Former President Donald Trump said on Monday that the FBI tried to “shut” him down in 2020 for tweeting about his COVID recovery and asking his followers on Twitter not to be “afraid” of the virus in the midst of the pandemic.
“The FBI tried to shut me down when I was being positive, and way ahead of the curve—as opposed to Governors that shut their States down, even for short periods,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social, sharing an article by the Daily Caller that reported on the latest updates regarding the so-called Twitter Files.
Though Trump accused the FBI of trying to “shut” him down, his Monday Truth Social post was referring to Jim Baker, a former Twitter attorney who used to work with the FBI as a general counsel but no longer served in that position when he started working with Twitter.
The Twitter Files are reports on internal records of Twitter employees’ emails that were released by CEO Elon Musk. The records reveal the platform’s past decision-making process and its efforts in monitoring content that violates its policies as well as its communications with members of federal agencies.
Independent journalist David Zweig on Monday posted a Twitter thread that showed an email exchange between Baker, who was Twitter’s former deputy general counsel, and two former Twitter executives about Trump’s COVID tweet in 2020.
Trump wrote the tweet after he contracted the virus and was receiving treatment on October 5, 2020, saying: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Baker at the time reportedly emailed Twitter’s former legal executive Stacia Cardille and former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth about Trump’s COVID tweet, asking why it doesn’t violate the platform’s COVID-19 policy, according to a screenshot of the email posted by Zweig.
“In short, this tweet is a broad, optimistic statement,” Roth responded, according to Zweig. “It doesn’t incite people to do something harmful, nor does it recommend against taking precautions or following mask directives (or other guidelines). It doesn’t fall within the published scope of our policies. Curious whether you have a different read on it, though.”
Newsweek couldn’t independently verify the validity of those emails. In addition, Zweig didn’t release more details about Baker’s further correspondence with the former Twitter executives at the time.
The FBI has been heavily criticized by Republicans since the Twitter Files reports were first released. One of the Twitter Files reports showed that the bureau reportedly sent out emails to former Twitter employees about election misinformation shared on the social media platform.
Earlier this month, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, said on Twitter that the FBI needs “serious reshaping” and added that “the FBI is designing what u see so they can control what you think & how u behave.” Meanwhile, the House Judiciary GOP tweeted at the time, “Does anyone still trust the FBI?”
Newsweek reached out to Jim Baker for comment.