Clinton gives her take on Trump's Google voter conspiracy theory

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Trump during a 2016 election town hall debate in St Louis, Missouri. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly fired back Monday, after President Trump tweeted about a refuted election theory arguing that Google had manipulated millions of votes in her favor in the 2016 presidential election.

Between the lines: Trump did not directly cite his source for the claim. But the tweet came within minutes of a Fox Business Network segment referring to congressional testimony by Robert Epstein, a behavioral psychologist, who said his research showed "biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton," Politico notes.

  • It appears to be in reference to this study by Epstein, in which only 21 voters were undecided — a notably tiny sample size. Google denies the claims, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Reality check: CNN's Daniel Dale spoke to the study's author, who said Trump was wrong in claiming Google specifically "manipulated" votes or search results. He noted that the maximum figure for votes potentially affected by bias was 10.4 million, not 16 million as Trump had cited.

  • Epstein told the fact-chekcing site PolitiFact, "I have never said that Google deliberately manipulated the 2016 election."

Go deeper: Twitter bans advertising from "state-controlled news media entities"

What's next

What we know: The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8. Photo: Stephanie Keith / Stringer/Getty Images.

Federal prosecutors charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sexual abuse and sex trafficking of underage girls in July. On Aug. 10, the 66-year-old was found dead in an apparent suicide at a federal detention center in New York City.

The latest: After alleged victims and their attorneys testified at a hearing on Aug. 27, a federal judge formally closed the criminal sex trafficking case against Epstein Aug. 29. Meanwhile, prosecutors in France opened a preliminary investigation into Epstein, "in connection with possible offenses such as rape, the sexual assault of minors and criminal conspiracy" in late August.

MIT Media Lab director resigns over financial ties to Jeffrey Epstein

Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman. Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

Dozens of rich and influential men surrounded Jeffrey Epstein. They knew that what they were doing was wrong. That's why they were so secretive about it.

Driving the news: In the aftermath of a blockbuster report from The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow — which details that MIT Media Lab's director Joi Ito flew to Epstein's private island twice and accepted more than $8 million of donations from him — Ito resigned on Saturday from MIT Media Lab, left his board seat with the New York Times Company, and resigned from the MacArthur Foundation.

Report: States line up for Google antitrust probe

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Attorneys general representing a majority of U.S. states plan to announce an antitrust investigation into Google, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Google is under fire from Republicans for alleged bias against conservatives and from Democrats for privacy violations and extremism on Google-owned YouTube. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have both begun broad antitrust investigations of Google and other large tech firms.