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A fake news story that said former national security adviser Susan Rice had been arrested for her "failed attempt to stage a coup" against President Donald Trump is actually a post by a self-described liberal troll looking to fool conservatives.
The headline on a Sept. 18, 2017, post on TheLastLineOfDefense.org read, "Breaking: Susan Rice arrested for criminal ‘unmasking’ of Trump officials." The post was flagged by Facebook users as part of the social media website’s efforts to combat fake news.
The story said "federal officers" raided her office in Provo, Utah, to gather evidence, and Rice was escorted out in handcuffs.
"Rice is expected to be charged with multiple felony counts of espionage and other high crimes, and will be lucky if she ever sees the outside of a prison cell again in her life," the post read.
Rice isn’t under arrest, because the story is fake.
Every story on TheLastLineOfDefense.org is fake. The site is the creation of a man named Christopher Blair, a liberal troll who has told PolitiFact that he created the fake news outlet in order to post absurd stories that would trick conservative readers.
A note at the bottom of the website revealed that "everything on this site is a satirical work of fiction." Its About Us page carried a disclaimer that read, "We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist." The site has been the source of dozens of claims that get reposted on other sites with no indication the articles are fake.
The hook to the story is the real news that Rice had asked the National Security Agency to reveal the names of several senior Trump officials in intelligence reports about the presidential campaign and transition.
Rice told U.S. House of Representatives investigators she did so to determine why Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of of United Arab Emirates, had visited New York in December 2016, CNN reported. The prince met with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former strategist Steve Bannon at Trump Tower.
United Arab Emirates officials did not tell President Barack Obama’s administration the prince was visiting, which broke with diplomatic practice. The country later tried to set up back-channel communications between the Trump White House and Russia.
Trump in April had accused Rice of possibly committing a crime by seeking the names of the Trump officials involved, but there’s no evidence that’s the case.
In any event, the post about Rice’s arrest is a bogus report concocted by a prolific online troll.
We rate the statement Pants On Fire!
TheLastLineOfDefense.org, "Breaking: Susan Rice arrested for criminal ‘unmasking’ of Trump officials," Sept. 18, 2017
Bloomberg, "Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel," April 3, 2017
New York Times, "Trump, Citing No Evidence, Suggests Susan Rice Committed Crime," April 5, 2017
PolitiFact, "If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it," May 31, 2017
CNN, "Exclusive: Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials," Sept. 18, 2017
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