• State Department launched 2-week inquiry after a staffer liked a tweet from Chelsea Clinton 
  • Nearly 10 staffers were interviewed to identify person who hit 'like'
  • Officials say Washington staffers "wanted blood"

In July of 2017, at least 10 members of State Department were questioned extensively after one of them liked a tweet from Chelsea Clinton while in Brussels. Chelsea is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton, and Trump’s 2016 election opponent, Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

The Daily Beast reported that the State Department, at that point headed by Rex Tillerson, went into a frenzy when it was discovered that a staffer with social media access “liked” Chelsea's tweet, apparently by accident. The tweet was directed at President Trump, and was one piece of ammo fired in a highly publicized social media skirmish centered around Trump’s inclusion of daughter Ivanka in talks at that year’s G20.

Trump was taking criticism for giving Ivanka a seat at the table, which prompted him to tweet: “If Chelsea Clinton were asked to hold the seat for her mother, as her mother gave our country away, the Fake News would say CHELSEA FOR PRES!"

Chelsea shot back: “It would never have occurred to my mother or my father to ask me. Were you giving our country away? Hoping not.”

Among the over half a million likes Chelsea’s reply tweet received was one from the U.S. mission to the European Union. What followed was a wild hunt to unearth the “liker” that lasted for weeks. Officials close to matter told the Daily Beast that Tillerson’s top aides in Washington “wanted blood” and called Brussels several times to find the guilty party.

Nearly 10 staffers with administrative access to the mission’s Twitter account were grilled about whether or not they had hit the 'like' button, all of whom denied any wrongdoing. Shortly after the investigation, which failed to find the person responsible, administrative access to the Twitter account was restricted to two people.

Social media management continues to be headache well into the Pompeo era of the State Department, the report said. Officials at top American outposts, who are trying to navigate the task of pleasing both the State Department and the White House simultaneously, are complaining that micromanaging is causing problems.

The report said it was unclear whether Trump was aware of all the commotion over the Clinton tweet.

The incident underscores the conflicting language and messaging between career State Department officials and senior Staff at the Trump Administration. It also points to a particularly chaotic period within the State Department, which hasn’t really gotten any better: “During that first year, people were constantly trying to get other people fired; some even compiled lists of people to fire that they would show, or try to show, to the president,” one ex-officials was quoted as saying in the report. “[The Chelsea Clinton incident] was another little thing that fueled suspicions and reminded… officials in the White House that there were a lot of people working in the administration who clearly hated Donald Trump.”

Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton is joining NBC News. Reuters