Since the Lincoln Project co-founder Jennifer Horn resigned her position last Friday, the organization itself and co-founder Steve Schmidt have gone scorched earth against Horn, accusing her of grifting (as we detailed on Saturday). Thursday night the vendetta veered into new, and possibly illegal, territory, when the group tweeted screenshots purporting to be direct messages from Horn’s Twitter account.
The messages were between Horn and journalist Amanda Becker, a reporter with The 19th who had been working on an expose on the Lincoln Project’s finances for some time. She reached out to Horn Friday night, shortly after Horn’s resignation was announced. The messages continued through to Wednesday evening and mentioned an upcoming story about the Lincoln Project’s internal communications, which could have been referring to a NY Mag Intelligencer story published earlier Thursday – the latest in a series of articles poking holes in the Lincoln Project’s assertions that they knew nothing about co-founder John Weaver sexually harassing young men until January 2021.
During the time that new messages were still being added to the Lincoln Project’s thread, former member and co-founder George Conway tweeted that the Lincoln Project might be on shaky legal ground by posting the DM’s, and suddenly the thread vanished. But, independent journalist Yashar Ali had documented the thread:
1. Lincoln Project tweeted out a thread that appeared to contain screenshots from their former partner @NHJennifer's account
Unclear how they got access to them
These exchanges were with journalist @AmandaBecker
They have deleted the thread but here are screenshots
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 12, 2021
The first tweet from the Lincoln Project read:
Earlier this evening we became aware that @AmandaBecker of @19thNews was preparing to publish a smear job on the Lincoln Project with the help of @NHJennifer. You hear a lot of talk about hit-jobs in journalism, but rarely do you get to see their origin story. Enjoy.
That tweet included a screenshot showing that it was from Jennifer Horn’s DM’s, and began with the initial message from Amanda Becker to Horn. That message was from Friday night, shortly after Horn announced she had resigned. Becker told Horn that she had been speaking with people who’d left the Lincoln Project, and that she’d be happy to talk with her over the weekend. Horn let Becker know that her departure wasn’t over compensation, as Steve Schmidt had alleged, but that she needed to speak with her attorney before saying more.
(The entire thread from Yashar Ali, with the screenshots, can be viewed here. Be prepared to facepalm.)
As the thread went along, Becker asked a lot of questions and Horn gave few answers, which is understandable. She gave Becker the name and contact information of a Lincoln Project staffer who might be willing to talk to her, and referenced the RedState article I published Saturday, which was the first article to tie Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen with a newly-formed company called Ashton Media. Ashton Media was paid nearly $15 million by the Lincoln Project during the 2020 election cycle, and Horn told Becker, “The link I sent you to the RedState story has some of your research done for you.”
The messages Yashar screenshotted went from Friday evening through Wednesday afternoon, but the Lincoln Project said in their first tweet that “earlier this evening” they were made aware that a hit piece was going to be published. So, when did they access Horn’s DM’s, and how? Were they alerted to a pending “hit piece” against them in the form of a request for comment?
According to Yashar, who was in contact with Horn, Horn did not have a Lincoln Project-issued phone or computer, so she could not have inadvertently left her Twitter account logged on. And, Horn tweeted that she did not give permission for anyone to access her DM’s or to post them.
I’m told that @NHJennifer did not have a laptop or phone issued by the Lincoln Project.
It is unclear how they accessed her direct messages in order to tweet them.
It wouldn’t have been through a company issued phone or laptop and she did not give them consent pic.twitter.com/Wzm4UqP4qc
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 12, 2021
That seems to be the question on everyone’s minds, including George Conway, who said it looked to be a violation of federal law.
This looks on its face to be a violation of federal law and should be taken down immediately. https://t.co/7IlMjiAIpl
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 12, 2021
The only co-founder the remaining members seem to have turned against – beside Weaver, obviously – is Jennifer Horn. Is it because she’s a woman, or is it because she’s the only one who has refused to carry their water? Of the former members, Conway has been the most vocal against Weaver, but they haven’t come after him. Is it because he’s a man or because they know Kellyanne will come after them?
Mike Madrid and Ron Steslow haven’t said much, but in the pieces that have come out this week they’re accused of having known about Weaver’s proclivities and ignored the warnings, so it makes sense that Madrid, Steslow, and the Lincoln Project have maintained a cease fire.
Jennifer Horn really hasn’t said anything over the past week, but it seems they’re attempting to proactively neutralize her. Why? Schmidt and Lincoln Project claim her departure was over compensation, and they claim they have emails documenting their position. If that’s true, why didn’t they just post those instead of going into her DM’s? The failure of the Lincoln Project to produce the proof they said they had about the compensation squabble says a lot.
Also, if you click through to Yashar Ali’s screenshots, pay close attention to what is said about the companies through which co-founders are paid. There will be more revealed in the coming days about those companies and their ties to co-founders.