Two weeks ago this coming Saturday, a Tweet from the Colorado Republican Party’s official Twitter account sent aggrieved local supporters of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump into an outraged tizzie:
Eli Stokols, local political correspondent now writing for Politico, was quick to report the party’s denial of any responsibility for the Tweet, but the moment it appeared the damage was done:
Even though it only existed in the ether of cyberspace for a few minutes, the optics of such a tweet coming from the neutral arbiter of Saturday’s delegate selection process amidst a hard-fought trench war between Cruz and Donald Trump to secure the Republican presidential nomination rankled a number of Colorado Republicans.
In the immediate aftermath, the party claimed to have insight into the Tweet’s origin, as 7NEWS reported at the time:
House wouldn’t say how many people on staff have access to the account, but said they “had a process going on to find out who actually knew the password to the account.” House added “it’s only a matter of time,” before they find out who sent that tweet, as they knew the IP address the tweet went out from. [Pols emphasis]
But as the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reported yesterday (paywalled), that’s not true.
Saying that the state GOP “has been engaged in dialogue with Twitter in an attempt to identify the source of the Tweet,” Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House wrote in an email sent Tuesday evening that it appears Twitter will require state Republicans to “initiate a lawsuit and issue a subpoena” before the social media company will reveal more information about where the #NeverTrump tweet originated…
“Because of the seriousness of this matter, the party intends to pursue such legal process to compel Twitter to produce the IP address from which the tweet originated,” the email reads. [Pols emphasis] “The Colorado GOP is confident that once it has the IP address it will be able to identify the individual or company that issued the tweet. It will then seek recovery from the individual and/or company that issued the tweet for the cost associated with its investigation, legal efforts and the harassment of its officials and staff.”
So…they were lying when they said they had the IP address the first time? These statements can’t both be true. But wait, there’s more!
According to the email — sent to individuals and companies who “have had access to the @ColoGOP Twitter account” — the state GOP has turned up “evidence this tweet was sent via Twitter for iPhone” [Pols emphasis] but is unable to determine more without filing a lawsuit and obtaining a subpoena.
Now, where do you suppose they obtained “evidence” the Tweet was sent via an iPhone?
Oh, wait, never mind. It’s in the Tweet.
In short, the Colorado Republican Party has learned absolutely nothing about the origin of the #NeverTrump Tweet, and lied when they claimed to have the IP address. We’re not sure what the grounds would be for a legal action for compel Twitter to produce that information, but it should be noted that the IP address of the sending device may not help identify the sender at all–more likely simply identifying what cellular carrier was used, or if they’re lucky, maybe the IP address to a hard-line internet service provider. Presumably, another legal action would be necessary to compel that company to produce its logs.
The fact that the party demonstrably lied about what it knew regarding this Tweet, with this admission that they don’t have the IP address, is just another blow to the Colorado GOP’s credibility with Trump supporters who already deeply suspect foul play. It’s possible that the party’s legal action (if any) will at some point bear fruit, and belatedly reveal the identity of the person with access to the party’s official GOP account who committed this “unauthorized” action.
If and when that ever happens, there’s a good chance nobody will care. Because they’ve seen enough.