The news that Rob Flaherty will be leaving his position as Director of Digital Strategy at the White House at the end of June could have been missed by most Americans due to all of the other recent news coverage.
Six days ago, the White House released a statement about Flaherty’s departure. In the statement, Joe Biden thanked Flaherty for his service and praised Flaherty’s contributions.
Rob has led us to build the largest Office of Digital Strategy ever, as well as a digital culture and strategy that have brought people together, instead of dividing.
I am grateful for Rob’s service in the past three and a quarter years, and I look forward to working with him again in the future.
The news first came to my attention on Wednesday night, when I read this tweet by Alex Berenson. He was the famous former New York Times journalist who had been banned from Twitter at the White House’s behest.
Well, well, well…
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 22, 2023
Schmitt is, of course, one of the lawyers behind the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit, which he initiated in his previous role as Missouri Attorney General. Andrew Bailey has assumed the responsibility.
Schmitt notes in his tweet that DOJ lawyers filed a notice on June 16 advising the court of Flaherty’s departure from government employment at the end of June.
The plaintiffs’ motion to preliminarily injunction has been fully briefed and is pending before the Court. Plaintiffs seek to enjoin defendant Rob Flaherty in his official capacity of Assistant to the White House Director for Digital Strategy. Defendants want to give notice in advance that Mr. Flaherty, after June 30, 20,23, will no longer hold this position or be employed by the U.S. Government. Once his successor has been named, the defendants will file a notice of substitution in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (d).
Schmitt included helpful screenshots from a complaint filed by Plaintiffs regarding Flaherty.
The selected sections are:
Mr. Flaherty, among other things, participated directly in the oral discussion where he and Andrew Slavitt pressed Twitter to de-platform Alex Berenson. This was critical information the Government’s findings did not reveal. Mr. Flaherty sent Nick Clegg an email with a Washington Post article about misinformation spread on Facebook. He stated that he was “not sure what to say” at this time.
Documents supporting the second allegation include
Facebook sent a message to Flaherty saying, “Thanks for meeting with us on Monday …”
Flaherty set up a meeting with Facebook about “mis-and-disinformation on feed and in groups” on Facebook.
Flaherty stated that he’s “happy” to “talk about” Facebook misinformation and demands “what solutions are you implementing and how effective they have been”
After a meeting, a Facebook official “circled back” to Flaherty to tell him “we are also updating our misinformation policy” to increase censorship
Facebook tells Flaherty, “Thanks for taking the time to talk” about a conversation that had taken place earlier in the day “related to vaccine misinformation”.
Flaherty sends an invitation to meet with seven Google officials at the “YouTube Vaccine Misinformation Briefing”.
Flaherty compares Vivek Murthy to “a leader who has been a key part of the DNC misinformation work for many years” and “who also helped us think about mis/dis from the COVID perspective”
Berenson himself is involved in a lawsuit against the government over the alleged violation of his First Amendment rights. Flaherty has also been named as a defendant in this litigation.