68 was launched in August 2017, less than a year after Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump and just as Democrats increasingly blamed alleged Russian interference for Clinton’s defeat.

As the hysteria over unproven allegations of Russia’s role gathered steam, Hamilton 68 appeared. It became a go-to source for corporate media by saying it had a list, which it refused to make public, of Twitter accounts it was monitoring. There are conflicting statements from Hamilton about whether these were bots or real people, and whether they were direct agents of Russia or unwitting dupes.

Taibbi writes:

“The two founders of Hamilton 68, the blue-and-red team of former counselor to Marco Rubio Jamie Fly and Hillary for America Foreign Policy Advisor Laura Rosenberger, told Politico they couldn’t reveal the names of the accounts because “the Russians will simply shut them down.”

Twitter, the files Taibbi discovered say, did not buy Hamilton’s story and privately pushed back. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s trust and safety chief at the time, said in one internal email: “I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is.” He also threatened to give Hamilton an ultimatum, either they release the list, or Twitter would.

Twitter only obtained the list by reverse engineering data requests made by Hamilton back in 2017.

Taibbi’s reporting indicated these were real people indeed. Only about 30 Twitter accounts on the list were Russian, the rest real Americans, Britons and Canadians.

Most were Trump supporters, with Twitter handles like @TrumpDyke. But some were not, such as myself before I became editor-in-chief of Consortium News, when I was only a writer for the site, publishing several articles debunking Russiagate in 2017.

On Hamilton’s advisory council sits former senior U.S. officials, several with intelligence backgrounds, such as Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security chief; former acting C.I.A. director Michael Morell; Rick Ledgett, a former NSA deputy director; Clint Watts, a former F.B.I. counter-intelligence officer; Mike Rogers, a former F.B.I. Agent and member of the U.S. House intelligence committee; former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul; former Estonian President Toomas Ilves and thrown in for good measure: John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign and arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol.

Hamilton 68 has blamed the media for misinterpreting its data and ignoring its appeals to correct their stories.

Hamilton 68 was rebranded Hamilton 2.0 in December and its secret list has now been replaced by a public list that only names government officials and media from Russia, China and Iran.

We asked someone from the Alliance for Securing Democracy to appear on this show and received no reply.

This troubling story underscores the gross failure of corporate media, like CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and even fact-checking sites like PolitFact and Snopes, to be skeptical of intelligence sources, whether active or retired. It also exposes the failure of members of Congress to not let the facts get in the way of a story that serves their political interests, as Senators Diane Feinstein and Mark Warner became reliant on Hamilton 68. Academia was also taken in.

Taibbi’s revelations add to a litany of facts that have repeatedly debunked the Russiagate tale: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report that found no connection between Russia and the Trump campaign; the president of CrowdStrike’s admission under oath to Congress of finding no evidence of any hack of the DNC servers; an NYU study showing minimal impact of Russian Facebook posts and the Clinton campaign paying for both CrowdStrike, and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s fabulous opposition research on Trump.

The Hamilton Twitter File may at last be the final nail in the Russiagate coffin.

Our special guest tonight is independent journalist Matt Taibbi, a former reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine and author. His latest book is Hate, Inc. Matt also runs Racket, a Substack publication where his Hamilton 68 story was published.

We are also joined by former New York Times correspondent and author Chris Hedges, whose latest book is The Greatest Evil is War. And by John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer, author of The Reluctant Spy, and the man who blew the whistle on the agency’s torture program.

Hosts: Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria. Producer: Cathy Vogan

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20 comments for “WATCH: Twitter Files & the Death of Russiagate

  1. Larry McGovern
    February 3, 2023 at 22:15

    What an absolutely fantastic program!!! Should be required viewing – for, ahhh, let’s see….maybe everyone?!
    In July, 2017, a Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) memo, using the expertise of Bill Binney and other NSA alums, proved by way of the laws of physics, that it was impossible for there to have been a Russian hack,
    Patrick Lawrence, smelled a rat almost immediately, and wrote an article on the spot debunking the official “hacking” version.

    Many thanks to Joe for putting this program together, and to the participants for enlightening us, for both scaring us and making us hopeful (plus throwing in some humor, which is sorely needed!).

  2. TRogers
    February 3, 2023 at 21:52

    Thanks for this great discussion. I knew Russiagate was a fraud from the beginning thanks to FACTS published by Consortium News.

    Now it is becoming clear that the Deep State and the Deep Media are two tentacles of the same octopus. As Deep Throat advised, “Follow the money”. Who can afford that much control & coordination? And what is their agenda?

    They are attacking the US Constitution’s 1st Amendment. So they are obviously enemies of the American people. They need to be unmasked and their operation destroyed.

  3. Geoff Burns
    February 3, 2023 at 19:32

    As decisive as Taibbi’s revelations are, they will make no difference. Russiagate is dogma among the (il)liberal left. The Hamilton68 story will be ignored. Anyone who refers to it will be tarred as a Trumpster and a disseminator of disinformation. It’s either Russiagate or Stop the Steal; there are only two teams on the field. What flavor of insanity do you prefer?

  4. Jennifer P
    February 3, 2023 at 16:39

    I think it’s AWESOME that HAMILTON 68 got busted for having your name on the list Joe (Lauria).

  5. Stephen Morrell
    February 3, 2023 at 02:44

    According to Robert Barnes (in the latest Duran livestream, 02Feb2023):

    1. Bezos is selling WaPo because he bought it to secure contracts with the CIA and Pentagon (mission accomplished), and now wants to get out of politics and own a football team instead.

    2. The main point of contact between Christopher Steele and the US regime was one…Victoria Nuland.

  6. Bushrod Lake
    February 2, 2023 at 16:26

    These guys are giants, who got that way by doing their jobs.

  7. Eddie S
    February 2, 2023 at 13:08

    While it’s been said numerous times before, I still have to marvel at the casual assumption of the ‘Russia-gaters’ that a foreign nation on the other side of the world, with a significantly different culture that isn’t even English speaking, would be MORE politically savvy (vis-a-vis US elections) then the US campaign strategists who are plying their trade 8 hrs a day throughout the years prior to the POTUS elections, spending BILLIONS of dollars (I seem to recall a 10 billion figure thrown around?) in the process. If nothing else, Russiagate would require STRONG evidence (ie; ‘exceptional claims require exceptional evidence’, as Carl Sagan appropriately opined years ago) not just a lot of vague “ consistent-with..” or ‘anonymous sources say’ pronouncements.

  8. Valerie
    February 2, 2023 at 10:21

    What an eye-opener of a discussion. Thankyou all for such revelations. Some very humourous tales in there. And some very alarming. I can well imagine being ostracized for not following the narrative. It happens to ordinary citizens like myself too. But never give up your integrity because of fear of not being invited to the CIA christmas party.

  9. Jenmarya Johnson
    February 2, 2023 at 06:46

    For Matt: no one was harmed by intelligence analyst Mannings’ leaks which were published by Wikileaks. Her job was to assess risk and her leaks were assessed to maximize pressure to change, so only to embarrass (and many ppl roundly deserved it! Like David Lindwall, whose career is tefloned, apparently, and is now Charges d’Affaires in US’s Embassy in Sweden, but who once said a Haitian wage increase didn’t take reality into account and only appealed to “unemployed and underpaid masses.”) During Manning’s court martial, the one (1) unfortunate man Robert Carr tried to claim was killed by the Taliban as a result of the leak turned out to be absent from the leaks. The judge ordered Carr’s testimony stricken from the record. Manning also writes in _readme.txt_ that no tactical advantage was conferred by the leaks. I don’t get why you say here that you can “see both sides.”

    In your review of Twitter files, you had to have come across Assange-related tweets and twitter accounts. Will you discuss USIC attempts to smear Assange/ as a spy? To taint his supporters as Russia bots? You are providentially placed to help him.

    Why does the official narrative ignore the timing of the 2016 DNC WikiLeaks revelations? They came three days before the DNC convention. In fact, one of the FOIA-released interviews from the FBI’s Seth Rich investigation (possibly a DNC staffer) says they feared the stolen emails they’d read about would “come out around the DNC convention.” They were worried they would help Bernie, not Trump! Who changed the narrative?

    I think you’d like _A Century of Repression: The Espionage Act and Freedom of the Press_. Wilson started intel orgs to influence public opinion to support WWI. The CPI, GID, BI, etc. have been prodding us to think like them since Wilson sent out boy scouts door to door repeating a list of talking points!

    For John: No wonder “courtier” Bob Woodward hasn’t said a word about Julian Assange.

    For Chris, Joe, Matt and John: Thank you for all your work!

    • mary-lou
      February 3, 2023 at 13:28

      concerning Julian Assange: are you aware of the following initiative (by the Assange Defense Committee) – hxxps://

  10. Joseph Tracy
    February 2, 2023 at 01:55

    The assumption by the woman lawyer that Trump was taking orders from Putin was both delusional and something that went undiscussed- it was projection. Both major social and political options in the US involve taking orders about what to think. It was delusional because Trump gives orders, fires people who question them, and even whatever is in charge of his brain changes frequently. It was projection because that is the entire modus operendi of our politics and intelligence. When all success requires contributing to the ruthless pursuit of power on behalf of a violent empire, all allies tend toward the criminal and those who question that criminality are perceived to be as ruthless and calculating as the rest of the world you live in. This is the mindset of an authoritarian society. You limit your questions if it upsets the boss, husband, social company, institution. You take orders, and assume others do the same. Your freedom depends on subservience.

  11. Sand Dune Rider
    February 1, 2023 at 21:54

    What always fascinated me about ‘Russiagate’ is that it mis-directed attention from the real foreign powers who helped and then benefit from Trump’s term.

    Who are the two nations towards whom Trump was subservient and obedient during his 4 years? Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Trump’s people met with both groups during the 16 campaign. Trump never had a history of being pro-Israel, but then suddenly Trump became very pro-Israel and the same money from Sheldon Adelson that backed Netanyahu suddenly backed Trump.

    So, our President was under foreign influence, which the Democrats did a great job of covering up by all this nonsense about Russia.

    • SH
      February 2, 2023 at 15:14

      Ah, but nothing to see here, move on …
      Shucks, Trump “had to be” somebody’s puppet – let’s see who’s available, Israel? Saudi Arabia? Naw, too close to home, parallels with Dem Pres too obvious, can’t have that – hey, what about Russia – always a convenient bogeyman, easy to get folks to hate the “evil” Russians – and anyone who deals with them, especially anyone contesting a Dem politician for power …

    • robert e williamson jr
      February 3, 2023 at 23:41

      When your party is the equivalent of being “paid opposition” this is what happens. Clinton squared got themselves in over their heads when after aiding CIA escapades in Arkansas and getting too full of themselves the Deep State representatives, whispered in Slick Willy’s ear that if he played his cards right he could become president. He couldn’t say no, as they say “it was an offer he couldn’t refuse”.

      This pod cast came very close to exposing what we might learn next about the intelligence community controlling the media. Matt Taibbi has ripped the scab off the cancer that is social media.

      The panel tonight tip toed close close to the edge, I don’t have to, I’m not a journalist and not hampered by that professional conduct contract of not having those facts ‘in hand’.

      Hamilton 68 is the work of the intelligence community. It is a method developed and used since before the 1970’s by CIA and others [and used domestically since the Reagan administration, SEE: The Victory of Perception Management] to ‘brain wash’ the country’s populace. The wild fire of problems produced by the use of telephone platforms to facilitate social media are the result of the intelligence community hijacking proprietary right to property – scientific discoveries etc. and demanding exclusive rights, ‘ or else ‘.

      This practice was born out of the WWII effort, especially for instance the atomic bomb efforts. During the early years if the US government wanted you to work on the bomb project you did. Other wise no job for you anywhere else. Now the method is used to convince individuals to do the bidding of the government or else, no big easy money for you.

      Just another in a long list of methods CIA has used to corrupt government. Except this now common practice (?) goes unchallenged, whether it’s it’s a sources and methods thing or not.

      Guess what the practice still goes against the CIA mandate not to run ‘ops’ in the United States. SEE the old Bill Hamilton – PROMIS software scandal that has been muzzled.

      Joe Laura had it right it’s a clandestine op run by former intel types for the benefit of the intelligence community and if we had a decent justice system in this country it would stop this and many other despicable practices law enforcement and the intelligence community abuse US citizenry with.

      Thanks CN

  12. Randal Marlin
    February 1, 2023 at 21:51

    Chris Hedges mentioned Eric Voegelin. It seems to me that Washington’s power-holders have followed his philosophy more than the public knows. Here’s a quote from Voegelin with the reference:
    Quote from Eric Voegelin:
    • “It is the task of a politician to bamboozle his people into doing, for all sorts of reasons, things which should be done for the right reasons. That is the art of a statesman.”
    • hxxp://

    See: Eric Voegelin Published Essays, 1953-1965 COLLECTED WORKS VOL 11
    IN SEARCH OF THE GROUND. Conversations with Eric Voegelin, St. Thomas More Institute, Montreal, February 28th, 1965, p. 251

  13. weil
    February 1, 2023 at 20:43

    You are seeing the assemblage of fascism and how the sausage is made.

    Russiagate created the mind for the War.

    No doubt.

    Twitter will be suppressed.

    The story will not play in the psoped American’s mind.

    People stick to their self justifying belief system, light of evidence.

  14. February 1, 2023 at 13:06

    And still, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks insists that the Clinton campaign did nothing wrong but that Mr. Trump and his attorneys should be sanctioned for asserting their related legal rights. No wonder so many decent United States citizens have not only lost faith in the federal government, but in the judiciary at all levels. Judge Donald Middlebrooks always seems to side with whatever government attorneys or attorneys representing Deep State tools urge him to do. Unfortunately, he is far from alone in doing so.

  15. LeoSun
    February 1, 2023 at 12:51

    Awh, indeed, w/“the moon shining bright.” Crank it Up! No doubt Taibbi, Lauria, Vos, Hedges, Kiriakou, “CN LIVE!!!”, et al., will get it right. There’s gonna be a “purification” party, for “Hamilton 68,” tonight. Thank You, for the invitation!

    “We can beat around the bushes. We can get down to the bone. We can leave it in the parkin’ lot; but, either way, there’s gonna be a “purification party,” a heartache tonight, we know…., “heartache, Hamilton 68”

    “This night is gonna last forever. Last all, last all “winter” long. Sometime before the sun comes up, the Radio is gonna play that song,” (The Eagles-Legacy). “KEEP IT LIT.”


  16. Lois Gagno
    February 1, 2023 at 11:30

    Definitely looking forward to this!

    • Lois Gagnon
      February 1, 2023 at 11:32

      Whoops. Spelled my own name wrong. It’s Gagnon. Stupid touch screen. lol

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