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CNN’s Chris Cillizza Falls for Peter Strzok Parody Twitter Account

CNN's Chris Cillizza, who got duped by a parody "Peter Strzok" account because of its too-good-to-check rhetoric calling President Donald Trump a "Russian asset."
CNN, Chip Somodevilla/Getty, Edit: BNN

CNN Politics Reporter and Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza shared a post from a fake account pretending to be fired FBI special agent Peter Strzok, boosting salacious claims hours after Strzok confirmed his termination on a different, legitimate account.

Why did Cillizza skip the most basic of due diligence? It may have been that the post he shared would have meant Strzok accused President Donald Trump of being “a Russian asset” — total catnip to Russia-obsessed CNN.

“I have been fired for expressing my personal opinion in private texts about a dictator that history will soon deem not only a Russian asset but an unhinged madman threatening the sovereignty of the United States of America,” the Strzok parody account declared.

The tweet, which has garnered 12,247 retweets and 33,583 likes as of 6:40 p.m. EST, caught the attention of Cillizza, who quote tweeted the parody account and wrote: “So I guess Strzok isn’t sorry or….”

Nearly 15 minutes later, he admitted that he had fallen for the fake account, which switched its handle from @_peterstrzok to @notpeterstrzok over the course of the day. “And now I am told this is a fake Strzok account…,” Cillizza told his 664,000 Twitter followers. 

Fellow journalists called out Cillizza for spreading the false tweet. “This is a fake account @CillizzaCNN and everyone else retweeting it indiscriminately,” wrote BuzzFeed’s Jane Lytvynenko, who included an eye-roll emoji at the end of her tweet. 

Riley Robert, former chief speechwriter to Attorney General Eric Holder, scolded Cillizza for spreading a “clearly a fake account.” “The responsible thing would have been to check, as @BuzzFeedNews did (Strzok’s lawyers confirmed over an hour ago that his real handle is @petestrzok) before sharing something so clearly implausible and out of character with your many followers,” Roberts wrote.

Cillizza’s former colleague, pro-Trump media pundit Jeffrey Lord, responded to the blunder, tweeting: “Oh geez. This stuff is the bane of Tweeting existence.”

“[F]ake. account,” MSNBC producer Nick Ramsey wrote bluntly to the beclowned CNN blogger.

Strzok, tweeting from the username “@petestrzok,” confirmed that the FBI fired him, presumably over messages disparaging then-candidate Donald Trump and his supporters while working on the Clinton email probe. He released a statement written by his lawyer Aitan Goelman of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, explaining the events surrounding his firing from the law enforcement agency on Friday. The fired FBI agent’s genuine Twitter account — which follows 30 others, ranging from Never Trumper Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol and actor Jim Carrey — is approaching 10,000 followers.

The disgraced investigator launched a GoFundMe campaign with a target to raise $150,000 tp cover legal fees and lost income. “We are asking you to support a man who has dedicated his life to defending America; to stand up for the freedoms on which this country was built and a government that truly serves the people by protecting all Americans, including dedicated government employees, from constantly being subjected to the whims and influence of politicians,” reads Strzok’s GoFundMe account campaign. As of 6:39 p.m. EST, the campaign has taken in $59,549.

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