In December, Omar Navarro, the Republican candidate for California’s 43rd district, unveiled what he thought could be a bombshell. Taking to Twitter, Navarro revealed that his opponent, Democrat Maxine Waters, “wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District.” As proof, Navarro shared a “letter” he’d obtained from his campaign manager:

According to this document, Maxine Waters wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District.As Congressman of CA’s 43rd District, I will oppose such policies. #VoteNavarro2018

— Omar Navarro (@RealOmarNavarro) December 11, 2017


According to the “letter,” addressed to the chief operating officer at OneUnited Bank, Waters wanted some 41,000 Somali refugees “housed in the district’s new condominium and apartment units funded and underwritten by OneUnited.” Moreover, per the “letter” pushed by Navarro, Waters “felt it would be best to announce plans” for the program “after the November elections” – and “perhaps even once I have secured the Speaker of the House position.”

The claims, as contained in the “letter,” were explosive. One problem, though: The “letter” is a forgery.

As the Los Angeles Times wrote, the “fake letter” contained “several inaccuracies. It references multiple committees and subcommittees Waters does not serve on, and lists an address for a district office that has been closed for nearly a decade.”

Navarro – whose campaign adviser is Roger Stone, and who was recently forced to resign as local traffic commissioner following accusations of pepper-spraying a child –  has still not taken down his tweet. “I wanted to know if it was real,” Navarro told ThinkProgress. “We wanted to verify the truth of this.”

The source of the “letter” remains unclear; Navarro told ThinkProgress that his campaign manager obtained the “letter” from an unknown source. However, while Navarro’s tweet remains up, other accounts – some verified, some anonymous – have begun pushing the forgery for their own, far more wide-reaching audiences.

One comedian, Terrence Williams, has pushed the “letter” to his 142,000 followers, already accruing over 22,000 retweets.

Mad Maxine Waters is working hard to get this letter removed from twitter. She is mad it got over 10k Retweets so let’s help her out by giving this 100k retweets 😂 if it’s fake why are you stressing it?

— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) February 12, 2018

Another anonymous account, going only by “Saving America,” has also garnered over 14,000 retweets — and thanked Williams for “back-up.”

🔴 Well,well,well… BUSTED

Maxine Waters tells United Bank that she needs their money to get elected but doesn’t want anyone to mention the 41,000 Somalian Refugees being re-located in LA until after the November elections bc it may hurt her chances of re-election.

— Saving America 🔴 (@SavingAmerica4U) January 29, 2018

As it is – and considering that misusing a federal seal remains a federal crime – Waters has already pointed the FBI toward the letter:

.@FBILosAngeles @TwitterSupport This is an illegally forged document. It is against federal law to misrepresent a government official. A complaint was filed with the FBI. Please remove this post! @AprilDRyan @angela_rye

— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) February 11, 2018

This illegally forged document has been retweeted over 10,000 times and @Twitter refuses to do anything! The forgery is also being bolstered by Russian bots. Please report this tweet wherever it appears @MichaelSkolnik @AP @JakeSherman @samstein

— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) February 11, 2018

While the forgeries circulating appear identical, the one pushed by “Saving America” may hint at the source of the fake “letter.” Lining the bottom of the screenshot, a URL points to one of the primary far-right conspiracy sites extant: 8chan.

It remains unclear how these tweets have generated so many retweets, and so much reach — especially since Navarro’s original tweet has only seen a fraction of the retweets as those pushed by anonymous accounts. Added Navarro, talking about the spread of the forgery, “Everybody is putting it out now.”


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