A few days ago I picked through the growing wreckage of what the Lincoln Project has become, a story written in the aftermath of the announced resignation by Jennifer Horn. She was one of the original group of NeverTrumpers who thought it was a higher priority to give the government over to socialists and neo-Marxists rather than leave Pres. Trump in place for four more years to pursue an agenda of largely conservative policy proposals. At the end of the story I wrote this:
If you want to know what it must be like to be part of Lincoln Project today, go over to YouTube and search for “Jackass 3D — Poo Cocktail Supreme”. I would link it here, but it’s copyright protected.
Jennifer Horn, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, blasted her colleagues at the anti-Donald Trump Republican group in a blistering Thursday statement.
Horn, who resigned from the organization last week, suggested some people in the group had known about the sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver long before they were made public by The New York Times in a Jan. 31 exposé.
From the New York Times:
Ms. Horn, who resigned from the Lincoln Project last week, said in a statement Thursday night that she had recently learned that other leaders of the group had ignored warnings about Mr. Weaver’s conduct. “When I spoke to one of the founders to raise my objections and concerns, I was yelled at, demeaned and lied to,” she wrote.
Late on Thursday the Lincoln Project Twitter account published “Direct Messages” from Horn’s Twitter account without her permission — revealing she was in contact with a reporter on the subject of the controversies that have engulfed the Lincoln Project the past few weeks. There was no indication as to how they had come into possession of those DMs given that Horn never had a cell phone or laptop that belonged to the Lincoln Project. My colleague Jenn Van Laar was all over that story last night — including a later Tweet by yet another co-founder, attorney George Conway, telling his colleagues manning the Twitter account to “Delete that fooking Tweet NOW you idiots.” He didn’t put it quite like that — he only said “Hey, posting a Tweet using DMs hacked from someone’s Twitter account is a violation of federal law …. delete the tweet NOW YOU FOOKING IDIOTS”. I know that’s what he was thinking. He then made a call to see if the Lincoln Project’s Officers & Directors insurance policy was paid.
The reporter identified in the published DMs, and again by the Lincoln Project’s later Tweet attaching a screenshot of the messages, is Amanda Becker of 19th News who has been chasing the story of the Lincoln Project’s finances and spending. The CEO of 19th News weighed in on the controversy late on Thursday:
“Several minutes ago, @ProjectLincoln posted a series of screenshots of private Twitter DMs showing reporting by one of our journalists — not long after she sent @ProjectLincoln a series of questions to respond to for a story… “We’re not going to be bullied or intimidated out of pursuing critical journalism.”
Sometime later the Lincoln Project — after deleting the Tweet with Horn’s DMs, — took to the bunker and issued a statement saying it had retained “a best-in-class outside professional to review Mr Weaver’s tenure with the organization and to establish both accountability and best practices going forward”, and that they would not comment further.
Too late guys. You hung a target on your backs.
The NYT also reports today that six former employees of the Lincoln Project have asked to be released from “Non-Disclosure Agreements” in order to talk about Weaver and his solicitation of sex acts from young men — apparently including men who worked for the Lincoln Project. That alone raises the question of just how specific are the provisions of these NDAs, do they refer specifically to information about Weaver or matters involving alleged sexual harassment or a hostile work environment. If they do, how is it that someone thought it necessary to include such a provision in an NDA?
The Lincoln Project’s public statement provides that anyone wishing to be released from their NDA should contact the Lincoln Project directly to obtain a release. But the six former employees who have been in contact with the Times say they are uncomfortable doing so. They reference the public comments by co-founder Steve Schmidt about Jennifer Horn when she resigned from the Lincoln Project Friday of last week. Schmidt claimed that Horn did not resign over the handling of the Weaver allegations as she claimed, but instead because she was denied the kinds of financial opportunities from the Lincoln Project that had been given to other co-founders since the election. For all intents and purposes, Schmidt called her a scorned grifter who resigned only after her demands for money were refused.
That $250,000 she asked for, along with a $40,000 a month consulting deal, are looking like a bargain now — aren’t they Steve. I’m guessing he’s never watched “Breaking Bad” and learned any lessons from Mike Ermantraut’s method of keeping inconvenient witnesses quiet. He could have just put the money in a safety deposit box for her every month.
Maybe there’s a lesson in this for him — sometimes the cover-up costs too.