by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept:
HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR Laurence Tribe did not wait even 24 hours to exploit yesterday’s tragic crash of a Russian regional jet shortly after it took off from Moscow, killing all 71 people aboard. On Twitter this morning, Tribe (pictured above in 2010 with former Vice President Joe Biden) strongly insinuated that the Russian government may have purposely sabotaged the plane, murdering all of those on board, in order to silence one of the passengers, Sergei Millian, who has been linked to a couple of figures involved in the Trump-Russia investigation.
What’s wrong with Tribe’s claims? Everything. To begin with, Millian was not on that plane. The official list of victims includes nobody with that name; as the Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern pointed out, the claim that Millian was on the plane was a simple hoax from the internet sewer, 4chan. Tribe apparently saw someone making this claim somewhere on the internet and then, without bothering to check if it was actually true, told his 289,000 followers that it was true, and then constructed a rabid, deranged conspiracy theory around it.
After dozens, if not hundreds, of people told him that what he said was false, Tribe — after more than 2,000 people retweeted it — posted a mealy-mouthed follow-up noting that he can’t “vouch” for the accuracy of the “plenty of reporting” he saw claiming this was true: “reporting” that he still has not identified.
Even if Millian had been on the plane, casually suggesting that Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, or some combination of other villains purposely murdered everyone on the plane in order to silence one witness is deranged to the point of being a clinical pathology. That sort of baseless conspiracy-mongering ought to disqualify anyone from serious company for a long time.
But it almost certainly will have no effect on Tribe’s standing. As BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein documented almost a year ago, Tribe has become one of the internet’s most unhinged cranks, churning out wild conspiracy theories and, in the process, becoming a social media star and MSNBC favorite. Among his lowlights was his promoting of a story from the well-known liberal “fake news” site Palmer Report claiming that Trump paid $10 million to former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
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