How 2 ex-Twitter grifters helped build Joe Biden’s defense against Tara Reade

They're back.

May 18, 2020, 9:09 am*

Tech

Claire Goforth 

Claire Goforth

krassenstein brothers

Ed Krassenstein/Facebook

Brian and Eddie Krassenstein are back.

Last May, Resistance Twitter was rocked by news that the platform had banned the Krassensteins, identical twin brothers whose accounts were some of the most popular among people who oppose President Donald Trump.

The two built a massive following by setting alerts on Trump’s tweets so they could reply immediately with all-caps missives against the president, frequently appearing as the top reply to his posts.

But for nearly a year, little was heard from the pair, a significant deviation from the daily deluge of anti-Trump content they created on Twitter for more than two years. In October, they revealed that they’d also sold their political website, Hill Reporter.

The Krassensteins, it seemed, had chosen to fade from view.

Now, though, over the last six weeks, they’ve emerged from relative internet purgatory with a string of immensely popular articles on Medium—primarily about Joe Biden accuser Tara Reade.

The goal of these articles is to discredit Reade’s allegations. The stories have been relentlessly shared by Biden’s supporters, many of whom view the work as vindicating the former vice president. By casting aspersions on the most damaging story about Biden, the Krassensteins have helped change the narrative about the allegations that, for a time, threatened to damage Biden’s campaign.

Like the mythical phoenix, the Krassensteins have risen from the ashes.

The way they were

The 38-year-old brothers Krassenstein ascended to fame as two of the most doggedly anti-Trump voices on Twitter. Their meteoric rise was propelled by a simple strategy of immediately responding to Trump’s tweets and following 1,000 like-minded accounts daily.

When it banned them, Twitter claimed they broke its rules by running fake accounts and buying interactions. The brothers categorically deny both allegations. They maintain that they still don’t understand why they were booted.

“I wish Twitter would just give us a reason why,” Eddie told the Daily Dot in a recent interview.

However they did it, and whether you liked them, it is settled that the Krassensteins were wildly successful 280 characters at a time. By the time they were banned, their accounts had 925,000 (Eddie) and 697,000 (Brian) followers. That’s roughly double the followers each had in 2017, according to Internet Archive’s cache of their respective accounts.

Some loved ’em, plenty hated ’em, but the Krassensteins were unarguably big fish in the Resistance Twitter pond, with more followers than some of the most prominent accounts—like @kylegriffin1 (738,000), @goldengateblond (331,000), @tonyposnanski (224,000)—operating in that space.

In October, they attempted to return to Twitter. The new account was suspended within hours.

After that, they went mostly quiet. They have a Facebook page where they post similar content as they once did on Twitter—albeit much less frequently—but its 64,000 followers is paltry compared to the cumulative 1.5 million who once gobbled up their every tweet.

Like others before them, such as Jacob Wohl, Owen Benjamin, and Laura Loomer, Twitter gave them an audience. Once the megaphone was gone, so was much of the attention—but they have consistently claimed that they don’t mind.

However, they’ve found a new home, with Medium, the free-form blogging platform.

Much like they once did on Twitter, they’re making noise.

The Tara Reade articles

The Krassensteins have been on Medium for a while, but their previous posts barely made a ripple. A better-received piece was a story last December about a plot to destroy Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). It received 82 claps—Medium’s version of likes. The first of their Reade stories, published March 30, has more than 3,000.

Reade’s sexual harassment allegations were first reported along with those of several other women in April 2019. She then claimed Biden had made her uncomfortable by touching her neck, shoulders, and hair. This March, she came forward with a different allegation: Biden, she claimed on the Katie Halper Show podcast, sexually assaulted her by digitally penetrating her without consent. Biden denies the accusation.

Reade’s bombshell claim was met with mostly silence by major media. It was weeks before the first of the big players started covering the story.

By the time Reade’s new claims surfaced, the Krassensteins were just days from posting the first, most exhaustive story about her.

That story went live on March 30, less than a week after the Halper interview ran.

The 4,000-word piece about Reade delves into what’s described as “inconsistencies in her story, the endless contradictions she has made over the years, and the evidence that paints a picture of someone who went from seemingly adoring Joe Biden and disliking Vladimir Putin in 2017, to someone who showed compassion and love for Vladimir Putin in 2018, to someone who accused Biden of doing horrific things to her in 2019 and 2020.”

Reade did not respond to text messages sent to a number provided by Eddie, who says he has corresponded with her via text in late March with the aim of getting her to appear on their podcast. He said she abruptly broke contact after learning his last name.

The article paints a picture of a woman whose greatest consistency is inconsistency. It describes how, in 2017, Reade repeatedly praised Biden, including his work to end sexual assault.

“She calls the concept of Biden being a champion of women’s rights a ‘hypocrisy,’ but she too was boosting Biden as a champion of women’s rights in 2017 when she retweeted multiple tweets doing just this,” they write.

As others have, they note that she first accused him of sexual harassment last spring. Nearly a year later, she began claiming Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked for his Senate office in 1993. Biden says it “never happened.”

Reade has explained the inconsistencies by saying that she wasn’t comfortable speaking about the alleged assault until recently.

Similarly, the Krassensteins write, in 2016 and 2017, Reade retweeted numerous articles disparaging Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

In 2018, that changed. She began professing an acute affinity for Russia and Putin on a since-deleted Medium page, which is archived. This profile, which belongs to Alexandra Tara Reade, J.D., includes posts in English and Russian. (Reade’s first name is Alexandra.)

“I love Russia with all my heart,” reads one post. “I love the people, the history, the culture and even my attempts to learn the language.”

It later speaks of Putin in adoring terms.

“President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader,” it states.

“To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love.”

Reade has explained her adoration of Russia on studying Noam Chomsky and working on a book set in Russia. She told Vox that her views on Russia changed after learning distressing data about domestic violence there. The Krassensteins note, however, that in 2017, she retweeted comedian Chelsea Handler’s tweet about Russia voting to decriminalize domestic violence.

The article, which references “Russia” over 60 times in just 4,000 words, leaves little doubt that Reade has either an unnatural love for the country, or is somehow under its influence.

In spite of the numerous examples of Reade’s affinity for Russia, and a follow-up post last week called, “Tara Reade’s Possible Russian Connections Outlined,” the Krassensteins insist they’re leaving it to the reader to decide whether she is a Russian asset.

“There have been many accusations against Tara Reade, calling her a ‘Russian Agent,'” the Krassensteins write. “It’s not our job to decide, and we must admit that this accusation seems pretty far fetched.”

The posts include disclaimers to this effect.

Disclaimer in the post “Tara Reade’s Possible Russian Connections Outlined”

Eddie told the Daily Dot that while “you can’t really draw a conclusion off” their Reade/Russia reporting, he thinks it makes sense for Russian interference in the 2020 election to center on finding someone to accuse Biden of sexual misconduct.

“I think that’s one of the ways to try to bring down a candidate right now,” he said.

Like many of the president’s opponents, the Krassensteins have been frequent visitors to the “Russia’s behind it” well. They exerted a lot of effort attempting to establish Trump colluded with Russia in 2016. At the height of the investigation into Russian election interference, they even published a children’s book featuring, among other characters, a shirtless buff version of then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The first story about Reade exploded on the internet. It led Reddit for weeks. Some of its claims wound up in mainstream media.

Last week, People magazine noted Reade’s prior “pro-Russia posts” and tweets. Megyn Kelly asked her about Russia in their recent interview. A piece in Time magazine noted her love for Russia and added that one of Reade’s lawyers formerly worked for Sputnik, “a news agency founded and supported by the Russian state-owned media company Rossiya Segodnya.”

“Other observers have noticed that her tweets on the subject appear to have been written by a native speaker of Russian, which she is not,” quipped a Chicago Sun-Times column on May 7.

The Krassensteins aren’t the only ones calling her out over this. Last year, an Atlantic reporter helped set the stage for the Reade being a Russian agent narrative.

Eddie said that their post has been viewed 550,000 times to date.

Some of the points they’ve made–that Reade changed her story about how she traveled from Washington, D.C. to the West Coast, for example—are more nitpicky. Others, such as the Russian connections, are arguably explosive, if they’re true.

In a subsequent story, the Krassensteins spoke with the owner of a nonprofit horse rescue, who accused Reade of stealing from the organization. Reade has called the allegations “false.”

On Friday, Politico published a story that expounded on the allegations first reported by the Krassensteins that Reade defrauded the nonprofit.

On May 11, Eddie said the April 22 post had 167,000 views.

On May 14, the Krassensteins published another story about Reade. The piece, which was reportedly based on court document provided by an anonymous source, reported on what is described as inconsistencies in her recent statements about her ex-husband and their divorce. She has reportedly accused him of violence and stalking—claims he denies.

“While divorce filings and requests for restraining orders will usually have contradicting points of view, the filings do show that Reade’s story continues to change, her past and current claims continue to be proven false, and that she too was allegedly physically abusive towards [her ex],” they write.

Reactions to their stories about Reade have been mixed, however. Some feel the information is important because it casts doubt on her assault allegations. Others liken it to the attacks on women like Christine Blasey Ford, who accused now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, and was subsequently pilloried by most conservative outlets.

During the Kavanaugh hearings, the brothers were unequivocally in Blasey Ford’s camp, urging Kavanaugh to withdraw from consideration and speaking of Blasey Ford in glowing terms. “I believe you, Dr. Ford, 100%,” Brian tweeted during the hearings.

Eddie says their only goal when it comes to Reade is to share information.

“I’m not trying to smear her. I just think it’s important that some of this stuff gets out there, that questions her credibility, if she’s stealing, if she’s lied to people in the past…” he said.

“Maybe she’s telling the truth. It just seems very odd to me that she’d be praising Biden for a year and a half and then all of the sudden, and while she’s praising Putin, she’s attacking Biden.”

Then again, some could question the Krassensteins’ ulterior motives. They support Biden’s presidential run. They told the Daily Dot as much even before the primary.

“Politically I liked a lot of [Sen.] Bernie Sanders’ [I-Vt.] ideas, I might even say I like his ideas better than Biden’s,” Eddie said this week.

“I feel Biden has a better chance to beat Trump.”

Some would argue that the brothers aren’t exactly credible in their own right. In 2016, the feds seized a half-million dollars from them, which prosecutors claimed was derived from wire fraud. The Krassensteins have long denied doing anything illegal. “[T]he Krassensteins have a documented history of involvement with shady internet get-rich-quick schemes,” the Daily Beast reported in 2018. That year a comedy duo made a brutal parody video about them called “Resistance Grifters,” a label many have branded them with. The brothers have said they’re confused and hurt by being falsely called grifters.

Eddie scoffed at the idea that they would try to undermine Reade’s credibility to improve Biden’s electoral chances. He noted that the Me Too movement has given women the opportunity to be heard and believed when they report sexual misconduct. But it has also given bad actors such as the likes of Wohl and Burkman a new, sinister means of attack.

“I think it’s more about keeping people home. Keeping Democrats home so they don’t vote,” Eddie said.

The virality of the article is fascinating, if possibly dubious. On Twitter, If you see a major account post about Tara Reade, you will most likely see a response from a random account sharing their medium post.

Are the Krassensteins back for good?

Many have mocked the Krassensteins as grifters or wannabe journalists who just want attention. But none can deny their influence. They were the first to figure out that Mueller was being set up with sexual misconduct allegations by Wohl and partner-in-smears Jack Burkman. They’re tangled up in a bizarre story involving Rep. Omar, Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamad Tawhidi (the self-proclaimed “Imam of Peace”).

Eddie says they’re currently suing Tawhidi for defamation in Australia. “He was accusing us of being Qatari agents,” he said.

Krassenstein loyalists will be disappointed to learn that they have no intention of returning to politics in a big way.

In spite of their recent string of arguable successes, Eddie said that it was “too stressful” to be immersed in that world, where threats are common and people misjudge them.

“People think I’m this person who wants all this attention. People think we’re really cocky and stuff, but we’re not.”

He also said their wives don’t like the danger that such work creates for them and their families. He declined to say which of their wives runs the Ms. Krassenstein Twitter account, which bears many similarities to their old accounts.

So while the Medium posts may have given the twins a new lease on prominence, they don’t plan to pursue it further.

“No, we have no interest in doing that,” Eddie said when asked if they’ll launch a new political website.

“We’re probably not going to be writing on Medium either, unless there’s something that we feel we need to get out there.”

But that makes you wonder why they jumped to get these pieces out there.

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This post has been updated.

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*First Published: May 18, 2020, 7:00 am