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6 times Trump has falsely accused his political opponents of crimes

Donald Trump’s allegations against his perceived political enemies are lobbed without any evidence.

By Emily Singer - May 12, 2020
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Donald Trump

Donald Trump on Tuesday baselessly accused a cable news host of murder.

Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation came as the coronavirus death toll in the United States climbed over the 80,000 mark, a grim milestone Trump let pass by without comment as he lobbed a murder accusation against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

This is far from the only time Trump has accused his perceived enemies of crimes without any shred of proof.

Here are six people Trump has said, with no basis in fact, have committed crimes.

Joe Scarborough

Trump had already accused Joe Scarborough of murder before his latest promotion on Tuesday morning of a debunked conspiracy theory about the “Morning Joe” host.

“When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida,” Trump tweeted. “Did he get away with murder? Some people think so. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”

On May 4, Trump hinted at the accusation, tweeting that Comcast, which owns MSNBC, “should open up a long overdue Florida Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough.”

Trump’s accusation refers to the death of Lori Klausutis, an intern who died in 2001 in Scarborough’s Florida district office when he served as a Republican member of Congress.

Scarborough was not in Florida at the time of Klausutis’ death. And according to an autopsy report, Klausutis — who had an undiagnosed heart condition — died after passing out and hitting her head, the Associated Press reported.

Scarborough, a critic of Trump, called Trump’s accusation “extraordinarily cruel” after Trump brought up Klausutis’ death on May 4.

“You, once again, drag a family through this and make them relive it again,” Scarborough said on his show. “As if losing a loved one the first time isn’t enough.”

Barack Obama

Trump has been making baseless accusations against former President Barack Obama for years, including pushing the racist lie that Obama was not born in the United States.

But Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on his predecessor, accusing Obama of committing a crime that he calls “Obamagate.”

Trump won’t actually say what the crime is, refusing to answer a reporter’s question on Monday about the new conspiracy theory he was pushing.

“What is the crime exactly that you’re accusing him of?” a reporter asked Trump.

Trump replied, “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

Adam Schiff

Trump has been attacking House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) for months as Schiff led the impeachment proceedings against him.

But he took his animosity toward Schiff to a new level in October 2019, when he accused Schiff of committing treason.

“Schiff has also committed a crime, perhaps treason, in making up a horrible statement and reading it to Congress, and the American people, as though it was the statement of the President of the United States, me,” Trump tweeted on Oct. 4. “He did it to fool Congress and the public in order to make me look BAD. He is a sick puppy!”

The U.S. legal code says that a U.S. citizen commits treason when the person “levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere.” It’s a crime that is punishable by imprisonment or death.

The statute does not include paraphrasing the words of Donald Trump in Congress as a treasonous act.

Nancy Pelosi

Trump was irate in February when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy his State of the Union address on the dais in the House chamber during his appearance.

“It’s illegal what she did. She broke the law,” Trump said.

Ripping up a copy of a speech is not a crime, a number of experts told the Hill newspaper.

“No prosecutor with half an ounce of common sense would ever charge this case,” said Elie Honig, a legal analyst. “The law isn’t meant to criminalize destruction of copies of ceremonial documents.”

Hillary Clinton

Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of multiple crimes.

During the 2016 campaign, he accused her of “criminal conduct” for using a private email server when she served as secretary of state.

Clinton was never charged with a crime, and a State Department review found no wrongdoing.

Since the election, Trump has baselessly continued to accuse Clinton of colluding with Russia during the campaign.

The New York Times

Trump constantly attacks the media, which he has deemed the “enemy of the people.”

He also constantly accuses people of treason, something he’s done 61 times, according to the fact-check website Factba.se.

And he’s melded those two attacks together, accusing the New York Times of treason for publishing an article about his administration he apparently didn’t want written — even though the article was factually accurate.

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” Trump tweeted in June 2019.

“Accusing the press of treason is dangerous,” the paper’s public relations staff tweeted in response. “We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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