It did not take long in March 2017 for satire blog The Last Line of Defense (LLOD) to make hay out of yet another false accusation from then-United States President Donald Trump.
In this case, it was Trump’s allegation that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had “wires tapped” inside Trump Tower just before Trump won the presidency in November 2020 despite losing the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Nothing found,” Trump claimed on Twitter at the time. “This is McCarthyism!”
Trump sent the tweet from Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort that doubled as a residence and was promoted at the time, falsely, as a “Winter White House.” As Reuters reported at the time, there was no evidence behind the allegation, which was quickly refuted:
“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who left his post at the end of Obama’s term in office in January, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Regardless, LLOD published a post playing off of Trump’s claim:
Former president and breaker of laws, Barack Obama, will either surrender himself or be picked up by the FBI sometime today to be booked and charged with unlawful use of authority, wire fraud and conspiracy to interfere with free elections after it was confirmed that he ordered the tapping of the phones at Trump Tower during the presidential election.
The site carries a disclaimer spelling out its intent:
The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney. Pictures that represent actual people should be considered altered and not in any way real.
But thanks in part to equally-specious blogs that reprinted the post without any such explanation, the hoax story still spread online.
That September, the Justice Department confirmed in a court filing that there was no evidence of wiretapping at the tower.
In August 2022, however, Mar-A-Lago itself was the site of an authentic investigation when federal agents executed a search on the property; The Guardian reported that the Justice Department was looking for “broadly sought presidential and classified records” wrongfully taken to the resort by Trump. Despite again claiming to be unfairly targeted, Trump has not released the search warrant to back up his claims.
Update 8/10/2022, 1:30 a.m. PST: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here. — ag