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Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer

Mensch and Claude Taylor pushed false information on Trump that was invented by hoax source whose work was not checked, emails show

Explosive allegations about Donald Trump made by online writers with large followings among Trump critics were based on bogus information from a hoaxer who falsely claimed to work in law enforcement.

Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of criminal inquiries into Trump that were invented by a source whose claim to work for the New York attorney general was not checked, according to emails seen by the Guardian. The allegations were endorsed as authentic and retweeted by his co-writer Louise Mensch.

The sources false tips included an allegation, which has been aggressively circulated by Mensch and Taylor, that Trumps inactive fashion model agency is under investigation by New York authorities for possible sex trafficking.

The hoaxer, who fed the information to Taylor by email, said she acted out of frustration over the dissemination of fake news by Taylor and Mensch. Their false stories about Trump have included a claim that he was already being replaced as president by Senator Orrin Hatch in a process kept secret from the American public.

Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them, the source said in an email.

After being approached for comment by the Guardian on Monday, Taylor posted what he described as a mea culpa on Twitter. As a citizen journalist I acknowledge my error and do apologize, he wrote.

Mensch denied using the bogus information and said her allegations about Trumps model agency came from her own sources. Asked why she had retweeted Taylors false posts, Mensch said: I dont think anybody can vet anybody elses sources.

The source falsely claimed to be an official named Caitlin in the office of Eric Schneiderman, New Yorks attorney general. She shared details of her hoax on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation from followers of Taylor and Mensch. The Guardian verified her true identity and confirmed that she is not named Caitlin and does not work for Schneiderman.

In his emails, Taylor pushed the source for sensational material. Three days after she first contacted him, Taylor asked her: Is there anything you have heard thats really going to shock people? An Oh my god! sort of thing? In another message, Taylor conceded that he may have been going farther than I should by posting tweets that exaggerated the false tips she was giving him.

Thousands of people have reposted the false claims tweeted by Taylor, a former staffer in Bill Clintons White House. Mensch, a former member of parliament in the UK, retweeted at least 18 posts by Taylor that were based on the hoaxers false information, spreading them further afield.

The pair describe themselves as co-writers and have cultivated a large fanbase among some critics of Trump, many of whom identify as members of the resistance movement eager to see the president removed from office. Taylor has about 200,000 followers on Twitter while Mensch has 267,000 followers.

Claiming to report things that the mainstream media will not, they have also moved to collect money from readers. Menschs website Patribiotics accepts donations to fund more writers and research. Taylor has said he will soon establish an online fundraising campaign to protect himself from legal threats. A GoFundMe page created by supporters of Taylor has already raised more than $18,000 in his name.

Their reporting has at times entered the mainstream political news agenda. During a television interview earlier this year, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts repeated unverified information about the inquiries into Trump and Russia that he had gleaned from Menschs website. He later withdrew the comment.

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman, said in a statement that the incident highlighted the importance of using legitimate news outlets, which know to verify their sources and their facts.

The bogus source first contacted Taylor by email on 20 July with an email titled NYAG investigation. Earlier that day, MSNBCs Joe Scarborough had quoted approvingly from an online post by Taylor, describing it as one of the best tweets of the past month.

Claiming to be a fan of Taylors writing who worked in Schneidermans organized crime task force (OCTF), the hoaxer told him his reporting on Trump had been right on the money. Taylor replied within two hours, pressing her for usable information about tangible results like indictments. He asked: Are there sealed indictments from grand juries that Schneiderman has convened?

Later that day, the hoaxer replied that Trump associates were indeed facing prosecution on state charges in New York. I am aware of at least one preliminary sealed indictment in that case targeting multiple Trump Org principals, she wrote.

Taylor posted a lightly edited version of this to Twitter two days later. He quoted a NYAG Schneiderman source as having told him: I am aware of at least one sealed indictment targeting multiple Trump Organization Principals. The post was retweeted by Mensch. In all it was retweeted and liked 8,800 times.

In the same email, the source gave Taylor false details of how multiple inquiries into Trump were under way across Schneidermans OCTF and financial crimes bureau. She said that Trumps modelling agency was under scrutiny. Taylor relayed all this without verification to his almost 200,000 followers in a pair of tweets.

There are a number of investigations being coordinated by NYAG Schneiderman office under both the Financial Crimes Bureau and the Organized Crime Task Force. According to my source one of the more intriguing ones is an inverstigation [sic] into the Trump Modeling Agency, Taylor said.

After being asked by a follower for more information, Taylor claimed to know even more than the hoaxer had told him. I have few details but apparently the possibility exists that our president has been a sex trafficker, he said. Mensch then weighed in, reposting this false claim by Taylor and adding a vague allegation of her own that the full story was even worse.

Taylor and Mensch also repeated an invented claim from the source that former president Bill Clinton knew of criminal wrongdoing by Trumps model agency and was was preparing to testify for the prosecution. Taylor posted another series of tweets making lurid allegations about Trumps model agency that yet again matched invented claims supplied to him in emails from the hoaxer.

Since Taylor posted the allegations about Trumps model agency, Mensch has pushed similar claims and pushed the hashtag #PIMPOTUS a play on pimp and the acronym for president of the United States. Citing what she said were her own sources connected to the intelligence community, she published an article expanding on the allegations on 15 August, tagging the post with the label Eric Schneiderman. Mensch had claimed to have knowledge of inquiries by Schneidermans office before the hoaxer contacted Taylor.

The source also falsely specified to Taylor that the state case was proceeding under the NY version of a RICO statute referring to the federal Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act which is called enterprise corruption.
In another tweet on July 22, Taylor claimed that in point of fact, Schneidermans office was using New Yorks Enterprise Corruption statutes which are that States RICO corollary in its apparent pursuit of Trump and his associates.
The following day, claiming to have more from Schneiderman source, Taylor posted a series of tweets giving details about the number of people supposedly being targeted by the inquiries. The tweets corresponded directly with more bogus information emailed to Taylor by the hoaxer earlier that day.

Taylor repeatedly asked the hoaxer whether Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and ally of Trump, was implicated. The source replied on July 25 that Giuliani was currently a subject in the investigation involving money laundering and the Russian mob.

A few hours later, Taylor tweeted to claim that he had confirmed Giuliani was a target of NYAG Trump Organization/money laundering/Russian Organized Crime investigation. He repeated several other false details provided by the source.

How the allegations were based on false information

—————————————
Subject: Re: NYAG investigation
Time: July 20, 2017 7:18 PM
From: Caitlin
To: Claude Taylor
—————————————
Hello Claude,

As you probably know, the RICO case that moved to FISC started in our state. I am not privy to what is happening with the federal case but our state court case in proceeding under the NY version of a RICO statute, which is called enterprise corruption. That case is ongoing and being handled by the Financial Crimes Bureau. I am aware of at least one preliminary sealed indictment in that case targeting multiple Trump Org principals. OCTF is not directly involved in that case but is working on a parallel money laundering investigation involving the Russian mafia and principals in the Trump campaign/transition team as well as an investigation of the modeling agency. As you can imagine, there is substantial overlap among the parties and the timeline has been repeatedly adjusted as more targets have come to light. The enterprise corruption case has a head start on our cases but AGS will want to drop them all at the same time so we are likely looking toward the end of the year.

Yours truly,

Caitlin

Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated)

From NYAG Schneiderman source, “I am aware of at least one sealed indictment targeting multiple Trump Organization Principals”.

July 22, 2017

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

Schneiderman is moving https://t.co/sseoG0yKw9

July 22, 2017

***

—————————————
Subject: Re: Targets
Time: July 23, 2017 9:32 AM
From: Caitlin
To: Claude Taylor
—————————————
Hello Mr Taylor,

Thank you for keeping the public informed and for being discreet about my position. I can tell you that OCTF is targeting a total of 78 people right now between the two investigations we have. As you point out, more will likely be added. Currently, it is a combination of Russian mafia and bag men as well as Trump associates and family members. My understanding is the Financial Crimes Bureau currently has around 30-40 targets for the Trump Org-related case. There is overlap among the targets.

Trump is personally exposed in all three of these investigations, including the money laundering.

The issues that may shock the general public, though probably wont surprise you, have to do with the human trafficking case. Trump Model Management, which recently closed, has ties to Yuri Chaika and his son. We are currently exploring those ties and working with INTERPOL on that aspect of the case. I have to be discreet in how much information I can share at one time so this does not come back to me. But I can tell you now that when this case drops, some VERY high profile names will be involved, some of which are already in talks for immunity deals. I will try to tell you more when I can.
Yours truly,

Caitlin

Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated)

On all three. Many Russian nationals are also among the targets as are other Trump family members.

July 23, 2017

Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated)

I have few details but apparently the possibility exists that our president has been a sex trafficker. That’s frowned upon. https://t.co/SFScjkaLlK

July 22, 2017

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

Worse than that actually. https://t.co/QZ419V2hmn

July 23, 2017

***

—————————————
Subject: Re: Rudy
Time: July 26, 2017 4:27 AM
From: Claude Taylor
To: Caitlin
—————————————
Is Rudy negotiating a plea deal? Is one likely for him?

Sent from my iPhone
—————————————
Subject: Re: Rudy
Time: Jul 26, 2017 1:00 PM
From: Caitlin
To: Claude Taylor
—————————————
His lawyers are in talks for one. Im not privy to the terms but I dont think its even finalized at this point. I suspect he will get a deal.

Claude Taylor | @TrueFactsStated
Giulianis lawyers are pushing for a plea deal on NYAG Enterprise Corruption investigation. The Question is: Can he deliver goods on Trump?
4:42 AM – 3 Aug 2017
782 Retweets 1,939 Likes
Tweet since erased

***

—————————————
Subject: Re: R mob
Time: July 27, 2017 3:39 PM
From: Caitlin
To: Claude Taylor
—————————————
Hello Claude,

i apologize for the delayed response. It was a busy at the office today and I did not have time for a break. Just got off. I am working the human trafficking case so I am more knowledgeable on that but as for the money laundering, there are about 15 Russian nationals involved in that case so far. Some names will be familiar to you, Sater for one. This case is in early development but so far, we know that T kids are involved with some of the shell companies in the money laundering schemes. Fruaiduleng transactions with weird LLCs to hide where the money is coming from and where it is going.

Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated)

From Schneiderman source on money laundering case. Targets include Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Jared & Trump Sr, Felix Sater & 15 Rus nationals.

July 28, 2017

***

In a previous email on July 25, Caitlin told Taylor that a very prominent Democrat was implicated in the trafficking investigation.

—————————————
Subject: Re: Rudy
Time: July 25, 2017 9:42 AM
From: Claude Taylor
To: Caitlin
—————————————
Damn. Bill Clinton.

Sent from my iPhone

—————————————
Subject: Re: Rudy
Time: 1:18 PM
From: Caitlin
To: Claude Taylor
—————————————
I cannot confirm that on the record at this time. But you worked for him. You know. There may be an immunity deal but its a political mess and very sticky. If a high profile democrat gets a deal, high profile republicans will have to get deals as well. No one is going to be happy about this when the dust settles and it may kill AGs political aspirations. But he is trying to juggle his own career goals with what he believes is the right thing to do. Personally, I have faith in him to do the right thing.

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

It’s Bill Clinton. He will testify against #PIMPOTUS https://t.co/YJE5e3pe7T

August 6, 2017

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

Clinton is an @AGschneiderman witness against Trump. #PIMPOTUS #humantrafficking pic.twitter.com/m6uiEYJIBR

August 6, 2017

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

Claude @TrueFactsStated is 100% correct. @AGSchneiderman is all over #PIMPOTUS and locking twitter won’t save him pic.twitter.com/SqfqCgJ0zN

August 6, 2017

Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch)

It’s #PIMPOTUS day on Twitter. #TeamPatriot please use the hashtag and let’s trend @realDonaldTrump human trafficking #Epstein #TrumpModels pic.twitter.com/vWxksCBZjn

August 6, 2017

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/28/trump-tweets-hoax-louise-mensch-claude-taylor

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