Trump Criticizes The New York Times for Burying News of Obama White House Lawyer Indictment

April 12, 2019 Updated: April 12, 2019

President Donald Trump once again took aim at The New York Times newspaper, criticizing it for only printing on page 16 the story about the indictment of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig.

“President Obama’s top White House lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, was indicted yesterday on very serious charges,” Trump said in an April 12 tweet. “This is a really big story, but the Fake News New York Times didn’t even put it on page one, rather page 16.”

The president then commented that The Washington Post was “not much better,” as it only printed a “‘tiny’ page one” story about the indictment.

“Corrupt News!” Trump said.

The New York Times didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post declined to comment.

Craig’s Charges

Laying out charges of making false statements, prosecutors said Craig, 74, lied to both his law firm and government investigators about his contacts with the media in connection to a report he prepared on Ukraine.

They allege Craig did so to avoid registering as a foreign agent, which would undermine the perception of independence of both the report and Craig and “impair the ability of Craig and others at the law firm to later return to government positions.”

Craig’s lawyers rejected the charges.

His former law firm has paid over $4.6 million and acknowledged that it failed to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine. The civil settlement with the firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, laid much of the blame for the violations on Craig.

Craig was the first White House counsel to former President Barack Obama. In private practice, his clients have included former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was investigated and charged for leaking classified information.

President Barack Obama (R) greets White House counsel Gregory Craig during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House
President Barack Obama (R) greets White House counsel Gregory Craig during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House on Jan. 21, 2009. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The charges against him stemmed from the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Network Response

The legacy newspapers weren’t the only ones seemingly skimming over the Craig indictment.

The three major news broadcasters ABC, CBS, and NBC collectively gave the story just over a minute in their April 11 evening newscasts, according to a review by the right-leaning watchdog Media Research Center.

“Both ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News sprinted past the story with 16 and 17 seconds respectively,” the MRC said in an April 11 report. “NBC Nightly News offered a little bit more time (42 seconds) but it was still under a minute.”

The treatment of the Craig indictment in legacy media contrasted with the intense attention the media gave to other Mueller cases.

Following Mueller’s indictments of Paul Manafort and deputy chair Rick Gates, the networks’ evening programs dedicated over 33 minutes to related news—60 percent of their total evening news airtime, MRC reported in 2017.

Foreign Lobbying Crackdown

The Justice Department is reportedly cracking down on violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a decades-old law meant to allow Americans to know when foreign entities are trying to influence public opinion or policymakers. The statute had been seldom enforced in the past.

Manafort, veteran political operative and short-lived chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign, was sentenced in March to 7 1/2 years in prison for illicit foreign lobbying and other violations as part of Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington on April 4, 2018. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

Mueller concluded his probe in March, finding that neither President Donald Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Attorney General William Barr is expected to release Mueller’s final report within a week.

Epoch Times staff writer Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab