AP 'Fact Check' Mangles What Trump Tweeted on Tilted Mueller Probe

May 21st, 2018 8:57 AM

The hypersensitivity of the "independent fact checkers" toward special counsel Robert Mueller was demonstrated again by a Hope Yen AP "Fact Check" on Sunday. Yen began:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is skimming over the facts involving the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In a series of tweets Sunday, he repeatedly assails special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as hopelessly biased, insisting that it is effectively controlled by Democrats. He also repeats a claim that his campaign had been cleared of collusion with Russia.

Neither statement holds up to reality.

In "reality," as we've explained before, 13 of 17 of Mueller's lawyers are registered Democrats, and nine made donations to Democrats, six of them to Hillary Clinton. But somehow pointing this out is "unsupported."

TRUMP: “At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption...”

THE FACTS: Trump’s suggestion that Mueller’s team is a Democratic cabal is unsupported. Mueller is a Republican and some others on his team owe their jobs largely to Republican presidents. Some have indeed given money to Democratic candidates over the years. Trump makes a false allegation that Mueller worked for President Barack Obama for eight years. Mueller was FBI chief for less than six years under Obama, leaving in September 2013. He was chosen to lead the FBI by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001 and kept on by Obama.

This is where the "fact checker" isn't reading carefully. Trump's tweet doesn't say Mueller worked for Obama for eight years. It's true that Mueller's team has at least two people who worked in the Obama Department of Justice for eight years  -- Michael Dreeben, who has been in the solicitor general's office for decades, and Kyle Freeny. So it's the Associated Press who messed up the facts on this matter, not Trump. 

Somehow, AP and Yen think it's "fact-checking" to object to Trump tweeting “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia - so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ great!”. Yen stretched it in her lede to Trump saying he's been "cleared." In fact, they've found no collusion: 

THE FACTS: There has been no definitive resolution as to whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election, with government investigations still continuing. The special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling has produced a number of charges and convictions, none to date alleging criminal collusion.

"Collusion" is a not a legal term. So if there's "no definitive resolution," it should be fair comment for a politician to say "finds no collusion." The "fact checkers" on Mueller seem to insist Trump can never claim Mueller's failing to find something until Mueller proclaims he hasn't found something. 

We have rated this AP "fact check" as Deeply Distorted. For similar analyses, please visit our Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers site.