Behind the rise of the anti-Trump Twitter conspiracy theorists

Just after 3 a.m. last Friday morning, Huffington Post contributor and progressive advocate Alex Mohajer set to work on a brief investigative project on Twitter. Pulling together red marker–circled articles, graphs, and screenshots from numerous financial websites, he rifled off 16 tweets with prosecutorial zeal and one ambitious goal: to build a compelling case linking Donald Trump to Russia’s $11 billion sale of its oil giant, Rosneft.

“It’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal,” Mohajer wrote after compiling his tweets into a longer Twitter Moments thread. “CONCLUSION? Koch-backed front cos financed climate deniers/alt-right, took control of govt while Trump diverts attn for Exxon, Koch, Rosneft,” he wrote. A minute later he offered a hedge: “ALTERNATIVE CONCLUSION: I am batshit crazy and need some sleep! Good night world. I will be curious to see if others are able to confirm.”

Mohajer wasn’t wrong to assume that others might try to confirm his tweetstorm. Since the election, he’s emerged as one of a number of vigilante investigators dutifully entering evidence into Twitter’s court of public opinion in hope of exposing corruption in Trumpland.