On 6 June 2016, the Associated Press reported that Hillary Clinton had “clinched” the Democratic nomination. Shortly thereafter, a Twitter user published a video about an e-mail sent by the Clinton campaign:
— Stardust (@Cold_Stare) June 7, 2016
The video showed the e-mail on the screen; when the user clicked to save the embedded graphic, she claimed that it then showed the following filename: a.hrc.onl/imageman/2016_Q2-Email/20160605_hfa_graphic/secret-win-V2-060416c_02.png. The graphic was hosted on what appeared to be a Clinton campaign “intranet” inaccessible to the general public and probably used to host campaign-related content. According to the video, the graphic appears to have been created on 4 June 2016, two days before to the AP’s pre-primary call:
However, there was no way to verify a number of assumptions and rumors about the graphic. While the file name suggested that it was created on 4 June 2016 and modified on 5 June 2016, it wasn’t possible to conclude that the dates were accurate, or that it was definitively tied to any collusion to call the race before major primaries.
Also, the practice of drafting a number of outcome-specific images and e-mails prior to a major event (such as prewritten obituaries) is commonplace both in political campaigns and throughout the media. It is possible that in response to the decision by the Associated Press to call the race before the primaries were over, the Clinton campaign released a prefabricated victory graphic.
It is true that the Twitter video’s claims checked out. The campaign’s e-mail was sent out after the 6 June 2016 call by Associated Press, and the embedded image was ambiguously titled “secret-win-V2-060416c_02.png” But “V2” implied at least two versions of the graphic existed, another of which might have shown an entirely different outcome to the 7 June 2016 primaries.