SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An Associated Press analysis of deleted Twitter accounts reveals new details of surreptitious Russian activity shortly before last year’s presidential election. It details how Russian agents attempted to deflect bad news around Donald Trump’s campaign while refocusing criticism on the mainstream media and Hillary Clinton.
Tweets by Russian-backed accounts such as “America_1st_” and “BatonRougeVoice” in October actively pivoted away from news of a video in which Trump made crude comments about groping women. Instead they touted damaging emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign chairman.
The Associated Press examined 36,210 tweets posted by 382 of the accounts that Twitter shared with congressional investigators last week. Twitter deactivated the accounts, making them inaccessible on the internet. But some tweets were retrieved by matching the account handles against an archive obtained by the AP.