The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican political action committee, shared content on Twitter about the president’s supporters that U.S. intelligence officials later labeled as Iranian disinformation.
The posts, which cited emails threatening Democratic voters that purportedly came from the right-wing group Proud Boys, were actually part of an influence operation generated by the Islamic Republic, according to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The two discussed efforts earlier this week by Iran and Russia to sway voters in the presidential election.
“The Proud Boys are attempting to scare voters away from the polls,” The Lincoln Project tweeted on Wednesday, linking to a Florida news outlet that first reported on the “threatening emails” sent to voters before the FBI announced its findings.
The Lincoln Project added that the punishment for such a crime is spending “up to a year in jail.”
“Let’s find them and make them famous,” the PAC wrote. The tweet has since been deleted.
Some media outlets were also quick to highlight the emails. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio denied that the group was behind the messages, according to The Washington Post, and the FBI’s findings supported his statement.
“PBS Newshour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor shared the Post article explaining the intimidation campaign on Wednesday without stating that the emails came from Iran.
Ratcliffe, who became national intelligence director in May after serving as a Republican Congressman from Texas, said during a late Wednesday press conference that the Iranian email campaign was “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.”
Others in the media rejected the idea that the influence campaign was initiated to damage the president.
Congressional legal analyst Daniel Goldman tweeted that the “emails were ostensibly from the Proud Boys — Trump supporters who are ‘standing by’ — threatening Democratic voters,” asking, “How would that damage Trump?”