Scandal has a habit of coming full-circle. For months on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to “lock her up”, referring to Hillary Clinton’s use of private email accounts.
The issue became a cause celebre for his supporters. Ironically on Monday, Trump’s Justice Department actually went to court to stop two right-wing conservative groups who are still legally hounding Clinton.
“It is moot,” a Justice Department lawyer told the judge. “Our principal argument is going to be mootness based on all the developments that have happened since the case was filed.”
Let’s move from one Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to another, Rex Tillerson. Also on Monday, news broke that Tillerson used not a private account, but an alias email account. In Tillerson’s case it was to discuss issues relating to climate change.
According to the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, who was recently described as the man most likely to “take down Trump”, Tillerson used an account called “Wayne Tracker” for at least seven years from 2008 until 2015.
Tillerson’s middle name just happens to be Wayne.
So just as there are many legitimate questions about Clinton’s use of a private email account, so too are there ones over Tillerson’s alias email account. The obvious one is: What were you trying to hide Rex?
Schneiderman is currently investigating whether the oil giant which Tillerson used to head, Exxon, misled shareholders and the public about climate change, in the scandal that become known as #Exxonknew.
Exxon recently produced some sixty “Wayne Tracker” documents, which according to Schneiderman were used to discuss the risks of climate change.
Schneiderman made the claim in a letter sent to a Judge investigating the #Exxonknew scandal. The Attorney General also alleged that Exxon had failed to hand over all the relevant #Exxonknew documents.
In response, Exxon admitted to Bloomberg that Tillerson had used the account for “secure and expedited communications between select senior company officials and the former chairman for a broad range of business-related topics”.
Despite their serious nature, the revelations have caused ridicule online. The magazine Wired said: “Despite the infinite number of made-up names from which he could have chosen—Gasman Bleeth! Drill Rigsweat! Sexxon P. Birdmucker!—the 64-year-old went with … Wayne Tracker.”
Slate published a “Wayne tracker name generator” which you can play online.
In a more serious note, CNN meanwhile argued “For the Trump administration, ‘Wayne Tracker’ marks a new level of weirdness amid a first hundred days already chock-full with the strange. For the rest of us, he’s a reminder that some of our leaders seem unable to resist using ridiculous tricks and deceptions.”
There is a real need to get find out if Tillerson used the “Wayne” account to hide crucial information on climate to deceive investors and the public.
If he did, the #Exxonknew scandal will only grow, and so will the calls of “lock him up”.