The Lincoln Project is facing intense backlash and potentially major legal trouble after it was accused of publishing screenshots of private Twitter direct messages belonging to one of its co-founders, Jennifer Horn.
Horn, who left the Lincoln Project last week amid the John Weaver scandal, has had a public spat with the anti-Trump group ever since her departure. But the Lincoln Project escalated tensions on Thursday night with tweets that appeared to be an exchange she had with 19th News correspondent Amanda Becker.
"Earlier this evening, we became aware that @AmandaBecker of @19thnews was preparing to publish a smear job on the Lincoln Project with the help of @NHJennifer," the Lincoln Project began a lengthy thread. "You hear a lot of talk about hit-jobs in journalism, but rarely do you get to see their origin story. Enjoy."
The tweets drew immediate condemnation, including by one of its co-founders, conservative attorney George Conway.
"This looks on its face to be a violation of federal law and should be taken down immediately," Conway warned.
Conway departed from the group back in August 2020.
Horn herself later reacted to the controversy, alerting Twitter that the Lincoln Project did not have permission to publish her private messages.
"Hey @Twitter @jack @TwitterSupport I did not give consent," Horn wrote.
It is unclear how the Lincoln Project obtained screenshots of Horn's private messages or how, if it did, the group gained access to Horn's Twitter account.
The Lincoln Project's actions sparked wild reactions on social media.
"This is legitimately outrageous," Tablet Magazine associate editor Noah Blum tweeted.
"It is hardly the most important thing happening today, amid impeachment, tens of millions of doses of covid vaccine becoming available, changes coming to Medicaid work requirements. But can’t say I’ve ever seen something like what just happened involving Horn’s account," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote.
Author Ryan James Girdusky, who was one of the first journalists to bring the Weaver allegations to light, declared, "The Lincoln Project is on a full meltdown."
19th News founder and CEO Emily Ramshaw defended her reporter who was swept up in the controversy, tweeting, "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."
The Lincoln Project did not respond to Fox News' multiple inquiries, including why it chose to delete the Twitter thread and its responses to Horn and Conway's reactions.
Twitter did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment as to whether or not the Lincoln Project violated its policies.
Both Conway and Horn called for an independent counsel to investigate Weaver's conduct during his tenure at the Lincoln Project after a pair of bombshell reports from The Associated Press and New York magazine alleged that the groups leaders were made aware of at least ten sexual harassment claims against Weaver back in June 2020, including by two Lincoln Project employees.