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President Donald Trump’s unproven allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped phones in Trump Tower have proven to be a petri dish for fake news.
In the last two weeks, multiple fake news sites have written stories claiming that the FBI has a warrant out for Obama’s arrest stemming from allegations he wiretapped Trump’s phones.
"FBI issues Warrant For Obama’s Arrest After Confirming Illegal Trump Tower Wiretap," read the headlines on multiple fake news sites. Facebook flagged several claims as part of its efforts to weed out fake news from its news feeds.
These stories don’t have a grain of truth. There’s no warrant out for Obama’s arrest, and he’s definitely not getting arrested by the FBI. We’ve also found no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the wiretapping even took place.
Most of the stories are all essentially identical, saying that Obama will be "picked up by" the FBI sometime today or be charged with unlawful use of authority for ordering an illegal wiretap on the phones in Trump Tower.
The stories also quote a "spokesman" for the FBI, Todd McMartin, who supposedly told Fox News: "The proof is undeniable. Obama basically confessed in a private call to one of Hillary Clinton’s aides that he had the Trump Tower tapped and we can’t find any federal order legally authorized by a judge to do so."
It’s pretty obvious that quote is made up, though. This story about Obama’s arrest is originally from a site full of faux news stories, TheLastLineOfDefense.org.
TheLastLineOfDefense.org doesn’t identify the warrant story as fake, but the About Us page notes that "all articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney."
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
TheLastLineOfDefense.org, "FBI issues Warrant For Obama’s Arrest After Confirming Illegal Trump Tower Wiretap."
RedCountry.us, "FBI issues Warrant For Obama’s Arrest After Confirming Illegal Trump Tower Wiretap," March 4.
PolitiFact, "Did Donald Trump invent claim that Barack Obama tapped his phone?," March 6, 2017
PolitiFact, "Why the White House defense of Trump wiretap accusation is misleading," March 5, 2017
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