Donald Trump Jr. live-tweeted the Senate intelligence committee hearing with James Comey
He also repeatedly took shots at press accounts of the hearing and broader probe
The work of defending President Donald Trump in the media is not for the faint of heart. His communications director has already resigned and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s standing is in a constant state of flux.
So the White House’s decision to effectively hand off rapid response duties on Thursday to the Republican National Committee seemed like a way of cutting the unpredictable Trump voice out of the conversation as James Comey, the fired FBI director, testified on his interactions with the President.
But those plans were quickly scuppered by another Trump, Donald Jr., who live-tweeted the Capitol Hill hearing and, after boosting one of their early tweets, quickly drowned out the more carefully crafted RNC messaging program.
Trump Jr.’s posts were more specific and pointed. Responding to a mention of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, he argued that Comey had ascribed to the President’s words more formality – or subtext – than actually existed.
“Flynn stuff is BS in context 2 guys talking about a guy they both know well. I hear ‘I hope nothing happens but you have to do your job,’” he tweeted. “Very far from any kind of coercion or influence and certainly not obstruction!”
The third tweet in the set made a more nuanced point, though one that might not withstand any substantial legal scrutiny.
“Knowing my father for 39 years when he ‘orders or tells’ you to do something there is no ambiguity,” Trump Jr. added, “you will know exactly what he means.”
He also repeatedly took shots at news accounts of the hearing and broader probe, frequently retweeting the firebrand former spokesman for the US Mission to the United Nations and Republican strategist Richard Grenell’s attacks on the media.
When Grenell wrote, “Breaking: DC reporters are NOT tweeting the line where Comey destroys their anonymous sourced narratives,” Trump Jr. added: “I wonder why that is??? I don’t often ask for RTs but this one is likely worth it.”
Trump Jr. and RNC denied there was any space separating their two messages.
“I thought today’s efforts between myself and the RNC were incredibly successful in pushing back against the fake media,” Trump Jr. said. “To suggest anything else is another example of the media distorting the facts.”
Among the other familiar names either cited or amplified by Trump Jr.: Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who frequently downplays the Russia investigation, “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams, a vocal Trump supporter and the Daily Wire’s John Nolte, who tweets under the name, “CNN Is ISIS & Hitler,” fired former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the National Review’s Rich Lowry and Joe Biggs, most recently and notably of Infowars, and pro-Trump radio host and Twitter celebrity Bill Mitchell.
By a little before 12:30 p.m. ET, nearly two-and-a-half hours into Comey’s testimony, Trump Jr. had tweeted more than 40 times.