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White House Denies Involvement With Fox News Story at Center of Lawsuit

03 August 2017

The suit claims that an article by Malia Zimmerman was published to "establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russian Federation".

After the story was published May 16, Wheeler says he asked Zimmerman to remove the statements attributed to him and she told him she "had been instructed by her bosses at Fox News to leave the false quotes in the story", he alleges in the suit.

The lawsuit also claims President Donald Trump personally reviewed the Fox story before publication, while Sean Spicer met with Butowsky and Wheeler, who briefed the White House on the story's progress.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in NY federal court against Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman and commentator Ed Butowsky.

"We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this".

Fox says it's "completely erroneous" to suggest it pushed the story to distract from the Russian Federation investigation.

A new lawsuit claims President Donald Trump told Fox News to run a story created to help distract from allegations of Russian ties. Rod Wheeler is a former detective and long-time paid Fox News contributor who found himself at the center of the Rich story and became something of a fall-guy as the story fell apart.

The AP reports that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the issue today at a White House briefing.

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Butowsky, the Dallas investor and Trump supporter now insists to NPR that he was just joking about the President pushing the story.

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staffer was WikiLeaks' source, say investigators" - was heavily promoted on Sean Hannity's show and Fox & Friends, but was retracted by Fox News about a week after it was published.

"So Chris, I resent you trying to characterize me as an insensitive jerk", he said.

Butowsky told Vanity Fair media reporter Gabriel Sherman that Wheeler's allegations are "bullshit" and that he's never spoken to Trump in his life.

According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, the DNC staffer story was a pet project of Ed Butowsky, a wealthy Dallas investor and prominent Republican. "He wants the article out immediately". He investigated the case but claims that the network inaccurately reported his findings as implicating Rich because "that is the way the President wanted the article".

"It's not like I have a Steve Bannon teddy bear", Butowsky said in May. Wheeler, who had made an appearance on Fox affiilate WTTG about the situation, subsequently told CNN he had no evidence to support the claims.

Wheeler says he met with Spicer and Butowsky in April, in the suit.

Butowsky did not seem pleased when Cuomo suggested the story didn't seem to make sense in light of Butowsky's meeting with Spicer, despite claims that he didn't know him well. The lawsuit alleges these quotes were made up to the pleasure of the president, something the White House called "completely untrue" Monday. Well, according to Butowsky, the only reason the report was retracted was that Wheeler had a crush on an anchor and leaked the details beforehand and that is why Wheeler's claiming he was misquoted.

White House Denies Involvement With Fox News Story at Center of Lawsuit