AP FACT CHECK: Democrats cite fake tweet to condemn Michael Flynn

Posted at 5:37 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 17:37:26-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — A fake Michael Flynn Twitter account has fooled two top House Democrats who cited a series of tweets in condemning President Donald Trump's former national security adviser.

Flynn was forced to resign Monday over discussions he had with Russian officials before Trump took office.

At a news conference Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., complained that Republicans in Congress were not adequately investigating Flynn's actions. In doing so, they cited a tweet purportedly from Flynn that said, "I feel it is unfair that I have been made the sole scapegoat for what happened."

CUMMINGS: "Madam leader, just this morning, Flynn tweeted, and this is a quote, 'scapegoat,' end of quote. Scapegoat. He basically described himself as a scapegoat."

PELOSI: "I have a tweet, I'm going to make, I'm telling my staff right now — It's not scapegoat, its stonewall, and that's exactly what the Republicans in Congress are doing."

THE FACTS: That wasn't Flynn tweeting.

Flynn had a different verified Twitter account during the campaign, but it is no longer active, and his own son, Michael Flynn Jr., tweeted in his account that the purported tweet from his father was fake.

Cummings mentioned the tweets at the news conference and Pelosi picked up on the theme.

Both offices later acknowledged the mistake. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill acknowledged that Pelosi inadvertently cited tweets from a fake account. Cummings issued his correction on Twitter: "Yes, sorry, to correct the record — just learned like many others that the Flynn tweet this morning was fake."

The New York Times cited tweets from the unverified account in a story about Flynn's resignation. Later, the newspaper removed the references and corrected its story.