Looks like the White House colluded with Fox News and a rich GOP donor to create their favorite type of media, fake news.
According to a lawsuit exclusively obtained by NPR, Fox News allegedly worked with the Trump administration to push a story linking a young DNC worker’s murder with the dumping of DNC personnel emails on the Wikileaks.
The story in question is that of the murder of a Democratic National Committee aide named Seth Rich. Rich was fatally shot in an apparent botched robbery the back on July 10th 2016, shortly before WikiLeaks posted the thousands of emails hackers had gotten from Democratic Party officials. Since then his murder has been discussed amongst right-wing conspiracy theorists as supposed evidence of Democrats using any means necessary to cover-up suspected corruption.
On May 16th 2017, Fox News further incited this conspiracy by not only claiming that the hacks were coming from within the Democratic Party instead of from Russia but by also suggesting that the Democrats were in a way involved in Rich’s murder and the subsequent failure of his murder-investigation.
The network cited an unnamed FBI official and on a political commentator/investigator named Rod Wheeler, whose lawsuit against Fox News brought all of this revelation to light.
Malia Zimmerman is the Fox News reporter at the center of this story. She is accused of misquoting a Wheeler, stating that there was (according to Wheeler) evidence showing Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks.
Soon after the article was published on Fox’s website, Wheeler retracted and the story was taken down.
Wheeler, in his lawsuit, is now claiming that Zimmerman, the rich GOP donor and the Fox News network, with “knowledge and support” conspired to misquote him in an effort to direct attention away from the Russia investigation.
The lawsuit states,“Zimmerman, Butowsky and Fox had created fake news to advance President Trump’s agenda, Mr. Wheeler was subsequently forced to correct the false record and, as a result, lost all credibility in the eyes of the public. Mr. Wheeler has suffered irreparable damage to his reputation and his career will likely never recover.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the White House was made aware of the fabricated story before it was published. It states that, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer met with the GOP donor in question and with Wheeler, was given Wheeler’s notes on the investigation and “asked to be kept abreast of developments”
During the White House press briefing on Tuesday August 1st 2017, current press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told members of the press that “The president had no knowledge of the story and it’s completely untrue that he and the White House were involved”
Adding at the end of her statement that she was “not sure” whether President Trumps believes the conspiracy connection Seth Rich to the email leaks of last year.