Donald Trump rants about Google giving priority to “fake news” — and then spreads an unsupported conspiracy theory that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
Trump, who had tried to regain his media footing by declaring a “US-Mexico Trade Agreement” on Monday, set that aside yesterday. He opened by denouncing Senators who support “really dumb Trade Deals”, but then proclaimed that his reputation was being unjustly tarnished by Google’s rankings:
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Trump offered no evidence for his assertions, and it was unclear — since Trump does not use the search engine, according to aides, but prefers TV and Twitter — from where he got his supposed “information”.
Google quickly knocked back Trump’s claims:
When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.
Trump’s China-Clinton Conspiracy
By Tuesday evening, Trump was trying to put his own unsupported story into Google’s rankings. Continuing his attempt to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation — absolving Moscow of any hacking during the 2016 campaign and attacking US agencies — he seized on a story from the right-wing site Daily Caller, he tweeted:
Report just out: “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server.” Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)? What are the odds that the FBI and DOJ are right on top of this? Actually, a very big story. Much classified information!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
The “China hacked Clinton” conspiracy theory was launched in June by the fake news site True Pundit, which put out the false claim that FBI agent Liza Page had spoken of the hacking in testimony to a closed-door House of Representatives hearing.
The story was soon debunked, but not before right-wing sites and conspiracy theorists spread it throughout the Internet.
On Monday, the Daily Caller tried again. This time the story was based on unnamed sources, a “former intelligence officer” and a “government staff official”.
No other evidence was given for the assertion. However, pro-Trump activists and conspiracy theorists again raced to circulate the claim.
About midnight Washington time, Trump put out a second message to warn the FBI and Justice Department:
Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
Trump has been increasingly agitated amid this month’s developments, including the conviction of former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the testimony under oath by former lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump is implicated in “criminal activity”.
Sources told The Washington Post this week that Trump has not only publicly insulted Attorney General Jeff Sessions but, in private, is returning to consideratino of Sessions’ dismissal.
Doing so would allow Trump to appoint a new Attorney General who could fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller in an attempt to end the Trump-Russia investigation.
Trump to Christian Leaders: “If GOP Loses Elections, There Will Be Violence”
Trump told a group of Christian evangelical leaders on Monday that there will be violence if the Republican Party loses in November’s mid-term Congressional elections:
The level of hatred, the level of anger is unbelievable. Part of it is because of some of the things I’ve done for you and for me and for my family, but I’ve done them….This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment.
[If Republicans lose] they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.
Urging pastors to campaign for the GOP from the pulpit, Trump also said falsely that he had gotten “rid of” a law forbidding churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates.
The 1954 Johnson Amendment is still active, with GOP efforts to kill it failing last year.
In May 2017, Trump signed an executive order purporting to ease enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. But experts said the order had little effect.
Still, Trump insisted to the evangelicals, “Now one of the things I’m most proud of is getting rid of the Johnson Amendment. That was a disaster for you.”
Last Friday, Trump told another fib to Ohio Republican Party members:
We believe in the dignity of work, the power of freedom, and we believe in the truth of our national motto, which a lot of people don’t like using. Did you see some court ruled against it the other day? “In God We Trust.”
"The Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of 'In God We Trust' in late May. I believe that is the latest ruling," says Ryan Colby, a spokesman for "religious liberty for all" group Becket.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 28, 2018