An editor with The Huffington Post is now being investigated by the FBI after jokingly tweeting about destroying ballots cast for President-elect Donald Trump, the editor said.
Nick Baumann tweeted on Oct. 31, days before Election Day that “i love my job working at a voting site in washington dc destroying trump ballots (sic).”
On Nov. 4, he said he received a phone call from the FBI. He thought it was a prank call and didn’t call back. About a month later, the FBI agent tried again.
“The reason I’m calling is—I can’t give you too many details over the phone—we recently received some complaints regarding some online postings that were made. I don’t know if you know what that’s in reference to, but would you be willing to sit down with us for a couple minutes tomorrow morning, by chance?” the agent asked him, according to Baumann’s article.
@lachlan i love my job working at a voting site in washington dc destroying trump ballots
— Nick Baumann (@NickBaumann) October 31, 2016
“I know this may sound ridiculous,” the federal agent added, “but when we receive complaints, we have to follow them up, no matter what,” Baumann quoted him as saying.
He clarified his comment later, saying it was reference to an earlier joke made by another user on Twitter that was apparently taken seriously by several right-leaning websites. It’s worth noting that Baumann didn’t work for a polling station when he crafted the joke tweet.
— holly jones (@hollyjones2012) November 1, 2016
“It’s crucially important that the agency charged with investigating terrorism be able to tell the difference between what is a joke and what’s not. An agency that is using people’s tweets—and retweets—as evidence in terror trials should probably understand how Twitter works,” he argued.
The investigation is still ongoing, Baumann added.