Wednesday 22 January 2020

President 'pushed Fox to link murder victim to email leak'

Murdered DNC employee Seth Rich was blamed for mail leak
Murdered DNC employee Seth Rich was blamed for mail leak

Nick Allen

Donald Trump has been accused of collaborating with Fox News to push a claim that a murdered employee of the Democratic National Committee, not the Kremlin, leaked emails damaging to his election rival Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump was alleged to have "reviewed" a Fox News story before it was published as part of an attempt to distract from investigations into Russian hacking during last year's US election.

The claim has been made in court papers filed by Rod Wheeler, a private investigator who looked into the shooting of Seth Rich in July 2016. He is suing Fox News for defamation, claiming the network fabricated quotes from him.

His claim alleges that the story was put out to "shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election".

Mr Rich was shot dead in what Washington police believe was a botched robbery.

Mr Wheeler was brought in to investigate the case by Ed Butowsky, an investor and high profile supporter of Mr Trump.

Two days before the Fox News article was published on its website, Mr Butowsky sent Mr Wheeler a text message saying: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you." Mr Butowsky later said he had been joking that the president had read the article.

Mr Wheeler, who is black and has himself been a contributor to Fox News since 2005, is also suing the broadcaster for racial discrimination. Fox News has said there is no "concrete evidence" that Mr Wheeler was misquoted in the article. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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