“The inference to be drawn from (Flynn’s) statement is that other people have blame that should be shared in all of this. The good news is that Gen. Flynn is gone, because he was totally inappropriate — wrong for the job,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi was referring to tweets posted in the hours after Flynn had stepped down, which Cummings had cited a few minutes before:
The problem for Cummings and Pelosi? The @GenMikeFlynn is a clearly marked parody account. And they weren’t the only ones who were duped by the account: The New York Times even had to remove a reference to the tweets from a story and issue a correction.
The House Oversight Dems twitter account later issued a correction of its own:
It’s likely that in preparation for their news conference, Cummings (who cited the tweet first) or a member of his staff came across the tweets and decided they’d be an effective tool in urging their Republican counterparts to launch an investigation. (The Senate Intelligence Committee is beginning its own investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, and its chairman said today that the committee will include Flynn’s contact with Russian officials in its inquiry.)
It seems Cummings and Pelosi used the tweet without doing enough research, namely checking the basic information in the account’s profile, where it is labeled as a parody account.
In the rush to condemn Flynn’s actions, the two Democrats didn’t do their due diligence — a mistake that could backfire if Republicans argue Democrats are politicizing the Flynn firing. Democrats will push for investigations either way, but this could blunt the one bit of political leverage Democrats got out of the situation.