The Never Trump group the Lincoln Project published a series of private messages between cofounder Jennifer Horn and a journalist — seemingly without permission from Horn — and then, minutes later, deleted the messages during a bizarre unfolding of events late Thursday night.
The scandal-plagued political action committee is under intense scrutiny after public reports surfaced in January that another one of its eight cofounders, John Weaver, had for years engaged in inappropriate and sexually explicit messaging with young men, and furthermore, that his colleagues had known about his behavior since at least last summer.
Yashar Ali, contributor to HuffPost and NBC News who maintains a large Twitter presence, posted on the social media platform a string of screenshots of the Lincoln Project’s now-deleted tweets that had exposed the private messages between Horn and 19th News reporter Amanda Becker.
“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,” the group wrote as it introduced the screenshots. “You hear a lot of talk about hit-jobs in journalism, but rarely do you get to see their origin story. Enjoy”:
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
Attorney George Conway, another cofounder who is on the group’s advisory board but not an active member, responded to the screenshots, “This looks on its face to be a violation of federal law and should be taken down immediately”:
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
Horn, who resigned from the Lincoln Project on bad terms on February 5 after the allegations against Weaver became public, also responded that she had not given permission for her private messages to be published and referenced Twitter support:
— Jennifer Expel the Seditionists Horn (@NHJennifer) February 12, 2021
Emily Ramshaw, CEO of 19th News, suggested her outlet did not condone the messages being published either, writing in response to the screenshots, “We’re not going to be bullied or intimidated out of pursuing critical journalism.”
Breitbart News reached out to the Lincoln Project inquiring on why the messages were deleted and how the group had accessed them and did not immediately receive a response.
The group had posted the screenshots shortly after it announced Thursday night that it would be conducting a third-party investigation into the allegations against Weaver and that it would be releasing any former employees from nondisclosure agreements who want to publicly speak about Weaver.
In addition to the whirlwind of misconduct reports about one of the cofounders, the well-funded group has also come under fire for its spending practices. The group claims to be comprised of Republicans fighting “Trumpism,” but its advertising in the 2020 election cycle was directed solely toward aiding Democrats.
Furthermore, a breakdown of the expenses, as reported by the Associated Press, found that “only about a third” of its nearly $90 million raised in the 2020 election cycle went directly toward that advertising. “That leaves tens of millions of dollars that went toward expenses like production costs, overhead — and exorbitant consulting fees collected by members of the group,” the outlet reported.
Hours before Thursday night’s screenshot fiasco, Horn released a lengthy statement saying she was “genuinely shocked” by the allegations against Weaver and highlighting that her departure from the group had been met with anger and skepticism by her colleagues, who accused her of attempting to financially benefit off the turmoil by demanding a signing bonus.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com.