White House denies Fox-Trump connection on Rich story

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Continuing our long great day's journey into night, a new lawsuit filed against Fox News alleges that the White House was preemptively briefed on a since-retracted story involving murdered Democratic National Committee aide Seth Rich-a conspiracy theory that Fox News and a wealthy Trump supporter, with the White House's alleged encouragement, flouted as a distraction from investigation into possible Russian collusion.

Outgoing White House communications director Sean Spicer has admitted meeting with a Republican donor who shopped a conspiracy-soaked story about a dead staffer at the Democratic National Committee, despite telling reporters that he was unaware of the story when Fox News ran several segments about it. "Notwithstanding Ofcom's inquiries into Fox's ability to convey news in a nonpartisan manner, the collaboration appears only to have deepened since President Trump's Administration took over the White House".

Wheeler alleges Fox News and the Trump supporter meant to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration's ties to the Russian government. Wheeler has been contributing to Fox News for more than a decade, even through this weekend. Wheeler, who was hired to look into Rich's death, is a former homicide detective, according to CNN.

Wheeler also claimed that he was told that his false comments were put in the story because Trump wanted it that way. (A meeting Spicer confirms but claims he didn't know the subject of.) Wheeler goes along with the story and even allows himself to be coached by Butowsky on how to spin it-namely, that this whole mess supposedly proves Russian Federation didn't hack our emails. The citations, which Wheeler claims are completely false, claimed the Democrats were blocking the investigation into Rich's murder and that Rich had contacts with Wikileaks.

In response to Wheeler's lawsuit, Fox News' Jay Wallace told Deadline in a statement, "The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the Russian Federation collusion issue is completely erroneous".

"Slain DNC staffer was WikiLeaks' source, say investigators" - was heavily promoted on Sean Hannity's show and Fox & Friends, but was retracted by Fox News about a week after it was published.

On May 14, Wheeler says Butowsky texted him, "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article".

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He then texts Wheeler to inform him that Trump read Zimmerman's article and wants it published. "Beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I'd refer you to the actual parties involved, which are not the White House", she said. And Hersh says he believes that Butowsky took a rumor he'd heard and chose to blow it way out of proportion.

The lawsuit alleges that after Fox published the story May 16, Wheeler called Butowsky to ask for an explanation of what he said were fake quotes and representations from him in the story.

This was fake news, alleges Wheeler in a defamation suit.

But Zimmerman's story also relied on Wheeler, the only person quoted in the story by name.

What kind of SIMPLETON to you have to be to find that tale "unbelievable", given everything we know (so far) about the president? The media giant issued a significant retraction after the Rich family came out and reported that there was "no evidence" to support Assange and Wheeler's report, though.

Wheeler's suit claims he was misquoted by the network.

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